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National
Defense in Jennifer Dulos case: ‘Gone Girl’-type scenario ‘very much on our mind’
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Defense in Jennifer Dulos case: ‘Gone Girl’-type scenario ‘very much on our mind’

Photo Credit: New Canaan Police Department, John Lamparski/WireImage via Getty Images
Bloody Clothing, Camera Footage Left Trail of Evidence in Case of Missing Mother of 5

Defense in Jennifer Dulos case: ‘Gone Girl’-type scenario ‘very much on our mind’

A month after Connecticut mother of five Jennifer Dulos vanished from her home, her estranged husband’s lawyer is presenting a novel theory about her disappearance. 

Defense attorney Norm Pattis has released a statement in which he suggested Dulos, 50, of New Canaan, may have staged her death in an attempt to frame her husband for murder, as the supposed victim did in the best-selling Gillian Flynn novel “Gone Girl.” The 2014 movie based on the book, starring Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike, earned more than $368 million worldwide. 

New Canaan Police Department
Jennifer Farber Dulos, 50, of New Canaan, Conn., is pictured in undated family photos. Dulos was reported missing May 24, 2019, by friends. Her estranged husband, Fotis Dulos, and his girlfriend are charged in connection with her disappearance.
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Bloody clothes, security footage leave trail of evidence in case of missing Connecticut mother

Photo Credit: New Canaan Police Department
Jennifer Farber Dulos, 50, of New Canaan, Conn., is pictured in undated family photos. Dulos was reported missing May 24, 2019, by friends. Her estranged husband, Fotis Dulos, and his girlfriend are charged in connection with her disappearance.

>> Read more trending news

Monday marked a month since Jennifer Dulos was last seen alive. Fotis Dulos, 51, and his girlfriend, Michelle Trononis, 44, both of Farmington, have been charged with tampering with evidence and hindering prosecution in Jennifer Dulos’ disappearance.

Both are free on bail of $500,000 each. 

The pair are accused of getting rid of several items, including clothing and cleaning supplies, stained with Jennifer Dulos’ blood. According to the Hartford Courant, a mixture of blood from both Jennifer and Fotis Dulos was also found on Jennifer Dulos’ kitchen faucet. 

Jennifer Dulos, who filed for divorce in 2017, and her estranged husband were in the middle of a contentious custody battle over the couple’s children, who range in age from 8 to 13. Jennifer Dulos claimed in family court documents that Fotis Dulos was verbally abusive, and she said she feared he might try to abscond with the children to his native Greece. 

>> Related story: Bloody clothes, camera footage leave trail of evidence in case of missing mom of 5

New Canaan Police Department via AP
Fotis Dulos, left, and Michelle Troconis
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Bloody clothes, security footage leave trail of evidence in case of missing Connecticut mother

Photo Credit: New Canaan Police Department via AP
Fotis Dulos, left, and Michelle Troconis

NBC Connecticut reported that Pattis’ statement brought to light a novel Jennifer Dulos wrote years ago. Her family pointed out Monday, however, that the novel’s manuscript was completed in 2002, before Jennifer and Fotis Dulos met. 

“Gone Girl” was published a decade later, in 2012. 

“We have been provided a very dark 500-plus page novel Jennifer wrote. We are reviewing it now,” Pattis said in his statement. “We are also investigating new information regarding $14,000 worth of medical bills re tests just before she disappeared. We don’t know what had become of Jennifer, but the ‘Gone Girl’ hypothesis is very much on our mind.”

Pattis, who also represents conspiracy theorist and “Infowars” host Alex Jones, admitted to the New York Post over the weekend that he had yet to read the manuscript himself. He also alleged -- without providing documentation or other evidence to the Post -- that Jennifer Dulos had a “troubled past” in which she struggled with drug addiction. 

