Jon Super/Redferns

The lawyers for slain black jogger Ahmaud Arbery have saluted JAY-Z for helping them seek justice. In an Instagram post, they revealed he chartered a private jet for them so they could attend a probable cause hearing for the defendants in Brunswick, Georgia.

S. Lee Merritt took to Instagram on Thursday to confirm the 50-year-old rap mogul and entrepreneur covered the costs of transporting himself and a colleague to court in Georgia.

"When you absolutely have to be in Court to stand with your client and righteous protestors for justice... Jay Z sends his private jet," he wrote under an Instagram snap of himself outside the plane.

"Court hearing in Brunswick, Georgia this morning. No flights to take us there last night. @leemerrittesq and I spent hours trying to find flights or cars. At 1am we started losing hope till we got a call from Jay Z’s people at Roc Nation who chartered a flight for us to attend this hearing with the family of Ahmaud Arbery," civil rights attorney Blerim Elmazi added.

Merritt also tweeted a photo of himself wearing a black face covering with the words "George Floyd" sewn on it.

He captioned the photo: "An early motion made by the defendants to the court was that I remove my mask. The court declined to consider the motion."

Arbery, 25, was shot and killed on February 23 in Glynn County, Georgia after being pursued and confronted by three white locals in pick-up trucks.

Three men were arrested in connection with the murder after video of the shooting surfaced online.

Photo by Image Press / BACKGRID

A Philadelphia man was convicted of fatally stabbing Nicki Minaj's manager outside a Philadelphia bar in 2015.

After two trials, Khaliyfa Neely was convicted Friday of stabbing Devon Andre Pickett to death on Feb. 18, 2015 outside a bar in Germantown.

Neely, 38, was found guilty of third-degree murder, aggravated assault, simple assault and possession of an instrument of crime.

The first trial ended in a hung jury, but District Attorney Larry Krasner's office continued to pursue justice in the case. Krasner said his office had "solid evidence" to convict Neely.

"It is our duty to persist in the pursuit of justice, even in the face of challenges," said Krasner.

Neely's sentencing hearing is set for April 24. He faces up to 25 years in prison if convicted of murder.

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Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images

Cyntoia Brown Long, who was convicted of murder at age 16, is extending her support to a Wisconsin teenager who faces the death penalty for killing her pimp.

Chrystul Kizer was only 16 when she met her pimp, Randy Volar III. She is accused of shooting Volar twice in the head, then setting fire to his home.

Kizer, now 19, admitted killing Volar in his home in 2018 after she says he raped her multiple times. On the day he died, police planned to arrest Volar for child sex trafficking.

Long took to her Instagram account early Friday to voice her support for Kizer. She posted a photo of herself wearing a hoodie with the words "Justice 4 Chrystul Kizer" on the front.

Long, now 31, was granted clemency earlier this year and paroled after serving 15 years of a life sentence for killing a customer when she was a streetwise teenage prostitute.

Police say Volar's estate is worth $800,000. He made large bank deposits and other activities typical of sex traffickers.

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The teenager told police that Volar sold her to other men, which is why her attorney believes she should be shielded under sex trafficking laws.

But prosecutors say the sex trafficking laws don't apply to Kizer because she was engaged in prostitution and her life was not in imminent danger when she shot Volar in the head twice and set fire to his home.

Kizer, who has a criminal record of petty offenses, suffers from depression and other mental disorders.

If convicted of murder, she faces the death penalty or mandatory life in prison.
 

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Chrystul Kizer was only 16 when she met her pimp, Randy Volar III. Volar, 34, pimped Kizer out to older men and deposited the cash she made into his own bank account.

Kizer, now 19, admitted to killing Volar in his home in 2018 after she says he raped her multiple times. The day Volar died, he was about to be arrested for child sex trafficking.

Police say Volar's estate is worth $800,000. He made large bank deposits and other activities typical of sex traffickers.

The teenager told police that Volar sold her to other men, which is why her attorney believes she should be shielded under sex trafficking laws.

But prosecutors say the sex trafficking laws don't apply to Kizer because she was engaged in prostitution and her life was not in imminent danger when she shot Volar in the head twice and set fire to his home.

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Kizer is now on trial for her life.

If this story sounds familiar, it is because it nearly mirrors the story of Cyntoia Brown Long.

