School principal and lunch lady fired after forcing primary girl to eat waffle from the rubbish bin

School principal and lunch lady fired after forcing primary girl to eat waffle from the rubbish bin

Shocking video captured the moment an Ohio elementary school cafeteria worker forced a fourth-grade girl to eat a waffle she had thrown in the trash in a disturbing incident that led to a federal lawsuit and the firing of the lunch lady and the school's principal.

The nine-year-old student, who is black, was ordered to finish her meal after the white lunch monitor, identified as Monika Sommers-Fridenstine, fished the lunch from a trash bin at Palm Elementary in Lorain - as the principal stood by and did nothing, according to the civil rights lawsuit.

The footage of the early December incident was released last week by Lorain City Schools following a public records request.

'We see in this video, she throws her lunch away like thousands of students do across the country do every day,' said Jared Klebanow, the lawyer representing the girl's family.

'For one reason or another, this monitor pulls the waffle from the garbage, holds it out like she doesn’t even want to look at it or see it, wipes it off with a napkin and hands it back to the student and forces her to eat it.'

Klebanow, who filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio on December 8, questioned whether the incident was racially motivated.

'Hundreds of caucasian children have thrown away their lunches at Palm Elementary school and, upon information and belief, have never been required to eat food pulled from the garbage,' the lawsuit states.

The lunch monitor and Principal Deborah Pustulka, who is also white, were fired on December 16 after the school district investigated the incident.

Former school Principal Deborah Pustulka (pictured) was fired after she watched the incident unfold and didn't intervene.

The unidentified girl's mother, LaTosha Williams, said her daughter simply didn't like the waffles.

That wasn't good enough for Sommers-Fridenstine, who 'crossed her arms and looked at [the girl]' until she ate the waffles, her classmates looking on,' according to the lawsuit

Fridenstine told her to 'go sit down' and that she 'would be required to eat the waffles dug out of the garbage,' the lawsuit added.

Klebanow said that Sommers-Fridenstine 'scared' and 'intimidated' the student into eating the waffle while Pustulka was in 'eyeshot.'

Ben Crump, the famed civil rights lawyer who represented the families of George Floyd, Daunte Wright and Ahmaud Arbery, retweeted the surveillance footage.

LaTosha Williams, the mom of fourth-grader, said her daughter simply didn't like the waffles.

Williams said that her daughter fell ill after eating the soiled lunch, and that she lost her job after taking time off to care for the girl.

Williams said that her family is 'torn apart,' and that her daughter has lost interest in school.

'She has changed at home,' she told 19 News. 'She doesn’t act the same. She doesn’t even want to go to school.'

In a December 16 statement announcing the firings of the principal and the paraprofessional, Superintendent Jeff Graham asserted that 'any infringement upon the dignity and respect of our students will not be tolerated.'

'Our students deserve staff members who are able to make good decisions in all situations — and any staff member who is unable to deliver on that promise is unwelcome in our schools,' he said.

Graham has 'been in direct contact with the family since learning of the incident,' and has 'apologized on behalf of the district.'

He then 'met with the family to listen to their concerns to help address their needs moving forward.'

Klebanow doesn't think that goes far enough, seeking an unspecified amount of money and an admission of wrongdoing in the lawsuit.

'Nobody else's child should ever have to go through something like this,' Williams said.
Wyoming's first Black sheriff fired White deputy over alleged racism, lawsuit says

Wyoming's first Black sheriff fired White deputy over alleged racism, lawsuit says

Cheyenne, Wyoming — Wyoming's first Black sheriff last year fired a White deputy who is accused of tormenting a Black subordinate for years with racist name-calling that led him to quit, a new federal lawsuit reveals.

Albany County Patrol Sergeant Christian Handley once drove past and yelled a profanity and the N-word at Corporal Jamin Johnson while Johnson and his wife and children were walking out of their home, according to one example of racism alleged in the discrimination lawsuit filed last week.

"Mr. Handley later apologized for having not realized that Mr. Johnson's family was present, as if his vile racism was otherwise acceptable," the lawsuit says.

