Four men have today been found guilty after posting extreme right wing stickers across a campus of a city centre university. A fifth man was acquitted.

The four were caught on CCTV on the evening of 9 July 2016 posting the stickers on signage at Aston University with the intention of inciting racial hatred. The stickers were discovered by security staff two days later and reported to police who started a hate crime investigation.

On the same day in Birmingham city centre, a Black Lives Matter demonstration was also being held.

The jury at Birmingham Crown Court took just over four hours to return the guilty verdicts.

The group comprises:

Chad Williams-Allen, aged 26 from Tantany Lane, West Bromwich and Gary Jack, aged 21, from Heathland Road, Shard End.

Two other men also stood trial but cannot be named for legal reasons.

They are due to be sentenced on 1 June.

Detective Chief Superintendent Matt Ward, who heads the West Midlands Counter Terrorism Unit, said: “We are committed to tackling all forms of extremism which has the potential to threaten public safety and security.”

Anyone who sees or hears something that could be terrorist-related should act on their instincts and call the police in confidence on 0800 789 321. In an emergency, always dial 999. Visit gov.uk/ACT for more information, including how to report extremist or terrorist content that is online.

West Midlands Police

A Charlottesville judge is handing down a guilty verdict in a case tied to violence during the Unite the Right rally last summer.

Richard Wilson Preston went before Judge Richard Moore in Charlottesville Circuit Court Tuesday, May 8. The 53-year-old Maryland man decided to not contest the single felonious charge of firing a weapon within 1,000 feet of a school.

The commonwealth said it would have presented evidence from an eyewitness during a three-day trial, which was scheduled to get underway Wednesday, May 9. The witness reportedly saw Preston raise his gun to take aim at Corey Long, a Culpeper County man accused of using a flame-throwing device on August 12, 2017.

Video footage from the ACLU of Virginia [YouTube, contains explicit language] shows a man believed to be Preston firing a pistol during clashes between Unite the Right rally supporters and protesters near Charlottesville’s Emancipation Park.

Preston was arrested in Towson, Maryland on August 26, 2017. He reportedly has ties to the Ku Klux Klan.

A judge had previously set bond at $50,000 for Preston, but barred him from leaving the state or possessing a gun.

Preston is set to be sentenced Wednesday. He faces up to 10 years of jail time and a maximum fine of $100,000.

NBC



At 4 p.m., the jury found Alex Michael Ramos guilty of malicious wounding. At 5:30 p.m., it recommended a prison sentence of six years with no fine.

On Thursday, 33-year-old Ramos, of Jackson, Georgia, became the second person convicted in the bloody group beating of DeAndre Harris after the failed Unite the Right rally last summer. On Tuesday, 22-year-old Jacob Goodwin was found guilty of malicious wounding, and a jury recommended a sentence of 10 years with the option of suspending some of the time.

The attack in the Market Street Parking Garage left Harris with a gash in his head that required eight staples, a chipped tooth and a broken wrist.

Proceedings in Charlottesville Circuit Court moved quickly in the second day of testimony, and the prosecution called a medical expert and a detective to the stand to talk about the injuries Harris suffered on Aug. 12.

Evan Pryse, a nurse practitioner from Sentara Martha Jefferson Hospital’s emergency department, said he examined Harris’ injuries after Harris took a decontamination shower to rid his body of any chemical irritants.

Pryse said he used eight staples to close the wound on Harris’ head and put his wrist in a splint after determining Harris had a broken ulna. Though Harris reportedly said he fell awkwardly on his wrist, Pryse said the injury was not consistent with a fall and looked more similar to a defensive-type “nightstick” wound. But Pryse said he did not have a definitive idea of how the break occurred.

While examining Harris for a concussion, Pryse said Harris seemed confused about questions and had a hard time understanding some of his injuries.

Charlottesville police Detective Declan Hickey described treating Harris right after he got out of the parking garage. Hickey, a former combat medic, said he kept trying to engage Harris to keep him from passing out. He said Harris seemed to be in shock and told him that he had been hit in the head several times.

The Monday following the rally, Hickey opened an investigation into the matter and said he identified Ramos as a suspect from a combination of confidential tips, social media tips and consultation with local law enforcement in Ramos’ home state of Georgia.

Walking the jury through videos of the assault, Hickey pointed out where the assault began and when Ramos jumped in at the end to land a punch on Harris’ head. Ramos’ hand appears to be wrapped in a blue plaid shirt, he said.

While looking through Facebook posts later, Hickey said he came across one that reportedly was written by Ramos. The post reads, “We stomped some ass…getting some was f***ing fun.”

Hickey said Ramos seemed remorseful after his arrest.

Through the testimony, Ramos, wearing a white dress shirt, sat quietly and occasionally took notes. He never reacted to any of the testimony or video clips.

