Florida man accused of murder, claims he was just trying to get target practice in

ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. – A 43-year-old St. Augustine man is behind bars Wednesday after authorities arrested him Tuesday and charged him in a man’s death and possession of rifles reported stolen in Jacksonville, the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office said.

Deputies were called to 51-year-old Chester Whitmor Ratliff Jr.’s travel trailer July 29 on State Road 16 after one of his family members found him dead while checking on the property. Authorities later ruled Ratliff’s death a homicide, resulting from a long-distance gunshot wound.

Detectives were able to determine where the gunshot originated and contacted the property’s residents. Officials said one of the residents, Albert Hamilton Dean III, of St. Augustine, became a person of interest.

According to detectives, Dean was on his property when he fired shooting a rifle in Ratliff’s general direction, but told police he was not aware Ratliff was living in the trailer. Dean insisted he was aiming near the trailer for target practice, and had no  intention of hurting anyone.

The rifle Dean was shooting and an attached silencer was found to have been stolen out of Jacksonville. A second stolen gun was also discovered but was not connected to Ratliff’s death, police said.

Dean was arrested without incident and charged with negligent manslaughter and dealing in stolen property. He is being held at the St. Johns County Jail on a $110,000 bail.

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Man sues NFL team for protesting police brutality

A Morgan City man is suing the New Orleans Saints for a refund on his season tickets because some players have disrespected the national anthem before games this season.

Lee Dragna filed a lawsuit Monday in 24th Judicial District Court in Gretna seeking a refund for the tickets as well as attorney’s fees, claiming the protest by some players against police brutality and racial injustice has prevented him and his family from enjoying the games.

Dragna said he hasn’t attended a game since the first home game of the 2017 season against the New England Patriots, on Sept. 17, when he said some of the players did not come out for the singing of the national anthem.

When they did come out, the suit says, “They passed directly in front of where the petitioner and his guests were seated. Many of the fans in that area booed and cursed at the Saints players.”

“Apparently, these players were following the lead of (former San Francisco 49ers quarterback) Colin Kaepernick by disrespecting the flag, the anthem, the USA and those who have served and are serving the USA in our military,” the suit says. “If you sell tickets to a gaming event for entertainment, you should not be allowed to turn it political.”

Dragna, a businessman in Morgan City, said Tuesday that the rowdy, angry reaction of the people around his seats has made the tickets unusable by him and his family, as well as customers he would otherwise give the tickets to.

He said the behavior of some fans upset by the protests — cursing, spilling beer — is “borderline dangerous,” though he said he thinks the responsibility for that behavior ultimately rests not with the fans but with owner Tom Benson.

“The Saints created that behavior by condoning it,” he said.

“It’s my thought pattern that (players) should not be allowed (to protest),” he said. “If you sell tickets to a gaming event for entertainment, you should not be allowed to turn it political.”

Kaepernick and a teammate, Baton Rouge native Eric Reid, began kneeling during the anthem in 2016 to protest the shooting of unarmed African-Americans by police.

Kaepernick sat for the anthem during the 49ers’ first preseason game that year, though he and Reid knelt from the second game forward after talking with a former NFL player who was a Green Beret in the U.S. Army and deciding that kneeling would be more respectful.

A few weeks later, news of the protest broke, stirring nationwide controversy. This year, President Donald Trump said on Twitter that team owners should fire players who kneel during the anthem.

On Tuesday, Saints spokesman Greg Bensel said Dragna’s lawsuit has been forwarded to the organization’s legal department and that there would be no comment.

Dragna also stated that he doesn’t want players protesting police brutality and racism to be heroes to his kids.

“I don’t want my kids growing up thinking that those are their heroes … and it’s OK to do that stuff, especially on TV and especially on your job site. That can’t be allowed to happen.”

While many will see this suit as frivolous, Dragna says it’s far from it, calling it “as honest as it gets.”

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Brooklyn teen uses dying breath to name her killer

A Brooklyn teenager used her last few breaths to tell cops the name of the man who shot her after she spurned his advances — as she struggled through an agonizing 20-minute wait for an ambulance, according to police testimony Monday.

Sixteen-year-old Shemel Mercurius was fatally shot inside a Brooklyn apartment last year by a 25-year-old man who wanted to date her, authorities said.

Inside Brooklyn Supreme Court on Monday, at the trial of Taariq Stephens — who is charged with murdering Shemel — the courtroom heard from the hero patrol cop who had labored to try and keep her alive.

