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49ers’ McDonald Will Not Be Charged


Domestic violence charges won't be filed against San Francisco 49ers defensive end Ray McDonald after his felony arrest in August, the Santa Clara County district attorney announced Monday, saying there was "insufficient evidence" to prosecute him.

"I am relieved that the DA's office has rightfully decided not to file charges," McDonald said in a statement issued through the team, stressing that he "cooperated fully" with the investigation. " I want to thank everyone who was supportive during this difficult time."

The District Attorney's decision - much to the dismay of a leading Silicon Valley domestic violence center - comes more than two months after McDonald's highly publicized, jealousy-fueled fistfight with his pregnant fiancee at his 30th birthday party at his San Jose home Aug. 31. Each blamed the other for the violence, and prosecutors said "verifiable witnesses" could not be found.

Also, no one had significant injuries, and McDonald's fiancee refused to let police take photos of her after she called 911 to report the attack, prosecutors noted in an internal memo released to the public. 

"The decision is clear because we have mutual fighting between two parties, each party blaming the other and there are no verifiable eyewitnesses, no one with significant injuries, and no allegation of prior domestic violence by McDonald," Supervising Deputy DA Cindy Seeley Hendrickson and Deputy DA Lindsay Walsh said in the memo. "The fact that the appropriate charging decision is clear does not make it simple or easy. Facts surrounding the incident remain unknown despite extensive investigation."

Both recommended to their boss, DA Jeff Rosen, that he not file charges.

"It was absolutely essential to release this memo," NBC Bay Area Legal Analyst Steven Clark said. "In light of all the NFL domestic violence arrests, especially the Ray Rice video and a national spotlight on the case, if they don't explain their methodology to the public, well, that would have been a big mistake."

But the mistake, according to Kathleen Krenek, executive director of Next Door Solutions in San Jose, was made by the prosecutors in not charging McDonald. "I don't agree with the decision," she said. "I"m disappointed." She ticked off several reasons for her dismay, including the fact that women don't need to want to press charges for charges to be filed, and it doesn't matter if the woman throws the first punch - the overal size of the "dominant agressor" should be taken into account. "It's a shame," she said. "I don't know what the message is to other women."

McDonald was arrested on a felony charge the day after the party, and spoke little to NBC Bay Area after he was released the next morning and posted $25,000 bail. He had steadfastly denied harming his fiancee.

The 49ers have kept McDonald on the field since his arrest. 49ers Coach Jim Harbaugh has publicly stated he doesn't condone domestic violence, but he wanted due process to play out. On Monday, the team sent out a statement reiterating this, adding that "there will be no change in Ray's status with the team."

The two prosecutors said they interviewed witnesses at the party who said the woman struck McDonald first, and the "evidence shows injuries consistent with restraint and an ensuing scuffle rather than attack," the memo reads.

The memo did offer new details on the nature of the couple's relationship, and a rare window into the in-depth prosecutors' followup investigation that average citizens do not typically get in a standard domestic violence arrest.

"This was investigated to the fullest," Clark said. "The DA gave it the highest scrutiny. You want people to know that you're taking domestic violence seriously. But without a video, they have to be mindful that they had to prove this case in court."

McDonald and his fiancee have been dating since July 2013 and were engaged in February. As of August, the month the fight was reported, the two had lived together "on and off" for 11 months at McDonald's home. She was 10 weeks pregnant at the time of the birthday party.

During the party, women began flirting with McDonald, and he became concerned about texts he was receiving from women he met the night before, the memo says. He called the 49ers' security director, who connected him with San Jose Police Sgt. Sean Pritchard, who was in uniform, possibly on duty and whom McDonald knew from moonlighting as a 49ers security guard. Pritchard told Pritchard that he was afraid the women would show up at his home and cause problems, according to the memo.

The prosecutors noted that this relationship between the football player and the officer posed some conflict of interest problems, but added it would need to be followed up administratively within the department. The prosecutors also said this relationship did not taint the domestic violence investigation.

Some time between 1:50 a.m. and 2:30 a.m. on Aug. 31, one of the women at the party stopped by McDonald's fiancee's room where she was sleeping to say that some women were getting "too friendly" with McDonald, the report states.

