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Friend: Budget rental truck driver ran over man's body, kept going

David Saintiague cradled his friend, Derek Adams, in his arms until he took his last breath.

It was all Saintiague could do after seeing a Budget rental truck driver hit and kill his friend — and keep going.

“You can’t leave somebody in that situation like that by themselves,” Saintiague told WSBTV.

>> Read more trending news

The friends were headed to a bar Dec. 30 when the truck slammed into Adams’ motorcycle, driving over his body and the bike, a DeKalb County police traffic report states.

Saintiague told WSBTV there were a lot of sparks during the crash and all he could see was the driver speeding away after apparently running over the body.

Adams, 27, was motionless in the intersection of North Decatur Road and Warren Avenue. About 10:15 p.m., police said he “was beyond medical treatment.” 

“I was trying to process everything going on,” Saintiague said. “(I was) in shock, trying to call 911 and call his name to get him to respond.”

No arrests have been made.

The rental company has been cooperative with the investigation, WSBTV reported.

“To know he was in the street gasping for his last breath, it really hurts,” Saintiague said. 

Man confesses to cold case murder on TV, turns in self and accomplices

A California man on Tuesday walked into a news station and confessed, on camera, to a 25-year-old murder.

Brian Keith Hawkins, 45, of Shingletown, went to KRCR Channel 7 in Redding and told reporters there that he wanted to confess to his involvement in a homicide, Redding police officials said in a statement

Frank Wesley McAlister, 19, was reported missing by his family in May 1993, police officials said. His vehicle was later recovered, with a large amount of blood inside, in the parking lot of a Costco store. 

McAlister’s remains were found the following April by a hiker near the area of Grace and Nora lakes in Shingletown. 

Hawkins told investigators that he could no longer live with the guilt from what he had done and that he wanted to clear his conscience, police officials said. He made similar statements in his recorded confession at KRCR, which is located next door to the police station.

“I have been through hell my whole life because of this,” Hawkins told the news station, crying as he spoke. 

Watch Hawkins’ confession to a KRCR reporter below. 

Hawkins described the weight of the guilt he has felt. 

“Horrible. Horrible. Absolutely horrible every day. Almost every minute of every day has been a nightmare,” Hawkins said. “It’s kind of weird that Frank never even got to have a life, and neither did I. We were teenagers and now I’m 44 and still haven’t even had a life, and now probably, most likely won’t anyway.

“God and Christ, these things that have happened throughout my whole life since then, for 25 years, have pushed me and pushed me to do the right thing,” a somber Hawkins said. “I know the wrong can’t be changed, but this is as close as I can come to doing the right thing.”

Hawkins had been on Redding detectives’ radar since McAlister’s disappearance, according to police officials. Investigators in 1993 learned that Hawkins and two siblings, Curtis Dean Culver and Shanna Nichole Culver, were the last people to see McAlister alive. 

Shanna Culver was Hawkins’ girlfriend at the time of the crime. 

All three suspects denied involvement McAlister’s disappearance, police officials said.

Investigators followed leads and examined evidence through the years since McAlister’s slaying, but were never able to make an arrest. 

Then, Hawkins showed up at the KRCR studio. The news station reported that Hawkins walked in and said he wanted to confess to the murder. 

“He refused to answer any questions about the case itself, but said he wanted people to know that he had found God, and that is what led him to finally do the right thing and confess,” the news station reported. “We agreed to interview him on the condition that we would hold the interview until he turned himself in, and law enforcement could corroborate his confession.” 

Hawkins told the news station that he did not know McAlister before the homicide. He said the Culvers knew the victim. 

Hawkins went to the Shasta County Sheriff’s Office later that day to turn himself in. He then met with Redding police detectives, to whom he made his official confession.

Police officials said Hawkins told investigators that he and the Culvers, then in their early 20s, lured McAlister to the Shingletown area with the intent to rob him. McAlister had a large amount of cash that the trio wanted to steal to buy methamphetamine, Hawkins said. 

McAlister’s family told the Redding Record Searchlight in 1993 that he had about $4,500 on him the day he vanished. The money was from a settlement he received following a car crash he was in two months before he was killed. 

Once McAlister met them in rural Shasta County, their plan turned to one of murder, and Hawkins and Curtis Culver stabbed McAlister to death, according to Hawkins’ confession. They left his body in a wooded area and drove his vehicle to the Costco where it was later found.

Hawkins’ confession was corroborated by evidence collected in the case, police officials said

>> Read more trending news

Curtis Culver, 45, and Shanna Culver, 46, both of Red Bluff, were taken in for questioning on Wednesday. Like Hawkins, they were ultimately charged with McAlister’s murder.

Redding police Capt. Eric Wallace, the lead investigator on the case, told KRCR that both Culvers made incriminating statements during questioning.  

