Wednesday afternoon, an Army Judge accepted a plea deal that enables a soldier to avert the death penalty for his murder of 16 Afghans and attempting to murder six others as well as burning bodies and the illegal use of steroids and drinking alcohol while on duty.
Army Staff Sergeant Robert Bales pleaded guilty earlier in the day to the March 2012 murderous rampage. Bales entered his plea during a court martial hearing at Joint Base Lewis-McChord near Seattle.
For the first time in court, Bales spoke the names of his 16 victims and acknowledged he killed them. There were nine female victims and seven male victims.
Bales said, in reviewing investigative reports and listening to witness testimony at a pretrial hearing, that he did in fact use a kerosene lantern to set the bodies afire.
Under the terms of an agreement, Bales will serve a life term in prison—with or without the possibility of parole depending upon another phase of the court martial proceedings which will begin Monday, August 19.
The fate of a Boise recycling company hangs in the balance tonight as Ada County officials will allow the public to weigh in on whether Tree Top Recycling, Inc., should be allowed to operate in the City of Trees.
Following an April 11 cease and desist order, the Ada County Planning and Zoning Commission will garner public opinion this evening at 6 p.m. at the Ada County Courthouse to address Tree Top Recycling on Banner Street.
The final decision rests in the hands of Ada County Commissioners, but one long-time customer of the recycling company tells Boise Weekly he is anxious to come to Tree Top’s defense.
Fritz Keifer told BW he's satisfied with the service Tree Top provides, adding tonight’s subject might be "a conflict of interest," claiming that the county "simply doesn’t want to compete with another recycler."
“It seems wrong that one entity in competition could shut down a private enterprise,” Keifer said, “I’m as left-wing as you can get, but it doesn’t seem right to me that the government should be able to shut down that competition.”
Ada County Planning and Zoning reported what it called multiple infractions and instances of noncompliance. P and Z staffers claimed Tree Top accepted more than just wood, sod, leaves, and grass, was negligent of composting wood chips causing an strong odor, and built up dust in the surrounding neighborhood.
But Keifer pushed back against the negative report.
“[Tree Top] has been such a good facility and good business in terms of recycling organic waste,” he said, “If you have weeds in mixed loads, they’re really good about composting it—no big deal. It’s so much more approachable than the county in terms of getting rid of all these materials we as gardeners and landscapers have to deal with. We frequently end up with mixed loads the county won’t take, or if they do take, just end up burying somewhere.”
Ada County sheriff's deputies say they seized nearly 12 pounds of meth during an arrest early today in Boise. The drugs had a street value of nearly $150,000.
26-year-old Joel Gonzalez-Laureano is being held at the Ada County Jail on a $1 million bond for a felony charge of trafficking meth—punishable by up to life in prison.
Detectives said they spent three months working on the case before an undercover officer agreed to pay Gonzalez-Laureano $12,500 for each pound of meth, which the suspect allegedly brought into the Treasure Valley from Mexico. Gonzalez-Laureano was arrested in a home in the area of Cole and Overload roads this morning. Deputies found the drugs inside a backpack in the trunk of the suspect's car.
Gonzalez-Laureano is scheduled for a court hearing Tuesday, June 18.
Boise Police announced this morning that they had arrested a man early today in connection with an attack on two women May 14 in the parking lot of the Boise Town Square Mall.
31-year-old Gregory Macho of Boise was booked into the Ada County Jail on felony counts of kidnappng, battery with intent to commit a serious felony, aggravated battery and destruction of evidence.
Macho is being held on $2 million bond.
"It was a community effort to solve this crime," said Deputy Police Chief William Bones. "The officers who worked this case have contacted literally hundreds of people, followed dozens of leads and put in many long hours developing the evidence that led to this morning's arrest."
Macho was taken into custody at his home overnight. Police said he lives within a mile of where the crime occurred. Officers have also taken custody of Macho's pickup truck as evidence in the crime.
Police said sexual assault was the likely motive behind the attack of a woman in the mall parking lot. During the attack, another woman in the parking lot offered assistance which officers believe caused the suspect to flee. As he was leaving the scene in his pickup, police said the suspect intentionally swerved and struck the second woman, causing significant traumatic injuries.
The photo in this morning's Coeur d'Alene Press shows a standing room-only crowd packing the Coeur d'Alene Public Library—the scene of last night's Coeur d'Alene City County meeting.
And the Press headline says it all: "Anti-Discrimination Ordinance Approved."