“From our perspective, this is a perfect storm: a mysterious illness we don’t know about, a history of substance abuse and a history of having disappeared,” Pattis told the Post

Erik Trautmann/Hearst Connecticut Media via AP
Fotis Dulos, center, listens, as his attorney, Norm Pattis, left, addresses the court during a hearing Tuesday, June 11, 2019, in Stamford, Conn. Fotis Dulos and his girlfriend, Michelle Troconis, have been charged with evidence tampering and hindering prosecution in the disappearance of his wife, Jennifer Dulos. The 50-year-old mother of five has been missing since May 24, 2019.
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Attorney for Jennifer Dulos’ husband: ‘Gone Girl’-type scenario ‘very much on our mind’

Photo Credit: Erik Trautmann/Hearst Connecticut Media via AP
Fotis Dulos, center, listens, as his attorney, Norm Pattis, left, addresses the court during a hearing Tuesday, June 11, 2019, in Stamford, Conn. Fotis Dulos and his girlfriend, Michelle Troconis, have been charged with evidence tampering and hindering prosecution in the disappearance of his wife, Jennifer Dulos. The 50-year-old mother of five has been missing since May 24, 2019.

A spokesperson for Jennifer Dulos’ family, who the Post said laughed off Pattis’ allegations about drug use, on Monday released the family’s response to Pattis’ hypothesis on the missing woman’s fate, the NBC affiliate reported

“Trying to tie Jennifer’s absence to a book she wrote more than 17 years ago makes no sense. Evidence shows that Jennifer was the victim of a violent attack in her New Canaan home,” Monday’s statement through family spokeswoman Carrie Luft read

Luft said she read Jennifer Dulos’ book in installments as she wrote it, and that the novel had nothing in common with Flynn’s psychological thriller. She said her friend’s book was a story that followed its protagonist through relationships and self-discovery. 

“Like all of Jennifer’s writing, it expresses a deep longing for human connection and the need to be accepted as one’s true self,” the statement read. 

Luft said the “false and irresponsible allegations” about Jennifer Dulos harm the missing woman’s loved ones, particularly her children.

“As of today, she has been missing for a month,” she wrote. “This is not fiction or a movie. This is real life, as experienced every single day by Jennifer’s five young children, her family and her friends.”

Missed appointments and a blood-stained garage

Jennifer Dulos, who was last seen alive when she dropped her children off at school the morning of May 24, was reported missing by friends after she failed to turn up for several doctors’ appointments that day in New York City. 

New Canaan police officers went to her home, located on a cul-de-sac in the affluent town of New Canaan, about 15 miles outside of Greenwich, around 7 p.m. that night but found no one there. A state police detective wrote in arrest warrants for Fotis Dulos and Troconis that the family’s nanny let officers into the house.

Investigators found stains consistent with blood on the floor of the garage and on a vehicle parked in the space. Suspected blood spatter was found inside the house, the warrants say. 

A search was launched around Jennifer Dulos’ home on Welles Lane and, a short time later, her Chevy Suburban was found parked along Merritt Parkway, on the perimeter of nearby Wavenly Park. 

“A check of the vehicle and subsequent exhaustive searches of Wavenly Park using (New Canaan Police Department) and Connecticut State Police personnel and canines did not locate Jennifer,” the arrest warrant for her husband states. 

Meanwhile at Jennifer Dulos’ home, investigators found evidence that someone tried to clean up the blood at the scene, the warrant states. 

“Based upon the crime scene processing, investigators came to the consensus that a serious physical assault had occurred at the scene and Jennifer Dulos was the suspected victim,” the document says. 

A search of vehicle records showed multiple vehicles registered to the Fore Group LLC, a company owned by Fotis Dulos. One such vehicle was a 2014 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor pickup truck. 

Fotis Dulos, with whom Jennifer Dulos has been embroiled in a divorce and custody battle, lives with Troconis in Farmington, the warrant states. Both have been uncooperative with the investigation into Jennifer Dulos’ disappearance, investigators said. 

