Joshua Vallum was previously pleaded guilty to the death of 17-year-old Mercedes Williamson in 2015, when he was soliciting sex from her before shocking her with a stun gun, stabbing her and beating her with a hammer.
He had been sentenced last year to life in prison, but pleaded guilty to federal charges under the Hate Crimes Prevention Act in December and was sentenced to nearly five decades on the charges Monday.
The case is the first prosecuted under the law for the killing of someone based on gender identity, according to a Department of Justice release Monday.
Prosecutors said that Vallum, 29, killed Williamson. who he had been in a romantic relationship with, after a friend found out that she had been born male. The Latin Kings have been known to punish homosexuality with death.
The convicted killer first told authorities that he killed the teen after discovering she was transgender, though he admitted in his guilty plea that he knew during their relationship.
Vallum allegedly told Williamson that they were going somewhere to have sex the night of the murder, and took her across state lines from Alabama to Missisippi, where he tried to dispose of his weapons at his father’s property.
“The taking of a human life because a person has a particular gender identity is particularly heinous and cannot be tolerated in an enlightened society,” Judge Louis Guirola Jr. said in his Gulfport, Miss. court.
The President had previously blasted Hillary Clinton as “crooked” after then-FBI Director James Comey said in a July 5 press conference that they were “extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive, highly classified information.”
Trump said there’s “no evidence” of his administration colluding with Russia — and would often refer to the reports as “FAKE NEWS.”
“The real story that Congress, the FBI and all others should be looking into is the leaking of Classified information. Must find leaker now!” Trump tweeted in March.
Several Republican lawmakers were also critical of the misuse of classified information.
“It’s simple: Individuals who are ‘extremely careless’ w/ classified info should be denied further access to it,” House Speaker Paul Ryan tweeted last July in response to the FBI’s conclusion of its Hillary Clinton email investigation.
Ryan came to the President’s defense on Monday by saying, “We have no way to know what was said, but protecting our nation’s secrets is paramount,” according to a PBS News Hour reporter.
White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus previously charged that “Those who mishandled classified info have had their sec clearances revoked, lost their jobs, faced fines, & even been sent to prison.”
It’s simple: Individuals who are ‘extremely careless’ w/ classified info should be denied further access to it. https://t.co/XWuvfDugly
Campi Flegrei, located around 11 miles (18 kilometres) southwest of Naples, Italy, has not erupted since 1538, but volcano experts believe it could be building up to another devastating eruption.
Scientists from the University College London (UCL) and the Vesuvius Observatory in Naples have been studying the patterns of unrest since Campi Flegrei’s last eruption more than 500 years ago.
They concluded that the volcano may be “closer to an eruption than previously thought” and was instead “approaching a critical stage”.
Dr Christopher Kilburn, director of the UCL Hazard Centre, said: “By studying how the ground is cracking and moving at Campi Flegrei, we think it may be approaching a critical stage where further unrest will increase the possibility of an eruption, and it’s imperative that the authorities are prepared for this.
“We don’t know when or if this long-term unrest will lead to an eruption, but Campi Flegrei is following a trend we’ve seen when testing our model on other volcanoes, including Rabaul in Papua New Guinea, El Hierro in the Canary Islands, and Soufriere Hills on Montserrat in the Caribbean.”
He added: “We are getting closer to forecasting eruptions at volcanoes that have been quiet for generations by using detailed physical models to understand how the preceding unrest develops.”
Episodes of unrest in the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s and 1980s sparked small earthquakes which were caused by the movement of magma around three kilometres below the volcano.
Thousands, possibly millions, of people across Europe could be effected if Campi Flegrei has a big eruption.
The whole of Campi Flegrei covers more than 100 square kilometres outside the western suburbs of Naples and it is the closest historically-active volcano to London.
Smoke and ash if Campi Flegrei erupts could disrupt air traffic but the immediate impact would be felt around southern Italy.
But Dr Luca De Siena, from the University of Aberdeen, who has also studied the volcano has said current activity does not suggest a “big” eruption may occur, although he said “a small one could take place”.
