Monthly Archives:January 2019

PITTSBURGH —A man who served 34 years in prison for the killing of a 15-year-old girl before new DNA evidence was discovered will not be retried, a prosecutor said Monday in announcing that all charges would be dropped.

Lewis Fogle, 63, was released from prison last month after a judge vacated his murder conviction. But Fogle was merely released on bond until Indiana County District Attorney Patrick Dougherty agreed to dismiss all charges against him in the rape and murder of Deann Katherine Long.

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The judge’s decision stemmed from a joint motion by the New York City-based Innocence Project and Dougherty, who agreed the DNA evidence raised enough doubt to jeopardize Fogle’s conviction.

“I feel that he was involved, but the question was if we were ever going to have the evidence to prove that,” Dougherty said Monday.

“As I said before, there’s a difference between innocence and being unable to prosecute.”

Fogle was arrested in 1981 along with three other men, but he was the only one to stand trial. He steadfastly maintains his innocence.

“I want the people to know that I did not commit the crime, and a lot of people out there know I did not commit the crime,” Fogle told The Associated Press after Monday’s decision. “I’m hoping very strongly in the near future that the truth will come out with the names of the guilty parties, and I hope if any are still alive that they will be brought to justice.”

WATCH: Injured, orphaned bear cub found hiding out in pizza shop

Karen Thompson, one of Fogle’s attorneys, said 30 states and the District of Columbia have statutes that compensate wrongly convicted people. Pennsylvania does not so Fogle will have to sue if he wants reparations, she said.

Fogle was 30 with a pregnant wife and infant son when he was convicted in 1982.

Lewis Fogle, 63, flanked by his attorneys.

“I’m sure in light of his 34 years’ incarceration and the time that’s taken away from his ability to pursue a career” that Fogle may sue, Thompson said. “But today he’s just focused on his freedom.”

Dougherty said investigators have re-interviewed several witnesses since the judge freed Fogle and concluded, “There’s no way to resurrect the case.”

The DNA, taken from semen found on the victim using technology not available decades ago, excluded Fogle. The samples are being tested against other suspects, and the investigation will continue, Dougherty said.

“This is now considered an open homicide,” Dougherty said.

WATCH: Topless female protesters interrupt Muslim conference in Paris

A stranger found Deann’s body on July 31, 1976, near Cherry Tree, about 65 miles northeast of Pittsburgh. The previous day, Deann’s younger sister saw a man telling her their brother had been in a car crash, and the sister later saw her in the man’s car.

That man checked himself into a psychiatric facility and was questioned about the killing five times but was never charged. But after he was hypnotized to aid investigators, he said he was present when Fogle, his brother and two other men raped, then shot the girl.

Fogle was tried and convicted after three jailhouse informants testified he confessed to them. Charges against his brother, imprisoned for a child sex conviction last year, were dismissed under speedy trial rules. Prosecutors eventually cited a lack of evidence in dropping charges against the other two, one of whom has since died.

©2015The Associated Press

EDMONTON — On Wednesday, the man accused of murdering two-year-old Hailey Dunbar-Blanchette and her father Terry Blanchette was charged with first-degree murder in the death of 69-year-old Hanne Meketech.

Below is a timeline of events with details from Alberta RCMP regarding the death of 27-year-old Terry Blanchette, the abduction and death of Hailey, and the death of Meketech.

NOTE: All times are in Mountain Time.

Sept. 14, 2015

11:12 a.m. — Crowsnest Pass RCMP receive a call reporting a sudden death at a home in Blairmore, Alta.

11:12 a.m. – 2:13 p.m. — Several events happen over the course of three hours.

  • Officers secure scene and begin investigation. RCMP Major Crimes Unit based in Calgary is called in.
  • Police learn that a child lived at the home and that she may be missing.
  • Officers search the area, including a canvass of the neighbourhood to make sure the child isn’t with a neighbour.
  • Police try to get contact information for the child’s mother.
  • Investigators gather information that indicates the little girl was abducted from the home at 3:30 a.m. Monday.

    WATCH: Amanada Blanchette, sister of murdered father Terry Blanchette, and Rebecca Harrington, who is missing 2-year-old Hailey Dunbar-Blanchette’s godmother and close friend of Terry Blanchette, speak about the case.

    RAW: Hailey Dunbar-Blanchette’s godmother speaks to Global News

    08:23

    RAW: Hailey Dunbar-Blanchette’s godmother speaks to Global News

    02:10

    RAW: Amanda Blanchette, Sister of Terry Blanchette speaks




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    2:14 p.m. – An Amber Alert is issued for Alberta. The child’s mother contacts RCMP.

    READ MORE: Amber Alert: What we know so far about Terry Blanchette and daughter Hailey 

    3:15 p.m. – The Amber Alert is extended to British Columbia, Montana, and Saskatchewan.

