Ronald Clark O'Bryan charged with 8-year-old son's murder
DEER PARK, Texas - Trick-or-treating in Deer Park these days is exciting and fun for kids, like anywhere else, but what happened in one neighborhood 40 years ago struck pure fear in children and adults alike until recent years. "The feeling of helplessness was overwhelming," said Jesse Zesiger. "Seeing this boy, young boy with dry heaves."
Retired patrolman Jesse Zesiger was first at the scene to respond to a sick child at a home in the Parktown Townhomes.
Eight-year-old Timothy O'Bryan would die later that night, and within days his 30-year-old father, Ronald Clark O'Bryan, would be charged with his murder. He poisoned his own son with cyanide-laced Pixy Stix candy, all to collect on a $20,000 insurance policy.
O'Bryan became known as "Candy Man" and "the Man Who Killed Halloween" because many people in the Houston area were afraid to trick-or-treat for years later.
Zesiger said he's still troubled today by something Ronald O'Bryan told him that night, something that wasn't fully revealed during O'Bryan's murder trial. O'Bryan not only had poisoned his son's candy, he helped him ingest it.
"Dad said, 'I took the Pixy Stix in my hand and rolled it in my hand, broke up the clumps, and helped pour it down my son's throat,'" recalled Zesiger. "And later on when I found out what was in the Pixy Stix I'm saying to myself, 'How could somebody do that?'"
Zesiger -- a four-month rookie at the time -- served on Deer Park's police force for 27 years. But he said that early case jaded his sense of normal for at least the first decade of his career and still has impact.
"Since that time I've never been involved in any case more horrific than that," he said. O'Bryan maintained his innocence throughout his trial and until he died. A jury convicted him of murder and he was executed by lethal injection 10 years after his son's death. ..Source.. by Keith Garvin
November 1, 2014
SANTA ANA, CA (RNN) – Three teens were killed while trick-or-treating on Friday night, ABC 7 News reports.
A vehicle reportedly struck the girls while they were walking in a crosswalk. Witnesses reported to ABC 7 that three men jumped out of the vehicle and fled on foot.
The crosswalk is located near an elementary school, the Associated Press is reporting. Police are trying to determine the identities of the girls and locate their parents, the report added. ..Source.. by WTVM.com
11-1-2014 New York:
A young child has died after police say the child was hit and killed by vehicle while trick-or-treating on Latta Road. Police tell News10NBC two people were hit by the vehicle Friday night just before 10 p.m.
One of the victims, a 3-year-old, was pronounced dead. The other victim, a 16-year-old, was taken to the hospital with serious injuries. Witnesses say the two were trick-or-treating.
No word on what charges, if any, the driver involved in the crash may be facing. Police would not say if they believe drugs or alcohol were involved. ..Source.. by WHEC.com
October 31, 2014
NEW ORLEANS — The ACLU of Louisiana delivered an open letter today to all of Louisiana’s parish sheriffs, concerning regulation of the Halloween holiday. The letter reads as follows:
It has come to our attention that several parishes and municipalities in Louisiana have adopted rules concerning the scheduling of “trick or treat” hours for Halloween and are posting unlawful signs at the homes of some community residents. While protecting children at Halloween and any other time is a legitimate purpose, these initiatives do nothing to enhance public safety, while violating fundamental rights guaranteed to all.
This letter is to advise you that regulations of this sort violate the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States and Article I, Sections 7 and 9 of the Louisiana Constitution, which provide for rights of free speech and assembly.
No governmental body may prohibit anyone from ringing someone else's doorbell at any time for any legitimate purpose, nor may the government prohibit anyone from giving “treats” to visitors at any time. Simply put, the residents of Louisiana have the Constitutional right to ring doorbells on any date and time they choose asking for treats, and all have the right to receive visitors and give them treats at any time.
Some communities may have adopted penalties for trick or treating outside the designated hours, and many simply state what those hours will be. Certainly it is a violation of the First Amendment rights of all to impose penalties of any kind for visiting homes outside of designated hours. Even without set penalties, the mere designation of specified hours creates a chilling effect on the right of free assembly.
With respect to signs at the homes of registered sex offenders, we have learned that in some communities law enforcement has posted signs reading “No candy at this residence,” or “No trick, no treat, no candy,” or similar signs indicating that children should not trick or treat at those addresses. These signs violate the privacy rights of family members who have committed no crimes and who are therefore not subject to registration or any other restrictions on their activities.
In 2012, a federal court in California blocked a similar sign requirement, ruling that the signs violate the First Amendment right to be free from compelled speech. John Doe #1, et al. v. City of Simi Valley, CV 12-8377 PA (VBKx) (USDC, Central District of California). Finding that “a number of less speech restrictive alternatives exist that serve substantially to further the aims” of the signs – including laws such as Louisiana’s that ban certain sex offenders from participating in trick or treating – the court found that the government failed to meet its burden to show that the sign requirement was “narrowly tailored to achieving [the] compelling interest” of protecting children on Halloween.
