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Soldier's Grieving Mother in Insurance Battle With Army
Jan-13-2011 1110 1


The mother of a North Texas soldier killed in Afghanistan says the U.S. government is giving her grief over his life insurance.

Pvt. Devon Harris from Mesquite was killed in action Nov. 27 at the age of 24.

His mother, Sorainya Harris, said the Army is denying coverage that she said her son arranged.

"I'd rather have him," she said. "I really would rather have him. If he was still with me, it would make me happy. But I know he will never come back."

Sorainya Harris said her life insurance form completed two weeks before her son deployed to Afghanistan indicates that he was increasing his coverage.

Documents that she said came from her son's Army file show that he submitted a form requesting $100,000 coverage on Dec. 29, 2009. Another form that appears to request $400,000 in coverage is dated Sept. 27, 2010.

"My conclusion is that, when he filled out the second one, he wanted his policy to be increased," Sorainya Harris said. "He's being deployed. He filled this out two weeks before he left."

She said Army officials were rude and disrespectful to her when she inquired about the issue.

"Devon did everything that was asked of him -- everything," she said. "He went, and he fought, and he died in the war. He made one request, and they denied it."

A spokesman at the U.S. Army Public Affairs Office at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. said the Army does not comment on matters concerning a soldier's confidential personnel file.

Sorainya Harris wrote to U.S. Rep. Jeb Hensarling, the family’s congressman in Washington.

Hensarling spokesman George Rasley said the congressman's office is looking into the matter.




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Jon Gargis Dec-19-2014 222 0
A recently sworn-in Dalton police officer is off the job following his arrest Thursday on a child molestation charge.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation arrested Officer Daniel Tolbert just after 5 p.m., Dalton police spokesman Bruce Frazier said Thursday night. The arrest came nine days after the department placed Tolbert on administrative leave immediately after being informed by the GBI and the Whitfield County Sheriff’s Office that he was under investigation on suspicion of child molestation.

“I am very disappointed to hear about this allegation, and upset about the discredit this will surely bring on our department and officers,” Dalton Police Chief Jason Parker said in a news release Thursday. “We would never condone or support the kind of behavior that would warrant this charge. The men and women of this department hold ourselves to a very high standard of behavior, and we know the community we serve expects our behavior to be beyond reproach.”

Though police officials did not have specifics on the allegations against Tolbert, Frazier said the alleged incident did not occur while Tolbert was on the job. At the time of his suspension, he was in the department’s field training program, and as a trainee, he was never unsupervised or alone while on duty. Probationary trainees, Frazier added, ride with an experienced training officer for at least four months after completing the police academy.

Tolbert, 32, completed the police academy in September and was sworn in as an officer on Sept. 16. Though Tolbert is currently on administrative leave, the city will begin the termination process immediately, Frazier said.

Prior to joining Dalton’s police force, Tolbert served in the U.S. Army, the U.S. Border Patrol in California and was a jail deputy with the Clayton County Sheriff’s Office, according to the police department’s blog.

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Rocco Parascandola Dec-19-2014 451 0
The stabbing death of a man whose naked body was found outside a Brooklyn apartment building was the result of a sordid love triangle that ended in two killings, not one — and the arrest of a suspect Thursday.

Jerome Barrett, 35, is believed to have been having sex with a co-worker in a car parked near his East New York home when the woman’s cuckolded husband interrupted their sexual encounter early Wednesday, police sources said. The lovers were naked.

The husband, Steve Whittingham, 48, stabbed Barrett several times in the chest and did the same to his wife, Jonelle Barker, 36, killing them both, police said in announcing Whittingham’s arrest early Thursday night.

Barrett, who also was married, was mortally wounded but managed to flee, still naked and clutching his clothing and wallet, the sources said. He made his way to the entrance of an apartment building on Louisiana Ave. near Seaview Ave. in the Spring Creek Towers shortly after 1 a.m. Wednesday, the sources said. He was ringing the buzzer at the main entrance, trying to summon help, when his wounds overcame him, the sources said. His clothes and wallet were found a few feet from his body, just outside the building’s entrance.