Johnson is suing Handley, seeking a jury trial if necessary and damages for the years of racism that he says led up to his decision to quit in 2017.

The allegations put a new spotlight on the sheriff's office in Laramie, the Albany County seat known for the murder of gay University of Wyoming student Matthew Shepard in 1998, a crime that drew unprecedented attention to LGBTQ rights and hate crimes. The racism allegations come after Aaron Appelhans' appointment as Wyoming's first Black sheriff in the wake of an outcry in Laramie over a deputy's 2018 shooting of an unarmed man who had been diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder.

Handley used racial slurs to refer not only to Johnson but to Black citizens he came in contact with on the job, including four University of Wyoming students who were in a vehicle he once pulled over, according to Johnson's lawsuit against Handley, filed Jan. 18 in U.S. District Court in Cheyenne. The suit didn't provide the reason for the stop.

Handley declined to comment when reached by phone and asked about the lawsuit Monday.

The alleged racism against Johnson happened more than three years before Appelhans took office in late 2020, and Appelhans said Monday he wasn't aware of it until shortly after starting the job. He said he's made changes in the past year to ensure that all policies are followed, to move internal investigations out of the sheriff's office to the county human resources office, and to personally sign off on all hires, promotions and dismissals.

"It's just disappointing to learn how long it had been going on prior to my arrival," Appelhans said. "I'll always continue to make sure that our department is not only welcoming to those who want to work in our department but welcoming to those in our community, as well."

Besides using racial epithets, Handley's years of taunts against Johnson included telling him that being intimate with a Black woman would be degrading, according to the lawsuit.

An internal review two months after Appelhans took office found that despite Handley's "widespread and well-known" racism, Handley was emboldened by getting preferential treatment for promotions ahead of the more-experienced Johnson, the lawsuit alleges.

Appelhans fired Handley after the investigation in early 2021, according to the lawsuit.

Appelhans' predecessor from the time of the allegations, former Sheriff Dave O'Malley, also declined to comment Monday. The lawsuit mentions O'Malley but doesn't accuse him of wrongdoing.

Because O'Malley was a Democrat, his 2020 retirement enabled local Democratic officials to nominate Appelhans and two other finalists to complete his elected term, which ends in early 2023.

Handley began subjecting Johnson to "overt and abhorrent racism" when they were both deputies from 2011 to 2014 and Johnson was the department's only Black officer, the lawsuit alleges.

Handley nonetheless climbed the ranks in the sheriff's office, becoming part of the department's "old boys' club" and a "trusted voice" in personnel decisions, the lawsuit claims.

Soon after being promoted to patrol sergeant, Handley wrote a performance review accusing Johnson of engaging in several forms of misconduct over the previous year, which meant that Handley was taking notes on Johnson and "decided to unleash pent-up racism" after becoming his boss, according to the lawsuit.

Handley also wrote "several other sham disciplinary actions" against Johnson, "all designed to force his resignation," alleges the lawsuit.

The lawsuit calls Handley's claims "utterly unsubstantiated," but says he nonetheless persuaded O'Malley to issue an ultimatum to Johnson: Either accept a suspension and demotion to patrol deputy, or leave the sheriff's office. Johnson soon resigned.

Appelhans' appointment as Wyoming's first Black sheriff came two years after Corporal Derek Colling killed an unarmed man after a traffic stop. A grand jury found Colling didn't commit involuntary manslaughter, though he resigned last year. A wrongful death lawsuit against the county in that case is still pending.
After 5 trials, ex-Oklahoma officer gets 25 years for 2014 killing daughter's boyfriend

After 5 trials, ex-Oklahoma officer gets 25 years for 2014 killing daughter's boyfriend

Shannon Kepler
A federal judge has sentenced a former Oklahoma police officer to 25 years in prison for the 2014 killing of his daughter’s boyfriend.

Shannon Kepler was convicted of killing the man in a fourth trial, but the Supreme Court ruled Oklahoma lacks jurisdiction in crimes on tribal reservations.

A former Oklahoma police officer was sentenced Friday to 25 years in prison for the 2014 killing of his daughter’s boyfriend after being convicted of second-degree murder the fifth time he went on trial in the case.

