Posts Tagged ‘armed robbery’

Disgraced US football star O.J. Simpson to be released from prison

September 29, 2017

AFP

© POOL/AFP/File | O.J. Simpson, seen here at his parole hearing in July, is to be released from prison in the next few days

LOS ANGELES (AFP) – Disgraced American football star O.J. Simpson, whose racially charged 1995 murder trial riveted the nation, is expected to be released from prison as early as Monday after nine years behind bars for armed robbery.

Simpson, 70, plans to relocate to Florida following his release from the Lovelock Correctional Center, the medium-security prison in Nevada where he has been serving his sentence, said his lawyer, Malcolm LaVergne.

“He is getting very, very excited,” LaVergne told KTNV-TV in Las Vegas. “He’s feeling very upbeat.”

Simpson was granted parole at a hearing in July and his earliest release date was set for October 1. Since that falls on a Sunday, Simpson is expected to be freed no earlier than Monday, according to his lawyer and media reports.

Simpson was found not guilty in 1995 of the grisly murders of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and a male companion, Ron Goldman, in a case that transfixed the country and became known as the “Trial of the Century.”

But the former National Football League running back and actor was sent to prison in 2008 for his role in an armed robbery the previous year of two sports memorabilia dealers at a Las Vegas resort.

Simpson claimed at his trial that he was just seeking to recover personal items from the dealers and he repeated that explanation at his parole board hearing in July, where the four-member panel voted unanimously for his release.

At that hearing Simpson initially did not express any remorse for his actions but eventually offered that he was “sorry that things turned out the way they did.”

“I had no intent to commit a crime,” he said. “If I would have made a better judgment back then, none of this would have never happened.”

LaVergne, Simpson’s attorney, told KTNV-TV that the former NFL star planned to relocate to Florida, play golf and be around his friends and family.

LaVergne said he did not anticipate that Simpson would pose any problems.

“He’s had perfect performance as a prisoner,” LaVergne said. “I anticipate he’s going to have perfect performance as a parolee.”

At the hearing, Simpson said he was “at a point in my life where all I want to do is spend time, as much time as I can, with my children and my friends.”

“Believe it or not I do have some real friends,” he said.

– From the NFL to Hollywood –

Simpson was convicted in October 2008 of armed robbery, assault, kidnapping and other offenses after he and five associates — two of whom were armed — ambushed the two sports memorabilia dealers in a casino hotel room.

He was sentenced to a minimum of nine years in prison and a maximum of 33 years.

Orenthal James “O.J.” Simpson shot to fame in the 1970s with the NFL’s Buffalo Bills after winning the prestigious Heisman Trophy — the award for the best player in American collegiate football — as a running back at the University of Southern California.

He retired from football in 1979 after setting numerous rushing records and went on to become an advertising pitchman and actor (“The Towering Inferno,” “The Naked Gun”).

In June 1994, Simpson’s 35-year-old ex-wife, Brown Simpson, and Goldman were found stabbed to death outside her Los Angeles home.

Simpson was arrested after a low-speed car chase through Los Angeles that was broadcast live by television stations and watched by millions.

He was acquitted in October 1995 after a nine-month trial, a verdict that was greeted with disbelief by many Americans.

Public views on the African-American athlete’s guilt or innocence divided sharply along racial lines.

Simpson was subsequently found liable for the deaths in a 1997 civil suit and was ordered to pay damages totaling $33.5 million to the families of the victims.

Simpson has been out of the limelight while behind bars, but fascination with his story lives on.

“O.J.: Made in America,” a nearly eight-hour documentary about his murder trial, won the best documentary Oscar in February.

And a television mini-series, “The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story” starring Cuba Gooding Jr, won nine Emmy awards.

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Orly airport attacker ‘had been drinking, taking drugs’, autopsy reveals — “He never prayed, and he drank.”

March 20, 2017

AFP

© THOMAS SAMSON / AFP | Police officers investigate at the house of the suspect of an attack at the Paris Orly’s airport, on March 18, 2017, in Garges-les-Gonesse.

Text by NEWS WIRES

Latest update : 2017-03-20

The man shot dead at Paris’s Orly airport after attacking a soldier was under the influence of drugs and alcohol at the time, a judicial source said Sunday.

Investigators are still trying to understand what motivated Saturday’s assault by 39-year-old Ziyed Ben Belgacem, which led to a major security scare and the temporary closure of the capital’s second-busiest airport.

“Toxicology tests carried out on Sunday showed an alcohol level of 0.93 grams per litre in his blood, and the presence of cannabis and cocaine,” the source said.

Ben Belgacem’s father had insisted earlier Sunday that his son was “not a terrorist” and that his actions were caused by drink and drugs.

Ben Belgacem, who was born in France to Tunisian parents, grabbed a soldier on patrol at Orly’s southern terminal on Saturday morning. He put a gun to her head and seized her rifle, saying he wanted to “die for Allah”.

The attacker, who had also fired at police in a northern Paris suburb earlier that morning, was shot dead by two other soldiers after a scuffle.

Ben Belgacem’s father insisted his son — who had spent time in prison for armed robbery and drug-dealing — was not a extremist.

“My son was not a terrorist. He never prayed, and he drank,” the father, who was in shock and whose first name was not given, told Europe 1 radio.

Investigators were examining his telephone.

The attack at Orly comes with France still on high alert following a wave of jihadist attacks that have claimed more than 230 lives in two years.

The violence has made security a key issue in France’s two-round presidential election on April 23 and May 7.

