The bodies of four alleged gangsters, stuffed into a parked car near President Felipe Calderon’s compound in this capital city, carried a message of divine retribution: “The wicked are denied their light, and the upraised arm is broken,” proclaimed the biblical passage, Job 38:15.
Scrawled with a marker on the backs of three of the bodies, a single word — “Kidnapper.” The discovery of the dead men two weeks ago suggests to many Mexicans that despairing private citizens or even local officials may be exacting their own raw justice amid the unbridled crime sweeping the country.
Lynching and extra-judicial killings are far from unknown in Mexico, whose justice system often has proved woefully insufficient. Rural and poor urban communities beat or execute accused rapists and thieves. Local power brokers, known as caciques, employ private gunmen to deal with nettlesome opponents or criminals.
But the escalating drug turf wars, which have claimed most of the 14,000 people killed by gangland violence since December 2006, have also wrought more kidnapping, extortion and theft. And some in Mexico are pushing back.
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A Nebraska man who stole a painting of the Virgin Mary to finance an abortion for a teen he raped has been convicted of first-degree sexual assault and felony theft.
Aurelio Vallerillo-Sanchez, 39, of Omaha pleaded no contest to the charges Friday and faces up to 70 years in prison when sentenced in October, Douglas County prosecutor Brenda Beadle said Saturday.
A call to the county public defender representing Vallerillo-Sanchez wasn’t answered Saturday.
Beadle said Vallerillo-Sanchez fled to Mexico with the 300-year-old painting worth $100,000 and the pregnant teen in March 2007.
“The plan was that when they got to Mexico, she was to undergo an abortion,” she said.
New York City’s Central Park was slammed last night by a sudden thunderstorm with tropical storm- force winds that toppled or damaged hundreds of trees, some of them almost a century old.
“It’s possibly the worst damage Central Park has ever suffered from a storm,” said Adrian Benepe, the city’s parks commissioner, in a telephone interview.
Scattered thunderstorms developed just west of Newark, New Jersey, around 9:30 p.m. local time, leading the National Weather Service to issue a thunderstorm warning for midtown Manhattan and Central Park, said David Wally, a meteorologist with the service’s forecast office in Upton, New York.
The storm moved over the park at about 10 p.m., with wind gusts as strong as 70 miles (113 kilometers) per hour registering on Doppler radar, Wally said. The storm toppled or snapped in half at least 300 large, mature trees and knocked limbs off several thousand in a half- mile “swath of devastation” in Manhattan between 90th and 110th streets, from Riverside Park east to Randall’s Island, Benepe said.
There were no reports of injuries, he said. “The tragedy is that we lost many large mature trees close to a century old and some very important specimens of American elms and horse chestnuts and yellow buttonwoods,” said Benepe, who estimated the cleanup costs would run at least into the hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Daniel Hynes was a newly minted lawyer, only one month in, when he apparently came up with a bright idea, according to this report in the New York Lawyer.
Fifteen months ago, Daniel Hynes of Manchester told a Concord hair salon to pay him $1,000 or face a lawsuit because its different prices for men and women were discriminatory. In one court document, he said the unequal prices at Claudia Lambert’s salon caused him mental anguish. That’s even though the salon charged women more than men.
Well, how is a young lawyer supposed to make a living when he’s got no clients and needs a haircut?
Unfortunately, a jury was unimpressed by Hynes’ career move, and convicted him of misdemeanor theft by extortion.
Hynes, apparently relying on his vast legal experience, disagreed with the jury.
“The conviction goes against the First Amendment,” he said. “People have a right to petition the courts.”
A 36-year-old diver was killed off a Florida beach after lightning struck his oxygen tank, authorities have said.
The man, whose name was not immediately released, was diving with three others off a boat near Deerfield Beach on Sunday.
When he surfaced, ‘lighting struck his tank,’ said Deerfield Beach fire Chief Gary Fernaays. ‘He was approximately 30 feet from the boat at the time.’