He said: “In case of a small one, similar to the eruption in 1538, people living near the point of the eruption would be affected. We are still talking of thousands of people who could die or lose their houses, and the warning would be much less than for a big one.
“In case of a big one, it could affect our chances to live in Europe, immediately killing hundreds of thousands if not millions. Ashes would cover the sun, possibly for days/months/years, affecting humanity, fauna, and flora in other continents.”
Or it was worse than yours, anyway, because on Monday, the former Browns wide receiver was wearing a Columbia blue gown, having completed the reason why he’d been flying around the country every week for the past three spring semesters. The wideout, who dreams of being an NFL general manager one day, graduated with a master’s degree in sports management from Columbia’s School of Professional Studies.
In between seasons running routes for Cleveland and amid his offseason training regimen, this — the pursuit of a graduate degree to help prepare him for a career beyond catching passes — has been a focus for Hawkins.
But that degree, which he started working on in the spring of 2015, only came after a long slog of air miles were traveled. Every Monday this spring, Hawkins would leave his wife and three young children and hop on a flight from Los Angeles to New York at 6 a.m. He would go to Columbia, load up on a week’s worth of classes and then turn around and get on the 11 p.m. flight back to LA for his week of training, parenting and homework.
In offseasons before that, he made the same trip starting from Tampa, Fla. That’s right — Hawkins was traveling from Florida to New York and back again once per week for school and actually decided to make his trip longer by moving out to Los Angeles. The move was made partially so that Hawkins, 31, could intern with Maverick Carter, LeBron James’ business partner.
Hawkins’ commute is even tougher because he suffers from motion sickness. He takes dramamine before the flight, but one time, after landing and trying to get to Columbia through New York’s stop-and-go traffic, Hawkins confessed to having to get out of his car and vomit on the way to school.
With the 12 classes making up his degree completed, Hawkins has proven that his talents extend beyond the field. Printed on his cap for graduation Monday was an impressive statement: “Just as smart as I am quick. Shuttle: 4.0, GPA: 4.0.”
Though the clock hasn’t run out on Hawkins’ playing career yet, the wideout wants to make sure he can turn sports into a career that extends well beyond his time inside the white lines.
“I want to be a general manager,” Hawkins said on Columbia’s campus Monday. “I didn’t necessarily go to Columbia to be a general manager — I think it helps that, and I think it helps in the attractiveness of me going to the front office, but I think I could have done that without going to Columbia — if anything I came here to learn the other sides of the business.”
“I’m not just a fan. This feeds my kids,” Hawkins said of his football career so far. “It put me through college. It put my four brothers through college. It’s changed the trajectory of my family’s life and economic situation.”
While he packed in much of his coursework during the offseason, Hawkins did make some progress toward his degree in-season. He’d take one online course during the fall, utilizing his days off on Tuesdays and short practices on Fridays to get work done. And this season, he also worked on a project that certainly lends itself to working in a front office: a 35-page paper on the use of analytics in the NFL.
Though he dreams of life in a front office eventually, right now he’s also focusing on where he’ll play football next. After last season, he requested his release, which was granted. Though he spoke highly of Hue Jackson and his time in Cleveland, Hawkins said he wants to play for someone who can win.
He’s said he has prospects and will meet with two teams, which he declined to identify, in the next two weeks.
Hawkins’ family traveled with him to New York for his graduation on the Upper West Side on Monday. Asked if his wife, Markisha, thought back in 2015 his plan to fly to and from New York in a single day was hair-brained, Hawkins laughed.
“She didn’t because we’ve been together 10 years,” Hawkins said. “She’s witnessed me do even crazier things. She’s a veteran now.”
That’s because to get to the NFL, Hawkins had to pull out every trick he had. The rather slight wide receiver would put weights in his pockets and clay in shoes to appear heavier and taller to those measuring him.
Now, with six years in the NFL behind him and armed with a graduate degree, Hawkins is ready for whatever is next. Though, he admitted, as a man with varying interests, he might not be done with school just yet.
