Tag Archives: suicide

Judge acquits MySpace hoax mother

By Calvin Palmer

A Missouri mother convicted for her role in a MySpace hoax that eventually led to a 13-year-old girl committing suicide was acquitted today by a Los Angeles federal judge.

In his ruling, U.S. District Judge George Wu has acquitted Lori Drew, 50,  of misdemeanor counts of accessing computers without authorization. Wu says his ruling will become final when he issues it in writing.

Drew was convicted in a trial, but the judge says that if she is to be found guilty of illegally accessing computers, anyone who has ever violated the social networking site’s terms of service would be guilty of a misdemeanor.

Drew was due to be sentenced in May but Wu had delayed the sentencing until today, saying he wanted to consider the defense motion to dismiss the entire case.

Drew was widely criticized after the 2006 death of eighth-grader Megan Meier, an acquaintance of Drew’s daughter.

Prosecutors said Drew, her daughter and her 18-year-old employee used a fake profile of a teenage boy to flirt with Megan online via Beverly Hills-based MySpace. Megan hanged herself with a belt after getting a message, purportedly from the boy, telling her that “the world would be a better place without you.”

At the May hearing, Wu grilled Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark Krause at length about whether the government had prosecuted Drew under the appropriate laws when they asserted that violating MySpace’s terms of service amounted to a crime.

Krause argued that Drew’s acts were criminal because she signed up for the fake account with the intention of harming Megan by humiliating her. Drew knew her acts were illegal and deleted the account shortly after Megan’s death to cover up her crime, he contended.

Defense attorneys argued for probation and vehemently criticized the prosecution, calling its argument “utterly absurd”.

Prosecutors had sought the maximum three-year prison sentence and a $300,000 fine.

[Based on a report by the Los Angeles Times.]

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Forensics expert says Carradine did not commit suicide

By Calvin Palmer

Actor David Carradine did not commit suicide according to the findings of an independent forensics expert.

The 72-year-old actor’s brothers, Keith and Robert, issued a statement today saying Dr Michael Baden has concluded Carradine’s death was not suicide.

Baden said further information from Thailand is needed for a final determination as to the cause of death.

Carradine’s brothers expressed gratitude for the outpouring of support during a “profoundly painful time” and also thanked the U.S. and Thai authorities for their work.

The star of the TV series Kung Fu and more recently Kill Bill was found dead a week ago in a closet of a Bangkok hotel room.

Thai media reported suicide or accidental autoerotic asphyxiation as possible causes of death.

[Based on a report by the Associated Press.]

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Carradine’s death remains a mystery as manager claims ‘foul play’

By Calvin Palmer

David Carradine’s manager claims the death of the actor, best known for the 1970s TV series Kung Fu, was the result of “foul play”.

The 72-year-old actor’s body was found naked in the closet of his room at Nai Lert Park Hotel in Bangkok with a rope tied to his genitals and another rope around his neck.

Police Lt Gen Worapong Chewprecha said: “The two ropes were tied together. It is unclear whether he committed suicide or not or he died of suffocation or heart failure.”

Carradine’s personal manager, Chuck Binder, rejected the suicide theory but told CNN: “I don’t know if you want to call it accidental.

“I got some calls from Thailand today from a producer that worked with him. I don’t want to get into the middle of this whole investigation, but this guy said to me for sure there was foul play.”

An autopsy was carried out today but the results will not be known for three weeks because the cause of death was unclear.

“This certainly was not a natural cause of death,” said Nantana Sirisap, chief coroner at Bangkok’s Chulalongkom Hospital, adding that toxicology tests had been ordered.

Pornthip Rojanasunand, director of Thailand’s Central Institute of Forensic Science, said Carradine may have died attempting a sex act known as auto-erotic asphyxiation — cutting off oxygen to the brain for sexual arousal.

Police chief Colonel Somprasong Yentuam said the investigation was continuing.

“We are currently interviewing witnesses, film crew, hotel staff and the last person who saw David alive. So far, no-one saw anyone enter David’s room around the estimated time of death,” he said.

Carradine had flown to Thailand last week and began work on a film titled Stretch two days before his death. He had several other projects lined up.

His wife, Annie, and close friends rejected suggestions that Carradine deliberately took his own life, despite the fact he had spoken openly of contemplating suicide in the past.

Director Quentin Tarantino, who brought Carradine back into the spotlight in Kill Bill, told CNN: “There might have been a period of David’s long life that he could have been suicidal, but this wasn’t the time.”

[Based on reports by The Daily Telegraph and Associated Press.]

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Actor David Carradine found dead in Bangkok hotel room

By Calvin Palmer

Actor David Carradine has been found dead in his hotel room in Bangkok.

The star of the Kung Fu TV series and movies such as Kill Bill is believed to have committed suicide. He was in the Thai capital to shoot Stretch, his latest film.

Police told the BBC that a hotel maid found the 72-year-old actor this morning sitting in a wardrobe with a rope around his neck and genitals.

Local media report Carradine was believed to have committed suicide and had hanged himself with a curtain cord in his suite at the Park Nai Lert Hotel.

U.S. Embassy spokesman Michael Turner confirmed the actor’s death. He said Carradine died either late Wednesday or early Thursday, but he could not provide further details out of consideration for his family.

Carradine was a leading member of a venerable Hollywood acting family that included his father, character actor John Carradine, and brother Keith.

In all, he appeared in more than 100 feature films with such directors as Martin Scorsese, Ingmar Bergman and Hal Ashby.

But he was best known for his role as Kwai Chang Caine, a Shaolin priest traveling the 1800s American frontier West in the TV series Kung Fu, which aired in 1972-75.