U.S. District Judge Gregory Frizzell sentenced Shannon Kepler, 61, to 300 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release. He also ordered Kepler, a former Tulsa police officer, to pay restitution to cover the cost of a headstone for Jeremey Lake, who was 19 years old when Kepler killed him.

“Kepler, at the time, was sworn to uphold the law but instead made a series of decisions that led to the young man’s murder,” U.S. Attorney Clint Johnson said in a statement. “Today’s 25-year sentence provides a measure of justice to Mr. Lake’s family, though I know their healing continues.”

Kepler’s attorney, Stan Monroe, didn’t immediately respond to a message seeking comment about the sentence. He previously indicated that Kepler plans to appeal his conviction.

Kepler testified at his trial that he fired in self-defense because he thought Lake had pointed a handgun at him. No gun was found at the scene.

There also was a racial undercurrent to the trials. Kepler killed Lake, who was Black, days before a white police officer killed Michael Brown, a Black 18-year-old, in Ferguson, Missouri, sparking protests and fanning the national debate over the treatment of Black people by law enforcement.

The trial was Kepler’s fifth but his only one on federal charges. His first three murder trials in state court ended with hung juries. The fourth trial ended with a manslaughter conviction and a 15-year prison term, but the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals overturned that conviction based on a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that found that Oklahoma lacks jurisdiction for crimes that happen on tribal reservations in which the defendants or victims are tribal citizens.

Kepler is a citizen of the Muscogee Nation and the shooting occurred on land within the tribe’s historic reservation.
‘My Mom Tells Me When I’m Sick’: Mother Accused Of Forcing 8-Year-Old Son To Undergo Unnecessary Medical Procedures

‘My Mom Tells Me When I’m Sick’: Mother Accused Of Forcing 8-Year-Old Son To Undergo Unnecessary Medical Procedures

A Pennsylvania woman has been accused of forcing her 8-year-old son to undergo a litany of “unnecessary” medical procedures and tests including an appendectomy, skin biopsy and colonoscopy.

Christine M. Maxwell, 48, is now facing charges of aggravated assault, simple assault, endangering welfare of children, and theft by deception in connection to an investigation that began in 2019, according to a statement from East Pennsboro Township Police Department.

Police said they received a report in September of 2019 that a caregiver was suspected of child abuse through Munchausen Syndrome by proxy, or a condition now referred to as Caregiver Fabricated Illness.

Authorities later determined that Maxwell had “fabricated symptoms and illnesses” and forced her young son to “undergo many medical procedures and tests that were unnecessary,” police said.

At the time of the investigation, authorities Maxwell’s then 8-year-old son had already been forced to undergo a multitude of procedures and tests including an MRI, X-rays, GI endoscopy, colonoscopy, multiple blood draws and an appendectomy, even though medical professionals had repeatedly told her the child’s development seemed normal, according to a probable cause statement obtained by PennLive.

Christine Marie Maxwell Photo: East Pennsboro Township Police Department

In one instance, authorities said Maxwell insisted her son undergo a skin biopsy after he got bug bites.

“A biopsy is an invasive procedure which is completely unnecessary and put him at risk of pain, scarring, infection and bleeding,” the affidavit said.

In another instance, the boy had to be sedated for a bronchoscopy after she told doctors her son had “barky coughs and fevers,” police said, adding the procedure carries “some risk” of bleeding, respiratory depression or a perforated airway.

Nothing was discovered during either procedure, police said.

“This abusive behavior has impacted [the child’s] development by limiting his activity, leading him to believe that he is ill when he is not, and causing him to miss school days unnecessarily,” police wrote in the affidavit. “[He] suffered from some underlying issues but none of the diagnoses should have required such an extensive amount of consultation from so many different specialists.”

Authorities began an investigation into Maxwell after an employee with a children and youth services agency reported the possible abuse.

When police spoke with Maxwell’s son, he referenced the large role his mother had on his health.

“My mom tells me when I’m sick,” he allegedly told authorities, according to the affidavit.

The boy was removed from her custody when the investigation began and has been healthy with no reports of illness since that time. The boy’s father has now been tasked with making his medical decisions.