    5:30 p.m. – During a news conference RCMP confirm they’re investigating Terry Blanchette’s death as a homicide.

    Sept. 15, 2015

    The investigation continues.

    1 p.m. — During a news conference, RCMP reveal a 22-year-old man was arrested in Blairmore. They said the man, who had not been charged and whose name would not be released, is being questioned in relation to the Blanchette homicide and the disappearance of Hailey.

    READ MORE: Man arrested, Amber Alert continues for Hailey Dunbar-Blanchette 

    The RCMP continues to investigate and the Amber Alert remains in effect. Hailey Dunbar-Blanchette is described as a Caucasian female child, small build, light brown, straight hair with bangs, and brown eyes. She was abducted by an unknown person.

    The suspect vehicle, fled the residence west, at a high rate of speed. The vehicle is described as a newer model white van, with a large rear antenna, with a flag attached. RCMP said the suspect should not be approached.

    Around 9 p.m. — RCMP victims services confirm at a public vigil in Blairmore the remains of Hailey had been found. Sources tell Global News the girl’s remains were found close to the community of Blairmore, where she went missing.

    WATCH: RCMP say the remains of Hailey Dunbar-Blanchette were found Tuesday afternoon.

    Sept. 16, 2015

    Around 9:45 a.m. — Derek Saretzky, 22, is charged with two counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of  Hailey and her father Terry. RCMP believe Saretzky planned the murders. Saretzky is scheduled to appear in Lethbridge Provincial Court on Sept. 23.

    READ MORE: What we know about Derek Saretzky

    11:15 a.m. – Hailey’s mother, 20-year-old Cheyenne Dunbar, describes her daughter as “smart” and “beautiful” and said Blanchette was an “awesome father.” Dunbar said she was friends with Saretzky years ago but hadn’t spoken to him in three years.

    READ MORE: ‘She was my baby’: Hailey Dunbar-Blanchette’s mother Cheyenne breaks down 

    Sept. 23, 2015

    Global News is told by sources that Saretzky is rushed to hospital in medical distress and placed in a medically-induced coma after allegedly attempting to take his own life while in a shower at the Lethbridge Correctional Centre.

    READ MORE: Derek Saretzky taken to hospital after suicide attempt: sources

    Sept. 25, 2015

    A source tells Global News Saretzky has come out of the coma.

    READ MORE: Derek Saretzky out of medically-induced coma after suicide attempt: source

    Sept. 30, 2015

    Saretzky is ordered to undergo a 30-day psychiatric assessment in order to determine whether he’s fit to stand trial for the murder’s of Hailey and Blanchette.

    READ MORE: Derek Saretzky ordered to undergo a 30-day psychiatric assessment

    Oct. 28, 2015

    Saretzky is ordered to undergo another 30-day psychiatric assessment after his doctor makes the request to the judge.

    READ MORE: Derek Saretzky’s psychiatric assessment extended 30 days

    Nov. 25, 2015

    A Lethbridge court determines Derek Saretzky is mentally fit to stand trial on the two first-degree murder charges.

    READ MORE: Derek Saretzky mentally fit to stand trial; next court date in February

    Feb. 26, 2016

    Saretzky makes a brief court appearance in a Lethbridge court, where a judge set aside June 20 to 30 for a preliminary hearing.

    READ MORE: Preliminary hearing set for accused Blairmore double-murder suspect Derek Saretzky

    April 20, 2016

    Derek Saretzky is charged with the first degree murder in the death of 69-year-old Hanne Meketech.

    Meketech was found dead in her home in the southern Alberta community of Coleman on Sept. 9, 2015.

    Global News confirmed Meketech lived next door to Saretsky’s grandparents.

    READ MORE: Blairmore double-murder suspect Derek Saretzky charged with murder of southern Alberta woman

    May 8, 2017

    Trial proceedings for accused triple murderer Derek Saretzky began on Monday, May 8, 2017 in Lethbridge.

    The case will begin with pre-trial applications that are expected to take several weeks. The trial proper will get underway at the end of the month with jury selection scheduled for May 25 and 26.

    READ MORE: Trial proceedings to begin for accused Blairmore triple murderer Derek Saretzky

    The trial by judge and jury is anticipated to begin on May 29 and run until June 30.

    Watch below: Timeline of Derek Saretzky case as of May 8, 2017

    ©2016

  • WINNIPEG — Winnipeg police have seized and are processing what the Drag the Red group believe to be human teeth.

    READ MORE: Drag the Red finds what it believes are human teeth by Red River

    “We seized what appears to be teeth and I’m not going to comment on whether or not they are human teeth,” Constable Jason Michalyshen said at a news conference Tuesday morning. “We are still investigating. They have been seized, they will be processed by our forensic identification section.”

