Gun-related deaths reached 40-year peak 2017, CDC study finds

Gun-related deaths in the U.S. last year reached their highest point in 40 years, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s WONDER database. In 2017, nearly 40,000 people were killed from gun-related incidents in the U.S., according to the data. By contrast, gun-related incidents accounted for less than 29,000 deaths in … Continue reading “Gun-related deaths reached 40-year peak 2017, CDC study finds”

Gun-related deaths in the U.S. last year reached their highest point in 40 years, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s WONDER database.

In 2017, nearly 40,000 people were killed from gun-related incidents in the U.S., according to the data. By contrast, gun-related incidents accounted for less than 29,000 deaths in 1999.

Last year marked some of the deadliest mass shootings in U.S. history. In October 2017, a gunman opened fire on a Las Vegas crowd of 22,000 concertgoers, killing 58 and injuring nearly 500. The following month, a gunman killed 25 people and unborn child at a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas.

MARYLAND'S GOP GOVERNOR LOSES SUPPORT OF NRA AFTER SIGNING GUN LAWS

Of the 40,000 recorded gun-related deaths in 2017, more than a third were homicides while more than half were suicides, according to the CDC data. At 14 deaths per 100,000 people, white men accounted for the highest percentage of suicide deaths by firearm. Black men accounted for the most firearm homicide deaths.

Nearly 500 gun deaths were unintentional, according to the CDC, while 553 “contributed to legal intervention and operations of war.”

The National Rifle Association responded to the CDC's data, demurring on the merits of more gun control, in a Twitter message.

"The facts are clear," the NRA wrote. "Gun control laws are not the answer. If we want to prevent more horrific acts of violence our leaders need to stop demonizing the men and women of the @NRA and find solutions that will save lives.”

"The facts are clear: Gun control laws are not the answer. If we want to prevent more horrific acts of violence our leaders need to stop demonizing the men and women of the @NRA and find solutions that will save lives.”

— National Rifle Association

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton also weighed in on the report, retorting: "What is wrong with us? This is not a problem we should have at all, let alone one that's getting worse."

Former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., who has been an outspoken proponent of gun control since being shot in her head and nearly losing her life in 2011, said the CDC’s data, “reminds us how many lives our gun violence crisis alters every year – and why so many Americans are rising up to demand action.”

In a statement, Giffords lambasted Congress for refusing to “debate policies we know would help save lives,” while shooting-related deaths keep escalating.

The New York Daily News on Sunday cited a study from the BMJ Evidence-Based Medicine that concluded gun deaths accounted for a 2.48-year overall decrease in life expectancy from 2000 to 2016.

Bradford Betz is an editor for Fox News. Follow him on Twitter @bradford_betz.

Jogger Karina Vetrano’s suspected killer complains about lewd Riker’s Island inmates, guards

The suspect in the murder of Karina Vetrano, a woman who was sexually attacked and strangled while running near her family’s New York City home, has been triggered by what he described as lewd acts on behalf of prisoners and guards at Rikers Island, according to a report.

“Captains are trying to tell inmates to beat me up,” Chanel Lewis, 22, told The New York Post about corrections supervisors.

WARNING: DISTURBING DETAILS BELOW

Lewis added that correction officers were instructing inmates to call him a “f—-t, the a-word and the p-word.”

Lewis told the Post that the semen of his fellow inmates — who were masturbating frequently — got into his food. He said the inmates got the semen on the hands of female correction officers who then passed him his food and water.

“Female guards hands [are a] health hazard. Food inside the hot pot is contaminated,” Lewis told the Post.

Video

Lewis, 22, was accused of killing 30-year-old Karina Vetrano as she ran on a park trail in Howard Beach, Queens, in August 2016. Prosecutors said Vetrano had been sexually abused and strangled. Her father discovered the body.

A mistrial was declared in late November.

Prosecutors said they’ll move to retry Lewis, who is expected back in court on Jan. 20.

