Things That Matter

A Chicago Mom Killed Her Two Children And Was Charged With The City’s First Homicides of 2020

In a tragic incident on January 2, 2020, two young Chicago children were killed at the hands of their young mother. During the days that followed, 20-year-old Aleah Newell was charged with two counts of first-degree murder surrounding the deaths of her two sons: 7-month-old Ameer and 2-year-old Johntavis. She also faces a charge of attempted first-degree murder, after assaulting her 70-year-old grandfather, Cordell Walker, in the bathroom of his high-rise apartment.

When the police arrived on the scene, they found Newell’s grandfather on the floor, “moaning in a pool of his own blood.” Newell had stabbed him more than ten times after putting him in a chokehold and hitting him in the head with a towel bar. He is expected to survive the attack.

Authorities say that the nightmarish evening continued with Newell stabbing 7-month-old Ameer 19 times in the head, then placing him face down in a scalding hot bath that covered his body in blisters. According to charging documents from the Cook County State Attorney’s Office, Newell then threw 2-year-old Johntavis out of the 11-story window, jumping out after him mere seconds later. Newell allegedly struck window washer scaffolding on the third floor before hitting the concrete below. Police have security video evidence that shows both bodies falling separately, and Newell can be seen sitting up and stirring after the fall.

While Newell suffered only a broken ankle and wrist, Johntavis suffered multiple fractures to the skull and blunt force trauma from the impact of the fall.

A security woman encountered Johntavis and Newell on the ground outside the building and called 911. The court document states that at roughly the same time, a tenant on the 10th floor called security to report that water was leaking through the ceiling—Newell had left the bathtub faucet running.

Although Newell has spent the past several days undergoing and recovering from surgery at University of Chicago Medical Center, she was ordered Saturday to be held without bond on her multiple charges of murder and attempted murder, and she has still not entered pleas for the charges.

According to NBC News, prosecutors claimed that Newell was diagnosed with a mood disorder in the summer of 2019, after an attempted suicide. But Zera Newell said, “I thought she was over that,” adding that “maybe behind closed doors it was another thing.”

 At the end of December, she had been staying at Shield of Hope, a Chicago homeless shelter for families, for two days. The court document shows that prosecutors cited Newell asking her mother, Zera Newell, to pick up the children on New Year’s Eve so that Newell could “get her life together.” But by the time her mother showed up to Shield of Hope on Wednesday, Newell was gone.

Acquaintance Adrianna Thomas also commented on Newell’s stay at the Shield of Hope, saying that Newell had told several employees that she needed support and was struggling to raise her kids on her own. People close to Newell claim that the Salvation Army—which oversees the Shield of Hope shelter—denied her pleas.

“She came to all of us and said she couldn’t take care of the kids,” Thomas said. “It was wrong for them not to help her. She told us that she asked them during intake, [and said], ‘Well I asked them if they could help me, and they said they couldn’t help me. I had to do it on my own.'”

Another acquaintance, Teranika Jones said, “If y’all knew she was asking for help, why didn’t you help this lady?”

Zera Newell also holds the shelter somewhat accountable. “They should have helped her, if they knew she wasn’t fit they should have called me,” she said. “They could have called a member of the family to get the kids. So to me, they’re responsible for it too.”

The Salvation Army initially issued a statement that said that they could not confirm whether Newell had stayed at the shelter or not, though they later did affirm her presence for two nights in December.

“Our prayers go out to the family impacted by this horrible tragedy. Due to client confidentiality, we can’t disclose the names of clients,” the original statement from the Salvation Army said.

According to the Chicago Sun-Times, a friend of the family mentioned that the deaths of Ameer and Johntavis weren’t the only tragedy to touch the family in recent years. He said that in the summer of 2018, three members of the family—including Newell’s brother and a 12-year-old girl—were shot and wounded outside a home in the South Side Gresham neighborhood. But the deaths of these two boys are Chicago’s first homicides of 2020.

“My daughter, I don’t know what was going on, but I know deep inside she loved her kids,” Zera Newell said. “And my grandsons, I’m going to never forget them. I want to always remember the good times I had with them for two years and seven months.”

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El Chapo’s Wife Turns Herself In After Being Charged With Drug Smuggling and Trying to Break Him Out of Jail

Things That Matter

El Chapo’s Wife Turns Herself In After Being Charged With Drug Smuggling and Trying to Break Him Out of Jail

Photo via Getty Images

They say art imitates life, but sometimes, it’s the other way around. Once in a while, the news seems like it’s simply replaying scenes from La Reina del Sur. Especially the latest update on El Chapo’s wife.

