True Crime News Roundup: Arrest Made In Fatal Shooting Of A Military Mother Visiting Her Son’s Grave
Plus: Woman accused of using kiss to pass drugs to inmate boyfriend who overdosed; authorities limit search for California teen who went missing after graduation party; Salman Rushdie attacker pleads not guilty; and ex-cop in Kansas suspected of 10-year sex-assault spree, police say.
Police arrest two suspects accused of fatally shooting a mother visiting her son’s gravesite.
A military mother in Texas was gunned down last spring while visiting her son’s gravesite on what would have been his 22nd birthday, and two suspects are now in custody and charged with her murder.
Police in Killeen said officers arrested Christian Lamar Weston, 17, on Aug. 13 followed by Demario Jabar Moore, 20, three days later in connection with the slaying of SFC Yolanda N’Gaojia.
Shortly after 5 p.m. on March 22, police in Killeen responded to a report of a shooting at Calvary Baptist Church Garden of Memories Cemetery and found N’Gaojia, 52, and a second victim suffering gunshot wounds, KWTX-TV reported.
N’Gaojia died around two hours later, and the second victim, whose identity has not been released, was treated for non-life-threatening injuries at the scene.
“The suspect went to the cemetery and specifically shot at the individuals that were there visiting a gravesite,” Killeen Police Department spokesperson Ofelia Miramontez said after Weston’s arrest, NBC News reported.
Weston was being held without bond on the murder charge. Moore’s bond was set at $1 million.
Police have not released a motive for the crime, and the investigation is ongoing.
According to KWTX-TV, the murder victim’s son, Amir, was fatally shot on Jan. 1, 2022.
In N’Gaojia’s obituary, loved ones said his mother, who was laid to rest on April 4, was “a beautiful, selfless, humble, supportive, giving, loving, intelligent, strong, fearless, Queen in every essence.”
“She lived her life to love and protect her children and those close to her,” the obituary reads. “She was the head of the village that kept so many pieces of the family puzzle together. She was always the life of the family events, and celebrations.”
A prison inmate dies after his girlfriend allegedly passes him drugs with a kiss, authorities say.
A Tennessee woman is accused of second-degree murder after she allegedly slipped drugs to her inmate boyfriend and he died of an overdose, Tennessee Department of Corrections officials said.
Rachal Dollard, 33, of Dickson, was arrested on Aug. 13 in connection with the death of 30-year-old Joshua Brown last February at the Turney Center Industrial Complex prison in Hickman County, the New York Times reported.
According to the TDOC, Dollard was visiting Brown at the prison when she was “observed” allegedly passing him a balloon filled with around half an ounce of methamphetamine when they “exchanged a kiss.” Brown then swallowed the balloon but it later ruptured in his stomach.
Brown, who was around four years into an 11-year sentence for a drug-related conviction, was pronounced dead of an overdose at an area hospital, the department said.
In addition to the murder count, Dollard also faces a charge of introduction of contraband into a penal facility. She faces up to 60 years behind bars and a fine for as much as $50,000 if convicted of both charges against her.
“This incident points to the real dangers of introducing contraband into prisons and the consequences that follow,” David Imhof, Director of TDOC's Office of Investigations and Conduct said of the alleged drug exchange. “Our agency will pursue prosecution against any individual who threatens the safety and security of our staff, the men and women in our custody, and our facilities.”
Sonia Dollard, the suspect’s mother, told NBC News her daughter adamantly denied the allegations.
Police limit the scope of the search for a teenager in California who disappeared after attending a graduation party.
The mother of a California teenager who vanished after a massive party says she won’t give up hope her daughter will return safely — even as a search effort was scaled back.
Kiely Rodni, 16, was last seen shortly after midnight on Aug. 6 at the Prosser Family Campground in Truckee, where she and hundreds of other minors and young adults were attending the annual high school graduation party.
An hour earlier, around 11:30 p.m., Rodni sent her mother a text. “She said she’d be leaving at 12:15 and was going to start heading home,” Lindsey Rodni-Nieman recalled in an interview with The Independent.
The trip should have taken Rodni a half an hour, but she never made it, and investigators have determined her phone last pinged close to Prosser Lake, the reservoir near where the teenager was partying.
The car Rodni was driving, a silver 2013 Honda CRV with California license plate number 8YUR127 and a ram sticker below the rear wiper blade, has not been located.
On Aug. 15, authorities announced the search for Rodni was becoming “more limited” in scope.
“I understand the reasons behind their decisions and I support their effort,” the girl’s mother told The Independent, noting law enforcement officials have been transparent with her and other family members. “It’s because the area where they would have reasonably found her or her vehicle has been so thoroughly searched.”
Still, Rodni-Nieman is trying to remain positive and encourages anyone who was at the party or who might be able to shed light on what happened to her child to say something to police, even if anonymously.
“Regardless of what stage we’re at in the investigation, my level of intensity of urging and pleading anyone who was in the area to come forward with information remains the same,” the mother said.
Anyone with information regarding the case can call the Placer County Sheriff’s Office at (530) 581-6320, and choose option 7; email tips to firstname.lastname@example.org; or upload files and images to the Placer Sheriff’s Office.
The New Jersey man accused of attacking Salman Rushdie appears in court.
On Aug. 18, Hadi Matar pleaded not guilty in a western New York courtroom to charges of second-degree attempted murder and assault in connection with the stabbing of author Salman Rushdie, CNN reported.
Matar, 24, is accused of jumping onstage and attacking 75-year-old Rushdie as he was about to deliver a lecture at the Chautauqua Institution on Aug. 12.
Rushdie’s injuries included multiple stab wounds to his neck and stomach as well as puncture wounds to his thigh, chest, and right eye.
Matar was being held without bail.
In February 1989, the late Iranian leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini issued a fatwa calling for Rushdie’s death and put a bounty of millions on his head after the publication of the writer’s controversial book The Satanic Verses, which some considered as blasphemous and offensive to Muslims.
Police accuse an ex-cop in Kansas of allegedly being a serial predator.
Todd W. Allen, a 51-year-old former officer in Hutchinson, Kansas, allegedly sexually assaulted multiple victims in parks over a six-year period, stretching between October 2012 and November 2018, according to police.
The attacks reportedly stopped around the time the 20-year police veteran turned in his badge and left the force.
Allen, who was charged with over a dozen sex crimes, including aggravated sexual battery, and rape, is also accused of prowling and window-peeping from May 2019 to June 2022, KWCH reported.
“I am appalled and disgusted that somebody who is a suspect in these types of crimes and this type of behavior ever wore the uniform and this badge that I am honored to pin on my chest every day,” Police Chief Jeff Hooper said at an Aug. 17 press conference, calling the suspect a “predator.”
A judge set Allen’s bail at $6 million.
Chief Hooper has not said why investigators identified Allen as a suspect in the sexual assaults but indicated “great police work” concerning the recent prowling and peeping calls may have been a factor.