- Created on 18 March 2013
In a moving letter sent home with students, Matt Willoughby, principal of the Urban School of Design and Construction, paints a clear picture of Gray, remembering his determination, academic achievement and positive energy. He wrote about Gray traveling an hour to get to school each day and how focused he was on succeeding....
- Created on 17 March 2013
Editor's note: Please note this story contains graphic language.
UPDATE: The two Steubenville high school football players found guilty of raping an allegedly drunk 16-year-old girl were sentenced Sunday to time in a juvenile correctional facility. Judge Thomas Lipps gave 17-year-old Trent Mays a minimum of two years and 16-year-old Ma'lik Richmond a minimum of one year behind bars.
(CNN) -- Two Steubenville high school football players accused of raping an allegedly drunk 16-year-old girl were found guilty by an Ohio judge on Sunday.
Judge Thomas Lipps announced his decision after reviewing evidence presented over four days of testimony in the case against 17-year-old Trent Mays and 16-year-old Ma'lik Richmond, who were tried as juveniles.
Mays and Richmond were tried before Lipps, a visiting judge, without a jury. The trial moved quickly -- and through the weekend -- to accommodate the judge's schedule.
Mays was also found guilty of disseminating a nude photo of a minor.
Mays was sentenced to a minimum of two years in a juvenile correctional facility. Richmond was sentenced to a minimum of one year, but like Mays could be in detention until he is 21.
The Department of Youth services will rule whether the two boys will be detained longer, Judge Lipps said, adding it will depend on their behavior and rehabilitation.
Mays and Richmond will be credited for the time they had served before the trial.
The ruling brings an end to a trial that has gained national attention for its lurid text messages, cell phone pictures and videos, and social media posts surrounding the sexual abuse of the girl.
Mays and Richmond were accused of raping the girl during a series of end-of-summer parties in August 2012.
According to prosecutors, Richmond and Mays each penetrated the victim's vagina with their fingers, an act that constitutes rape under Ohio law if it is not consensual.
Attorneys for the two boys had said they were not guilty.
CNN's policy is not to identify alleged victims of sexual assault. CNN is not naming the minors who have testified but is identifying Mays and Richmond, whose names have been used by court officials, their attorneys and in multiple media accounts.
At the heart of the case was the question of whether the victim was too drunk on the night of August 11 and the early morning of August 12 to understand what was happening to her and to consent.
The victim testified Saturday that she remembered little about the night because she was drunk.
During closing statements on Saturday, attorneys for the two boys argued the state failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that their clients raped the girl, calling into question the victim's credibility.
They also questioned whether an avalanche of cell pictures and videos and social media posts available in the days after the rape, as well as national media coverage ahead of the trial, tainted testimony.
But prosecutors told the judge there is no question the girl was "substantially impaired."
"The things that made her an imperfect witness -- that she doesn't remember a lot -- made her in every sense of the word a perfect victim," prosecutor Marianne Hemmeter said.
The girl testified Saturday that she remembered drinking at the first big party of the night and then holding Mays' hand as she left with him, Richmond and others.
The next thing she remembers, she told the court, is waking up in the morning naked on a couch in an unfamiliar house. She covered herself with a blanket while she looked for her clothes. She testified she could not find her underwear, earrings or cell phone.
She testified she was "too embarrassed to ask what happened that night because I didn't remember."
The girl told the court she had a flashback memory of throwing up in a street somewhere sometime after she left the first party.
The victim was the 28th and final witness in a trial that has shone an unwelcome spotlight on Steubenville, a down-on-its-luck town along the Ohio River, and the Steubenville High School football team known locally as "Big Red."
Critics have accused community leaders of trying to paper over rampant misconduct by players of the highly regarded "Big Red" football team and have suggested that other students took part in the assaults or failed to do enough to stop them.
The case has attracted the attention of bloggers and even the loosely organized hacking group Anonymous, who have questioned everything from the behavior of the football team to the integrity of the investigation.
But during closing arguments Saturday, Hemmeter cast aside the outside attention.
"This case isn't about a YouTube video. This case isn't about social media. This case isn't about Big Red football," she told the judge.
"This case is about a 16-year-old girl who was taken advantage of, toyed with and humiliated. And it's time people who did this to her are held responsible."
Earlier in the day, attorneys for Mays and Richmond challenged the credibility of the victim, calling two of the 16-year-old girl's former best friends to testify.
One witness, a 17-year-old, testified the victim told her she believed she had been drugged the night of the assault, an allegation the witness said she did not believe because the girl "lies about things."
A hospital test on the victim for drugging came back negative, testimony revealed.
The teen witnesses, who described themselves as classmates and former best friends of the girl, told the court they saw the victim drinking. She drank at least four shots of vodka, two beers and some of a slushy mixed with vodka, a 16-year-old witness said.
The defense attempted to question the two teens about the victim's past history, but the judge did not allow most of the line of questioning. Ohio, like most states, has a rape shield law that limits the amount of information of an alleged victim's past that can be explored in court.
The 17-year-old witness said she picked the victim up the next morning from someone's home and asked her what happened.
In the car, the victim said, "We didn't have sex, I swear. I don't know what happened. I don't remember," the teen testified.
