Things That Matter

Days After Getting Life In Prison, Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzmán Has Filed An Appeal

Unidad / Twitter

A lawyer for convicted drug lord Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán filed an appeal against his client’s life sentence the day after it was handed down, court documents published Monday show. The 62-year-old, who was the former co-leader of Mexico’s feared Sinaloa drug cartel, was convicted in February of smuggling large amounts of cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine and marijuana into the United States.

Guzman’s defense lawyer, Marc Fernich, filed the notice of appeal to the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit with hopes that his client will get another chance at a trial. But according to news reports, the appeal process could take months to a year to be completed. 

Will El Chapo’s grounds for an appeal actually be successful?

Credit: @AFP / Twitter

Guzman has already been sentenced to life in prison and sent to a federal maximum security prison in Colorado, which is nicknamed the “Alcatraz of the Rockies.” An additional 30 years were added to Guzman’s sentence and he was also ordered to pay $12.6 billion in forfeiture, the amount was based on a conservative estimate of revenues from his cartel’s sales in the U.S.

But after an expected appeal, Guzman will now have to wait. How long? That could take up to a year, according to the AFP. During his sentencing, Guzman claimed that he had received an unfair trial due to juror misconduct. This is referring to a story that claimed several members of the jury violated a court order by looking at social media and various news pieces about the high profile court trial. 

“I was extradited to the US to have a fair trial, where justice would be blind to my fame and would not be a defining factor in the administration of justice,” Guzman said during his sentencing. “But what happened was actually the opposite.”

According to his lawyer, El Chapo has a “strong issues for appeal.”

Credit: @Keegan_hamilton / Twitter

While the odds of Guzman winning an appeal appear to be steep, his defense team is confident that they have a good chance at overturning the conviction. “Guzman has strong issues for appeal. We’ll fight to overturn his conviction and are confident we’ll prevail,” Fernich told the AFP

Another defense lawyer for Guzman said last week the trial was unjust due to various jurors violating the judge’s orders by following the case in the media.  Jeffrey Lichtman is asking to for a fair trial on behalf of Guzman that isn’t influenced by outside voices that would affect the way his client is viewed. 

“All we had asked for is a fair trial. I’m not here to tell you that Joaquín Guzmán is a saint . . . Whatever you think of Joaquín Guzmán, he still deserves a fair trial, everybody does in America . . .” Lichtman told the AFP.

Guzman has gone on the record claiming that the conditions he’s been placed in since he was extradited from Mexico to the United States in January 2017, have been unfair from the start. 

Credit: @amandaottaway / Twitter

Besides the trial itself, Guzman claims there was “no justice” in his case from the start due to the media sensationalism and high-profile figures involved. He’s also described his incarceration in the U.S. a “psychological, emotional, mental torture 24 hours a day.”

The former drug lord of the Mexican Sinaloa Cartel said the U.S. lacks justice and is smeared with corruptness, like other countries. During his sentencing hearing, Guzman said his human rights were violated and had been put in horrible jail conditions that he described as “torturous”. He claims he was unable to sleep well, had trouble breathing and was not allowed to see his wife or daughters.

“I’ve been forced to drink unsanitary water. I’ve been denied access to fresh air and sunlight. The only air I have in my cell comes through in the air vent,” Guzman said. ““It has been physical, emotional and mental torture.”

Many were angry at Guzman’s comments citing the hundreds of lives he’s endangered and were cut short due to his reign over the Mexico drug cartel business. It’s safe to say this won’t be the last time we hear from Guzman as he heads to federal prison for what many hope is his last stop. 

READ: Mexico’s President AMLO Says That ‘El Chapo’ Should Of Got A Different Sentence, Not Life In Prison

A Man Thought His Wife Was Trying To Kill Him So He Faked His Death To Catch Her In The Act

Things That Matter

A Man Thought His Wife Was Trying To Kill Him So He Faked His Death To Catch Her In The Act

If you’re a lover of shows like “Law & Order” or the I.D. Channel, then this story is for you. It is true crime at its finest — and its scariest. Before we spill the beans, let me ask you this: do you trust your partner? Is the person that you share your bed with someone who you believe would never hurt you? As much as I love my husband, you best believe if I get any kind of paperwork that shows life insurance documents, I am certainly calling the cops. I have seen just about every true crime show and the first clue that your partner or lover is planning to end you is when they tell you to sign life insurance papers. It also can get messy when there’s a divorce involved, and if one or the other has more money. It always comes back to money. 

