September 2022

‘Send him home,’ defense attorney pleads at closing of double murder trial

KALAMAZOO, MI – For a second time a jury will decide if Tikario McMillon committed a double murder.

There is no evidence that ties McMillon to the crime, no fingerprints or weapons, defense attorney Caleb Grimes said Wednesday, Sept. 28 during closing arguments of the jury trial. Instead, the prosecutor’s office relied on testimony from people who were given plea agreements that drastically reduced their expected incarceration times, he said.

“Zero physical evidence – here’s something interesting too, zero motive,” Grimes said.

McMillon, 19, is charged with two counts of open murder and two counts of felony firearm in Kalamazoo County Circuit Court before Judge Paul Bridenstine. He is accused of shooting Katoya McPherson, 33, and Floyd Brashers Jr., 36.

Related: Retrial of Kalamazoo man charged in double murder gets underway

McPherson and Brashers were found dead Dec. 29, 2020, at the Oak Tree apartment complex, located in the 3700 block of Parkside Drive. They were found by a maintenance man employed by the property management company that owns the complex. The couple was shot and killed the night prior, police have said.

A jury could not reach a unanimous verdict during McMillon’s first trial in March. A mistrial was declared, and a new jury heard from witnesses and attorneys, starting Sept. 26.

Related: Jury fails to return verdict in Kalamazoo double murder trial, resulting in mistrial

Brashers was shot five times and McPherson was shot two times, Kalamazoo County Assistant Medical Examiner Dr. Theodore Brown tested.

D-Angelo Davis, McMillon’s brother, was found guilty earlier this summer of two counts of first-degree, pre-meditated murder in the deaths of McPherson and Brashers. The 26-year-old Davis was sentenced Aug. 5 to life in prison by Bridenstine.

Davis had originally taken a plea agreement in exchange for agreeing to testify in McMillon’s

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JT Burnette lawyer raises conduct of FBI agent as issue before federal appeals court

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The alleged conduct of an undercover FBI agent in the public corruption investigation of John “JT” Burnette and his co-defendants — and a decision by a judge to keep some details out of evidence — became a key point of contention during oral arguments in the wealthy businessman’s appeal.

The fight over the evidence has been under seal for years, though it burst into public view Wednesday when a three-judge panel with the 11th Circuit Court of Appeal convened to hear arguments in the high-profile case.

Amy Mason Saharia, a prominent Washington lawyer representing Burnette, asked the judges to vacate Burnette’s conviction, which came last summer after a lengthy trial. Connor Winn, a criminal appeals lawyer for the Department of Justice, asked that the judgment be affirmed.

Saharia argued that US District Judge Robert Hinkle mistakenly instructed the jury on what constitutes bribery and improperly allowed one of the undercover FBI agents, “Mike Sweet,” to testify about Burnette’s lack of truthfulness during secretly recorded conversations.

Burnette case appealed: Federal appeals court will hear oral arguments in JT Burnette bribery case


John “JT” Burnette leaves the US Courthouse after he was sentenced to three years in federal prison for public corruption charges Tuesday, Nov. 9, 2021.

She also complained that jurors were not allowed to hear testimony about the conduct of Sweet himself during a December 2016 trip to Las Vegaswhere Burnette and a co-defendant, former City Commissioner and Major Scott Maddox, were wined and

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Texas court confirms the AG can’t unilaterally prosecute election cases

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Gary’s Kennedy library reopens after insurance lapse, car crash

The shuttered John F. Kennedy Library, a branch of the Gary Public Library system, has the green light to reopen from its insurance agent.

In January, a vehicle struck the library at 3953 Broadway, damaging masonry on its southwest corner.

The squabbling library board couldn’t agree on a contractor and then couldn’t reach a quorum at other meetings and its insurance lapsed Aug. 31 as the claim remains outstanding. As a result, the branch closed Sept. 1.

At a special meeting Wednesday, insurance agent Leslie Skinner-Leslie, of Haywood and Fleming Associates, told the library board it again had insurance coverage and she advised the board to reopen the branch as soon as possible.

The branch reopens Monday. It will be open from 10 am to 6 pm on Mondays and Wednesdays and noon to 8 pm on Thursdays.

On a recent afternoon, the damaged southwest corner of the Kennedy branch remained shrouded in orange snow fencing.

“The car went airborne and hit that corner,” board president Akilia McCain said of the accident.

A flier about a program to learn chess was taped to the inside of the glass door, along with other notices about library events that also have been on hold. The library closed briefly after the January crash, McCain said, and remained open until its insurance lapsed because the repairs hadn’t been made.

Meanwhile, board member Robert Buggs, who’s butted heads with McCain since she joined the board in January, said the Kennedy work could have been completed months ago if the McCain-led board hadn’t balked at a bid from Pangere Construction.

Instead, McCain advocated hiring project manager Douglas Cunningham, a move Buggs opposed saying he’s not licensed by the city.