Shemel, a junior at Edward R. Murrow High School, was babysitting her 3-year-old when Stephens allegedly showed up at the Brooklyn Ave. apartment and shot her three times with a submachine gun.

Responding NYPD officers kicked down the apartment door to find a horrifying scene.

“There was a 3-year-old male child … covered in blood crying next to the victim,” said Sgt. Ryan Habermehl, who testified that he immediately called EMS.

“It took about 20 minutes for EMS to arrive,” said Habermehl.

Officer Kyle Thomas Daly found Shemel, bleeding heavily.

“I put on gloves, took her off the car and laid her down and began rendering aid … she regained consciousness, gave me her name and date of birth,” said Daly, who has since left the NYPD to join the Suffolk County police department in Shirley, L.I.

“It took a very long time for the ambulance to come, about 20 minutes,” said Daly.

While Shemel was in and out of consciousness, the dying teen told another detective that Stephens wanted to be boyfriend and girlfriend, but she wasn’t interested, Daly said.

Shemel and Stephens met at a daycare center a week before the murder and exchanged phone numbers, authorities said.

An ambulance arrived at 6:55 p.m. and Mercurius died at Kings County Hospital at 7:57 p.m., according to testimony.

Shemel, who lived with her aunt after moving to the U.S. four years ago from Guyana, had buzzed a friend into the East Flatbush building where she was babysitting moments before she was shot.

Lona Junien took the stand to describe what she saw happening between Stephens and Shemel when she showed up to visit her friend.

“The person pushed her. The person said ‘Don’t ever lie to me.’ She was screaming, he took out the gun and shot her,” said Junien, 18.

If convicted, Stephens faces 25 years to life in prison for second-degree murder and weapons charges.

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Killer cop revealed to be cleared of excessive charge force before committing murder

The former Arizona cop who was acquitted for the murder of Daniel Shaver had previously been investigated for body slamming a teenager during an arrest captured on video.

The footage shows Mesa police officer Philip Brailsford and other cops arresting 2 men at a gas station in 2015. While attempting to apprehend a group of teens for criminal damage to a store … Brailsford put one of them in a headlock, spun him around and slammed him to the ground.

While the suspect was pinned down, Brailsford put him in cuffs. Two other officers used a similar tactic to take down another suspect who appeared to be resisting. The suspects were booked for criminal damage, aggravated assault, and resisting arrest.

According to police docs, obtained by TMZ, Brailsford and 3 other cops on the scene were investigated by Internal Affairs for using an “inappropriate amount of force.” They were eventually cleared.

Brailsford was found not guilty of 2nd degree murder in the death of Shaver. Attorneys for Shaver’s family called it an “execution” upon seeing the dramatic body cam footage of the shooting.

As has been reported, Brailsford was a failed actor before he joined the police force.

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Former prison guard pleads guilty to child porn charges

A former Dallas county jailer pleaded guilty Tuesday to posing as a film director in order to entice young boys into making pornographic films, The Dallas Morning News reported.

Kevin Scott Morris, 44, used a camera as a pretext to molest young boys and create child pornography, the report said, citing court records.

The report said Morris would travel with the victims back in 2009 for film and modeling sessions, and would act like he wanted to advance their careers to build trust.

An investigation into Morris began in 2016 when authorities from Orange County, Calif. contacted the Kaufman County Sheriff’s Office in Texas about a boy’s complaint that Morris had touched him “all over” at a hotel and at Morris’ home in 2012, the Dallas Morning News reported. The boy was reportedly 13 at the time.

Morris, who worked at Dallas County jails from May 2013 to October 2016, was eventually indicted in January 2017 on enticement and child pornography charges.

Morris pleaded guilty Tuesday to enticement of a minor, which covers all of the sexual abuse allegations. His plea agreement mentions 10 other victims, some of whom are still unknown to law enforcement. At the time of Morris’ arrest, federal authorities asked the public to help identify other children whom Morris may have sexually abused.

He faces up to life in prison at sentencing.

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Man takes off clothes, jump on cars outside airport

Fairfax, VA-  Fairfax County police say a man stripped off his clothes and jumped on a passing vehicle after a road accident near Washington Dulles International Airport.

A statement from the Fairfax County Police Department says the bizarre incident occurred Tuesday afternoon and caused “major traffic delays” during rush hour around the major international airport.

The man, who was not immediately identified, is facing multiple charges.

Officials say the naked suspect was found on Dulles airport property after fleeing the accident scene. He was taken to the hospital with minor injuries.

Nobody else was injured during the road accident or what the police describe as an assault on a passing vehicle.