Tyler Sizemore/Hearst Connecticut Media via AP
Fotis Dulos, left, and Michelle Troconis, both of Farmington, Conn., are arraigned Monday, June 3, 2019, on charges of tampering with or fabricating physical evidence and first-degree hindering prosecution in the May 24 disappearance of Dulos' estranged wife, Jennifer Dulos. Fotis Dulos and Troconis are accused of disposing of bloody clothing and other evidence in Jennifer Dulos' disappearance. Jennifer Dulos, 50, of New Canaan, remains missing.
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Bloody clothes, security footage leave trail of evidence in case of missing Connecticut mother

Photo Credit: Tyler Sizemore/Hearst Connecticut Media via AP
Fotis Dulos, left, and Michelle Troconis, both of Farmington, Conn., are arraigned Monday, June 3, 2019, on charges of tampering with or fabricating physical evidence and first-degree hindering prosecution in the May 24 disappearance of Dulos' estranged wife, Jennifer Dulos. Fotis Dulos and Troconis are accused of disposing of bloody clothing and other evidence in Jennifer Dulos' disappearance. Jennifer Dulos, 50, of New Canaan, remains missing.

New Canaan investigators met briefly with Fotis Dulos the day after his estranged wife vanished. At that time, they seized his iPhone, for which they had obtained a warrant to conduct a forensic search. 

Fotis Dulos’ cellphone records showed that around 1:30 p.m. the day Jennifer Dulos disappeared, her estranged husband left his home and drove about 2 miles to a Farmington property belonging to his company. After a couple of hours, his cellphone showed he returned home. 

Fotis Dulos returned to the company property around 5:20 p.m., about 90 minutes before officers first showed up at Jennifer Dulos’ home. The cellphone returned to his and Troconis’ home a few minutes later, and then records show it traveled to the area of Albany Avenue in Hartford, where most of the evidence against the couple was found. 

Troconis’ cellphone also traveled to Hartford, the arrest warrants state. 

Erik Trautmann/Hearst Connecticut Media via AP
Michelle Troconis, center, listens, as her attorney, Andrew Bowman, left, addresses the court during a court hearing Tuesday, June 11, 2019, in Stamford, Conn. Fotis Dulos and Troconis, his girlfriend, have been charged with evidence tampering and hindering prosecution in the disappearance of Dulos’ wife, Jennifer Dulos. The 50-year-old mother of five has been missing since May 24, 2019.
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Attorney for Jennifer Dulos’ husband: ‘Gone Girl’-type scenario ‘very much on our mind’

Photo Credit: Erik Trautmann/Hearst Connecticut Media via AP
Michelle Troconis, center, listens, as her attorney, Andrew Bowman, left, addresses the court during a court hearing Tuesday, June 11, 2019, in Stamford, Conn. Fotis Dulos and Troconis, his girlfriend, have been charged with evidence tampering and hindering prosecution in the disappearance of Dulos’ wife, Jennifer Dulos. The 50-year-old mother of five has been missing since May 24, 2019.

“Investigators obtained surveillance footage from the Hartford Police Department Capital City Command Center (C4), which operates surveillance cameras at various Hartford locations, including the Albany Avenue area,” one of the warrants states. “C4 documented a black Ford Raptor pickup truck stopping at over 30 locations along a more than 4 mile stretch of Albany Avenue between Biltmore and Edward streets.”

Still images from the surveillance footage showed the Raptor truck matched the one belonging to Fotis Dulos, including a sticker on the rear window and a light-colored mark on the black truck’s front bumper. The front license plate of the vehicle also matched that of his truck.

A man matching Fotis Dulos’ description was seen getting out of the truck and dumping multiple trash bags into trash bins along the route, as well as tossing something into a storm drain. 

“In some cases, the C4 video showed items being discarded which appeared to be stained with a substance consistent with the appearance of blood,” the arrest warrant states. 

A woman matching Troconis’ description was seen leaning out of the passenger seat of the truck in one video clip, the document says. 

When investigators checked the storm drain, they found a FedEx box containing license plates that were traced back to a 2007 Suburban belonging to Fotis Dulos, the warrant states. The plates had been altered to change the tag number, authorities said. 

