Weird news 4/24/16
Weird news of the week.
A very tall star basketball player at an Ontario, Canada high school has been accused of not being a teen at all — but actually a 30-year-old man.
Towering at 6-foot-10, Jonathon Nicola allegedly attempted to pass himself off as a 17-year-old student. According to SportsNet, Nicola had fled from Sudan to Canada in November 2015, days before his 17th birthday. Accepted under Canada Homestay’s program for students, the 11th grader was living with the Catholic Central Comets’ basketball coach.
Related: Teen Posing As Senator Toured High School, Gave Speech
“There’s really not a whole lot to say,” the school board spokesman told the WindsorStar.“Because of the fact this is a matter that’s still outstanding before the federal authorities, obviously we can’t really comment on it. Beyond that there’s not a whole lot to say.”
The 6-10 center is in custody with another hearing slated for next week, CBS Sports reports.
Christopher Grief is currently locked up in a New York-area detention center on charges of distributing kiddie porn, but his biggest concern right now is getting visitation with his favorite furry friends. Grief is angry because he’s been barred by the warden from having two stuffed animals in his cell, which he says amounts to “discrimination.” Um, HOW, you might be wondering? Well, according to papers filed in court, Grief says the plush toys are part of his “religious practice,” as he has a “strong spiritual connection with the spiritual essence of stuffed animals.”
According to the New York Daily News, officials have doubts about Grief’s intentions with the stuffed animals, as he allegedly told the FBI, following his arrest in 2014, that he likes to have sex with them. Grief is a “plushie,” aka a person with plushophilia, which means he is sexually aroused by having sex with stuffed animals. And the judge was having none of his cuddly concerns.
Related: Colo. Man Hires Stuffed Animal As Attorney
Brooklyn Federal Judge Pamela Chen tossed out Grief’s lawsuit, saying that stuffed animals are considered prison contraband and that because he does not actually belong to a religion — plushie-related or otherwise — “the presence of stuffed animals is not a religious mandate.”
Grief, if convicted, will serve a minimum of five years in jail.
Madhya Pradesh police in India have busted five people in connection with what they are calling a “baby farm.” In this case, women who were pregnant through rape, incest, or illicit relationships and came to the doctor for pregnancy terminations were convinced to carry the babies to term. Reports indicate that the mothers were assured “safe and secret” deliveries. When the mother then delivered the child at the hospital, the mother would be discharged and the traffickers would start searching for a childless couple to buy the baby. But it wasn’t always a sale. According to reports, there was at least one case of a newborn baby girl being swapped for a boy.
Charges have been brought against five people so far, including the director of the Palash Hospital. The five people have been charged under the sections of Indian law that include buying or disposing of any person as a slave and buying minors for the purpose of prostitution. The hospital manager has also been arrested, as he was unable to tell police the whereabouts of two infants that had been found in the hospital.
Police are still investigating, as there are likely more infants who were sold to childless couples in the region via this same manner.
A New Hampshire mom is under fire for allegedly starting a GoFundMe page which featured a picture of her son with Photoshopped bruises on his ribs in order to raise money to cover the legal costs of her custody battle. According to the New York Daily News, Taylier Tibbetts, 20, also apparently showed the photo to police as proof that her ex, Bryant Clark, had abused their three-year-old child. After an investigation, the police arrested Tibbetts and charged her with false reporting.
Tibbetts and Clark have been engaged in a contentious custody battle for three years, during which Tibbetts has claimed Clark was abusive to their son. Clark denies the allegations and police say they’ve never found signs of abuse. The GoFundMe campaign was launched in November 2015 with a goal of $3500, and by the time it was deleted, it had only raised $10. Tibbetts said she took it down after she realized it wasn’t getting donations.
“There are unfortunate instances where people create campaigns with the intention to take advantage of others’ generosity,” a GoFundMe spokesperson said in a statement.“In the rare cases where fraud occurs, GoFundMe takes swift action to resolve the issue. In this case, we assisted with the local law enforcement investigation and quickly shut down the account of the campaign organizer.”
Clark, meanwhile, told FOX25 that his ex’s claims are “sick and twisted.”
“Making a pictures and Photoshopping things and taking other people’s money,” he went on. “It’s not right to be doing it.”
Tibbetts, meanwhile, stayed mum on the allegations that she altered the photo of her son, but told reporters, “I’m not a criminal. I’m not a bad mom. I’m not a drug addict. I’m just a mother trying to do what’s right for her son.”
A mother is facing charges for allegedly filming her young daughter’s sexual assault to post it on a pedophile website.
According to The Sunday Morning Herald, the unnamed woman from Newcastle, Australia is also accused of assaulting the now 7-year-old child. It is unknown how old the victim was when she was recorded.
The investigation began in March when the images were uncovered by U.S.-based Interpol officers who identified accents heard in the video as Australian.
“Police conduct regular operations online to detect, identify and locate people who are involved in the online exploitation and abuse of children and share that information with other agencies so offenders can be arrested and charged,” New South Wales police commented in a statement.
The 29-year-old woman faces charges for using a child to produce child abuse material and three counts of aggravated acts of indecency. The Daily Mail reports that she will appear in court next month.
Who among us hasn’t tried at least once to sneak a free refill of soda at a fast food restaurant like McDonald’s? The thing is, if you’re caught stealing a dining establishment’s tasty carbonated beverages, you have to be willing to accept defeat, because no amount of Diet Coke is worth going to jail for. That’s a lesson an Arkansas teen will learn the hard way, as his soda theft now has him facing a charge of felony robbery. Yeah, seriously.
