Tag Archive | Christmas

Gulf Breeze teen accused in mother’s murder faces charges: Brandon Aydelott will be charged as an adult


SANTA ROSA COUNTY, Fla. (WALA) – During his first and only appearance in the juvenile court system Friday, December 27, Brandon Aydelott was officially charged with second-degree murder.  Aydelott is accused of viciously murdering his mother, Sharon Aydelott, on Christmas Eve.

In the afternoon court appearance, Circuit Court Judge John Simon read Aydelott’s charges and explained his future in the adult court system.

In the courtroom Friday afternoon, Aydelott was calm, emotionless, and even cracked a wry smile at times.  It’s the same way he was described in the arrest report done by the Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s Office.

Public Defender Bruce Miller says he has not yet assigned Aydelott’s defense attorney, and it’d be premature to talk strategy for defending him.

“It’s so early in the process that we ourselves have many questions, and we’re going to do our own investigation,” Miller said.  “He is still a child in Florida- being prosecuted as an adult- so, we will take that into consideration, trying to keep his best interests.”

When asked by FOX10 News how Miller will do that, he said, “[We will] look under every stone and try to do everything that we can to help.”

Miller’s defense team could have to go up against first-degree murder charges, as the State Attorney’s Office says it has ample evidence and a confession of the crime.

View the full arrest report here (WARNING: Graphic details)

“There is a substantial amount of evidence in this case, and we intend to go forward and seek a first-degree indictment,” said Assistant State Attorney Greg Marcille.

First-degree murder carries a mandatory life imprisonment sentence, which Marcille says the state will go after.

“I think the status of what sentence is available for the courts to sentence a juvenile convicted of first-degree murder in Florida is still a widely and hotly litigated issue, so that’s going to be an interesting issue that we’ll work on during this case,” Miller responded.

Meanwhile, the prosecution gears up to ‘up’ the charges.

“Within the next several weeks we will present this case to the Grand Jury,” Marcille said.  “The Grand Jury is the only body that can actually charge first-degree murder.  They will consider it if they determine the facts are sufficient to establish that it was a premeditated murder, then they will return the indictment for first-degree murder.”

Aydelott goes before Circuit Judge Marci Goodman the morning of Saturday, December 28 at the Santa Rosa County Jail.

Sources told FOX10 News it’s unlikely she will revoke Aydelott’s bond, given the crime’s brutal nature and the charges that go along with it.

Source: Russell Colburn/ Fox10TV

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Arizona mother admits to killing daughter, poisoning other kids, police say


An Arizona mother has admitted to suffocating her 13-year-old daughter and trying to kill her other children by poisoning them, police said Tuesday.

Officers in Casa Grande, Arizona, responded to a 911 call on Christmas Day. A man said that his ex-wife, 35-year-old Connie Villa, had stabbed him but that he had managed to escape and was driving himself to a hospital.

When officers arrived at the home, they found Villa with stab wounds, holding a knife to her chest. They managed to subdue her and conducted a sweep of the home. Police found the body of Aniarael Macias, Villa’s daughter, in the bathroom.

“Although an autopsy for Aniarael was conducted … the results of which did not identify a cause of death, investigators feel the evidence found at the scene of the crime along with interviews and medical information of the surviving children, give our Department cause to believe Connie Villa was attempting to end the lives of all of her children and her ex-husband, Adam Villa,” police said in a statement.

Connie Villa faces one count of first degree murder in the death of her daughter. She is also being charged with four counts of attempted murder of her ex-husband and her three surviving children, ages 3, 5 and 8.

In an interview, she admitted she tried to kill her children by forcing them to ingest prescription narcotic drugs, police said. The kids had trace amounts of opiates in their systems.

Police also said that she told them she was unsuccessful in forcing her oldest daughter to ingest the drugs, and so she suffocated Aniarael.

Connie Villa reportedly told investigators she wanted to kill her children and ex-husband because she did not want him to have custody of them.

The surviving children are all in good condition and were placed with the family of their father, Adam Villa, 33. He is in stable condition.

Connie Villa was released Sunday from Maricopa Medical Center, where she was treated for what investigators believe were self-inflicted stab wounds. She was arrested the same day.

