Stories

THE WASHINGTON POST

CRIMINAL JUSTICE

A second chance for a convicted killer
(C1, July 19, 2014)
Because of a 2012 Maryland Court of Appeals decision, David Belton and about 60 other convicted robbers, killers and rapists whose cases were tried before 1980 have been released from prison early. Now, a second chance at life has launched Belton and men like him into an ordinary world made extraordinary by their decades of confinement.

TyshonPageBefore graduation, a moment with the mom he never knew
(A1, July 8, 2014)
The day Tyshon Williams was born was the same day that his mother died: She was shot outside her apartment building in Temple Hills, Md., in a still unsolved case. He visited her grave on the day of his high school graduation.

The decadent, sometimes dangerous parties at the mansions next door
(A1, Oct. 12, 2015)
The “Upscale Mansion Party” — as it was advertised on Instagram and Twitter — wasn’t a flashy Hollywood event or even the scene at an upscale D.C. nightclub. It was one of many unregulated house parties that people are hosting to help pay their bills and that law enforcement officials around the region have been more actively shutting down after complaints from neighbors and public officials, who say they present a multitude of hazards.

relishaWhere is Relisha? A year later, many still long to find ‘everybody’s child.’
(B1, Feb. 26, 2015)
One year ago, 8-year-old Relisha Rudd vanished. The second-grader had been living with her mother and three brothers in a grimy shelter for homeless families at the former D.C. General Hospital. As D.C. police set off on a frantic search for the missing child last March, they discovered that Kahlil Tatum, the shelter janitor who took her, had killed his wife and then himself, leaving behind a mystery: Where is Relisha?

A lost mother and daughter: In the case of missing 8-year-old Relisha Rudd, emotional scars transcend generations
(A1, Dec. 23, 2014)
Young never wanted her own children to end up in foster care as she did. But then her daughter disappeared in the company of Kahlil Tatum, a janitor at the D.C. homeless shelter where the family was living. The janitor killed his wife and then himself, while Relisha simply vanished.

blinkVideo of victim blinking might be used as evidence in Prince George’s murder trial
(A1, Nov. 1, 2013)
Can a dying man’s blinks be used as evidence in a murder trial? Melvin Pate was left paralyzed during a drug robbery, but he blinked in response to being shown a photo of his alleged assailant out of a photo lineup.

‘How much is too much to allow a 2-year-old to live?’ Murder trial over $600 child support payments ends in a conviction.
(B1, April 5, 2018)
In the months after Daron ­Boswell-Johnson learned he was the father of a 2-year-old girl, he took to the Internet for advice. “How can I stop child support?” he tapped into his phone in late 2015. “How does the court know if child support is not paid?” he typed shortly after. And in January 2016, he asked, “What if I am behind on my child support?” Weeks later, his daughter and her mother were dead.

mosbyBaltimore officer acquitted of murder, other charges in Freddie Gray case
(A1, June 24, 2016)
The sole officer charged with murder in the death of Freddie Gray not guilty of all counts, leaving prosecutors without a conviction for the third time in the high-profile case that spurred riots and unrest in the city last year.

Dirt-bike dealers battling brazen ‘wheelie boys’ in thefts
(A1, July 7, 2017)
Several recently burglarized motorbike dealers along the East Coast say thefts have ramped up in recent years as swarms of illegal dirt bikes and all-terrain vehicles regularly flood public roads and pop wheelies in chaotic hordes, chasing social-media stardom.

csiWhat ‘CSI’ and ‘NCIS’ don’t show you about the lives of crime-scene investigators
(B1, April 6, 2016)
Television crime shows often end neatly with investigators arriving at a heinous scene, collecting decisive evidence and identifying a suspect in the span of an hour (with commercial breaks). But clues left at actual crime scenes aren’t always conclusive or easy to find. In real life, recovering clues is physically, emotionally and mentally grueling work, as a night with a squad of crime-scene technicians in Prince George’s County showed.

Juuling: If you don’t know what it is, ask your kids
(B1, May 12, 2018)
Parents, principals and police struggle with underage Juul use, worried the novelty of the slim e-cigarettes that look like USB drives and their fruity nicotine pods will create a new generation of addicted smokers.

