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Robert Nelson speaks about wrongful rape conviction and 30 year imprisonment
Lisa Benson Jun-30-2013 1005 0


Robert Nelson sat quietly at sister's table, admittedly nervous about talking to a reporter about the 30 years he spent in prison and the rape conviction that changed his life

"I've never done anything like this before," Nelson said.

Nelson spent more than half of his life in prison after being wrongly convicted of a 1983 rape. He was sentenced to 70 years for the crime, before being exonerated by DNA evidence earlier this month.

That freedom came with a lot of adjustments for Nelson, 49.

"One of the biggest things was learning how to use the phone. I never used a text phone. When I got locked up they didn't have text and cell phones," Nelson said

Decision making is also a skill that Nelson has to work on after spending so much time behind bars.

"It's hard to decide what you want when you walk into a store because you've got the freedom to choose. And inside you don't have the freedom to choose you got to get what every they give you," Nelson added.

On June 12, Nelson was released from prison after DNA testing exonerated him of the 1984 rape conviction. The victim identified Nelson as her attacker on a police line-up, but was wrong.

"I couldn't believe it, a jury found me guilty. There wasn't even no evidence to find me guilty, so I went on to prison and tried to fight it best I could," Nelson said.

Nelson's sister,Sea Dunnell joined his fight, contacting Laura O'Sullivan with the Midwest Innocence Project. Nelson was freed within a year of O'Sullivan taking the case.

"I knew it was being worked on; and they were going to set him free," Dunnell said.

Dunnell has had her Christmas tree up since last Christmas in anticipation of her brother coming home. She plans to keep it up as a constant reminder of the unyielding hope, faith, and love she has for her baby brother.



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Whitney Houston's daughter Bobbi Kristina has "significantly diminished" brain function and doctors have told her family it does not look good ... this according to sources connected with the family.

As we previously reported, the 21-year-old was found face down in her bathtub Saturday and not breathing. She was revived, taken to the hospital where she was placed in a medically-induced coma.

She is currently on a ventilator but we're told tests have determined her brain function is alarmingly low.

Bobbi Kristina's dad, Bobby Brown, is at her bedside.

Doctors have told the family they should continue hoping and praying, but the signs are not good.

Read more: http://www.tmz.com#ixzz3QWREqnrf

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The daughter of the late Whitney Houston was rushed to a Georgia hospital after she found unresponsive Saturday morning in a suburban home, police said.

Bobbi Kristina Brown, 21, was discovered by her husband and a friend inside a tub in the Roswell, Ga., residence — nearly three years after her famous mom was found dead in a Beverly Hills bathtub, cops said.

The celebrity daughter was alive when taken to a nearby hospital, and was now reportedly breathing on her own.

Brown is the daughter of the Grammy winning diva and R&B star Bobby Brown.

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An aggravated assault case against George Zimmerman that was opened when his ex-girlfriend said he threw a wine bottle at her has been dropped because she recanted her story and stopped cooperating with investigators, a prosecutor said Friday.

State Attorney Phil Archer said he wouldn't file a formal charge against Zimmerman, the former neighborhood watch leader who was acquitted of killing Trayvon Martin. The killing of the unarmed black teen touched off protests across the country.

The ex-girlfriend had made it clear she didn't want the case to proceed, and there were no other eyewitnesses to what happened earlier this month, Archer said.

"While it is clear that the officers had probable cause to arrest Mr. Zimmerman ... the subsequent recantation by the victim of her initial statement ... precludes my office from proceeding further," Archer said in a statement.

Zimmerman was arrested three weeks ago after his ex-girlfriend told police officers he had thrown a wine bottle at her.

Zimmerman had denied throwing the bottle and disputed her claim that he destroyed her cellphone. A person who answered Zimmerman's cellphone Friday morning said he wasn't George Zimmerman and wouldn't comment on the case.

Zimmerman's attorney, Don West, didn't immediately return a phone call.

Officers patrolling the neighborhood where Zimmerman lives three weeks ago heard the sound of glass shattering, and then saw the former girlfriend drive out of the driveway. They pulled her over for a traffic stop a few streets over because she didn't have her lights on.

She explained that Zimmerman became angry after she told him she didn't want to take the relationship further, and said they also argued over a painting she had that he wanted returned. Zimmerman made threats and threw the wine bottle, which didn't hit her, she said at the time. Officers described her as crying and upset.

She later recanted her story.

