crime

On a sunny January afternoon, Amy Blumenthal drove to her Chicago home after picking up groceries. She turned off a street and into an alley, backed her car into her garage and started unloading the bags.

"All of a sudden, I heard something and looked up and there was a boy with a COVID mask on holding a gun just inches from my face," Blumenthal says. He demanded she hand over her keys. Another young male, also wearing a mask, told her to hurry up.

ALLISON HERRERA / KOSU

The Oklahoma House Public Safety Committee advanced HB 1790, otherwise known as the Kasey Alert Act, during a meeting today. The bill is meant to tackle the problem of Missing and Murdered Indigenous People in Oklahoma.

Hollywood portrayals of the American Mafia often focus on major cities, but writer Russell Shorto says there have been active mob organizations in countless small and midsize cities in the United States.

Shorto knows this firsthand: His grandfather was a mob boss in the industrial town of Johnstown, Pa. Shorto says his grandfather's involvement with the Johnstown mob initially began as an offshoot of Prohibition, which opened doors for Italian Americans facing employment discrimination.

The Chickasaw Nation and Cherokee Nation said Thursday the challenges presented by their expanded criminal boundaries post-McGirt v. Oklahoma are so great they are advocating for the state of Oklahoma to retain jurisdiction over some of those felony of cases.

Oklahoma Department of Corrections

An Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals order filed Thursday says Tommy Ward will stay in prison while the court considers the state attorney general’s objection to his release.

Last year, an alarming increase in homicides left communities — often in lockdown — reeling as officials searched for answers. That was evident at lots of news conferences as police officials and mayors in Chicago, Los Angeles and New York City rolled out dire news.

At the end of 2020, Chicago police reported more than 750 murders, a jump of more than 50% compared with 2019. By mid-December, Los Angeles saw a 30% increase over the previous year with 322 homicides. There were 437 homicides in New York City by Dec. 20, nearly 40% more than the previous year.

Samuel Little, a convicted murderer who the FBI says is the most prolific serial killer in U.S. history, died Wednesday at age 80.

Little was serving three consecutive life-without-parole sentences for the deaths of three women in the late 1980s in Los Angeles, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation said in its announcement of his death.

Oklahoma Department of Corrections

Last week, a Pontotoc County District Court judge ordered Tommy Ward be released from prison. The order is the latest in a string of decisions rebuking the convictions of Ward and Karl Fontenot for an infamous 1984 murder documented in two books and a recent Netflix documentary. But now, Ward’s release has been blocked by the state Attorney General’s Office.

The Cherokee Nation recently voted to update their criminal codes to be more in line with existing Oklahoma laws.

On Monday, armed and masked gangsters attacked the Southern Brazilian city of Criciúma, in Santa Catarina state, just before midnight.

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