Buggs argues that such a recommendation should have come through library director Diana Morrow and

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‘Riverdale’ actor and convicted murderer Ryan Grantham fears for his safety in maximum-security prison: lawyer

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“Riverdale” actor and convicted murderer Ryan Grantham is worried about his safety if he serves his sentence in a maximum-security prison, according to his lawyer, Chris Johnson.

The 24-year-old Canadian was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole in 14 years after he pleaded guilty to the second-degree murder of his mother Barbara Waite.

Johnson told Fox News Digital Grantham could be at a higher risk of abuse in prison due to his “diminutive” stature and “young-looking” appearance.

The Vancouver-based criminal defense lawyer said the issue was first raised during court proceedings by the judge who presided over Grantham’s case, Justice Kathleen Ker.


According to Johnson, Justice Ker requested that corrections authorities send Grantham to a medium-security prison instead of a maximum-security facility.

"Riverdale" actor and convicted murderer Ryan Grantham is worried about his safety if he serves his sentence in a maximum-security prison, according to his lawyer, Chris Johnson

“Riverdale” actor and convicted murderer Ryan Grantham is worried about his safety if he serves his sentence in a maximum-security prison, according to his lawyer, Chris Johnson
(Andrew Chin/Getty Images)

Johnson said he shares her concern over Grantham’s safety as the former child actor is 5-foot-2, weighs “about 100 pounds” and “looks like a 17-year-old.

“My biggest concern is that he will be preyed upon by other prisoners and perhaps abused by them. We send people to prison to be both punished and rehabilitated. And so I’m hopeful that the latter can take place. We don’t send people to prison so they can be punished by other prisoners.”

Johnson explained that, in the Canadian court system, the court has no authority to determine which institution an offender serves time. He said once an offender is sentenced, correction authorities have jurisdiction over that decision.

“All the judges in our case

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Steve Flesch takes advantage of Steven Alker’s late miscues to win the PURE Insurance Championship at Pebble Beach | Golf News and Tour Information

Steven Alker has not misfired often in his spectacular PGA Tour Champions run, but he did so at the least opportunity time late on Sunday afternoon at Pebble Beach Golf Links, providing an opening on which Steve Flesch cashed in with a victory in the PURE Insurance Championship .

Alker, the New Zealander who already had won three times in 2022, attempted to reach the green at the par-5 18th hole with his second shot, but hit his ball left and into the Pacific Ocean. Flesch, henceforth, had laid up with his second shot, then wedged his third to seven feet from the hole and made the birdie putt for the victory.

“Big goal of mine winning here at Pebble Beach,” Flesch said. “A lot of great players have come through here and won. It’s exciting. I’ve always played well here. To get a chance at a victory today, Steven gave me an opportunity on the last hole, hitting it left, and I hit a good wedge shot.”

The victory was the second of the year for Flesch and the third of his PGA Tour Champions career. He finished with a four-under-par 68 for a 54-hole score of 11-under-par 205. Alker shot a three-under 69 and tied for second with Ernie Els, who posted the round of the day, an eight- under 64.

Alker, who leads the Charles Schwab Cup standings, has been dominant since joining the senior tour last year, and he seemed destined to win again. He took a one-stroke lead into the par-3 17th hole, but tugged his tee shot, the ball stopping on the left side of the bunker. He had to manufacture a stance that even would allow him to have a shot, which he then left short. Hhe missed the

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Our View: Maine’s Indigent legal services system cannot wait for help any longer

To the surprise of absolutely no one, Maine’s system for indigent legal services is in crisis, without enough lawyers to cover cases, or money to attract more.

People wait outside the Biddeford District Court to make their initial court appearances. Earlier this year, lawmakers agreed to allocate $966,000 to employ Maine’s first five full-time public defenders. But hiring has not yet begun, and no one thinks that will be enough. Photo courtesy of Gabe Souza

The system has been headed toward this emergency for months, even years now, yet Gov. Mills and the Legislature have failed to take sufficient action.

They cannot wait any longer. Gov. Mills should call immediately for a special session of the Legislature so lawmakers can provide funding as soon as possible.

Every day she waits is another day that the state of Maine violates the rights of the defendants who cannot afford their own legal representation – rights given to them under the Sixth Amendment of the US Constitution.

The state has been violating those rights for some time, thanks to its one-of-a-kind system for providing indirect legal services.

Maine is the only state without a public defender‘s office. Instead, it pays private attorneys to represent poor defendants through the Maine Commission on Indigent Legal Services.

It has been an insufficient system for years. But warning bells really began ringing in late 2019, when the Government Oversight Committee ordered an investigation following a study that cited “serious concerns” about overbilling and inadequate performance.

While the commission has made improvements since then, it has not overcome its central issue: There aren’t enough lawyers willing to take cases.

