Category Archives: Multiple Causes

Michael Astorga

In the early hours of March 22, 2006 Deputy James McGrane was murdered during a traffic stop in the East Mountain area of Bernalillo County.

The license plate number given to the dispatch operator by Deputy McGrane was registered to a Dodge truck owned by Michael Astorga.

However a witness described the truck at the scene as white, non-diesel, and battered with a lot of wear and tear, whereas the Dodge truck owned by Astorga was gold, diesel and in almost excellent condition. Moreover, although the deputy was shot 6 to 9 inches from the truck, and apparently run over, no forensic trace on Astorga’s truck ( blood, DNA ) was found.

In addition, when Astorga’s truck was discovered, the plate had been removed, and was in the driver’s cab, suggesting that an unknown criminal may have used the plate while carrying out some crime, so that if the vehicle was seen Astorga would be blamed. ( Note: in New Mexico vehicles only have a single rear plate ).

David Garcia testified that he was with Astorga the day of the shooting. He told the jury they went to Astorga’s East Mountain trailer late in the afternoon, then returned to Albuquerque before 10 p.m. that night in Astorga’s purple Jeep, and he was dropped off at his mother’s house.

Astorga was driving the purple Jeep as he made a living buying and selling vehicles from auction. Astorga was in Albuquerque all day driving around in the purple Jeep because he was going to sell it to his wife’s co-workers at the time.

Danielle Lyon said Astorga worked for her brother-in-law in the past. She told the jury that on the night McGrane was killed, she and her husband went to tattoo artist Martin Saiz’s house so her husband could get a tattoo. She told the jury that Astorga arrived about 10 p.m. with food and stayed through most of the night.

Her husband and Martin Saiz confirmed Astorga’s whereabouts at the time of the crime also.

Nevertheless, after considerable adverse pre-trial publicity ( a defense request for a change of venue was denied), Astorga was convicted and sentenced to life in prison.

There was a separate penalty-phase trial, at which the State sought the death penalty. At this trial, the jury stated that not all jurors agreed on Astorga’s guilt.

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Joey Watkins

On January  11, 2000, around 7:20pm, Isaac Dawkins ( age 21 ) was shot in the head while driving on the Freeway near Rome, Floyd County, Georgia.

Joey Watkins was a suspect, as he and Isaac had both previously dated a girl named Brianne, however after an investigation he was cleared by City police.

However, many months later Joey and his friend Mark Free were charged with the crime. Joey was convicted, but Mark was acquitted.

The case is supported by the Georgia Innocence Project, and was the subject of the second season of the Undisclosed podcast.

More here: https://www.georgiainnocenceproject.org/active-cases-2/joey-watkins/

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Sarah Jo Pender

During the night of October 24th, 2000, around 11.30 pm in Indianapolis, Sarah Jo’s former boyfriend, Richard Hull, killed their roommates, Andrew Cataldi and Patricia Nordman.  Cataldi and Nordman were fugitives from Nevada.  To commit the murder, he used a gun Sarah Jo had legally purchased on that very morning as a mean of self defense.  The shooting occurred during a heated argument between Hull and Cataldi, while Sarah Jo was gone from the house to take a walk.  Cataldi, Nordman and Hull were three drug dealers.  Sarah Jo was the only one who held a regular job.   She had only dated Richard Hull for two months.  It was him who had introduced Cataldi and Nordmann to her.
By the time Sarah Jo came back, Richard Hull had already wrapped the bodies in blankets and loaded them in a pick up truck he had borrowed from a friend.  Finding herself in the middle of a bloody crime scene, Sarah Jo, disoriented, accompanied him to a place located four blocks away where he got rid of the bodies, throwing them in a dumpster.  Richard Hull then drove a car-wash to clean the pick up.  The couple then came back to the house.  Sarah Jo refused to sleep there so where they picked up a few personal belongings and went to Lapel, Indiana, where they slept briefly at a friend’s place.
They came back the following morning.  Hull tried cleaned up the house while Sarah Jo went to work. The bodies were discovered on October 25, 2000 and the couple was arrested in Noblesville on October 26, 2000.
Sarah Jo later explained : “After he committed these murders, I did not call the police, but instead stayed with him out of love, fear,loyalty and sheer stupidity.”

