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Debra Lafave; Teacher-student sex plea deal rejected

It’s about time a judge stood up for the rule of law and treated the Lafave case for what it Lafave teachersexwas. As soon as the original plea deal was announced most everyone shook their head and said the sentence was too light. It immediately set off a firestorm and criticism of a double standard that “kept the attractive, young media darling out of prison”.A Marion County Judge rejected the plea deal. Debra Lafave faces similar charges in Marion County as she did in Hillsborough County because one of the alleged sexual incidents took place there.

A judge in Marion County, Florida, on Thursday rejected a proposed plea deal for Debra Lafave, who pleaded guilty in another county to having sex with a 14-year-old student while she was a teacher. Lafave 1208judge

“The agreement went below the guidelines, and I’m not willing to go below the guidelines,” Judge Hale Stancil told CNN, without elaborating.

The trial in Marion County for the 25-year-old former reading teacher is set for April 10.

Defense attorneys had sought to spare their client a prison sentence, which they were able to do with the plea agreement in Hillsborough County. Lafave pleaded guilty there on November 22 to two counts of lewd and lascivious behavior.

ABC Action News: In surprise move, Marion County judge rejects Lafave plea deal

It looks like the plea deal that kept Debra Lafave out of prison was too good to be true after all.

Thursday afternoon, a judge in Marion County rejected the plea arrangementLaFave atty that had previously looked like a done deal in Hillsborough County, meaning the former teacher will be going to trial next spring on charges of sexual battery.

“The court is not going to, at this time, accept the plea that has been presented,” Judge Hale Stancel stated.

With what was expected to be a stamp of approval from the Marion County Judge turned out to be far from it today in court.

Based on that last allegation, Lafave faced charges in both Hillsborough and Marion counties. Her November plea deal with prosecutors in Hillsborough — which left her with three years of house arrest, seven years of probation, and status as a sex offender — was said to include the Marion County charges. The judge’s stamp of approval was expected to be a formality today, but he rejected the deal and set an April trial date. Lafave3

“There were some unexpected developments today in court. I really don’t want to comment on those developments. I anticipate that we will be here in the next couple of weeks,” John Fitzgibbons said. Prosecutors even seemed surprised by the turn of events.

Judging from the glare on Debra Lafave’s mothers face and attorney’s reaction, someone has some explaining to do. A defendant agreeing to a plea deal that is supposed to encompass both county’s charges, only to have it fall through. Someone did not dot the i’s and cross the t’s. Ouch. The trial is expected to go forward in Marion, despite the wishes of the victim’s family.

Tampa Bay News 10: LaFave’s attorney reacts to plea rejection

Attorney John Fitzgibbons says Debra Lafave was obviously upset by the events in court on Thursday. Fitzgibbons says that was clear from the tears in her eyes. LaFave’s mother also appeared to be moved to tears because of the judge’s decision.

Fitzgibbons told me the events were “not a total surprise.” Fitzgibbons says after practicing law for several years, he never counts on a judge going along with a plea agreement until it is signed, sealed and delivered. Now Debra Lafave finds herself between the proverbial rock.

“If it goes to trial, Debbie can withdraw her plea in Hillsborough”

However that is not likely to happen, because it would be a huge gamble that the insanity plea would work. LaFave also isn’t facing any jail time in Hillsborough. Meantime while the judge has jurisdiction over the case, “the Marion state attorney could end the case by dropping all the charges”

That too isn’t likely, because the state attorney has to stand for re-election. That could be political suicide if the charges are dropped, even though the state attorney was not pleased with the judge’s decision.

December 8th, 2005 at 10:47pm Posted by | Pictures, sex offender, Teacher-Student | 4 comments

An Email from Robert Buran, father of Erik Buran

There are so many times that writing about missing persons cases and getting personally Erik 1involved with searches is difficult at best and emotionally draining. Then one thinks just how fortunate you are and the pain, anguish and utter desperation that parents and loved ones are going through. This is their world and their life. The loss of a child is a pain that is like no other. Unless you are a part of this fraternity of parents, my belief is you are not allowed to even comment on the erratic behavior that may result. What is the proper way to act? Are you supposed to give up? Are you supposed to be civil when it appears that you are not getting the proper help. ErikI hardly doubt it. You do whatever it takes to get you child back.