According to Thomas Anderson, a police spokesman, she has made an initial appearance in court. No bond was given.

Aniarael’s father released a statement asking for privacy and prayers.

“On behalf of Michael Macias, Ania’s father, Vera Macias, Ania’s grandmother and extended family, we request that the focus of this tragedy be a celebration of our precious Ania’s life. She was a gentle, kind and beautiful spirit who was taken from us much too soon. Michael and his family are heartbroken,” it read.

“We are writing this statement in hopes that the media and other outlets will allow Michael and our family to grieve peacefully. We thank everyone for the outpouring of support for our family. We appreciate your prayers and positive thoughts. We pray that justice will be served.”

Source: Cnn/ Chuck Johnston and Dana Ford

Aniarael Macias update: Mom, Connie Villa, poisoned family in attempt to kill them, police say


CASA GRANDE, AZ – A Casa Grande mother is accused of murdering her 13-year-old daughter, attempting to poison her three children and stab her ex-husband on Christmas Day, authorities said Sunday.

Authorities arrested Connie Villa, 35, and said she faces one count of first degree murder and four counts of attempted murder after she forced her children — ages 3, 5, 8 and 13 years old — to take “prescription narcotic drugs in an attempt to kill them” on Christmas Day.

Aniarael Macias, 13, was found dead in the bathroom of her family’s home in Casa Grande last Wednesday, according to police.

Authorities were called to a home at the Colony Apartments in Casa Grande on Christmas night after the woman’s ex-husband, 33-year-old Adam Villa, called police and said that he had been stabbed by his ex-wife.

He told police he was driving himself to the Casa Grande Regional Medical Center.

Officers forced themselves into the mother’s apartment and found her holding a knife to her chest and suffering from multiple stab wounds, according to a police press release. The woman’s three other children were standing unharmed at her side.

Authorities secured the scene and transported both the mother and children to Phoenix-area hospitals. The three children each had “trace amounts” of opiates in their systems, according to a press release.

Casa Grande police on Sunday afternoon said the children were in “good condition” and Child Protective Services placed them with the family of Adam Villa.

Adam Villa is in stable condition at a Phoenix hospital.

On Sunday afternoon, Aniarael’s family issued the following statement:

On behalf of Michael Macias, Ania’s father, Vera Macias, Ania’s grandmother and extended family, we request that the focus of this tragedy be a celebration of our precious Ania’s life. She was a gentle, kind and beautiful spirit who was taken from us much too soon. Michael and his family are heartbroken. Ania was always smiling. She loved her brothers and sisters. She enjoyed spending time with her father and sister Gaby. We are writing this statement in hopes that the media and other outlets will allow Michael and our family to grieve peacefully. We thank everyone for the outpouring of support for our family. We appreciate your prayers and positive thoughts. We pray that justice will be served.

Police said the investigation is ongoing and additional charges are possible.

An autopsy was conducted by Pima County, but it did not identify an official cause of death. Results for a toxicology report on Macias and the other three children could take two to three weeks.

Source: ABC15

Parents of Abigail Hernandez send Christmas wishes for her return

Abigail Hernandez 7

CONWAY — The parents of missing 15-year-old Abby Hernandez each sent Christmas cards to their daughter, who has been missing since Oct. 9.
Zenya and Ruben Hernandez, who are divorced, each posted e-cards on their Facebook pages. Zenya Hernandez posted hers on her page Monday night; Ruben Hernandez posted his on his page on Wednesday.

“Abby I am assuming that you did run away,” her father wrote. “And as I said in my first letter it is very important for you to know that nobody is angry with you, and you are not in any trouble. Everybody is very worried about you and we all want you to come home.”

“Merry Christmas Abby! Big hugs! My letter to Santa asked for you this year! I hope he makes my dream come true,” Zenya Hernandez wrote.

Ruben Hernandez said he was glad to hear of the letter that Abigail wrote to her mother after she disappeared. At the request of law enforcement investigators, Zenya Hernandez has not released the contents of the letter.
“I was so happy and relieved when I heard that your mother received a letter from you. It was answered prayer that you are OK. It gave me so much hope, and I know that a lot of people who are very worried about you were also happy and relieved to hear that you contacted your mother.