Redding police officials on Thursday thanked McAlister’s family members for their patience in the more than two decades it took to make the arrests in his slaying.

“We sincerely hope that the recent arrest of Frank’s alleged murderers will bring some measure of closure to his family,” officials said in a statement

McAlister’s grandmother, Avis Rice, 81, told the Record Searchlight Thursday that the family was stunned by the arrests.

“It is such a shock to us,” Rice told the newspaper

The family had long suspected Hawkins and the Culver siblings of killing her grandson, Rice said. 

McAlister’s uncle, Jon McAlister, wrote about the arrests on Facebook, lamenting the fact that his brother -- and Frank’s father -- is not around to see his son’s killers brought to justice.

Douglas McAlister died in October.  

“Twenty-five years ago, my nephew, Frankie, was murdered. Today, the man that did it confessed, and he and two others will now be brought to justice,” McAlister wrote. “Some closure, but the passing of Frank’s father, my brother, a couple of months ago (is) too little, too late.

“May Frank and Doug rest in peace.”

Wallace said there is more to the investigation than what has already been released, and that detectives are still questioning people in the case. The department has issued a plea to the public for any information anyone has on McAlister’s slaying. 

Anyone with information can contact investigators at the Redding Police Department at 530-225-4200.

Teen gets jail, house arrest for beating puppy to death

The suburban Boca Raton teen who beat a 4-month-old pit bull to death last year after the puppy urinated on the floor was sentenced Thursday to a month in jail, a year on house arrest and another two years of probation.

>> Read more trending news

The plea deal for 19-year-old Kevin Braganca comes nearly a year after the April death of Tank, one of two pit bulls who lived in an apartment with Braganca, his girlfriend and another roommate at Arbor Oaks south of Glades Road on State Road 7.

Maintenance workers and others at the building said they heard and saw someone from the apartment beating a yelping dog, then dragging the dog back to an apartment. A Palm Beach County Sheriff’s deputy later traced the complaint back to Braganca’s apartment, but he told them that the puppy had died at a veterinarian’s office.

Braganca told authorities that he “spanked” the puppy after it urinated on the floor of the apartment, and both he and his girlfriend said they spanked both their dogs, but usually on their backsides “because that area is harder and tougher.” They said they took Tank to the vet after the puppy began foaming at the mouth and didn’t know how he died, but a veterinarian said he bled to death internally from injuries that included a lacerated liver.

The veterinarian said the dog also had bruises on his head and two broken teeth in his mouth — all injuries the veterinarian attributed to abuse. Palm Beach County Animal Care and Control officer Adam Moulton in his report said that most puppy owners understand that accidents are just part of the house-training process.

“When a puppy urinates on the floor most reasonable people would clean the floor and continue trying to potty-train their animal,” he wrote. “Kevin Braganca instead opted to physically beat his puppy until he lacerated its liver.”

As part of the plea agreement between Assistant State Attorney Judith Arco and defense attorney Douglas Rudman, Palm Beach Circuit Judge Charles Burton agreed Thursday to withhold a finding a guilt against Braganca on the felony cruelty to animals charge. The 30-day jail sentence will be followed by three years of probation, but the first year will be on house arrest, Burton ruled as part of the agreement.

Braganca under the terms of the agreement will also never be allowed to own an animal again, and probation officers will have the right to make unannounced checks at his home to see whether he has any animals there. He will also have to undergo a psychological evaluation within a month of his release from jail and will be required to complete any recommended treatment.

Police: North Carolina man wanted in girlfriend's death killed in shootout 

A man sought in the murder of a North Carolina woman was killed in a shootout outside Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department headquarters late Thursday.

>> Read more trending news

Police Chief Kerr Putney said Jonathan Bennett, 23, ambushed and shot at officers, who returned fire. Putney said Bennett was killed in the return fire.

“Times like this make you appreciate people who voluntarily put their lives on the line to keep us safe,” Putney said.

Police said Bennett was wanted after being accused of shooting and killing his girlfriend, 24-year-old Brittany White, Thursday afternoon. White was the mother of Journei Bennett, the couple’s 2-month-old daughter, sources said. Police said Bennett left the scene with the child, and left the infant with her grandmother, who lives in north Charlotte.

Television crews were outside police headquarters as police were about to brief them about an unrelated incident when shots were fired.

An officer was shot in the leg and suffered non-life-threatening injuries, police said.

State records show Bennett is a convicted felon. He served time in prison in 2013 for breaking and entering and larceny.

Records from the Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office show Bennett was arrested twice in 2017. On March 30, he was arrested for assault on a female and misdemeanor larceny. On April 6, he was arrested for communicating threats. He also was arrested for similar charges on Oct. 30, 2016.

Man injured pushing pregnant wife out of truck’s path

A California man is being credited with saving his pregnant wife’s life after he pushed her out of the way of an oncoming truck.