He reprised the role in a mid-1980s TV movie and played Caine’s grandson in the 1990s syndicated series Kung Fu: The Legend Continues.

He returned to the top in recent years as the title character in Quentin Tarantino’s two-part saga Kill Bill.

[Based on reports by the Associated Press and The Daily Telegraph.]

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Father beat and asphyxiated wife and two daughters then killed himself

By Calvin Palmer

The father of the family found dead in a Maryland hotel beat and asphyxiated his wife and two daughters and then killed himself, police said today.

After killing them one at a time over a period of hours on Sunday, William Parente took his own life by cutting himself, Baltimore County Police Chief James W. Johnson said at a news conference.

No suicide note was found and police are still investigating a possible motive.

Johnson said police had learned about “questionable financial dealings” but referred further questions to the FBI in New York.

Monica McLean, a, FBI spokeswoman in New York, said the agency is reviewing information provided to them by Baltimore County police.
 
A Queens attorney Bruce Montague, 47, filed a complaint with the New York state  attorney general’s office yesterday afternoon, alleging he invested nearly $450,000 with William Parente, a tax and estate lawyer, and never got the money back. Montague said a bank official told him four checks written by Parente would not clear.

An employee at the Sheraton Baltimore North Hotel, in Towson, found the bodies of William Parente, 59, his wife, Betty, 58, and their two daughters — Loyola College sophomore Stephanie, 19, and  Catherine, 11 —  inside a locked room about 3:00 p.m. Monday.

Police said the Parentes checked into the hotel last Wednesday and were due to check out Monday. They said the entire family ate breakfast together Sunday morning. Sometime after that, William Parente killed his wife. At a later point, he killed his 11-year-old daughter.

Then, apparently sometime late Sunday afternoon, the 19-year-old daughter arrived at the hotel room and was killed, police said.

Police confirmed that William Parente took a phone call from a concerned Loyola College student that night. Police said that Parente received that call about midnight, and at some point after that killed himself by cutting himself with a knife. Police would not say what part of his body he cut.

The man’s body was found in the bathroom. The bodies of the wife and daughters apparently had been moved after the killings and were found lined up on a king-sized bed.

Police said they believe Parente used one or more of several objects recovered from the room to beat his wife and daughters but would not say what the objects were.

The medical examiner listed the manner of death of the wife and daughters as homicide, and the cause for all three as asphyxiation and blunt force trauma. Police did not say whether the three were strangled or smothered.

William Parente’s death was suicide caused by cutting with a knife.

The family lived in Garden City on Long Island, a small, upper-middle-class community. William Parente was a tax and estate lawyer with a midtown Manhattan office. Betty Parente was a homemaker and a charity fundraiser. Catherine was a sixth-grader at Garden City Middle School.

[Based on reports by The Baltimore Sun and Associated Press.]

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Freddie Mac executive found dead in apparent suicide

By Calvin Palmer

The acting chief financial officer and a senior vice president of troubled mortgage giant Freddie Mac was found dead in his Virginia home today.

David Kellerman, 41, was found dead at his home in Vienna around 5:00 a.m. in an apparent suicide, Fairfax County police said.

A call from inside the red brick home in the Hunter Mill Estate subdivision alerted police. Kellermann lived at the $900,000 house with his wife Donna and 5-year-old daughter Grace.

Police spokesman Eddy Azcarate said Kellermann’s body was found in the basement. It is not known if he left a suicide note or any indication as to what may have driven him to take his own life.

A law enforcement source told the Associated Press that Kellerman had hanged himself.

Kellermann was named acting chief financial officer of Freddie Mac last September, when the federal government seized Freddie Mac and sister company Fannie Mae to prevent their collapse. Both companies had made risky mortgage-related investments that were causing billions in losses.

As acting chief financial officer, Kellermann reported directly to the company’s chief executive. He was responsible for the company’s financial controls, financial reporting, tax, capital oversight, and compliance with federal oversight requirements, and also oversaw the company’s annual budgeting and financial planning processes.

He previously served as senior vice president, corporate controller and principal accounting officer for Freddie Mac.

Kellermann graduated from the University of Michigan and did graduate work at George Washington University. He was a volunteer board member of the D.C. Coalition for the Homeless.

Freddie Mac’s government-appointed chief executive, David Moffett, quit last month after arguments with the regulator about its tight grip on company affairs.

[Based on reports by The Washington Post and AFP.]

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Suspect in killing of four people at Alabama home found dead

By Calvin Palmer

The man suspected of killing his estranged wife, daughter, his sister and her son this morning at a house in Alabama was found dead later today near his home.

Kevin Garner’s body was found just after 3:30 p.m in a wooded area near the home he had shared with his estranged wife in Priceville, Morgan County. The house had been burned down overnight.

Chief investigator for Lauderdale County Sheriff’s Office Travis Clemmons said Garner apparently killed himself and a weapon was recovered from the scene.

Garner, 45, shot dead his 40-year-old wife, Tammy, and their 16-year-old daughter, Chelsie, at a house in Greenhill. He also killed his sister and her 11-year-old son who were staying overnight at the house. Their names have not been released.

Investigators say the four were killed between midnight and 3:00 a.m.

Garner’s wife and daughter moved to Greenhill when divorce proceedings began about a year ago.

Garner and his wife were scheduled to appear at a divorce hearing tomorrow morning in the Morgan County Courthouse.
 
They were married in 1987 in Lauderdale County, according to court records.

[Based on reports by The Times Daily and Associated Press.]

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