When Debra Newell met John Meehan for a first date, she thought he was handsome, and kind, but shabbily dressed, and a little strange. When they married in Las Vegas less than two months later, she kept her family in the dark. It was only after she learned about his past that she began to fear for her life, and the lives of her children.
A six-part series unraveling the story of a suburban PTA mom who was framed for drugs.
Former California Assembly Speaker Fabian Nuñez was once considered the most powerful lawmaker in California. This two-part series examines whether political influence trumped justice when Nuñez’s son Esteban was charged in the 2008 stabbing death of 22-year-old Luis Santos.
In the fall of 2011, Army Captain Stephen Hill was booed by audience members at a Republican presidential debate for coming forward as a gay soldier and asking the candidates if they would reinstate “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” The story of what led Hill to that moment:
He learns that Google and YouTube are hosting a nationally televised debate in Orlando, Fla., for the nine Republican presidential candidates. They are accepting questions.
He closes his door. He strips his name and rank from his uniform. He hides his face. He would like to disguise his voice, but he doesn’t have the technology.
I am a gay soldier, and I am currently serving in Iraq, he says to the camera. The repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ is going to be taking place in six days. Then it will be legal to say, ‘I’m gay, and I’m here.’ I wanted to know what the rights of gay people will be under a presidency of one of you, and if you’ll try to repeal any progress that’s been made for gay people in the military.
He sends it in and waits.
On the trail of a disgraced ex-LAPD officer who went on a murder rampage after being fired:
The officers followed Dorner onto Interstate 15, heading north, hanging back a safe distance. They were trying to confirm it was Dorner’s truck.
Five miles along, the patrol car followed Dorner down the Magnolia Avenue offramp to the street. Dorner was waiting at the curb beside his parked truck. He opened fire with his assault rifle, riddling the patrol car with .223-caliber rounds.
The officers ducked. They tried to fire back with their handguns, futilely. Dorner was about 100 feet away, with firepower that vastly overwhelmed them. His rounds pierced the squad car’s windshield, punctured a tire, blew out the radiator. It was immobilized in seconds. One bullet grazed an officer’s head. Dorner sped away down Magnolia.
Pete O’Neal, 70, founded the Kansas City chapter of the Black Panther party and once threatened to “shoot my way into the House of Representatives.” He fled the country in 1970, eventually landing in Tanzania:
“Exile was supposed to be temporary. O’Neal corresponded with other Panthers and planned to return home to help lead the revolution. He watched from abroad as the party collapsed from infighting, arrests and an FBI campaign of surveillance and sabotage. People stopped talking about revolution. Radicals found new lives.
“O’Neal’s exile became permanent. His fury abated. Some of it was age. Some of it was Tanzania, where strangers always materialized to push your Land Rover out of the mud, and where conflicts were resolved in community meetings in which everyone got to speak, interminably.”
(Part One of Two) He kept thinking that there had been a mistake, that he’d be out in no time. That the system, set into motion by some misunderstanding or act of malice, would soon correct itself. That was before the detective informed him of the charges, and before the article in the Ventura County Star. “Man held after woman found raped and tortured,” read the headline, and there was his name, along with a quote from a police officer: “In 19 years of police work, this has to go down as one of the most brutal attacks I have ever seen.”
In 1993, 39-year-old Robert Rizzo arrived in town trailing the vague whiff of scandal. For a time he seemed like the man the working-class city needed — until he became an ‘unelected and unaccountable czar.’ “Rizzo and seven other Bell leaders past and present are charged with looting more than $5.5 million from one of the county’s poorest municipalities. It is a hydra-headed scandal that has spawned seven federal, state and county investigations and transformed a forgotten suburb into a synonym for rogue governance. It has resonated as a morality tale in which Rizzo is cast as a greed-crazed, cigar-chomping puppet master who cheated his way to an $800,000 salary and a 10-acre horse ranch.”