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Homicide Investigation

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Crime The Birmingham Police Department reports that detectives are conducting a homicide investigation. The incident occurred on Friday, August 30, 2013 at approximately 10 p.m., in the 500 block of 41st Street North.

The victim has been identified as:
John Mullins B/M, 55, of Birmingham, Alabama.

Officers from the South Precinct responded to the incident location to investigate a report of a person stabbed. Upon arrival, officers discovered the victim lying outside suffering from a stab wound to the back. Birmingham Fire and Rescue responded to the scene and transported the victim to U.A.B Hospital for treatment. Hospital staff later pronounced the victim deceased.
There have been no arrests made in the case.
If there is anyone who has information pertaining to the case, they are encouraged to contact the BPD at 254-1764 or Crime Stoppers at 254-7777.

Federal prosecutors charge ninth person in scheme to defraud BP Oil Spill Claims Fund

BIRMINGHAM – Federal prosecutors this week charged a Birmingham woman as part of a conspiracy to fraudulently take money from funds established to pay claims from individuals and businesses harmed by the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, announced U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance and FBI Special Agent in Charge Richard D. Schwein Jr.
In an information filed Thursday in U.S. District Court, the U.S. Attorney’s Office charged Metilda Steward Gorden, 47, with conspiring in 2010 to participate in a scheme to defraud the Gulf Coast Claims Facility.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office has now charged nine people with conspiring to defraud the oil spill claims funds, and seven have pled guilty.
British Petroleum, which owned the Macondo oil well where the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig exploded, established the Gulf Coast Claims Facility in June 2010 for the purpose of administering and settling claims resulting from the oil spill disaster. A subsidiary of BP established the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Trust Fund in August 2010 to pay certain types of claims and expenses from the oil spill, including claims settled through the GCCF.
Gorden is charged with independently agreeing to provide personal information, such as bank account information, to individuals who recruited her so that they could use her information to file fraudulent claims for lost wages with the GCCF. The recruiters are not named in the charging document. After the GCCF paid Gorden on the fraudulent claims, she returned part of the money to the individuals who recruited her to participate in the scheme, according to the information. Between November 2010 and August 2011, the GCCF paid about $65,786 into Gorden’s bank account.
The FBI is investigating these cases. Assistant U.S. Attorney Henry Cornelius is prosecuting the cases.

Undocumented alien indicted in connection with counterfeit identification documents

BIRMINGHAM – A federal grand jury indicted an undocumented Mexican national on charges involving counterfeit identification documents, announced U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations Special Agent in Charge Raymond R. Parmer Jr.
The indictment filed in U.S. District Court charges Ivan Alejandro Martinez-Barron, 23, with one count of producing counterfeit Social Security and Permanent Resident cards. The indictment also charges Martinez-Barron with one count of possessing the equipment to produce such documents.
“We ask for continuing help and vigilance from the community to help us detect anyone providing false identity documents, as those identities might be used by people who wish to do our country harm,” Vance said.
Each count carries a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
ICE-HSI  investigated the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Melissa K. Atwood is prosecuting the case.
The public is reminded that an indictment contains only charges. The defendant is presumed innocent, and it is the government’s responsibility to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt at trial.

Federal Grand Jury indicts Blount County men in separate Child Pornography cases

BIRMINGHAM – A federal grand jury indicted two Blount County men in separate cases for distributing, receiving and possessing child pornography, which included images of children less than 12 years old, announced U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance and Alabama Bureau of Investigation Chief Neil Tew.
Independent indictments filed in U.S. District Court charge both James Howard Wilson, 51, of Blountsville, and Jeremiah C. King, 32, of Springville, with using the Internet to distribute child pornography, receiving child pornography on a computer and possessing child pornography on a computer or computer media. King’s possession charge involves images of children younger than 12. Wilson’s possession and receiving charges involve images of children younger than 12. Wilson is charged with crimes occurring in 2012.  King is charged with crimes occurring between March and May this year.
Distribution and receipt of child pornography each carry a minimum prison term of five years and a maximum of 20 years. The charges also carry a maximum $250,000 fine. Possessing and receiving child pornography that includes images of prepubescent children less than 12 years old both carry a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
The Alabama Bureau of Investigation and its Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force investigated the cases. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Alabama is prosecuting the cases.

Members of the public are reminded that the indictment contains only charges.  A defendant is presumed innocent of the charges and it will be the government’s burden to prove a defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt at trial.

