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Robert Nelson speaks about wrongful rape conviction and 30 year imprisonment
Lisa Benson Jun-30-2013 1523 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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Charles Manigo is now left without a daughter — technically, twice over — after seeing Kamiyah Mobley, the girl he raised as his own, reunited with the parents who never knew her.

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But their family was torn apart last week when the dark truth of the daughter’s origins suddenly came to light.

Williams was arrested on Friday after tips to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children led authorities to charging her for allegedly kidnapping the girl at birth — and then lying to Manigo and saying she gave birth while he was away.

The baby’s disappearance in 1998 set off a national search that ended with no apparent leads.
Williams, 51, has now been charged with kidnapping and interference with custody and could face life in prison if convicted.

Mobley had an emotional reunion on Saturday with Craig Aiken and Shanara Mobley — the biological parents she never knew.

She even defended Williams in a Facebook post, saying the alleged child snatcher “raised me with everything I needed.”

Now Manigo has been left alone to deal with the confusion — and loss — brought by another family’s happy reunion.

“One of the hardest things she said on Friday was, 'Dad I love you,' even though she knows what's going on,” he told ABC.

“I talk to her every day. The attention is overwhelming to her. She's still processing everything. It's a shock to me, it's a bigger shock to her.”
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jane reid Jan-15-2017 115 0
The Department of Justice released a scathing report this past week on the Chicago Police Department and reached an agreement to reform the Baltimore Police Department.

Both investigations were overseen by civil rights chief Vanita Gupta, who sat down for an exclusive interview.

“The Chicago Police Department engages in a pattern or practice of using excessive force,” Gupta said on Friday when she issued the long-awaited report detailing unconstitutional policing practices in Chicago.

“We found the Chicago Police Department shooting at moving vehicles, shooting at people who didn’t present an immediate threat, some of whom were fleeing,” Gupta told CBS News.

Gupta believes the problems are a result of poor training and lack of accountability.

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Gupta said the police department was cooperative and she believes the city’s leadership is committed to serious reform.

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ellen eldridge Jan-15-2017 371 0
New Birth Missionary Baptist Church celebrates the life and legacy of Bishop Eddie L. Long who is now spiritually healed and home with the Lord. Bishop Long, Senior Pastor of New Birth, transitioned from this life early Sunday morning after a gallant private fight with an aggressive form of cancer. As a man of God with unyielding faith, Bishop Long maintained his commitment to our Heavenly Father as he proclaimed that cancer would not kill his faith nor his spirit. First Lady Elder Vanessa Long, Bishop Long’s wife of 27 years offered the following. “I am confidant through my belief in God that my husband is now resting in a better place. Although, his transition leaves a void for those of us who loved him dearly, we can celebrate and be happy for him, knowing he’s at peace.”


Deeply committed to his church, even in his last days, Bishop Long delivered his final message to New Birth as we ushered in 2017. He told the church that God was already working in our favor and what we have been praying for was already manifested. In his departure, we receive that and as faithful members of New Birth, we praise God for the life of Bishop Long. Bishop Long was known as one of the most influential faith leaders in the world. He stood strong as a Kingdom Builder, pioneering leader, and revolutionary mind changer. Long was a family man and spiritual leader who was well respected and loved for his passion to unapologetically and courageously preach the gospel of Jesus Christ. Long inspired thousands of believers around the world through his global ministry that literally changed lives. Through his earthly battle, Bishop Long believed that God was once again using him to help others see the power of the Holy Spirit through the love New Birth displayed to him and the countless prayers sent up by others from every corner of the earth.Bishop Eddie L. Long was 63 years old. He is survived by his beautiful wife, First Lady Elder Vanessa Long, 4 children Eric, Edward, Jared and Taylor and 3 grandchildren. The Long family thanks you for your prayers, condolences and messages of love. The family appreciates your support and respect of their privacy, as they prepare along with New Birth, for the homegoing service to honor Bishop Long. The date and other details will be announced in the near future.


About New Birth Missionary Baptist Church


Internationally recognized as a premiere faith-based organization that leads extensive ministries, catering to children, families, community, business and public outreach initiatives, New Birth Missionary Baptist Church is located in Lithonia, Georgia. Under the leadership of Bishop Eddie L. Long, New Birth grew from 300 to a membership of more than 25,000. Bishop Long has been the Senior Pastor of New Birth since 1987. The vision of New Birth is to Love, Live, and Lead like Christ. New Birth is located at 6400 Woodrow Road in Lithonia, Georgia, 30038. For more information visit: www.newbirth.org.
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JESSICA GRESKO Jan-14-2017 57 0
Thousands are expected in Washington for a march organizers say is designed to "protect the dream of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr." and to "preserve the legacy of President Barack Obama."

The National Action Network, the group founded by the Rev. Al Sharpton, is sponsoring Saturday's "We Shall Not Be Moved" march and rally ahead of Monday's Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday.

