crime | KUOW News and Information


John Hinckley Jr., 35-years after he tried to kill a president, has won his freedom.

A federal judge in Washington, D.C., has granted a request for Hinckley to leave the mental hospital where he's resided for decades, to go live full-time with his elderly mother in Williamsburg, Va.

A rape survivor is suing Texas' Harris County after she was jailed for more than a month and subjected to beatings and "psychological torture."

According to court documents, she had suffered a mental breakdown while testifying against her rapist, and authorities checked her into the general population at Houston's Harris County Jail because they feared she would flee before finishing her testimony.

The FBI announced they are closing their investigation into 1971 airplane hijacker D.B. Cooper.
FBI Photo

The FBI is closing its active investigation into the airplane hijacker D.B. Cooper. The case has puzzled FBI investigators for the last 45 years, and is the country's oldest unsolved skyjacking.

The case started on Thanksgiving Eve in 1971 on a flight from Portland, Oregon to Seattle.

The stabbing death of a young woman in a Seoul subway station and the gang rape of a teacher have stirred intense public debate about the status of women in South Korea.

By most measures, South Korea is a modern country with one of the largest economies in the world. But it has catching up to do when it comes to gender equality, and the recent events have burst open long-festering issues surrounding societal attitudes about women.

Months after he was granted a new hearing because of new evidence, Adnan Syed, whose 2000 murder conviction was a key focus of the hit podcast Serial, has been granted a new trial, according to his attorneys.

Baltimore City Circuit Judge Martin Welch vacated Syed's conviction, saying in a memorandum that his attorney "fell below the standard of reasonable professional judgment" in handling his case.

Announcing the news Thursday, attorney Justin Brown tweeted in all-caps: "WE WON A NEW TRIAL FOR ADNAN SYED!!!"

Blues singer Courtney Weaver performs in the KUOW studios.
KUOW Photo/Isolde Raftery

On Jan. 15, 2010, a woman named Courtney Weaver was intentionally shot in the face by her fiancé, Kenneth Fiaui.

In court nearly a year later, Weaver spoke to Fiaui directly. What follows is what she said, based on the court transcript, and his response.

Twenty-ten has been the most trying and difficult year of my life.

Mississippi officials are closing the investigation into the murder of three young civil rights workers by the Ku Klux Klan — more than 50 years after the men disappeared. The case had been closed for decades, then reopened after renewed public outcry. Now it's going cold again.

"It's just gotten to the point that it's 52 years later and we've done all we can do," Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood said Monday.

Prison bars file photo.
Flickr Photo/Neil Conway (CC BY2.0)/

Emily Fox talks with Karen Lee, CEO of Pioneer Human Services, about how to disrupt the cycle of convicted criminals returning to prison after they're released. This week, Lee was appointed to Governor Jay Inslee's Statewide Reentry Council.

Days after the deadly mass shooting in Orlando, Fla., the American Medical Association says it is adopting a policy calling gun violence in the U.S. "a public health crisis," and it says it will actively lobby Congress to overturn 20-year-old legislation blocking research on gun violence by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The horrific attack at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Fla., has captured the nation's attention, but the great majority of homicides are not due to mass shootings.

And in the last year or so, the murder rate has jumped in America's big cities.

"We are in the midst of a very abrupt, precipitous and large crime increase," says Richard Rosenfeld, a respected criminologist at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. He is the author of a study released Wednesday by the Justice Department examining reasons for the increase.

Idriss mosque near Northgate, Seattle.
Flickr Photo/J Brew (CC BY SA 2.0)/

A man accused of making threats against a Seattle mosque was arrested Tuesday afternoon after a short standoff, police said.

Seattle police said an out-of-state friend provided information that led to a 37-year-old man. He surrendered to a SWAT team around 3:30 p.m. at his apartment in the Greenwood neighborhood.

A Banksy piece in Boston. Photo taken in 2010.

It started with a woman named Deja Stwalley, who claimed to be a porn recruiter. 

This recruiter reached out to young women, ages 19 and 20.  

When the U.S. government released its tally of sexual violence cases on college campuses under review in 2014, Stanford wasn't on the list. But in the new list that's out this month, Stanford has the most cases, with five.

The notorious assault that's been making headlines is not among the cases under federal review.

It's been nearly a year since a mass shooting at a historic black church in Charleston, S.C., shocked the nation.

"We woke up today, and the heart and soul of South Carolina was broken," said Gov. Nikki Haley the morning after a gunman killed nine worshippers in what authorities describe as a race-based attack.