Puerto Rican boxing trainer Ramon Sosa found out his wife Maria de Lourdes Dorantes (Lulu) hired a hitman to murder him.

The 50-year-old former boxing pro turned gym entrepreneur said his marriage to Lulu lasted six years. She was his second wife, and Sosa had children from a previous marriage. He said that when she filed for divorce in 2015 she wanted to take all of his earnings, and as a business owner in Houston, Texas, there was a lot of money there. That’s when Lulu began accusing her soon-to-be ex-husband of being an abuser, of being lazy, of committing fraud. People around Sosa knew he wasn’t that kind of man. That’s when Lulu reached her boiling point and began talking about hiring a hitman to get rid of him. Lulu confided in a former criminal named Mundo and she told him everything. 

“I’m just tired. I’m frustrated,” Mundo recalls her saying, ESPN reported. “I wish he will leave. I wish the cops would pick him up. I just wish somebody will make him disappear.” Then Mundo asked her, “What do you mean ‘disappear’?” ESPN reported that Mundo “made a pistol sign with his fingers, and Lulu replied, ‘Yeah.'” Mundo ended up telling Sosa what his wife wanted to do but he didn’t believe him. 

After much consideration, Sosa wanted to catch her in the act and he had the help of the FBI and police. If she wanted him dead, he was willing to pretend as if her plan worked. Sosa had to first pretend as if he didn’t know his wife was planning to kill him.

Credit: @rsosa67 / Twitter

“After the reality, it set in I became angry, sad and confused; a whole mix of emotions, each fighting the other to be the dominant feeling,” Sosa said in an interview with The Sun. “And then it hit me that I still had to live under the same roof with the person planning to have me murdered.” He added, “Yes, I slept with the enemy and with one eye open, all while trying to act as ‘normal’ as possible so Lulu would continue with her plan. Keep in mind, that was the only way we could catch her in the act.”

With the help of the authorities, Sosa literally acted as if he had been killed. They staged the scene, a grave dug in the dirt and there lay Sosa without a shirt and with fake blood on his face. His family and children also believed him to be dead as well. They couldn’t be in on the plan or else it could have failed. Sosa said that image of himself lying in the dirt still haunts him to this day. 

“It was chilling,” he told The Sun. “Utterly and indescribably chilling. That picture, to this day, reflects one of the most difficult things I have ever done in my life. The thought of me lying in a shallow grave in my underwear with a bullet hole through my temple is mind-boggling.”

In 2016, police had Lulu arrested where she will remain behind bars for 20 years. Sosa has written a self-published book about his insane ordeal and he is also a public speaker about survival.  

Credit: @rsosa67 / Twitter

CBS News that Lulu finally plead guilty 15 months after being arrested. Sosa said there’s not a day that goes by that he is not reminded about what his former wife intended to do to him. “She … told Mundo that … when they kill me, to make sure to take my watch … That is why I wear it all the time now,” he said to CBS News. He adds that just like him, Lulu was a fighter too, “I stayed till the last minute of the last round, she had me on the ropes. And she had no idea that the whole time, I had a plan too.”

READ: This Woman Was Kidnapped By Her Husband But When He Made Her Go Inside To Pick Up A Pizza She Passed An SOS Note That Saved Her Life

An Ohio Cheerleader Is Only Going To Get Three Years Of Probation For Killing Her Newborn Daughter

Things That Matter

An Ohio Cheerleader Is Only Going To Get Three Years Of Probation For Killing Her Newborn Daughter

A young woman accused of killing her newborn baby and burying her in the backyard of her family’s Ohio home two years ago was found not guilty of murder, USA Today reports. On Thursday, 20-year-old Brooke Skylar Richardson was acquitted of aggravated murder and involuntary manslaughter for the May 2017 death of her daughter. The former cheerleader was instead found guilty of abuse of a corpse and sentenced to seven days in jail and three years probation. 

