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Hannah Peters

New York May Become The First State To Decriminalize Sex Work

Two New York senators introduced a bill that would decriminalize sex work and remove prior charges related to prostitution from a sex worker's record. If passed, New York would become the first state to legalize it in the country.

Sen. Jessica Ramon and Sen. Julia Salazar along with the advocacy group Decrim NY introduced the progressive bill at the New York State Assembly this week. If passed, in New York it would be legal to buy and sell sex under certain circumstances. The bill would regulate where prostitution can take place, in hopes to make sex workers safer.

Under the new legislation, any misdemeanor charges related to prostitution would be removed, however, prostitution near a school would still remain a misdemeanor. The penal code won't change or outlaw sex trafficking as it relates to minors.

"We want to bring sex workers out of the shadows and ensure that they are protected," Ramos said. "We will finally make strides against trafficking by empowering sex workers to report violence against them. Sex work is work and everyone has an inherent right to a safe workplace."

Rebecca Zipkin and Alexi Meyers both members of a nonprofit group that advocate for sex trafficking victims supports protecting sex workers but says decriminalizing it doesn't make conditions safer.

"Most often it increases sex trafficking," Zipkin said."If you legalize, you are condoning brothels to become businesses and pimps to become business managers. That's what we've seen around the world. The argument about safety is false."

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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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