The fiancee got up to confront these women. She asked one of the women to "step outside," the memo states.

McDonald got mad that his fiancee was "embarrassing" him, the memo says, and he was concerned with the "aggressive manner" that his fiancee was talking to the other woman, especially because she was pregnant.

McDonald followed his fiancee inside and began calling her names, calling her an "unfit mother," the report states, and threatening to take her baby.

Then a punch flew.

Both McDonald and his fiancee said she threw it, the prosecutors noted. The woman described it as a "single push." McDonald said she hit him "multiple times with a closed fist."

At some point they ended on the couch. She said McDonald threw her. He said they fell.

Then McDonald "grabbed her neck" to remove her from the house, which resulted in a "visible injury." She said she was "fighting back."

McDonald called Pritchard at 2:39 a.m. to say: “I need to get this female out of my house.”

She called 911 two minutes later to say: “Hello. I’d like to press for a domestic violence… My fiancé… He’s trying to pull me out of the house… He’s drunk… I think he’s calling the cops, he, he’s trying to get me out.”

Prosecutors also said there was a previous altercation at McDonald's home that also couldn't be verified. Prosecutors said the May 24 altercation amounted to a he-said-she-said over whether she fired a gun at McDonald, and the issue couldn't be sorted out because of the couple's conflicting and changing stories.

When police arrived and eventually arrested the 49er, prosecutors said, his fiancee said she did not want her boyfriend taken into custody. She just didn't want to be kicked out of the house.

Later, she sent McDonald a text, according to prosecutors: "S--- got way out of hand." 

Photo Credit: AP
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Police Substation Proposal to Curb Crime in Hamden


Hamden police are hoping to curb crime in the Highwood Square area by opening a new substation on Dixwell Avenue.

The proposal will be heard at a Legislative Council meeting Monday night.

The substation would not have police officers assigned to it, but they would be close by and it would be a place for basic police station functions like taking down complaints.

If passed, the substation will open by Jan. 1.

The Legislative Council's Public Safety and Protection Committee previously approved a lease agreement for the property. The full council will review the proposal at its Monday night meeting.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Deer Gets Plastic Pumpkin Stuck on Head


A plastic Halloween pumpkin bucket stuck on a deer's head in Ohio is preventing it from eating and drinking.

Police Arrest Driver in Fatal Vernon Crash


Police have arrested the driver accused of hitting and killing a 58-year-old woman while she was crossing the street over the summer.

Robert W. Maly, 66, of Manchester, turned himself in on Monday after police obtained a warrant for his arrest. He’s accused of hitting Kathleen Jasak, of Vernon, on Hyde Avenue/Route 30 in Vernon the morning of July 2.

Jasak was pronounced dead at the scene.

Maly has been charged with negligent homicide with a motor vehicle, failure to avoid a pedestrian and other motor vehicle offenses.

He was arraigned Monday morning. Maly was released on a promise to appear and is due back in court Dec. 1.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com/Vernon Police Department

Woman Suspected in Louis Vuitton Purse Scheme


Farmington police have arrested a New York woman who is accused of buying expensive Louis Vuitton purses with counterfeit cash and authorities believe this case is connected to a scheme throughout the northeast.

Rosemael Danelyne Paul, 19, is suspected of buying two purses at the Louis Vuitton Store in the Westfarms Mall for almost $2,000 on Nov. 3, according to police. It was not until after the transaction was complete that the store realized that the 19 $100 bills used to buy the purses were fake.

As police investigated, they discovered that several Louis Vuitton Stores in the northeast had been targeted in a similar counterfeit scam.

According to authorities, several people had been returning bags bought with counterfeit money to other stores and getting cash for them.

To help crack the case, police from several departments and Louis Vuitton Loss Prevention staff started working together.

On Saturday, Paul went back to the Louis Vuitton store at Westfarms Mall and tried to exchange two handbags purchased with counterfeit money at a Louis Vuitton Store in King of Prussia mall in Pennsylvania, police said.

However, staff members recognized her from flyers that had been handed out and they suspected she was the same person who had used counterfeit cash there days before, police said.

Paul was arrested her in connection with the incident on Saturday and charged with fourth-degree larceny. Police said they are also seeking an arrest warrant for the Nov. 3 case at Louis Vuitton store.

