Monday, September 29, 2008

Ex-Boyfriend Barbecues Ex-Girlfriend to Death on Two Barbecue Pits...

Jury selection is set to begin Monday for a Texas man accused of killing, dismembering and grilling his ex-girlfriend.

Timothy Wayne Shepherd, 28, confessed last year to strangling Texas A&M student Tynesha Stewart, 19, last year, and now faces trial for the murder, the Houston Chronicle reports.

Investigators said Shepherd admitted strangling Stewart because he was angry she had begun a new relationship. Prosecutors believe Shepherd dismembered her body and burned her remains on two barbecue pits over the course of two days, the paper said.

"We have determined through this investigation that the defendant dismembered Tynesha Stewart and . . . he burned the body parts," Harris County Sheriff Tommy Thomas said in March 2007. "There are no remaining body parts."

Despite the confession, prosecutors will have an uphill battle convicting Shepherd as investigators could not link the 30 pieces of charred bone and hair recovered from the defendant's apartment to the dead woman's DNA, the Chronicle said.
He faces life in prison if convicted.

Officials first thought that the body had been disposed in a large commercial trash bin that had since been emptied. Authorities believed her remains were scattered in several overflowing landfills, and that the search would be expensive and nearly impossible.

In the days following the arrest, authorities said they would not search for Stewart's body because there was little chance of success. The decision angered family and friends, and complaints from activists and lawmakers prompted Thomas to get emergency approval to spend up to $500,000 for a search. But the search never began.

Thomas said he knew, but could not disclose, that there were no body parts to find. He said investigators were unable to release that information to the public or to Stewart's family because of the investigation. Stewart's family has since been advised, and understands why there will be no search, Thomas said.

Stewart, a college freshman from Houston, was last seen with Shepherd on March 15, 2007, while she was home for spring break visiting her mother. Friends said Stewart and Shepherd quit dating at the beginning of that school year.

Ex-Teacher in Nebraska Gets (6) years in Sex Case with Student She Fled to Mexico With...

A former teacher who fled to Mexico with a 13-year-old student so she could have sex with him was sentenced Monday to six years in federal prison. Kelsey Peterson, 26, had pleaded guilty in July to a charge of transporting a minor across state lines to have sex and avoided a similar charge that would have carried a mandatory 10-year minimum sentence.

She will be credited for nearly one year she has already served and could get another year off for good behavior, said U.S. Attorney Joe Stecher.

The guilty plea doesn't mean Peterson is off the hook on state charges, which include kidnapping and first-degree sexual assault.
Her attorney, James Martin Davis, said he hoped those charges will be dropped, but Dawson County Attorney Elizabeth Waterman said she will proceed with a state case.

Peterson and her relatives and friends cried as they waved to each other across the courtroom and said, "I love you" after the hearing.

She started having sex with the boy when he was 12 years old and a student at the middle school where she taught in the south-central Nebraska town of Lexington.

Peterson's attorney, James Martin Davis, had publicly questioned the boy's birth certificate. Davis said the boy was likely at least 16, and that he was the aggressor.

Amy Peck, attorney for the boy and his family, bristled at the suggestion.
"He was a 12-year-old boy and the defendant knew it," Peck said in July, after Peterson's guilty plea.

Peterson was the boy's sixth-grade math teacher at Lexington Middle School during the 2005-06 school year, then started having sex with him in November 2006, according to court documents.

She and the boy disappeared in October, soon after the school district's superintendent confronted Peterson about allegations of an inappropriate relationship with the boy.

Peterson was arrested a week later in Mexico after the boy called his family.

The Associated Press previously named the boy as police were searching for him but stopped using his name after authorities charged Peterson with a sex crime.

The boy was an illegal immigrant at the time but has been granted humanitarian parole by the Department of Homeland Security.

Peck has said she plans to seek a visa that could put the boy and his parents on the path to citizenship.

She said there is no relationship between Peterson and the boy.
"I would fully doubt if there will be a relationship in the future," Peck said.

Preacher Killed Wife and Stuffed Body in Freezer...

An evangelical preacher killed his wife several years ago and stuffed her body in a freezer after she caught him abusing their daughter, according to police and court documents.

Anthony Hopkins, 37, was arrested at the Inspirational Tabernacle Church of God in Christ in Jackson, Alabama, just after he had delivered a sermon to a congregation that included his seven other children, officials said.

He faces charges including murder, rape, sodomy, sexual abuse and incest.

