I will be posting outcomes on the trials of Latino gang members accused of hate crimes against Black citizens. I have posted on gangs such as FS-13, among others, who have murdered Black people, most notably Cheryl Green, a little 14-year-old Black girl.


The following is an update on the convictions of Jonathan Farjado


and Danny Aguilar, two gang members of the 204TH street gang who murdered Ms.  Green and an eyewitness to another homicide in the Harbor Gateway area of Los Angeles, CA.


Latino Gang Member Who Targeted Black Victims Gets Life

By Dennis Romero, Thu., Feb. 4 2010 @ 12:27PM 

​A Latino gang member who a judge said “preyed on victims because they were black” received a sentence of life in federal prison (and then some) this week. Francisco Flores, 24, actually received a life sentence as well as a consecutive 10 years for racketeering that includes conspiring to commit murder, participating in an attempted murder, conspiracy to traffic in narcotics, and use of a firearm, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Flores was one of ten members of South L.A.’s large Florencia 13 gang who have received recent sentences for racketeering convictions by federal authorities. At his sentencing Wednesday, U.S. district Judge David O. Carter said Flores “preyed on victims because they were black and for no other reason but racial motive.”

A second Florencia member, 36-year-old Jose Gonzalez, received 20 years this week for racketeering and drug trafficking, the U.S. Attorney’s Office states. The pair, along with the other eight Florencia convicts, were nabbed in a federal sweep of the gang in 2007 that was dubbed the biggest gang take-down of its kind to date.

Agents arrested 97 of the 104 defendants named in an indictments against the gang’s members, and 94 of them have convicted, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Five gangsters are federal fugitives.

Feds say that Florencia controlled the drug trade in parts of southern Los Angeles County such as the city of Huntington Park, where the gang would “tax” dealers for its share of profits and then give some of that money to the Mexican Mafia “in return for Mexican Mafia protection when they went to prison or jail,” according to a U.S. Attorney’s Office statement.

During last week’s sentencing of another Florencia member, 34-year-old Arturo Cruz, Judge Carter said he was taken aback by the level of racism involved in the gang’s violence:

“I think this particular criminal organization is as ruthless as any the Court had seen,” he said. “I’ve dealt with the Mexican Mafia, the Aryan Brotherhood now, soon to be the Mongols, but you really take first place. The racism displayed in these tapes, the hunting down and tracking of black citizens, whether they are rival gang members in territory selling drugs, or just the innocent young lady I saw [a robbery victim targeted because of her race] that came into this court is barbaric, and I think society needs to draw a rather strong line.”



Latino Gang Member Sentenced to Death in Hate Crime Killing of Two, Including 14-Year-Old Cheryl Green

September 27, 2010 | 12:35 pm

A Los Angeles jury returned a death penalty verdict Monday for a 22-year-old Latino gang member convicted in the hate-crime killing of a 14-year-old black girl and a potential witness in Harbor Gateway.Jonathan Fajardo,who was 18 at the time of the killings, nonchalantly looked around the courtroom as the verdict was read.The jury found he should receive death for both of his first-degree murder convictions for the slayings of Cheryl Green and Christopher Ash.Fajardo was eligible for the death penalty because the jury found true special circumstance allegations, including multiple murder, killing of a witness, committing a hate crime based on race and committing the crime for a gang.

Fajardo was a member of the 204th Street gang, which prosecutors said intimidated and attacked African Americans in the Harbor Gateway area of Los Angeles.Green was gunned down in December 2006 as she stood on a driveway hanging out with friends when Fajardo walked up and opened fire at the group of young blacks.Ash was found on a roadside two weeks later, stabbed more than 60 times.Prosecutors said a group of gang members killed him because they suspected he was cooperating with authorities about Green’s death.Green’s mother clutched her hands together tightly as the verdict was read and later wiped away tears.”Justice was served for my baby,” she said afterward. “I feel her here right now.”– Victoria Kim




Two Gang Members Convicted of Hate Crime Murders

Jury deliberates less than two days before convicting the two men of the Harbor Gateway murders of a 14-year-old black girl and a potential witness.