“I have been hoping and praying that I am going to hear from you. Please write to me Sweetheart. There isn’t anything in this world that I want more than to receive a letter or a phone call from you. It would be the second greatest Christmas gift that I could ever hope to receive. The first would be you coming home.
“If you do write to me, and want it kept private just say so and I will respect that, and I will not make it public. I will only share it with (Senior Associate Attorney General) Jane Young, and I am sure that she would also respect your privacy,” Ruben Hernandez wrote.

Zenya Hernandez, who has made several pleas to her daughter in past weeks, said Abigail’s older sister Sarah made cookies.”Sarah is making gingerbread cookies, and they are mostly snowmen!” she said.

“Pray you walk through the door, Abby, and I will always love you, Mom.”

Source: Dan Seufert, Union Leader

Shoplifting turns into heart-warming Christmas story


Officer donates to family attempting to steal holiday meal

MANKATO — A desperate shoplifting incident Sunday at the hilltop Hy-Vee in Mankato turned into a heart-warming Christmas story due to generosity of a Mankato Police officer.

Officer Steve Hoppe responded at 4:42 p.m. to a shoplifting call from the store. According to Mankato Police, the incident involved a couple who fled the store with several food items they shoplifted to provide a Christmas dinner they could not afford. The couple reportedly had several children, and another family with them in their residence.

A Hy-Vee customer recorded the couple’s license plate number during the incident and Mankato Police found the couple at their residence with the stolen items. The couple was brought back to the store for paperwork and the food was returned to store employees.

Lacy Wilkins, who oversees Safety and Security for the store, said the couple was very remorseful for their action and apologized for the theft. He said Hoppe informed him about the dire situation the family was facing at home.

“Officer Hoppe determined this was a family in crisis…who made a poor decision to fulfill a Christmas dinner need,” said Cmdr. Jeremy Clifton of the Mankato Department of Public Safety.

After the paperwork was completed, Hoppe made a bold move: he personally paid to provide the couple with a full Christmas dinner, including a ham and potatoes. Wilkins also contributed $20 towards the meal, which was reimbursed by Hy-Vee.

“The city is very fortunate to have an officer as generous as Hoppe,” said Wilkins. “I understood the couple’s situation and I wished them the best. I hope they learn from this (situation).”

Wilkins said that because an actual crime was committed, Hy-Vee requested that the couple be cited for shoplifting. Hy-Vee has also banned the couple from its stores for one year. However, Wilkins said the store will decline to filing any civil demand against the couple, which would have demanded they pay the store for value of the items they stole.

The couple was released without incident at the store Sunday, and they took their new Christmas meal with them.

Source: Josh Moniz


Woman’s Christmas Letters Reach Husband and New Family Two Years After Her Death


A mother of four has surprised her children, husband and his new fiancée with heartbreaking Christmas letters two years after her death from ovarian cancer.

Brenda Schmitz was 46 when she passed away in September 2011. As a parting gift, she entrusted a letter to a friend, who remains anonymous, to deliver when the time was right. The letter was addressed to a local Des Moines, Iowa, radio station and contained two other letters; one for her husband David and another for the new love of his life.

A month before she lost her battle to the disease, Schmitz wrote the letter to KSTZ Star 102.5, which runs a Christmas wishes program each year. Listeners send in their Christmas wish letters, and the station elicits the help of sponsors to grant a select few.

Brenda’s wishes were finally revealed two years later when the station brought her husband, David, into the studio and read the note to him on air last week.

“When you are in receipt of this letter, I will have already lost my battle to ovarian cancer,” the letter from Brenda began. “I told [my friend] once my loving husband David had moved on in his life and had met someone to share his life with again, to mail this letter to all of you at the station.”

David had recently become engaged again and Brenda’s first wish was a request for the station to give his “new lifelong partner,” Jane, a pampering session.

“She deserves it, being a stepmother to all those boys,” the letter read. “Make her smile and know her efforts are truly appreciated from me.