A day later, about 3:30 a.m. Thursday, Barrett’s car, a Kia, was found parked on New Lots Ave. in Brownsville, the sources said.

Inside the trunk was Jonelle Barker’s body. She was naked, the sources said.

Investigators believe that Barrett and Barker, who worked as baggage handlers at JFK Airport, were having an affair and that Whittingham killed them both in a rage after learning about her infidelity and catching them in the act, the sources said.

Jerome Barrett’s brother, Benjamin Barrett, Jr., who lives in Virginia, was stunned when he heard his sibling had been slain.

“No! ... you’re kidding, man!” he said, adding that their father had died of cancer just last week. “He was just coming back down here this weekend for the funeral.”

Shortly after Barker’s body was discovered, Whittingham surrendered himself to authorities, the sources said. He was charged with one count of second-degree murder and one count of first-degree murder, which could get him life without parole if convicted. He was due to be arraigned.

Whittingham and Barker shared a home in Windsor Terrace, police said. Outside their Ave. K home on Thursday night an elderly woman was weeping, as neighbors tried to console her. Neighbors said the woman was Whittingham’s mother. She declined comment.

Barrett lived about a mile and a half from the building in the Spring Creek Towers outside of which his body was found. Whittingham drove Barrett’s Kia from the scene after Barrett fled, the police sources said. The sources did not reveal where the car had initially been parked, but they said investigators have recovered surveillance video of the killings.

Barrett’s sister-in-law said that neither she nor her husband knew Barrett was having an affair. “He always seemed to be family-oriented,” Wilson-Barrett said. “He had a heart made of gold.”

“It’s shocking to me,” she added. “I didn’t know that side of him.”

She raged at Whittingham for the way he allegedly responded to his humiliation and grief.

“He could have hit him in the head with a bat or just beat him up,” she said.

“I’m a firm believer of you reap what you sow,” she said, with unintended irony. “I think he should pay for this.”

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Dec-17-2014 255 0
Legal justice was a long time coming in the case of George Stinney, a 14-year-old black boy in rural South Carolina who became the youngest person executed in modern times when he was electrocuted 70 years ago for the murders of two white girls.

On Tuesday, Judge Carmen Mullins vacated the boy's conviction and cleared his name for the beating deaths of Mary Emma Thames, 7, and Betty June Binnicker, 11, in segregated Alcolu, S.C. The girls had been riding their bicycles when they disappeared in 1944. Their bodies were found in a watery ditch in the black side of town. Both had been attacked with a railroad spike.

Mullins found "fundamental, Constitutional violations of due process," the judge said. She noted the lack of a credible defense during trial, and said the boy's confession, of which there were two versions, appeared to have been coerced. There were no witnesses and no physical evidence in the case.

Stinney's sisters and a brother testified earlier this year at hearings on whether to overturn the conviction. "They took my brother away and I never saw my mother laugh again," said Amie Ruffner, 78. "I would love his name to be cleared."

His 83-year-old brother, Charles, lives in Brooklyn. There was no answer when the Daily News phoned his home.

The victims' families opposed vacating the conviction, saying very little remained in the way of physical records from the trial, and that it would be impossible to determine exactly what happened decades ago in the Deep South courtroom.

The trial lasted only three hours. It took only 10 minutes for an all-white, all-male jury to convict Stinney. He was sent to the electric chair not quite three months later.




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Dec-17-2014 337 0
Update at 4:05 p.m.Pilar Sanders has been booked into the Collin County Detention Center in McKinney on the contempt of court charge. Her booking mugshot is below.

Update at 12:55 p.m.: Pilar Sanders has been sentenced to seven days in jail.

After hearing from witnesses and attorneys for Deion Sanders, District Judge Ray Wheless found Pilar Sanders in contempt for failing to return her children after her visitation as ordered in the divorce decree and for taking possession of them when she shouldn’t have. He ordered her to be jailed 30 days, but then suspended and probated that sentence for one year. Still, as part of the probation, he ordered her to serve a week behind bars in county lock-up.

