A Brief Look at Crime 02/06 – 02/12

Trial begins for Shady Hills man accused of killing mother, stepfather, then hitting casino

His ex-girlfriend visited him in jail and asked what happened. It was mid February 2008 and she heard Jackie Braden was accused of killing his mother and stepfather, stealing $200,000 in cash and 40 pounds of marijuana from their safe and partying at the Seminole Hard Rock Casino in Tampa before he was found. Braden, now 40, told the woman he deserved the death penalty for what he did, Halkitis told jurors. “It was harder than I thought it would be,” he said of shooting his mother and stepfather, according to the prosecutor. Braden is charged with two counts of first-degree murder. If convicted he faces life in prison.

Man arrested at Hard Rock, found driving murder victim’s car

A 32-year-old man, wanted for the murder of his girlfriend in Pottstown, Pa., was arrested at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino early Tuesday, according to Seminole Tribal Police. Edwin Carrero was spotted by Officer Alex Coronado at 2:10 a.m. on the third floor of the Winner’s Way parking garage. Corerro was acting suspiciously and “rummaging through the back of a gray Jetta,” police spokesman Gary Bitner said. Officer Coronado ran a record’s check and discovered the car and its Florida tag were both stolen. He also learned the Volkswagen Jetta was registered to murder victim Alicia Schmidt, Bitner said.

Sex trafficker sentenced to 30 years in prison

A 35-year-old man from Tamarac was sentenced to 30 years in federal prison on Thursday for sex trafficking and producing child pornography, according to U.S. Attorney Wifredo A. Ferrer. The trial evidence showed that in December 2009, Curtis recruited a 15-year-old runaway to work for him as a prostitute, going on “dates” within days. He also took sexually explicit photographs of her to be used in prostitution ads on web sites such as Craigslist and Backpage.com, according to court documents. Curtis used the money to support a lifestyle that included nightly gambling at the Hard Rock Casino and driving around in a luxury vehicle.

Officer in WA accused of stealing from family fund

Lakewood police officer was charged with embezzling more than $120,000 from a fund for families of four colleagues who were shot to death while on duty then spending some of the money on trips to Las Vegas, the U.S. attorney’s office said Wednesday. Officer Skeeter Timothy Manos also is accused of making purchases of several thousand dollars at Costco and Home Depot with the money. “This is a sad day for our community,” U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan said in a statement. “These acts betrayed the memory of our fallen heroes, their families, fellow officers and all who supported the fund.”        

“Stealing from the children of our fallen officers is disgraceful,” added Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist. The public contributed more than $3.2 million to the families of the four Lakewood officers who were shot to death by convict Maurice Clemmons at a coffee shop while they were beginning their shifts. Clemmons fled the scene, sparking a statewide manhunt that ended when a Seattle police officer shot and killed him two days later.

Woman gets prison for embezzling $250,000 from Concord Pet

A woman who embezzled more than $250,000 from Concord Pet Food and Supplies was sentenced to 60 days in prison and a year of home confinement last week. Sherry W. Hensley, 56, of Townsend, was also ordered by Superior Court Judge Richard R. Cooch to repay her employer and undergo gambling-addiction counseling and have no contact with any gaming establishment or websites.  Prosecutors had asked for a six-month sentence of incarceration. Prosecutors said Hensley’s theft was apparently motivated by gambling problems.

 American Judge Facing Jail for Illegal Gambling

Law enforcement officials in the State of Arizona match their Texan counterparts in suppression of unregulated gambling. No one, caught gambling outside of the law, is spared under Arizona law. Not even judges. A former judge of the state precinct court was been arrested and convinced for running an illegal casino. The three felony counts include conspiracy, promotion of gambling, and running and illegal enterprise. To fend off potential illegal casino operators, Mark Brnovich, Director of the Arizona Department of Gaming has stated: ”We’re sending a message in the strongest terms possible.”

 Casino scuffle involving NY senator probed

Police and Seneca Indian Nation officials continue to investigate a fight at a tribal casino that left a New York state senator with bruised ribs and his wife with a concussion. Sen. Mark Grisanti says he was trying to diffuse an argument between two men at the Seneca Niagara Casino Friday night when he was punched in the chest and head. His wife, Maria, says she was attacked by two women who slammed her head on the floor. Niagara Falls Police Capt. William Thomson says Monday that investigators are asking for statements from those involved. He says Grisanti hasn’t been in yet.

For more information on the dangers of gambling, please visit CASINO WATCH & CASINO WATCH FOUNDATION

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