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Alex Wong

Government Shutdown Prompts Hunger Strike Inside Manhattan Jail

The partial government shutdown has reportedly prohibited lawyers from seeing their clients, and medication from being distributed to inmates.

As the country enters its 26th day since the partial government shutdown, some inmates inside a Manhattan detention center have decided to partake in a hunger strike after family visits were canceled for the second week due to a lack of staffing.

According to the New York Times, inmates at the Metropolitan Correctional Center, or M.C.C have denied their breakfast and lunch meals. The facility, which holds about 800, is one of the most important in the federal prison system and has housed few infamous names including Mexican drug leader El Chapo and terrorists.

Federal public defender Sarah Baumgartel said she learned of the hunger strike from a detainee she represents. Baumgartel declined to identify the inmate out of fear he'd be singled out. "They have already refused a meal — I believe they refused breakfast and lunch.”

Along with canceled family visits, the dispensing of medication to inmates in need has also been affected. The New York Times reports a prosecutor inside a federal court was "informed" that because of the shutdown, there are issues with prescribing medication.”

On Monday (Jan. 16) Bureau of Prisons lawyer Adam Johnson emailed  defense lawyers stating “due to staff shortages,” attorneys would not be able to speak with their clients at Brooklyn’s Metropolitan Detention Center. "We regret the inconvenience and will notify you immediately once visiting resumes.”

The partial government shutdown is a stand off between Donald Trump's demands for funding to construct a wall along the U.S- Mexican border and a newly elected Democratic Congress refusing to acquiesce.

Since then, more than 800,000 employees have gone without pay.

 

 

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Associated Press

Alaskan Teen Kills Friend After A Man Online Alleged He'd Pay Her $9 Million

An Alaskan teen lured her best friend to a wooded area June 2 and shot her in the back of the head at the orders of a man online who said he'd pay $9 million.

According to CNN, Denali Brehmer developed a relationship with Darin Schilmilller, 21, who went by the alias "Tyler." The Indiana resident reportedly told Brehmer he was a millionaire and would pay her if she killed her friend Cynthia Hoffman and provided video proof of the murder.

Brehmer, 18 and Schilmiller mapped out a plan to rape and murder the 19-year-old victim who also had a learning disability.

On the day in question, Brehmer enlisted the help of Kayden McIntosh, 16 and Caleb Leyland, 19 and two unidentified juveniles. Brehmer deceived Hoffman and said the two would go hiking in Thunderbird Falls. Using a car Leyland borrowed, upon arriving at the wooded location Hoffman's hands and feet were bound with duct tape as well as her mouth and head.

According to reports, McIntosh used Brehmer's gun and shot Hoffman once in the back of the head. Her body was placed in the Eklutna River and found June 4.

Phone records prove Brehmer sent videos to Schilmiller as instructed.

Brehmer, McIntosh, and Leyland are all in police custody as well as the two minors. Schilmiller will be arraigned once he's extradited to Alaska as he's currently in federal custody for child pornography charges.

Court document outline Schilmiller also instructed Brehmer to sexually assault an 8 or 9-year-old, and a 15-year-old and send videos. Brehmer told authorities she did. The video of the teen was found by law enforcement.

All six defendants face first-degree murder, first-degree conspiracy to commit murder, and two counts of second-degree murder and other charges.

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NYPD

Justice For Junior: Five Convicted In Brutal Murder Of Bronx Teen

Five men were convicted in the brutal murder of Lesandro "Junior" Guzman-Feliz. A Bronx jury handed down the verdict on Friday (June 14), nearly a year to the day since the 15-year-old victim was chased down by a group of gang members, dragged out of a local bodega and viciously stabbed to death.

Martinez Estrella, Antonio Rodriguez Hernandez Santiago, Elvin Garcia, Jose Muniz and Manuel Rivera, were found guilty on all four charges, according to CBS News. The group faced first-degree murder, second-degree murder, second-degree conspiracy and second-degree gang assault.

Jurors reviewed video of Guzman-Feliz’s murder and reportedly began crying while looking at autopsy photos of the teen, described by his father as a “really good kid” who was doing well in school, and aspired to be an NYPD detective.

The five convicted murderers belonged to the Trinitarios gang, prosecutors said. Guzman-Feliz was killed after he was mistaken for a member of a rival gang. Surveillance footage from the night of the heinous murder showed Guzman-Feliz attempting to run to safety inside a Bronx bodega before being caught by the men.

Guzman-Feliz was stabbed multiple times with knives and machetes, and collapsed on his way to a nearby hospital. His death caused outrage around the globe, and launched the viral #JusticeForJunior campaign. A Go Fund Me account opened to raise money for the high schooler’s family brought in more than $340,000 in donations.

“I want to say thank you, Jesus,” the slain teen’s mother, Leandra Feliz, said after the verdict.

“I’m not going to have my son back. But those killers, those murderers, they won’t be outside killing another kid.”

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Brett Carlsen

Prosecutors Drop Flint Water Charges, Plan To Start New Case

Nearly four years since Flint, Michigan declared a state of emergency over the state of its water, prosecutors have decided to drop all criminal charges brought against eight government officials who were believed to responsible for the crisis, CNN reports.

Prosecutors said on Thursday (June 13) they had concerns about the investigation and legal theories suggested by the former Office of Special Counsel (OSC) who oversaw the investigation, according to a press release issued by the Michigan Department of Attorney General.

"We cannot provide the citizens of Flint the investigation they rightly deserve by continuing to build on a flawed foundation," Solicitor General Fadwa Hammoud and Wayne County Prosecutor Kym L. Worthy, said. Prosecutors also noted that "the voluntary dismissal is not a determination of any defendant's criminal responsibility."

The Flint community reportedly feels blindsided by the decision, but the Mayor of Flint, Karen Weaver said the dismissal gives her "hope." "I am happy to see that this case is being handled with the seriousness and dogged determination that it should have been handled with from the beginning," Weaver told CNN.

Weaver also claimed the prosecution's mishandling of the case was  "an entire administration's clear lack of respect for human life and common decency, another attempt to cover up what should have never happened to begin with."

The prosecution team promises to open a new probe into the Flint Water Crisis at a later date.

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