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Manslaughter Trial for Polo Mogul John Goodman Could Hinge on Bartender's Testimony

Sat, 10/18/2014 - 9:11am

iStock/Thinkstock(WELLINGTON, Fla.) -- Florida polo mogul John Goodman ordered over a dozen drinks in the hours before a fatal car crash in 2010, a bartender testified during his retrial.

Goodman was convicted in 2012 and ordered to serve a 16-year sentence, which was later thrown out due to juror misconduct. He's accused of vehicular homicide and DUI manslaughter.

The bartender who said she served Goodman, Catherine Lewter, testified that he ordered over a dozen shots and drinks in the hours before the crash. She told the court that Goodman spent $272 on 18 drinks at the bar.

When asked what Goodman first did when he walked into the bar, Lewis said he ordered "ten shots of our best tequila."

Goodman's attorney argued most of the drinks were for Goodman's friends and not his client. Lewter testified she saw him drink only the three drinks she served him

Goodman crashed his Bentley into a Hyundai driven by Scott Wilson, 23, sending the car into a canal in Wellington, Florida. Wilson, a recent college grad, drowned in the canal.

According to prosecutors, Goodman's blood alcohol level was 0.177 - more than twice the legal limit - three hours after the crash.

Criminal investigator Troy Snelgrove testified that Goodman appeared inebriated hours after the crash, saying he had watery eyes, slurred speech and smelled of alcohol.

Goodman’s defense team has argued that the polo mogul only drank after the crash to calm his nerves. He has pleaded not guilty.

If convicted, Goodman could face the same 16-year prison sentence he was ordered to serve at the end of the first trial.

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Convicted Killer Allegedly Tried to Pin Husband's Murder on Own Son

Sat, 10/18/2014 - 8:02am

iStock/Thinkstock(KELLER, Texas) -- A man who testified against his mother at her trial for the murder of her husband Gregg Williams says she suggested his brother might have been the trigger-man.

"She said, ‘Do you think your brother could have done it?' She asked me if her own son could have killed Gregg," Andrew O’Brien, 26, told ABC News' 20/20.

"She had to plant a reasonable doubt that someone else could have been there that night, someone else could have squeezed that trigger, [by pinning it on me]," O'Brien's older brother, Lee O'Brien, 28, told 20/20.

Andrew and Lee O'Brien's mother, Michele Williams, 42, from Keller, Texas, is serving a 60-year prison sentence for the murder of her husband Gregg Williams. The brothers are Michele Williams' sons from previous relationships.

Gregg Williams was found dead from a single gunshot wound to his head at his home on Oct. 13, 2011. In an interview with police, his wife initially said an intruder in black clothing hit her and shot her husband.

During the interview, Michele Williams mentioned others that police might want to talk to, including Gregg Williams' ex-wife Kathy Williams, but didn't tell them that her sons disliked her husband.

"I hated him. I don't throw that word around lightly, but I literally hated him," Lee O'Brien said.

"Even though he's not here, I never liked him as a person. He was a horrible human being," Andrew O'Brien said.

After arriving at the scene, police became suspicious of Michele Williams' intruder story. Confronted by police, Michele Williams changed her story and said her husband committed suicide.

She told police she covered up his suicide to protect the couple’s daughter. After five hours, police released Michele Williams.

When they found out Gregg Williams died, the brothers said they went straight to their mother to be there for her. Andrew O'Brien said that after helping Michele Williams clean up the home where Gregg Williams was killed, she took him outside and asked him to do something for her.

"She said, 'I want you to call a friend, and I want you to do this. I want you to have them go and buy an extra-large sweater … Wear garbage bags so that the DNA doesn't get on it. Go out somewhere and shoot a pistol with that sweater on,'" Andrew O’Brien recalled.

He said his mother then told him to plant the sweater in Kathy Williams' car and make an anonymous tip to police that Kathy Williams killed Gregg Williams, so they would search her car and find the sweater with gun residue.

"I was like, 'Okay, I'll do it,' and I wasn't going to do it but … to me it was, '‘She's having a mental breakdown,'" Andrew O’Brien recalled. "I just need to just say, 'Okay,' and walk away."

Andrew O'Brien said that when his mother started to change her story about what happened, he became suspicious of her.

"She told me that someone broke into the house and killed Gregg, that the cops made her say it was a suicide," Andrew O'Brien recalled. "I don't even know how many weeks or how much time goes by but then another story comes out, and this new story is, 'Okay, Greg did kill himself.' And … I was like, 'Why are you lying to me?'"

When his mother asked him if his brother Lee O'Brien could have killed Gregg Williams, he said that was the moment he stopped talking to her.

