Monthly Archives: August 2014

Maggie Daniels | More Search Warrants Released in Murder of Teacher

maggie

NEWTON, N.C. — A new set of search warrants in the Maggie Daniels’ murder investigation sheds more light on the earliest stages of the investigation.

In the documents released Friday morning, detectives detail the day Daniels’ body was found in her Newton apartment.

The warrants say officers found her unresponsive, lying face down on her bedroom floor wearing only an inside-out pair of running shorts. Blood had pooled near her nose.

Officers also observed a broken full length mirror at the front of the bed with a clear liquid on it. The bedspread was rolled up into a ball and placed in the center of the mattress.

At no point do these newest set of documents mention a suspect.

Sharman Odom, 34, is charged with her murder as well as first-degree sex assault and kidnapping.

Search warrants released Thursday focused on his DNA that was found at the scene and an interview with a neighbor detailing Odom’s interest in Daniels before the murder.

Warrant 1

Warrant 2

Warrant 3

Source : http://triadnc.twcnews.com/

David Barajas | Witnessess recount gunshot sounds after fatal DWI crash

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ANGLETON – Three people who came upon a crash scene in Brazoria County where two children were killed by a drunken driver say they heard gunfire moments later.

None of them, though, say they saw anyone at the scene with a gun.

They testified Thursday inside a packed courtroom during the trial of David Barajas, who is charged with murder in the shooting death of 20-year-old Jose Banda in December 2012. Barajas’ two boys, 11-year-old Caleb and 12-year-old David Jr., were killed when Banda rear-ended their father’s truck.

Shortly after the crash, 911 operators received calls about gunshots fired, and authorities later found Banda slain in the front seat of his Chevrolet Malibu.

Later Thursday, Barajas’ attorney, Sam Cammack, would try to place another man in the Malibu with Banda.

Two of the witnesses, William Taylor Duncan, 17, and Landon Lain, 18, testified they saw the crash while driving home together that night. They pulled over when flagged down for help by a man saying his son had been hit.

“(He said) ‘Call the police, my kid has been hit, make sure they don’t leave,'” Duncan told jurors. He said he believed the man was referring to any occupants in the Malibu.

Lain said he then drove his vehicle in between Barajas’ Ford 250 truck and Banda’s car before the teens got out.

On a 911 recording of call from Lain, he can be heard telling a dispatcher he heard a gunshot before the line disconnects.

Duncan told jurors he stood a few feet in front of Banda’s car. Lain said he was also in front of Banda’s car.

Each teen told jurors the man who flagged them down, asking them to help his children, was not at the crash site for about three minutes. They say he later returned and approached the Malibu.

The teens testified they later heard a gunshot, but neither say they saw anyone with a weapon.

The teens said they got scared after hearing the shots and left the scene. They returned later that night with Lain’s father.

Another witness who came upon the crash was Tammy Archuleta, a cafeteria cook at the same school attended by the Barajas siblings.

She was on her way home when she came upon the wreck. Archuleta saw a man, who appeared angry. However, she could not identity him as Barajas.

Archuleta also told jurors she heard gunfire minutes after she arrived, but her back was to the crash site and she did not see anyone with a weapon.

Prosecutors also called Steven Wilson, a cousin of Banda. Wilson told jurors he had been drinking with Banda and another cousin, Gerardo Tellez, and Banda’s half-brother, Antonio Rodriguez, before the crash.

Source : http://www.chron.com/

Witnesses back father’s claims that he didn’t kill drunken driver

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ANGLETON, Texas — A Texas father’s claims he did not fatally shoot a drunken driver who caused an accident that killed his two sons seemed to be bolstered Wednesday by testimony from prosecution witnesses.

Two of the witnesses — a current deputy and a former one — told jurors they failed to note in reports that more gunfire had taken place well after the driver was shot. A third witness, a cousin of the motorist, gave contradictory testimony about whether David Barajas had hit Jose Banda before allegedly shooting him.

Barajas, 32, is accused of fatally shooting the 20-year-old Banda in December 2012 near Alvin minutes after Banda plowed into a vehicle that Barajas and his two sons had been pushing on a rural road. Twelve-year-old David Jr. and 11-year-old Caleb were killed. Barajas’ truck had run out of gas about 100 yards from the family’s home.

Barajas’ attorney, Sam Cammack, has told jurors his client did not kill Banda and was focused only on saving his sons.

A current deputy with the Brazoria County Sheriff’s Office and a former deputy with the department told jurors they failed to note in reports that they had heard more gunfire after arriving at the crash site.

Ex-deputy Lloyd Anderson, who told jurors he was fired for not including more details in his reports, said he probably did inform an investigator about the gunfire.