Participants are gathering near the Washington Monument. Organizers' plan is to march down Independence Avenue to a park near the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial. A rally at the end of the march is scheduled to begin at noon.

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David Badash Jan-14-2017 330 0
The head of the District Of Columbia's National Guard, Maj. Gen. Errol R. Schwartz, has been ordered to tender his resignation effective 12:01 PM on Inauguration Day. Because D.C. is not a state the president is responsible for naming the officer who heads the district's national guard unit. Talking Points Memo reports "Donald Trump has demanded" Schwartz step down at that time.

What is extraordinarily odd is Maj. Schwartz, whose official title is Commanding General of the Militia of the District of Columbia National Guard, Washington, District of Columbia, and has been in that post since June of 2008, will literally be in the middle of protecting some of the tens or hundreds of thousands of people expected on the streets of Washington, D.C. During the inauguration and subsequent parade, when he will have to step down and turn his command over to someone appointed by Donald Trump.

Schwartz, who began his military career in 1979, told The Washington Post, the "timing is extremely unusual."

“My troops will be on the street,” Schwartz, 65, said. “I’ll see them off but I won’t be able to welcome them back to the armory.” He said that he would “never plan to leave a mission in the middle of a battle.”

Trump and his transition team appear to have blindly ordered most if not all presidential political appointees to resign immediately upon his swearing in, or have not asked them to stay until they are replaced. It is custom that presidential appointees tender their resignations effective January 20, when a new president is sworn in, but usually many are asked to stay in their positions until they are replaced – especially those with highly sensitive jobs.

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A Mississippi city is taking heat for announcing that municipal offices will be closed Monday in observance of "Great Americans Day" — a substitute name for Martin Luther King Day, which celebrates the birth of the legendary civil rights icon.

Biloxi, a predominantly white city on the Magnolia State's gulf coast, made the announcement in a since-deleted Friday evening tweet, and quickly became the target of a slew of sarcastic social media posts.

"Y'all spelled Martin Luther King wrong. Bless your hearts," one Twitter user joked.

Less than two hours after the initial tweet, a social media administrator for Biloxi gave damage control a whirl.

"The city did not name this holiday," a follow-up tweet read. "In fact, Biloxi touts MLK celebrations in our city."

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The city's website, on the other hand, only lists one holiday for the third Monday of January: "Great Americans Day."

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A spokesperson for Biloxi did not immediately respond to a request for comment from the Daily News about when and why the holiday was renamed in the first place.

Biloxi Councilwoman Dixie Newman said she had never heard of "Great Americans Day" before and was shocked after learning about it through social media.

"Use common sense," Newman told BuzzFeed, which first reported on the Friday evening tweet. "It infuriates me because I do not feel it should be anything else other than Martin Luther King Day."
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AP Jan-14-2017 69 0
House Republicans have shown no inclination to challenge President-elect Donald Trump on ethics matters. Instead, they are going after the federal ethics official who questioned Trump's potential conflicts of interest.

Democrats slammed the move, saying GOP lawmakers are trying to intimidate an independent watchdog for having the temerity to challenge Trump's business arrangements.

Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, chairman of the House Oversight Committee, has summoned Walter Shaub Jr., the director of the Office of Government Ethics, to answer questions about his public comments on Trump.

This week, Shaub issued a scathing review of Trump's plan to turn over control of his business to his sons. Shaub said in a speech Wednesday that the only way Trump could avoid a conflict of interest as president would be to divest from his business and have his assets placed in a blind trust. "Stepping back from running his business is meaningless from a conflict of interest perspective," Shaub said of Trump.

Chaffetz sent Shaub a sternly worded letter late Thursday requesting that he sit for a transcribed interview. He said the interview would "help the committee understand how you perceive OGE's role, among other things."

"Your agency's mission is to provide clear ethics guidance, not engage in public relations," Chaffetz wrote.

In an interview, Chaffetz said Shaub is offering opinions on conflicts of interest without fully researching the circumstances. "What he's doing is highly unethical," Chaffetz said.

Chaffetz said his own letter was drafted before Shaub's speech. Chaffetz said he has been trying to meet with Shaub since the fall but that Shaub has declined his invitations. "All I wanted to do is try to get him to come in and talk to us," Chaffetz said.

Chaffetz' letter cited a series of tweets by Shaub in November. In the tweets, Shaub congratulated Trump for agreeing to divest from his business — an agreement that Trump never made.

The congressman's letter did not mention Shaub's speech.

In the speech, Shaub noted that members of Trump's Cabinet — some of them very wealthy, like Trump — are required to place their assets in a blind trust. Shaub said the president should be held to the same standard. "The plan the president-elect has announced doesn't meet the standards that the best of his nominees are meeting and that every president in the past four decades has met," Shaub said.