Aaron Gutierrez, of Fresno, suffered a broken leg and shoulder when he was struck by the fast-moving vehicle Friday night, ABC30 in Fresno reported. Gutierrez’s mother was also struck, and she remained in the intensive care unit Wednesday with a broken back and bleeding on the brain. 

Gutierrez and his wife told ABC30 that they were returning from a pizza place, where they celebrated their son’s sixth birthday. 

“It was one of the best nights,” Gutierrez told the news station. “And then followed by, as a father, the worst fear.”

As the family members walked home from their bus stop, a speeding Toyota Tacoma veered toward them. 

“I pushed her,” Gutierrez said about his wife. “I think that’s why she got the concussion, because I just pushed her out of the way as fast as I could.” 

>> Read more trending news

Gutierrez’s wife was knocked unconscious, but their three children were unharmed in the accident, including the couple’s 1-year-old son, who was in his father’s arms. 

A GoFundMe page has been established to help pay Gutierrez’s medical bills. According to the fundraising page, Gutierrez was also recently diagnosed with cancer and will begin chemotherapy in the next couple of months.

Police officials said that the Tacoma’s driver ran a red light before plowing into the Gutierrez family. 

“They weren’t doing anything wrong. They weren’t in the roadway,” Fresno police Lt. Mark Hudson said. “He took the actions that obviously probably saved his wife’s life by pushing her out of the way.”

“This could be a different story right now,” Gutierrez told ABC30. “He wasn’t paying attention and my kids could’ve been dead right now. It’s hard to think about that.”

It was not immediately clear what charges the driver of the truck faces in the crash.

Teacher arrested after student found lewd photos of girls on his iPad, police say

A Pennsylvania teacher is facing a string of charges after he loaned a student his iPad and the boy found disturbing images of young female classmates, police said.

>> Watch the news report here

Gaspare Gambino was arrested on Wednesday and charged with 14 counts of invasion of privacy and accused of taking photos and videos of over a dozen different students in his classes at Honesdale High School. In many cases, the videos zoomed in on students’ private parts, police said. The evidence reportedly came to light when Gambino loaned his iPad to a student who’d forgotten to bring his. The student tried logging in on his Google account but came upon Gambino’s, where the photos were stored, The Associated Press reported.

>> Read more trending news 

When the images initially came to light in September, Gambino, who has taught Spanish at the school since 2015, was suspended without pay. According to the arrest affidavit, the student who discovered the photos “observed photos of several young teenage girls” and “close-ups of the female genitalia and breasts.” After the student made the discovery, he showed the evidence to other students in the class, authorities said. One of the students reported the photos to administrators later in the day, authorities said. Gambino reportedly tried to delete the photos after he was suspended.

Police say not all of the victims have been identified, and the charges are filed as misdemeanors, The Times-Tribune reported. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Jan. 17.

Read more here.

'She wouldn't stop crying,' mom charged with smothering baby tells police in video

Footage was released of the police interrogation of an Arizona mother accused of smothering her baby to death.

>> Watch the video here (WARNING: Viewer discretion advised)

Amber Sagarnaga, 23, of Glendale was arrested last year in connection to the death of her 5-month-old girl. A video of Sagarnaga's two-hour interrogation shows how she described what happened the day of the girl's deathreports AZ Central.

Sagarnaga wanted to lie down in the afternoon, but the girl "wouldn't stop crying," she said. She said she would often use a blanket to shush the child’s cries, but this time she kept the king-sized comforter over the baby’s head longer than usual.

“I don’t know why. I just didn’t take it off of her this time,” she told investigators.

>> Read more trending news 

The woman woke up several hours later and noticed that the girl appeared to be half-asleep, she said. Her fiance, who was also the father of the girl, reportedly called police around 9 p.m. He stayed on the phone with emergency services while attempting to perform CPR on the infant and seemed to be "in a panic," authorities said. 

Police who arrived on the scene described Sagarnaga as “lacking emotion.”

The baby was pronounced dead that night.

Before the police arrived, authorities said the father told Sagarnaga to clean up around the house so that the other children, ages 1 and 2, would not be taken by the Department of Child Safety. The children were ultimately removed. The baby also appeared to be neglected, authorities said. She died in a “soiled diaper, which appeared to have been on for more than a day,” and had a severe diaper rash, police said.

A day before the child’s death, Sagarnaga was accused of using a bottle to hit the baby’s lip and causing a laceration.

Arrests of nearly 70 at party after police find less than 1 oz. of drugs a 'waste of resources,' analyst says

A district attorney is trying to figure out how to proceed with a case where police arrested nearly 70 people at a Georgia house party for less than an ounce of marijuana and cocaine.

>> Watch the news report here

Bartow County District Attorney Rosemary Greene told WSB-TV’s Tyisha Fernandes that she’s waiting on a report from the Bartow County Drug Task Force so they can either drop the charges or figure out if all the people will be charged.