The closely watched case had baffled investigators, who for months were unable to find anyone who matched DNA that was found under the victim’s fingernails as she fought back. The DNA also was found on her neck and phone.

CHICAGO MAN WHO CLAIMED HE WAS STABBED IN ROBBERY ACTUALLY CUT HIMSELF IN FIGHT WITH GIRLFRIEND, COPS SAY

Robert Boyce, the New York Police Department's chief of detectives, said the break came after police went back through 911 calls and found one reporting a suspicious person in the area near the attack. Lewis was tested and linked to DNA found at the scene and on the victim, Boyce said.

In his taped confession, Lewis told police that he was upset with a neighbor and that when he came across Vetrano on a secluded section of a marshland park, he “just lost it.” He said he beat and strangled her but did not molest her.

“This girl jogging… and you know, one thing led to another,” he told detectives. “Hitting her and stuff like that.”

His attorneys said the confession was wrongly obtained and should not have been admissible in the trial. They said he confessed only because he wanted to go home after waiting hours in an interrogation room.

JEWELRY STORE ROBBERY THWARTED AFTER OWNER'S NEPHEW PULLS OUT GUN

Defense attorney Robert Moeller said the case was based on circumstantial evidence. He argued that the crime scene was corrupted and that DNA evidence was suspect.

“This case is far from conclusive, and the jury’s deadlock proves this,” the Legal Aid Society, which helped provide defense for Lewis, said in a statement. “The death of Karina Vetrano is tragic and our hearts go out to her family, but the rush to criminalize our client is not the answer nor is it justice.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Frank Miles is a reporter and editor covering geopolitics, military, crime, technology and sports for FoxNews.com. His email is Frank.Miles@foxnews.com.

Escaped child killer missing for more than 40 years may be ‘hiding in plain sight,’ feds say

A convicted child murderer who has eluded authorities for more than four decades may be living under an alias in one of two states and “hiding in plain sight,” according to federal officials.

The U.S. Marshals Service added Lester Eubanks to its “15 Most Wanted List” on Dec. 7 in hopes of ending his 45-year stint on the lam.

“The U.S. Marshals are not deterred by the passage of time when it comes to cases like this one,” U.S. Marshal Peter Elliott of the Northern District of Ohio said in a statement. “We are fueled by one thing, and that is justice for 14-year-old Mary Ellen Deener of Mansfield, Ohio, the innocent victim in this case.”

On Nov. 14, 1965, Eubanks shot and bludgeoned to death Mary Ellen in what law enforcement allege was an attempted rape. Authorities quickly identified Eubanks as the offender, and he was arrested the next day and charged with first-degree murder while perpetrating rape.

On May 25, 1966, a jury found Eubanks guilty of the crimes and sentenced him to death. In 1972, Eubanks’ death sentence was commuted to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Lester Eubanks shot and bludgeoned to death for 14-year-old Mary Ellen Deener in what officials alleged was an attempted rape. (U.S. Marshals)

But it was on Dec. 7, 1973, when Eubanks eventually made his escape, after prison officials took him to a shopping center in Columbus, Ohio. He was allowed to walk unescorted as a reward for good behavior, and then never showed at his scheduled pick up location.

“While the Eubanks case is designated as a cold case, I want to assure the public our investigation into his whereabouts is very active,”  U.S. Marshals Service Deputy Director David Anderson said in a statement. “I have total confidence in our deputies and our law enforcement partners who are determined to make sure Eubanks’ last days are spent in a prison cell where justice intended it.”

HUMAN REMAINS FOUND IN SEARCH FOR FLORIDA WOMAN WHO VANISHED IN 2010, POLICE SAY

Eubanks, who would now be 75, is believed to be alive and living under an alias, according to the agency.

Investigative leads over the years have placed him in Michigan and California, and officials said his whereabouts remain a mystery. A reward of up to $25,000 is available for information leading to his arrest.

Reward offered in cold case death of Virginia State Trooper

It’s been over three decades since Virginia State Trooper Johnny Rush Bowman was stabbed to death at his home, but federal investigators are hopeful a new reward and plea from his daughter could finally lead to the officer’s killer.