Shaub's criticism of Trump has been echoed by several government watchdog groups and both Republican and Democratic government ethics experts. They include Norman Eisen, a former chief ethics counselor for President Barack Obama, and Richard Painter, who served in the same role for President George W. Bush.

Congressional Democrats sharply criticized Chaffetz for summoning Shaub.

"The Oversight Committee has not held one hearing, conducted one interview, or obtained one document about President-elect Donald Trump's massive global entanglements, yet it is now apparently rushing to launch an investigation of the key government official for warning against the risks caused by President-elect Donald Trump's current plans," said Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland, then top Democrat on the committee.

Some Democrats see a coordinated effort by Republicans to undermine the office responsible for ethics reviews of Cabinet nominees and ensuring they will avoid conflicts of interests.

"Instead of honoring his committee's responsibility to hold the administration accountable, Chairman Chaffetz has appointed himself President-elect Trump's chief strongman and enforcer," said House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.

A week ago, Shaub complained that Senate Republicans were moving ahead with confirmation hearings before Trump's choices had reached ethics agreements.

This week, Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., circulated an online petition that says, "It's time for the bureaucrats at the Office of Government Ethics to pick up the pace on vetting President-elect Trump's nominees for the cabinet."
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BEN KOCHMAN Jan-12-2017 99 0
A NYPD lieutenant tasked with rooting out corruption instead conned taxpayers by working a second job at Yankee Stadium during his police shifts, authorities said Thursday.

Archie Van Putten, 47, an Integrity Control Officer responsible for making sure cops at the 42nd Precinct complete their tours of duty, left early from his own shifts at least 20 times from 2014 to 2016 to work a private security detail at the ballpark, said Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark.

Three times, Van Putten billed the city for overtime when he was in fact working his side security job, officials said.

Van Putten was originally charged with felony grand larceny, but prosecutors allowed him to plead down to a misdemeanor — and dodge jail time — if he paid the court back over $3,450 and left the force.

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"He has resigned from his job and will pay restitution of the few thousand dollars that was hardly worth disgracing his uniform," District Attorney Clark said in a statement.

Van Putten declined to speak when asked during his sentencing in Bronx Supreme Court if he had anything to say.

Afterward, he brushed off reporters without saying a word as he walked down the hallway.
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Colleen Jenkins Jan-10-2017 107 0
A U.S. jury on Tuesday condemned white supremacist Dylann Roof to death for the hate-fueled killings of nine black parishioners at a Bible study meeting in a Charleston, South Carolina, church in 2015.

The same jury last month found Roof, 22, guilty of 33 federal charges, including hate crimes resulting in death, for the shootings at the historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church.

Convicted murderer Dylann Roof was unrepentant at his federal capital trial on Tuesday, telling jurors who will decide whether he should be executed that he still felt killing nine black people at a South Carolina church was something he had to do.

Roof, a 22-year-old white supremacist who is representing himself, did not ask the jury to spare his life for the 2015 massacre at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston.
"In my confession to the FBI, I told them that I had to do it," Roof said during his short closing argument. "I felt like I had to do it when I said that and I still feel that way."

Jurors began deliberating the penalty phase of the trial just after 1:30 p.m. ET (1830 GMT). Last month, they deliberated for about two hours before finding Roof guilty of 33 charges, including hate crimes resulting in death.

Roof told the jury that federal prosecutors who accused him of being filled with hatred did not understand real hate. He noted it would only take one juror to block the unanimous verdict needed for a death sentence.

"I have a right to ask you to give me a life sentence, but I'm not sure what good that will do anyone," Roof said.

A U.S. prosecutor argued Roof deserved to die because the shooting was calculated and intended to incite racial violence.

Roof sat for 40 minutes with parishioners gathered for a Bible study meeting on June 17, 2015, before opening fire as they closed their eyes to pray, Assistant U.S. Attorney Jay Richardson said.
"He'd come with a hateful heart and a Glock 45," the prosecutor said during his two-hour final argument. "This was cold and calculated, planned for months, researched for years."

Jurors again viewed photos of the bodies of victims Clementa Pinckney, 41, the church’s pastor and a state senator; DePayne Middleton Doctor, 49; Sharonda Coleman Singleton, 45; Cynthia Hurd, 54; Susie Jackson, 87; Ethel Lance, 70; Myra Thompson, 59; Daniel Simmons Sr., 74; and Tywanza Sanders, 26.

Roof's offer to plead guilty in exchange for life in prison, his cooperation with authorities and his lack of a violent past did not outweigh the aggravating factors of the crime, Richardson said.
"What's wrong here is the calculated racism, the choice to target a church, particularly the people in a church," Richardson said. "What's wrong here is precisely why this is a case that justifies the death penalty."

(Writing by Colleen Jenkins; Editing by Alistair Bell and Alan Crosby)




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