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dayonte-resiles-featureIllustration by Matthew Billington

The blond corpse floats in a blood-filled bathtub.The face bobs just barely above the surface. She wears nothing but a thong. Her hands are tied with a ribbed fabric sash. The feet are bound with a beige electrical cord. Stab wounds dot her body.
Outside, egrets graze next to the canal surrounding Davie’s WestRidge development, where homes typically sell for more than $1 million. It’s one of several virtually identical subdivisions on Nob Hill Road with names such as Ridgeview Lake, Long Lake Estates, and Long Lake Ranches. All are hidden behind tall hedges and fronted by imposing guard towers. None of the residents has reported a break-in or anything else suspicious. It seems like just another serene Monday.Despite the chaos, the family dog is fast asleep.

When police arrive a little after noon, they learn the 59-year-old blonde in the bathtub is Jill Halliburton Su, whose great-uncle, Erle Halliburton, founded the oil company that still bears his name. At the time of his death in 1957, he was one of the ten richest people in the United States.

But nothing is missing from the house, so there’s no explanation for the brutal murder.

The cops have no way of knowing yet that their search for a killer will lead to many dead ends and only two real suspects: Justin Su, the murdered woman’s only son, and Dayonte Resiles, a young man with a history of burglarizing homes. Both 20 years old at the time of the killing, they hadn’t met despite growing up only 15 miles apart. One is the child of an heiress and a renowned termite scientist, the other the son of a Walmart clerk and a Haitian vodou priest. Neither has a clear motive.

On the basis of some questionable DNA evidence, Resiles will be charged with the murder. He will eventually engineer a brilliant courtroom escape, helped by a handful of teenagers with little more than high-school educations. They will somehow outsmart the police for nearly a week while Resiles is on the run.

And now, two years after the suburban housewife’s death, no one knows for sure who killed her or why.

swanson-child-abuse-featureIllustration by Pat Kinsella

As John Wilson cooked dinner for his family in March 2010, an eerie silence filled their cozy Plantation home. Usually around 6 p.m. on a school day, the place was bustling. Four kids were asking about dinner or playingvideogames. John, a mild-mannered musician with salt-and-pepper hair and rimless glasses, figured his 4-year-old son and 10-year-old stepson were just watching TV on the couch. Hours earlier, his other stepson ­— a withdrawn, six-foot-tall, 200-pound seventh-grader named Brian — had been sent to his bedroom.

John looked around for his only daughter, 4-year-old Evie. She was nowhere to be seen. He patrolled the house, searching for the bashful little girl with blond bangs, and paused when he reached the hallway that led toward the children’s bedrooms. The second door on the right, Brian’s room, was slightly ajar. John could hear Evie’s faint, high-pitched cries: “Stop it! Please, it hurts!”

John barged in. Brian was kneeling over Evie on the bed. The preschooler was naked from the waist down, and her chubby thighs were spread open like a toy doll’s. Between them, Brian had inserted the dull wooden end of a meat skewer. John snapped and knocked Brian aside.

“What are you doing?!” he screamed.

kinsey_harrouff

When Martin County Police arrived Monday to find 19-year-old Austin Harrouff standing over the bodies of two bleeding victims while violently biting one man’s face, police first fired stun guns. When those didn’t work, cops unleashed a dog. When that didn’t work, three officers pulled Harrouff off the man and took him to jail — alive.

Some activists are drawing a stark contrast between that approach and those employed in other recent police actions in South Florida. Take, for instance, the July incident when North Miami cops sent a SWAT team with military-style assault rifles to surround unarmed African-American behavior therapist Charles Kinsey, who was trying to help an autistic man “armed” with a toy car. Police shot Kinsey in the leg, although video showed him lying on the ground with his hands up.

Critics say Harrouff’s treatment highlights the vast disparity between how whites and blacks are treated by police. After all, Florida cops were able to take calm, measured steps to subdue a white, possibly drug-addled cannibal armed with a knife and no shirt, but somehow felt it was necessary to shoot Kinsey — who was cooperating and unarmed — from afar.

austin_harroufFacebook

In 2013, Austin Harrouff was starring as a defensive tackle at Suncoast Community High, a Palm Beach County school ranked among Newsweek’s ten best schools in America at least eight times in the past decade. He’d also been taking advanced-placement classes in the school’s International Baccalaureate program.

