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Filmmakers visiting Atlanta robbed of $50K in equipment while at dinner

Three filmmakers visiting Georgia lost more than $50,000 in equipment when their rental car was burglarized and robbed Thursday night, Atlanta police said. 

>> Read more trending news

According to an incident report obtained Friday by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the men were eating dinner at the time of the theft. A few hours after loading the equipment into the car, the men returned to find one of the back car windows smashed, police said.

The thieves stole the professional equipment as well as personal items belonging to each of the men, according to police.

Officers collected blood from the broken window and are still searching for a suspect. 

The victims were in town to shoot photos of Atlanta for Tantra, a production company headquartered in Colorado.

 

Beltway sniper Lee Boyd Malvo granted new sentencing hearing in Virginia killings

A man who as a teenager participated in a terrifying killing spree that left more than a dozen people dead has been granted a new sentencing hearing in Virginia.

Lee Boyd Malvo, now 33, was sentenced in 2004 to life in prison without the possibility of parole for a series of four murders he and John Allen Muhammad committed as the Beltway snipers. Malvo was just 17 at the time of the slayings, and Muhammad, his mentor, was 41. 

The snipers terrorized the greater Washington, D.C., area during a three-week span in 2002 that saw them kill four people and injure three others in Virginia. Another six people were gunned down in the Maryland suburbs in that same time frame. 

The pair was captured in October 2002 as they slept at a rest stop in a Chevy Caprice they had modified so they could fire a rifle, undetected, through a hole in the car’s trunk. The Washington Post reported that Muhammad and Malvo were tied to another 11 shootings across the country, five of them deadly. 

In the years since Malvo’s and Muhammad’s convictions, and Muhammad’s subsequent 2009 execution for his Virginia crimes, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that defendants who committed serious crimes while under the age of 18 cannot be sentenced to death.

They also cannot be sentenced to a mandatory sentence of life in prison without parole, the ruling stated. The new laws became retroactive in 2016, meaning that sentences of death or life without parole that were legal at the time they were handed down could now be vacated. 

A three-member panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously ruled on Thursday that Malvo falls into that category and vacated his four life sentences. His case has been remanded to a lower court for resentencing. 

>> Read more trending news

“To be clear, the crimes committed by Malvo and John Muhammad were the most heinous random acts of premeditated violence conceivable, destroying lives and families and terrorizing the entire Washington, D.C., metropolitan area for over six weeks, instilling mortal fear daily in the citizens of that community,” Judge Paul Niemeyer wrote in the ruling. “But Malvo was 17 years old when he committed the murders, and he has the retroactive benefit of new constitutional rules that treat juveniles differently for sentencing.

“We make this ruling not with any satisfaction but to sustain the law. As for Malvo, who knows but God how he will bear the future.”

See the appeals court’s entire ruling below. 

The order for a new sentencing applies only to Malvo’s Virginia crimes. He also pleaded guilty to six murders in Maryland, where he was given six life sentences. 

Thursday’s ruling does not affect his prison time in Maryland, according to The Washington Post. A Montgomery County judge last August upheld those sentences because they were not mandatory life terms. 

A spokeswoman for Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring told the Post that his staff attorneys plan to “review the decision closely and decide how best to proceed in a way that ensures this convicted mass murderer faces justice for his heinous crimes.” The attorney general can either ask the entire appeals court for a rehearing, appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court or go forward with the new sentencing hearing.

If the sentencing hearing goes forward, Malvo could still be sentenced to life in prison. The appeals court ruling indicated that it depends on whether the district court finds that Malvo’s crimes reflected “permanent incorrigibility” or the “transient immaturity of youth.”

The appeals court’s ruling listed a timeline of most of Malvo and Muhammad’s crimes:

  • Sept. 5, 2002: Malvo shot a pizza restaurant owner six times in Clinton, Maryland, and stole the man’s cash and laptop. The man survived and, according to the FBI, his laptop, which was found in the snipers’ car when they were captured, was used to plot out attack sites and getaway routes. 
  • Sept. 15, 2002: Malvo shot a man in Clinton as the victim closed a liquor store for the night.
  • Sept. 21, 2002: Muhammad used a high-powered Bushmaster rifle to target two women closing down a liquor store in Montgomery, Alabama. Claudine Parker, 52, was killed and her coworker, Kellie Adams, was wounded by a gunshot to the back of her neck and into her jaw.