As the bailiff was taking her into custody, Pilar Sanders objected to the entire proceedings. She was then escorted out of the courtroom.

She appeared in court with no attorney, saying several times that she was taking part in the proceedings only under threat, duress and coercion. “I am not a part of the United States corporation,” she told the court.

She offered no witnesses and did not question any witnesses that her ex-husband’s attorneys called to testify. “I stand mute,” she told the judge when asked if she had any questions for them.

The hearing was called to rule on three motions filed by Deion Sanders’ attorneys. Two were related to the divorce decree and a third involved the defamation suit he filed against his ex-wife last month.

Wheless granted the temporary injunction requested in the defamation case, ordering Pilar Sanders to remove any statements from social media that she has already posted that could be construed as damaging to her ex-husband. He set the case for trial on March 2.

Deion Sanders testified that the NFL has investigated his ex-wife’s allegations posted on social media and that her continuing posts were threatening negotiations to renew his contract and jeopardize his livelihood.

During questioning about videos of her talking into a camera that were posted online, Pilar Sanders testified that the statements she made were true. “I have not alleged abuse,” she told the court. “I have spoken of my life.”

The judge also granted the motion to modify the divorce decree, saying that Pilar Sanders shall have no possession of her three children until further orders from the court.

Pilar Sanders cited multiple legal statutes during the hearing, saying she did not recognize the jurisdiction of the court. When asked to give her name as she took the stand, she said she did not have a name. “I am Pilar Sanders Love El Dey Allodial Moorish American,” she testified.

Deion Sanders testified that his ex-wife did not return the children after her visitation for the summer expired on July 31. He testified that he ended up retaining an attorney, who subsequently got a court order to retrieve the children.

Officer Michael Missildine with the Collin County constable’s office testified that he made three trips to her home to retrieve the couple’s three children. The first time, no one answered the door. The second time, Pilar Sanders answered but would not let the deputies inside to get the kids. Missildine said he went a third time with an order from Wheless giving him the authority to enter the home by force if needed to retrieve the children.

Missildine testified that Pilar Sanders cited many of the same beliefs that she testified to in court. He testified that she told him she was a Moorish American under the flag of Morroco and that laws did not apply to her.

After the children were returned to their father, Pilar Sanders filed a kidnapping complaint with Child Protective Services, who in turn contacted Celina Police. Because of the court order allowing the children to be taken, no charges were pursued.

CPS investigator Nicholas Valenzuela testified that allegations of abuse and neglect of the Sanders children were investigated and ruled out.

Original post at 9:41 a.m.: A hearing is being held in Collin County this morning in the defamation suit Deion Sanders filed last month against his ex-wife Pilar Sanders.

The suit accuses Pilar Sanders of publishing false statements on social media that accuse the broadcaster and former Dallas Cowboy of multiple crimes, including child abuse, spousal abuse, assault and attempted murder. The suit also refers to statements she allegedly made on TV in a recent appearance on The O’Reilly Factor.

Filed Nov. 24 in Collin County, the lawsuit seeks damages of $200,000 to $1 million as well as other relief to which he may be ENTITLED.

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Dec-17-2014 231 0
Amid sexual assault allegations against Bill Cosby, Spelman College has suspended a program created after the comedian's family gifted $20 million to the school in the late '80s.

"The William and Camille Olivia Hanks Cosby Endowed Professorship was established to bring positive attention and accomplished visiting scholars to Spelman College in order to enhance our intellectual, cultural and creative life," the college said in a statement. "However, the current context prevents us from continuing to meet these objectives fully. Consequently, we will suspend the program until such time that the original goals can again be met."

The Cosby family's donation also funded an academic center, which was named after Cosby's wife of over 50 years, Camille. And two of the couple's daughters attended Spelman, a historically black women's college in Atlanta founded in 1881.

Cosby also created A Different World, a spin-off of The Cosby Show, which was partially filmed on Spelman's campus. The series, which first premiered in 1987, followed Cosby's on-screen daughter Lisa Bonet. However, Bonet only appeared in the first season.

Earlier this month, Cosby stepped down from the board of trustees at Temple University, a college he donated money to and attended.