In short, these signs do not enhance the safety of trick-or-treaters. Those individuals who are prohibited by law from distributing treats can be monitored. Instead, these signs can harm the residents inside those homes, including innocent children and other family members whose safety and privacy must be protected.
As elected officials, you have sworn to uphold the laws of the United States and of the State of Louisiana. Those laws include the obligation to respect the right to visit homes and receive guests at the time and for the purpose of an individual's choosing, and to protect individuals from violations of their First Amendment rights of free association and against compelled speech.
We therefore urge you not to enforce any restrictions on the time of the celebration of Halloween, and not to force anyone to post signs at their residences during this holiday.
Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions.
Marjorie R. Esman
Executive Director ..Press Release..
October 30, 2014
This story needs to be told. This is insanity supported by the Police, who folks are supposed to believe will never lie to the public. The police are fully aware of the truth re: Sex offender research and Halloween; here we see them telling the public untruths so how can the public feel safe under those hired to protect and serve; police? ACLU where are you?10-30-2014 Louisiana:
NEW ORLEANS -- Are there sex offenders in your neighborhood? It is a question police want every parent to have the answer to before going trick or treating.
Halloween is a time for thrills and chills, but for parents it is not always the good kind. It is also when local police remind everyone of the work they are doing to keep sex offenders off the street and in their homes come Halloween night.
"It's not only protecting the children, it's protecting the sex offenders too," said Plaquemines Parish Sheriff's Office Commander Eric Becnel. "Sex offenders know they should not be out on their porch distributing candy or have their lights on."
Orleans Parish has 656 registered sex offenders and not far behind is Jefferson Parish with 633 offenders. So, when parents narrowed down the search to their street, the results were eye opening.
There are 64 registered sex offenders within two miles of Jade Adgate's Jefferson Parish home, which came as big shock to the mom-to-be.
Adgate and her family just moved to Jefferson Parish three weeks ago. She said until now she had not even thought about it.
"I see them on my street. That's awful, I had no idea!" says Adgate. "It's scary, you don't want that in your neighborhood without you knowing, so yeah I wish I had looked this up sooner."
Parents say they do have some peace of mind knowing police will have extra patrols out on the street and will be doing compliance checks at sex offender's homes, but Plaquemines Parish is taking it one step further by placing signs in every sex offender's yard.
"We have distributed nearly 3,000 letters to parents or guardians of children basically informing them of the signs we will be placing in the 43 registered sex offender's yards," says Becnel.
"It's great. They put the signs up, they keep the lights off and then we know that's not a good house," said one Plaquemines Parish mom.
The proud mom of three said she likes how much police keep her informed of the dangers lurking in her own backyard. She said she has even went to the sex offender registry and signed up to get the free alerts.
"There is just so much going on these days. You can't watch your kids 24 hours a day and it only takes a split second for something to happen."
It's just one more thing she and other parents can do make sure their kids have a fun, safe night.
Police say if you observe a sex offender participating in Halloween, call 911. ..Source.. by Jaclyn Kelley
On Halloween night, Andrew will celebrate the holiday the way most married fathers do: He and his wife will go trick-or-treating with their two kids, who are nine and 12; maybe afterward, they’ll head to their church to finish off the night with games and snacks.
But Andrew’s family isn’t like other families, because Andrew is a registered sex offender.
Sex offenders are the closest thing we have to real-life monsters on Halloween—and surely, few things can horrify a parent like the thought of his or her child being snatched up by a pervert while trick-or-treating. But there is no evidence that children are more likely to be abducted, assaulted, or abused on Halloween than on any other day. Crime data from the National Incident-Based Reporting System shows that there is no recorded spike in sex crimes before or after the holiday.
Even so, many states have adopted draconian measures to protect kids from stranger danger on Halloween. In Missouri, if you're on the sex-offender registry on October 31, you have to be in your house from 5 PM to 10:30 PM unless you have a really good reason; you also have to turn off your porch lights and put up a sign announcing "No candy or treats at this residence." Other states and local jurisdictions have similar restrictions that prohibit sex offenders from dressing up in costumes, decorating their homes, or driving after dark.
These regulations, which extend the reach of Megan’s Law—a nickname for a category of statutes that are designed to prevent child molesters from preying on the kids in their neighborhood—would be a great help if sex offenders were all fundamentally evil would-be rapists and killers. But most registered sex offenders are not convicted of violent crimes. The crimes that can make you a "sex offender" range from rape to sexting with a teen to—in some states—public urination. And it should be noted that even for more serious crimes, recidivism rates for sex offenders are extremely low—only about 5 percent commit another sex crime after being released from prison. In 2008 the Department of Justice concluded that “Megan’s Law showed no demonstrable effect in reducing sexual re-offenses." So why have these Halloween restrictions at all? ..Continued..Below Video.. by Arielle Pardes
10-30-2014 South Carolina:
SPARTANBURG, SC (FOX Carolina) - Erica Fields, 17, was hit by a car while collecting candy with her younger brother on Halloween in 2013.