“I’m extremely happy. I’m glad,” Hawkins said. “This probably won’t be my last degree.”
LAX’s Petrossian Caviar Bar SuedYou Fired Me for Whistleblowing Rotten Fish Eggs
5/15/2017 7:12 PM PDT
Petrossian Caviar and Champagne Bar in LAX was serving bad caviar to its schmany food-loving customers according to an ex-cook … who says he was fired for calling out the bad eggs.
Donald Gray filed a lawsuit against his former bosses, and according to the docs he says he got sick from tasting expired caviar the honchos insisted he sample before dishing it out to the travelling masses at LAX.
Side note to the rest of the country: Yes, L.A.’s airport is so fancy you can get caviar on the run.
In the suit, Gray says honchos instructed cooks to use expired caviar for their dishes, and even ripped off can labels to hide expiration dates. He claims he got food poisoning after a sampling in 2015, and began filing paperwork to report it, but instead of cooperating … higher-ups disciplined him for eating caviar on the job … a breach of company rules.
He was ultimately fired, and is suing for wrongful termination, retaliation and lost wages — including meal breaks he was allegedly never given.
The LAX restaurant is not owned or run by the famed (in caviar circles) Petrossian family … an independent operator merely licenses the name.
A high school student in South Carolina died from drinking too much caffeine, a coroner announced.
Davis Allen Cripe, 16, died on April 26 at Palmetto Health Parkridge Hospital after collapsing in a classroom at Spring Hill High School.
Richland County Coroner Gary Watts said Monday in a news conference that the cause of death was a cardiac-event from an excessive amount of caffeine, WYFF reported.
According to the coroner, Cripe had consumed a large diet Mountain Dew, a cafe latte from McDonald’s and some kind of energy drink in the span of two hours. He said the caffeinated beverages caused the teen to suffer from arrhythmia, or an irregular heartbeat.
“We lost Davis from a totally legal substance,” Watts said. “It was so much caffeine at the time of his death, that it caused his arrhythmia. These drinks can be very dangerous.”
Watts said an autopsy of Cripe showed no signs of an “unfounded” or “undiagnosed heart condition.”
The deputy chief pathologist for Richland County said one cup of coffee or a soda won’t cause a cardiac-event like the one that killed Cripe, but said time and the amount of caffeine consumed does play a factor.
“It’s the amount and also the time frame in which these caffeinated beverages are consumed that can put you at risk,” he explained.
During the news conference, Cripe’s father Sean urged other parents to talk to their children about the dangers of energy drinks.
“It wasn’t a car crash that took his life. Instead, it was an energy drink,” he said. “Parents, please talk to your kids about these energy drinks. And teenagers and students, please stop buying them.”
Mayor de Blasio brought in $ 660,000 for his reelection bid in the most recent filing period — finally out-raising Republican Paul Massey, who brought in $ 555,000 in contributions.
It’s a reversal of the last couple of filing periods, when Massey outraised de Blasio, and with expected matching funds the incumbent mayor’s haul for this cycle will jump to $ 1.1 million.
Hizzoner took in nearly half of his cash, $ 319,862 of it, from out-of-state, according to filings with the Campaign Finance Board — some of it collected in California and Washington state during a half-government, half-fundraising trip through the West Coast earlier this year.
In the wake of investigations into the mayor accepting large sums from developers and others with business before the city, the de Blasio campaign again touted small-dollar donations — noting 87% of the contributions this cycle were under $ 175.
“Our campaign’s focus on grassroots, small-dollar donors has powered us to more than 11,000 contributions, and we are now fully funded for a Primary campaign,” Elana Leopold, finance director for the campaign, said.
The mayor took only $ 740 in bundled contributions, made up of smaller checks of $ 10 and $ 20 collected by Surgida Lozada, an organizer for the Hotel Employees & Restaurant Union.