Robert Buran is just one example of the perseverance of a father’s love for his son and the unwillingness to give up. He faced many obstacles a long the way. Bad tips, poor information and restrictions within the Amber Alert system.

That being said, he never gave up. The following was an email that Erik’s daddy provided. Everyone following missing person’s cases needs to read from the mouth of one who has experienced it first hand. How would you react? All I know is that in whatever way we could we are glad to have helped Robert and get his story out there. We are also glad to have been introduced to Kelly Jolkowski at Project Jason who does a tremendous job on giving “Voice for the Missing”.

Erik Has Come Home

by Daddy

Erik and I came home about 11:00 AM December 3, Erik’s fifth birthday. After three days Erik now seems to me the same boy that left me eight Erik Robertmonths ago.

Erik evidences some signs of emotional difficulties from his ordeal, but I think they are temporary. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCME) is providing some counseling.

Erik complained of excessive spankings, but his body is free of bruises, cuts or abrasions. He appears a little thin and I weighed and measured him today and his statistics are unchanged from eight months ago. In the fourth year of his life Erik did not grow or gain weight.

His vocabulary is sprinkled with sub Standard English phrases like “don’t got”, “ain’t” and “how come?” but he is responding to father’s gentle corrections. His cognitive reasoning does seem improved. Some may be interested in some details so I enclose the following based on interviews of several people. This is the chronology:

April 25, 2005: Steven Streight, 53, and Karen O’Grady 50, abandon the Fernley Nevada home being paid for by Karen’s husband by a marriage subsequently annulled for fraud. They take with them my son, age 4, and travel in an unregistered small 1979 motor home painted white with bright blue stripes. For eight months their whereabouts would remain unknown.

The couple head south on Nevada Highway 95 and arrive in three days in Alamogordo, New Mexico. In the heat of the summer they initially move into free campgrounds at altitude in the Lincoln National forest. Steven Streight works sporadically at roofing jobs and general labor. He insists he be paid in cash only and he is fired several times.

By mid summer they move to Albuquerque and do most of their camping in Wall Mart parking lots with access to cheap food and restroom facilities.

Erik is told his real father is Steven Streight and is instructed to call him “Daddy”. Erik complies. He is told I am in Chicago and do not give a damn.

The investigation is plagued by lack of tips and poor information. A PI gets excited about phone calls from Karen’s parent’s home to a wealthy bay area engineer. The calls turn out to be Karen’s sister calling her boyfriend. O’Grady’s family tells investigators that the couple is in New Mexico and Streight’s family tell them they are in Texas. Much of the investigation is focused on Texas. I also provide bad tips to investigators and based on one of these detectives from the San Diego Police Department are dispatched to San Felipe, Mexico, a place the abductors never went.

read the rest here…

December 8th, 2005 at 10:00pm Posted by | Amber Alert, child welfare, Erik Buran | 3 comments

Theories Abound in Halbach Murder. Did Steven Avery have Help?

Theories are still swirling about the Teresa Halbach murder a day after a Manitowoc County judge decided Steven Avery should stand trial for the crime. The question on every one’s mind is whether Steven Avery had help or not in th murder and cover up of the crime?

Mishicot is just a few miles east of Avery’s home. Shirley Brose lives nearby, and says she can’t go anywhere without people talking about the Avery case. She echoes, “‘Do you think so-and-so-did it?’ ‘Do you think one of their relatives did it?’ ‘Do you think a relative was involved?’”

The many theories and rumors that are in the air is that the police may not have uncovered the complete story of what transpired and that Steven Avery had help.