The 77-year-old comedian recently spoke out about the allegations, telling the New York Post's, "Let me say this. I only expect the black media to uphold the standards of excellence in journalism and when you do that you have to go in with a neutral mind."

Camille released a statement defending her husband Monday, and Cosby's lawyer, Martin Singer, denies the accusations Cosby faces.

"The new, never-before-heard claims from women who have come forward in the past two weeks with unsubstantiated, fantastical stories about things they say occurred 30, 40 or even 50 years ago have escalated past the point of absurdity," Singer said in a statement on Nov. 21.

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Dec-17-2014 191 0
Bill Cosby’s daughter, designer Evin Cosby, is thanking supporters and blasting the media amid allegations from a growing list of women that Cosby drugged them or made unwanted advances in decades past.

“I would like to thank EVERYONE that has been sharing, voicing and putting their beautiful positive energy out there for me and my family,” Evin Cosby said in a post to her publicly accessible Facebook page. “There will always be jealous, vengeful and crazy people out there to break anyone down. Everyday we wake up and appreciate the love and support from everyone. There’s more positive in life then we think. It’s the BS that can be overwhelming. We keep fighting each day. The challenges in life can only make us stronger. The ones that are angry can’t live as easy as the ones that can love, RESPECT and not to find the easy way out by making FALSE accusations. It’s a shame how some people sit behind the computer waiting for bad things to happen to someone. Isn’t it easier to be happy? And to want the best for someone that has done such great things in life? It could be a friend, a family or a pet…. Just be HAPPY! It’s waaaaay easier.”

She also posted a couple of messages aimed at the media: “

Bill Cosby has never been charged in connection with any of the allegations. A 2005 lawsuit by a Pennsylvania woman was settled before it went to trial.

On Tuesday, Los Angeles prosecutors declined to file any charges against the comedian and sitcom star after Judy Huth claimed he molested her around 1974.

Recent accusers include morning show host Kathie Lee Gifford, who says Cosby once tried to kiss her, decades ago, and supermodel Beverly Johnson, who said in a piece for Vanity Fair that he drugged her when she was auditioning for his hit 1980s show “The Cosby Show.”

Evin Cosby is an alum of Spelman College in Atlanta, where the Cosby Chair for the Humanities, a prestigious endowed professorship funded in part by a $20 million gift that Cosby and his wife, Camille Cosby, gave to the school in the 1980s, has been suspended indefinitely.

Camille Cosby also has spoken out in her husband’s defense, saying he is “a wonderful husband, father and friend. He is the man you thought you knew.”

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Sasha Goldstein Dec-16-2014 417 0
A mentally ill woman who used the N-word to describe blacks and previously lied to police about witnessing a high-profile crime was allowed to act as “Witness 40” for the Ferguson grand jury, even though she likely was not there and was a known, outspoken backer of Officer Darren Wilson, according to reports.

Convicted felon Sandra McElroy, 45, didn’t give police a witness statement about the Aug. 9 killing of unarmed black teen Michael Brown until Sept. 11, well after several descriptions of the shooting had been detailed in the press, an investigation by The Smoking Gun found. And her now oft-cited account, that Brown charged at a defenseless Wilson “like a football player,” follows much of what Wilson told investigators about that day.

But her stories, given to local and federal authorities and presented over two different days to the 12-person grand jury, are conflicting and filled with bizarre twists and details that make it likely she didn’t even witness the shooting. Instead, according to The Smoking Gun, she likely sought to cast herself as a key player in the contentious story that ended with riots in Ferguson and protests around the world after the grand jury failed to indict Wilson in the killing.

“I know what I seen,” she told federal investigators at one point. “I know you don’t believe me.”

The report has given new hope to the team representing Brown’s family, the Rev. Al Sharpton told the Daily News on Tuesday, because it “shows (the grand jury) was not a fair process. There was questionable testimony.”

Lawyers for the Brown family are reviewing the testimony and new details, Sharpton said, and will forward any findings to the federal justice department, which is reviewing the case for possible civil rights violations.
Sharpton said the responsibility for the “Witness 40” fiasco lies in the hands of St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Robert McCulloch.