Both sides rested their cases before 1 p.m. Ramos waived his right to take the stand, and his attorney, Jake Joyce, declined to present any evidence.

In her closing argument, Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Nina Antony asked the jury to remember that Ramos inserted himself into the altercation. She said Harris already was lying on the ground and being hit by other people when Ramos decided to throw a punch.

“Instead of moving on, we saw Mr. Ramos sprinting in,” Antony said. “He catapults himself into the fray.”

Calling it “classic assault and battery,” Joyce said his client only threw one punch — unlike some of the others charged in the case who used weapons. With a “battle royal” happening in the garage, Joyce said, there were a lot of taunts and provocation thrown around.

Joyce said Harris did not deserve what happened to him. But he asked the jury to think about Ramos’ actions in comparison to the other actors in the assault.

“I’m not asking you to find him not guilty,” said Joyce. “He is guilty of assault and battery.”

Deliberations took 35 minutes.

Ramos will be sentenced formally on Aug. 23.
Daily Progress

After a little more than an hour of deliberations, a jury on Tuesday found Jacob S. Goodwin guilty of malicious wounding in the group beating of DeAndre Harris following the Unite the Right rally last summer.

Goodwin, 22, and his mother mouthed, “I love you,” to each other after the jury’s verdict was read to the court.

The jury recommended 10 years in prison with the option of some suspended time, a $20,000 fine and empathy training. A formal sentencing hearing was set for Aug. 23.

Before the jury left to deliberate a second time, Commonwealth’s Attorney Joe Platania asked the jury to come back with a sentence that adequately addresses Goodwin’s behavior that day in the Market Street Parking Garage.

“They kick him, they hit him and they beat him while he’s on the ground,” said Platania. “It was an attack.”

“He has yet to express any regret for his actions that day,” he said. “And I would submit he has none.”

Goodwin’s attorney simply stated that his client was young, had no criminal history and made a mistake.

Starting where the case left off Monday, in his cross-examination of Harris on Tuesday, Woodard presented a different picture of the altercation that left Harris bloody and bruised. Woodard said the incident started after Harris hit Harold Crews with a heavy black flashlight. Harris said he never hit the man, but instead, aimed for the man’s flagpole.

Woodard said Harris then ran into the garage to “start a fight.” Again, Harris disagreed with the attorney’s version of events.

“No, I was trying to run away,” said Harris, who reiterated that he never intentionally ran at anyone.

Woodard then played a video of the events and Harris became visibly upset when the attorney said Harris was perfectly fine, while lying on the ground.

“Dude, I’m not perfectly fine,” Harris said. “I had just fallen down, bumped into someone and been maced.”

The prosecution also called Evan Pryse, a nurse practitioner, to the stand to speak to Harris’ injuries when he came into the Sentara Martha Jefferson Hospital emergency department on Aug. 12. After Harris took a decontamination shower because he was covered in a chemical substance, Pryse said he examined Harris and immediately addressed the more severe injuries, which included a large gash on his head that required eight staples and a broken wrist.

Pryse said he suspected there was a possibility Harris had a concussion because Harris was slow to respond to questions. He also was concerned about a potential brain injury, but ultimately decided there was no need to do a CT scan, he said.

Harris reportedly told Pryse that he thought he hurt his arm when he fell on it, but Pryse said the location of the break did not seem consistent with a fall. Because only the ulna (the bone on the outside of the forearm) was broken and not the radius (the bone on the inside), Pryse said it did not look like a typical injury from a fall.

When Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Nina Antony suggested entering Harris’ entire medical record into evidence to give the jury the whole picture of his injuries, Woodard at first objected and said it would be “too much information” for the jurors. It was ultimately entered into evidence.

Charlottesville Sheriff James Brown and city police Detective Declan Hickey both testified that they found Harris right after the assault and attempted to render him aid. Hickey, a former combat medic, said Harris seemed confused and in shock.

The defense’s only witness was Goodwin himself, who said he was “terrified” and thought he would “perish” if he did not use self-defense.

Goodwin said he saw someone hit Crews with an object that looked like a weapon. Watching a commotion near the garage, Goodwin said he then saw someone come running at him.

“I believed I was being attacked,” Goodwin said.

Goodwin said he kicked at the man — identified later as Harris — several times to keep him away. When Goodwin kicked Harris’ backpack, he said Harris tripped and rolled toward Goodwin and began to get up again. Goodwin said he kicked Harris again because Harris “lunged at him” and “kept getting up.”

“I was terrified,” said Goodwin. “I had never been in a riot in all my life.”

In her closing statement, Antony told the jury they would have to decide if Goodwin ran into the garage to protect people from Harris or if he ran in “to do battle.”

