Issue XCVI

21 OCT 2016

Local

06/26/2015

Local Defense Psychiatrist Interviewed Holmes 4 Days After Shooting, Declared Him Insane

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CENTENNIAL, Colo. (CBS4) – The defense in the Aurora theater shooting trial began with video of James Holmes standing on his jail cell bed, and falling off backwards.

Psychiatrist Dr. Jonathan Woodcock was hired by the defense to assess Holmes’ sanity immediately after the shooting. He interviewed Holmes four days after the tragedy and declared him insane.

“It was my impression that he was mentally ill, that he was severely mentally ill,” Dr. Woodcock testified.

While every doctor that reviewed the case agreed that was the best time to know if he was actually insane, Woodcock’s conclusion is differs.

Two other psychiatrists declared Holmes sane based on the amount of preparation that went into planning the shooting.

Prosecutors objected for nearly an hour before Dr. Woodcock could be admitted as an expert to the trial.

They continued to question his methods in cross examination, where woodcock apparently broke his own protocol and allowed a defense investigator so sit in on Holmes’ exam.

One prosecutor asked Dr. Woodcock, “You said ‘I deviated from it because I thought it would help the team’… I presume you mean the defense team, ‘to have another person there to watch me do this’?” to which Woodcock responded, “This was a very limited scope evaluation.”

Prosecutors repeatedly questioned Dr. Woodcock’s methods, and noted discrepancies in his notes. At times he seemed flustered with the district attorney’s questioning.


The Latest: Doctor says memory of Holmes interview vague

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CENTENNIAL, Colo. (AP) — The latest on the Colorado theater shooting trial (all times local):

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5:45 p.m.

Prosecutors asked a psychiatrist a series of questions that raised doubts about the doctor's findings that Colorado theater shooter James Holmes was psychotic and suffering serious delusions at the time of the attack.

District Attorney George Brauchler cross-examined defense witness Dr. Jonathan Woodcock on Thursday and questioned his memories of his interview with Holmes that occurred four days after the July 2012 shootings.

In response to Brauchler, Woodcock acknowledged his independent recollection of interview was vague and that he didn't press Holmes on some key points.

Woodcock previously testified that Holmes was suffering from severe mental illness that made him "tremendously emotionally flat."

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3:15 p.m.

A psychiatrist who determined that Colorado theater shooter James Holmes was insane at the time of the 2012 shootings says that people suffering from delusions can't always control behavior — even if they know the behavior is wrong.

Dr. Jonathan Woodcock interviewed Holmes four days after the attack and concluded that he wasn't sane. Two other court-appointed psychiatrists later concluded that Holmes was sane at the time of the attack.

Woodcock testified Thursday that Holmes had a strong family history of mental illness and was in the grip of a psychotic compulsion he could not control.

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12:10 p.m.

A psychiatrist who interviewed James Holmes four days after the 2012 Colorado theater attack says Holmes was psychotic and suffering serious delusions.

Jonathan Woodcock said Holmes' emotions also were extremely flat. About midway through the two-hour jail interview, Woodcock said Holmes said he was bored. That kind of reaction in the wake of the mass shooting helped Woodcock conclude that Holmes was suffering from significant mental illness.

Two court-appointed psychiatrists concluded that Holmes was sane at the time of the attack. They interviewed Holmes much later — in December 2013 and July 2014.

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11:05 a.m.

One of the defense's most important witnesses — a psychiatrist who interviewed James Holmes — has been admitted as an expert witness over the objection of prosecutors.

Jonathan Woodcock is an assistant professor of neurology and psychiatry at the University of Colorado's medical campus, the school where James Holmes was studying before the July 2012 attack. He...



06/01/2015

Omaha zoo worker critically hurt by dragon bite Sunday

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An Omaha zoo worker is hospitalized in critical condition after being bitten by a large dragon on Sunday.

After she was bitten by a deadly Komodo Dragon Sunday, an Omaha zookeeper was released from a hospital and is expected to make a full recovery.

“It is not really in their nature at all, for some reason this morning they were extra excited about something and decided to take it out on their keeper”, said Stephanie Huetner, the Assistant General Curator at the Henry Doorly Zoo.

The employee was doing routine care of the young dragon and its companion at the time she was bitten. Ultimately, the injury required a couple of stitches and the employee was sent home, Huettner said.