Cody Morris, 18, and two friends thought they were being clever when they ordered three waters at a Fayetteville McDonald’s yesterday, dumped out the H20 and refilled the cups with their sodas of choice. The restaurant manager spotted them and demanded they return the drinks — though at that point, the manager would have tossed the sodas out and all that delicious sugar water would have been wasted – but only Morris’s friends complied. Morris refused, and the manager stood behind the threesome’s car to stop them from leaving, so Morris struck him with car twice, before taking off. It’s unclear if the manager was injured, but Morris was apprehended by police at a nearby bowling alley (where he was probably found refilling his cup with soda).
When I first saw a headline for this story I was prepared to be steamed that Arkansas police were bothering themselves with such petty crimes as soda theft – but hitting a McDonald’s manager with your car over a stolen cup of soda? There’s nothing pettier than that.
A woman is accused of abandoning her infant daughter in a scorching hot car while she auditioned at a Tennessee strip club.
People reports that Kelsey McMurtry was interviewing for Déjà Vu Showgirls when she allegedly left her daughter in a car that reached 100-degree temperatures. The 24-year-old allegedly rolled up the windows and dressed the baby in a winter outfit, a court affidavit states.
The child is believed to have been in the car for 30 minutes before a passerby noticed her and called police. From there, she was transported to a nearby hospital for treatment.
According to WSB-TV, the mom’s friend, Summer Taylor, told responding officers she was watching the child. However, the 19-year-old admitted that she never left the strip club during McMurtry’s half-hour audition.
Both McMurtry and Taylor were arrested and charged with child neglect. WKRN reports that Taylor is also facing a criminal impersonation charge for lying about her name to avoid an outstanding warrant.
Catherine and Melvin Duren are facing up to 93 days in jail and fines up to $500 — all over two overdue library books.
The Durens were arraigned last week in Lenawee County Court on a single misdemeanor charge of failure to return rental property. According to reports, the couple weren’t even the library patrons who had checked out the books. That, reportedly, was at least partially their teen son’s doing. The young man used Catherine Duren’s card to check out a Dr. Seuss book for the couple’s granddaughter. That book was checked out in 2014, and was said to be missing. An additional novel was reportedly checked out from the library in 2015. That book had been lost for a time, but was returned to the library in January.
The library charged the Durens the usual late fees and the cost of replacing the book, which in total amounted to $55. However, the Durens tell reporters that authorities have refused their payment after they declined to pay an additional $210 for the prosecutor’s office “diversion fee,” which was to cover the investigation of said overdue books. The couple are each on disability, and were surprisingly not offered a court-appointed attorney to handle their case.
Lenawee County Prosecutor Burke Castleberry told reporters that these prosecutions are attempts to recover taxpayer monies. According to the Tecumseh District Library, losses from books that are checked out and never returned have reached over $10,000 a year. The library called in the local prosecutors’ Economic Crimes Unit to handle the matter, and reportedly those losses are beginning to be reversed. The library’s policy is reportedly to mail the borrower a notice when the book is two weeks overdue. The next notice includes a bill for the book. If the borrower doesn’t respond to that billing within two weeks, then they send the matter to either a collection agency or the Economic Crimes Unit.
A Georgia man armed with a foul-smelling fart spray (?!) is accused of unloading it on a poor unsuspecting woman, causing customers to leave the bar in droves.
Blake Leland Zengo denies using the flatulence spray, called “Liquid ASS,” on a woman’s face (ewwww). But, according to WMAZ, the 20-year-old’s alleged actions led to several people fleeing the Athens business in disgust, trying to escape the toxic nastiness.
And … it does sound nasty. Once it’s sprayed, “this power-packed, super-concentrated liquid begins to evaporate filling the air with a genuine, foul butt-crack smell with hints of dead animal and fresh poo,” the description of the product says on the Liquid Ass website.
Despite his flat-out denial, police recovered the item in the young man’s pocket. New York Daily News reports responding officers also claimed Zengo was “very inebriated, and was slurring his words.”
Though the woman opted not to press charges, Zengo was charged with underage consumption of alcohol, disorderly conduct, and public intoxication.
In an op-ed, the New York Times Editorial Board has weighed in on the pot legalization debate and the arguments over mandatory minimum sentences. Their argument in this instance centers on the 2014 drug trafficking conviction and subsequent life sentence of Lee Carroll Brooker in Alabama.
Brooker, a 76-year-old disabled veteran, and his son were busted in 2011 after a police investigation led authorities to a growing operation at property owned by the younger Brooker. Police confiscated 42 marijuana plants with an estimated street value of $92,000. While Brooker’s son was sentenced to five years of probation followed by five years in prison (prison to be suspended if he does well on probation), the elder Brooker had four other felony convictions on his record, including more than one armed robbery conviction. Those convictions apparently triggered an Alabama law requiring life imprisonment for anyone with prior felony convictions who is found to possess over a kilogram of marijuana, whether or not they intend to sell the drugs. The total amount of pot confiscated by authorities exceeded that threshold, triggering the mandatory life imprisonment.
When Brooker was sentenced, the judge reportedly told him that if he could have given him a lesser sentence, he would have. Even the extremely controversial Alabama Supreme Court chief justice Roy Moore declared that he believed the sentence to beexcessive and unjustified.
On Friday, April 15, the United States Supreme Court is expected to consider whether or not to take up the case of Brooker’s challenge to this mandatory minimum sentence. Brooker’s legal argument is based upon it being a violation of the Constitution’s Eigth Amendment against cruel and unusual punishment.
Do you think he have received a lesser sentence for pot possession?