She said the videos speak for themselves and show that Harris was scrambling to get up and run away from the people in the garage. She said Goodwin inserted himself in the situation and repeatedly kicked Harris while Harris was on the ground.

“DeAndre hasn’t touched him,” Antony said. “At no point does Mr. Goodwin move away.”

On the contrary, in his closing statement, Woodard said Harris was looking to pick a fight. He said a person holding a shield, like Goodwin, does not attack people, but a person holding a flashlight does.

“They want you to convict this man because he’s a white man and DeAndre is a black man,” Woodard said, drawing ire from the prosecution and a reprimand from the judge.

Woodard reiterated that Harris was “out of control” and Goodwin was defending himself.

Daily Progress

Gang attacked man at house in Lincoln Boulevard with weapons and broken bottle

Jonathan West, who has a history of violence, was jailed for attacking a man at this house in Grimsby (Image: Grimsby Telegraph)

Jonathan West, who has a history of violence, was jailed for attacking a man at this house in Grimsby (Image: Grimsby Telegraph)

Three menacing vigilantes hurled bricks, nails and fencing at a man outside his home and one of them viciously attacked him with a baseball bat.

He also hurled a broken bottle at him after trying to slash him with it, a court heard.

The three troublemakers spray-painted “nonce” across a window at his boarded-up home after midnight before confronting him.

Jonathan West, 26, of Redbourne Road, Grimsby, admitted assault, causing actual bodily harm, on November 10 and affray.

Jeremy Evans, prosecuting, told Grimsby Crown Court that West and two other males went to a man’s home and spray-painted the word “nonce” across a bay window and directly underneath on chipboard.

The premises in Lincoln Boulevard, Grimsby, were boarded up after previous attacks.

The occupier was watching TV in the rear kitchen area after midnight when he heard a noise and got dressed.

He went outside and seized West, who had a spray can and a baseball bat, and asked him: “What are you doing?”

West swung the bat towards the man, who put up his arm to block the blows but suffered bruises.

“Police received several calls from members of the public aware of a disturbance going on,” said Mr Evans.

The intruders — one of them wearing a motorcycle helmet — pulled nails from fence panels and threw whatever they had at the occupier.

He was able to prise the baseball bat away from West, who picked up an already broken bottle and tried to slash out with it.

He threw it and it hit the man, causing a skin wound. Masonry and bits of fence were thrown by all three.

The occupier retreated back into his home and objects continued to be thrown.

One of the males, not West, made threats to stab the man and took exception to the baseball bat being taken.

There was a confrontation before the troublemakers retreated but West was arrested later in the morning.

He had convictions for 59 previous offences dating back to 2002, including wounding, affray, burglary and breaching an antisocial behaviour order.

Dale Brook, mitigating, said West had been in custody since November 11 and had no intention of approaching or contacting the victim.

He was keen to receive help to stay out of trouble.

There was a history between West and the man involved.

West was jailed for 10 months but, because of his time in custody, was expected to be released shortly.

He was given a five-year restraining order.
Grimsby Telegraph

Serial criminals Steven Danvers, aged 30, and 28-year-old Benjamin Rogers jailed for four and a half years

Two thugs have been jailed for robbing a city shop with a machete.

Serial offenders Steven Danvers, aged 30, and 28-year-old Benjamin Rogers raided the convenience store to grab £280.

But Rogers at least had little chance of getting away with it as he was a regular customer, Plymouth Crown Court heard.

Jailing both men for four and a half years, Judge Peter Johnson told the pair: “Both of you have very poor records. You hatched a plan that a robbery would take place at this convenience store.

“You Rogers carried out reconnaissance and Danvers you used a knife, a very threatening machete and you got away with a reasonable sum of money.”

He ruled that Danvers and Rogers were dangerous, meaning they will not be released at the usual half-way point of their sentence.

They will only be set free after serving two-thirds of the term, at three years, and then only if the parole board deems they no longer pose a public danger.

Both will have two-year extended licence periods upon their release.

Danvers and Rogers, both of no fixed address, pleaded guilty to robbery at the West Hoe Convenience Store on January 4.

Danvers also admitted having a bladed article.

The court heard that the two men entered the store just after 8pm with Danvers carrying the machete.

They threatened the male cashier with the weapon before escaping with the cash.

Ali Rafati, for Danvers, said his client was vulnerable.

He added the defendant had mental health difficulties and ended up sleeping rough in all weathers.

Mr Rafati said: “The robbery lasted about 30 seconds. No harm was caused to anyone. If any resistance had been offered he would have turned on his heels.

“He wanted money so he could drink and carry on living on the streets.”