Long was also a 16-year-old prostitute when she was convicted of shooting a customer in the head while he slept. She stole the man's wallet and his car, then returned to his home with friends to steal from the deceased.

Long, now 31, was granted clemency earlier this year and paroled after being sentenced to life.

Unlike Kizer, Long didn't have a pimp. But she did have a camera-ready smile and celebrities like Kim Kardashian-West and T.I. were smitten.

Kizer, who has a criminal record of petty offenses, suffers from depression and other mental disorders.

If convicted of murder, she faces the death penalty or mandatory life in prison.
 

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Photo: Florida Bureau of Prisons

A Florida jury sentenced Henry Segura to life in prison, following his conviction of first-degree murder for the deaths of his ex-girlfriend and her three children.

The same jury that convicted Segura of four counts of first-degree murder on Tuesday deliberated for over 4 hours before sentencing Segura to two consecutive life sentences in prison.

Segura declined to offer any arguments to spare his life during the death penalty phase this morning.

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Segura, 41, was convicted of the murders of his ex-girlfriend Brandi Peters, 26, her six-year-old twin daughters, Tamiyah and Taniyah Peters, and his own son, 3-year-old JaVante Segura.

Court TV anchor Vinnie Politan was stunned by the jury's decision. "He took the lives of this entire family - all four people - and yet he's not the worst of the worst?," said Politan.

"It's not like they're still trying to figure out who did this. No! This is the man who did it - took the life of his 3 year old. Drowned another six year old; shot another six year old in the head! And then the brutal beating and murder of Brandi Peters. But, still, [he's] not the worst of the worst?" said Politan after the sentencing.

The prosecution says Segura killed Peters because he didn't want to pay her $23,000 in back child support for their son.

All four bodies were found in Peters' Tallahassee, Florida home on Nov. 20, 2010.

Peters was found in a pool of blood near the front door. Her children were stacked in a bathtub partially filled with bloody water.

One of the twins was shot in the back of the head. The other two children were drowned.

Segura was arrested 10 months later in Le Sueru County, Minnesota, where he fled after the murders.

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A Florida jury convicted Henry Segura of murdering his ex-girlfriend and her three children in 2010. A 6-person jury convicted Segura after deliberating for nearly 4 hours on Tuesday.

Segura faces the death penalty. He has been behind bars for nearly a decade since the murders.

Segura was accused of murdering his ex-girlfriend Brandi Peters, 26, her six-year-old twin daughters, Tamiyah and Taniyah Peters, and his own son, 3-year-old JaVante Segura.

The prosecution says Segura killed Peters because he didn't want to pay her $23,000 in back child support for their son.

All four bodies were found in Peters' Tallahassee, Florida home on Nov. 20, 2010.

Peters was found in a pool of blood near the front door. Her children were stacked in a bathtub partially filled with bloody water.

One of the twins was shot in the back of the head. The other two children were drowned.

Segura was arrested 10 months later in Le Sueru County, Minnesota, where he fled after the murders.

Segura's first trial in 2015 ended with a hung jury. The jurors voted 8-4 for acquittal back then.

The defense chose a 6-person jury for the retrial. They hoped they would have better luck with just 6 jurors.

The evidence against Segura was circumstantial, but he had a motive to kill her. He also lied repeatedly about his whereabouts at the time of the murders.

Segura initially lied and said he was not at Peters' home the day she was killed. But investigators discovered his secret phone, and the phone's GPS put him at the crime scene.

Segura then changed his story and admitted he was in Peters’ home that day, but he claims he was there to have sex with her, not kill her.

Complicating the murder case was a mentally ill federal inmate, James Carlos Santos, who claims he is a "drug kingpin" who ordered a hit on Peters after she stole drugs and $90,000 from the cartel. The jury didn’t buy his “confession".

Santos claims Peters was a drug mule for his drug cartel that he operated from inside the prison walls.

The prosecution noted that Peters lived with her children in Section 8 housing and could barely afford the rent.

A prison psychologist diagnosed Santos with a plethora of mental disorders ranging from schizophrenia to grandiose delusions. He also took credit for other murders that he could not have committed because he was incarcerated at the time.