"My brother, he's got military training. He would not break into someone's house and use their gun," Andrew O’Brien said. "Why would you break into someone's house and take their gun, you know?"

Police said both Lee and Andrew O'Brien had strong alibis. The brothers said they began to realize their mother might be a monster.

"She doesn't even know what reality is any more. She's been lying so long," Lee O’Brien said.

"You know, you got your mother who was a horrible person, but still she gave birth to you and all that. And you just … don't want to believe that she's capable of murder," said Andrew O’Brien.

Prosecutors offered Michele Williams a plea deal which required her to plead guilty to tampering with evidence and deadly conduct with a recommended prison sentence of 18 years.

But while awaiting sentencing, Michele Williams told the national crime television show 48 Hours that she was innocent and that the intruder she originally told police about killed her husband.

A judge then revoked the plea deal and ordered her to stand trial for Gregg Williams' murder.

Andrew O'Brien took the stand for the prosecution and testified in court about how his mother asked him to set up Kathy Williams as the killer.

"It took me a very long time to decide to do it because after I told them, I said, 'I really don't want to go and testify,'" Andrew O’Brien said. "But I had to do the right thin"

After deliberating for seven hours, the jurors found her guilty of murder and one count of tampering with evidence. But the 60-year sentence is little solace for Andrew O'Brien, who considers his mother dead to him.

"Today I can believe it, and it's because I finally let go of trying to believe that I still have a mother," Andrew O'Brien said.

"I'll never speak to her again, and it's because in order to move on with my life, I need to just cut ties completely."

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ATF Agents Involved in Shooting Incident Involving Burglary Suspects in Ferguson, Mo.

Fri, 10/17/2014 - 8:10pm

John Roman/iStockphoto/Thinkstock(FERGUSON, Mo.) -- Police in Ferguson, Mo. say a shooting incident that occurred on Friday was not related to ongoing protests in connection with the fatal officer-involved shooting of Michael Brown.

On Thursday, an official from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said, a federally-licensed firearms dealer was burglarized. As part of an investigation into the burglary, ATF officials were surveilling a suspect vehicle on Friday.

During an attempted stop, the officers identified themselves as law enforcement, prompting the driver of the vehicle to attempt to ram the agents with the vehicle.

At least one ATF agent fired his weapon at the vehicle. No one was struck by the gunfire. The car eventually crashed, at which point three suspects were taken into custody.

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Obsessive Ex Sentenced to Prison After Her Cyberstalking Gets Man Fired, Arrested

Fri, 10/17/2014 - 7:26pm

DanHenson1/iStockphoto/Thinkstock(ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla.) -- A St. Augustine man is at ease now that his scorned ex-lover is behind bars.

“I finally can breathe again,” Joe Good, 51, said in an exclusive interview with ABC News’ 20/20. “Now I don’t feel like every time I see a police car that, ‘Oh, they’re coming for me.’”

Good’s former girlfriend of three years, Tawny Blazejowksi, 41, of St. Augustine, would stop at nothing to ruin his life after the two broke up. Her web of lies eventually turned Good’s life into a nightmare.

She succeeded in getting him arrested three times and fired from his job at an insurance company, where he had worked for over 24 years. Blazejowski didn’t stop there. She targeted several others in Good’s life: colleagues, neighbors and even his new girlfriend’s landlord.

Blazejowski was sentenced to nine years in prison last Friday for three counts of threats for extortion, four counts of aggravated stalking and one count of false report of abuse, child neglect or abandonment of 16 people from Florida to Chicago to California.

Life wasn't always bad. Good recalls many times with Blazejowski and their combined six children, all from previous marriages. He says he saw a future with her.

“She was awesome,” Good said. “I mean, I’ve gone on a cruise with her and had a great time. We went to Puerto Rico, had a great time.”

But Good said there were red flags that something might have been off with Blazesjowki. He said she would get upset a lot.

“The timeframe between when she’d get mad got shorter and shorter. It escalated until finally she asked me, ‘Do you want me to just go ahead and cancel the vacation I’ve got planned for you?’ and I said, ‘Yeah, sure, I’m tired of this,’” Good recalled. “Immediately, the phone rang and she [said], ‘Are you sure this is what you want? Because I got everything lined up that I’m going to ruin you.’”

Less than an hour later, Good said he received a text message notifying him that his email password had been changed.

Blazejowski hacked Good’s personal email account and sent pornographic photos of Good to his employer, but it was only the beginning of Blazejowski’s wrath.

Police arrested Good on the night of Oct. 19, 2012, he said. Blazejowski had gone to the sheriff’s office with a bloody face, accusing Good of domestic violence.