The animal involved was a Komodo dragon. As a comparison, adult Komodo dragons can weigh more than 300 pounds and reach 10 feet in length. The zoo said the animal is about 1.2 metres long and weighs about 4.5kg.

While Komodo dragons are predators, Huettner described them as typically docile and not interested in humans. The muscles of the Komodo’s jaws and its serrated teeth allow it to bite down quickly, although it is now strong enough to hold down its prey like a crocodile. Scientists had found around 50 different bacterial strains in the saliva, some of which are highly septic.

‘Komodo dragons do have a modified protein that acts like a weak venom but has minimal effects. This is why the zoo worker’s dragon bite wouldn’t stop bleeding.

The zoo also has one other juvenile Komodo dragon and one adult. Armstrong was taken to the hospital, but the bite caused no permanent damage.

Henry Doorly received the dragon, named Albi, from the San Antonio Zoo where he was born in 1997.


Zoo worker bitten by Komodo dragon - but medics say she will make a full recovery

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  • An Omaha zoo worker was bitten by a Komodo dragon on Sunday and treated at a local hospital
  • The female worker was taken from the Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium to a hospital after the 12:30 p.m. incident
  • Later in the afternoon, the zoo said in a statement the worker had been released and should recover fully
  • Assistant general curator Stephanie Huettner said the worker needed a couple stiches to close up the wound on her hand
  • The zoo said on Facebook the Komodo 'is two-and-a-half years old, three-and-a-half feet long and weighs 10 pounds'

 

An Omaha zoo worker was bitten by a Komodo dragon on Sunday and treated at a local hospital.

The female worker was taken from the Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium to a hospital after the 12:30 p.m. incident.

Later in the afternoon, the zoo said in a statement the worker had been released and should recover fully.

Assistant general curator Stephanie Huettner said the worker needed a couple stiches to close up the wound on her hand.

Huettner told KMTV 'It is not really in their nature at all, for some reason this morning they were extra excited about something and decided to take it out on their keeper.'

The animal involved was a female, juvenile Komodo dragon.

The zoo posted a photograph of the komodo dragon to Facebook.

The zoo wrote on the social media website 'She is two-and-a-half years old, three-and-a-half feet long and weighs 10 pounds.

'Komodo dragons do have a modified protein that acts like a weak venom but has minimal effects. The greater concern with komodo dragon bites is bacterial infection.



04/14/2015

SC Prosecutor Rules Out Death Penalty for Officer Slager (So Far)

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A South Carolina prosecutor has so far ruled out the death penalty in the case of Officer Michael Slager, who shot and killed Walter Scott.

Scarlett Wilson put out a press release today reading, in part, “Based on the facts revealed thus far, it does not appear South Carolina’s death penalty provision applies in this case because there are no statutory ‘aggravating circumstances’ present.”

Aside from that, she does not offer much comment about the case itself. Slager has been formally charged with murder and fired from the North Charleston Police Department.


Death Penalty Taken Off the Table in North Charleston Shooting Case

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Former North Charleston, S.C. Police Officer Michael Slager will not face the death penalty in the shooting death of Walter Scott, said the official whose office will prosecute the case.
     In a statement, Ninth Circuit Solicitor Scarlett Wilson said she has reviewed South Carolina's death penalty statute and concluded that the case - borne of Slager's shooting Scott five times in the back as the unarmed man fled from a traffic stop - does not include any of the aggravating circumstances that would make it a death penalty case.
     "There are aggravating circumstances which can take a murder case from being a maximum of life to death being the maximum sentence," Wilson said. "None of those factors are present in this case."
     Under South Carolina law, the death penalty is only appropriate when a murder occurs during criminal sexual conduct, kidnapping, trafficking in person, burglary, robbery while armed with a deadly weapon, larceny, poisoning, drug trafficking, torture, dismemberment, or arson.
     Other instances when it is warranted is when the murderer has previously been convicted of killings, when the murder was committed for hire, and when the victim is a current or former judicial officer or current or former solicitor.
     Slager initially claimed that he felt his life was in danger during a confrontation with Scott during what had started as a routine traffic stop for a busted taillight. But a cellphone video of the moments after Scott ran from his car into a nearby park revealed the slain man was several yards from Slager when the officer opened fire with his service revolver.
     Slager was charged with murder two days after the shooting, and was fired by the North Charleston Police Department. As things stand, if convicted, he faces of possibility of 30 years to life in prison.
     Wilson's statement came as new audio from the minutes after the shooiting surfaced Monday. The audio, from the radio Slager was wearing at the time, captures him being instructed by a fellow officer on what would happen next during investigation of the shooting. During the conversation Slager laughs nervously, and mentions the aderenaline rush he experienced after the shooting.
     The process is likely to be a...