So it’s anyone’s guess how he ended up in a Martin County garage yesterday, chewing off parts of a stranger’s face after killing the man and his wife and stabbing their neighbor.

morgue-freezer-maimi-new-timesPhoto by Fer Gregory / Shutterstock.com

Cedrick Carnell Camper Jr. died with $500 in his sock. That was only the beginning.

On Friday, May 27, as medical students from Nova Southeastern University watched, five staff members from the Broward County morgue examined his body. One noticed something protruding from the sock.

Deputy chief medical examiner Dr. Michael Steckbauer, a Davieresident and Air Force veteran with three years at the coroner’s office, placed the money in a manila envelope, according to a police report. He sealed it with evidence tape. Later that afternoon, he realized the envelope was missing. He retraced his steps, thoroughly searched the morgue, and X-rayed the body. But he couldn’t find the money.

miamiinternationalairportfrontWikimedia Commons

Three alleged ISIS sympathizers have been arrested in Palm Beach, the U.S. Attorney’s office announced late Friday.

Two of the men—Gregory Hubbard, 52, who went by the name “Jibreel,” and Darren Arness Jackson, 50, who went by “Daoud”—are from West Palm Beach. The third, Dayne Atani Christian, 31, also known as Shakur, is from Lake Park.

According to the Department of Justice, Hubbard was arrested at Miami International Airport yesterday. He had planned to fly to Germany, then board a train to Turkey and cross the border into Syria.

dayonte_resilesBroward Sheriff's Office/Georgia Guercio via Wikimedia Commons

Seven days after he slipped out of shackles and left the Broward County Courthouse through a back door, allegedly with the help of at least seven others, accused murderer Dayonte Resiles was marched back into the Fort Lauderdale jail not long before dawn this morning.

Surrounded by a SWAT team at a West Palm Beach motel, Resiles surrendered peacefully late Wednesday night; thus ended one of the most intensive manhunts in South Florida history.

“South Florida is a safer place,” declared Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel.

thaddeus-martine-mugshot-miami-new-times_1_Miami-Dade Police Department

When Thaddeus Martin won the first season of MTV’s “From G’s to Gents” in 2008, he wanted to mark the permanence of his transformation into a gentleman. Four months later, in a post-season reunion episode, the Miami Gardens native rolled up his sleeves and revealed a tattoo of the show’s logo on the inside of his left forearm.

“To a new beginning,” Martin said in a toast during the season finale. “No more goon, no more aggressiveness, strictly a gentleman from now on.”

But in May, Martin was sentenced to ten years in prison for violating probation after police found a .9 millimeter Ruger handgun, a .22 caliber rifle, and a “samurai sword” in his home, according to an arrest report.

 

darwin-castillo-mugshot-broward-sheriffBroward Sheriff's Office

Melissa Rodriguez was collecting seashells on the Hollywood, Florida beach hours after the last fireworks had dimmed on the Fourth of July when she realized her pants were missing. She had left her black jeans, wallet, and car keys on a lifeguard stand before walking to the water. When she turned around, she saw a man in a gray hoodie run off with them down Ocean Drive.

Rodriguez had become a victim of what appeared to be a string of Independence Day petty thefts on Hollywood Beach.

And, after accused robber Darwin Castillo was apprehended, police say he was wearing the very same black jeans he stole from her.

bodybuilder_horse_hurtersCourtesy of South Florida Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals

Migdalia “Milly” Cowan and her husband, Alex Paez, were regulars on the national bodybuilding circuit, traveling cross-country to flex while glistening in Speedos. But while they competed, prosecutors say, they left their horses — which they used as props in muscled photo shoots — to starve back on their South Miami-Dade ranch.

Paez has already pleaded guilty to the animal abuse charge, but Cowan has so far fought the allegations in court. She’s scheduled to go to trial — and the South Florida Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) is already waiting in the courthouse to ask for a stiff sentence.

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