Adams told The New York Times shortly after the shooting that she thought she had been struck by lightning. Witnesses, including two police officers, spotted a man rifling through the women’s purses before escaping during a short foot chase, the Times reported. 

A blue sedan was also spotted near the scene, which helped lead investigators to the snipers after Malvo’s fingerprint, found on the page of a magazine he dropped in Montgomery, identified him as a suspect. 

  • Sept. 23, 2002: A Baton Rouge, Louisiana, woman, identified as 45-year-old Hong Im Ballenger, was killed as she closed the store where she worked. Again, witnesses later placed Malvo at the scene, fleeing with the victim’s purse. 
  • Oct. 2, 2002: Back in the D.C. area, the snipers shot and killed James Martin, 55, in a Montgomery County, Maryland grocery store parking lot. 
  • Oct. 3, 2002: Five people were gunned down, four at different sites in Montgomery County and a fifth in Washington, D.C. James “Sonny” Buchanan, 39, was killed as he mowed some grass; taxi driver Prem Kumar Walekar, 54, was killed while gassing up his cab; Sarah Ramos, 34, was killed as she sat on a bus bench and read a book; Lori Ann Lewis-Rivera, 25, was killed as she vacuumed her van at a gas station. 

The four Montgomery County victims were killed in the morning within a span of about two hours, according to authorities. Around 9:20 p.m. that same night, Pascal Charlot, 72, was shot while walking in D.C. 

  • Oct. 4, 2002: A woman was shot and seriously wounded as she loaded goods into her car in a Spotsylvania County, Virginia, parking lot.
  • Oct. 7, 2002: A 13-year-old boy was shot and wounded in Prince George’s County, Maryland, as he went to school. 
  • Oct 9, 2002: The snipers shot and killed Dean Harold Myers, 53, as he put gas in his vehicle at a Prince William County, Virginia, gas station.
  • Oct. 12, 2002: The snipers killed FBI analyst Linda Franklin, 47, outside a Home Depot in Fairfax County, Virginia.
  • Oct. 19, 2002: They shot and seriously injured a man leaving a restaurant in Ashland, Virginia.
  • Oct. 22, 2002: The snipers shot and killed bus driver Conrad Johnson, 35, in Montgomery County. The bus driver, who was gunned down as he stood on the steps of his bus, was the last of their victims. 
  • Oct. 24, 2002: The pair was apprehended at a rest stop in Frederick County, Maryland. 

The shootings on the appeals court’s list are not all of the crimes that Malvo and Muhammad have been linked to, and Malvo has said that the pair shot more people than those investigators have identified. 

Malvo told Virginia investigators after his arrest that he and Muhammad, who he considered his father, acted as a sniper team in order to extort $10 million from the “media and the government,” the appeals court ruling stated. He initially confessed to being the shooter in 10 of the incidents. 

When testifying at trial in Fairfax County, however, Malvo admitted only to shooting the 13-year-old boy in Prince George’s County and the Montgomery County bus driver who was killed. All others, Muhammad shot, the teen claimed. 

At that point, Malvo’s defense team was asserting an insanity defense, alleging that the boy, who had an abusive and lonely childhood in Jamaica and Antigua, was indoctrinated by Muhammad, who took him under his wing when Malvo was 15. Muhammad had taken his own three children to Antigua without their mother’s knowledge, the court ruling stated. 

Muhammad, a U.S. Army veteran who ultimately lost custody of his children, trained Malvo intensively in military tactics for almost a year, telling the teen that he had a plan to get his children back, the ruling stated. 

Mildred Muhammad, his ex-wife, has said she believed she was the ultimate target of her former husband’s rage, CNN reported. Prosecutors during John Muhammad’s trials argued that the sniper shootings were a smoke screen to hide his goal of killing Mildred and regaining custody of their children. 

Malvo told “Today” in 2012 that he was sexually abused by John Muhammad. He also described the psychological hold he said Muhammad had on him. 

“I couldn’t say no,” Malvo said. “I had wanted that level of love and acceptance and consistency for all of my life and couldn’t find it. And even if unconsciously, or even in moments of short reflection, I knew that it was wrong, I did not have the willpower to say no.”

In interviews with the Post, Malvo called himself a “monster.”

“If you look up the definition, that’s what a monster is” Malvo told the newspaper. “I was a ghoul. I was a thief. I stole people’s lives. I did someone else’s bidding just because they said so. There is no rhyme or reason or sense.”

