Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Patz's killer kept photo of boy for years, ex-wife says

The man who confessed to killing Etan Patz kept a photo of the boy among his personal possessions for years after the murder, his ex-wife told investigators.

Pedro Hernandez' ex-wife Daisy Rivera said she found the picture, which appeared to be cut from one of the missing persons posters that blanketed the city in 1979, in a “box of his personal papers” that he kept in their New Jersey home, a law enforcement source told The New York Post.

“She brought up that once she was going through a box of his with personal papers and inside that box was the picture of Patz,” the source said. “She said it looked like it came from a missing poster that was put up in the neighborhood.

When confronted with the photo, an angry Hernandez freaked out, Rivera told cops.

“She asked ‘What is this?’ He said ‘What are you doing? Put that away! Don’t go through my stuff!” the source said.

Cops got a search warrant for the Maple Shade, New Jersey house where Hernandez was living with his second wife and daughter - but came up empty.

“One of the things they were looking for when they got a search warrant for the house was this picture or this box but they didn’t find it so they’ll have to use her testimony” if there’s a trial, the source said.
Hernandez confessed to murdering the 6-year-old Patz 33 years after the boy disappeared while walking to a school bus stop.

He was charged with second-degree murder after telling cops he lured the innocent child “with the promise of a soda, and led him to the basement of the bodega, and strangled him there,” Police Commissioner Ray Kelly at the time.

Hernandez placed Etan’s body in a bag and left it in a freezer before taking it to another location in the neighborhood and dumping it with the trash.

He gave cops no explanation for the killing other than that he had “an urge” to snatch and kill the boy.

Mary Kennedy called RFK Jr. day before suicide

BEDFORD — Newly released documents show that Robert F. Kennedy Jr. told police that on the day before his wife hanged herself, she told him "everything was her fault."

Papers released Wednesday by the Bedford Police Department in New York include a statement Kennedy gave a detective after Mary Kennedy's body was discovered May 16. Kennedy said that his wife called him on May 15 and said she was sorry for everything and he was right about everything.

Much of the statement was blacked out before it was released. The visible portion does not make clear what Mary Kennedy meant by "everything."

The Kennedys, who had four children, were in the midst of a divorce.

Kennedy also describes his first sight of his wife's body, but the specifics were blacked out.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Brandon J.'s News: Crazy limo accident

It's amazing what you can see in New York City on a daily basis.

I was taking a walk over on 110th Street and Manhattan Avenue, when i noticed a limosine parked on the side of the road.  I normally don't pay attention to things like this, but when i noticed a gasoline smell in the air, i got concerned. When i walked a little bit further up the road, i saw this limosine that looked like it had been set on fire. No really, i'm not making this stuff up. From where i was standing (which was on the side of the road by the bus stop, the inside looked completely destroyed. From the picture below, i tried to take the best shot i could, but the smell of the gasoline prevented me from getting a better one.

Now why can't i get more shots like this?

For Brandon J.'s News, i'm Brandon Julien.

That's 20 medals! Phelps beats Lochte, grabs gold with win in 200 IM

LONDON — Michael Phelps added to his medal collection with his first individual gold medal of the London Games, and handed Ryan Lochte a double disappointment on his rival’s final night in the pool.

Phelps set the tone right from the start Thursday to become the first male swimmer to win the same individual event at three straight Olympics, capturing the 200-meter individual medley for his 20th career medal — and 16th gold.

He touched in 1 minute, 54.27 seconds, just off his winning time in Beijing but still good enough for gold.

Lochte settled for silver and Hungary’s Laszlo Cseh took the bronze.

So a farewell games that started as a bit of a disappointment for Phelps is definitely looking up. He’s now won two golds and two silvers in five races — not up to his China standards, but a fitting capper to a brilliant career that still has two more events to go.

In fact, as soon as Phelps finished off Lochte, he hopped out of the pool and headed to the nearby diving well to warm down, knowing he still had a semifinal of the 100 butterfly before the night was done.

Lochte had gone through the same routine just a few minutes earlier, trying to pull off an impressive double 31 minutes apart. He came up short in both races, fading to bronze in the 200 backstroke behind fellow American Tyler Clary, then touching after Phelps in the medley.

Phelps’ reaction wasn’t a water-pounding celebration, just a dazed smile and a definite look of relief. He seemed to be soaking it all in, relishing a gold of his own in London with his previous victory coming in the 4x200 freestyle relay.

Lochte shook hands with his rival before crawling out of the pool for the last time at these games. In a symbolic gesture, he tossed his cap and goggles into the crowd, his work done.
His final tally: two golds, two silvers, one bronze and a fourth-place finish — impressive, but undoubtedly shy of what he had predicted would be “my time.”

This time still belongs the Phelps.

Rebecca Soni isn’t doing too badly, either.