At the time, officials struggled to make sense of the crime that unfolded on June 17 during an intimate evening Bible study at Emanuel AME Church.


Seattle-area public health officials are warning cocaine users about two recent deaths believed to have been caused by a tainted batch of cocaine.

Beekeepers Feel The Sting Of Stolen Hives

Jun 6, 2016

Between December and March, beekeepers send millions of hives to California to pollinate almond trees. Not all of the hives make it back home.

"The number of beehive thefts is increasing," explains Jay Freeman, a detective with the Butte County Sheriff's Office.

In California, 1,734 hives were stolen during peak almond pollination season in 2016. In Butte County alone, the number of stolen hives jumped from 200 in 2015 to 400 this year, according to Freeman.

Seattle officials want to install gunshot-detecting microphones in the city.

The technology is known by the brand name ShotSpotter. When the devices recognize a gunshot, they activate surveillance cameras and alert the police. 

Chris Fojtik and Mahealani Texeira outside Union Gospel Mission. They choose to sleep outside, rather than being separated. Most shelters don't let couples stay together at night.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

The woman was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

She had returned to the Jungle to pick up her suitcase.

Then the shooters arrived. She and two others survived, but two people were killed.

Aliou Mbaye

The former ruler of Chad, Hissène Habré, has been found guilty of crimes against humanity and sentenced to life in prison in a landmark trial.

The verdict was handed down Monday by an African Union-backed court in Senegal.

"It's the first time anywhere in the world, not just in Africa, that the courts of one country have prosecuted the leader of another for human rights crimes,” said Reed Brody, a lawyer from Human Rights Watch.

Brody, who has been working with the victims of Habré's regime for over 17 years, described the mood after the verdict as jubilant.

The pharmaceutical company Pfizer said Friday it will move to prevent its drugs from being used in lethal injections.

A 25-year-old woman was attacked in the Health Sciences Building at the University of Washington campus. A man who had wandered off the street found her in J-wing, a part of the Health Sciences Building.
UW Medicine

There's been a spate of rapes and sexual assaults on the University of Washington campus, although police do not believe these incidents are related.

Since May 1, there have been three separate events, including one that resulted in six women being assaulted at the Health Sciences Building.

The mayor of Federal Way announced a special City Council meeting tonight Thursday. The city has seen a recent uptick in gun violence.

It's had three deaths from shootings this week.

Updated 6:15 p.m. ET

George Zimmerman, who fatally shot unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin in 2012 and was acquitted of all charges in the case, said Thursday that he was auctioning off the gun that he says he used in that incident.

Two days after drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzmán was transferred to a prison near Juárez, a Mexican city near the U.S. border, a federal judge in Mexico said the extradition process can move forward.

An unnamed judge said the "legal requirements laid out in the extradition treaty" between the U.S. and Mexico had been met, The Associated Press reports, adding that Mexico's foreign ministry has 20 days to approve the extradition.

The Oregon Supreme Court Thursday upheld the death sentences of a father and son convicted in the bombing deaths of two Oregon police officers in 2008. But with a moratorium on the death penalty still in place, it's unlikely the executions will be carried out any time soon.

Forty centimeters is a long way down when you’re digging a pit in the forest.

“That’s why you never find perpetrators burying a body six feet under – it’s way too much work,” quips Western Oregon University Professor Misty Weitzel to the raucous approval of her sweaty students.

These Western Oregon University students aren’t burying bodies. They’re digging them up. Weitzel assures that the bodies are not human.

“What we have are three domestic pig burials that were placed in the ground 10 years ago,” says Weitzel, who teaches criminal justice.

Updated at 2:30 p.m. ET

Former House Speaker Dennis Hastert admitted at his sentencing hearing Wednesday that he sexually abused more than one student when he was a teacher and wrestling coach in Illinois decades ago, and said he was "ashamed."

Hastert initially said he had "mistreated" athletes, NPR's David Schaper tweeted from the courtroom. He added: "What I did was wrong and I regret it."

A Washington daycare provider has pleaded guilty to defrauding the Working Connections Child Care program to the tune of $250,000. The plea was entered Thursday in federal court in Seattle.

The state cracked down on these cases five years ago and this is the biggest one yet.

The woman convicted of killing six family members in Carnation on Christmas Eve 2007 will spend the rest of her life in prison.

King County Superior Court Judge Jefferey Ramsdell read Michele Anderson's sentence Thursday.

A southwest Washington mill owner has been sentenced to six months in prison for trafficking in bigleaf maple that was later sold to guitar makers. Harold Clause Kupers will also serve six months of home detention and pay nearly $160,000 in restitution.