Malvo told “Today” producers that the interview would be his last about the crimes, he said he had forgiven himself for his crimes because that is the “only way (he) can live with (himself.)”

He also urged the families of the victims to find peace and forgiveness.

“Please do not allow my actions and the actions of Muhammad to hold you hostage and continue to victimize you for the rest of your life,” Malvo said. “If you give those images and thoughts that power, it will continue to inflict that suffering over and over and over, and over and over again. Do not give me or him that much power.”

Malvo is housed at Red Onion State Prison in Pound, Virginia. 

Officer was sworn in hours before killing unarmed teen, mayor says

An East Pittsburgh police officer who shot and killed an unarmed 17-year-old running from a traffic stop Tuesday night was sworn in just hours before the fatal encounter.

Mayor Louis Payne told WPXI Wednesday that the unidentified officer who killed Antwon Michael Rose, of Rankin, previously spent seven years working in other departments, but confirmed that he was working his first shift following his official swearing in with the East Pittsburgh Police Department.

Allegheny County police officials said that Rose was a passenger in a vehicle stopped in East Pittsburgh around 8:20 p.m. Tuesday because it fit the description of a car seen fleeing the area of a shooting in the nearby borough of North Braddock. As an officer handcuffed the driver of the car, which investigators said had bullet damage to the back window, Rose and a second passenger got out of the car and ran. 

Footage of the shooting posted on Facebook Tuesday shows the scene from a distance. The 18-second video shows Rose and the other passenger, who has not been found by police, get out of the car and make a break for the yard between two nearby houses.

Three shots are heard and one of the passengers appears to fall into the grass.

“Why are they shooting at him?” the woman recording the traffic stop says. “Why are they shooting? All they did was run and they’re shooting at them!”

Rose, who police officials said was struck three times, was taken to McKeesport Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. 

The Allegheny County medical examiner on Thursday ruled the teen’s death a homicide. 

Though officers said they found two guns in the car after the shooting, Rose was not armed when he was shot, police officials said

Click here to watch the footage of the shooting. Warning: Some viewers might find the images too graphic.

The officer who killed the teen has been placed on administrative leave while the Allegheny County police’s Homicide Unit investigates the shooting. Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala Jr. issued a statement Thursday in which he said he had met with police officials, but that the investigation into Rose’s death remained ongoing.  

“Out of respect for the grieving process that the family and friends of Mr. Rose are going through and the upcoming Monday funeral for Mr. Rose, District Attorney Zappala will not have any further comment until next week.”

CBS News reported that the officers at the scene were not wearing body cameras. Their patrol cars also had no cameras. 

>> Read more trending news

The shooting has sparked protests, including a protest of hundreds that shut down the street outside the Allegheny County Courthouse Thursday morning.  WPXI livestreamed the protest on Facebook

Hundreds of people also gathered Wednesday night, despite rain pouring down on them. 

Rose’s family has hired civil rights attorney Lee Merritt, who talked to WPXI Thursday morning near the scene of the teen’s death. Merritt said he was looking for witnesses to the shooting to determine what the officer might have seen as Rose and the other passenger fled. 

Merritt told the news station that Rose’s family wants the officer to be treated the same as anyone who was shown, on video, shooting a man who was running away. 

“If you take away the uniform and you put that same video out there, we believe that an arrest would have been made by now,” Merritt said. “Not necessarily a conviction, because that’s a process and everyone is entitled to due process.”

He said officers accused of misconduct should be treated like everyone else. 

“It’s very difficult to find justification for the use of deadly force given the facts as they were presented in that video,” Merritt said. “Antwon and the other young man did not appear to present any harm or danger to that officer or anyone.”

He said Rose’s family is devastated by his death. 

“Every day that they wake up, they’re hoping that this is all a bad dream,” Merritt said

Divorce attorney killed by client's husband in murder-suicide, officials say

A prominent divorce attorney in Georgia was shot and killed at his law office Wednesday by the husband of a client he was representing, Bartow County officials confirmed. 

>> Wife shoots, kills woman after finding her with husband, sources say

Details on what led to the fatal shooting of Antonio B. Mari at his law offices were not released

Authorities were called to the 600 block of North Tennessee Street, where the law office is located, about 1:30 p.m., Cartersville police Lt. Mike Bettikofer told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Authorities found the suspect, Walter Samuel Radford, 33, of Cartersville, dead at his wife’s home on Willow Bend Drive, Bartow County coroner Joel Guyton told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Radford’s wife, Cindy, was not at the law offices at the time of the shooting. 