On Friday, three teens, all self-described friends of the co-defendants, testified that they saw Mays and Richmond engage in sexual contact with the girl. All three have been granted immunity from prosecution.
One of the witnesses -- identified as a 17-year-old Steubenville football player and wrestler -- testified that he used his cell phone to record Mays putting his fingers inside the girl's vagina during a drive from one party to another. He said he deleted the video the next morning when he realized it was wrong.
The teen also testified that Mays later attempted to have the girl perform a sex act on him in the basement of a home.
"She didn't really respond to it," he said.
CNN's Poppy Harlow reported from Steubenville, Ohio, and Chelsea J. Carter reported and wrote from Atlanta. CNN's Yon Pomrenze contributed to this report.
- Created on 14 March 2013
The Atlanta Daily World will host its third "World of Pictures" reception on Thursday, March 28, and let guests bid on and take home the work of some of Atlanta's most extraordinary photographers.
"We are thrilled to share the talents of these photographers who have graced the pages of our newspapers for many years," said ADW Publisher M. Alexis Scott. "This is a chance of a lifetime to get a collector's item to adorn your walls."
The evening event at the Atlanta University Center Woodruff Library includes a silent auction of recent and historic pictures and a forum featuring the photographers themselves. Photographers John Glenn, Horace Henry, JiMi!, Sue Ross, Wendell S. Scott, Bud Smith, Rashidah Sudan, Willie E. Tucker Jr. and Brenda J. Turner will share stories and answer questions about some of their favorite shots and thrilling moments.
"We are happy to partner with the Atlanta Daily World to present this exhibit of local photographers to complement our show on the work of the Pittsburgh Courier's renowned Teenie Harris here at the Atlanta University Center Woodruff Library," said AUC Library CEO Loretta Parham.
The Teenie Harris exhibit of 80 images graces the walls of the library through May 24. It is also free to the public and open various hours throughout the week. Visit the library's website at auctr.edu for specific times.
"Our ADW event is just one day," Publisher Scott said, "so you really don't want to miss this unique opportunity."
ADW is powered by Real Times Media, which also owns the New Pittsburgh Courier, The Chicago Defender, Memphis Tri-State Defender and The (Detroit) Michigan Chronicle.
(Photo: George Clinton, leader of the music group Parliament-Funkadelic, by photographer John Glenn will be featured at the Atlanta Daily World “World of Pictures” event March 28.)
- Created on 15 March 2013
- Created on 13 March 2013
New evidence has been introduced in the case of 17-year-old Jordan Davis who was shot and killed by Michael Dunn, including phone calls to 911, Davis' toxicology report and pictures of the crime scene.
Dunn’s attorney told the AJC on Tuesday that the “Stand Your Ground” law will likely factor heavily in his client’s defense. Dunn has been charged with first-degree murder for Davis’ death as well as three counts of attempted murder. The 45-year-old software engineer from South Florida, who remains in a Jacksonville jail, pleaded not guilty to all counts.
The shooting reportedly happened following a dispute over Davis’ music being too loud.
Defense attorney Cory Strolla insists Dunn was acting in self-defense, but so far police have not recovered a shotgun the South Florida man said was pointed at him before he allegedly fired at least eight bullets into an SUV filled with four people, hitting Davis twice and killing him.
The latest evidence introduced shows six people called 911 minutes after the Nov. 24 shooting.
"May I please have the ambulance please? Someone has been shot," said one caller.
So far 34 people are listed to testify about the events that took place the night Davis was shot. More than 50 law enforcement personnel will also be called to talk about what they saw at the crime scene that night.
Strolla said the only one of Davis’ friends to call 911 did not ask for police assistance.
“The kid is as cool as a cucumber,” he said. “If someone had shot at you unprovoked wouldn’t you be calling the police?”
Strolla said the gun Dunn claimed was aimed at him was not recovered because the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office “never looked for it.”
Though the names of the callers are redacted, the calls may paint a picture of what happened.
"Who shot him?" asked the dispatcher in another call.
"No, I do not, but please send help right away. We need help," said the caller.
No one mentions Dunn by name, but the call in which his vehicle was spotted is included in the new evidence.
"We had shots fired in the parking lot, the person left, but we did get a license plate," said one caller.
According to sheriff’s deputies, Dunn said he fled the scene with his girlfriend because he feared for his safety. He was arrested the following day. Dunn has no previous criminal history and told deputies he had asked the teens to turn down their music, which prompted a verbal altercation.
Newly released pictures also show the bullet ridden red Durango Jordan Davis was riding in, shell casings littering the ground and a blood stained sweatshirt.
Davis' toxicology report, which came up clean according to First Coast News, was also included in the new evidence. His cause of death is listed as multiple gunshot wounds.
John Phillips, the attorney representing Davis’ family in a civil case told the AJC that there is no proof that anyone in the SUV discarded or hid a shotgun, as the defense has claimed and that does not bode well for Dunn’s prospects.
“In order for [Dunn] to claim self-defense,” Phillips said, “there better have been a gun in that car.”
Davis is buried in Marietta, where he lived part-time with his mother.