The problem has only gotten worse since the pandemic, as the courts try to work through a backlog. There are now 27,600 pending misdemeanor and felony cases

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NY attorney general may sue Trump after rejecting settlement offer

The New York attorney general’s office has rebuffed an offer from Donald Trump’s lawyers to settle a contentious civil investigation into the former president and his family real estate business, setting the stage for a lawsuit that would accuse Trump of fraud, according to three people with knowledge of the matter.

The attorney general, Letitia James, is also considering suing at least one of Trump’s adult children, the people said. Ivanka, Eric and Donald Trump Jr., have all been senior executives at Trump’s company, the Trump Organization.

The likelihood of a lawsuit grew this month after James’ office rejected at least one settlement offer from Trump’s lawyers, the people said. While the Trump Organization for months has made overtures to the attorney general’s office — and the two sides could still reach a deal — there is no indication that a settlement will materialize anytime soon.

James, a Democrat who is running for reelection in November, is focused on whether Trump fraudulently inflated the value of his assets and has mounted a 3 1/2-year inquiry that has cemented her as one of the former president’s chief antagonists. Trump, who has denied all wrongdoing and derided the investigation as a politically motivated witch hunt, has fired back at her, filing an unsuccessful lawsuit to block her inquiry and calling James, who is Black, a racist.

A lawsuit from James would supercharge their drawn-out battle, offering her an opportunity to deliver a significant blow to the former president and his business, which she vowed before taking office to “vigorously investigate.” If the case goes to trial and Trump loses, a judge could impose financial penalties and restrict the former president’s business operations in New York — all potentially in the midst of a 2024 presidential campaign that he is expected to join.

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Harvard Says Insurance Company Knew of Affirmative Action Lawsuit, Should Cover Legal Fees | News

Harvard told a federal judge last week that its insurance company was aware of a high-profile lawsuit challenging its race-conscious admissions process, saying the firm, Zurich American Insurance Company, should have to cover the University’s legal fees.

In a brief filed last week, lawyers for Harvard asked Judge Allison D. Burroughs to take its lawsuit against the insurance firm to trial. The filing comes one month after Zurich asked the court to throw out the case with a summary judgment.

Harvard sued Zurich last September, alleging the firm violated its contract by refusing to cover the legal fees Harvard racked up in its ongoing litigation against the anti-affirmative action group Students for Fair Admissions, which currently sits before the Supreme Court. Zurich says it should not have to cover Harvard’s legal fees because the school did not notify it of SFFA’s lawsuit in time.

Harvard purchased an excess insurance policy with Zurich in 2014 for legal fees exceeding $25 million. The school had also bought a different insurance policy with the American International Group the same year to cover the first $25 million.

Zurich did not pay Harvard for the excess costs once the cap was exceeded, telling the University that it “did not receive timely notice of the SFFA claim,” according to the school’s initial lawsuit.

Lawyers for Zurich wrote in an August filing that the University had to notify the firm within 90 days of the AIG’s policy period ending in order for it to cover the excess fees. The 90-day window ended in January 2016, but Harvard did not provide formal notice until May 2017, according to court filings.

The University has acknowledged in court filings that it did not formally notify Zurich until May 2017, but it argued in briefs submitted last week that

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800+ evidence hearings scheduled in Richmond

RICHMOND, Va. — At Central Virginia Legal Aid Society, many of the cases they’ve had in the last few months have been evictions.

“The climate right now is grim,” Marty Wegbreit, the Central Virginia Legal Aid Society’s director of litigation, said. “In Richmond General District Court, there are 803 evidence hearings scheduled.”

Fifteen of those involve tenants from Grace Place Apartments in Richmond, which is an apartment complex CBS 6 previously reported on after residents received a letter from building owners Franklin Capital Group. The letter gave residents just over a month to be out of their apartments by May 31.

Grace Place Apartments


Grace Place Apartments

Following that, residents received another letter stating that they now had to be out by June 31. However, Wegbreit told tenants that the letter did not serve as a legal eviction notice.

“The owner sued 17 households about three weeks ago for eviction,” Wegbreit said. “I went to court on Friday, Sept. 16 on behalf of 15 of those 17 households. [We] contested, and asked the court to order additional court papers.”

The court agreed and set the next court date for Dec. 6.

Marty Wegbreit, the Central Virginia Legal Aid Society's director of litigation


Marty Wegbreit, the Central Virginia Legal Aid Society’s director of litigation

“The owners of Grace Place Apartments had agreements with the government to get tax breaks tax credits, and in return, they would keep the premises open for low-income people for 30 years,” Wegbreit explained.

That agreement does not end until December 2031, according to Wegbreit.

“That’s the bottom line. You can’t break a government agreement that you benefited from and harmed the people who were supposed to get the benefit of said agreement,” he said.

Central Virginia Legal Aid Society


Central Virginia Legal Aid Society

Franklin Capital Group is also being sued by the City of Richmond for delinquent taxes. The Richmond

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