True Crime News Roundup: Gabby Petito’s Body Found, Boyfriend Remains Missing

A 16-year-old boy pleads guilty to murdering NYC college student Tessa Majors; Britney Spears gets closer to ending her conservatorship; and the Elizabeth Holmes federal Theranos fraud trial continues.

September 24, 2021
Gabby Petito

Gabby Petito

Gabby Petito

Photo by: Instagram

Instagram

Gabby Petito

By: Aaron Rasmussen

A look at the week’s true crime headlines:

Gabby Petito’s body is found in Wyoming.

An autopsy conducted on remains found in Wyoming on Sept. 19 were confirmed to be those of 22-year-old Long Island native Gabby Petito. Teton County Coroner Dr. Brent Blue’s “initial determination for the manner of death is homicide,” the FBI field office in Denver said, adding the cause of death remains pending. Petito’s family reported her missing on Sept. 11 — 10 days after her boyfriend, Brian Laundrie, 23, returned from their cross-country trip to the home they shared in Florida without her. Authorities launched a massive manhunt for Laundrie after he disappeared on Sept. 14. Laundrie, who was named a person of interest in the case, remains missing.

A New York City teenager pleads guilty in connection to the stabbing death of college student Tessa Majors.

On Sept. 21, Luchiano Lewis, 16, pleaded guilty in Manhattan Criminal Court to second-degree murder and first-degree murder for the December 2019 stabbing death of 18-year-old Barnard College student Tessa Majors, according to The New York Times. Lewis was charged as an adult and faces up to life in prison for the murder charge when he is sentenced on October 14. A second 16-year-old suspect, Rashaun Weaver, has pleaded not guilty in the case. Police charged a third boy, who was 13 when he participated in the crime, with robbery as a minor and he pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 18 months in custody in June 2020. “We remain resolute in our belief that all parties who bear responsibility for Tess’s senseless death will be held accountable, and we are deeply grateful to the many people who continue to pursue that goal,” the victim’s family said in a statement after Lewis’ plea was entered.

Britney Spears takes steps to end her conservatorship in a new court filing.

In a Sept. 22 Los Angeles Superior Court filing, 39-year-old Britney Spears, through her lawyer, said she “fully consents” to “expeditiously” terminate the conservatorship her father, Jamie Spears, 69, has controlled for well over a decade, NPR reported. The filing calls suspending Jamie Spears from managing her finances and life “a necessary first — and substantial — step towards Ms. Spears's freedom and ending the Kafkaesque nightmare imposed upon her by her father, so that her dignity and basic liberties can be restored.” A hearing in the case is set for Sept. 29.

Elizabeth Holmes’s federal Theranos fraud trial continues.

The trial against Elizabeth Holmes, the 37-year-old founder of the failed blood-testing company Theranos, resumed on Sept. 21 in a federal court in San Jose, California. She faces a total of ten counts of wire fraud and two counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Holmes denies the allegations against her. Former U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis sat on the Theranos board between 2013 and 2016, and he took the stand on Sept. 22. Mattis, who invested $85,000 in the company, told the court that while he was at first “rather taken” with the company and its purportedly groundbreaking technology, “there came a point where I didn't know what to believe about Theranos anymore,” the BBC reported.

Nicki Minaj and her husband face a lawsuit alleging they harassed a sexual assault victim.

Jennifer Hough spoke out against Nicki Minaj and the performer’s husband, Kenneth Petty, in a Sept. 22 interview on The Real. “I’m tired of being afraid,” said Hough, who filed a lawsuit against the couple in August accusing them of “witness intimidation, intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligent infliction of emotional distress, harassment, assault, battery, sexual assault, and sexual harassment.” The lawsuit alleges Petty, 43, “intimidated” and “harassed” her “not to speak out concerning the rape she experienced at the hands of Defendant Petty” in Queens, New York, in 1994 (Petty pleaded guilty to attempted rape and was sentenced to serve between 18 and 54 months in prison and register as a sex offender). In the lawsuit, Hough claimed 38-year-old Minaj, who has been married to Petty for nearly two years, “threatened” her “to recant her legitimate claim that Defendant Petty raped her.”

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