Deputy U.S. Marshal David Siler said that Eubanks may have changed his appearance, used aliases and even started a new life.

“He literally could be hiding in plain sight,” Siler said. “This is why we are asking citizens to be vigilant and contact us with any information they believe will help us apprehend him.”

Eubanks is described by officials as a 5 foot, 11 inches tall black male with black hair and brown eyes. He also has a mole under his left eye.

At the time of his disappearance in 1973, he weighed approximately 175 pounds. Eubanks may be using the alias “Victor Young,” according to federal officials.

Anyone with information on Eubanks or his possible whereabouts is urged to contact the nearest U.S. Marshals office or the U.S. Marshals Service Communications Center at 1-800-336-0102.

Travis Fedschun is a reporter for FoxNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @travfed

Cyntoia Brown deserves clemency, Tennessee Democrats tell state’s departing GOP governor

Democratic leaders in Tennessee are calling for the state’s outgoing Republican governor to grant clemency to a woman serving a life sentence for a murder she committed when she was a teenager.

At a news conference Friday to draw attention to Cyntoia Brown’s case, several Democrats asked for Gov. Bill Haslam to act before he leaves office next month, the Tennessean reported.

CYNTOIA BROWN, SERVING LIFE FOR MURDER, ASKS TENNESSEE PAROLE BOARD FOR CLEMENCY: A LOOK AT HER CASE

"Do not kick this decision down the road for Gov.-elect [Bill] Lee," said Sen. Brenda Gilmore. "To keep her in prison for 51 years is another travesty."

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam, shown in 2012, will be leaving office in January.

The state Supreme Court recently ruled that people convicted of first-degree murder in that state and sentenced to life as of July 1995 must serve at least 51 years before becoming eligible for parole.

TENNESSEE PAROLE BOARD DIVIDED OVER RELEASE IN MURDER CASE

Haslam has said he not reached a decision on the matter yet and didn’t want to treat Brown’s case differently because of the publicity it’s received.

"We are reviewing every aspect of it, just like we are with several other … similar cases," Haslam said.

Brown admitted in 2004 to fatally shooting 43-year-old Johnny Allen White while the two were in bed because she believed he was reaching for a gun. She was 16 at the time.

Prosecutors argued she killed White, a real estate agent, in order to rob him.

Advocates said that Brown, now 30, was a teen prostitute at the time of the killing. They say she was the victim of sex trafficking and has since earned an associate’s degree while in prison.

WILL CYNTOIA BROWN BE PAROLED? ACE LAWYER JOINS TEAM TO FREE SEX-TRAFFICKED TEEN SERVING LIFE SENTENCE FOR KILLING JOHN

"We cannot forget and we must not forget that Ms. Brown herself was a victim," said state Rep. Ray Clemmons.

He pledged to re-introduce a bill to allow juvenile sentences to be reviewed.

Brown’s case has become a cause celebre, attracting the attention of celebrities such as Kim Kardashian West, Rihanna and advocacy groups. She is also the subject of a PBS documentary.

On Saturday, a few dozen activists marched at Georgia’s state Capitol in Atlanta to urge Haslam to grant Brown clemency, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

“We are demanding that our sister Cyntoia be set free,” said Lea Allen, a Baptist minister.

Woman convicted of plotting with lover to kill husband, collect $1.75 million life insurance benefits

A Florida woman has been convicted of conspiring with her lover to kill her husband—18 years after he disappeared and she collected $1.75 million in life insurance benefits when his death was ruled an accident.

Denise Williams, 48, reportedly showed no emotion as the verdict was delivered Friday in Leon County after a week-long trial that included details of threesomes and drew comparisons to the film noir classic “Double Indemnity.”

She now faces a mandatory sentence of life in prison after being found guilty of murder and conspiracy to commit murder in the death of her 31-year-old husband, Mike Williams, who vanished Dec. 16, 2000 on a duck hunting trip.

