Saturday, July 30, 2016

The Roundup

A weekly tab of what’s going 
on in the courts.

By Logan Beck

On July 19, a Hudson County, New Jersey man allegedly ran over a federal police officer with a 2009 Grand Jeep Cherokee. As a result, he could face as many charges as he has nicknames.

Hakim G. Taylor, otherwise known as “Scott Taylor,” “Hakim Horton, “Anthony Lance,” and “Hakim Smith” was being observed by law enforcement after he was suspected of participating in narcotics transactions.

According to the New Jersey Attorney General, once he and an accomplice realized police were hot on their trail, Taylor hopped into the driver’s seat of the Jeep, and refused to exit the vehicle...even after he was told to do so by a special agent of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigation (HSI).

The special agent eventually exited his undercover vehicle, ordering Taylor to surrender. Taylor then drove the Jeep into the officer, inflicting multiple lacerations and abrasions on impact.

If proven guilty, Taylor faces a potential sentence of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

In an eerily similar incident to Taylor’s, a Middlesex County, New Jersey man has been indicted after attempting to murder a police officer back in 2015 by hitting him with his attempt to escape a drug arrest.

Isaiah Roberts, 39, had made at least four heroin sales to undercover officers during an ongoing investigation by the Middlesex County Gangs, Guns and Drugs Task Force. The force arranged for an undercover officer to purchase five “bricks” of heroin from Roberts in a pharmacy parking lot in Sayreville, New Jersey.

Law enforcement intended for multiple vehicles and officers to be used during Robert’s arrest, but his surrender did not go as planned.

Roberts entered the parking lot, but did not approach the vehicle to complete the sale. Instead, he attempted to flee the parking lot, and after seeing his path blocked by police vehicles, he drove the vehicle in reverse through the parking lot, sending an officer flying through the air.

But Roberts did not stop there.
Officers attempted to stop him by firing rounds from a service rifle, but his rampage was halted  only after he crashed into multiple police vehicles.

Roberts faces a potential 10-20 year prison sentence and fine of $200,000 for a first-degree attempted murder charge, a 5-10 year prison sentence and fine of $150,000 for a second-degree charge, and a 3-5 year prison sentence and fine of $35,000 for third-degree charges.

John Bowman Thornberry, 28, is being charged with the attempted sexual assault and the sexual assault of two international exchange students.

A former employee of Bishop Carroll Catholic High School, Thornberry was a “house parent” and was assigned to assist students with homework assignments, as well as keeping track of students outside of the classroom.

The attempted sexual assault and the assault allegedly occurred where the victims lived: in the school residence hall. The incidents occurred between December 2014 and February 2016, according to the Pennsylvania Attorney General. His arrest came after an investigation spearheaded by the Office of Attorney General's Bureau of Criminal Investigations and the Ebensburg Police Department.

Bishop Carroll Catholic High School is affiliated with the Roman Catholic Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown, a diocese that has been investigated over 37 times for sexual abuse at the hand of religious leaders.

Thornberry is charged with institutional sexual assault, criminal attempted sexual assault, attempted indecent assault, indecent assault, corruption of minors, and endangering the welfare of a child.

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