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The jury viewed gruesome crime scene photos on day 2 of Henry Segura's 2nd murder trial on Wednesday. Segura is accused of killing his ex-girlfriend, Brandi Peters, her six-year-old twin daughters, Tamiyah and Taniyah Peters, and his own son, 3-year-old JaVante Segura.

All four bodies were found in Peters’ Tallahassee, Florida home on Nov. 20, 2010.

A medical examiner testified on Thursday that Brandi Peters, 27, was pistol whipped, beaten with a heavy, round object and shot to death. Evidence shows she fought for her life.

The bodies of her three children were found stacked in a bathtub. Tamiyah was shot in the back of the head and drowned and the other two children were drowned.

Segura was arrested 10 months later in Le Sueru County, Minnesota, where he fled after the murders.

At the time of the murders, Peters was a single, stay-at-home mother. Prosecutors claim the motive for the murders was $20,100 in child support payments Segura owed Peters for the care of his son, JaVante Segura.

Though Segura signed JaVante's birth certificate, he later claimed Peters told him the boy wasn't his. He said he was in the process of asking the state to perform a DNA test because he couldn't afford the several hundred dollars for the test.

In Segura's first murder trial in 2015, the jury was told his DNA was not found at the crime scene despite his testimony that he had sex with the victim.

The DNA of an unknown female was found under Peters' finger nails, and the DNA of an unknown male was also present on a door handle, bolt lock, phone cradle, Peters' purse, and a shovel at the scene.

Additionally, police recovered a mixed DNA sample from the victim's bedroom phone that was later matched to Angel Avila-Quinones, a member of a Colombian drug cartel who had just been released from federal prison.

Avila-Quinones fled to Italy, where investigators interviewed him but were unable to bring him to the United States due to Italy's tough extradition laws.

The jury did not hear about the DNA match because the evidence was ruled inadmissible in court. Prosecutors claimed Avila-Quinones left the country in 2009, before the murders.

Kelsey Kinard, Segura's former cellmate in an Oklahoma jail, testified that Segura confessed to the four murders in 2011.

A judge declared a mistrial when the jury couldn't reach a unanimous verdict in 2015.

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Youtube.com, Court TV

Opening statements began Tuesday in the high-profile murder case of Ezra McCandless in a Wisconsin courtroom.

A defense attorney portrayed his client as the victim during his detailed opening statement. McCandless, 21, is accused of stabbing her boyfriend, Alexander Woodworth, 16 times.

McCandless and Woodworth, 24, were in his truck that got stuck in the mud on a dirt road in rural Dunn County, Wisconsin on March 22, 2018.

According to a criminal complaint, McCandless claimed she crawled into the back seat when Woodworth attempted to rape her. She said she grabbed a knife to defend herself and started stabbing "anywhere and everywhere."

She said Woodworth didn't stop even after she stabbed him multiple times. Police say she spent time mutilating his penis.

After McCandless stabbed Woodworth to death, she carved the word "boy" in her own forearm and slashed her clothes.

In her opening statement, the prosecutor described McCandless as a cold-blooded killer who committed premeditated murder. She reportedly took her father's EMT knife with her.

McCandless, who was born a biological female, experimented with her gender identity in high school. She changed her name multiple times, finally settling on the boyish name "Ezra". On that basis, the media insists on calling McCandless "transgender".

But friends say McCandless has always dressed in feminine clothing and never appeared as a male to them. They describe her as "mentally ill" and "weird".

The jury will hear from a former boyfriend who said McCandless followed him as he drove 150 miles to a friend's house. He found her sleeping in her car in his friend's driveway the next morning.

McCandless reportedly had three boyfriends at the time of Woodworth's death.

She pleaded not guilty of first-degree intentional homicide by reason of mental illness. She was later found competent to stand trial. She is being held on $250,000 bail in the Dunn County jail.

McCandless faces life in prison if convicted.
 

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Law & Crime/YouTube.com

The Dallas judge who hugged Amber Guyger said the former cop asked her for a hug and for help seeking God's forgiveness.

Judge Tammy Kemp was widely criticized by legal experts and the public after she embraced Guyger and gave her a Bible at the end of Guyger's murder trial.

Kemp told The Associated Press that she believed her actions were appropriate since Guyger said she didn't understand how to begin seeking God's forgiveness for killing accountant Botham Jean, 26.