“Whether she was allowed to testify out of negligence or whether (her history) was known, either way it is grounds for prosecutorial misconduct,” Sharpton said. “There seem to be grounds to question the purity of the grand jury process and the prosecutor who handled it.”

“Witness 40” gave very little reason for anyone to believe her. She told investigators in October that she was in Ferguson — some 30 miles from her home — the day of the shooting because she wanted to “pop in” on a friend she hadn’t seen in 26 years and had gotten lost, an account given to the grand jury on Oct. 23, according to The Smoking Gun.

She was asking for directions from a man on the street when an unarmed Brown attacked and charged the officer, she said, forcing Wilson to open fire.

McElroy, once the panel broke for the day, told prosecutors that she had written down her account, and offered to bring in her “journal” so she could “make sure I don’t get things confused because then it will be word for word,” the website reported.

When she returned 11 days later with the written account, the story had completely changed.

“Well Im gonna take my random drive to Florisant,” the first journal entry read. “Need to understand the Black race better so I stop calling Blacks N-----s and Start calling them People.”

She told the grand jury she frequently likes to “go into all the African-American neighborhoods” where she is known to go “in and have coffee and I will strike up a conversation with an African-American and I will try to talk to them because I’m trying to understand more.”

All of her statements were made under oath — and appear not to be the first time she’s lied to police. In 2007, McElroy told KMOV-TV that she’d long known high-profile kidnapping suspect Michael Devlin, who’d recently been arrested for keeping St. Louis boy Shawn Hornbeck captive for four years.

Police in the St. Louis suburb of Kirkwood later shot back at McElroy’s claims that she had tipped off police to evidence in the case long before Hornbeck was rescued.

“The Kirkwood Police Department has investigated her allegation and we have no record of any contact with Mrs. McElroy in regards to Shawn Hornbeck,” police wrote at the time. “We have found this story is a complete fabrication.”

That same year, McElroy was convicted of felony check fraud charges and given three years probation, according to The Smoking Gun. She also told the grand jury she’d been diagnosed as bipolar but hadn’t taken her medication in 25 years and that she’d been severely injured in a 2001 car crash that left her with memory loss.

And in 2005, while she and her then-husband were in the midst of a bankruptcy filing, the couple’s attorney withdrew from the case because Sandra McElroy frequently called the officer and “repeatedly used profanity when speaking with Counsel’s secretary,” screaming matches that “escalated to the use of racial slurs,” documents obtained by The Smoking Gun reveal.

Her racism and disregard for black people is well-documented by McElroy’s social media footprint, which includes some disturbing comments. She used her YouTube account to write “put them monkeys in a cage,” on a clip about two black women being sentenced for murder, The Smoking Gun reported. And a second clip, about a white woman who went missing while in an interracial relationship, McElroy wrote, “she what happens when you bed down with a monkey have ape babies and party with them.”

She also used Facebook to chime in on the Ferguson shooting, posting opinionated, race-driven comments before, during and after she gave witness testimony to the grand jury.
On Aug. 17, she wrote, “Prayers, support God Bless Officer Wilson,” while less than a month later, she posted a graphic of a dead Michael Brown lying in the street, overlayed with a photo of a smirking Wilson and text that read, “Michael Brown already received justice. So please, stop asking for it.”

She also spearheaded an online fundraiser to raise money for law enforcement officers in the St. Louis area who had “been dealing with all the long hours” policing the Ferguson unrest, according to The Smoking Gun.

A call to a spokesman for McCulloch was not immediately returned. Attempts by the Daily News to contact McElroy were unsuccessful.




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Victor Blackwell, Dec-16-2014 266 0
Claudia Lacy says she can accept anything: even that her youngest son committed suicide -- if it's proven and explained to her.

However, she says, local and state investigators have done neither to support their theory that Lennon Lacy hanged himself one summer night.

"That's all I've ever asked for: what is due, owed rightfully to me and my family -- justice. Prove to me what happened to my child," Lacy says.