The council voted 5-1 to extend anti-discrimination protections to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people in areas of employment and housing. The ordinance is similar to ordinances already in place in Boise, Ketchum, Moscow and Sandpoint.
The Coeur d'Alene Council vote came after four hours of testimony on the issue.
“This is a huge victory,” Tony Stewart, Coeur d'Alene Human Rights Task Force on Human Relations member, told the Press. “I’m absolutely elated this evening because the Coeur d’Alene City Council did what we’ve been doing for 30 years now—standing up against discrimination.”
The Press reports that nearly 400 people packed inside the library to testify and/or witness the landmark vote.
The Associated Press reports that the Environmental Protection Agency has settled a lawsuit against the Jerome Cheese Company after alleging the cheesemaker dumped wastewater into the Snake River. The EPA said the Jerome Cheese Company had a permit to dump some pollutants, but the company exceeded its phosphorous and ammonia limits between 2006 and 2010.
The AP's Rebecca Boone reports that the parent company of Jerome Cheese—Davsco Food—faced maximum allowable fines totaling approximately $100 million but the settlement will see the company pay a civil penalty of $304,000 plus interest.
Davisco didn't admit to any liability in the settlement, nor does it acknowledge that the EPA's findings were accurate.
The AP reports that the EPA alleged Jerome Cheese failed to notify feds within 24 hours when it became aware of discharges that exceeded the maximum daily permit limits.
Breast cancer charity Susan G. Komen for the Cure, which holds an annual Boise race in May but suffered a strong publicity backlash in 2012 when it initially sought to cut funding to Planned Parenthood (and ultimately reversed course), announced June 4 that it was putting up a stop sign to cancel a series of 2014 fundraising walks in seven cities: Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Phoenix, San Francisco, Tampa Bay, Fla., and Washington, D.C. The three-day walks (none were scheduled in Boise) will continue in Atlanta, Dallas, Minneapolis, Philadelphia, San Diego and Seattle.
Komen's signature events are its Race for the Cure—including its Boise event—which includes 5k and marathon races, as well as the walks. More than 1.7 million participants are usually involved nationwide.
But a Komen spokeswomen said in an email that a number of the three-day walks have not been meeting fundraising goals—declining by 37 percent in the past four years.
The charity experienced considerable pushback in 2012 when it said it would cut funding to Planned Parenthood, but reversed the decision within days. Following the controversy, several of the charity's national leaders stepped down from their posts.
A Boise man is behind bars after a report of a burglary at a local retailer resulted in a felony drug bust.
Boise Police responded to a report of a theft at a store on the 1500 block of West State Street overnight. Store employees said they witnessed the suspect conceal several items and then leave the store without paying for them.
When police caught up with the suspect, they said a search revealed a plastic baggie containing meth.
46-year-old Cary Nill of Boise was booked into the Ada County Jail on felony charges of burglary and meth possession.
Flags outside of each city office in Portland, Ore., will be lowered today to remember a newborn girl who was found dead among recycling items outside of a business May 28. The near-term infant weighed five-and-a-quarter pounds and, according to the Oregon State Medical Examiner's office, was alive and breathing at birth.
In 2009, the City of Portland approved a resolution to lower city flags in honor of children who die from abuse, neglect or homicidal violence.
The owner of a Portland recycling company said one of his employees found the remains of the newborn. The business was shut down while investigators combed the scene.
"We're saddened by these events and trust the police will find and punish those responsible," said Scott Jenkins, chief executive officer of the recycling company.
Meanwhile, Portland Police are offering a $1,000 reward for information that leads to an arrest in the case. Tips can remain anonymous. The Portland Crime Stoppers tip line can be texted to CRIMES (274637) and in the subject line enter 823HELP, followed by your tip.
More than a few political insiders concluded that Gallup, one of the world's oldest and most quoted polling organizations, did severe damage to its reputation in 2012, going as far as forecasting that Mitt Romney would win the presidential election.
That's why Gallup announced June 4 that it would adjust some of its survey methods. Gallup officials admitted to a number of factors that that badly underestimated support for President Barack Obama.
The final Gallup poll, just before the November 6, 2012 election, showed Romney with a 1-point lead, which was at odds with almost every other nationwide political survey.
An internal review reviewed that Gallup had misidentified likely voters, didn't appropriately weigh its sample to include a larger berth of race and ethnicity, and limited too many interviews to to regions where Romney was strong.