Maxwell was arrested in November. An unsecured bond has been set at $20,000, according to a criminal docket in the case.

A preliminary hearing in the case has been scheduled for February, WHP-TV.
Mom sentenced after running over son, 9, while trying to shake him loose of car door handle in school parking lot

Mom sentenced after running over son, 9, while trying to shake him loose of car door handle in school parking lot

A Michigan mother ran over her 9-year-old son’s head with her SUV in his elementary school parking lot. The act was called “simply inexcusable,” but what’s perhaps even worse is the sentence she received.

Tiffany Kosakowski of Belmont, Michigan, was dropping her son Julian off at school when she ran over the 9-year-old boy with her SUV outside Chandler Woods Charter Academy, where he was a third-grade student. The 36-year-old mom was attempting to shake the boy’s grip from the vehicle’s door handle when she ran him over in the school parking lot, breaking multiple bones in his body and fracturing his skull.

Julian had followed his mother from the school and ran up to her SUV after she dropped him off, but Kosakowski told him to go back inside. He didn’t. Instead, he grabbed the door handle. Rather than stop, his mom hit the gas. Kosakowski admitted to investigators that she knew her son had continued to walk alongside her SUV as she drove, WZZM reported. According to a court document, Kosakowski also “admitted to moving the steering wheel from left to right, then accelerating the vehicle” as she tried to shake loose his grasp.

Tiffany Kosakowski ran over her son in front of his elementary school.

As his mother drove off, Julian clung to the door for nearly 50 yards before he lost his grip and fell under a back tire, which ran over his head and body. Julian sustained multiple broken bones and a fractured skull — injuries severe enough, they could have killed him. Although Julian lived — much to the surprise of his doctors — he was in a coma for a week. Afterward, he would require constant care and physical therapy due to the significant injuries he suffered.

Tiffany Kosakowski was charged with second-degree child abuse and reckless driving causing serious injury. “It is simply inexcusable what you did,” Kent County Circuit Court Judge Curt Benson told the mother in a Michigan courtroom. “Your little boy has suffered terribly,” the judge added, explaining that the rear wheel went over Julian’s “full body, full head.”

Judge Curt Benson.

Before sentencing Kosakowski, Judge Benson heard from the boy’s father, John Rodriguez, who said his grief was compounded by his many failed attempts to prevent a tragedy like this from happening. Rodriguez said he hadn’t seen his son in 5 years before seeing him in a coma in the hospital, but he tried “for years” to intervene due to Kosakowski being “so unstable, so irrational, and so reckless.” Rodriguez said he also told detectives that “something is not right” with Kosakowski.

“His head covered in wires [and] tubes and sensors in his mouth and all over his little body,” Rodriguez said, recalling seeing his son in a coma. “Investigators measured 47 yards, someone drove 47 yards swerving left and right to shake him off,” he added. He also quoted a report that said Kosakowski “swerved a little and gave it a little gas,” according to AJC. After describing how Julian was found on the pavement, in a pool of blood, Rodriguez added that, due to the traumatic brain injury, his son will never be the same.

“Doctor’s words: ‘Your son is forever changed.’ He must grow into his disability,” Rodriguez told the court, hoping Kosakowski would receive a stiff sentence. But, others felt differently. In fact, the judge received about 30 letters from family and friends, and most of them — with the exception of letters from Julian’s dad and an aunt and uncle — expressed support for Kosakowski. Benson acknowledged the letters, adding a caveat:

“Of the 30 people who wrote the letters, I’ll be quite blunt with you: I am not sure all of them would be as supportive, if they, like I, watched the security footage of this incident which is simply inexcusable,” Benson said. “It was really hard to watch, and I am not sure you would enjoy as much support as you evidently do, had that been widely distributed.”

Kosakowski’s attorney, Anna Rapa, argued that the mother is the “only stability” her children have, describing her client as a “loving parent” whose biggest concern is her son’s recovery. To some degree, Judge Benson must have agreed because, after Kosakowski pleaded guilty to reckless driving, she only received 30 days in jail — which she was permitted to serve on weekends so she could take her son to his doctor appointments.