“We got justice for Michael,” the victim’s mother said to prosecutor Jon Fuchs, the Tallahassee Democrat reported Friday.

Denise Williams listens during her trial for the murder of her husband Mike Williams, in Tallahassee, Florida. ((Alicia Devine/Tallahassee Democrat via AP, Pool)

Cheryl Williams refused to believe her son drowned and was eaten by alligators, the newspaper reported.

THREESOME TWIST REVEALED DURING TESTIMONY IN DENISE WILLIAMS MURDER TRIAL

Prosecutors said Denise Williams hatched the murder plot with a man who was her husband’s best friend — and her lover, Brian Winchester.

He became the prosecution’s star witness, testifying that they killed Michael Williams so they could be together and collect on life insurance policies by making the murder look like an accident, according to the reports.

Winchester sold Mike Williams one of those policies, worth $1 million.

Winchester told the jury that plans to make the murder look like a drowning went awry when Michael Williams’ duck-hunting equipment failed to drag him underwater.

He testified that he wound up shooting Michael Williams in the face with a 12-gauge shotgun and then burying the body near a lake, according to reports.

The New York Post reported that Winchester and Denise Willaims carried on their secret relationship until 2005 when they married.

FLORIDA WOMAN ACCUSED OF PLOTTING HUSBAND'S DEATH, MARRYING KILLER STANDS TRIAL

But 11 years later they divorced and soon after he was arrested for kidnapping Denise Williams at gunpoint to convince her not to turn him in to police, according to the paper.

Eventually, he confessed to killing Michael Williams in exchange for immunity and led authorities to the body.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Florida execution is ‘closure’ for kin of woman brutally stabbed to death in 1992

A man convicted of viciously stabbing a woman to death during a South Florida burglary 26 years ago was executed Thursday night.

Jose Antonio Jimenez, 55, was put to death by lethal injection and pronounced dead by 9:48 p.m. at Florida State Prison in Starke. The execution was initially set for 6 p.m. but was delayed by a last-minute stay request to the U.S. Supreme Court, which was declined.

Jimenez declined to make any last statements, the Miami Herald reported.

Jimenez was convicted of the 1992 death of Phyllis Minas, 63, during a burglary inside her Miami apartment. Authorities said he was in the middle of burglarizing the residence when Minas came home. She was stabbed eight times.

“Mr. Jimenez has shown no remorse or repentance for his crime,” Minas nephew Alan Partee said in a written statement released by the Florida Department of Corrections after the execution. “His execution will allow closure to a painful memory of the vicious murder … My family hopes he has made peace with himself and to whatever power he may or may not believe in. We pray for his soul and feel justice has been rightfully served.”

During Jimenez's week-long trial in 1994, neighbors said they heard her screaming during the attack and tried to enter the apartment but someone had locked the door.

Fingerprints inside the apartment matched Jimenez, prosecutors said, and a custodian said he saw Jimenez jump from the balcony of Minas’ second-floor apartment.

Jimenez’s attorney’s argued the evidence against him was circumstantial.

TEXAS MAN WHO ALLEGEDLY TRIED, FAILED TO KIDNAP TEEN JOGGER IS EXECUTED

In several failed appeals over the years, Jimenez and his lawyers said detectives gave “false, or, at best, misleading testimony.” They also argued several key police reports had been lost.

The request to the Supreme Court for an execution stay asked the court to consider whether Florida’s lethal injection protocol is cruel and unusual punishment and violates the Eighth Amendment.

MAN GETS 9 YEARS IN PRISON FOR SEX ASSAULT ON FLIGHT

After Gov. Rick Scott signed off on the lethal injection for Jimenez, the Florida Supreme Court issued a stay order to consider Jimenez’s claims, including his denial of access to public records, that the state’s drug protocol could cause him harm and that it was cruel to execute him after 23 years on death row.

In October, the court rejected the claims and lifted the order.