“I ended up going to jail that night, because here’s the thing: The girl says a guy hit her. Most people think, ‘Wow, the guy hit her.’ They don’t think the girl’s lying,” Good said.

Blazejowski then called the Florida Abuse Hotline, accusing Good and his teenage son of operating a child pornography ring. Good said it wasn’t true, but investigators didn’t believe him.

“It was total harassment,” Good said. “I did everything I could to stay away from her. She was one step ahead of me the whole time.”

No longer satisfied with ruining Good’s life, Blazejowski began attacking people she didn’t even know.

“She did a Crimestoppers tip to me, accusing me of allegations against my kids,” Jenny Robor, Good’s former colleague at the insurance company, told 20/20. “The things that are on there I can’t even repeat. They’re so horrible.”

Blazejowski anonymously told Crimestoppers that Robor would deliver her young children to Good’s sex ring, none of which was true. Blazesjowski even threatened the landlord of Good’s new girlfriend, Doug Duggan, who received anonymous letters through the U.S. Postal Service.

“It was a big block letter, and it said, ‘If your tenant, Mariela Murphy, is not out of that house within 30 days, I’ll burn down that house and your house,’ and gave the addresses of both of them,” Duggan told 20/20. “[The houses] were really my entire net worth.”

Good struggled to get investigators and lawyers to believe him. That was when he turned to lawyer Bryan Shorstein for help.

“You never knew who would be the target of what it is she was doing,” Shorstein told 20/20. “Does anybody want to get involved with this thing?”

Once Shorstein was certain Good was innocent, he went to the sheriff’s office to convince detectives that Good was no victimizer, but he was actually the victim. After seven months, St. Johns County Sheriff's Office Dets. George Harrigan and Shannon Andrews began to finally cut away at Blazejowski’s complicated web of deceit.

“It was hard to keep up with,” Andrews told 20/20. “She was stalking faster than we could investigate.”

When Good’s new girlfriend, Mariela Murphy, reported an anonymous letter threatening her then-17-year-old daughter, Blazejowski had finally taken it one step too far.

“It said, ‘This is what Erin will look like the next time Mariela sees her if she sees or even talks to Joe Good one more time,” and attached was a picture of … a girl’s mutilated body,” Andrews said.

“She was the stalker at one point, but when this happened, she became the stalked,” Det. Harrigan told 20/20 of Blazejowski.

The detectives made a breakthrough in the case when they found out the anonymous reports sent to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and Cybercrimes originated from Blazejowski’s computer.

Armed with a search warrant, the detectives searched Blazejowski’s home. They discovered more than seven full notebooks containing explicit details of Blazejowski’s acts. Hundreds of pages obtained by ABC News details Blazejowski’s web of lies, extortion and stalking that carried on over the span of seven months.

“This is as thorough as it gets,” Harrigan said. “Dates and times, places, people, locations, and not only did she take these notes, carry these actions out, but she kept the notes.”

Blazejowski was arrested that night, charged with making threats to maim and murder. In the end, she pleaded no contest to the eight felony counts against her.

“Not only did I hurt my own children, I hurt other children,” Blazejowski said in court at her sentencing. “I am pleading with you, your honor, to please grant me forgiveness. I ask my victims for forgiveness, and for mercy, and for you to please not take me away from my children who need me.”

Blazejowski’s lawyers argued that she has obsessive compulsive disorder and bipolar disorder and that the disorders contributed to her crimes.

St. Johns County Criminal Court Judge Michael Traynor acknowledged her disorders, but said her clearly thought-out acts could not be ignored. In addition to nine years in prison, the judge also sentenced her on Oct. 10 to two years of house arrest and 19 years probation.

She is in the county jail for now, until she is sent to prison. Blazejowski declined multiple requests from 20/20 for an interview.

With three arrests still on his record, thanks to Blazesjowski, Good is now making a living with landscaping jobs. He is working toward getting his clean record back.

“[I] just put one foot in front of the other and keep moving,” Good said. “It’s all you can do.”

Asked what he would say to Blazesjowski if he could tell her anything, Good said, “Why couldn’t you just let go?”

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Ebola Scare Creates 'Utter Panic' on Caribbean Cruise Ship

Fri, 10/17/2014 - 1:44pm

Jeremy Malone saw 30 to 40 crew members with buckets of disinfectant who were lined up on along his hallway as they prepared to clean the ship Courtesy Jeremy Malone(NEW YORK) -- There is "utter panic” on the Carnival cruise ship where a Dallas hospital employee who helped care for an Ebola patient who died has been put in quarantine. The ship is now being sent back to Texas after being turned away from both Belize and Mexico, one of the passengers said.