Attorney Anna Rapa with Tiffany Kosakowski.

Benson actually sentenced Kosakowski to 6 months, but all but the 30 days were suspended. She was also given 5-years probation. The charge of second-degree child abuse was dismissed in a plea agreement. According to both AJC and MLive, Kosakowski retained custody and was still caring for her son — who has a twin sister — and taking him to get treatment at the time of her sentencing. Perhaps that is a reason for Benson’s seemingly lenient sentence.

Judge Benson seemed to allude to another punishment Tiffany Kosakowski would be subjected to for the rest of her life. The judge said he didn’t want to compound the boy’s tragedy by taking his mother away for a significant amount of time but added that Julian would know his mother had caused him harm.

Expressing her remorse, Tiffany Kosakowski acknowledged that she would have to live with the guilt of causing her son’s disabling injuries. “I’ll have to live with this for the rest of my life,” she told the court. “All I care about is being there for my son as he recovers and supporting him every day as I have been doing.”

While some think there isn’t a better punishment for Tiffany Kosakowski than having to see the results of her actions every day for the rest of her life, we have to wonder how traumatic that could be for Julian. Can you imagine having to look into the eyes of the mother who is supposed to love you but nearly killed you — having to live the rest of your life at her mercy as you suffer the consequences of her actions and fear the next dangerous decision she might make?
Camia Gamet terrorized her disabled boyfriend, Marcel Hill, and violently stabbed him to death

Camia Gamet terrorized her disabled boyfriend, Marcel Hill, and violently stabbed him to death

In 2013, Camia Gamet, age 31, and Marcel Hill, age 38, were living together in Jackson, Michigan. They were an odd couple because they had very different and opposite personalities.

Marcel was described as friendly and child-like. He worked at a fast-food joint and only had a high school education. He suffered from some disabilities including mental illness, cognitive impairment, and physical disability.

On the other hand, Camia did not suffer from disabilities but she was known to be on drugs and had a violent and abusive nature. She had a difficult childhood and had lived in 13 different foster homes. She had also been arrested for domestic violence for assaulting a previous boyfriend. So it was interesting that she ended up with Marcel who had a much nicer temperament than Camia.

Due to their very different personalities, Camia and Marcel’s relationship was fraught with difficulties. Camia would often target Marcel.

In one incident, she stabbed him with a knife and then stitched up his wound by herself. Marcel never reported the incident to authorities. In another incident, Camia assaulted Marcel and punctured his lung. Again Marcel never reported her to the authorities. Yet again, in a third incident, Camia hit Marcel in the head with a hammer. The authorities charged her with assault and domestic violence but the case was dismissed when Marcel refused to press charges against her. This would end up in grave consequences for Marcel.

On May 18, 2013, Camia murdered Marcel in a fit of rage. A neighbor called 911 after hearing sounds of fighting at Camia and Marcel’s home. When police officers arrived, they found the home in complete disarray.

The furniture was smashed, there was a broken floor lamp, a bloody knife, and a frying pan covered in blood. The officers also found Camia covered in Marcel’s blood and slurring her speech. Meanwhile, Marcel had been bludgeoned and stabbed to death. He had been stabbed 11 times and his torso was cut open with a knife. Camia had no injuries.

Camia was immediately arrested at the scene and charged with open murder shortly after. Open murder meant that the judge or jury would have to determine the degree of her murder charge.

Camia claimed that she killed Marcel in self-defense because she thought he was an intruder or an assailant. Her explanation was that she was asleep but woke up when she heard the sound of shattering glass. It was pitch-black in the house and she couldn’t see so she grabbed a floor lamp and started swinging it at the “intruder.” In the dark, she was able to get hold of a knife and use it on the “intruder” until he fell down. She only found out that she had killed Marcel after she turned on the lights. She then called 911.

The prosecutor was able to pick apart Camia’s story of self-defense. First of all, Camia would have been able to identify Marcel because he would have called out her name and cried for help when he was being stabbed 11 times. Instead, Camia’s stated that she did not recognize his voice. Second, Marcel had 11 stab wounds but Camia claimed that she only hit him three times. A bloody frying pan was also used in the attack but Camia did not mention it.