Since his acquittal in the Martin case, Zimmerman has had several brushes with the law:

__ He was arrested on charges of aggravated assault, battery and criminal mischief after his then-girlfriend said he pointed a gun at her face during an argument, smashed her coffee table and pushed her out of the house they shared. Samantha Scheibe decided not to cooperate with detectives and prosecutors didn't pursue the case.

__ Zimmerman was accused by his estranged wife of smashing an iPad during an argument at the home they had shared. Shellie Zimmerman initially told a dispatcher her husband had a gun, though she later said he was unarmed. No charges were filed because of a lack of evidence. The dispute occurred days after Shellie Zimmerman filed divorce papers.

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Notorious former rap music mogul Marion "Suge" Knight has been arrested on suspicion of murder after he allegedly ran over two men with his truck following an argument on a film set in Compton, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department confirmed. He is being held in lieu of $2-million bail.

Knight, 49, arrived at the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department West Hollywood station with his attorney around 12:30 a.m. to be interviewed by homicide detectives as a person of interest in the case, according to authorities and his lawyer.

Notorious former rap music mogul Marion "Suge" Knight has been arrested on suspicion or murder after he allegedly ran over two men in his truck following an argument on a film set in Compton, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department confirmed. Eric Spi

The interview concluded around 3:30 a.m., Knight's attorney, James E. Blatt, told The Times.

The confrontation began about 3 p.m. Thursday when Knight and two unidentified men began arguing on the set of "Straight Outta Compton," a biopic about the group N.W.A., said Capt. John Corina of the Sheriff's Department's detectives unit.

About 20 minutes after the alleged argument, the victims were at Tam's Burgers near Central and East Rosecrans avenues, authorities said. Knight is believed to have followed the men in his truck and run them over in the parking lot, Corina said.


Witnesses said the truck hit the men, then backed over them before leaving the scene.

One of the victims, 55, died, and the other, 51, suffered undisclosed injuries, Corina said. At least one of the victims was a member of the film crew, he said.

Blatt said his client was being attacked by a group of men, and, while trying to get away from his attackers, accidentally ran over the victims.

"I am positive Mr. Knight will be exonerated by Tuesday," Blatt said. "Investigators are still interviewing witnesses and still need to see video of the incident."

A representative for Knight had no comment on the allegations.

Traffic slowed to a crawl at the corner of Rosecrans and Central avenues as evening commuters tried to navigate past the crime scene. Onlookers gathered, trying to catch a glimpse of the parking lot of the popular burger joint. Social media exploded with the news about Knight's allegedly being involved in another crime.

Directed by F. Gary Gray, "Straight Outta Compton" tells the story of N.W.A., a pioneering rap group made of up Arabian Prince, DJ Yella, Dr. Dre, Eazy-E and Ice Cube, and later, MC Ren. Modern-day rappers credit the group with making rap mainstream and inspiring many of today's top artists. Knight's affiliation with the production of the movie, if any, is unclear.

Knight co-founded Death Row Records with Dr. Dre in 1991 and built it into the first rap label to consistently dominate the pop scene. But he has a history of legal troubles.

In 1996, Knight was at the wheel of a BMW in Las Vegas when passenger and popular rapper Tupac Shakur was shot by gunmen in another vehicle. Shakur died a week later, and the case has not been solved.

In 1997, Knight was sentenced to nine years in prison for violating the terms of his probation from an earlier assault case. He was released from prison in 2001 but was sent back to jail two years later for violating parole when he hit a parking lot attendant.

In 2006, Knight filed for bankruptcy. He put his Malibu mansion up for sale the following year. In 2008, he was arrested in Las Vegas on suspicion of drug possession and aggravated assault. The next year, he pleaded guilty to misdemeanor battery.

Last August, Knight and two others were shot inside a packed West Hollywood nightclub at a pre-awards party hosted by singer Chris Brown.

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high school teacher and activist sued the city of Seattle after a police officer sprayed chemical irritant directly into his face as he left a peaceful rally on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Jesse Hagopian, who spoke at the event about how black lives matter, was making arrangements by cell phone with his mother to attend his son’s second birthday party when he passed a Seattle police officer screaming at passersby.

Video of the Jan. 19 incident shows the officer and some others standing at a police barricade as she orders a small, peaceful crowd – most of whom were walking past the police – to disperse.

Hagopian said officers set up a barricade with their bicycles to prevent protesters from marching, and he said some participants walked through the line – but he did not.

“Stand back, stand back,” the officer screams as she holds a canister of pepper spray.