Despite the evidence laid out and the fact Avery is headed for trial, a lot of people in Mishicot say they don’t feel police have uncovered the real story of what happened on the Avery family property.

“I definitely think he had help,” Jeff Huycke expressed, saying the case is “very close to home, and it’s not good.”

Like in most of these cases, the evidence points toward one individual. Now the prosecutors just need to prove the case and there appears to be a mountain of evidence against Avery.

And like in all cases, Defense Attorneys: Avery To Plead Not Guilty.

Defense lawyers say that the man accused of killing missing photographer Teresa Halbach will plead not guilty when he returns to court for his arraignment on Jan. 17.

Steven Avery, 43, was ordered to stand trial on Tuesday on charges that he killed Halbach at the Avery family’s auto salvage yard near Mishicot and got rid of the body by burning it.

Avery has contended that he’s being set up because of the $36-million lawsuit that he filed against Manitowoc County for being wrongly convicted in a 1985 rape case. After serving 18 years, he was freed from prison two years ago after DNA evidence showed that he didn’t commit the rape.

For the first time we see verification from the crime labs that the remains and DNA material that was discovered at the Avery Salvage Yard property was in fact that of Teresa Halbach.

Now, the DNA evidence described in court Tuesday showed bone fragments found in a burn pit on the Avery property were consistent with Halbach’s genetic material.

Sherry Culane, a DNA analyst with the state crime laboratory, said that that profile could be found in only one out of 1 billion white people.

The FBI is doing more DNA testing of the remains to come up with a positive identification.

Update: Family Files Death Certificate

The Halbach’s family has filed her death certificate with the Manitowoc County register of deeds.

The certificate notes that her body wasn’t found but lists the place of death as the address of the salvage yard on Avery Road in the town of Gibson.

December 8th, 2005 at 02:08am Posted by | Found Deceased, Missing, Missing Adult, Steven Avery, Teresa Marie Halbach | one comment

Human Remains Found in Clark County Could be that of Christine Rudy

It appears that there may be a break in the case of Christine Rudy. A grim one in fact. Clark County authorities who have been searching for, Christine Rudy, a missing pregnant woman report tonight that investigators found what appeared to be human remains.

But the Clark County Sheriff’s Department released no details about the discovery, except that the items were transported to the state crime laboratory for analysis and identification.

In a news release, the department says it doesn’t know how long that process will take.

The hunt for 21-year-old Christine Rudy of Thorp has continued since she was reported missing last month.

Her husband says he last saw her the afternoon of November 12th when he left her along a road in a forest about 12 miles from their home at her request after they were arguing.

Authorities are not commenting on whether the remains are that of the missing pregnant Christine Rudy until the tests come back from the State Crime Lab in Madison.

Authorities are not saying where the remains were discovered, but say the State Crime Lab in Madison will analyze what was found. They are also not saying if this is connected to Christine Rudy’s disappearance, but say they notified her parents on Wednesday night about what they found.

Christine has been missing since November 12th. Chief Deputy Jim Backus says the sheriff’s office is still asking the public for information that could help in their investigation into her disappearance. “We’re still leaving the investigation wide open,” he says, “This is just another part of the puzzle that we’re trying to complete the investigation so we’re still continuing on with what we have been doing. We will be waiting for this testing to be completed which sounds like it may not be done until next week.”

More troubling news in this missing persons case. On Wednesday, Shaun Rudy as in Court facing unrelated charges of felony firearm possession. Its always the ones with multiple unrelated charges.

Shaun Rudy is charged with felony firearm possession. He made his initial court appearance in Clark County. The arresting officer says he pulled Rudy over for driving with an obstructed window. That’s when he says he found a gun in Rudy’s car. The officer says Rudy claimed the gun was not his, but police say a witness says the opposite. Rudy is a convicted felon, which means he is not allowed to carry a firearm.

December 8th, 2005 at 01:33am Posted by | Christine Rudy, Missing, Missing Adult, Search and Rescue | 3 comments