Camia went on to blame Marcel saying that he had a drug problem and would become hostile when drunk. Prosecutors did not buy her statements as Camia was the one who had been arrested for domestic violence multiple times before the murder.

In court, Camia’s behaved like she had no remorse over the killing of Marcel. As Marcel’s family read out a letter to Camia in court, she rolled her eyes and started laughing.

Eventually, the jury convicted Camia of first-degree murder and she was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. The judge in Camia’s trial even remarked that it was one of the worst cold-blooded murders that he had seen.

“You gutted him in that apartment like a fish, you were relentless, you stabbed, you stabbed, you stabbed until he was dead.”— Judge John McBain

Marcel’s aunt, Diana Banks-Joiner said it best in court,

Marcel loved you with all he had to give and you knew as well as we do there was no love from you. The gift you had for him was the gift of death.

Sources: Disability Memorial, Murderpedia, Jim Fisher True Crime, NY Daily News
Woman Who Dragged Cop With SUV Appeals ‘Too Harsh’ Sentence, Gets Rude Awakening

Woman Who Dragged Cop With SUV Appeals ‘Too Harsh’ Sentence, Gets Rude Awakening

A woman who dragged a state trooper onto a highway with her SUV appealed her sentence, arguing that it was unnecessarily harsh. What the court decided was even worse than she could have imagined.

Brittany Burnett was sentenced to 5 years in prison along with 364 days in a county jail for causing serious injury to a police officer when she dragged him onto a highway ramp with her vehicle. However, despite appealing her conviction, the 27-year-old New York woman just might regret trying to get her sentence overturned after hearing the court’s latest decision.

After pulling her over for blocking a bus lane and refusing to move, New Jersey State Trooper Michael Delgaizo was walking toward Burnett’s parked SUV when he suddenly heard her shift into drive, reports. The officer slapped the hood of the car and yelled at the driver to “put the car in park.” Instead, Burnett moved forward, hitting the trooper’s knee.

Delgaizo quickly reached into the driver’s window to unlock the door but immediately became wedged in the door as Burnett took off. The driver dragged the trooper onto a Bergen County Route 120 ramp until he finally became dislodged and tumbled “end over end multiple times.” Ultimately, he suffered injuries to his knee and back, forcing him to miss a month of work.

After dragging a New Jersey State trooper with her SUV, Brittany Burnett, 27, appealed to have her conviction overturned.

Burnett fled and changed clothing in an attempt to evade arrest but was caught soon after. She was charged with eluding police, aggravated assault on an officer, and resisting arrest. She was later sentenced to 5 years in prison along with 364 days for assault and 4 months for resisting arrest, each to be served concurrently.

Almost immediately, Burnett began the appeals process to not only reduce her sentence but completely overturn her conviction. She argued that the 5-year sentence was too harsh for her crimes However, instead of considering lessening her jail time, the court went in the opposite direction.

The driver was initially sentenced to 5 years in prison for dragging the police officer onto a highway ramp with her SUV.

According to, the appeals court decided that not only did Burnett receive a fair trial but that her sentence was far too lenient. The panel of judges ruled that Burnett should be given an additional 3 to 5 years behind bars for the assault, which could double her prison time if served consecutively. The appeals court submitted the ruling to the state court for new sentencing.

A lesser sentence under state law “did not meet the high standard required for a downgrade,” the appellate court ruled, noting that Burnett had been violent and had time to cool off after each offense but did not.

Burnett’s attorneys failed to convince the court to offer leniency because she identifies as an “openly woman” who will surely suffer “discrimination because of her sexual orientation” in prison. When this argument didn’t work, the legal team accused the court of erring in multiple ways during her initial trial.

The attorneys claimed that Burnett’s expired license was unfairly submitted as evidence and that the judge improperly reprimanded a witness. They even claimed that the trooper’s injuries weren’t medically diagnosed. Of course, the allegations failed to move the appeals court.

Oftentimes, serious offenders abuse the appeals process to delay justice, have their sentences reduced, or even overturn their convictions entirely. Sadly, their victims continue to suffer injustice and the taxpayers are left to foot the bill.