Jimenez was the fifth killer executed since Florida added a drug to its lethal cocktails. In 2017, the state included etomidate — a drug intended to induce unconsciousness during executions.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

Body found in trunk of car in Walmart parking lot, police say

A man who followed what he believed to be his missing brother’s car to a Florida Walmart’s parking lot Thursday led police to the grim discovery of a man’s body inside the trunk, authorities said.

Miami-Dade Police said a man told officers he spotted what he thought could be his missing brother’s white Honda Accord and followed it from Monroe County to the Florida City store. The man had reported his brother missing on Tuesday, FOX Miami affiliate WSVN-TV reported.

Police arrived in the parking lot to find two men and a woman inside the car. Officers said a foul odor coming from the vehicle led to the grisly find inside the trunk, the Miami Herald reported.

“It was a pretty horrific scene,” Miami-Dade Police spokesman Christopher Soweby-Thomas told the paper.

It wasn’t immediately clear if the body in the trunk was that of the man’s missing brother.

The three people were taken into custody and questioned, but as of Thursday night no charges had been filed, according to the Herald.

Serial killer pleads guilty in Texas woman’s 1994 death

DALLAS – A 78-year-old prisoner who says he killed about 90 people over nearly four decades as he moved around the country pleaded guilty to murder Thursday in the 1994 strangulation of a Texas woman.

Samuel Little entered his plea in the West Texas city of Odessa, where the body of Denise Christie Brothers was discovered in a vacant lot about a month after she disappeared. He received another life prison term, Ector County District Attorney Bobby Bland said in a statement.

"Due to the efforts of law enforcement agencies from around the country, dozens of victims' families now have answers," Bland said. "Although this is a conviction in Ector County, Texas, I hope it will serve as justice for all those atrocious murders committed across this nation in this unprecedented era of terror and mayhem caused by Samuel Little."

Little was convicted in 2014 of killing three Los Angeles-area women in separate attacks in the late 1980s and was serving life sentences when authorities say he confessed this year to killing dozens more people in 20 states since 1970.

Those confessions, which often included a level of detail and recall that authorities say was uncanny, spurred investigators from Florida to California to review old murder cases. An FBI spokesman said thus far, investigators have concluded that Little was the killer in 36 cases, including the killing of Brothers and the three in the Los Angeles-area that landed him in prison. But Bland said in his statement more than 40 cases have been confirmed. He later explained that he received that number from Texas Rangers, an elite investigative agency that has relayed details of Little's confessions to law officers in other states. Little explained the killings in a series of conversations with Ranger James Holland.

Most recently, police in Tennessee linked Little to the death of Martha Cunningham, a Knoxville woman whose body was found in a wooded area by a road in 1975. Even though Cunningham was bruised and nude from the waist down when her body was found, detectives attributed her death to natural causes, according to the Knoxville News Sentinel.

With at least three-dozen confirmed deaths, Little is already among the most prolific known serial killers in American history. Gary Ridgway, the so-called Green River killer who is serving life in prison, pleaded guilty to killing 49 women and girls, making him the deadliest serial killer in terms of confirmed kills, though he has said he likely killed more than 71 people. Ted Bundy confessed to 30 homicides from about 1974 to 1978 and John Wayne Gacy killed at least 33 young men and boys in the 1970s. Both of them were executed.

Little, who is in poor health and relies on a wheelchair, offered his confessions as a bargaining chip to be moved from the Los Angeles County prison where he was being held, the FBI said last month. But Bland said Thursday that Little will return to California to serve his life term.

Little, who also went by the name Samuel McDowell, targeted vulnerable women who were often involved in prostitution and addicted to drugs, authorities have said. Once a competitive boxer, he usually stunned or knocked out his victims with powerful punches before he strangled them while masturbating.

"With no stab marks or bullet wounds, many of these deaths were not classified as homicides but attributed to drug overdoses, accidents, or natural causes," the FBI said.

Skeletal remains found in Long Island basement ID’d as long-missing Korean War veteran, cops say

A Long Island man who dug up bones in the basement of his childhood home learned Wednesday the remains belonged to his father, a Korean War veteran who mysteriously vanished decades ago and may have been murdered.

