As y'all may or may not be aware, I was out and about the last two weeks, am now in the long, drawn-out oredeal of traveling back home - a process which will take the better part of a week as I have work to attend to and errands to do on the way home.
It is a busy time, which is good $-wise esp with winter coming on in the northern hemisphere but Blog STORMBRINGER will suffer over the coming months - maybe now is a good time to re-invent my format . . .
- S. L.
Right now here's a couple items that caught my eye:
Virginia Justices Reject Innocence Claim in 1995 Slaying
Dustin Turner, a former Navy SEAL trainee who has served 12 years in prison for a notorious Virginia Beach murder, has won another day in court.
Turner, 33, is seeking to get his conviction overturned on the strength of a 2003 admission by his co-defendant, Billy Joe Brown, that Brown was solely responsible for the choking death of Jennifer Evans, a Georgia college student, outside an Oceanfront bar in 1995.
Under a 2004 law allowing convicts to present newly discovered evidence of innocence, Turner has been granted a hearing to determine the credibility of Brown's confession - a step rarely taken by the courts. The hearing will be held in Virginia Beach Circuit Court next month.
In 1995, Brown and Turner were SEAL "swim buddies" nearing the end of their training for the Navy's elite commando corps at Little Creek Naval Amphibious Base.
Prosecutors have claimed from the beginning that Brown and Turner lured Evans out of a Virginia Beach nightclub intent on having a three-way sexual encounter and killed her in Turner's car when she resisted.
Turner claims that he and Evans were sitting in the front seat of the car when a drunken and belligerent Brown climbed into the back seat, reached over and strangled the woman.
Under questioning by police, each blamed the other for the murder. Turner admitted helping cover up the crime and led police to Evans' decomposed body in a wooded Newport News park.
The two were convicted by separate juries in two highly publicized trials in 1996. Turner was sentenced to 82 years in prison; Brown, 72 years.
In a sworn statement in 2003, Brown took full responsibility for the slaying, saying he had become a Christian and "can no longer allow someone who is innocent to continue to pay for what I did."
Largely on the strength of Brown's confession - and a supportive letter from the jury foreman in Turner's case - Turner petitioned then-Gov. Mark Warner for a pardon in 2004. Warner denied the petition.
In 2004, the exception was widened to include non-biological evidence, allowing prisoners to petition the Virginia Court of Appeals for a "writ of actual innocence." The law sets a high standard: The new evidence must be so strong that "no rational trier of fact could have found proof of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt."
The state attorney general's office argued for dismissal of Turner's petition, saying Brown's credibility had been "hopelessly compromised by his ever-evolving, conflicting accounts."
Turner's attorney, David Hargett, argued in his reply brief that the only way to assess Brown's credibility is to put him on the witness stand. The appeals court agreed and ordered the hearing.
Once the Circuit Court rules on the issue of Brown's credibility, the case will return to the appeals court for disposition. The losing side will then have one final avenue of appeal, to the state Supreme Court.
Read the full story and judge for yourself HERE
Reno, Nevada Air Show Crash: 3 Dead More Than 50 Hurt
At least three people are dead and more than 50 people were injured after a World War II era fighter plane plunged into the spectators at an air show in Reno, Nevada.
Officials at the National Championship Air Race said a mechanical failure may have caused the plane P-51 Mustang "Galloping Ghost" piloted by Jimmy Leeward, to plummet out of the sky Friday afternoon and crash into the viewer grandstands.
Reno Air Races president Mike Houghton said the plane was on course before the accident occurred.
"Speculation has gone on a different number of different areas to what took place. Different people see different things. But there appear to be some air-flight problem with the aircraft that caused it to go out of control," Houghton said.
Today's Bird HERE