She says she's long lost confidence in the Bladenboro Police Department and the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation.

Now, the FBI is looking into Lacy's death and the local and state investigations that followed.
Without clear answers, the past few months without him have not been easy.
"I look for him and I don't see him. I listen for him and I don't hear him," Lacy says.
The last time Lacy saw and heard her son was August 28. Lennon, 17, played the lineman position for the West Bladen High School Knights, and was focused on football.

His family says that night, he packed a gym bag, washed his ankle brace and hung it on the clothesline to dry before heading out for an evening walk.
The teen had asthma, his mother says, and a doctor had recommended he exercise outdoors at night when the temperature and humidity dropped. Around 10:30, Lennon left his family's small apartment and headed down a dirt road.

His family never saw him alive again.
Just before 7:30 the next morning, he was found hanging from the frame of a swing set in the center of a mobile home community. According to medical documents, his body was covered in fire ants.
Lennon's mother was called to the scene several hours later, after he'd been placed into a body bag.
"It was unreal. It was like a dream. It was like I was not seeing what I was seeing," Lacy says.
Immediately, Lacy believed her son's death was the result of some foul play.
"He didn't do this to himself," Lacy says.

She believes Lennon was lynched.
"He may have either been strangled somewhere else or been placed there or he was hung there while people were around watching him die," Lennon's older brother, Pierre Lacey says.
However, North Carolina's Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Deborah Radisch declared his death a suicide.

When a state investigator asked Lacy if her son had been depressed recently, she told them he had -- because a relative had died recently. The state medical examiner cited that exchange in the autopsy report. Lacy says she did not mean that her son had been suffering from depression.
"When you just lose someone close to you, you're going to be depressed, upset, in mourning," Lacy says.
The family says Lennon had not changed his routine and was focused on college and football -- and distracted by his girlfriend.

The teen had been dating a 31-year-old white neighbor. The age of consent in North Carolina is 16. Some people in their small, southern town did not like that the two were together. Lacy did not like their drastic age difference.

"I was shocked, disappointed. I also, initially told him how I felt - that I did not approve of it," Lacy says. In the wake of his death, some wondered whether Lennon had been killed because he was in an interracial relationship.

A week after Lennon was buried, a local teenager was arrested for defacing his grave.
"There are too many questions and it very well could be a lynching or a staged lynching. We don't know -- but what we do know is there has to be a serious and full investigation of these matters," says Rev. William Barber, a national board member for the NAACP.

The NAACP hired Florida-based forensic pathologist Christena Roberts to analyze the case and Dr. Radisch's autopsy, completed for the state. Roberts' first concern: basic physics. Lennon was 5-foot-9. The crossbar of the swing set frame he was found hanging from was 7-foot-6, according to the NAACP review. With no swings or anything at the scene on which he could have climbed, according to the review, it's unclear how Lennon reached the top.

"His size, his stature does not add up to him being capable of constructing all of this alone - in the dark," Lennon's brother says.

According to the 911 recording and the initial police report, a 52-year-old woman got the 207-pound teen down, while she was on the phone with an emergency dispatcher.

"Dr. Radisch also noted that she was not provided with photographs or dimensions of the swing set. Without this information, she would be unable to evaluate the ability to create this scenario," according to the NAACP review. Lacy says she told investigators that the belts used to fashion the noose did not belong to Lennon.
I know every piece and every stitch of clothes this child has -- I buy them, I know. Those were not his belts," Lacy says.

The Bladen County Coroner and Medical Examiner Hubert Kinlaw believed the belts might have been dog leashes.

Radisch thought that "some portion must be missing because there was no secondary cut in either belt. The cut would have been necessary to bring down Lennon's body," according to the review.
Also, the shoes Lennon was wearing when his body was found were not his, according to his family.
Lennon's brother says he left home that night wearing size 12 Air Jordan's. However, he was found wearing size 10.5 Nike Air Force shoes. Those shoes were not with Lennon's body when he arrived at the state medical examiner's office, according to the NAACP review.