Not on terror watchlist

Ben Belgacem’s brother and cousin were released Sunday after they, like the attacker’s father, were held for questioning. All three had approached police themselves on Saturday after the attack.

After spending Friday night in a bar with his cousin, Ben Belgacem was pulled over by police for speeding in the gritty northern Paris suburb of Garges-les-Gonesse, where he lived, just before 7:00 am.

He drew a gun and fired, slightly injuring one officer. Shortly after, he contacted his relatives to tell them he had “done something stupid”, they told police.

Ben Belgacem later appeared at the bar where he had been the previous night, firing more shots and stealing another car before continuing on to the airport.

He had been investigated in 2015 over suspicions he had radicalised while serving jail time, but his name did not feature on the list of those thought to pose a high risk.

Paris prosecutor Francois Molins said Ben Belgacem appeared to have become caught up in a “sort of headlong flight that became more and more destructive”.

Dozens of flights to and from Orly were cancelled during an hours-long shutdown after the incident, but by Sunday afternoon air traffic had returned to normal, a spokeswoman for the Paris airports authority said.

The shooting took place on the second day of a visit to Paris by Britain’s Prince William and his wife Kate, which was unaffected.

‘I’ve screwed up’

Ben Belgacem’s father told Europe 1 his son had called him after the first police shooting “in a state of extreme agitation”.

“He said to me: ‘Daddy, please forgive me. I’ve screwed up with a police officer’.”

At the time of his death, Ben Belgacem was carrying a petrol can in his backpack, as well as 750 euros ($805) in cash, a copy of the Koran, a packet of cigarettes and a lighter.

A small amount of cocaine and a machete were found during a search of his home on Saturday.

Soldiers guarding key sites have been targeted in four attacks in the past two years but escaped with only minor injuries.

In mid-February, a machete-wielding Egyptian man attacked a soldier outside Paris’s Louvre museum, injuring him slightly, before being shot and wounded.

President Francois Hollande said Saturday his government was “determined to fight relentlessly against terrorism”.

(AFP)

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Saudi executes Ethiopian woman for axe murder

January 10, 2016

AFP

RIYADH (AFP) – 

Saudi execution. Reuters photo

Saudi authorities on Sunday executed an Ethiopian woman convicted of murdering a Saudi female with an axe, the 50th death sentence carried out in the kingdom this year, the interior ministry said.

Jinat Farid was found guilty of killing Ghalia Eida al-Harithi by striking her repeatedly with an axe as the victim knelt to perform Muslim prayers, the ministry said in a statement carried by state news agency SPA.

After killing Harithi, the Farid stole two gold rings and an unspecified amount of money, the ministry said.

She was executed in the western city of Taif.

The ministry did not specify any connection between the culprit and the victim, but the kingdom hosts large numbers of domestic workers that come from African and South Asian countries.

On January 2, the kingdom executed 47 men convicted of “terrorism”, including Al-Qaeda-linked militants and Shiite cleric Nimr al-Nimr, whose death has prompted a diplomatic row with Iran.

In 2015, Saudi Arabia executed 153 people convicted of various crimes, including drug trafficking, up from 87 in 2014, according to AFP tallies.

Amnesty International says the number of executions in Saudi Arabia last year was the highest for two decades.

However, the number is way behind that of Iran and China.

Under the kingdom’s strict Islamic legal code, murder, drug trafficking, armed robbery, rape and apostasy are all punishable by death.

Most executions in the kingdom are carried out by beheading with a sword.

Saudi ‘gang’ leader 44th beheaded this year

March 12, 2015

Amnesty International and other activist groups have long criticised Saudi punishments for crimes, including beheading and flogging. AFP photo

RIYADH (AFP) – The beheading of a gang leader in Saudi Arabia on Thursday raised the number of executions carried out this year to 44, already more than half the total for 2014.

Amnesty International says Saudi Arabia is “well on track” to far exceed previous annual execution records.

Mansour bin Habeeb bin Mahdi Khalfan, a Saudi, was put to death Thursday in the kingdom’s eastern region after having been convicted of “leading a gang” dealing in hashish, money laundering and forged documents, the interior ministry said.

According to an AFP tally, Khalfan was the 44th local or foreigner executed this year in Saudi Arabia, which Amnesty says has regularly been among the world’s top five executioners.

London-based Amnesty says around half of this year’s executions have been for drug-related offences.

The interior ministry cites deterrence as a reason for the punishment, while warning of “the physical and social harm” caused by drugs.

Rape, murder, apostasy, armed robbery and drug trafficking are all punishable by death under Saudi Arabia’s version of sharia Islamic law.

The Gulf state has carried out around 80 executions annually since 2011, with 87 last year by AFP’s tally.

Saudi Arabia Beheads Syrian Convicted of Smuggling Drugs

June 17, 2013

AFP – Saudi authorities beheaded a Syrian on Monday after he was convicted of smuggling drugs into the kingdom, the interior ministry said.

Ali Derbalah was arrested as he was “smuggling a large amount of banned pills into the kingdom,” the ministry said in a statement carried by the official SPA news agency. It did not specify the type of pills he was accused of smuggling.

His beheading in the northern province of Jawf brings to 52 the number of people executed in Saudi Arabia this year.

In 2012, the Gulf country put 76 people to death, according to an AFP tally based on official figures. Human Rights Watch has put the number at 69.

Rape, murder, apostasy, armed robbery and drug trafficking are all punishable by death under Saudi Arabia’s strict version of sharia, or Islamic law.