"She asked me if I thought that God could forgive her and I said, 'Yes, God can forgive you and has,'" Kemp said. "If she wanted to start with the Bible, I didn't want her to go back to the jail and to sink into doubt and self-pity and become bitter. Because she still has a lot of life ahead of her following her sentence and I would hope that she could live it purposefully."

Kenneth Williams, a professor at the South Texas College of Law in Houston, told The NY Post: "[Kemp] has indicated an affinity or sympathy for the defendant."

And attorney Sherrilyn Ifill tweeted that a judge should remain impartial and unbiased in a court of law.

However, Kemp said she never acknowledged her Christian faith in court previously or provided a defendant with a Bible, but Guyger told her she didn't have a Bible at the end of the trial. Kemp said Guyger asked her for a hug twice.

“Following my own convictions, I could not refuse that woman a hug. I would not," Kemp said defiantly.

She also responded to the anger of Black people who wondered why she didn't show the same empathy for Black defendants.

"I don't understand the anger. And I guess I could say if you profess religious beliefs and you are going to follow them, I would hope that they not be situational and limited to one race only," Kemp said.

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Amber Guyger was found guilty of murder on Tuesday for fatally shooting her neighbor, Botham Jean, after she claimed she thought he was an intruder in her own apartment.

A jury of her own peers convicted the 31-year-old former cop after deliberating on Tuesday, Oct. 1.

Jean, a 26-year-old accountant at PricewaterhouseCoopers, was sitting on his sofa eating ice cream when Guyger entered his apartment and opened fire.

Her attorney claimed she was tired after working a 13-hour shift. But the prosecutor said she was distracted by steamy text messages from her police officer boyfriend.

In tearful testimony on the witness stand, Guyger claimed she feared for her life after Jean refused to obey her orders to raise his hands.

She said he yelled, "Hey hey hey!" And she fired twice to neutralize the perceived threat.

But the jury didn't buy her tears.

Guyger broke down and cried again when the guilty verdict was read.

Jean's family celebrated in the hall outside the courtroom, as supporters cheered, "It's a new day!"

The jury was given three options: murder, manslaughter (which carried the lightest sentence), or acquittal.

Guyger faces 99 years in prison when she is sentenced on Tuesday.

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CBS Evening News

Amber Guyger, the former Dallas cop who fatally shot her unarmed Black neighbor in his own apartment, cried on the witness stand on day 5 of her murder trial.

Guyger, 31, claims she was "scared to death" when she shot Botham Jean twice as he stood up from the sofa when she entered his apartment on the night of Sept. 6, 2018.

She cried while defense attorney Toby Shook questioned her about the events that led up to the shooting.

Guyger testified that she believed a stranger was inside her own apartment when she arrived home after working a 13-hour shift.

"I was scared to death," Guyger said, adding that her "heart rate just skyrocketed."

The Dallas native said she "never wanted to take an innocent person's life."

Guyger then reenacted how she arrived at the apartment on the 4th floor - one floor above her own.

She testified that when she put the key into the lock she noticed the door was ajar. She then saw the silhouette of a figure and pulled out her gun and yelled, "Let me see your hands! Let me see hands!" she said.

She said she saw the figure move and that Jean yelled "Hey! Hey! Hey!" in an "aggressive" voice.

"I was scared he was going to kill me," she testified.

Prosecutors say Guyger was so distracted by steamy text messages from her police officer lover that she didn't notice Jean was sitting in his own living room eating a bowl of ice cream.

Dallas Det. Stephen Clearly also pointed out that Guyger's apartment had photos hanging on a wall, a bookshelf in the corner and a small table with a vase of flowers against the wall. Jean's apartment had art hanging on the wall behind the couch, an ottoman in the living room and a workstation set up near the bar.

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Black Twitter expressed outrage over a Texas Ranger's testimony in defense of former cop Amber Guyger who is on trial for murdering Botham Jean in his own apartment.

After working a 13-hour shift on Sept. 6, 2018, Guyger, 31, parked on the wrong floor and claimed she entered the wrong apartment under the belief that it was her own.

But prosecutors say Guyger was distracted by steamy text messages from her lover when she entered Jean's apartment located directly above her apartment.