On Monday Emma Coronel Aispuro, the wife of Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, turned herself into the United States FBI on charges of international drug trafficking.

The U.S. authorities are charging Coronel with helping Guzmán smuggle drugs across the border, break out of prison, and bribe corrupt officials. According to anonymous officials, the U.S. authorities have had their eye on her for a while now.

For years, El Chapo’s wife Emma Coronel has insisted that she had nothing to do with her husband’s illegal activities. Because she always maintained her innocence, the former teen beauty-queen was able to keep a high profile since her husband was imprisoned in 2019. She was active on social media, gave interviews to news outlets, and even appeared on a reality series.

Coronel was born in San Francisco, but grew up in Mexico near El Chapo’s “territory”.

Her father was a prominent member of El Chapo’s cartel, and according to experts, she “grew up with knowledge of the narcotics trafficking industry.” She married Guzmán when she was 18-years-old. He was 50. Her and Guzmán have 9-year-old twin daughters together. As of now, the girls’ whereabouts are unknown.

According to official documents, the FBI has evidence that Coronel was a liaison between El Chapo and his sons, “Los Chapitos” when they were planning his notorious prison escape in 2015. Coronel also stands accused of acting as a messenger and negotiator for payments to corrupt authorities.

As of now, people are speculating that Coronel turned herself in in exchange for leniency.

“Her attorney at sentencing is going to argue, ‘She took it upon herself to face charges,’ she didn’t make the government go out and arrest and extradite her,” an anonymous source told Vice. “She came out of Mexico. It would have been quite a process to get her extradited.”

According to reports, Colonel faces 10 years to life in prison, and a fine of up to $10 million USD.

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How Realizing Not Having To Be Agreeable Impacted These Women’s Lives

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How Realizing Not Having To Be Agreeable Impacted These Women’s Lives

Warner Bros. Pictures

So often as women, we find ourselves forced into the position of feeling as if we have to accommodate the feelings and desires of other people. We say “yes” to things when we want to actually say “no.” We smile when we feel sad or upset in order to make others feel comfortable. And more often than not we find ourselves contorting ourselves into being smaller to make others feel big.

Women on Reddit recently addressed the moment they realized they no longer had to do this in order to make others feel better.

The stories were pretty surprising! Check them out below.

“It’s become more clear as I’ve gotten older (hitting 30). Being forceful gets shit done. I don’t need people to like me, but I do need them to do their jobs. It’s worked for slumlord landlords (reporting code violations) and shitty coworkers (refusal to participate in busywork projects).

Being excessively agreeable wastes your time and costs you money. No, I’m not attending wedding or baby showers for acquaintances. No, I’m not buying whatever multilevel marketing crap acquaintances are pushing. No, I do not want to hold your baby.

It also sets you up for shitty, unsatisfying relationships. Potential partner, I am not a maid nor the fun director of the cruise ship that is your life. Handle your own shit.

Focusing on myself has allowed me to achieve my goals.”- SnackHardNapHard

“YES. I turned 30 last year and I started becoming less concerned about being “nice.” When you’re used to being agreeable and a people pleaser, it’s a tough transition, but I’m staying the course.”- 

“Being agreeable and having boundaries can happen at the same time. I feel like I’m constantly evaluating the opportunity cost of saying yes/ being agreeable. Sometimes it’s really no big deal to be agreeable and it doesn’t make you a doormat. Sometimes it’s important to take a stand for yourself and speak up.”- Potential_Sea_832

“Actually when I got cancer. I just started giving no fucks about dumb shit. I cut out toxic people like it was nothing. Wanna be dramatic? Block. Wanna demand i do something for you? Block. It was so freeing and easy. No regrets at all.” –SilentSiren39

“When I was about 9 and my parents divorced, (mid 80’s so this was unheard of), my little friend group thought something was wrong with me and they decided to ostracize me. I vividly remember being on the playground and thought ‘fuck that shit’ and walked off to find new friends. From then on I give no fucks and take no shit.”- McWonderWoman

“100% agree. Honestly I think today was the first time I really truly had an authoritative vibe going on during a meeting. I’ve been at my job for almost 4 years and I’m 30 years old. When I first started, I sat in the meetings taking notes and just listening. Now I’m able to call out people on their shit while still being likable at the end of the day. I think either of the two extremes aren’t as useful as being friendly AND direct. Sad that it took me this long to feel comfortable in these shoes though!”- stripedbathmat

“I thought that I was being “nice” and “cool” and “a good friend” by never having an opinion on anything and always saying “I want to do whatever you want to do!” and “I want to eat whatever you want to eat!”