Inside the trash bins where the driver of the Raptor discarded the bags, detectives found clothing and at least one kitchen sponge, among other items, that were stained with blood. 

“On (Saturday), items submitted to the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection Forensic Laboratory were tested and found to contain Jennifer Dulos’ blood,” the arrest warrant says. 

Fotis Dulos’ cellphone records indicated he left the Hartford area around 7:40 p.m. the night his wife was reported missing and returned to his home in Farmington, the document states. In surveillance footage from outside his neighbors’ homes, he is seen checking his mail as he arrived. 

He was wearing clothing similar to that seen on the man who dumped the evidence in Hartford, the document says. 

Fotis Dulos and Troconis were arrested June 1 at a hotel in Avon, the New York Times reported

The Courant reported earlier this month that investigators do not believe Troconis was in New Canaan the day Jennifer Dulos vanished. Pattis said during a court appearance that Fotis Dulos could account for his whereabouts during the time frame in which investigators believe Jennifer Dulos was attacked in her home. 

She dropped her children off at school around 8 a.m. the morning of May 24, the newspaper reported. A cleaning woman who entered the home around noon that day found no one there. 

Jennifer Dulos missed appointments at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., the paper reported. Her cellphone and credit cards have not been used since she vanished. 

Authorities are also looking into details involving an employee of Fotis Dulos’ Fore Group who was in New Canaan on May 24 -- and was driving the black Ford Raptor belonging to the company, the newspaper said. 

Though the man is reported to have been driving the Raptor when Jennifer Dulos vanished, he returned the vehicle to Fotis Dulos sometime between 4 p.m. and 5:30 p.m., in time for Dulos to have been driving the truck when the evidence in the case was discarded in Hartford, the newspaper reported. 

Investigators have seized the employee’s truck, computer and cellphone as part of the probe into Jennifer Dulos’ disappearance. His attorney told the Courant her client is not a suspect and is cooperating fully with detectives in the case. 

No trace of Jennifer Dulos has been found, despite a search that has spanned two states and four separate communities, the newspaper reported. Investigators have also searched a Hartford trash facility for any evidence related to the woman’s disappearance. 

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The Latest Headlines You Need To Know