Burnett received a more-than-fair sentence but just had to try to get away with even more. Now, she faces a lengthier stay in prison for her attempt to pervert justice.
North Dakota man convicted in grisly deaths sentenced to life in prison

North Dakota man convicted in grisly deaths sentenced to life in prison

A jury found Chad Isaak guilty in the April 2019 stabbing and shooting deaths of four people at a property management firm in the city of Mandan.

A man convicted of stabbing and shooting four people at a North Dakota property management firm was sentenced Tuesday to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

A jury in August found Chad Isaak guilty in the grisly deaths of RJR Maintenance and Management co-owner Robert Fakler, 52; and employees Adam Fuehrer, 42; Bill Cobb, 50; and his wife, Lois Cobb, 45.

The four were shot and stabbed April 1, 2019, in the RJR building in Mandan, a city of about 20,000 people across the Missouri River from Bismarck. Investigators said the victims suffered more than 100 stab wounds.

Isaak was also found guilty of burglary, unlawful entry into a vehicle, and a misdemeanor count of unauthorized use of a vehicle.

Prosecutors recommended four consecutive life sentences without parole for each murder, along with nearly 16 years in prison for the other charges. An attorney for Isaak asked for life with the possibility of parole.

South Central District Judge David E. Reich accepted the state's recommendation, saying "the evidence is clear in this case that Mr. Isaak took the lives of four innocent people with a senseless act of extreme brutal violence."

Prior to the sentencing, family members of the victims read impact statements.

Fakler's daughter cried as she recalled her father. "My dad was a loving person who wanted to teach life lessons and help people grow as individuals," she said, telling Isaak that he is a danger to the public.

"I don't want another family to experience what we have," she continued. "The brutality and extremity of the actions you carried out are enough for you to be locked away. You have taken entire lifetimes away, and I hope you have nightmares."

The daughter of Bill Cobb, stepdaughter of Lois Cobb, said her life has never been the same since their murders.

The stepmother of Fuehrer told Isaak that he was a "monster" for what he did. "That hurts a lot," she said. "What you did to Adam was brutal, horrible."

Isaak also briefly addressed the court, saying: "I can honestly tell you I am not a murderer and that’s all I have to say."

Isaak, a chiropractor and Navy veteran, lived at a Washburn property managed by RJR, but a motive for the slayings was never established. Washburn is located about 40 miles north of Mandan.

Chad Isaak, appears in court in Mandan, N.D., on April 5, 2019.

It was one of the most heinous crimes in North Dakota history, defense attorney Bruce Quick acknowledged in his opening statement. But he maintained during the nearly three-week trial that investigators didn’t seriously consider other possible suspects, including people who have either been evicted or sued by RJR, as well as a long list of disgruntled RJR employees who were fired.

The defense also maintained police failed to check out the ex-husband of a woman who allegedly had an affair with Fakler.

Prosecutors showed security camera footage from numerous businesses that authorities said tracked Isaak’s white pickup from Mandan to Washburn on the day of the slayings, along with footage from a week earlier that they said indicated the killer planned out the attack.

Forensic experts testified that fibers on the clothing of the slain workers matched fibers taken from Isaak’s clothing, and that DNA evidence found in Isaak’s pickup truck was linked to Fakler and possibly Lois Cobb.
Vegas woman sentenced for drug trafficking conviction

Vegas woman sentenced for drug trafficking conviction

A woman charged with trafficking heroin and methamphetamine was sentenced to probation earlier this month.

Jocelyn A. Lovato, 30, of Las Vegas, was charged with six felony charges in April 2019 after she sold narcotics to an undercover officer with the Region IV Drug Task Force.

Lovato accepted a plea agreement in February 2021, pleading guilty to two counts of trafficking a controlled substance, and one count of conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance; however, sentencing was delayed due to court-ordered evaluations, a change in judges and delays related to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

A final sentencing hearing took place Dec. 1 in District Court where Lovato faced a maximum of 6 years of imprisonment. Prosecutors from the Fourth Judicial District Attorney’s office asked Judge Michael Aragon to sentence Lovato to prison, citing the danger posed to San Miguel County by illegal drug trafficking.