When Cammack asked another deputy, Jason Knopp, why he failed to include the gunfire detail in his report, Knopp said, “No answer for it, sir.”

Cammack has focused his efforts at Barajas’ trial, which began Tuesday, on suggesting to jurors that authorities unfairly zeroed in on a grieving father as the killer without fully investigating other possible suspects. Cammack has suggested Banda could have been shot by several other people who witnesses say fled the crash site.

Anderson said a search the night of the accident failed to find any individuals who had reportedly fled the scene.

Gerardo Tellez, Banda’s cousin, testified that he and Banda had become intoxicated on Jagermeister and possibly beer on the day of the accident. Tellez said he followed Banda home and witnessed his cousin slam into Barajas’ truck.

Tellez said he fled after seeing the “body parts” of the boys on the road. He said before leaving he saw Barajas approach Banda’s vehicle and start punching Banda through the driver’s side window.

Cammack later showed jurors a crime scene photo of Banda’s car and the driver’s side window was up.

“You’re going to stick with that even though we saw (the photo with the window up)?” Cammack asked Tellez.

“Yes,” Tellez replied.

Legal experts have said the case could be difficult to prosecute given the lack of hard evidence: no weapon was recovered, no witnesses identified Barajas as the shooter and gunshot residue tests done on Barajas came back negative. If convicted, Barajas faces up to life in prison.

An even greater challenge for prosecutors could be overcoming sympathy for Barajas. Many residents in Alvin, 30 miles southeast of Houston, have supported Barajas. Some have said they might have done the same thing in a similar situation.

Despite no murder weapon, prosecutors have said they have other evidence, including ammunition found at Barajas’ home that they say is similar to a bullet fragment found in Banda’s car. Cammack says police found a shell casing for a different weapon, a 9mm handgun, at the scene and that Barajas couldn’t have had enough time to retrieve a gun from his home and shoot Banda before authorities arrived.

During ex-deputy Anderson’s testimony, dash-camera video from his patrol vehicle of the crash site was played for jurors. In the video, Cindy Barajas, the boys’ mother, can be heard screaming, “No, not my babies.”

Source : http://www.lasvegassun.com/

Drunk Driver ‘Executed’ By Dad Who Watched His 2 Sons Get Mangled In Wreck, Prosecutors Say

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ANGLETON, Texas (AP) –  A drunk driver did not deserve “execution” by a Texas father accused of taking the law into his own hands in a fit of rage over the killing of his two sons in a wreck, a prosecutor told jurors on Tuesday.

David Barajas is accused of fatally shooting Jose Banda in December 2012, minutes after Banda plowed into a pickup truck that Barajas and his two sons had been pushing on a rural road. Twelve-year-old David Jr. died at the scene and 11-year-old Caleb died at a hospital. Barajas’ truck had run out of gas about 100 yards from the family’s home.

Barajas’ attorney told jurors his client did not kill Banda and was focused only on saving his sons.

In opening statements Tuesday in Barajas’ murder trial, prosecutor Brian Hrach told jurors Banda made a horrible decision by drinking and driving,

“He deserved severe legal punishment, but he did not deserve a public execution,” Hrach said.

Barajas allegedly left the scene of the accident, retrieved a gun from his home and returned to kill Banda.

Sam Cammack, Barajas’ attorney, told jurors Barajas never left the crash site. Cammack portrayed Barajas as a father who was desperate to help his sons and was covered with their blood after he tried to perform CPR on the boys.

“When police get there my client is doing what he was doing the whole time, trying to save his children’s lives,” Cammack said.

Dashcam video of the crash scene played for jurors Tuesday after testimony had begun brought many in the courtroom to tears. Barajas kept his head down as the video was played.

On the video, Barajas can be seen kneeling on the ground near a roadside ditch where the body of his son David Jr. had landed. A woman can be heard screaming, “My babies. Why? Oh my God, please help them.” David Barajas’ wife, Cindy, and their infant son and 8-year-old daughter had also been in the truck. They were not seriously hurt.

Legal experts said the case will be difficult to prosecute given the lack of hard evidence: no weapon was recovered, no witnesses identified Barajas as the shooter and gunshot residue tests done on Barajas came back negative.

An even greater challenge for prosecutors could be overcoming sympathy for the father. Many people in the town of Alvin where the tragedy occurred, 30 miles southeast of Houston, have supported Barajas. Some have said they might have done the same thing in a similar situation. The trial is in the county seat of Angleton, Texas.

Hrach tried to minimize the absence of a murder weapon, saying a bullet fragment from a .357 caliber weapon was found at the murder scene and an open box with .357 caliber ammunition was found in Barajas’ home.