“What an incredible waste of resources, to take almost 70 people into custody and process them for what could only reasonably have belonged to one or two people,” WSB-TV legal analyst Esther Panitch said. 

Panitch said she was shocked when she found out that Cartersville police arrested nearly 70 people at a home where they were attending a 21st birthday party on New Year's Eve.

“I’m wondering if race played a role in it because on its face it seems ridiculous,” Panitch said. 

Police sent Fernandes a photo of the evidence that was confiscated in the home on Cain Drive in Cartersville that night. 

Along with the small amount of drugs, police said they also collected three firearms.

>> Read more trending news 

Two college students told Fernandes that two of the guns in the photo are theirs. Their attorney showed Fernandes their gun licenses and permits for the weapons.

The third gun belonged to the owner of the home. She told Fernandes it was locked up in her attic because she rented her home that weekend through AirBnB.

Police said they were never called to the actual party and that someone called and reported gunshots in the area.

While they were canvassing the neighborhood, they said they smelled marijuana and called for backup. However, police will not comment on the arrests right now.

“People aren’t treated the same and this is an obvious example,” Panitch said.

None of the people arrested have had a court date yet. They're all just waiting on word from the district attorney. Some people have already lost their jobs for the arrest alone.

Deputies: Elderly couple busted with pot Christmas presents arrested again

An elderly couple arrested last month after police said they claimed they had more than 60 pounds of marijuana in their car to give out as Christmas gifts is facing new charges after being arrested Tuesday morning in Nebraska, according to multiple reports.

>> Read more trending news

Deputies arrested Patrick Jiron, 80, and his wife, Barbara Jiron, 70, after they were stopped while riding in a pickup truck that was stopped for driving too closely to another vehicle in Lancaster County, the Omaha World-Herald reported.

Sgt. Jason Mayo, of the Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office, told KOLN that the couple’s daughter was driving around 9:40 a.m. Tuesday when the truck was pulled over on Interstate 80. 

>> Related: Deputies: Elderly couple says 60 pounds of pot in vehicle was for Christmas gifts

Deputies searched the truck and found about $18,000 in cash, according to the World-Herald. A K-9 deployed to search the truck indicated the presence of marijuana and the vehicle smelled strongly of the substance, Mayo said.

Mayo told KOLN that the seized cash tested positive for marijuana residue, as did a 50-gallon trash bag found in the truck.

The couple, from Clearlake Oaks, California, was arrested on suspicion of possessing drug money, the World-Herald reported. Their daughter, who lives in Vermont, was released without charges, according to the newspaper.

The Jirons were arrested two counties over last month by deputies in with the York County Sheriff’s Department. Authorities told the York News-Times they found nearly 60 pounds of marijuana, worth an estimated $336,000, after making a traffic stop Dec. 19 on Interstate 80 near Bradshaw.

3 arrested after 3-year-old drinks soda spiked with meth, police say

A mother and her two siblings are facing charges after a 3-year-old girl accidentally ingested methamphetamine that had been mixed into soda and poured into a water bottle while the siblings partied last month, police said Monday.

>> Read more trending news

Authorities arrested the girl’s mother, 30-year-old Lucinda Black, and her siblings, 27-year-old Ashley Black and 23-year-old Danie Black, after being called by employees at the emergency room at Mountain West Medical Center, KTVX reported.

In a probable cause statement obtained by the news station, Grantsville police said the child’s guardian, identified in court records as her grandmother, said she took the girl to the emergency room after the 3-year-old started acting strangely. She said her son and daughter, the girl’s aunt and uncle, said that the child “started acting weird after she drank from a water bottle with soda in it.”

Investigators went to the trailer park where the 3-year-old was before her grandmother took her to the hospital, where they found two women and a man identified as the Blacks.

Police said Danie Black agreed to speak with investigators after he tested positive for recent meth use.

“He stated that his sisters, Lucinda and Ashley Black, gave him meth and that the bottle (that the 3-year-old drank from) belonged to Lucinda or Ashley,” authorities said in court records. “(He said) Lucinda and Ashley would always mix him drinks with meth in them.”

The trio was taken into custody. Police said that after a urine test proved Ashley Black had meth in her system, she told investigators she gave Lucinda Black methamphetamine and that her sister showed up at their mother’s house a short while later carrying a water bottle with soda in it.

“(Ashley Black) said after a few minutes, Lucinda started freaking out as she was looking for her bottle, because she could not find it,” police said.

In court records, Detective Lydon Allred said the siblings gave conflicting stories and tried to blame the incident on each other, “but I was able to show that Ashley gave the meth to Lucinda and that Lucinda put it in the bottle, which she took to her mother's where the 3-year-old consumed the meth by accident.”

The trio was arrested on charges that included child endangerment and child abuse. Police said they could also face additional charges.

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