Suffolk County police announced Wednesday the remains were George Carroll and his death was classified as a homicide, Newsday reported. The father of four and U.S. Army Korean War veteran disappeared in the 1960s and a missing-person report most likely was never filed.

Michael Carroll, 57, previously told Fox News his sons found the remains, now identified as his own father, on Oct. 30 after digging a 6-foot hole and breaking through a cinder block wall that had been part of an old water well. He then began the search for his father and enlisted the help of psychics and ghost hunters, who pointed to the basement of his childhood home.

LONG ISLAND MAN WHO FOUND BONES IN HIS BASEMENT OPENS UP ABOUT GRISLY FIND

Officials found the skull was fractured by blunt force trauma, though it’s unclear if that occurred posthumously.

Many questions remain unanswered, including who buried George Carroll and how he died. The veteran was in his 20s when he disappeared.

Michael Carroll, 57, at his home in Lake Grove, L.I. (Fox News)

George Carroll bought the home on Olive Street in Lake Grove, about 60 miles east of Manhattan, in 1955 and lived there with his wife Dorothy and their four children — two boys and two girls — until he disappeared. Dorothy Carroll sold it to Michael Carroll, her son, in 1993.

Michael Carroll said his mother told him and his three siblings that his father left the house one day and never returned. He added that he never wanted to believe his father abandoned him and his three older siblings when they were younger.

“My family is really broken from this,” he previously told Fox News.

MYSTERY DEEPENS AS SKULL FOUND BURIED IN LONG ISLAND BASEMENT SHOWS SIGNS OF BLUNT FORCE TRAUMA 

Carroll said the person who may have known something about his missing father is Richard Darress, who married his mother, but added: “I’m trying to avoid pointing a finger at this point.”

Darress died in June in Laredo, Texas, at the age of 77, a funeral home there told Fox News. Before he died he had been living in Mexico, across the border from Laredo.

“He would have been someone we would have wanted to speak with,” Lt. Kevin Beyrer, commander of the Suffolk Police homicide squad, told Newsday last month.

Fox News' Robert Gearty contributed to this report.

Katherine Lam is a breaking and trending news digital producer for Fox News. Follow her on Twitter at @bykatherinelam

South Carolina teen pleads guilty to murdering father, 6-year-old-boy

A South Carolina teen could face life in prison after he pleaded guilty Wednesday to murdering his father and a six-year-old boy.

Jesse Osborne was 14 when he shot and killed his father, Jeffrey, in their home on Sept. 28, 2016. According to a confession he gave following his arrest, Osborne shot his father in the head three times as he sat in a chair.

Investigators said he then drove his father’s pickup truck three miles to Townville Elementary School in Anderson County where he opened fire on a group of students playing outside for recess.

Jacob Hall, 6, was shot in the leg and died three days later.

Osborne, now 16, entered a guilty plea Wednesday with no deal.

He could face anywhere between 30 years and life in prison when he is sentenced at a later date. The U.S. Supreme Court allows a life sentence without parole for suspects who are juveniles when they kill someone only in the most heinous of cases.

SKELETAL REMAINS FOUND IN LONG ISLAND BASEMENT ARE IDENTIFIED

Prosecutors said Osborne talked about the shooting on social media in the days leading up to the killings.

He considered shooting students at his middle school where he had been suspended earlier that fall for bringing a hatchet and machete.

"The middle school has tons of cops," he said in the chat group six days before shooting. "The elementary school doesn't."

GIRL, 9, COMMITS SUICIDE AFTER RACIST TAUNTING, FAMILY SAYS

Osborne told investigators he was angry at his father because he would get drunk and berate and try to fight his mother and him. The teen also said in his confession that he was bullied.

Anderson County is a two-hour drive northwest of Columbia.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Paulina Dedaj is a writer/ reporter for Fox News. Follow her on Twitter @PaulinaDedaj.