He did continue to get cash from MacAndrews & Forbes, the holding company owned by billionaire Ronald Perelman — whose executive Chris Taylor has previously bundled for the mayor. This cycle, de Blasio received 7 checks from the firm’s staff, totaling $ 15,900.
The mayor’s donor sheet includes some bold-faced names from the entertainment world donating the max, including theater producer Daryl Roth, the Spielberg Family Living Trust and Ari Emanuel, the talent agent and brother of Chicago Mayor Rham Emanuel. De Blasio also raised $ 2,500 from David Chase, the creator of “The Sopranos.”
Among the smaller-dollar donations de Blasio received were two $ 10 contributions from Gerrie Blum, proprietor of Adam & Gillian’s Sensual Whips — which even offers vegan whips, for those who don’t want to spare the rod but do want to spare animals.
The campaign paid Ross Offinger, at the center of one of the investigations into the mayor’s finances, $ 30,031.56 for the period.
The mayor is unlikely to face a strong primary challenge. Democratic candidate Sal Albanese raised just $ 26,852 during the filing period.
While Massey ended his streak of out-raising de Blasio, he did keep one thing consistent from prior filings — he again spent vastly more money than he raised. He raised $ 555,786 and spent almost double that, $ 1.02 million — using it to pay a cadre of campaign employees and political consultants, and to pay for things like “thank you” flowers.
The candidate gave himself $ 750,000 in loans this cycle, and also repaid a $ 710,000 loan. He ended the cycle with $ 917,000 on hand, his campaign said.
Before the numbers were released, Massey told reporters he had run an efficient business thanks to hiring the best management team — and said he treated his campaign the same way.
“I’m very, very happy with the way our fund-raising is going,” he said. “I know things are going to continue to go well, so I’m very, very happy with our team.”
Massey’s haul was split exactly 50-50 between local and out-of-state cash, according to the filing, and 53 of the contributions were for the maximum donation — including from MLB Commissioner Robert Manfred and Citarella grocery store owner Joseph Gurrera.
Republican Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis, meanwhile, has raised more than $ 94,624 for her mayoral bid since she kicked off her campaign in late April, according to her complete filing with the Campaign Finance Board.
Most of the cash Malliotakis has raised came in smaller donations, many of them from fellow Staten Islanders, with just 21 donations of $ 1,000 or more and four donations clocking in at the maximum $ 4,950 — one of them from herself.
She also received the max amount from Margo Catsimatidis, the wife of John Catsimatidis — the well-heeled former mayoral candidate and owner of Gristedes, who himself donated $ 400. Malliotakis had said she would not run if he’d gotten into the race.
She also received cash from smaller-scale grocery magnate — Kevin Mannix, the owner of several Staten Island grocery stores, donated $ 4,950. The Neighborhood Preservation Political Action Fund also maxed out to Malliotakis.
The candidate also netted $ 4,900, close to the maximum, from the Sergeants Benevolent Association. The police union is headed by Sgt. Ed Mullins, an outspoken critic of Mayor de Blasio.
Rocky De La Fuente, a recent transplant to the city also seeking the Republican nod, has received the bulk of his campaign cash from himself. He made six donations to himself for the maximum of $ 4,950, and also reported a $ 250,000 loan from himself to the campaign.
Candidates can donate unlimited sums to themselves if they are not participating in the matching funds program; those who do take public funds can self-donate three times the maximum.
The Republican primary field lost a contender after Michel Faulkner, an ex-Jet and pastor, dropped out to run for controller.
Faulkner’s campaign shelled out $ 188.85 in campaign cash to the online dating site eHarmony — a charge his campaign blames on debit card theft.
His campaign says it’s not funding a search for love online, but was instead a victim of fraud.
“It was a fraudulent charge on Michel Faulkner’s debit card. As soon as the charge was noticed, the campaign contacted TD Bank, they reversed the charge and the campaign cancelled the card,” said spokesman Ken Frydman.
Campaign Finance Board rules require all expenses charged to a campaign to be reported, even if they’re fraudulent and subsequently reversed, he said.
The campaign filing confirms the charge was refunded.