True Crime News Roundup: Loved Ones Mourn 7 Victims Killed In Fourth Of July Massacre
Plus: American basketball player pleads guilty to drug charges in Russia; Indiana man accused of killing Lyft driver, stealing SUV; Minnesota police search for missing girl whose mother killed herself; and former Theranos COO convicted of fraud.
A suspect in Illinois is accused of a mass shooting that took the lives of seven people.
A 21-year-old man accused of planning and carrying out a mass shooting at a Fourth of July parade in Illinois allegedly has confessed to the crime, authorities said.
Robert Crimo III faces multiple counts of first-degree murder, and a judge ordered he be held without bail after he shot and killed seven people in Highland Park and wounded dozens more.
“These are just the first of many charges that will be filed against Mr. Crimo. I want to emphasize that. There will be more charges,” Lake County State's Attorney Eric Rinehart said.
On July 4, Crimo was armed with a legally purchased Smith & Wesson M&P 15 semiautomatic rifle when he began firing at crowds gathered along the parade route from a nearby rooftop around 10:14 a.m., NPR reported.
Surveillance video in the area captured images of the fleeing suspect, who appeared to be dressed as a woman, possibly to avoid detection. Detectives recovered the rifle after the suspect dropped it in an alleyway while running from the scene.
Crimo was arrested hours after the attack. Police have not revealed a possible motive for the shooting.
Shooting victims included Katherine Goldstein, 64; Irina McCarthy, 35; Kevin McCarthy, 37; Stephen Strauss, 88; Jacquelyn Sundheim, 63; Nicolas Toledo-Zaragoza, 78; and Eduardo Uvaldo, 69.
According to NPR, six of those who died were from Highland Park or the area, while Toledo-Zaragoza was a Mexican national who was visiting two of his daughters.
The son of victims Irina and Kevin McCarthy was found alive under his father’s body. “At two years old, Aiden is left in the unthinkable position; to grow up without his parents,” a GoFundMe for the child’s family states.
Uvaldo was the grandfather of 16 and succumbed to his injuries a day after he was placed on life support. “We are heartbroken but are at peace because we know he wouldn’t want to be here in the state that he was. He passed peacefully,” his daughter, Tanya Uvaldo Castro, wrote on Facebook.
On July 8, a funeral was held for the oldest victim, Strauss, who “loved to take in all that life had to offer, up to his last moments,” his obituary reads, noting the octogenarian biked daily and was still working as a financial advisor. “He was remarkably sharp and fit for his age.”
The American basketball player held on drug charges in Russia pleads guilty, her lawyer says.
Brittney Griner, a U.S. Olympic basketball gold medalist, pleaded guilty on July 7 to drug smuggling charges during the second day of her trial in Russia, her lawyer confirmed to CNN.
She faces up to 10 years behind bars when she is sentenced, according to the news outlet.
Griner, 31, was placed under arrest last winter after authorities found less than a gram of cannabis oil in her luggage at Sheremetyevo airport near Moscow. The Phoenix Mercury star was in the country at the time to play club basketball during the WNBA off-season.
“I was in a rush packing and the cartridges accidentally ended up in my bag,” she reportedly told a judge in Khimki, explaining “there was no intent” to break the law.
Griner is expected back in court on July 14.
After Griner pleaded guilty, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken wrote in a tweet that she was one of several “wrongfully detained Americans” in Russia.
An Indiana Lyft passenger allegedly killed his driver and stole the victim’s SUV, police say.
An Indiana suspect is accused of killing his Lyft driver and then stealing the man’s SUV to drive to a family function, authorities said.
According to probable cause documents obtained by Law & Crime, on the morning of June 30, officers in Indianapolis found 34-year-old Anthony Garland shot to death.
Garland’s wife told detectives that the previous evening her husband was behind the wheel of a 2013 GMC Acadia for his gig as a Lyft driver.
Officers obtained a warrant for Garland’s Lyft records and determined his last passenger was Devin Powell, 24.
They then used GPS to track down the victim’s missing vehicle in Merrillville, Indiana, and made a traffic stop.
“Officers could see what appeared to be blood stains around the center console,” police wrote in the probable cause affidavit, noting a passenger in the vehicle, the suspect’s cousin, said that “Powell had driven up from Indianapolis that day for a family function.”
Powell claimed he found the car running with its door open “and when no one came around, he got in the car and drove it away,” police wrote in the documents.
“Mr. Powell eventually admitted using his Lyft account to call for a ride and then admitted to shooting Mr. Garland with the gun that he saw was still in the white Acadia,” police alleged in the affidavit. “He said that Mr. Garland was trying to screw him over and take his money and that he shot Mr. Garland in self-defense.”
Powell was arrested and faces multiple charges, including murder, robbery and theft, according to Law & Crime.
Police in Minnesota try to locate a missing girl after her mother is discovered dead.
Authorities in Minnesota are searching for the young daughter of a woman who police believe killed herself at the family’s home.
On July 2, Lisa Wade, 39, was found dead from an apparent suicide, and the mother “may have been involved in the disappearance of her 6-year-old daughter,” Elle Ragin, “before taking her own life,” law enforcement officials said in a news release.
“Police searched the house and surrounding area with officers, canine teams, drones, and helicopter and did not locate Elle or any evidence outside of the home,” the officials noted.
The little girl was last seen alive on June 19. Two days later, on June 21, officials said Wade drove to Mississippi River Park in Stearns County and was spotted there again two days later.
During the week of June 25, the mother “had contact with family members and seemed distraught,” officials said.
A recent extensive search at the park and along the Mississippi River “revealed evidence related to this case including the discovery of Elle’s cell phone on land, and Lisa’s cell phone, and purse, containing her driver license, and vehicle key fob, in the river,” officials revealed.
"We are still extremely hopeful," Northfield Police Chief Mark Elliott said at a July 5 press conference about locating the missing child. “But based on the information and evidence that we have at this time, we are concerned that we might not be able to find her.”
“This is a heartbreaking case,” Elliot noted. “A 6-year-old being missing, I can't think of one that is much more difficult to investigate than this.”
The former COO of failed blood-testing company Theranos is found guilty of fraud.
After four days of deliberation, on June 7, a jury in San Jose, California, convicted Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani, the former Chief Operating Officer of the ill-fated blood-testing startup Theranos, of defrauding patients and investors.
In total, Balwani, 57, was found guilty of the 12 counts against him — 10 of federal wire fraud and two of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, CNN reported.
“We are obviously disappointed with the verdicts,” Balwani’s defense attorney, Jeffrey Coopersmith, told CNN Business in a statement. “We plan to study and consider all of Mr. Balwani's options including an appeal.”
Balwani is scheduled to be sentenced in November.
At a separate trial earlier this year, Balwani’s ex-girlfriend, Theranos founder and former CEO Elizabeth Holmes, 38, was convicted of four counts of investor fraud and conspiracy. She will be sentenced in September.
Both Balwani and Holmes face up to 20 years in prison.