Teen accused of helping boyfriend commit suicide

Teen accused of helping boyfriend commit suicide

A Massachusetts teenager accused of involuntary manslaughter allegedly urged her online boyfriend to commit suicide, telling him in a text message, “The more you push it off, the more it will eat at you,” according to a document released by the Bristol County district attorney’s office.

“You need to do it, Conrad,” Michelle Carter wrote her friend in the early hours of July 12, 2014, according to the document. “You’re ready and prepared. All you have to do is turn the generator on and you will be free and happy. No more pushing it off. No more waiting.”

Later that morning, Conrad Roy, 18, left his mother’s home and drove to the parking lot of a Kmart, the document showed. He called Carter, spoke with her for more than 40 minutes and, at some point, got out of his truck “because (the carbon monoxide poisoning) was working and he got scared,” according to the document.

Carter told him to get back in the truck, according to her indictment. The next day, on July 13, police found his body in the truck; he used a combustion engine to fill the cabin with carbon monoxide.

Carter, 18, was indicted in February, but the text messages exchanged between the two were released late last month in a prosecution response to a defense motion seeking to dismiss the indictment.

Carter’s attorney, Joseph Cataldo, has maintained his client’s innocence, saying the evidence will show it’s not a manslaughter case and that Carter attempted to console Roy on many occasions. Cataldo said Roy had planned the suicide for months.

Cataldo said his client had repeatedly encouraged Roy to seek professional help and finally resigned herself that he would carry out his plan. The lawyer said the case was a “dangerous prosecution” in that it suggests “speech alone caused” the young man to kill himself.

Attorney: Teen's texts are protected under 1st amendment

Attorney: Teen’s texts are protected under 1st amendment 03:13

After searching Roy’s cell phone, police discovered hundreds of texts between the two teenagers, many with language from Carter encouraging Roy to take his life, according to police.

In text messages between July 6 and July 12, 2014, “Carter assisted Conrad’s suicide by counseling him to overcome his doubts, devising a plan to run a combustion engine within his truck … and by directing him to go back in his truck after he exited it, when he became frightened and said the plan was working,” according to a court document.

“I think your parents know you’re in a really bad place…They know that you’re doing this to be happy and I think they will understand and accept it. They will always carry you in their hearts,” Carter wrote in one text.

“Aww. Thank you, Michelle,” he wrote back.

According to the document, Carter even offered technical advice on carrying out the suicide.

“If you emit 3200 ppm of (carbon monoxide) for five or ten minutes you will die within a half hour,” she wrote. “You lose consciousness with no pain. You fall asleep and die.”

Since his death, photos and messages about Roy have been posted to a Twitter page that the district attorney’s office confirmed to be Carter’s. One reads, “I can’t believe today already marks 4 months without you. I love you and miss you always Conrad…”

In September 2014, Carter organized a softball tournament in Roy’s memory and raised $2,300 for mental health awareness, according to police.

Carter was arraigned on February 6 in New Bedford Juvenile Court and released on $2,500 bail and told not to use social media, according to Gregg Miliote, a spokesman for the Bristol County district attorney’s office.

Carter was indicted as a youthful offender because she was not 18 at the time of Roy’s death. Youthful offenders are tried in juvenile court, but the proceedings are public.

‘I am the Watcher’: Stalker’s chilling letters force fearful family from home

‘I am the Watcher’: Stalker’s chilling letters force fearful family from home

‘I am the Watcher’: Stalker’s chilling letters force fearful family from home

In a quiet bedroom community in New Jersey, past the quaint mom-and-pop shops that line downtown, a million-dollar dream home buried behind decades-old trees sits empty. The new owners who bought it last summer are scared to move in and no one else seems to want to buy it from them.

That’s because someone claims to be watching it — and those who live there.

A mysterious stalker who calls himself the “Watcher” has forced a family to flee their home in Westfield, N.J., out of fear for their children’s safety. He purportedly wrote a letter to the previous owners telling them “bring me young blood.” When the new owners bought the house, he told them it had been “the subject of my family for decades,” according to court records.

The situation may sound like fiction but, for one family, the situation is real.

