CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The inmate accused of attacking and killing Sgt. Meggan Callahan inside a North Carolina prison last week had “targeted” her, an investigator says.
Inmate Craig Wissink, who is charged with first-degree murder in Callahan’s death, is accused of beating the sergeant with a fire extinguisher that she’d brought to douse a fire inside Bertie Correctional Institution.
Investigators believe Wissink set the fire in a trash can in a common area used by medium-custody inmates, according to Anthony Jernigan, who heads the State Bureau of Investigation office that covers northeastern North Carolina.
Then, state officials say, the inmate hit Callahan with the fire extinguisher. Jernigan said the inmate struck her “multiple” times.
“It was violent and deliberate,” Jernigan said. “I think it’s safe to say he did target her. It wasn’t random.”
Jernigan did not say why investigators believe Wissink targeted Callahan.
Preliminary autopsy results show that Callahan was “fatally beaten,” Jernigan said.
In a 911 call made following the attack, a prison officer told a dispatcher that an officer was down, suffering from a “contusion to the head.” About eight minutes earlier, in the first 911 call made from the prison, another officer mistakenly told a dispatcher that “we have an inmate down.”
Wissink, who has been serving a life sentence for murder since 2004, on Monday made his first court appearance in connection with Callahan’s death.
—The Charlotte Observer
Baltimore woman held without bail in son’s 2014 death, 8 years after conviction for assault
BALTIMORE — A Baltimore woman convicted eight years ago of beating her child into a coma — and who is facing new charges following his death — was ordered held without bond Tuesday by a Circuit Court judge.
Judge Cynthia H. Jones ruled that “no bail is appropriate” for Tamekia Martin, 36, who was charged in March with child abuse resulting in death and manslaughter in the 2014 death of her son Damaud.
Martin was sentenced to 15 years, with all but time served suspended, after entering an Alford plea in 2009 to charges of child abuse resulting in severe physical injury after her 3-year-old son suffered brain trauma. An Alford plea allows someone to maintain their innocence while acknowledging that the state has enough evidence for a conviction.
She successfully completed three years of probation, and according to her mother had moved on with her life. She has maintained that she did not injure her son, writing to the judge in her first case in 2013 to say she was wrongly charged.
The boy remained in poor condition due to his injuries, and was placed into a state-run group home where he died in 2014 at age 10. An autopsy concluded that Damaud’s death was a result of his injuries suffered in 2008.
Baltimore Police re-investigated the case, and with approval from prosecutors filed new charges against Martin.
—The Baltimore Sun
GOP lawmakers call for subpoenas after audit finds mishandling of money by University of California
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Alarmed by an audit critical of the University of California, half a dozen Republican Assembly members called Tuesday for the Legislature to issue subpoenas for records as part of an independent forensic audit to determine whether the mishandling of UC resources broke any laws.
The lawmakers sent a letter to the Assembly Rules Committee seeking an independent investigation a week after a state audit alleged the University of California failed to tell the public or lawmakers that it had $175 million in reserve funds and was paying excessive salaries and benefits to UC managers.
“California students have faced rising tuition costs and unfair competition from out-of-state students for years,” the letter said. “These students deserve better than $175 million in undisclosed funds, excessive administrative costs, increased tuition and fees and weak budget controls.”
The letter also said the lawmakers are “extremely troubled by the (university’s office of the president’s) interference and possible tampering with the audit process.”
The letter is signed by Republican Assembly members Catharine Baker of San Ramon, Kevin Kiley of Rocklin, Dante Acosta of Santa Clarita, Jay Obernolte of Big Bear, Steven Choi of Irvine and Randy Voepel of Santee.
University of California President Janet Napolitano has said the audit was incorrect and that there is only $38 million in reserve funds, with the rest committed to programs to improve the 10-campus system.
—Los Angeles Times
Mexico captures Sinaloa cartel leader who was ex-associate of ‘El Chapo’
MEXICO CITY — Mexican law enforcement authorities Tuesday said they had arrested an accused drug gang leader reputedly involved in a bloody war for control of the Sinaloa cartel formerly headed by Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, now jailed in the United States.
The attorney general’s office said its agents and the military had arrested a suspect identified as Damaso N, “presumed leader of a criminal organization.”
Mexican media accounts later identified the suspect as Damaso Lopez, a former associate of Guzman known as “El Licenciado” — roughly, the Graduate. Lopez was arrested in an upscale district in Mexico City.
Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto, in a Twitter message, lauded “the detention of another key objective in the battle against criminality.”
Lopez is reported to have been involved in a dispute with Guzman’s sons and their allies for control of the powerful Sinaloa cartel now that Guzman in custody in the United States awaiting trial on various charges. The turf battle for the cartel’s myriad holdings has led to violent gun battles in the northwestern state of Sinaloa.
Lopez reportedly is suspected of longtime links to Guzman and the cartel. As far back as 2001, Lopez was suspected of aiding Guzman in the first of two sensational breakouts from high-security Mexican prisons.
—Los Angeles Times
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