Crime and Public Safety

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Roanoke City Council got an earful from residents urging the city to adopt a “Second Amendment Sanctuary” resolution at its afternoon meeting – but after everyone spoke Mayor Sherman Lea Sr. said that’s not happening. A number of other localities in the region have considered or approved non-binding Second Amendment Sanctuary resolutions – anticipating that the new Democrat-controlled General Assembly will address gun control measures next month.  Lea says Roanoke City Council is advocating for “common sense”  measures. Lea also noted language in the 2020 legislative agenda Council approved this morning.

12-2 Lea-Gun laws

 

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) — Police in Virginia are warning people to watch their home deliveries or find other ways to receive packages in the mail.

The Daily Progress in Charlottesville reports that police expect thefts of mail packages from homes to increase with Black Friday and beyond.Albemarle police officer Joe George said such thefts are “problem everywhere,” including rural and more urban areas during the holiday season.

Research firm Edelman Intelligence estimates that 23 million Americans have had at least one holiday package stolen since 2014. Most were taken from porches while residents were at work.

People can avoid thefts by having packages delivered to their work. Amazon customers can have packages delivered to Amazon package hubs, which can include places like Whole Foods. Some people buy package lockers for their porches.

(from Virginia State Police) Virginia State Police Senior Trooper A.B. Absher is investigating a two vehicle crash which resulted in a fatality.  The crash occurred Wednesday (Nov 27) at 3:14 p.m. on Route 619, three tenths of a mile west of Pedigo Road in Bedford County. A 2005 Nissan Altima was traveling east on Route 619, when the vehicle crossed over the center line and struck a 2001 Daewoo Leganza, which was traveling west on Route 619; head-on. The Nissan was driven by Kendra C. Shepherd, 19, of Hardy, Va.  Ms. Shepherd was not wearing her seatbelt and was transported to Roanoke Memorial Hospital, where she later died. The 2001 Daewoo was driven by Amoni M. Logan, 18, of Goodview, Va.  Ms. Logan was wearing her seat belt and was transported to the hospital for injuries received in the crash. The crash remains under investigation.

 

Jens Soering (AP photo)

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — U.S. immigration officials have taken into custody a German diplomat’s son who was paroled after serving more than 30 years in prison for slaying his former girlfriend’s parents in Virginia. The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement received Jens Soering from state custody Tuesday. ICE spokeswoman Carissa Cutrell declined to say when he might be sent back to Germany. Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam said previously that Soering as well as former girlfriend Elizabeth Haysom will be deported.

Haysom was serving a 90-year sentence after pleading guilty to being an accessory to murder. She’s originally from Canada.

Haysom and Soering were granted parole Monday. Soering was serving a life sentence.

Soering initially confessed to the 1985 killings but later recanted, saying he was covering for Haysom.

Photo: FCSO

Franklin County Sheriff Bill Overton called it a group effort involving many law enforcement agencies – while announcing the arrest today of Michael Brown – wanted in the arrest of his mother’s boyfriend after he was shot and killed on November 9th. Brown was taken into custody this morning.  Overton said the “intense manhunt” encompassed three states – he was also “thankful” no one was hurt during the search for Brown, an AWOL Marine who was spotted outside his grandmother’s house in the Grandin area about two weeks ago. That led to a 1-day system-wide school lock down as a safety precaution. Here is the full announcement:

11-27 Overton-Brown for Web

(earlier today) The U.S. Marshal’s Office and Franklin County Sheriff’s Office both report murder suspect Michael Brown was taken into custody without incident today in Franklin County. Check back for updates.

From the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office:  On Nov. 27, Michael Alexander Brown was taken into custody in Franklin County, VA without incident. The Franklin County Sheriff’s Office and the U.S. Marshals will hold a joint press conference at 11 a.m. today.