September 10, 2010|By Victoria Kim, Los Angeles Times
Two Latino gang members were convicted Thursday of first-degree murder in a hate-crime trial involving the deaths of a 14-year-old black girl and a potential witness in the Harbor Gateway area of Los Angeles.The jury deliberated for less than two days before convicting Jonathan Fajardo, 22, and Daniel Aguilar, 23, members of the 204th Street gang, of all charges. Fajardo was found guilty of killing Cheryl Green, whose slaying the jury found was a hate crime motivated by her race. Both men were convicted of participating in the murder of 21-year-old Christopher Ash, who prosecutors say was a fellow gang member suspected by the rest of the gang of talking to police about Green’s killing.Fajardo and Aguilar showed no emotion, staring blankly ahead, as their families wept in the audience. The penalty phase for Fajardo, in which the jury will decide whether he should receive the death penalty, is set to begin Monday. Aguilar, who faces life in prison without the possibility of parole, is scheduled to be sentenced Sept. 27.Charlene Lovett, wearing a black shirt with photos of her daughter and the words “Baby Girl Cheryl,” buried her head in her arms and sobbed, her shoulders shaking, as the verdicts were read. Later, she paced back and forth in the hallway in tears, whispering “Thank you, Jesus.””It’s been almost four years and my life has just been a wreck since my daughter’s death,” she said afterward. “Now I can try to move on, and leave this part behind.”Green was shot in December 2006 as she stood with friends in a driveway in broad daylight. Prosecutors alleged at the trial that Fajardo was agitated from an earlier confrontation with a black man when he fired into the crowd of black youngsters. Three others were wounded in that shooting. Fajardo was convicted of seven counts of attempted murder for firing at the others in the crowd.Ash’s death came two weeks later. His body, stabbed more than 60 times and enveloped in a blood-soaked blanket, was dumped on a roadside in Carson. The gang suspected him because police served a search warrant on his apartment but released him the same day, prosecutors said.At the trial, a fellow 204th Street gang member testified in graphic detail about Ash’s killing in exchange for a lighter sentence. In his testimony, Jose Covarrubias recounted how Fajardo hit Ash in the head with the butt of a shotgun, causing him to stumble, after which other gang members beat and stabbed him. Aguilar, Ash’s best friend, was assigned to lure him to the garage, and later kicked him in the legs after he appeared dead, Covarrubias testified.Two other gang members, Robert Gonzales and Raul Silva, are expected to stand trial later this year in Ash’s slaying. Another man, Ernesto Alcarez, is charged in Green’s murder and is awaiting trial for allegedly acting as Fajardo’s lookout.In the two-week trial, Fajardo’s attorney disputed that Green’s killing, which Fajardo admitted to in police interviews, was motivated by race, calling it an “accident that rose of fear and anger” and a “rash impulse.” The defense attorney, Thomas White, also maintained that Fajardo did not know Ash would be killed. Antonio Bestard, Aguilar’s attorney, told jurors that other gang members kept his client in the dark about their plans to stab Ash to death because Aguilar was Ash’s friend.Both defense attorneys declined to comment after Thursday’s verdict.

Green’s death sparked furor in the community and outrage from authorities and politicians about long-standing gang violence and black-Latino tensions in the neighborhood, a narrow stretch of Los Angeles between Torrance and Carson where graffiti with racial epithets were an everyday occurrence.

The girl’s death was but one of a number of slayings in the area that police believe were racially motivated. The slayings date as far back as 1997.