    WATCH: Winnipeg police update on teeth found, handed over by Drag the Red

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    Working off a tip, organizer Kyle Kematch came across the teeth Monday afternoon.

    “I came across the first tooth, took measurements and sent them in,” said Kematch. “While we were waiting I continued searching and we found 3 more.”

    Kematch found the teeth along the shores of the Red River near the Seine, close to Whittier Park.

    Drag the Red started searching the river and its banks by boat and on foot after the body of Tina Fontaine was pulled from the Red River in August 2014.

    Volunteers hope to find clues that might lead to the discovery of other missing or murdered indigenous women.

    The group has found bones in the past but they were determined to be animal.

    “I handed in hair, handed in a gun,” said Kematch. “We pulled up animal bones before.”

    Each time, volunteers wait to hear if what they have found could be evidence in helping solve a loved one’s case.

    “They are items that have been deemed an item of concern and there is a process that needs to take place and sometimes it can be time consuming,” said Constable Jason Michalyshen with the Winnipeg Police Service.

    “Finding stuff like this just shows myself that we are getting somewhere. It’s not all for nothing,” said Kematch.

    His sister, Amber went missing back in 2010 and hasn’t been heard from since.

    “It goes through your mind that its a possibility that it could be Amber,” he said.

    READ MORE: Bones found on bank of Red River

    While volunteers do believe their discoveries get taken seriously, they are frustrated with officers slow response times. On Monday night, it took officers more than 5 hours to respond to their call about the teeth. But officers said it was a busy night, with only 27 cars to respond to more than 55 calls in the queue.

    Repairs have kept some of the volunteers boats off the river lately, but they hope to be able to get back out on the river Wednesday morning.

    ©2015

    LETHBRIDGE — NDP Leader Tom Mulcair focused on mental health services for young Canadians as he announced another plan to improve public health care and reverse the damage done by years of Liberal and conservatives on Tuesday.

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    “Every child in Canada should have access to high quality, effective mental health treatment when they need it and that’s not been the case under Stephen Harper’s lost decade,” said Mulcair at the Sik-Ooh- Kotok friendship centre in Lethbridge. “Evidence shows that addressing mental health in children reduces the incidence of serious mental health issues in adulthood, which reduces costs and strain on provincial healthcare systems.”

    Mulcair said nearly 1.5 million Canadians under the age of 24 who are affected by mental illness do not receive access to appropriate support, treatment or care

    Kristine Cassie with the YWCA in Lethbridge is thrilled with the announcement, and says it’s finally time the government made mental health a top priority.

    “We see it at the YWCA, a number of people impacted by mental health, and when it’s not dealt with we see the effects years later.”

    “When we look at our women, residents we are dealing with almost 70 per cent of them being diagnosed with mental health issues,” added Cassie.

    To support provinces and territories in the delivery of quality mental health services, Mulcair said an NDP government would establish a $100 million Mental Health Innovation Fund for Children and Youth aimed at wait-time reduction and improved care.

    The Mental Health Innovation Fund would include:

    • A special emphasis on high-risk populations in First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities, as well as Canadians in rural and remote communities, and youth transitioning from foster care.
    • $10 million per year for research and enhanced healthcare collaboration across the country;
    • $15 million per year for healthcare providers and community mental health associations to implement best practices for wait-time reductions for better care.

    “Our improvements to mental health services will also be supported through our investments to help build 200 health clinics across Canada as part of our comprehensive plan for healthcare,” said Mulcair. “The NDP will improve mental health care services and balance the budget, by asking Canada’s biggest corporations to pay a fair share. Justin Trudeau won’t do that.”

    Better mental health services are part of Mulcair’s plan to usher in the next era of quality public health care for all Canadians. He will release additional details of his health care plan in the days ahead and provide a full costing prior to Thursday’s debate.

    ©2015shaw media

    VANCOUVER – Conservative Leader Stephen Harper has announced plans to provide tax relief for single and widowed seniors.

    At a campaign stop Tuesday in North Vancouver, Harper said a $2,000 single seniors tax credit would help nearly 1.6 million seniors who have pension income.

    Harper said when combined with the existing $2,000 pension income tax credit, it would double the tax relief available to single seniors beginning in January 2017.

    WATCH: Stephen Harper says that since the global financial crisis his government has created 1.3 million net new jobs and says it’s the best record among the worlds major economies.

    He said seniors have saved and worked their entire lives and they know best how to make financial decisions about their retirement.

    Under the policy, a single senior would received tax relief of up to $600 a year, the Conservatives said.

    It would be phased in over four years – initially costing $23 million and up to $397 million when fully implemented.

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    ©2015