Suddenly, as Hagopian walks past talking on his cell phone, the officer blasts pepper spray – which the video shows hits him and an unidentified woman directly in the face.

Hagopian and the woman immediately duck for cover and the crowd scatters.

“I felt the piercing pain shoot through my eye, my ear drum and my nostril, all over my cheek and face,” said Hagopian, whose eye was swollen shut afterward. “I yelled out. My mom was in distress as she heard me yell.”

The officer continues to spray the chemical irritant in a sweeping motion toward the crowd, and she again orders the crowd to stand back when some witnesses ask what happened.

Video of the incident was uploaded to YouTube on Wednesday, the same day Hagopian’s attorney filed a lawsuit against the city.

A spokesman for the police department said he had not seen the video and was unable to comment.

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The wife of the late comedian Bernie Mac has dropped a wrongful death lawsuit against his Chicago doctor.

Rhonda McCullough alleged in the lawsuit that dermatologist Rene Earles failed to recognize signs of respiratory distress in the weeks before Mac's death in 2008 from pneumonia.

McCullough's attorney, Cannon Lambert Sr., said the lawsuit can be refiled later after "internal issues" are shored up. He did not elaborate.

Earles' attorney, Mike Prangle, told the Chicago Tribune (http://trib.in/1y7uWwP) the lawsuit was dismissed Jan. 15 because McCullough "had no legitimate case against Dr. Earles."

Earles treated Mac for more than a decade for the lung disease sarcoidosis (sahr-coy-DOE'-sis), which causes inflammation of the body's tissues.

Born Bernard McCullough, Mac starred in the movie "Ocean's Eleven" and the sitcom "The Bernie Mac Show."

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A black San Diego cop claims he was harassed for speaking out against his department’s use of racist cartoons, according to a lawsuit.

The sight of San Diego’s first black officer lumbering down the city’s Chinatown “as an ape in a police uniform” offended Sgt. Arthur Scott.

And so did a cartoon pasted to police lockers in 2011, depicting President Obama also in a racist light.

But Scott’s latest protest of a cartoon’s use at a lieutenants training fueled the 10-year veteran of San Diego police’s snub of a promotion, according to the lawsuit filed last week in the Superior Court of California.

“He’s a good cop with a great career ahead of him,” Scott’s attorney, Daniel Gilleon, told the LA Times.

Because of his outspoken opinion, Scott was passed for a promotion and transferred to an unwanted position, his suit alleges.

First published by the now-defunct San Diego Sun in 1909, the century-old derogatory cartoon titled “Our Colored Policeman on the Job” shows residents fleeing Officer Frank McCarter as he patrols their street with a baton and gun.

The cartoon was passed around last year’s training to show tout McCarter’s milestone career with the department, but Scott believes it was shown out of context.

In the past, police leaders told Scott he was being “hyper-sensitive,” the lawsuit states, but because of Scott’s protestation, the McCarter sketching was finally pulled from training material.

The decision, however, resulted in an impromptu discussion with Assistant Chief Todd Jarvis’ over the cartoon to defend its use because “Officer McCarter had gained the respect of his peers at the time.”

Scott said the cartoon “did not depict the real Officer McCarter, but instead caricatured him as an ape in a police uniform.”

“Sgt. Scott sensed he would be paying a price for speaking out,” the lawsuit states. “Sgt. Scott’s fear was well-founded.”

He eventually conceded to his transfer because he was threatened with disciplinary action, Scott claimed.

The lawsuit seeks an undefined amount of damages.

San Diego police Chief Shelley Zimmerman said in a statement her department would be taking the allegations “very seriously” and would cooperate with the investigation, according to UT San Diego.

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A father and son who allegedly attacked a basketball coach after a Trinity (Ky.) High School were arrested on Tuesday and charged with assault.

According to WDRB in Louisville, Demetrius Franklin, 48, and his son, Daelyn Franklin, 18, have been accused of approaching Doss High School coach Tony Williams in a hallway at Trinity and hitting him several times with closed fists. Williams told authorities he was “knocked sideways and out the of door of the building” and suffered injuries to his head, face, neck and lower back.

Daelyn plays for Williams at Doss, and he and his father were apparently upset over Daelyn’s lack of playing time. Williams told police that he smelled alcohol on the elder Franklin’s breath.

Both men are scheduled to appear in front of a judge.

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Marissa Alexander, a woman whose case helped bring national attention to Florida's stand your ground and minimum sentencing laws, was allowed to leave jail late Tuesday afternoon to spend the rest of her sentence on house arrest.