Witnesses will testify that they saw Barajas leave the scene and then come back and approach Banda’s vehicle, going up against the car, appearing to be hiding something, Hrach said.

When 911 calls were played for jurors during testimony Tuesday, Cammack tried to suggest Barajas would not have had enough time to shoot Banda.

On one call, screaming can be heard in the background as an unidentified caller told a dispatcher a boy is “bleeding badly … he’s in half. It’s bad.”

On another call, an unidentified caller said, “There is a guy shooting at people.” The person who was shooting was not identified.

Cammack highlighted for jurors the timeline, while questioning dispatcher Grace Gambino. The first 911 call came in at 11:33 p.m., a child was reported dead at 11:34 p.m., gunshots were heard at 11:35 p.m. and police had arrived at the scene and cleared it for EMS to come in at 11:40 p.m.

If convicted, Barajas faces up to life in prison.

Testimony was to resume Wednesday.

At least 25 family members and friends of Barajas were in the courtroom, wearing buttons that said, “Forever in our hearts, David and Caleb Barajas” and with a picture of the two boys. At least 20 relatives and friends of Banda were also in the courtroom.

Before opening statements, Judge Terri Holder asked that family members take off the buttons, saying she did not want anything to influence the jury.

“This is a difficult case for everyone involved. Everyone in here has lost somebody they loved,” she said.

Source : http://www.cbs12.com/

Suspect in Maggie Daniels’ death indicted for murder, sexual assault

Maggie Daniels

The man suspected in the death of Newton high school counselor Maggie Daniels has been indicted by a grand jury on murder, first-degree sexual offense and first-degree kidnapping charges, the District Attorney’s Office said Monday.

Sharman Howard Odom, 34, of Newton, was taken into custody by police Aug. 2 at his mother’s house in Winston-Salem. At the time of the death, Odom was living in the same apartment complex as Daniels, police said.

Daniels, 31, was found dead in her Newton apartment June 28. Police said she had been strangled.

Newton police Chief Donald Brown II said investigators had focused on Odom after searching his iPhone 5 and finding three photos he took of himself June 28, the day Daniels’ body was found.

In the photos, he had scratches on his right nostril and below his left eye.

“The injuries appeared pink, suggesting they were new,” according to a search warrant in the case. And during a July search of Odom’s apartment, investigators discovered what they believe was a section of his hair.

Brown said there appeared to be a struggle in Daniels’ apartment. He said the suspect and victim apparently didn’t know each other.

Odom was born in Charlotte and lived there until 2012, when he moved to Newton to be closer to his mother, according to his family.

He was charged with crimes in 2010 and 2012, but both cases were dismissed.

Daniels grew up in a Cleveland suburb and moved to North Carolina in 2005 after graduating from Notre Dame College in the Cleveland area. She taught English and coached basketball at Newton-Conover High School and was named teacher of the year in 2011.

She went to Discovery High School in Newton in 2013 as a counselor.

Odom’s mother, Darlene, was arrested on assault charges Aug. 4 after her son’s initial court appearance in Newton. That followed an altercation between the woman and news reporters.

The District Attorney’s Office said Sharman Odom is being held without bond at the Catawba County Detention Facility, with a trial date set for Oct. 6.

Source : www.charlotteobserver.com

Police allege Gable Tostee assaulted Warriena Wright before she plunged to her death from his 14th floor apartment on the Gold Coast

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These were allegedly the last words of terrified Kiwi tourist Warriena “Rrie” Wright as she tried to flee Gold Coast playboy Gable Tostee.

The Sunday Mail has obtained exclusive details of the police case against Tostee, who faced court yesterday charged with murdering Ms Wright only hours after they met on controversial dating site Tinder.

Police will allege Ms Wright, 26, had been assaulted, was “in fear of her life” and trying to escape when she plunged to her death from the balcony of Tostee’s 14th floor apartment in the Avalon tower last Friday week.

Audio recordings of her last moments, believed to have been extracted by police technical experts from mobile phones found in a car in the building’s basement were the breakthrough detectives needed to arrest Tostee on Friday after an intensive week-long investigation.

Police will be relying on High Court findings in other cases of people fleeing in fear and dying to make the murder charge stick.

They will allege Ms Wright and Tostee met in Cavill Mall about 9pm on August 7 after connecting on Tinder and went back to his apartment.

Witnesses told police they heard a man and woman arguing and the woman screaming “No, no, no” several times and “I just want to go home” just before she plummeted to her death.

Police will allege she was trying to climb to the balcony below to escape Tostee when she fell.

