True Crime News Roundup: Brittney Griner Transferred To Russian Penal Colony

Plus: Colorado police launch new probe into JonBenet Ramsey case; Woman sentenced to life for murdering woman to steal her baby; California megachurch leader accused of torturing young daughter; and Texas medical examiner murdered at work by her estranged husband.

November 11, 2022
Brittney Griner at the WNBA Playoffs semifinals at Michelob ULTRA Arena on September 30, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Brittney Griner, a Phoenix Mercury basketball player, has been held in a Russian jail since February, amid rising tensions between Russia and Ukraine.

Photo by: Ethan Miller via Getty Images

Ethan Miller via Getty Images

On Nov. 9, WNBA star Brittney Griner was transferred from a jail outside Moscow into Russia’s penal colony system. Russian penal colonies are usually located far away from cities, isolating prisoners in remote locations. They are known to have crowded barracks, limited access to health care, grueling labor, and abusive inmates and staff. Griner, 32, had been held in a Russian jail since February 2022 after she flew into an airport near Moscow with a small amount of hash oil in her luggage. In August 2022, a Russian court found her guilty of drug-smuggling and sentenced her to nine years in a Russian prison. Griner’s legal team said in a statement that her intended destination is unknown and the U.S. Embassy will be notified once she has arrived, which may take up to two weeks.

Read more on The New York Times.

Police investigating unsolved murder of JonBenét Ramsey launch new probe with help from cold case team

On Nov. 10, the Boulder Police Department announced in a news release that it will “be consulting with the Colorado Cold Case Review Team in 2023” in regards to the investigation into who killed 6-year-old JonBenét Ramsey. On Dec. 26, 1996, JonBenét, a 6-year-old pageant contestant, was found beaten and strangled in the basement of her family's Boulder, Colorado home. The case has gone unsolved ever since. The Boulder Police Department said that working with “professional investigative, analytical, and forensic experts from across the state" will provide "best practices" in the probe.

Read more on People.

Texas woman sentenced to death for stabbing pregnant woman 100 times and trying to steal her baby

On Nov. 9, Taylor Rene Parker, 29, was sentenced to death for the stabbing murder of Reagan Simmons-Hancock, 21, in October 2020 and taking the victim's baby from her womb. On Oct. 9, 2020, Simmons-Hancock, who had been 34 weeks pregnant, was found dead at her home with a large cut along her abdomen and the baby no longer in her womb. That same day, Texas state troopers conducted a traffic stop of a car and found Parker holding a baby in her lap, claiming she had given birth on the side of the road. Prosecutors said Parker lied about being pregnant for nearly 10 months. She faked ultrasounds, had a gender-reveal party, and even posted about her fake pregnancy on social media.

Read more on People.

California megachurch leader, grandparents charged with murder, torture in death of 11-year-old daughter

On Nov. 7, Leticia McCormack, a leader at Rock Church in San Diego, was booked in jail on a charge of murder, three counts of torture, and three counts of willful cruelty to a child in the death of 11-year-old Arabella McCormack. Leticia's father, 75-year-old Stanley Tom, and her mother, Adella Tom, 70, were also arrested in connection to Arabella’s death. On Aug. 30, deputies responded to a child-in-distress call at a home in Spring Valley, where they found Arabella. She was covered in bruises and was severely malnourished. The 11-year-old was rushed to a hospital, where her health declined and she died. During the investigation, deputies contacted the girl's father, Brian McCormack, near the family's home. He reportedly died by suicide in their presence.

Read more on People.

Texas medical examiner was murdered at work by her ex-college basketball player husband

At about 5 p.m. on Nov. 8, Beth Frost, 46, a medical examiner at the Dallas County Medical Examiner's office, and James "Jed" Frost, 51, were found dead of apparent gunshot wounds. The couple was reportedly in the midst of a divorce and were the parents of a 9-year-old girl and a 5-year-old boy. Authorities believe Jed shot Beth before turning the gun on himself. According to the sheriff's department, another employee who has not been publicly identified was also shot and wounded.

Read more on People.

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