  • Ismael Rodriguez Lopez was shot in the back of the head inside his home in July 2017 after police in a Mississippi suburb of Memphis went to the wrong home looking for an assault suspect. Now an attorney for the city of Southaven is arguing that Lopez’s family’s $20 million federal lawsuit should be thrown out because the 41-year-old Lopez, who was in the country illegally and had a criminal record, had no constitutional protections. “If he ever had Fourth Amendment or 14th Amendment civil rights, they were lost by his own conduct and misconduct,” attorney Katherine Kerby wrote in a Sept. 4 motion. “Ismael Lopez may have been a person on American soil, but he was not one of the ‘We, the People of the United States’ entitled to the civil rights invoked in this lawsuit.” >> Related story: Police shoot, kill man while serving warrant at wrong home Lopez family attorney Murray Wells spoke out against the city’s motion during a news conference last month, according to CNN. The city’s response to the lawsuit is “absolutely chilling,” Wells said. “In an address to a federal judge in an open pleading in court, the city of Southaven has announced that it is their policy that if you are an undocumented resident of that city, you have no constitutional protections,” Wells said before pausing. “I’ll let that sink in. “You have no right to constitutional protections, meaning that storm troopers can come into your house and kill you without regard to any constitutional results or repercussions whatsoever.” Wells said the city’s position is in direct conflict with the U.S. Constitution, which guarantees through the Fourth Amendment a person’s protection against unreasonable search and seizure. The 14th Amendment guarantees equal protection of the law to all citizens. In the lawsuit, Wells argues that Lopez was denied his rights to freedom from unlawful seizure, freedom from the use of unjustified and excessive police force and freedom from the deprivation of his liberty without due process. Read the lawsuit filed by Lopez’s family below, followed by the city’s Sept. 4 response. Ismael Lopez Civil Complaint by National Content Desk on Scribd >> Read more trending news  Wells said he was shocked by the city’s response to the court filing. In a Fox News segment aired earlier this month, he argued that the 14th Amendment gives all people within the U.S., whether a citizen or not, the full protection of the Constitution. “The Supreme Court has weighed on the issue over and over again and been very clear that it doesn’t matter if you’re here legally, illegally, documented, undocumented, when you’re on American soil, you get the full protection of constitutional rights,” Wells said. Jenna Ellis Rives, a constitutional law attorney, said that while not all protections apply to undocumented immigrants, Lopez's immigration status appeared to not be an issue related to his death. “I would agree that, certainly, his illegal status does not merit a direct dismissal of this case,” Ellis Rives said. “But we have to be very careful … to not say that illegal immigrants get all protections of the Constitution. We have to be very precise, because we know that anyone here who is not a citizen can be removed under immigration law. “There are some protections of the Constitution that don’t apply, but in this specific instance, this person’s illegal status does not have any bearing on the case at hand. So this should be treated, constitutionally speaking, just as if this was someone who was visiting on a visa, just like this was a citizen, just like any other case in terms of a wrongful death sort of claim.” Watch the Fox News segment below. The Lopez case is discussed about 24 minutes in. According to a 305-page Mississippi Bureau of Investigation file into Lopez’s death, which was obtained in February by Fox13 in Memphis, Lopez had twice been deported to Mexico and had returned to the U.S. without permission. CNN reported that multiple Supreme Court decisions, including a 1982 ruling on undocumented children’s right to a public school education, have found that undocumented immigrants have constitutional rights. Kerby also pointed to Lopez’s criminal record, however. Lopez was charged with domestic violence and DUI in the 1990s in Washington state, records show. “Federal civil rights are not civil rewards for violating the laws of the United States,” Kerby wrote in her motion. John Champion, district attorney for the 17th Circuit Court District, said in July 2017 that Lopez had no outstanding warrants at the time of his death. “He was not wanted for anything at all,” Champion said, according to Fox13. Wells wrote a letter the following month to the Department of Justice, requesting an investigation into the actions of the officers involved in Lopez’s death, who were identified as Southaven police officers Zachary Durden and Samuel Maze. Sgt. Thomas Jones was also present at the scene. Read that letter below.  Ismael Lopez Letter to DOJ by National Content Desk on Scribd The MBI case file indicates that, while Durden ordered Lopez to drop the rifle the officers said he was holding, none of them identified themselves as police officers. A Mississippi grand jury in July 2018 declined to file charges against Durden in Lopez’s death. Southaven’s police chief at the time, Steven Pirtle, issued a statement saying the grand jury’s decision closed the criminal investigation into the fatal encounter. Pirtle said multiple agencies, including the MBI, the DeSoto County District Attorney’s Office, the FBI and the Department of Justice had cleared the officers. “There have been inaccurate statements, inflammatory statements made about this incident that I would like to address, however, due to pending litigation, I am still not at liberty to discuss further at this juncture,” Pirtle said in his statement, according to Fox13. “This was a very tragic event. My condolences are still with his family, and my prayers are with all involved.” The wrong address Federal court records and MBI files show that Durden, Maze and Jones went to Surrey Lane the night of July 23, 2017, looking for Samuel Pearman, a man wanted in connection with an aggravated assault that took place outside a Citgo gas station in another county. Instead of going to the single-family home at 5878 Surrey Lane, where Pearman was reportedly staying, they ended up banging on the door of Lopez’s mobile home across the street at 5881 Surrey Lane. Jones, who was armed with a shotgun that night, told MBI agents that the officers did not see any visible address numbers on the home. Maze also said in his statement