CCTV footage obtained by police allegedly shows Tostee in the building foyer soon after the tragedy.

Police will allege he hid behind a pillar as police surrounded Ms Wright’s body and can be seen pacing backwards and forwards.

He then allegedly got back into the lift, rode to the basement and left the building.

CCTV cameras allegedly recorded him carrying what appeared to be a phone. Police will allege they later found three mobile phones in a car in the Avalon basement.

Tostee, who has boasted online of bedding about 150 women, handed himself in to police the day after Ms Wright’s death but refused to be interviewed.

He was arrested on Friday morning at his parents’ Carrara home, the day after a brave public plea for information by Ms Wright’s younger sister Reza.

Tostee’s parents, Gray and Helene, were not at Southport Magistrates Court yesterday to support him.

He remained in the watchhouse cells after defence lawyer Mick Purcell, a former senior police prosecutor, said he did not require his client to be brought into the dock.

People charged with murder cannot apply for bail in the Magistrates Court and Tostee was formally remanded in custody until October 10.

Outside court, Mr Purcell said his client “maintains his innocence” and he would be seeking Supreme Court bail in the coming weeks. Despite the arrest, police are still appealing for information from the public – especially women who have had interactions with Tostee.

“We’re interested in hearing from anyone who may be able to provide further information,’’ police regional crime co-ordinator Detective Superintendent Dave Hutchinson said.

“This was a particularly tragic death which pulled at the heartstrings of the community and our appeals for public help have had a very positive response.’’

Supt Hutchinson said Ms Wright’s family were relieved at the early arrest and appreciative of the police efforts.

A team of more than 50 police including Gold Coast and Brisbane Homicide Squad detectives, as well as forensics experts, worked around the clock on the investigation.

It is believed Ms Wright’s body will be flown back to New Zealand this week for a funeral.

Police are continuing to comb Tostee’s apartment for further clues.

Gable Tostee has been charged with the murder of New Zealand tourist Warriena “Rrie” Wrig

Source : http://www.couriermail.com.au/

Desiree Young on Terri Horman: ‘She still hasn’t told us where she was that day’

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Desiree Young, whose son Kyron Horman vanished from a Portland school four years ago and has never been seen since, says the boy’s stepmother Terri Horman failed three lengthy polygraph tests when questioned by investigators about the boy’s disappearance.

Terri Horman quickly became a focus of the investigation into Kyron Horman’s case, but police have still not made any arrests since starting the search for Kyron Horman on June 4, 2010.

Desiree Young, Kyron Horman’s biological mother, said her mission is to keep the pressure on Terri Horman by sharing new details about the case, and she shared these new details without the blessing of investigators.

“They might be upset with me. And you know, I would like them to sit in my shoes and walk the walk and be here four years later,” she said.

In the days following the 2010 disappearance of the 7-year-old boy after a school science fair, both sets of Kyron Horman’s parents took polygraph tests.

Young said her polygraph session started with these four questions:

  • Do you know where Kyron Horman is?
  • Were you with Kyron after 8:45 in the morning?
  • Do you have direct involvement or any indirect knowledge of Kyron’s kidnapping?
  • And again, do you know where Kyron Horman is?

Young said Terri Horman “failed a lot of questions that they asked her,” and that she failed three polygraph tests, each nearly 10 hours long.

“She was saying what her response was and trying to justify what her timeline was and trying to justify why she failed that question,” Young said. “That is a glaring example of someone who’s guilty.”

Terri Horman still lives with her parents in Roseburg. A flier bearing Kyron Horman’s face is posted in the front yard.

No one answered the door at the home when a reporter attempted to make contact with her.

Young and her supporters have visited the home to protest Terri Horman’s continued silence.

“She still hasn’t told us where she was that day and why she’s unaccounted for for about two hours of time,” she said.

Young is also holding car wash fundraisers to pay for independent searchers like one that took place last fall. She knows resources are stretched thin, but she’s frustrated with Multnomah County investigators.

She claimed the sheriff’s office turned away offers for outside help, but a sheriff’s office spokesman said that’s not true.

“When you get egos involved and you start not accepting help from other agencies because your ego might get bruised if they solve the case, you’re shooting yourself in the foot,” Young said.

Young said four years without answers and without her son have been a nightmare, and she refuses to be in this same position in another four years.

“They’re not going to prosecute Terri until they find Kyron. And that’s why it’s my mission. I am going to find answers. I am going to find Kyron if I have to do it myself,” she said.

Terri Horman has never been charged in the case or even called an official suspect.

Multnomah County officials said Kyron Horman’s case is still active and they cannot comment on it.

Source : http://www.kptv.com/