03/30/2015

Opinion: Indiana didn’t actually pass an anti-gay bill

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If you’d read the text of the law, you’d understand right away

If you want to know why the so-called wisdom of crowds is a load of B.S., just take a look at the widespread reaction last week to Indiana’s new religious-freedom law.

If you listened to all the voices who have weighed in on this subject, from TV to radio to the Internet, you’d think Indiana just passed a law giving a green light to anti-gay bigotry.

But after talking to some legal experts who had actually read the law in question, I found out Indiana had done no such thing.

The outcry is so violent that one law professor declined to talk on the record. He had already offered a legal opinion about the law in public — and he, and his family, had been swamped by hate mail and personal abuse a result. (So I’m glad we’re all fighting hate speech.)

Another legal professor initially took the view that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, or RFRA, was anti-gay, but added that his knowledge of it so far was based on media coverage. While we were speaking, I found the text of the law online and emailed it to him. Then I called him back a few minutes later, when he had had a chance to read it.

His opening words when he got back on the phone? “Forget everything I just said.”

The law simply says the state can’t force you to do something that’s against your religion unless it has a very good reason to do so.

The law, he said, was actually no different from the federal religious-freedom law that has been on the statute books since 1993. All the reports and commentary he’d heard had been wrong.

Another law professor, Daniel Conkle at Indiana University, said the new law is also the same as those currently in place in 30 other states. Nineteen state legislatures have passed such laws, and in another 11 states the courts have made rulings in a similar vein, he said.

What the legal experts told me: In a nutshell, the new law does not give anyone carte blanche to refuse to serve homosexuals, or any other group, based on religion (or any other grounds).

Instead, the law simply says the state can’t force you to do something that’s against your religion unless it has a very good reason to do so — the “compelling interest” rule. If it tries to do so, you can go to court and plead legal objection under the religious-freedom law. The court will have to decide if there is a compelling reason to override your religious freedom, or not. Combating discrimination,...


Op Ed: Mike ‘Nuremberg defence’ Pence was just doing his job…

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This is the Monday Line

I think it’s the pure, ‘fuck you all’ arrogance of Indiana Governor Mike Pence that aggravates people the most. For almost seven years, the moment it looked like Barack Hussein Obama would become US President, the right has been in a blind apoplectic ODS (Obama derangement syndrome) inspired rage. Remember, this angry black man was coming to take your guns. So the level of complete freak out had to reach DEFCON 1 (global thermonuclear war) every time he picked up a 7-iron whilst on vacation.

Indiana used to be a relatively calm state. It was once even blue. Now it makes Alabama and South Carolina look sane. Governor Pence signed a coyly named ‘religious freedom bill’ this week. As most weasel worded bills produced by conservative red state legislatures, it does not even come close to doing what it says on the tin. Indeed it is so narrowly worded that the US state of Indiana has returned to the days of an already settled issue… who can sit at my lunch counter?

The answer: everyone.

Now Indiana wants to make sure that if a business has a religious objection to certain clientele (read same-sex gay couples) they can refuse service. Why? Because homosexuals are deliberately not protected under any state of Indiana statute. So for 11 minutes on ABC’s This Week programme, Mike Pence refused to answer questions and showed himself to be just another right wing bigot in a party whose clown car overflows with them.

The state has already lost a gaming conference worth about $50 million in hotel and convention spending, cancellations are flowing in for their huge Indianapolis 500 race, Angie’s List just cancelled an expansion in Indiana that would have added 1,000 jobs, YELP, the Internet directory is threatening to leave the state, the NFL will not likely bring another Super Bowl there any time soon and even the NCAA could move its headquarters. Next weekend’s Final Four has issued several “we are concerned” statements and a new Midwest venue is likely.

And that’s just in the first week.

Here’s the problem. Former Arizona Governor Jan Brewer was also handed a similar steaming pile of a bill. The outcry in very conservative Arizona was swift and loud. And this woman, who was far from being a bastion of gay rights, decided the cost of signing the bill was too high and vetoed it.

Mike Pence on the other hand? He said ‘fuck you all’ and signed...



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