(From US Marshal’s Office) Press Conference relating to arrest of Michael Alexander Brown. from Acting U.S. Marshal Brad Sellers, Western District of Virginia and Franklin County – VA Sheriff Bill Overton will holds a press conference concerning the arrest of Michael Alexander Brown this morning at 11am at the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office in Rocky Mount. More details later.     (A sighting of Brown – an AWOL marine – in Roanoke several weeks ago after he allegedly killed his mother’s boyfriend led to a school lock down in Roanoke)

UPDATED NEWS RELEASE: As previously stated, the Vinton Police Department is conducting a death investigation at a private residence located in the 1000 Block of Hardy Road.  We can report that no foul play is suspected related to this investigation.
PREVIOUS: The Vinton Police Department is currently on scene at 1015 Hardy Road in the Town of Vinton conducting a death investigation.  No suspects are being sought at this time.  The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner has been notified to definitively declare a manner of death. No additional information is available for release at this time.

Rep. Ben Cline

NEWS RELEASE: Congressman Ben Cline (VA-06) released the following statement regarding the Virginia State Parole Board’s decision to parole Jens Soering and Elizabeth Haysom. These two individuals were convicted for their roles in the 1985 double murder of Derek and Nancy Haysom in Bedford County.

“I am shocked and appalled by the Virginia State Parole Board’s decision to grant parole to Jens Soering and Elizabeth Haysom, who are imprisoned for their roles in the gruesome 1985 double murder of Derek and Nancy Haysom in Bedford County,” Cline said.  “The impact of the Haysoms’ murder is still felt by the Bedford community today. This decision, based not on any remorse by the murderers for their crimes, but instead on some supposed cost-benefit to Virginia, is an insult to the families of the victims and to the principles of justice and the rule of law.”

Jens Soering (AP photo)

Convicted killers Jens Soering and Elizabeth Haysom were granted parole today.  Both were convicted for the 1985 slayings of Haysom’s parents in their Bedford County home in a case that received international attention at the time — and to some extent, still does. Soering was the son of a German diplomat; the murders were gruesome by almost any definition, with both victims stabbed multiple times and their throats slashed. Haysom pleaded guilty as an accessory to the killings and testified in Soering’s trial.

Both were convicted before parole was abolished in Virginia, and both have made multiple earlier requests to be released; today was the first time those requests were granted.

Soering will be released to immigration officials for deportation to Germany; Haysom will return to her home country of Canada.

Soering has maintained for decades that he was innocent despite signing a confession early in the investigation. TheVirginia State Parole Board, which looks into such requests, turned that down, but a spokesperson tells the Times-Dispatch that parole and deportation are appropriate given “their youth at the time of the offenses, their institutional adjustment and the length of their incarceration.”

Soering was 18 years old at the time of the murders, and Haysom was 20.

FALLS CHURCH, Va. (AP) — Virginia granted parole on Monday to a German diplomat’s son who was serving a life sentence for the 1985 killings of his girlfriend’s parents.

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam’s office said the state parole board granted Jens Soering parole for the murders of Nancy and Derek Haysom. The board had rejected his 14 previous parole requests.

Soering’s lawyer, Steven Rosenfield, said he had not received notice of the parole board’s decision and declined further comment. In previous parole applications, Rosenfield said his client had been a model prisoner and planned to live in Germany if paroled.

Soering initially confessed to the killings but later recanted, saying he was covering for girlfriend, Elizabeth Haysom. She also was granted parole Monday.

German officials have sought Soering’s release. Multiple governors, including Northam, rejected his bids for pardons or clemency.

Northam’s office says both Soering and Haysom will be deported and unable to return to the U.S.

Northam “respects the Parole Board’s expertise and appreciates their work on this and all other cases,” the governor’s office said in a statement.

Virginia abolished parole in 1995, but those who were convicted before then are still eligible to seek parole.

In his pardon applications, Soering and his lawyers said DNA evidence unavailable at the time of his conviction pointed to his innocence. The DNA analyses showed that some of the Type O blood found at the scene did not belong to Soering. Nor could it have belonged to Elizabeth Haysom, who has Type B blood.