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NorthEast Astronomy Forum in 2008

S&T: Dennis diCicco

Bulletin at a Glance

This Week’s Sky at a Glance

Come to NEAF April 16-17

April 12, 2011 | Make plans to attend the largest annual astronomy trade show in America: the Northeast Astronomy Forum & Telescope Show. > read more

So-So Prospects for Comet Elenin

April 12, 2011 | Discovered in December, an inbound comet will reach perihelion in September and likely be a nice sight in binoculars — but barely visible, if at all, to the unaided eye. > read more


T Pyx on April 15, 2011

Ernesto Guido and Giovanni Sostero

T Pyxidis Finally Blows Again!

April 15, 2011 | A very overdue recurrent nova has just begun its long-awaited outburst. You can follow it with binoculars right after dark. > read more

Tour April’s Sky by Eye and Ear!

March 31, 2011 | Look out! Jupiter is no longer ruling the evening sky, and sky critters are on the march in the north, east, and south. > read more

Saturn’s New Bright Storm

December 27, 2010 | A massive new storm in the ringed planet’s northern hemisphere is bright enough to see in small telescopes. > read more

This Week’s Sky at a Glance

Twilight view

This Week’s Sky at a Glance

April 15, 2011 | Saturn is climbing higher every evening with Porrima next it. Both await your telescope. And do you know what the Pointers point to backward? > read more


Texas Star Party 2009

Todd Hargis / Ron Ronhaar

Let the Star Parties Begin!

April 14, 2011 | Want to gaze at the Milky Way all night or peer into the eyepiece of a 12-foot-tall telescope? Then escape the city lights and head for the nearest “star party.” > read more

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I originally posted on the horrific death that Ms. Dorothy Dixon suffered here, and here.

Today’s sentencing of Benny Wilson closes the final chapter on the accused six who so viciously took Dorothy’s life.


Teen Sentenced to 30 Years for Illinois Torture Death

Associated Press | Posted: Friday, April 15, 2011 4:37 pm |

  HOPD FILE – This file photo released March 13, 2008, by the Alton Police Department in Illinois shows Benny Wilson. Wilson, the last of six people accused in the 2008 torture killing of a pregnant, developmentally impaired mother in southwestern Illinois, is scheduled to be sentenced Friday, April 15, 2011, in Edwardsville, Ill. He pleaded guilty in March 2010 in Madison County to a first-degree murder count in the death of 29-year-old Dorothy Dixon. (AP Photo/Alton Police Department, File)
  • Teen sentenced to 30 years for Ill. torture death
  • Teen sentenced to 30 years for Ill. torture death

A teenager was sentenced Friday to 30 years in prison for his role in the 2008 torture killing of a pregnant, developmentally impaired mother who police say died after weeks of systematic scaldings, beatings, burns from a glue gun and being used as target practice with a BB gun.

Benny Wilson, 19, twice declined to address the judge as the last of six defendants sentenced in Dorothy Dixon’s death, which police say Wilson admitted contributing to by routinely shooting her with BBs “playing around.” At least once when he ran out of BBs, an investigator testified Friday, Wilson used a knife to dig the ammunition out of Dixon’s flesh and fired them off at Dixon again.

“This is the final chapter of a horror story,” Alton Police Chief David Hayes said glumly after Wilson got a prison sentence that roughly splits the difference between the 45-year term prosecutors sought and the two decades behind bars suggested by Wilson’s attorney, Rand Hale.

The Madison County judge, James Hackett, agreed with Hale that there was plenty of shared blame for “the savagery” that befell Dixon. But Hackett ultimately concluded the strongest sentence should remain the 45-year term assessed to Michelle Riley, the woman identified by authorities as the torture’s ringleader.

Investigators have said Dixon was a 29-year-old mother with a childlike mind and another baby on the way when she was found dead in January 2008 at Riley’s Alton house, where she had been banished to the basement and given little more than a thin rug and a mattress to call her own on the chilly concrete floor.

Police said Riley had befriended Dixon but pocketed monthly Social Security checks she got because of her mental disabilities. Dixon saw little, if any, of the money, which Riley used to pay rent and other bills.