"People are scared,” passenger Jon Malone told ABC News as the Carnival Magic cruise ship was waiting miles off shore from Cozumel, Mexico. "I’ve seen people crying."

The chaos started Friday morning when there was an announcement on the ship’s intercom saying "that someone who worked in the lab who handled the person in Dallas’ blood was on the ship,” Jon’s brother and fellow passenger Jeremy Malone told ABC. The cruise line said the woman is in isolation on board the ship.

"You're using the same buffet line as someone else, the same waiters, the folks that clean the state rooms. If someone was cleaning their state room and cleaned yours right after, the exposure that you have there to elevators..." he said. "It's very tight quarters and a lot of interaction. It's really difficult to control any type of virus that's on a cruise ship. It's like a floating petri dish. It spreads very rapidly."

Though the cruise line has not released the name of the passenger or her location, the Malones fear that her room may be on their floor because when Jeremy walked outside his room Friday morning, he saw a group of 30 to 40 workers gathered with buckets of what looked like cleaning chemicals.

"Some of them had masks on,” Jon Malone said.

"They had a pink liquid in clear spray bottles and they had little wagons that had grey containers -- like mop buckets -- filled with chemicals,” he said. "They're cleaning elevators. I’ve seen people with pink liquid cleaning the bar area and the handrails.”

The workers wouldn’t answer questions about what room or floor the hospital employee was staying on, but Jeremy said that he fears that she was on the 11th floor because the workers "kind of looked at each other and smiled. They didn’t know what to say.”

The first signs of trouble emerged Thursday night when they did not leave Belize at 6 p.m. as intended to make their way to Cozumel.

"The ship wasn’t going anywhere. We were parked maybe 10 miles from the shore, so that was unusual,” Jeremy Malone said. "Several hours go by and we still haven’t moved and they hadn’t made any announcements or anything.”

The first word they received came while attending a comedy show on board when an employee indicated that a passenger was ill and needed to be taken off the ship, but made no mention of Ebola.

Carnival released a statement Friday confirming the presence of a lab supervisor from Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital on board the ship, but said that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention deemed the woman "low risk.”

"At no point in time has the individual exhibited any symptoms or signs of infection and it has been 19 days since she was in the lab with the testing samples,” the statement said. The incubation period for Ebola is believed to be two to 21 days.

Neither Carnival nor any government officials from Belize, Mexico or the United States have confirmed the reported change of travel plans, but the Malones shared a letter that they received from Carnival Friday morning that the ship planned to arrive in Cozumel at 10 a.m. and depart at 6 p.m.

Jeremy Malone said the captain and cruise director have subsequently made another announcement saying they are headed back to Galveston, Texas.

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Air Force Reusable Spacecraft Lands After Over 600 Days in Orbit

Fri, 10/17/2014 - 1:41pm

USAF(NEW YORK) -- After nearly two years in space, the mysterious U.S. Air Force's X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle landed at Vandenberg Air Force Base on Friday.

The Air Force has never specifically said what the unmanned, reusable spacecraft did in space.

"The OTV-3 conducted on-orbit experiments for 674 days during its mission extending the total number of days spent on-orbit for the OTV program to 1367 days," an Air Force press release says.

The program's manager said that the landing "marks a hallmark event for the program."

"The mission is our longest to day and we're pleased with the incremental progress we've seen in our testing of the reusable space plane," the program manager added.

The Air Force described the X-37B as the "newest and most advanced re-entry spacecraft."

A fourth X-37B mission is expected to be launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in 2015.

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Michael Dunn Sentenced to Life in Prison for Loud Music Shooting

Fri, 10/17/2014 - 12:48pm

Thinkstock(JACKSONVILLE, Fla.) -- Michael Dunn, the Florida man convicted of first-degree murder in the fatal 2012 shooting of a teen over loud music was sentenced to life in prison on Friday.

Dunn was found guilty of attempted murder and firing a gun into a car in February, but jurors could not initially agree on whether he was guilty of the first-degree murder charge. He was convicted on the murder charge in a second trial that began in September.

Dunn got into an argument with Jordan Davis, 17, in November 2012, in the parking lot of a Florida gas station, during which he asked Davis and his friends to turn down the music playing from their vehicle. Dunn said he felt threatened, and that he thought he saw Davis point a gun at him, before firing nine bullets into the vehicle, killing Davis.

According to the Florida Times-Union, Dunn apologized to Davis' family prior to his sentencing on Friday. Davis' family also addressed the court.

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