>> Read more trending news 

According to media reports, Mari was representing Cindy Radford in her divorce. 

Mari, 41, of Acworth, graduated from the University of Georgia and taught social studies for 10 years in Bartow County. 

After graduating law school, Mari opened a firm in Cartersville and opened a location in Cobb County in 2012.

Break-in suspect with huge face tattoo arrested after Facebook post goes viral

An Ohio break-in suspect who goes by “Popeye” and sports a large, unusual face tattoo may be as recognizable as the sailor man himself.

According to WKRC, Anthony Ward was arrested on theft and breaking-and-entering charges Wednesday after the Adams County Sheriff's Office shared his photo on Facebook.

>> Man arrested after trying to pay waitress with her own stolen credit card, police say

“Be on the look out for aka (Popeye) Anthony Ward,” the Adams County Sheriff’s Office stated. “Subject has Felony warrants through Brown County and wanted for questioning on several B&E's [breaking and entering]. AIso Dottie Worthington is with this subject and are driving a Black Chevy Cruz.”

The post quickly racked up 2,700 shares and more than 100 comments from bemused followers. 

Sheriff’s officials told Cox Media the post was removed from Facebook due to the overwhelming amount of comments.

>> WATCH: Thieves steal kiddie pool from family's backyard on Father's Day

“Don't you have a better pic? This could be anybody,” one commenter quipped.

“Now they need to put a ‘be on the lookout’ for a bad tattoo artist,” wrote another.

>> Read more trending news 

Ward has been located and is in police custody.

Florida police officer shot in deadly standoff is breathing on his own, sources say

An Orlando, Florida, police officer who was shot in the head earlier this month during a deadly standoff at an apartment complex is now breathing on his own, sources told WFTV.

>> On WFTV.com: Judge approved deal that kept man in deadly Orlando standoff out of prison, records show

Police said Gary Lindsey Jr. shot Officer Kevin Valencia, who has been hospitalized since the June 10 shooting. During a 20-hour standoff, Lindsey shot and killed four children – two of whom were his own – before killing himself, police said.

>> Read more trending news 

A Mass will be celebrated at Orlando's St. James Cathedral on Saturday for the children, who ranged in age from 1 to 12. The Mass is open to the public.

Click here to donate to Valencia’s family.

Click here to donate to the children’s family.

>> On WFTV.com: Long criminal past, rocky relationship led up to shooting of officer, four kids' deaths

WATCH: Thieves steal kiddie pool from family's backyard on Father's Day

A pair of thieves made off with a Nebraska family's inflatable kiddie pool on Father's Day – and the bizarre backyard incident was caught on camera.

>> Click here to watch

According to KETV, Brandon Turner of Omaha said he and his two children were at the zoo Sunday afternoon when he received an alert from his home security camera. He then watched live from his phone as two women drained and dragged the kids' inflatable pool from the Turners' backyard.

>> Man arrested after trying to pay waitress with her own stolen credit card, police say

Turner's youngest, 5-year-old Alex, had a message for the thieves.

"Give my swimming pool back!" he exclaimed, watching the footage in dismay.

>> Read more trending news 

Turner was shocked and disappointed to see people stealing from children.

"Really? Really?" he told KETV. "That's all I could think of – really?"

Read more here.

Man arrested after trying to pay waitress with her own stolen credit card, police say

A suspected thief is behind bars after police say he handed an Arkansas waitress her own stolen card while paying his bill at a Pine Bluff restaurant.

According to The Associated Press, Shamon West, 21, was arrested Tuesday after Shannon's Restaurant waitress Flora Lunsford went to swipe the credit card and noticed her own name on it. She called police, who searched West and found Lunsford's Social Security card and driver's license, as well, the AP reported.

>> Read more trending news 

The arrest came two days after someone took Lunsford's purse from her car, which was parked outside a gas station two blocks from the restaurant, KATV reported.

West now faces charges of theft by receiving and forgery.

Read more here or here

17-year-old unarmed when shot 3 times by officer, police say

A 17-year-old was shot and killed by police in East Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on Tuesday night after he allegedly ran away from a traffic stop on foot, authorities said.

>> Read more trending news 

The Allegheny County Medical Examiner's Officer identified the teenager as Antwon Rose of Rankin. He attended Woodland Hills High School last year.

Update 5:30 p.m. ET:  The mayor of East Pittsburgh confirmed that the officer involved in the shooting Tuesday night was sworn in to their department a few hours before.