Tearing through the water in her favorite pink suit, Soni set her second world record in as many days to defend her Olympic title in the 200 breaststroke. She finished in 2:19.59, breaking her own mark of 2:20.00 set in the semifinals.

Soni broke into a big smile when she saw the time, racing the clock more than she was anyone in the water. Japan’s Satomi Suzuki took silver, more than a second behind at 2:20.72, while Russia’s Yulia Efimova claimed bronze in 2:20.92.

“I’m so happy,” Soni said. “I can’t believe I did it.”

South Africa’s Suzaan van Biljon led at the first turn, but the American quickly seized control on the second lap. She was comfortably ahead by the second turn, then turned on the speed for the record.

“It’s been my goal since I was a little kid to go under 2:20,” Soni said. “That’s when my coach told me you’re going to be the first woman to go under 2:19. I’ve been chasing it ever since. I’m just so happy.”

While Lochte couldn’t hold in the backstroke, it was still quite a night for the Americans. Clary rallied on the final lap to pull off the upset in an Olympic-record 1:53.41. Japan’s Ryosuke Irie also got by Lochte on the final stroke, taking silver in 1:53.78. Lochte’s time was 1:53.94.

“You always have big dreams in your head that you think you might be able to pull off something like that,” Clary said. “The fact that it just came to fruition is something that hasn’t even processed in my mind yet. The fact that I’m now an Olympic champion and Olympic-record holder is something that is very humbling. It’s also very motivating for the next four years.”

Last year, Lochte looked as though he had surpassed Phelps at the top of the swimming world when he captured five gold medals at the world championships. The Floridian didn’t come close to that total at the Olympics, failing to defend his Olympic title in the 200 back and coming up short of Phelps again in the 200 IM.

Lochte won his first race of the Olympics with a dominating performance in the 400 IM on the opening night of swimming, but that was his biggest highlight. He failed to hold on in the anchor leg of the 4x100 freestyle relay, leaving the Americans with a silver, and he finished off the podium in the 200 free.

He did pick up a relay gold in the 4x200 free.

Judge orders co-guardianship for Jackson's kids, says she's 'wonderful'

LOS ANGELES -- A judge on Thursday reinstated Katherine Jackson as the guardian of Michael Jackson's three children in an arrangement that also keeps their cousin as temporary co-guardian.

Superior Court Judge Mitchell Beckloff said during a hearing that an investigator who looked into the children's care found that the late pop star's 82-year-old mother was an excellent guardian and the children love her very much.

"I think the kids are in terrific hands," the judge said. "It appears from the report that Katherine Jackson has done a wonderful job and cares about the children very much."

Beckloff noted that the children, Prince, 15, Paris, 14 and Blanket, 10, also have a close relationship with their 34-year-old cousin TJ Jackson, who was named co-guardian after working closely with Katherine Jackson since Michael Jackson died.

TJ is "incredibly respectful" of the family matriarch and she is respectful of him, the judge said.
Beckloff said he will finalize the arrangement later in the month but for now he will issue letters of co-guardianship allowing both Jacksons to make decisions about the children's welfare.

The shared guardianship plan is apparently designed to remove pressure from Katherine Jackson who was previously named in her son's will as the children's sole guardian.

Perry Sanders Jr., her lawyer, has said the arrangement will allow his client to focus on the children's upbringing and not on home or logistics issues.

TJ Jackson was appointed temporary guardian in a court hearing last week after a bizarre episode in which Katherine Jackson was reported missing but later turned up at an Arizona spa with family members.

Beckloff said last week that he didn't believe Jackson had done anything wrong but suspended her guardianship duties because she had been out of contact with her grandchildren for 10 days.

The changes in guardianship come on the heels of family dissension over Michael Jackson's will, which left nothing to his siblings when he died three years ago. Several of them signed a letter that was leaked to the media alleging the will was a fake and calling on executors of the estate to resign.

The dispute at one point led to a driveway confrontation involving several family members at the Calabasas mansion where Katherine Jackson and the children have been living.
On Wednesday, Jermaine Jackson issued a plea for peace in the family and withdrew his support of the letter.

"Mistakes have been made and irrational things have been said on both sides in a highly charged emotional environment," Jermaine Jackson wrote. "It is time for us all to draw a line in the sand and move toward peace, co-operation, love and healing."

He wrote that the family is still raw from Michael Jackson's death, and his mother has endured incredible stress and pressures since then.

Another party to the Jackson family drama, singer Diana Ross, who was named by Michael Jackson in his will as a potential guardian of the children if Katherine Jackson was not available, issued a statement saying the recent turmoil is a private matter and shouldn't be playing out publicly.

Ross and Jackson were longtime friends before his death in 2009. She has been given notice of court proceedings, but the new agreement apparently will relieve her of any possible guardianship duties, specifying that Katherine and TJ Jackson could replace each other if one or the other became unavailable to serve.