Mysterious “Watcher” sends terrifying letters, forces family to flee from “dream home”

Meet the First Out Transgender Soldier in the U.S. Military

Meet the First Out Transgender Soldier in the U.S. Military

Meet the First Out Transgender Soldier in the U.S. Military. The Army is now leading the charge to change the U.S. military’s long-standing ban on openly transgender troops by seeking guidance about whether it can allow a transgender sergeant to continue serving as the man he is.

Army Sgt. Shane Ortega served three combat tours, according to a Thursday profile in The Washington Post: “Two in Iraq, one in Afghanistan. Two as a Marine and one in the Army. Two as a woman and one as a man.”

Sgt. Ortega is currently stationed at Wheeler Airfield in Oahu, Hawaii, where he serves as a helicopter crew chief in the Army’s 25th Infantry Division. The transgender man — who was assigned female at birth and therefore initially enlisted as such — began his transition to male four years ago, under the supervision of military and civilian doctors, the Post reports.

His government-issued identification, including his driver’s license and Social Security card, recognize him as male. The Army, however, still formally lists his gender as female, reports the Post. Because of this discrepancy, Ortega has been on administrative duty since his flight certification was suspended last summer.

“My commitment to serving this country runs deep,” Sgt. Ortega said in a statement issued through the American Civil Liberties Union, which has filed a petition on behalf of Ortega and other trans troops facing separation. “I have been a team and squad leader, a crew chief, and a machine gun section chief. I have been on over 400 combat missions in Iraq and Afghanistan, and fought side-by-side in foxholes and remote operating bases. As I fight for my country in foreign lands, all I want it is to be able to serve openly while keeping the job that I love. I will continue to fight this fight for the 700,000 transgender veterans that have gone before me who were forced to choose between serving their country and being true to who they are.”

Long-standing military regulations deem any proclamation of a transgender identity or gender-affirming clinical treatment to be evidence of a “psychosexual condition” or mental illness that makes one unfit to serve.

But after undergoing a voluntary psychological evaluation several weeks ago, an Army doctor determined that Ortega “tested negative” for gender dysphoria, and deemed the soldier fit to serve, reports the American Civil Liberties Union. But Ortega remains in “administrative limbo because his gender marker in the Military Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS) is still listed as female,” notes the ACLU. “Sgt. Ortega’s Command has requested clear guidance from the DOD as to whether this means Shane can stay in the military or not.”

New Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter said in February that he was “open-minded” about growing calls to review and ultimately rescind the ban, which advocates say is outdated, ineffective, and discriminatory.

There are an estimated 15,500 transgender Americans currently serving in the U.S. Armed Forces, according to a 2014 study from the Williams Institute at the University of California, Los Angeles, School of Law. Advocates who want to see the military regulation changed — which can be done at the discretion of the secretary of Defense, without congressional action — were hopeful that Carter’s statements and the White House’s support could be the first steps toward reviewing and ultimately rescinding the policy.

But a Pentagon spokesperson told the Post that a standard “current periodic review” of the branch’s medical regulations is currently under way, but “is expected to take between 12-18 months; it is not a specific review of the Department’s transgender policy.” Similarly, the Pentagon declined to confirm to the Post the number of transgender troops who have been separated under current law, though the newspaper estimates that at least a dozen active-duty soldiers have been discharged for being trans in the past six months.

In the meantime, Ortega remains grounded — though he expects to be cleared to resume flying later this month, following another physical, the Post reports. “He will then be permitted to perform the full range of duties as a helicopter crew chief, though technically still designated as female.”

American woman killed in lion attack at South Africa animal park

American woman killed in lion attack at South Africa animal park

JOHANNESBURG – A lion killed an American woman and injured a man driving through a private wildlife park in Johannesburg on Monday, a park official said.

The attack occurred at around 2:30 p.m. when a lioness approached the passenger side of the vehicle as the woman took photos and then lunged, said Scott Simpson, assistant operations manager at the Lion Park.

“They had their windows all the way down, which is strictly against policy,” he said. “The lion bit the lady through the window.” The driver then tried to punch the lion and was scratched by the animal.

Park staff quickly chased the lion away from the car and an ambulance arrived promptly. “Unfortunately, she did pass away,” said Simpson, adding that the U.S. Embassy had been informed.

Earlier, the U.S. Embassy confirmed that it had received reports of an “incident involving a U.S. citizen” at the Lion Park and was ready to offer “any assistance possible.”