Huntsville man indicted for series of bank robberies

BIRMINGHAM – A federal grand jury indicted a Huntsville man for 11 robberies or attempted robberies at banks across north central and north western Alabama, announced U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance and FBI Special Agent in Charge Richard D. Schwein Jr.
An indictment filed in U.S. District Court charges Cedrick Lamond Hicks, 32, with nine counts of bank robbery and two counts of attempted bank robbery. In all, the banks were robbed of more than $43,000. Most of the charges are for robberies or attempted robberies in 2012, while one charge is for a 2006 bank robbery and two are for bank robberies this year.
The date, location and amount of money stolen are as follows, according to the indictment:

•    Dec. 13, 2006, Regions Bank, Madison Street, Huntsville, $3,074.
•    Feb. 22, 2012, Regions Banks, Madison Street, Huntsville, $2,870.
•    March 23, 2012, First Jackson Bank, Sutton Road, Huntsville, $1,894.
•    April 30, 2012, Renasant Bank, U.S. 72 West, Madison, $3,500.
•    Aug. 2, 2012, Peoples Bank, U.S. 431 South, Guntersville, $890.
•    Aug. 8, 2012, Traditions Bank, Alabama 67 South, Decatur, $7,243.
•    Nov. 27, 2012, Regions Banks, Lee Street, Rogersville, $8,009.
•    Jan. 7, 2013, Peoples Trust Bank, Military Street South, Hamilton, $9,000.
•    March 6, 2013, ServisFirst Bank, Meridian Street, Huntsville, $6,575.
The attempted bank robberies were on Sept. 18, 2012, at Cadence Bank, U.S. 431, Albertville, and on Nov. 26, 2012, at Traditions Bank, Second Avenue NW, Cullman.
The maximum penalty for each robbery count is 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
The FBI investigated the case, which Assistant U.S. Attorney Mary Stuart Burrell is prosecuting.

The public is reminded than an indictment contains only charges. A defendant is presumed innocent and it will be the government’s responsibility to prove the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt at trial.

Fifth Adams Produce official charged in scheme to defraud U.S. Government

BIRMINGHAM – A fifth Adams Produce Company official now faces federal charges in a scheme to defraud the federal government, announced U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance and FBI Special Agent in Charge Richard D. Schwein Jr.
A federal grand jury has indicted Michael John O’Brien, 50, of Navarre, Fla., who was general manager of the Adams Produce distribution center in Pensacola, Fla. O’Brien’s duties included determining the prices Adams Produce charged the United States under contracts it had with the government.
The 37-count indictment filed in U.S. District Court charges O’Brien with conspiracy to defraud the U.S. Department of Defense and its Defense Logistics Agency of hundreds of thousands of dollars. The indictment also charges O’Brien with 32 counts of wire fraud or aiding and abetting wire fraud, and with four counts of false claims or aiding and abetting false claims in order to carry out the conspiracy.
Four other Adams Produce officials – Scott David Grinstead, David Andrew Kirkland, Christopher Alan Pfahl and Stanley Joel Butler II – have pleaded guilty to charges in connection with defrauding the government.
Adams Produce was a Birmingham-based company that had been a leading distributor of fresh fruits and vegetables across the Southeast for many years. It was founded more than 100 years ago as a family-owned business. The family sold the company to executives and a private equity firm in 2010. Adams Produce closed abruptly and filed for bankruptcy in 2012.
The Department of Defense, through DLA, contracted with Adams Produce and other distributers to supply fresh fruits and vegetables to military bases, public school systems, junior colleges and universities. Adams Produce had contracts worth millions of dollars with the U.S. government, according to O’Brien’s indictment. Under the contracts, the price the government paid Adams depended largely on what Adams had to pay its produce suppliers.
Each week, Adams Produce electronically submitted pricing information to DLA and was required, periodically, to submit purchase orders to DLA proving its costs, according to the indictment.
Adams bought from TLC, one of the largest distributors of fresh produce in the United States, with offices located across the country. Between August 2011 and November 2011, according to the indictment, O’Brien and other Adams employees arranged and conducted transactions with TLC in Marietta, Ga., designed to create purchase orders and invoices that reflected inflated costs to Adams Produce.
According to O’Brien’s indictment, he and others continued the conspiracy as follows:
O’Brien communicated instructions, often by e-mail, to other Adams’ employees concerning the inflated prices to show on the false purchase orders. Adams’ employees and officers used the false purchase orders to support false pricing information the company submitted to DLA for payment. The transactions with TLC to produce false purchase orders and the false information submitted to DLA “were intended to increase Adams Produce’s profit margins and inflate the income reported on Adams Produce’s financial statements.”
The maximum penalty for the conspiracy count is 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The maximum penalty for each wire fraud count is 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, and the maximum penalty for each false claim count is five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
The FBI investigated the case, which Assistant U.S. Attorney George A. Martin Jr. is prosecuting.

The public is reminded that an indictment contains only charges. A defendant is presumed innocent, and it is the government’s responsibility to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt at trial.