BREAKING NEWS

IMG_1125In Las Vegas, going back to where they thought they would die
(A1, Oct. 5, 2017)
It was different in the light of day.
There was no sound of blaring sirens, no ‘pop, pop, pop’ of gunfire, no screams.
Just a quiet, sprawling lot of cars abandoned by those, like Kassidy Owen, who escaped with their lives.
“It’s strange to hear the silence,” Owen said, “because all I remember was the noise.

Armed with a new approach, police and medics stormed through the Las Vegas gunfire, saving lives
(A1, Oct. 6, 2017)
Relationships between the nation’s police and fire departments can range from friendly rivalries to downright acrimony. In Las Vegas, officials are confident that an innovative effort requiring both agencies to train together to respond to active-shooter incidents saved countless lives in the massacre that left 58 dead.

IMG_1122When the bullets came down in Las Vegas, he told his wife to run. He needed to stay
(Inside A, Oct. 7, 2017)
 Like many enjoying the final concert of the Route 91 Harvest festival Sunday, Travis and Haley Haldeman thought they were hearing fireworks when the first pops sounded. But when the next volley started, the off-duty firefighter and his wife realized they had to take cover from gunfire.

FEATURES

D.C., where’s my car? How the city lost — and found — a reporter’s Toyota RAV4
(B1, Aug. 18, 2013)
City officials must often relocate cars with little notice, such as when they have to make way for the presidential motorcade. The city, however, doesn’t keep track of how often cars are moved and lost.

IMG_2989Running for president is harder than it looks; Nats hold tryouts for racing mascots
(B1, March 3, 2013)
It’s not exactly the race to the White House, but it’s the closest that some baseball fans in the Washington region will ever get to being commander in chief.

Love waits in the refrigerator
(May 9, 2017)
I grew up in a Vietnamese household in Arizona, with a mother whose love language is food. Her creation of a pot of pho was a multiday affair. I remember going with her from butcher counter to butcher counter, searching for the meatiest oxtails, the butteriest marrow bones and shanks with just the right proportions of fat, tendon and meat.

‘Please, God, let this child be alive’: Officer discovers girl alone in car on hot day
(May 3, 2018)
The car was running, a window was down and the little girl’s eyes were closed. It was a hot day, and the 10-year member of the police department feared the worst.

EDUCATION

Montgomery examines fairness of private funding for school projects
(A1, August 11, 2013)
Booster clubs and parent-teacher associations have long been important sources of funding for schools, paying for items such as playground equipment, field lighting and other amenities that public money might not otherwise buy. But in Montgomery, one of the most affluent counties in the United States, officials are concerned that private fundraising for such public improvements is widening economic disparities in the community.

Montgomery special education program under investigation
(B1, July 7, 2013)
Special-education students would take a bus about two miles to a now-defunct teachers’ credit union during the school day. They withdrew cash from personal accounts that school employees helped them open. And when they finished, students handed envelopes full of money to adults. Now, parents and special-education advocates are questioning the legality and ethics of a Montgomery County schools program designed to teach students life skills as district and state officials investigate allegations of financial mismanagement.

Teacher pay gaps among Washington area schools could deepen
(A1, May 11, 2013)
Discrepancies in teacher pay across the region are large, and the recession has sharpened the divide, sending some teachers looking for better deals. Parents and school officials worry that if such disparities in teacher pay deepen, districts that are already struggling to stay competitive will fall further behind as their best teaching talent moves elsewhere.

Parents, food service directors debate snacks sneaking into kids’ diets at school
(C1, April 14, 2013)
Across the country, lunch directors, nutritionists and parents are questioning what snacks should be allowed in school cafeterias as the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) crafts new federal nutrition standards limiting sugar, fat and sodium for school snacks and drinks. The rules would be the first update to school snack guidelines in more than 30 years and would come as first lady Michelle Obama continues to take aim at childhood obesity.

Montgomery County superintendent Joshua Starr’s prominence injects him into national debate on standardized testing
(C1, Dec. 16, 2012)
Prominent superintendent’s  sharp critiques come at a time of intense and often rancorous debate over the role of standardized testing in President Obama’s plans for improving instruction, closing the achievement gap, and holding students and teachers accountable.

Montgomery County pupils have new report-card goal: Straight ES’s
(B1, Sept. 30, 2012)
Say goodbye to the “A for effort” and hello to the “DEM.” Your kid not doing so hot in math? Don’t count on seeing a C or D. Look for an N instead. The Montgomery County public school system is joining other districts across the country in abandoning traditional letter grades for some students and instead matching student evaluations with specific curriculum standards.

 

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