"He's going to walk a quarter mile from his house in a pair of shoes that's two sizes too small after he takes off his new pair of shoes - and this is a 17-year-old black kid with a brand new pair of Jordan's on. He's going to take those Jordan's off and just get rid of them and put on some shoes that's not his -- we don't know where he got them from, no laces in them -- and continue to walk down this dirt road late at night to a swing set in the middle of the trailer park and hang himself," Lacey says.

"How can I believe that?" Lacey added.
There are also questions about who first declared Lennon's death a suicide.
"Dr. Radisch noted that her determination of (manner of death) in this case as suicide was based on the information she was provided by law enforcement and the local medical examiner. She would have likely called the (manner of death) 'pending' while awaiting toxicology and investigation but the (local medical examiner) had already signed the (manner of death) as suicide," according to the NAACP review.

However, in the summary of the case, written the day Lennon was found, the local medical examiner asked "did he hang self? Will autopsy tell us?" Kinlaw also left the conclusion on the manner of death "pending."

Local police and state investigators declined to speak with CNN. CNN asked to interview Radisch about the statements attributed to her in the NAACP review. Instead, a department spokesperson confirmed the exchanges through a written statement:
"The comments that were released by the NAACP were a synopsis of a professional exchange between the NAACP's independently-retained forensic pathologist and Dr. Radisch," according to a spokesperson for the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.

Lennon's family believes there was a rush to judgment. And until someone clearly explains and proves how her son died, Lacy says she'll keep fighting until she gets answers.
"I take it one day at a time. That's all I can say," Lacy says.

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Bill Hutchinson Dec-16-2014 319 0
A black North Carolina teen whose hanging has prompted a federal investigation had been the victim of racial slurs for dating a 32-year-old white crack-addicted prostitute, the Daily News has learned.

Relatives and friends of Lennon Lacy, 17, have rejected a medical examiner’s report that his August death was a suicide. Instead, they suspect the high school football player was the victim of lynching prompted by his love life.

“Someone killed him ‘cause he was dating an older white woman,” Justin Jones, 17, a friend of Lacy.

The girlfriend, Michelle Brimhall, has gone into hiding since Lacy’s death.

Local police have said they are still investigating Lacy’s death despite the coroner ruling it a suicide. It was unclear if investigator interviewed Brimhall before she went into hiding.

The FBI announced on Friday that it was opening an investigation into Lacy’s death after questions were raised by his mother and the North Carolina branch of the NAACP, which hired an independent pathologist to look into the death.

“It is implausible for Lennon to have been able to act alone in hanging himself,” the independent pathologist, Dr. Christena Roberts, concluded in her report.


While Brimhall is not considered a suspect in the case, loved ones of Lacy believe she knows what really happened.

Brimhall’s parents told The News they haven’t heard from her in three weeks and confirmed she’s addicted to drugs.

“I gave her plenty of chances,” Brimhall’s father told The News, when reached by phone at his Illinois home. “I can’t do it anymore.”

Pierre Lacy said his brother was threatened publicly and called the N-word for dating Brimhall.

“She was seeing other people and prostituting herself to pay her bills and to afford her habit,” Pierre lacy said. “She would just get angry with him (Lacy) for questioning her.”

Jones said he tried to convince Lacy to break up with Brimhall.

“I said, ‘You need to leave her alone, she’s bad news,’” Jones said. “He said, ‘I can’t. I got feelings for her.’”

Justin Jones, 17, one of Lennon Lacy's friends and a football teammate told him his girlfriend was trouble. Jones says. “He said, ‘I can’t. I got feelings for her.’”

Lacy’s mother, Claudia Lacy said she and her husband asked Brimhall to stop seeing her son.

“A 17-year-old should not be associated with anyone 32,’ Claudia Lacy told The News. “She (Brimhall) should have took into consideration he was a child.

“I asked her how would you feel if my son was talking to your 11-year-old,” the mother said.

Lacy’s body was found Aug. 29 hanging from a dog leash and belt tied to a swing set in a mobile-home park near his home.

His family insisted Lacy was not depressed and was excited about playing in a high school football game the day he was found dead.

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