He has been an officer with other departments in the area for seven years.

He still has not been identified.

Update 4 p.m. ET:  The family of Antwon Rose has hired civil rights Attorney Lee Merritt to represent them. Merritt has previously represented the victims of violence in Charlottesville and several cases related to the Black Lives Matter movement.

Update 2:53 p.m. ET:  Rose was shot three times while running from police, said Coleman McDonough, superintendent of the Allegheny County Police Department.

McDonough said two guns were found in the car after the traffic stop, but Rose was not armed at the time of the shooting. The driver of the vehicle was initially detained by police. He has since been released, police said.

A third person who was in the vehicle and fled has not been located.

The East Pittsburgh police officer involved in the shooting has been placed on administrative leave.

Pittsburgh Mayor William Peduto released the following statement:

“Any loss of life is tragic, and especially the loss of life of a child. This is a devastating situation and I am saddened for Antwon Rose and his family. 

“While Tuesday's shooting was not within the city's official borders it impacts all of us in the Pittsburgh region, and particularly those in the African American community. In my reactions to the incident I should have acknowledged that these shootings affect all of us, no matter where we live, and for that I am sorry. 

“Tuesday night I was receiving numerous calls and messages asking me to respond to the involvement of police in a shooting in East Pittsburgh borough, and at the time I was attempting to clarify for the national public that the City of Pittsburgh Bureau of Police, which I ultimately oversee, were not involved.”  

Original Story: 

According to the Allegheny County Police Department, Rose got out of a vehicle that matched the description of a vehicle seen near a shooting that occurred shortly before 8:30 a.m. on Kirkpatrick Avenue in North Braddock.

>> Visit WPXI.com for the latest on this developing story

The vehicle, which police said had damage from bullets to the back window, was stopped near Grandview Avenue and Howard Street.

An officer from the East Pittsburgh Police Department was handcuffing the driver when two males ran from the car, police said. One of those males was Rose, according to officials.

Rose was taken to McKeesport Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

The Allegheny County Police Department is asking the other person who ran away from the vehicle to turn himself in "so that he can give a comprehensive description of what occurred."

The victim in the North Braddock shooting, a 22-year-old man, was treated for his injuries and released from an area trauma center.

The Allegheny County Police Homicide Unit is investigating both incidents. 

Tipster leads California authorities to felon’s stash of 553 guns, police say

A tip called in to Los Angeles County authorities led investigators to seize a total of 553 guns from a convicted felon last week, officials said.

Manuel Fernandez, 60, of Agua Dulce, was arrested Thursday on charges of being a felon in possession of firearms, possession of an assault rifle, being a felon in possession of ammunition and possession of large-capacity magazines, according to Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department officials. He was released on bond the following day.

Sheriff’s Department officials said in a news release Monday that deputies at the department’s Palmdale station received a tip about a felon in possession of a “large arsenal of firearms.” Detectives, along with agents from the California Department of Justice, obtained a search warrant for Fernandez’s home in Agua Dulce. 

Agua Dulce is located about 20 miles northeast of Santa Clarita, near Angeles National Forest. 

>> Read more trending news

Investigators found a total of 432 guns during the execution of the first search warrant at Fernandez’s home, the news release said. That search led them to a second home in Agua Dulce connected to Fernandez.

A total of 30 guns were found at that home, which belongs to a woman described by authorities as a female associate of Fernandez’s. The woman, who was not home Monday and has not returned since the search, is expected to face charges.

A second warrant served at Fernandez’s home led investigators to find another 91 weapons hidden in the house, the news release said. 

“Detectives also seized computers, cellphones and hard drives from the residence believed to be involved in the illicit purchase of firearms by the suspect,” the news release said

A photo released by the Sheriff’s Department shows rifles and other weapons piled into the bed of a Ford F-150 pickup truck. Other pictures show the massive cache of weapons laid out on a patio at the station.  

The number of weapons seized was so large that investigators brought in agents from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to assist in tracing the purchase history of the guns, authorities said. 

“This case is a testament to the community’s involvement in reducing crime and taking guns out of the hands of criminals,” Los Angeles County Sheriff Jim McDonnell said in a statement.

McDonnell said the response by his personnel, as well as state and federal officials, shows the positive result of the Sheriff’s Department’s “See Something, Say Something” campaign.

“We are proud of the relationship we have built in the Antelope Valley area as we continue to build trust with the communities we serve,” the sheriff said

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