Authorities say Dixon, who was six months pregnant with a baby boy when she died, ate what she could forage from the refrigerator upstairs, where housemates shot her with BBs, doused her with scalding liquid that peeled away her skin, and assaulted her with a plunger handle. They also torched what few clothes she had, authorities have said, so she walked around naked.

On Friday, Alton police Detective Jennifer Tierney testified that the night before Dixon’s body was found, Wilson kicked the woman in the head and the face after finding that she had used his bed but had bloodied it from her festering wounds. After that assault, Tierney said, Wilson cleaned Dixon’s blood from his shoes.

Evidence suggested a pot of boiling water was left on the stove almost daily for quick use on Dixon, an investigator has testified.

When police found Dixon’s body, clad only in a sweater and covered with towels in the basement, deep-tissue burns covered about one-third of her body _ her face, chest, arms and feet _ and left her severely dehydrated, police have said. Many of her wounds were infected, many BBs still lodged in her flesh.

“Clearly what happened to Dorothy Dixon was despicable and inhuman,” Jennifer Vucich, a prosecutor, told Hackett in pressing for the 45-year prison term _ the cap of confinement under the plea deal. “There’s no indication someone forced him to do this.”

A coroner’s jury concluded that Dixon died of an accumulation of injuries over time. Her unborn child, delivered stillborn during Dixon’s autopsy, died because the mother did, the jury ruled.

Dixon’s year-old boy weighed just 15 pounds when taken into state custody after his mom’s death, police have said. His whereabouts were unclear Friday.

Wilson pleaded guilty in March of last year to a first-degree murder count, but his sentencing was delayed after he fired one of his attorneys and at one point threatened to withdraw his guilty plea. When hearing his sentence Friday, the shackled Wilson showed little emotion, staring blankly ahead before looking down.

Wilson’s attorney, Rand Hale, said that while his client’s role in Dixon’s death could not be excused, he urged the judge to take into account that Wilson was just 16 at the time of the killing and essentially abandoned, staying at Riley’s home only by necessity.

“This case really represents a grim view into the horrors people can inflict on others, especially those who can’t protect themselves,” Tom Gibbons, Madison County’s top prosecutor, said later Friday.



Also charged in the case were:

• Riley’s daughter, LeShelle McBride, 18, who pleaded guilty of second-degree murder and was sentenced to six years in prison.

• Michael J. Elliott, 21, who pleaded guilty of second-degree murder and was sentenced to eight years in prison.

• Judy E. Woods, 46, who pleaded guilty of aggravated battery and was sentenced to 18 months in jail.

•A 12-year-old boy who was found guilty of second-degree murder in juvenile court and was sentenced to 60 days of detention and five years’ probation.


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Emancipation Day will be celebrated today a day earlier. Since it is a federal holiday, on April 16, and occurs after the federal April 15TH Tax Day, the deadline for filing taxes falls on April 18, 2011. There are three criteria which would move the filing of taxes to a later date:  April 15 falls on a Saturday, falls on a Sunday, or falls on a federal holiday. In this case that federal holiday is Emancipation Day in Washington, D.C.

At the beginning of the Civil War, race-based slavery was still legal and federally recognized in government and state law statutes in Washington, D.C.–the capital of the nation and the Union. On April 16, 1862, President Abraham Lincoln signed the District of Columbia Emancipation Act, freeing enslaves in the city. He would not issue the Emancipation Proclamation, freeing enslaves living  in Confederate states,  until nine months later.

Though race-based slavery was a major bone of contention across the land, at the beginning of the Civil War the abolition of slavery was not a goal of the President and the Union, but, it developed over time as an issue that divided the country and eventually tore the nation into two factions, North, and South.

The emancipation came as a response to the many enslaves coming into the city from Maryland and Virginia, two states that border on its boundaries. Many of the enslaves thought they would be free, but because of the Fugitive Slave Act, many of them were arrested, imprisoned in jail, or returned to their owners. Instead of freedom, they found themselves without sanctuary, able to be sent back to a living death of chattel slavery.