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Florida lawmakers attempt to give guns to felons

JACKSONVILLE, FL. – There’s an effort underway in the Florida Legislaturethat would streamline the process for felons to win back their rights to vote and own guns.

It’s against the law in the state for anyone found guilty of a felony to vote or own a firearm – unless the clemency board restores their civil rights, they’re pardoned or the conviction is expunged.

That would change with the passage of a measure proposed in the FloridaHouse, dubbed House Bill 903, which would give circuit and county judges a say on whether to reinstate a felon’s rights.

Currently, there are more than 1.6 million disenfranchised voters in Florida, the highest total nationwide, according to the nonpartisan research website ProCon.org.

State Rep. Cord Byrd, R-Neptune Beach, filed the unnamed bill Dec. 6. It would allow felons who have served their time and paid any related fines to make cases for their rights to be restored.

Under the bill, felons would be able to petition the court once a year. Prosecutors could challenge those efforts, with the opportunity to present witnesses and evidence supporting their case.

In a post on his professional Facebook page — Cord Byrd, the Florida Gun Lawyer — the freshman lawmaker stated that on average, felons wait over 9 years for restoration of rights.

Such cases are heard by the Office of Executive Clemency, a four-member panel led by Gov. Rick Scott.

“Over 22,000 applications are pending, with only a few hundred being processed each year. Clearly the system is broken,” wrote Byrd.

Byrd could not be reached for comment Tuesday morning.

Still, there are concerns that the legislation could flood the court system, creating a logjam of petitions.

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Man insists he was hunting “Lizard people” at the request of Trump

An armed Washington state man stopped in the middle of an intersection last month to fight “lizard people” because President Trump told him to, police said.

The Pierce County Sheriff’s Office said they received a call on Nov. 25 in Parkland, Wash., that a 54-year-old man had stopped his white SUV in the middle of an intersection, waved an AK47 and screamed about “sending in the news” and “lizard people.”

Police arrived at the scene and started closing in on the man who put his weapons away in the car and laid on the ground as per police orders. The man allegedly resisted being handcuffed before police tasered him.

According to police, the man said he had “snorted methamphetamine to lose weight” and had been prescribed morphine.

“The meth doesn’t make me crazy man, the lizard people are real!” he reportedly told officers. He also said Trump called his home to inform him about the “lizard people” and that he needed to fight them before they took over, police said. The man, police reported, claimed that Trump told him an “alpha dragon” had kidnapped his family and were holding them hostage.

The man reportedly said he screamed because he wanted to “attract the news vans” so “his story could be documented for history.”

The department said the man was “heavily under the influence of a stimulant” and was transported to a hospital for treatment. He was subsequently put in a 14-day mental health evaluation hold, the office said. The office did not release the man’s name.

Deputies said after they searched the man’s SUV they discovered a loaded Century Arms AK47, a loaded Ruger .357 revolver, 5 loaded magazines for the AK47, a holster for the revolver, and a wooden bat.

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Free Phoenix Calida

Hey gang.
Our Patreon is currently at 326 a month as we post this.

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This will result in more content as she will be working on Wine Cellar Media from home.

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Wisconsin embraces freedom, gives toddlers hunting licenses

Wisconsin’s Department of Natural Resources sold nearly 2,000 hunting licenses to children age nine or younger through Sunday, including 10 to children under a year old, The Chicago Tribune reported Tuesday.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) earlier this month signed a bill eliminating the minimum age to participate in a mentored hunt. The minimum age was previously set at 10 years old.

The Department of Natural Resources data showed 1,011 licenses went to 9 year olds, 52 went to children under age five, and 10 of those went to infants less than a year old.

Wisconsin’s Department of Natural Resources sold nearly 2,000 hunting licenses to children age nine or younger through Sunday, including 10 to children under a year old, The Chicago Tribune reported Tuesday.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) earlier this month signed a bill eliminating the minimum age to participate in a mentored hunt. The minimum age was previously set at 10 years old.
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The Department of Natural Resources data showed 1,011 licenses went to 9 year olds, 52 went to children under age five, and 10 of those went to infants less than a year old.

 

Under the new law, hunters must be 14 years of age or older and pass the state’s gun safety courses before being allowed to hunt on their own. But the adults who register the children to get licenses can decide when they take part in the sport.
Both the adult and child are allowed to carry weapons under the new law, as long as the adult stays within arm’s reach.

No one was killed during the recent deer hunting season, but seven people were wounded. All of those who were identified were at least 24 years old, and five of them shot themselves, The Chicago Tribune reported.

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