Monday, February 24, 2014

Possible Teenage Serial Killer Claims Crimes in Texas

A teenager who recently offered a confession that, if true, would make her one of the most prolific serial killers in American history claims that part of her crime spree occurred right here in Texas. Miranda Barbour was arrested in Pennsylvania, along with her husband, on charges of criminal homicide in the stabbing and strangulation murder of Troy LeFerrara. The couple met LeFerrara through an ad on Craig’s List. It did not take long for her to tell authorities that she was responsible for “more than 22” but “fewer than 100” other deaths.

Barbour claims that she murdered people in multiple states from Alaska to Pennsylvania, including a stop in Texas, and could pinpoint the location of each crime. She states that this was done while she was under the allegiance of a satanic cult but she does not regret any of her actions because she only killed bad people.

There are doubts to her story, however. Law enforcement in the various communities in which she claims to have murdered know nothing of deaths to which she could be connected. Instead, her father argues that she is a troubled nineteen-year-old who was a victim of sexual abuse as a young child who always struggled, including with an admitted drug addiction.

It appears that investigations into Barbour’s possible crimes is far from over, as she has presented detectives with a lot to unpack.

Bertolino LLP is not a firm involved in criminal defense, or in prosecuting the crimes of a possible serial killer. However, this case, into which our home state has been drawn, at least peripherally, serves as a reminder of the complicated nature of the work faced by police officers and other members of law enforcement. Our attorneys do see this work every day as we handle cases ranging from motor vehicle accidents to protective orders. We certainly trust that justice will be done in this case as well.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Fort Worth Couple Accused of Locking Boy in Closet and Other Traumatizing Abuse

Photo Courtesy Houston ABC Local
Every person deserves equal protection under the law. Our state and federal constitutions were crafted to allow innocence until proven guilty and a fair set of consequences for those whose guilt is confirmed. So while we must strive for this treatment for everyone, it is hard to argue that children do not particularly deserve our protection from harm. These most innocent among us are often unable to defend themselves and need us to keep them safe. Unfortunately, sometimes this means keeping boys and girls safe from their own families.

A couple in Fort Worth, Texas, Jorge and Aide Estrella, have been arrested for keeping their nine-year-old son locked in a closet for several days. The boy was fed once only daily, was not allowed to go to school and when he finally escaped, investigators found other signs of abuse on his body. Overall, the boy stated the abuse had been occurring for at least a year. The alleged acts of abuse include being struck with a Taser, hit with a hanger and burned on a gas stove. The Estrellas, who are the boy’s father and stepmother, now face multiple charges of injury to a child.

This heartbreaking story joins many others we have heard of young children in Texas who face horror at home instead of love and protection. The hardworking professionals at the state’s Child Protective Services have caseloads that would overwhelm and upset any person with a heart for children.

In addition to educators and those in social services, attorneys have a role to play in protecting kids in Texas. We can appeal to the court to get children out of dangerous situations and to make it a violation of law for perpetrators to come anywhere near them. If you are concerned about a child in your family, please contact our offices today. We will listen and then we will get to work in helping you protect those you love.