“Thank you,” Brenda added. “I love you, whoever you are.”

The second wish Brenda asked for was a “magical trip” for the entire family to a place where they can “enjoy each other’s company and companionship as a family and create those memories that will be with them forever.”

The final wish was aimed at the doctors and nurses at Mercy Medical Hospital who took care of her while she was sick. Brenda asked that they be given a “night out full of drinks, food and fun for all they do every day for the cancer patients they encounter.”

The station paired up with local business to help grant these three wishes, including sending the family of eight, which now incorporates David’s two soon-to-be stepchildren, on a four-day vacation to Disney World in Florida.

Station host Colleen Kelly read the letter with a shaky voice to David, who wiped away his tears throughout.

“It’s not surprising,” David said after Kelly finished. “The last year and a half she’s shown so many signs that she’s [here].”

One of the most notable signs appeared the morning of Brenda’s death, which happened just 10 days after the first birthday of their youngest, Max.

David recalled that mother and son used to sing “Over The Rainbow” together, and that on the morning Brenda died, a double rainbow appeared “bright as can be.”

“Max has the picture of the rainbow in his room right now,” David said. “There’s no doubt in my mind who did that.”

Source: LIZ FIELDS/ Good Morning America

Prosecutors charge Calif. man in deaths of wife, sister


60-year-old Lance Anderson “the sweetest guy you could ever imagine,” neighbor Grace Madrigal said, holding back tears. The shootings were apparent mercy killings, Los Angeles police Lt. Paul Vernon said.

LOS ANGELES — Neighbors recall Lance Holger Anderson as a nice, chatty guy who was always ready to help; the kind of person who fixed a flat tire for an elderly neighbor, gave away a Christmas tree to another, and doted on his ailing wife.

So there was shock in his pleasant Canyon Country neighborhood on Wednesday when police arrested Anderson on suspicion of killing his wife, then shooting to death his sister at a Los Angeles nursing home.

The 60-year-old was “the sweetest guy you could ever imagine,” neighbor Grace Madrigal said, holding back tears.

The shootings were apparent mercy killings, Los Angeles police Lt. Paul Vernon said.

The family said Anderson’s 68-year-old wife had dementia and his sister, Lisa Nave, 58, had been in the Country Villa Sheraton for five years after suffering a heart attack that had left her in a yearlong coma, but she was progressively improving, Vernon said. On Wednesday morning Anderson allegedly walked into the northern Los Angeles nursing home on and shot her in the head, Vernon said.

“I want people to understand that this man did not randomly walk into a hospital to commit this crime,” Vernon said.

A resident, David Chabolla, said the gunshot sounded like a balloon popping. He saw Anderson sitting in the nursing home’s courtyard with his head down before police arrested him on suspicion of murder.

A small-caliber handgun was recovered, police said. Anderson remained jailed.

After hearing about the killing, concerned family members contacted authorities and asked them to check on his wife’s welfare. Her body was found Wednesday morning in the couple’s three-bedroom townhome on a leafy, curving street in the Canyon Country area of Santa Clarita, a northern Los Angeles County suburb.

She had been shot with the gun found at the nursing home, a sheriff’s statement said.

It wasn’t immediately clear if Anderson had a lawyer who could comment on the case. Calls to home and cellphone numbers listed in public records went unanswered.

Anderson and his wife moved into their home about five or six months ago, neighbors said.

Anderson “was introducing himself to anybody that was going into the driveway” of the townhome complex, Madrigal recalled.

Anderson said the couple had come from Arizona because of his wife’s health. While he often left in the mornings, she was more reclusive, exchanging a few words while smoking or drinking coffee on the couple’s balcony, Madrigal said.

“He treated her like she was a jewel … because she was so fragile” and was sometimes seen on the balcony with her, caressing her hand, Madrigal said.

Kristen and Lee Booker said Anderson offered them food and help moving furniture after fire damaged their home in September. Another neighbor recalled Anderson fixing her flat tire.

Two weeks ago, Anderson offered Madrigal his artificial Christmas tree.

He told Madrigal that the couple wouldn’t be doing anything for Christmas this year, she said.

Source: AP