Applause broke out in the courtroom when Judge James Daniel announced he would reject the prosecutors' request for an additional two-year sentence and was releasing Alexander to community control.

As she left the courthouse, Alexander read a prepared statement:

"Today, after the sentence given by Judge Daniel, my family and I will be able to move on with our lives. Although the journey has been long and there's been many difficult moments, I could not have arrived here, where I am today, without the thoughts, many thoughts and many prayers of so many people who voiced their support and encouragement. Words can never express my gratitude for those who stood beside me, including my children and family. I am also grateful that Judge Daniel approached this case with such care and diligence."

In November, Alexander was sentenced to three years in jail after pleading guilty to three felony charges for firing a shot in the direction of her husband a two step-children. She got credit for all the time she was held after her initial arrest and first conviction, which was overturned on appeal. She was ordered to serve 65 days in jail, then two additional years under community control.

That time ended Tuesday.

The tension grew as the state cross-examined Alexander's sister, Elena Jenkins in whether or not she was aware of Alexander shooting towards the two children. After nearly two hours and Jenkins denying she was aware of Alexander shooting towards the children, the judge made his decision.

For the next two years Alexander must wear a GPS ankle monitor and will only be allowed to leave her home to go to work, job interviews, church, family medical and dental appointments, and to visit her children's schools. She'll have to get a judge's permission to do anything else.

That monitoring doesn't come cheap. It costs $105 a week, which that adds up to nearly $5,500. That's nearly $11,000 for Alexander's two years of community control.

"It's hard to get a job, it's hard to get housing, it's hard to qualify for anything. Her life has been destroyed for this," said local activist, Denise Hunt.

Although many of the supporters were upset about the judge's decision, Alexander walked out of the courthouse grateful to be given a second chance and even more grateful to see her teenagers go through college, her four year old grow through nursery school and herself through paralegal studies.?

Supporters have raised money to pay for those fees, and a group of pastors has offered Alexander a job at one of their ministries if she wants it.

“It gives her an opportunity to bring some closure to her situation,” Rev. Kenneth Adkins said. “The most important part about this whole thing is it kind of gives Jacksonville this opportunity to put this behind us. This is one of those national spotlight stories that kind of cast bad light on our community and our leaders.”

The case began in August 2010. Nine days after giving birth to her daughter, Alexander was assaulted and threatened by her estranged husband, Rico Gray. Alexander then left the house to get a gun from the garage, returned and fired a shot in the direction of Gray and his two young sons.

Alexander claimed it was a warning shot but a jury disagreed, convicting her on three counts of aggravated armed assault. She was sentenced to 20 years in prison under Florida's minimum sentencing guidelines for using a firearm.

But her conviction was overturned on appeal and as she was facing a retrial, she accepted a plea deal that will put her on house arrest after her release from jail.

Since her arrest in 2010, Alexander's been in jail for 1,095 days, serving the last 65 as part of her plea agreement.

Local attorney Rhonda Peoples-Waters has also been following this case and said even though it may appear the decision favored the defense, the state also got what they wanted.

"They did in some way because remember-- Marissa Alexander has now been convicted of three felony convictions which she has to deal with for the rest of her life - she's also served that additional jail time and she'll be on ankle monitoring," said Peoples-Waters.

Peoples-Waters also said the state wanted additional probation but the judge said it was not appropriate.

"The state again gets to resolve this manner in a way that shows the victims in this case were affected by her actions," said Peoples-Waters.

According to Alexander's defense team and her signed plea deal, Alexander understood those actions. ?

Dozens showed showed their support for Alexander outside the Duval County Courthouse on Tuesday as they waited for Alexander to be released. They said they're thrilled that she's finally getting out of jail.

“I came all the way from California. I got on a plane last night at 8:30 to be with these women who care so much about Marissa Alexander and the injustice that is happening in our country,” Bridget Duffy said.

They laid quilts on the front lawn of the courthouse Tuesday to show solidarity.

“It's a lot of pressure but we have been working a lot for this and finally she is free,” said Wanda Gomez of Miami.

Alexander's statement concluded addressing her future.

"I look forward to the full-time challenge of getting my two teenagers through high school and into college, as well we preparing my 4-year-old daughter for nursery school. My goal is to continue my education beyond my master's degree and to continue my professional career. Also, I will continue to learn lessons from the events of the past, but I will not live in the past. At the age of 34, life is too short and there's too much I have to accomplish in the years ahead. It's my hope and prayer that everyone associated with this case will be able to move on with their lives."

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