“The state further argued that too many citizens of our community are dying from overdose,” read a statement from District Attorney Tom Clayton. “Statistics show that a person dies of drug overdose every 14 hours. In San Miguel County, the rate of death due to drug overdose is double the national average.”

Ultimately, the court sentenced Lovato to five years of probation and ordered her to undergo substance abuse treatment.

“I recognize the need for treatment in our community, and that is an option that we must consider,” Clayton said. “However, to those who sell this poison to our citizens — to our brothers, sisters, sons, daughters, friends, etc. — this must stop.”

LVPD Chief of Police Antonio Salazar said in a statement that his department has recently devoted more resources to drug enforcement and has been working with other law enforcement agencies in the area to curb the sales of drugs in the community.

San Miguel County Sheriff Chris Lopez said in a statement that law enforcement has been adjusting to “deal with the drug epidemic,” and stressed the need for enforcement, prevention and treatment options.

“In this case and other similar cases, my deputies place themselves in harm’s way to expose those who are poisoning our community,” Lopez said. “It is our hope lawmakers will take a good look at revisiting much-needed changes to our laws and processes so we can properly address the spread of addiction and the resulting criminal activity.”

Lovato was initially charged with three counts of trafficking a controlled substance, two counts of distribution of a controlled substance within a drug-free school zone and one count of possession with intent to distribute.

The charges followed a task force operation where an agent with the Region IV Drug Task Force purchased meth from Lovato in March 2019 using money from the task force’s contingency fund.

Three other similar purchases were arranged in April 2019 where agents purchased cannabis, heroin, Suboxone and more meth.

Lovato was released Dec. 2 and is subject to conditions of release, including maintaining regular employment and submitting to regular drug and alcohol screenings. The remaining felony charges will be dismissed if she abides by the terms of the plea agreement and completes the five years of probation.

Lovato could still face prison time if she were to violate the terms of the plea agreement or her conditions of release, but would receive a pre-sentence confinement credit of 505 days for time served.
Father and lover sentenced to death for murdering his own children in SW China

Father and lover sentenced to death for murdering his own children in SW China

The father and his lover from Southwest China's Chongqing Municipality, who allegedly killed his two babies by throwing them off the 15th floor on November 2, 2020, and sparked fury among the Chinese public, have been sentenced to death for intentional homicide, the local intermediate people's court announced on Tuesday.

"The court concluded that the defendants Zhang Bo and Ye Chengduan conspired to claim the lives of Zhang's two children by plotting an accidental fall, which resulted in their deaths. Their behaviors have both constituted intentional homicide," read the announcement.

In the joint crime, Zhang, the father, actively participated in the conspiracy and committed the murder of his two-year-old daughter and one-year-old son.

Ye, the father's girlfriend, pursued the death of the victims, by repeatedly urging Zhang to commit the murder on the grounds that she and her family could not accept the fact that Zhang had children.

"The deeds of the two defendants have broken the bottom line of the law and morality, the motive of the crime was particularly despicable, and the means of crime was extremely cruel. The case has posed extremely bad impact to the society and should be severely punished in accordance with the law," the court said.

On November 2, 2020, the video showing a pair of young siblings falling from the 15th floor to their death in a residential area of Nan'an district, Chongqing, startled netizens.

The children's father rushed downstairs and cried in pain when he saw the children's remains.

As the public felt sorry for the accidental demise of the children, however, police investigation suggested that it wasn't an accident, but the babies were thrown from the 15th floor, and the suspect was this "heartbroken" father.

Police investigation identified that Zhang and the child's mother, surnamed Chen, married in 2017 and subsequently gave birth to a daughter and a son in 2018 and 2019.

Zhang filed for divorce in April 2019 and started a relationship with Ye, who later repeatedly told him that if he cannot get rid of the kids, she cannot be with him.

To pursue marriage with Ye, Zhang eventually committed the murder. "At that time Zhang was on a video phone call with Ye, when she slit her wrist, and then Zhang got scared. The phone was dropped, he picked up the two children, and threw them down from the balcony," said the children's mother.