In 2010, as he was leaving office, then-Gov. Tim Kaine submitted a plan to the Justice department that would have allowed Soering to serve the remainder of his sentence in Germany. Under the plan, Soering would have been eligible for release in Germany after two years there.

But Kaine’s successor, Bob McDonnell, revoked the request.

The parole board most recently denied Soering’s parole request in January. At the time, it cited the seriousness of his crime and said “Release at this time would diminish seriousness of crime,” according to board documents.

Photo: Roanoke PD

Photo: Roanoke PD

UPDATE Nov. 24: Roanoke Police said tonight that suspect David Stafford has been arrested without incident

Previously:  Roanoke Police have released the name of the man suspected of robbing the Pinnacle Bank last week in Grandin Village. They say 41-year-old David Stafford of Roanoke has not been located. Police ask anyone with information to contact them.

NEWS RELEASE: The Roanoke Police Department has identified the male suspect involved in this incident. David Stafford, 41 of Roanoke, has been charged with robbery. He has not been located at this time. Anyone with information about his location is asked to call (540)344-8500 and share what you know. You can also text us at 274637; please begin the text with “RoanokePD” to ensure it’s properly sent. Please reference case 19-123194. Both calls and texts can remain anonymous.

PREVIOUS: Through the course of the investigation, Roanoke Police working with the Botetourt County Sheriff’s Office learned that the male suspect involved in the bank robbery had a female accomplice. Roanoke Police identified, located and arrested Jessica Huffmyer, 35 of Roanoke. She is charged with robbery. We are still searching for the male suspect involved in this incident. Anyone with information about the suspect is asked to call (540)344-8500 and share what you know. You can also text us at 274637; please begin the text with “RoanokePD” to ensure it’s properly sent. Please reference case 19-123194. Both calls and texts can remain anonymous.

PREVIOUS: Roanoke Police are looking for an armed man who held up a Grandin Village bank today. Police say he walked into the Pinnacle Bank on Grandin Road, displayed a firearm and demanded money before taking off with the cash. The holdup led to a temporary tightening of security at four nearby Roanoke City schools.

NEWS RELEASE: On November 18, 2019 at around 1:15 pm, Roanoke Police responded to a reported bank robbery in the 1300 block of Grandin Rd SW. Officers did not locate a suspect on scene. Witnesses stated an adult male came into the bank, displayed a firearm and demanded money. He stole an undisclosed amount of currency. No one was injured regarding this incident. At this time, no one has been arrested regarding this incident. This is an ongoing investigation. Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call (540)344-8500 and share what you know. You can also text us at 274637; please begin the text with “RoanokePD” to ensure it’s properly sent. Please reference case number 19-123194. Both calls and texts can remain anonymous.

PREVIOUS: Four Roanoke City schools went into “hold and secure” measures in the immediate aftermath of a bank robbery today in the heart of Grandin Village. The holdup was reported around 1:15 at the Pinnacle Bank near the Roanoke Coop market on Grandin Road. In response, Virginia Heights Elementary, Wasena Elementary, Woodrow Wilson Middle School, and Patrick Henry High School took precautionary procedures to keep anyone from entering or leaving those schools. The”hold and secure” has since been released, and students are now able to head home.

 

Photo: Allegan County, MI Sheriff

ALLEGAN, Mich. (AP) — A Michigan man has been arrested in the 1980 homicide of a young Virginia woman whose husband was deployed as a U.S. Navy pilot at the time of her death.

Authorities say 70-year-old Dennis Bowman was arrested Friday in Allegan County, Michigan, where he lives, 175 miles (281 kilometers) west of Detroit.

Kathleen Doyle was 25 years old when she was killed in her Norfolk, Virginia, home in 1980. Investigators say forensic evidence led to Bowman’s arrest, although no other details were released.

Norfolk police Chief Larry Boone says, “No victim is ever forgotten.”

It’s not known if Bowman has a lawyer who could comment on the case. The next step is extradition to Virginia.

Police say Bowman’s 14-year-old adoptive daughter disappeared in Michigan in 1989. She hasn’t been found.

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