Abolitionists and their congressional sympathizers found this cruel and wrong and advocated for a law that would free enslaves living in Washington, D.C. On April 16, 1862 when President Lincoln signed the act, there was much celebration among the black people living in the city.

But, this act of freedom was the bitter with the sweet:

“On April 16, 1862, President Abraham Lincoln signed a bill ending slavery in the District of Columbia. Passage of this law came 8 1/2 months before President Lincoln issued his Emancipation Proclamation. The act brought to a conclusion decades of agitation aimed at ending what antislavery advocates called “the national shame” of slavery in the nation’s capital. It provided for immediate emancipation, compensation to former owners who were loyal to the Union of up to $300 for each freed slave, voluntary colonization of former slaves to locations outside the United States, and payments of up to $100 for each person choosing emigration. Over the next 9 months, the Board of Commissioners appointed to administer the act approved 930 petitions, completely or in part, from former owners for the freedom of 2,989 former slaves.

Although its combination of emancipation, compensation to owners, and colonization did not serve as a model for the future, the District of Columbia Emancipation Act was an early signal of slavery’s death. In the District itself, African Americans greeted emancipation with great jubilation. For many years afterward, they celebrated Emancipation Day on April 16 with parades and festivals”.   SOURCE

On January 4, 2005, the city of Washington, D.C. declared April 16 an official holiday.

Original copies of the District of Columbia Act here (page one), and here (page five).

Since Emancipation Day falls on a Saturday, the city is observing it Friday. Per the IRS, when the Tax Day conflicts with a Washington, D.C. holiday, federal law mandates for tax day to be pushed to the next business day which would be Monday, April 18.

This happened before in 2007, when the deadline for filing taxes was April 17, since April the 15 fell on a Saturday with Emancipation Day following that Sunday. Next year tax day will fall on a Sunday, April 15, so taxpayers will be given an extra two days to file their income tax on Tuesday, April 17, 2012.

So, today while many of you are working on those last-minute taxes, take time to pause and reflect on those who suffered under bondage and fought for their rights as free citizens in a land that had denied their humanity for so long.

Celebration of the Abolition of Slavery in the District of Columbia by the Colored People, by F. Dielman, April 19, 1866.

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April 14, 2011 Colorlines.com Direct | Published by the Applied Research Center

Obama’s Budget Sell: The Safety Net Is Patriotic

But the Great Society was more than that, Kai Wright argues. It was built specifically to create racial equity, and the GOP is at the end of a decades-long effort to undo it.

The Long Racial History of the Tea Party’s Deficit Trojan Horse

Dorian Warren explains why the American right has been railing against the size of federal government for centuries.

50 Cent’s New Pocketbook Values: Anti-Gay Won’t Pay, Even for Hip-Hop

Kenyon Farrow parses the industry uproar sparked by an iconic DJ’s sex scandal.
Also: On Brooke-Lynn Pinklady and the Importance of Self-Definition


Home Birth Is Safer, Cheaper and Can End Disparities in Moms Dying
The U.S. ranks behind 40 other countries in terms of maternal mortality, despite spending the most money per capita on health care.

Los Angeles Leads the Way on Data-Driven Reform With Teacher Scores
The city’s schools are increasingly the frontline in the battle over business-style reforms for public education.

The Future of School Lunches
The first significant upgrade in nutritional standards in 15 years moves forward.

Maryland Passes Its DREAM Act
Now a total of 11 states allow undocumented immigrant students the right to pay in-state tuition at four-year colleges.

Ninth Circuit Upholds Lower Court’s Ruling Against Arizona’s SB 1070
Immigrant rights advocates are calling Arizona’s expensive legal woes and multiple losses a cautionary tale.