that he did not see any numbers on the mailboxes he looked at. Photos taken by investigators after the shooting, however, show Lopez’s street number on the black mailbox in front of the mobile home where he was killed. The mailbox for the home the officers were looking for was right next to Lopez’s mailbox, the case file indicates. Attorneys for Lopez’s family argue in the civil rights lawsuit that the officers should have been able to figure out which home was which. “Officer Maze and Officer Durden were trained on which side of the street odd number and even number addresses are on in the City of Southaven,” the family’s lawsuit states. The lawsuit also claims that Southaven police officers had been to both the Lopez and Pearman residences prior to the night of the shooting. Lopez and his adult son, Rudolpho Linares, had each reported property stolen from the home and yard, with one report dating back to 2008, according to the case file. Southaven police officers also made prior contact with Lopez just four months before he was killed, when he reported finding a neighbor dead in her home. Lopez told investigators he was worried because no one had seen or heard from her for several days, so he forced the door open with a screwdriver and found her body. Durden, who fired the shot that killed Lopez, said in his statement after the shooting that he was “doubtful about the address and decided to knock at the door with the thought that someone would answer the door and point them to the correct address,” the case file shows. Lopez’s common-law wife, Claudia Linares, wrote in a witness statement, which was translated from Spanish to English, that she and her husband went to bed around 10 p.m., just after Lopez had talked to his mother on the phone. An unknown amount of time later, they awoke to the sound of their pit bull, Coco, barking. Lopez went into the living room to find out why, while Linares looked out a bedroom window and saw police cars. “Linares said that she yelled to her husband, letting him know that it was OK, it’s just the police,” a police report states. A moment later, Linares said, she heard several gunshots. She ran into the living room to find her husband lying facedown on the floor and their dog barking in the doorway. “Linares said that she ran to her husband’s body and yelled for the officers to help her,” the report says. “Linares said all she could see was the officers’ flashlights and them yelling at her to get her dog. Linares put the dog in the master bedroom, where Maze later used pepper spray to subdue the animal as the officers cleared the home of additional threats, the case file shows. No one else was in the home when Lopez was killed. The MBI case file states that Durden and Maze, who were armed with handguns, told investigators Lopez had brandished a rifle when he cracked open the door to see who was outside. Lopez’s dog ran out of the door at that time. Maze fired his weapon at Coco, who he said lunged at him, while Durden fired four shots at Lopez. A bullet struck him in the base of his skull, killing him. State crime scene technicians found Lopez, hands cuffed behind his back, facedown in a puddle of blood. He was wearing red athletic shorts and a single Nike tennis shoe, the case file states. His other shoe was found on the floor between his legs. A Remington .22-caliber rifle was found in the mobile home, but according to a diagram in the investigative report, it was on the couch, several feet from where Lopez fell after being shot. Lopez’s body was also about 14 feet from the front door, which crime scene investigators determined had been open no more than 3 inches when Lopez was shot. They also determined that he had been shot through the door of his home. “It is unknown if the door was open or closed when the projectile passed through it and struck the victim in the base of his skull,” the MBI report states. A second diagram in the report shows four “projectile defects” caused by the bullets fired from Durden’s gun. Three of them were in the door and the fourth was in a wooden railing on the mobile home’s small wooden porch. The angles of the shots indicate Durden was standing to the right of the doorway when he fired his gun. The pathologist’s report indicated the shot that killed Lopez traveled back to front and at an upward angle. Blood tests showed he tested positive for caffeine but no other substances. Neither his fingerprints nor his DNA were found on the rifle, according to the case file. MBI Special Agent Jeris Davis wrote in his report that Lopez was shot as he fled into the interior of his home. Crime scene photos show the couch, with the rifle on it, to the left of Lopez’s body. ‘Errors that shouldn’t have been made’ A former law enforcement officer told Fox13 in February that the details of the case raise questions about any threat Lopez posed to the officers that night. “It doesn’t take a lot in crime scene expertise or investigation to see that there is something not quite right with what I am looking at,” retired Deputy Mike Collins, formerly of the Shelby County Sheriff's Office, told the news station after reviewing the case file. “Why isn’t the weapon still in his hand if he posed a threat? Instead, it’s lying on the sofa that is at least 7 feet away from where he rested.” In June, after the family’s lawsuit was filed, Collins told Fox13 the MBI findings should make the case an easy one for any judge. “These are errors that shouldn’t have been made,” Collins said. “Training and protocol could have remedied this whole situation.” All three Southaven police officers at the scene that night said they saw Lopez point the rifle at Durden before Durden, who had been with the department since 2015, opened fire. Jones told MBI agents in his statement that a porch light was on as Durden knocked on the door. The light was turned off just before Lopez’s dog bolted out the mobile home’s door. “Officer Durden activated his flashlight, which illuminated the door,” a summary of Jones’ statement reads. “Sgt. Jones could see a gun barrel extend out the door towards Officer Durden.” Jones said that Durden ordered Lopez to drop the rifle several times as Maze fired a single shot at the pit bull. Durden then fired four rounds at Lopez. After the shooting, Maze said, the officers retreated briefly for cover from any additional threats. They then went into the home and, after ensuring there were no other threats inside, began rendering first aid to Lopez, who he described as “breathing laboriously” as Maze handcuffed his hands behind his back. Lopez died where he fell after being shot. See the entire Mississippi Bureau of Investigation file on the Ismael Lopez shooting below. Warning: The document contains photocopied images of crime scene photos.  