The daughter, now 19, went to the Mobile Police Department's Child Advocacy Center and reported that she had been sexually abused by Hopkins since she was 11 years old, according to an affidavit filed in support of a search warrant of the preacher's home in Mobile.

The affidavit related the daughter's story as follows:
Her mother, Arletha Hopkins, 36, caught her father abusing her in a bathroom in November 2004. Afterward, her parents argued, and her mother locked her father out of the house.

The father came to the daughter's window and asked her to let him in, and she did so.
The next morning, her father asked her to help him hide her mother's body in the freezer in the laundry room of the home.

The girl said she moved out of the home about two weeks ago and was living with a neighbor. She told police that her mother's body was still in the freezer.

When authorities went to the home, no one was there, as Hopkins and the other children were at the church. A body was found in the freezer, the affidavit says.

Mobile Police Chief Phillip Garrett had said that an identification and autopsy results would take a few days: "obviously, the body was in a freezer."

He said he was not sure of the body's condition or whether it was intact, as upon seeing the body, authorities immediately sealed the chest-type freezer. The body had been covered in the unit, he said, and the entire appliance was taken to the state Department of Forensic Science.

At the Inspirational Tabernacle Church of God in Christ, Hopkins was preaching at a revival, pastor Beverly Jackson told CNN affiliate WKRG. His message, she said, was about forgiveness and not passing judgment -- and at one point, he turned to his seven children and asked them to forgive him his past, present and future.

Police allowed Hopkins to finish his sermon before arresting him, Jackson said. She said she asked police why they were arresting him and was told, "he murdered his wife."
She said Hopkins had told her his wife died four years ago while giving birth to their youngest son.

Authorities moved quickly on the daughter's accusations to make sure the children still in the household were OK, Garrett said. They were placed in the custody of child welfare authorities. The next-oldest child is a 17-year-old female, he said.

All eight were the children of Arletha Hopkins, and Anthony Hopkins fathered six of them, he said.

An investigation has not found any record of Arletha Hopkins' existence since 2004, according to the affidavit. Asked how long police think the body had been in the freezer, Garrett said, "I'm thinking that she's probably been there for a number of years."

He said Anthony Hopkins did not have a regular church but apparently preached in various areas around the South.

"Part of the mystery here is that, apparently, none of these children were in school" but were being home-schooled, Mobile County District Attorney John Tyson said. "Home schooling, under this situation, removes almost any chances of us catching up with these kinds of things until there is a catastrophe."

Pastor Jerry Porter said he used to preach with Hopkins at his church, the Williams Street Holiness Church, and knew the family.

Arletha Hopkins "was very quiet," he told Mobile television station and CNN affiliate WPMI. "She was kind of secluded. She'd talk, but not much."

Anthony Hopkins, he said, made statements that led him to believe all was not well at home. "He always used to tell me ... 'You're blessed in the fact that you have a wife that supports you and what you're trying to do for God,' " Porter said.

He said Arletha Hopkins disappeared shortly after the couple's youngest child was born. As rumors swirled, Porter said, he confronted Hopkins and asked whether his wife was dead. Hopkins "wouldn't give me an answer," he said.

After that, Porter said, he banned him from the church but remained on good terms with him.
He said he visited the family a few years ago, and their home was clean and well-kept.
"It was the ideal family. I mean, the children were so respectful, just so easygoing," Porter said. "Didn't seem to be no stress at all. Never got that impression, never."

The children, he said, "loved their dad. They were very close to him."
Of Hopkins' preaching ability, Porter said, "he was a bulls-eye prophet. If he told you something, you could pretty much bank on it."

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


Infidelity or extramarital affairs have been extensively studied over the past two decades.

Basically, when it comes to infidelity, two related explanations have been given.

The first explanation is probably the most well known: Spouses cheat because of problems in their relationship - something is missing, passion has faded, partners feel lonely, people find someone who treats them better or who appreciates them more than their current spouse, and so on.

Simply stated, people claim that they are not happy in their relationship so they look for love and affection elsewhere.

The second explanation is more detailed in nature. This explanation ignores the reasons that people "give" for cheating and looks deeper into our human nature.

The second explanation explores what it means to be human and asks, "why is being faithful to a spouse so difficult for many people to do?"

Probably the best way to think about these two explanations is to view them as two sides of the same coin.

One explanation looks at what people "say" about infidelity, while the other explanation looks at "how and why infidelity" occurs.

Together, both explanations give us a more complete picture about infidelity, love and romance.