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YouTube.com

Texas Ranger Sgt. David Armstrong took the witness stand and said the former Dallas police officer did not commit a crime when she entered Jean's apartment and shot him dead.

"I don't believe that (the shooting) was reckless or criminally negligent based on the totality of the investigation and the circumstances and facts," he said earlier this week.

 

Armstrong claimed the evidence shows Guyger had access to Jean's apartment because his door was ajar.

"On multiple occasions, the door would close all the way and the door would also not completely close depending on the distance. And we were just letting go of the door not using any force and sometimes it would close all the way sometimes it wouldn't, depending on the distance."

But neighbors posted videos on social media that showed their apartment doors closing completely and locking automatically when they let go.

Armstrong also explained Guyger's mental state when she confronted Jean in the living room of his own apartment.

"Physically your heart rate goes very, very high," said Armstrong. "Your vision becomes narrowed, which is commonly referred to as tunnel vision. You begin to think very, very quickly and because your vision is narrowing, you begin to concentrate on what you believe your threat is … and that's due to blood rushing to the major organs of the body because your body is saying ‘I need to do this right now,' which is either fight or flight."

Prosecutor Jason Hermus objected to the testimony, saying Armstrong was not qualified to speak to Guyger's state of mind.

"What Ranger Armstrong believes is Ranger Armstrong's opinion. His opinion and belief doesn't help the jury. … The fact that he believes something based on evidence doesn’t mean the jury is going to believe the same thing."

According to published reports, Armstrong also has blood on his hands. He was previously investigated for killing a man while driving twice the speed limit. Armstrong was never tried in that case.

A lawsuit stated the accident would not have occurred if Armstrong was driving the legal speed limit.

Black Twitter reacted strongly to Armstrong's testimony in Guyger's defense.

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Former Dallas police officer Amber Guyger's murder trial is underway in a Dallas, Texas courtroom.

Guyger, 31, is accused of fatally shooting Botham Jean after she entered his apartment under the mistaken belief that she was in her own apartment.

The former officer wore a modest blue dress on the first day of her murder trial on Monday.

After working a 13-hour shift, Guyger parked her car on the wrong floor and entered Jean's apartment through an unlocked door on Sept. 6, 2018.

According to her defense team, Jean, who was seated on his sofa eating a bowl of ice cream, was shot and killed when he refused her orders.

But prosecutors say Guyger was distracted by steamy text messages she exchanged with her lover, a fellow Dallas police officer.

The prosecutor argued that Guyger walked past 16 other apartments on the 4th floor and failed to notice she was not on the 3rd floor where her apartment was located directly under Jean's.

Dallas County Assistant District Attorney Jason Hermus said Guyger was also on the phone with her lover, Officer Martin Rivera, when she pulled into her apartment complex.

Hermus said Guyger sent a Snapchat message to Rivera at about 9:30 p.m. which read, "wanna touch," according to the Dallas Morning News. Earlier in the day, she texted Rivera that she was "super horny today," according to the prosecutor.

On the witness stand, Rivera testified he had a 16-minute phone conversation with Guyger as she drove home. He denied making plans with her for later that night.

Rivera, who was in a relationship with another woman, said he and Guyger were no longer lovers at the time.

Defense lawyer Robert Rogers said Guyger didn't notice the wrong number on the apartment door when she walked in and encountered Jean on his sofa in the darkened apartment.

"What was going through Amber's mind was just, 'I'm going home,'" Rogers said, according to the Morning News. "'I'm done with my day of work, I'm exhausted and I'm going home.'"

Rogers said Guyger, who is white, shot Jean, who is Black, in self-defense because she mistakenly believed she was in her own apartment.

"'Why is he yelling at me? Why is he coming at me? Why is the display of my gun not working? He must have a weapon,'" Rogers said Guyger was thinking. "He must want to kill me because I caught him burglarizing my apartment, and he's getting closer.'"

But Hermus said Guyger was preoccupied with text messages from her former lover when she entered the wrong apartment.

Hermus said Jean, 26, didn't stand a chance.

"No opportunity for de-escalation, no opportunity for him to surrender. Bang, bang. Rapid," Hermus told the jury, according to ABC News.

The jury, which is sequestered, will consider whether Guyger is guilty of murder, manslaughter or acquitted of the charges.