Dylan Yang

Dylan Yang was a 15 year old Wausau High School student when he and some friends got into an argument on Facebook. Sometime after this argument, a vehicle drove up to the front of Dylan’s home, driven by a 19 year old girl. Dylan and two of his friends were standing on the front porch of their home and one of the boys in the car, a 13 year old named Isiah Powell, shot at them with a BB gun, which was later recovered at the scene. In addition to the driver and Powell, there were six other people in the car. Some of the occupants of the car were carrying knives.

When the occupants of the car began fighting with one of Dylan’s friends, Dylan ran into the house and got a kitchen knife. When he returned to see where his friends were, he saw his friend wrestling with the shooter, 13 year old Isiah Powell, on the pavement. Dylan then stabbed Powell twice in the back with the kitchen knife, Powell released Dylan’s friend, and all three boys ran into the house. The driver of the car drove Powell to the local hospital where he would later die of his wounds.

Dylan turned himself into authorities after the incident and was interrogated without an adult or attorney present.

At trial, the defense argued Yang stabbed Powell to protect his own life and the life of his friend because he believed Powell’s gun was real. The prosecution argued Yang stabbed Powell because he felt he was disrespecting him.

In March 2016, Dylan was convicted of first degree reckless homicide.

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Shan Carter

Shan Carter robbed a drug dealer, and following an outbreak of violence related to this robbery was convicted of three 1997 murders and sentenced to death. However the truth may be that:

  • Shan is completely innocent of the kidnapping and murder of drug dealer Donald Brunson.
  • Shan was acting in self-defense when he shot at drug dealer Tyrone Baker and possibly killed him.
  • Shan may have been responsible for the accidental and inadvertent death of Demetrius Green, an 8 year-old boy who was sitting in a car when struck by a ricocheting bullet.

Source

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Shawna Forde

Shawna was leading her own minuteman group called MAD in AZ border by Mexico at a time when the border violence was spilling over into AZ from Mexico. She was working on a case with the FBI to expose some high level members of law enforcement and was making a documentary on it. She had apparently talked about maybe hitting an empty stash house near Arivaca and stealing arms and money from it (empty as in no one living there); she gave a map of it to an undercover FBI agent.

Later three men and a woman knocked upon a man’s home in Arivaca and barged in saying they were law enforcement looking for fugitives, once in the one man shot the husband and killed him, shot the wife and she played dead, shot the 9 year old girl and killed her.

Then two more entered the home and raided it, the female said someone was coming and they all stepped out. The woman survivor got into the kitchen and called 911 and got a gun out of a drawer in there; she screams to 911 they are coming back and as the woman that entered sees her she runs out and tells the guys to finish her off, the guy shooter runs in and gunfire breaks out, the wounded female runs him off and shoots him in the leg, the shooters leave. The survivor cannot pick Shawna Forde out of a police line up and describes a woman that doesnt fit Shawna’s description or hair color.

No neighbor can pick Shawna out of photo line up. No evidence of Shawna is found on the crime scene. Just prior to trial the FBI agent that got the map destroys it knowing it’s major evidence and admits he destroyed it.

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News report with 911 call, June 17, 2009 | 911 call

Another Summary

Charles Erikson

Featured Case #19 : Facebook page | Proposal PostFeatured case post | Website

Charles wrongly confessed to a murder, implicating his friend Ryan Ferguson. Ryan has been freed after a coerced witness recanted, it’s ridiculous that Charles remains in prison.

The link to serial killer Edward Wayne Edwards :

“November 1, 2001 Kent Heithholt found murdered in Columbia, Missouri. The next day Edwards blogs about the murder at ZodiacKiller.com, and references the murder of “CJB” ( Cheryl Jo Bates) 35 years earlier.”

Source: Edward Wyane Edwards Timeline