Steven Danvers (left) and Benjamin Rogers, also known as Clancy

Steven Danvers (left) and Benjamin Rogers, also known as Clancy

Michael Green, for Rogers, also known as Clancy, said: “It is hardly the most sophisticated robbery. He was a regular there and they would know him and recognise him.”

Mr Green said that his client also had trouble with mental health problems and finding a settled address.

He added: “He is 28 years old and since 2010 until August last year he was in prison or at a psychiatric hospital. That is the sad reality.”

Plymouth Herald

HALIFAX — She sat motionless in the wood-panelled, windowless courtroom as the judge delivered the sentence: Life in prison with no chance of parole for a decade.

Lindsay Souvannarath was then led away by sheriffs, returned to the jail cells that have been her home since 2015.

It’s been three years since the Chicago-area woman was arrested at the Halifax airport with a “death suit” and books on serial killers in her luggage.

She was planning a Valentine’s Day shooting rampage, a plot concocted online with a Halifax teen that would have seen them open fire at the Halifax Shopping Centre food court on a busy Saturday in February 2015.

The 26-year-old American pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit murder only after thousands of damning Facebook messages between the conspirators were deemed admissible as evidence in the case.

Nova Scotia Supreme Court Justice Peter Rosinski told the court Friday that Souvannarath continues to pose a threat to public safety.

The judge said she has not expressed remorse for her murderous plot, nor has she renounced her ideological motivations for the conspiracy.

In his decision, he called her prospects for rehabilitation “very questionable” and said she needs to be separated from society until safety concerns can be addressed.

Rosinski said he is satisfied that had the plot not been interrupted by an anonymous tip and the quick actions of local police, the plan would have been carried out.

“Coming upon unsuspecting members of the public at the mall that day, what carnage would they have inflicted with a 16-gauge shotgun with 23 shells; a .308 calibre lever-action rifle with 13 shells; and a knife to finish off the wounded?”

The judge added: “Ms. Souvannarath’s intention was to kill more than the 13 people who suffered that fate at the Columbine High School shooting,” he wrote, referring to her obsession with the massacre in Littleton, Colo.

Her co-conspirator, 19-year-old James Gamble, killed himself as police surrounded his Halifax-area home.

Kate Battan, the lead investigator of the 1999 shooting who wrote a report highlighting parallels between the school shooting and the mall plot, called it “ironic” that Friday’s sentencing took place on the 19th anniversary of the Columbine shooting.

She spent a month combing through the private online messages between Souvannarath and Gamble and their plans to mount an attack at a Halifax mall.

“My impression is that they were all in and this was not a joke,” she said in an interview. “At some point this became real, this was going to happen.”

The judge shared that view, telling the court that the “plan had been set in motion” once Souvannarath boarded a plane for Halifax.

The spectre of shooters opening fire in a busy mall threatened thousands of shoppers and workers and unsettled the city for months.

Rosinski cited the explicit intention to create mass panic and undermine the community’s sense of security as an aggravating factor in the sentencing.

“They intended to maximize dead and wounded casualties,” the judge wrote in his 32-page decision.

“That they intended to be mocking, callous and brutal in their treatment of potential victims they encountered is an aggravating factor.”

He said his sentencing was in part shaped by the principles that apply to terrorism offences and is intended to “send a clear message” to those conspiring to kill multiple people.

“Those who choose to pursue such deadly plans will pay a very heavy price,” Rosinski wrote.

Crown attorney Mark Heerema said the sentence serves as a deterrent for similar crimes.

“The court was unequivocal that this kind of conduct here in Canada by an offender who is not claiming to be remorseful or renouncing will never be accepted,” he told reporters outside the courtroom.

The woman from Geneva, a quiet suburb of Chicago, has been ordered to provide a sample of her DNA and will be subjected to a firearms prohibition for 10 years after her release from prison. He gave her credit for three years served in custody, so she will be eligible for parole in seven years.

Although the judge has recommended intensive psychological and psychiatric counselling and treatment, the sentence of life in prison means the 26-year-old could spend the rest of her days behind bars.

A third accomplice — a local man described in court as the “cheerleader” of the plot — was previously sentenced to a decade in jail.

At the sentencing hearing earlier in the week, Rosinski asked Souvannarath if she would like to address the court. She said: “I decline.”

Before delivering his decision Friday, the judge entered letters from Souvannarath’s parents and grandparents as exhibits in the case.

The parents of both Souvannarath and Gamble were in court for the sentencing hearing, but declined to be interviewed.

Souvannarath has been held at the Central Nova Scotia Correctional facility in a Halifax-area industrial park since her arrest. Her lawyer has said she will likely be transferred to a women’s institution in southern Ontario after sentencing.

The judge noted that the college graduate has been called a quiet prisoner who keeps to herself, participates in Books behind Bars, and was enrolled in a humanities course offered by Dalhousie University.

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