MBI File on Ismael Lopez Shooting by National Content Desk on Scribd Pirtle, who retired as chief shortly after the shooting, said in July 2018 that Maze remained on the force. Durden left the force “to enter the private workforce,” Pirtle said. Jones’ status was not immediately known. Lopez’s family’s lawsuit states that the husband and father “feared for his life and his wife’s life upon seeing two unidentified large men dressed in all black (Maze and Durden) with guns drawn.” He was trying to run to the bedroom to protect his wife when he was gunned down from behind, the suit states. “As a direct and proximate result of the actions and/or omissions of defendants, Ismael Lopez was wrongfully killed, and his constitutional rights under the United States Constitution and the Mississippi Constitution were violated,” the lawsuit states. The suit argues that Lopez’s death fit a pattern within the Southaven Police Department in which officials “permitted, encouraged, tolerated and ratified an official pattern, custom and practice by its officers of shooting first and asking questions later.” The lawsuit seeks $8 million in compensatory damages and $12 million in punitive damages, as well as $25,000 in funeral and burial expenses.
  • An administration official said that U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry has formally notified President Donald Trump that he intends to resign. >> Read more trending news  Perry was traveling with the president to Texas Thursday when he shared the news aboard Air Force One. Perry had disputed reports that he was planning to leave the administration in an interview Wednesday with The Wall Street Journal. But he reportedly left the door open, saying he expected to be at the Energy Department at Thanksgiving. He gave a less definitive answer, however, when asked whether he’d be there through the end of the year. Bloomberg News reported in April that Perry was reportedly planning to leave the Trump administration.  Perry became Energy secretary in 2017.The Associated Press contributed to this report.
  • The U.S. and Turkey agreed Thursday to a five-day ceasefire in Syria, Vice President Mike Pence announced at a news conference in Turkey. >> Read more trending news  Pence said military operations will be paused for 120 hours on the border between Turkey and Syria to give U.S.-allied Syrian Kurds time to withdraw from the area. 'The Turkish side will pause Operation Peace Spring in order to allow for the withdrawal of YPG forces from the safe zone for 120 hours,' Pence said. 'All military operations under Operation Peace Spring will be paused, and Operation Peace Spring will be halted entirely on completion of the withdrawal.' The announcement came after a high-level delegation, including Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, met with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara. Trump praised the announcement Thursday while speaking with reporters in Forth Worth, Texas. He credited his threat of sanctions on Turkey as 'tough love' that led to the ceasefire. 'This is an incredible outcome,' Trump said. 'It's a great day for the United States. It's a great day for Turkey.' Erdogan announced Turkey launched a military operation in northern Syria last week, days after Trump pulled U.S. troops out of the region. Trump disavowed the decision in statement, saying he 'made it clear to Turkey that this operation is a bad idea.' The Associated Press reported the agreement, 'essentially gives the Turks what they had sought to achieve with their military operation in the first place.' Kurdish forces were not party to the agreement, and it was not immediately clear whether they would comply. Ankara has long argued the Kurdish fighters are nothing more than an extension of the Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK, which has waged a guerrilla campaign inside Turkey since the 1980s and which Turkey, as well as the U.S. and European Union, designate as a terrorist organization. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
  • The next Group of Seven summit will be held in June at Trump National Doral Miami, one of President Donald Trump's golf resorts in Florida, acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney announced Thursday. >> Read more trending news  Mulvaney said officials considered about a dozen different locations for the meeting, which will be held June 10-12. 'Doral was far and away the best physical facility for this meeting,' Mulvaney said, adding that a site selection official told him, 'It's almost like they built this facility to host this type of event.' The site was chosen despite ongoing investigations into whether Trump has used his office for personal gain. Mulvaney said Thursday that he was unconcerned by the appearance of a conflict of interest. He told reporters Doral was chosen partially because the site was dramatically cheaper than others officials considered. 'There's no issue here on him profiting from this in any way, shape or form,' Mulvaney said. Trump has touted his resort, saying it's close to the airport, has plenty of hotel rooms and offers separate buildings for every delegation. When the United States has hosted the summit before, it has been held in Puerto Rico; Williamsburg, Virginia; Houston; Denver; Sea Island, Georgia; and Camp David, the presidential retreat in Maryland. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
  • Tropical storm warnings are in place along the Florida Panhandle for a tropical system that doesn’t even have a name yet. Potential Tropical Cyclone 16 is currently off the coast of Mexico in the southwest Gulf of Mexico.  In recent days, meteorologists at the National Hurricane Center have increased the storm’s chances of tropical development to 90-percent as of the NHC’s latest advisory. The storm is not expected to reach hurricane strength, but it is forecast to make landfall this weekend over the Panhandle as Tropical Storm Nestor. News 96.5 WDBO spoke to the National Weather Service office in Melbourne about what impacts Central Florida could see from the storm.  Meteorologist Scott Kelly says it could impact your weekend plans. “It looks like it will mainly be a rain producer for us with some embedded strong thunderstorms.  We’re not expecting a lot of strong winds with it, although there could be some strong winds with the thunderstorms that come through early on this weekend,” said Kelly. 