The Lion Park is a popular destination for tourists who can drive in their own vehicles through large enclosures where lions roam freely. Visitors can also pet lion cubs in smaller pens or have supervised walks through cheetah enclosures.

“Nowhere can you get closer to a pride of lions and other animals and still be completely safe,” says the park’s website.

The park would review its policies, said Simpson, but he believes existing safety measures are “more than adequate,” if visitors follow them. Big signs advise visitors to keep their car windows up and drivers entering the park are also handed a paper with the same warning, he said.

Rachael Farrokh dying anorexic actress

Rachael Farrokh dying anorexic actress

Rachael Farrokh, 37, developed anorexia nervosa more than ten years ago
It spiraled after she ‘lost job and struggled to get over a painful memory’
She weighs about 40lbs and hospitals won’t treat her as she is ‘liability’
Farrokh and husband Rod Edmondson raised $140,000 on GoFundMe
Money will go to start treatment for her eating disorder at a special clinic
Her husband had to quit job as personal trainer to be full-time caregiverThe desperate plea of a dying anorexic actress who only weighs about 40 pounds has raised about $140,000 and the 37-year-old is set to begin treatment for her eating disorder at a specialized clinic.

Rachael Farrokh, from Southern California, released a video on YouTube and created a GoFundMe page in a bid to get help after suffering from a severe form of anorexia for more than ten years.

Thanks to pledges from more than 5,000 over 23 days, Farrokh and her husband now have enough money for her to get treatment at her San Clemente home before moving to a Colorado clinic.

Denver Mom shames 13 year old daughter for posing as online ”freak”

Denver Mom shames 13 year old daughter for posing as online ”freak”

She’ says she’s not a perfect mother, but many think her message is spot on.

Val Starks’ “tough love” approach to her 13-year-old daughter posing sexually suggestive messages on Facebook has drawn rave reviews and thousands of friend requests.

The Denver resident posted a video of herself lecturing her bawling daughter on social media Sunday. She is publicly shaming her daughter for saying on her page she is 19, and wears a bra and lace panties around the house.

Starks films a video to ensure that any “grown a– men” her daughter has friended know the truth and she said she will post the lecture on the girl’s page.

“Are you a freak? Do you know anything about being a freak? You need to speak up so people can hear you,” the 31-year-old mother lectures the teenager.

The girl starts to cry and cover her face.

“Don’t cry now, you weren’t crying when you were posting pictures on Facebook … in a bra or some little girl in some lace panties you know you don’t own,” she said. “You still wear panties that say Monday, Tuesday Wednesday. But you go on Facebook and find a picture that says you’re a freak and you wearing panties that’s lace and all that. That’s what 13 year olds do right? You still have a bed time.”

She then makes the girl admit to the camera she has a bed time and still watches Disney Channel.

“To everybody out there who’s her friend this is going to go out there on her Facebook page an I want all of you to know she watches Disney Channel, she has a bed time, she doesn’t sit around in a bra, she doesn’t have any lace panties, and she doesn’t know how to wipe her butt good at 13,” Starks said. “She’s a kid, she’s going to stay a kid and as long as she is under my roof she is going to do what I say.”

The video has more than 10 million views as of Wednesday afternoon, and many comments applaud her actions.

“That is the best parenting I’ve ever seen. A real parent that shows she cares what happens to her child. Way to go momma!!!” wrote one commenter.

Starks thanked everyone for their support in another video on Monday. She said she used to think her child wouldn’t do anything wrong and now realizing what a mistake that was.

“Don’t ever say you won’t do or what your child won’t do because you won’t know until it happens to you,” she said, warning children will lie and be sneaky to get their way.

She admits she is not a perfect mother and that often raising her kid has been a struggle.

“I’m 31 years old with a 13 year-old daughter that I refuse to lose in these streets,” she said. “The streets won’t raise her, the schools won’t raise her, the system won’t raise her. I will raise her if it kills me.”

And for the small number of people that criticized her she didn’t back down from her actions.

“I’m her mother before anything. I’m not her friend. I’m not here to let her do whatever she wants,” she said. “My job is to raise her and sometimes that takes a little bit of tough love. It’s not something I want to do.”