Seven bounty hunters who descended on the wrong car outside a Tennessee Walmart have been indicted on first-degree murder charges in the killing of an unarmed man and the wounding of another. The charges come after a chaotic scene in Clarksville on April 23, where police said the bounty hunters shot at four people in a Nissan sedan and chased them for seven miles. None of the men in the car was wanted on outstanding charges. In fact, the bounty hunters were looking for someone else, with no indication any of the victims fired at the defendants or were even armed. Killed was 24-year-old Jalen Johnson, a father of three from Clarksville. His family called him an innocent man who died in an act of terrorizing violence. Johnson's uncle, Toni Jenkins, says his nephew and and his three companions thought they were being attacked by gang members and tried to flee. The bounty hunters, Jenkins says, started shooting in the Walmart parking lot and kept firing during the chase. The Montgomery County grand jury charged the seven men from Clarksville -- William Byles, 31; Kenneth Chiasson, 38; Antwon Keesee, 32; Jonathan Schnepp, 31; Roger West, 31; Prentice Williams, 34; and Joshua Young, 27 -- with first-degree felony murder, three counts of attempted second-degree murder, and a slew of other charges. Just FYI, bail bondsmen can hire or act as bounty hunters to bring in people who violate jail bond terms, but they can't use deadly force unless it's self-defense. (Newser)
Guy Tries to Sell iPhone to Three Teenage Girls. They Kill Him!
Chicago police say a 43-year-old Chicago man trying to sell his old iPhone instead ended up dead at the hands of three teenage girls. Trinidad Bueno-Sanchez, also identified as Javier Bueno, had arranged to sell an iPhone 6 using the Offer Up app and met a prospective buyer in a Chicago parking lot on April 24. The teen buyer, in a vehicle with four others, asked to see the phone and Bueno-Sanchez obliged. The teen then handed him an envelope, but just as Bueno-Sanchez realized it contained only a few dollars, not the $450 he'd requested, the driver of the car raced away. Because Bueno-Sanchez had been leaning inside the vehicle at the time, he was dragged along for a bit until he fell. Though he was able to speak to responding authorities, the father of seven had hit his head on pavement and died of his injuries on Thursday. His daughter later said, "He was such a good person, he didn't deserve any of this." Courtney Sherman, 18, has since been charged with reckless homicide and robbery and is being held on $500,000 bond. Two juveniles, 16 or 17, face the same charges although two other teenagers in the vehicle will not be charged. Supporters have started a GoFundMe campaign for the victim's family. (Chicago Tribune)
Playboy Model Insults New Zealand Tribe
Imagine someone parading naked on the grave of your relative. That's what the Maori of New Zealand accuse 25-year-old Playboy model Jaylene Cook of doing when she posed nude atop Mount Taranaki, a volcano that the Maori consider an ancestor. Cook, who appeared in Playboy Mexico in January, climbed the mountain on April 26, stripped off her clothes, then posed for a photo showing her looking out over the clouds. She says she and her photographer boyfriend were aware of the significance of Taranaki and "wanted to embrace the mountain in the purest form we could." She believes the photo, shared with her 300,000 Instagram followers, was empowering. The Maori not so much. A rep for the local tribe said, "It's like someone went into St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican and took a nude photo. It's just very inappropriate." Well, if it makes you feel any better - at least she was really cold when she did it. Cook says the temperature atop the mountain was 12 degrees, but the sun was shining "so it was not too bad." (Maori Television)
Hawking Says 100 Years - Then We're Toast!
Well, we'll most likely be dead by the time it happens, but physicist Stephen Hawking says humans must colonize Mars in the next century or watch as life on Earth fizzles out. Now last year Hawking claimed that humans have 1,000 years left on Earth, but he's now revised that figure in a new documentary to about 100 years. He believes at that point the Earth will be overwhelmed by overpopulation, climate change, disease, and artificial intelligence. Elon Musk of SpaceX is already planning to send humans to Mars in the next decade. But while a Mars colony is a good idea, bringing new scientific discoveries, columnist Eric Mack says Hawking needs to give his head a shake if he honestly believes Mars, the moon, or anywhere else in our solar system will be more hospitable than Earth even after a host of disasters. He adds, "Just cleaning up our own mess and starting over by rising from the rubble seems more practical and more affordable than figuring out how to grow food or survive radiation poisoning on Mars." (Newsweek)
Of All the Times for the Teacher to Be Working Late
Two University of Kentucky students picked the absolute wrong time to try and cheat their way through a statistics test. The two crawled through an air duct in an attempt to steal the exam from their professor's office but were caught because he just happened to be working late that night! University police cited Henry Lynch II and Troy Kiphuth, both 21, on third-degree burglary charges and referred the case to Fayette County Circuit Court. University spokesman Jay Blanton said that the instructor left his office about midnight Tuesday to get something to eat. When he returned, two men ran from the office. One of them later returned and confessed. Police said Lynch told officers he tried stealing the exam earlier in the night but couldn't find it. He also confessed to stealing an exam from the office earlier in the semester. (Lexington Herald-Leader)
Talk about ground beef! Nearly three dozen cows huddled around trees to get out of the rain were killed by lightning in one fell swoop in Missouri. Dairy farmer Jared Blackwelder started milking his cows around 4 a.m. Saturday. He finished up just before daylight and headed back to the barn. He was about to lock the gate when lightning struck hard and close. He said, "It was so bright I couldn't hardly see. It just brought fire down the fences." Later in the day when it was time to milk again, he returned to the field and found 32 of his certified organic cows dead. A vet confirmed the deaths were caused by lightning. Worse - he's not sure if his insurance will cover the loss. His cows are certified organic so they're worth more than conventional cattle, and he estimates a total loss of more than $60,000. Fortunately, he still has about 120 cows. (Penn Live)
What the What?
In Sunbury, Pennsylvania, bail bondsman Christopher Hauptmann was already charged with bigamy but is now accused of lying when he applied for a license to marry the daughter of his wife! The new charges against 43-year-old Hauptmann are two counts of unsworn falsification to authorities and one count of tampering with public records. Authorities say that when he applied for a license to marry 18-year-old Kaylee Paige Durovick on Sept. 1, 2016, he wrote that he had not been married previously. In fact he had been married to Shannon Deitrich, Kaylee's own mother, according to court documents. Deitrich said she married Hauptmann in Florida in November 2015. Haptmann says he divorced Shannon but Shannon says she never received a notice of a divorce action and considers herself still married to Hauptmann, who married her daughter on Sept. 16. Hauptmann, the owner of Pennsylvania Bail & Recovery in Shamokin, ironically remains jailed in lieu of $300,000 bail. (Penn Live)