I would visit friends and I honestly thought I was being “cool” and “easygoing” by having zero plans for what to do while I’m there and making the host make all the decisions.

At some point it began to dawn on me how fucking ANNOYING it was to be around someone who goes out of their way to avoid having an opinion on things. I realized it was a defense mechanism I had built up over decades of living in a house where if you answered a question “wrong” you were harassed and taunted for the next year over it.

Once I realized that healthy, good people who ask you “Do you prefer tacos or Chinese for dinner tonight?” are ACTUALLY asking you and they are not laying in wait, ready to pounce on you and call you an piece of shit for answering the question “wrong” my life changed dramatically.

A person who has no opinion and only agrees with the group is not being “cool” and “easygoing” they are being a freaking door mat!! Probably because of some trauma or low self esteem (a mix of both for me).

Now if asked an honest question, I give an honest answer, and if someone freaks out then I realize that THEY are the one with issues, not me.”- FuckTon_of_Frosting

“For me, this moment happened when I was listening to a podcast called My Favorite Murder. Two women comedians telling stories of murder/crimes and talking about it respectfully the way you would talk to your friends. One episode they say “fuck politeness” in terms of you don’t have to be nice to strangers because you’re scared of seeming rude. It’s how a lot of women end up as victims of violent crime. Now I understand fuck politeness and it has made me so much more aware of my own self preservation and made me realize that people who react negatively to that are not people I want around me anyway. It’s been liberating and has helped my anxiety tremendously!”- Statistical-outlier1

“I’ve always been labeled as “challenging” by most people, especially teachers growing up. It’s gotten me in hot water a few times but the majority of the time, you gain respect. I stand up for myself and those around me that need it and don’t take crap. I don’t have time for toxic people or those who don’t treat me with any respect and it makes life so much easier without the drama. I still care deeply for the people in my life and make an effort to be well liked. But being a doormat doesn’t do you any favours.”- Scotty_Blues

“I never understood why i have to be agreeable to be honest… I was really bad at understanding social norms as a kid and it impacted my life in a lot of bad ways but there’s a lot of silver lining too… I realized a lot about myself and what im willing to put up with purely by Questioning things a lot, and the whole be a lady, be as small as possible, don’t be stubborn, that’s not how girls act, youll change your mind when youre older etc etc thing never made sense to me… It all seemed like it was made up to either stop me from having fun or to excuse people mistreating me (i was called stubborn a lot and i took it as a compliment every time cause it always happened when someone tried stomping a boundry for instance).

Then I grew up and realized it’s all stupid made up rules that exist to hold women down anyway. so yeah, im still dumb sometimes but at least i have enough confidence to not think misogyny is normal and i should put up with it…”- AvocadoBounty

“When it wasn’t about me. For some reason, I find it way easier to step up and say no when it was about other people. Like in college, when we were all out dancing and some creepy guy would start dancing up on me, I’d just go with it. But if a friend of mine was being creeped on, I’d cut in, tell him “no, she’s not interested” and move on. When I started work as a nurse, I realized this was even more important. I had to advocate for my patients because they can’t talk, or because I have information about the patient that the doctors making decisions didn’t. It didn’t matter if I was going against what the rest of the team or the patient’s family thought/wanted. My job was to uphold what the patient wanted.

As far as not being agreeable when it comes to myself, I’d say it was when I had a horrible breakup with my ex. He was the guy I thought I was going to marry, start a family with, and grow old together because he loved me. Turns out I was wrong. And after that, I had this horrible realization that no one (besides family) had my back…which was definitely depressing. but then I realized I could just have my own back, lol. So I started doing things that I wanted to do. I traveled to places I wanted to see. I went back to school for the degree I wanted. I invested and picked up the hobbies I wanted. and I never hesitate to spend money on myself, because fuck it. I’m worth it!”- lexi7171

“When my therapist gave me permission to hate the woman my ex completely destroyed me to be with – as long as I never actually acted on it (which I never have and never will because she didn’t do anything wrong that I can prove, I just fucking hate how her entire life has been perfect and full of money even though she’s basic af, unlike my ex or I). Hating her without reservation let me just…be. It almost gave me a sense of peace. I was never going to get closure from that donkey of an ex and the anonymous hate messages I used to get were definitely from this woman but allowing myself to stop saying “well I don’t want to hate on another woman since he’s the one who was a monster to me” and stopping giving her all these allowances let me see who he really was and how he treated me like shit compared to the way he is with her.”- FragrantEscape20

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