Yankees' Facebook page hacked, says Jeter to undergo sex change operation

Someone is taking a hack at Derek Jeter and the Yankees, literally.

The Yankees’ Facebook page was hacked earlier today and the anonymous poster wrote that the star shortstop would miss the rest of the season.

“We regret to inform our fans that Derek Jeter will miss the rest of the season with sexual reassignment sugery,” the hacker posted. “He promises to come back stronger than ever in 2013 as Minnie Mantlez.”

The gaffe, first noticed by sports blog Deadspin, has since been removed from the team’s Facebook page but there have been several other incidents involving other Major League franchises.

Along with the Yankees, the Cubs, White Sox, Giants, Marlins, Padres and Nationals have all watched as their Facebook pages fell victim to similar hacks.

The series of Facebook hijackings included taking shots at President Obama, handicapped people, Bill Murray, Chick-Fil-A and announcing that the Washington Nationals would be returning to Montreal where they played until 2004.

Douglas wins Olympic gold in gymnastics all-around

LONDON – Gabby has got her gold in the greatest event in gymnastics.

Gabby Douglas, the graceful, effervescent 16-year-old out of Des Moines, Iowa, flipped, somersaulted and bounded her way to a gold medal today and perhaps onto the next Wheaties cereal box with a flawless performance at North Greenwich Arena.

Douglas is the first African-American Olympic all-around gymnastic champion.

“That’s an amazing feeling," she said of the distinction. "I had forgotten about that. Everything is possible.’’

In the four routines, Douglas didn’t score lower than 15 and finished up with a 62.23. Douglas aced a 15.966 on the vault, a 15.733 on uneven bars, a 15.5 on the balance beam and finished her gold show with a 15.03 on the floor exercise after which her USA teammates were left crying.

Aly Raisman of Needman, Mass., the other American in the final, finished in a scoring tie with Russia's Aliya Mustafina with totals of 59.566, but the Russian was awarded the bronze based on the highest sum of final apparatus scores, according to a statement from IOC Communications. Mustafina's sum was 45.9 to Raisman's 45.3.

American gymnastics federation planned to appeal the ruling, but it was never heard because the Americans didn’t file it within the five-minute requirement.

Gymnastics coaching legend Bela Karolyi compared Douglas to Nadia Comaneci, whom he coached to Gold in 1976.

“It looked to me like a skinny Nadia was jumping up and down on the floor,’’ he said. “It was like Montreal, 1976. Unknown, no experience, it was unbelievable. I’m a little surprised. We didn’t know how she’d last.’’

U.S. Olympic coach Martha Karolyi said the rise in Douglas’ level in five months has been extraordinary. “

"She was good but others were good,’’ she said. “I’ve never seen someone in five months go from that level to the best in the world. Just in the five months, she became so much sharper 
and perfect.’’

The individual all-around is regarded as the top prize in the sport and Douglas’ gold makea it three straight for the American women. Carly Patterson won the 2004 gold in the individual event and Nastia Liukin took the gold home in 2008. The event features all four women’s events – the vault, balance beam, uneven bars and floor.

With one event left, Douglas led Viktoria Komova by 0.326 – both fighting for a gold going into the floor exercise. Komova was breathing down Douglas’ neck by achieving a 15.96 on the uneven bars.

Douglas and Raisman were dressed in purplish-pink, sparkling leotards – not far from from the London 2012 color scheme that greater London has been draped in for a week.

It was a brilliant opening for both Douglas and Raisman as they finished 1-2 in the vault. 

Douglas executed a amanar vault and the judges gave her a score of 15.966. Raisman followed up with a similarly sensational amanar vault, earning a 15.9. e Russian threat Victoria Komova stood in third after the first rotation with a 15.466 despite stumbling.

Douglas kept up the brilliance by nailing a 15.733 on the uneven bars while Raisman delivered only a 14.33. Douglas, whose father was a soldier once employed in Afganistan,

Onto the balance beam where Douglas was dynamite again, scoring a 15.5. But Raisman faltered, nearly falling three times, and looking noticeably upset as he walked to her sideline seat. The score was a 14.2 and she fell to fifth after the third rotation, with one leg left.

Going in, there was the promise of Douglas and Raisman going mano-a-mano for the gold and silver. Douglas was said to have an edge on the bars, Raisman’s speciality on the floor, with their vaults considered equal. There’s been suggestions the battle between the Americans could come down to the balance beam.

Douglas, 16, lives and trains in West Des Moines, Iowa. Raisman is from Boston and together – along with Weiber - they led the U.S. to team gold Tuesday while men’s gymnastics team finished a disappointing fifth.

Douglas moved two years ago from Virginia to Des Moines to work with prestigious coach Liang Chow, who was mentor for 2008 star Shawn Johnson.

"In the bus (riding to arena), it was raining and I knew it will be a great day," Douglas said. "My mom always told me if it rains, it is going to be a great day.’’

They don't come much greater.