Washington Insider

  • Brushing aside questions about the ethics of hosting the G-7 summit at one of President Donald Trump's own  golf properties, the White House announced Thursday that the 2020 meeting of the G-7 will take place at the President's Doral resort in Miami, Florida. “Doral was by far and away - far and away - the best physical facility for this meeting,” said Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney. Pressed repeatedly by reporters in a rare Q&A in the White House Briefing Room, Mulvaney gave the back of the hand to any ethical concerns. Democrats in Congress said the decision just screamed self-dealing by the President. “This is corruption in the open,” said Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA). “Corruption in plain sight is still corruption,” said Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA). “Unbelievably brazen. Taxpayer and foreign money funneled right to his own club as a result of a decision he is making as President,” tweeted Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-NY). “This is just open corruption,” said Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ). “Congress should block any taxpayer money from going to G7 while it's at Trump's resort,” said Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH). “This is a textbook case of unconstitutional conduct,” said Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD). “By holding G7 summit at his own resort, the President is using his office to enrich himself,” said Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D-FL). “This is corruption, plain and simple,” said Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), who is running for President. Outside ethics watchdog groups chimed in immediately. “By treating the G7 summit like a commercial for his businesses, inviting foreign governments to line his pockets and hold their next meeting at his Doral, FL golf course next year, he mocks the Constitution he swore to uphold,” said Constitutional Accountability Center President Elizabeth Wydra.