Her mother Kalani Fields said she never wants any parent to go through what she did the night her daughter died.
Fields said Erica and her brother were with a larger group near Fernwood Drive when a car came towards them. Fields said Erica pushed her brother out of the way of the car before being struck.
"Infectious happiness," is how Fields described her daughter. "She was always happy. She loved her friends and her family."
Spartanburg police investigated the crash and closed the case without pressing charges against the driver. Fields said her faith led her to forgive the man that hit her daughter. And as Halloween approaches once again, she is asking for all those that plan to be out to be extra cautious.
"Be vigilant, be safe, trick-or-treat in the daytime hours," Fields said. "Drivers be vigilant, drive slower than the speed limit, there are children out there. I don't want to turn on the news and see that another family has gone through this."
Spartanburg police is reminding parents and drivers to stay safe on Halloween as well. Read their safety tips here. ..Source.. by Adrian Acosta
October 29, 2014
The Boulder County Sheriff's Office is investigating the vandalism of Boulder sex offender Zach Meints' car earlier this month — and Meints' attorney said video of the incident is evidence Meints did not stab himself twice earlier this year as investigators allege.
Meints, a former Boulder youth hockey coach convicted in 2012 of Internet sexual exploitation, reported being stabbed twice in two weeks this spring, but was charged with false reporting after investigators concluded he inflicted the injuries himself.
Meints, 26, is facing four counts of false reporting to authorities, Class 3 misdemeanors, and one count of attempting to influence a public servant, a Class 4 felony.
But at a hearing in the case Wednesday, Meints' attorney played a surveillance video from Meints' Boulder County home on Oct. 7 that showed a person apparently writing something on Meints' vehicle and then throwing a barbell through the window.
Boulder County sheriff's spokeswoman Heidi Prentup confirmed investigators are looking into the case.
Scott Jurdem, Meints' attorney, said the video was evidence of an "alternate suspect" in the stabbing incidents.
"This is not a hypothetical alternate suspect," Jurdem said. "This is a situation where my client and his family feel they are in extreme danger."
An arraignment for Meints, who is free on bond, was delayed until Dec. 15. ..Source.. by Matt Sebastian
Facts don't stop fear.
Happy Halloween! It's that time of year when your neighbors are secretly unwrapping candy, brushing lollipops with poison, and inserting razor blades into Snickers bars!
Actually, while it may be a holiday tradition view your neighbors as psychopaths who patiently wait for the one day of the year to kill the local kids, in fact no child has ever been killed by a stranger's poisoned candy. Ever. But facts don't stop fear. Here are three ways in which our misguided terror on Halloween is killing all the fun.
Don't Go Outside
Parents are so scared of letting their kids roam free, that—no joke—there's a trend called "Trunk or Treat." Cars gather in a circle and kids go from one trunk to the next to grab candy, as if walking in a circle in a parking lot and collecting sugar is the whole point of the holiday. Sugar is important, but so is going outside on your own with your friends.
Some towns are so scared of the holiday that they've placed curfews on trick or treating. It's medieval. It's as if they really believe the ghouls come out at night.
It's Too Scary
There are schools, churches, and community centers sending home notes begging parents not to let their kids wear costumes that are "too scary," as if kids can't handle an eyeball oozing blood anymore. One town even made a guy take down the zombie decorations in his front yard because they were too realistic. In other words…they looked too much like real zombies?
Sex Offender Hysteria
In some towns, registered sex offender have to turn off the lights to keep the trick or treaters away, or all gather together at the local precinct like some twisted version of study hall. The rules are different in different places. But they're all based on the idea that sex offenders pounce on trick or treaters. Which turns out to be, like the poison candy story, completely false.
A recent study by a researcher now at Johns Hopkins University found that there is zero increase in child sex offenses on Halloween. In fact, the author Elizabeth Letourneau considered titling the study, "Halloween: The Safest Day of the Year," because it is, when it comes to sex crimes.
There is one thing to fear on Halloween: cars. More kids get hit by cars on Halloween than any other day for obvious reasons. There are more kids outside. So if we really wanted to make the holiday safer we'd take the cops checking up on sex offenders and put them on traffic patrol instead, slowing down drivers, or helping kids across. That could save some lives. Because cars are actually dangerous, unlike slightly torn Snickers bars. ..Source.. by Lenore Skenazy. Shot and edited by Jim Epstein. Graphics by Meredith Bragg