However, the judge said that Richardson, who was behind bars for most of her eight-day trial, was free to go home for time served.

The young woman, who said she had learned and grown over the past two years, was mostly silent throughout her trial, with the exception of her repeated apologies.

“I am forever sorry,” she said. Moments later, she turned to the late baby’s father’s family adding, “I’m sorry.”

In July 2017, when Richardson was a senior in high school, she was accused of killing and burying her newborn baby days after her prom. Prosecutors allege she did not want to be an 18-year-old single mom. They pointed to circumstances like Richardson not returning for an ultrasound, bloodwork or any other treatment weeks after learning of her pregnancy and ignoring calls from the doctor and assistants. She also told police that she looked into an abortion, but it was too late to have one. However, she has adamantly denied that she administered an abortion on herself.

Assistant prosecutor Steven Knippen said in court that days after the baby’s death Richardson sent two text messages bragging about her weight loss.

“Shortly, after murdering her daughter and placing her daughter in the dirt, and not even having the decency to cover it with a blanket, she sent two elated text messages: My belly is back, my belly is back,” Knippen said, as reported by NBC News. According to Richardson’s attorneys, the baby was stillborn, meaning she did not meet the legal criteria to be considered a child. They allege that the young woman, scared, buried her baby, who she named Annabelle, in her backyard.

The baby’s remains weren’t found until two months after the birth. During a news conference on Thursday, Warren County Prosecutor David Fornshell said it’s still unclear how the newborn was killed because of decomposition.

“Brooke Richardson created the situation that prevented us from being able to conduct an autopsy on that baby girl,” he said. He added that he was “absolutely convinced she caused the death” of the child.

Richardson was up against charges of aggravated murder, involuntary manslaughter and child endangerment.

 After deliberating for four hours and 25 minutes, the jury found her guilty of only gross abuse of a corpse. Judge Donald Oda released Richardson but informed her that she had acted with “grotesque disregard for life.” 

“In all of this mess that we have in this, what often gets overlooked is how precious life is. It should be protected. It should be guarded,” Oda said, adding that the law restricted the sentence he could pass down. Oda also ruled the baby’s remains would be turned over to the Richardsons after the young woman’s father, Scott Richardson, promised to give the late infant a proper burial that would also be accessible to the family of the baby’s father, Trey Johnson.

The past couple of years have been emotional for the relatives involved as well. 

Before the sentencing, Johnson’s mother, Tracy Johnson, spoke in court. 

“Two years, four months and one week,” she said through tears. “That’s how old my granddaughter would be if she were here.” Tracy, who noted that the experience has made it difficult for her to hold babies anymore, also said that her son is a “totally different person” now. “I’ve watched my son become a different person,” Johnson said, according to PEOPLE. “I won’t disclose his medical diagnosis because she’s done enough to him.  I can personally tell you that I’ve personally been seen for depression, panic attacks, and I’m a shell of the person I was.”

She also said that while Richardson knew that Johnson, the young woman’s ex-boyfriend, was her baby’s father, that the Johnson family wasn’t aware until six months after her son took a DNA test.

“I would have taken her in with Trey without a question,” Tracy said. “Now, instead, every May 7, I don’t get to have a birthday party for my first grandchild. Instead, I send her balloons to heaven, to tell her how much her daddy loved her, and how much I loved her.”

Before the sentencing, Richardson’s father also addressed the court and discussed his daughter’s own mental health. 

“My daughter is suffering from an eating disorder and we are concerned about her health,” he said, asking for Richardson to be released. Richardson is currently free but on probation. If she violates her probation, she can spend up to a year in jail. When she completes her three-year sentence, she could be eligible to remove the charges from her criminal record.

Read: A 23-Year-Old Latina And Her Baby Died During Labor, Now Her Parents Are Suing Her OBGYN