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White Supremacist Sentenced to 30 Years

By Larry Hartstein

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

A 41-year-old white supremacist caught with weapons and explosives in Atlanta has been sentenced to 30 years in prison, Channel 2 Action News reports.

Brandon Lee Hall was stopped in April 2010 on Moreland Avenue after a caller reported a suspicious person. He was found with a machete, handguns, black powder ball-bearing rounds, a map of Austin, Texas, and a possible bomb, according to Channel 2. Hall told police he was part of the Aryan Knights Brotherhood, the station reported.

Hall also carried notes that read, “Blow the switch yard,” “Mass Evacuation” and “I’ll get a chance at being famous,” according to Channel 2.

Hall, who had a previous felony conviction, told police he needed the weapons for his personal safety, the station reported.



He only gets 30 years? He obviously had planned a mass murder crime by the following comments:

“Blow the switch yard,” and  “Mass evacuation”.

He should have received life without parole.

“Hall, who had a previous felony conviction, told police he needed the weapons for his personal safety, the station reported.”

Oh yeah, he needed a machete, handgun, black powder ball-bearing rounds, a possible bomb, and a map of Austin, Texas for his personal safety.

I get it. He needed the black powder ball-bearing rounds to keep mosquitos under control.

Now he will really need protection in the Big House.

Whatever you do, don’t drop the soap, don’t bend over, and don’t piss Big Bubba off.

“I’ll get a chance at being famous.”

Oh, you’ll be famous alright—you’ll be a real catch on Imbecile Cellblock.

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I first heard this beautiful song decades ago when I purchased Ms. Joni Mitchell’s third  album Ladies of the Canyon:


  Product Details 

Ladies Of The Canyon by Joni Mitchell (MP3 Download – Nov 15, 2010)
4.8 out of 5 stars
She originally wrote this song for fellow artist Neil Young when he turned 20 years of age. He was no longer able to go to a place called Sugar Mountain since it was a youth club in Canada for those 19 and under. Because of that, Neil wrote a song entitled Sugar Mountain. The Circle Game is Joni’s reply to Neil. On another note, at the time she wrote this song, Joni had become an unwed mother in her early twenties. She gave her baby girl up for adoption, with no one in her family knowing of this for decades. Years later, Joni and her daughter would reunite.


Yesterday a child came out to wonder
Caught a dragonfly inside a jar
Fearful when the sky was full of thunder
And tearful at the falling of a star

Then the child moved ten times round the seasons
Skated over ten clear frozen streams
Words like when you’re older must appease him
And promises of someday make his dreams

And the seasons they go round and round
And the painted ponies go up and down
We’re captive on the carousel of time
We can’t return we can only look
Behind from where we came
And go round and round and round
In the circle game

Sixteen springs and sixteen summers gone now
Cartwheels turn to car wheels thru the town
And they tell him take your time it won’t be long now
Till you drag your feet to slow the circles down

And the seasons they go round and round
And the painted ponies go up and down
We’re captive on the carousel of time
We can’t return we can only look
Behind from where we came
And go round and round and round
In the circle game

So the years spin by and now the boy is twenty
Though his dreams have lost some grandeur coming true
There’ll be new dreams maybe better dreams and plenty
Before the last revolving year is through

And the seasons they go round and round
And the painted ponies go up and down
We’re captive on the carousel of time
We can’t return we can only look
Behind from where we came
And go round and round and round
In the circle game


The song speaks of the seasons of our life, the circle game, the years and time that we face and get through; the days of childhood, the tumult of the teen years and young adulthood, and the time when we have become much older and seek to slow the wheels of time down.
I love Joni’s original version and her version from her Miles of Aisles album, but, this version by a group of young children singing the song is most poignant and lovely.
The children are  of P.S. 22, Staten Island, N.Y. Directed by Gregg Breinberg , the choir of fifth graders have stunned audiences of the world with their heartfelt performances on the songs they sing. Here they perform Joni’s Classic. Their rendition was recorded in April, 2008.


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