Paul is being held on bond and is due in court on Nov. 25.

Photo Credit: Farmington Police

Police Search for New Haven Bank Robber


Police are searching for the man who robbed a bank on Whalley Avenue in New Haven on Saturday afternoon.

According to police, the suspect entered the Wells Fargo Bank at 388 Whalley Avenue shortly after noon Saturday and passed the teller a note demanding money. He left with $250 in $10 bills.

Police said the suspect, who is in his mid-30s, has scruffy blond facial hair and stands about 5 feet 7 inches tall. He’s believed to have a scar or some sort of mark on his cheek and was wearing a black hooded sweatshirt and baseball cap at the time of the robbery.

Anyone with information is urged to call New Haven police at 203-946-6333.

Photo Credit: New Haven Police Department

Pizza Delivery Driver Robbed at Gunpoint


Police are investigating after five masked men confronted a pizza delivery driver and robbed him at gunpoint in New Haven over the weekend.

The driver told police he was delivering an order to a home on West Park Avenue around 6:50 p.m. Sunday when a man sitting on the porch confronted him along with four other men, all wearing masks.

One took out a gun and held it against the driver’s side. The thieves demanded money, so the driver handed over his cellphone and a few dollars in cash, according to police.

Investigators have not been able to track the phone or identify the suspects.

Police said the residents of the home on West Park Avenue had no knowledge of the robbery and had never placed an order. Authorities believe the robbers sent the order to an address other than their own and waited for the delivery driver to arrive.

Anyone with information on the robbery is urged to call New Haven police.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

New Haven Man Stabbed By Stranger: Cops


Police are investigating after a New Haven man told officers a stranger stabbed him in the stomach several times outside his home Sunday night.

According to police, the 41-year-old victim was in front of his home on Brewster Street around 8:20 p.m. Sunday when a strange man approached.

Police said the man had his hands in the pocket of his sweatshirt. He got "too close" to the victim, so the victim pushed him away, at which point the suspect stabbed the victim in the stomach multiple times before running away.

A friend of the victim drove him to the hospital for treatment of non-life threatening injuries.

Police said the victim was not able to provide a description of the suspect.

NYPD to Stop Minor Pot Arrests


Many New Yorkers facing low-level marijuana charges will soon be issued summonses instead of being taken to precinct houses in handcuffs, department brass said Monday.

Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said that the official change to the city's marijuana policy will be issued Tuesday and will take effect Nov. 19. Under the policy change, people caught with less than 25 grams of marijuana on them "may be eligible" to receive a $100 summons in lieu of being arrested.

Bratton said the policy change saves money on overtime and allows officers to focus on fighting other crimes. 

Individuals caught burning or smoking cannabis will still be subject to arrest, Bratton said. A person who has an active warrant out for his or her arrest or cannot produce proper identification may also be arrested for minor pot offenses.

The decision represents a major shift in policing in New York City, where officers have arrested tens of thousands of people yearly on minor marijuana possession charges, and comes as Mayor de Blasio meets with the city’s five district attorneys for the first time since taking office in January.

According to The New York Times, about half of the people arrested on marijuana charges under current policies are released with an appearance ticket after being fingerprinted and checked for open warrants. The other half remain in police custody until they can appear before a judge for an arraignment hearing.

As many as 50,000 people a year were arrested on low-level marijuana charges during the Bloomberg administration. The number of people arrested fell to about 28,000 in 2013, with arrest totals forecast to again hit that number this year Blacks and Latinos disproportionately make up for the number of people arrested, with about 86 percent of those cuffed on low-level pot charges from January to August coming from those two racial groups.

The policy shift would follow Brooklyn District Attorney Kenneth Thompson’s decision to stop prosecuting minor marijuana possession charges. The Times reports that Thompson’s office has dismissed 849 of the borough’s 2,526 misdemeanor pot cases since he announced the change in July.

De Blasio campaigned in 2013 on reforming the NYPD, criticizing the department’s marijuana arrest policies along with other heavy-handed policing practices, like stop-and-frisk. 

Route 83 in Vernon Reopens After Serious Crash


Route 83/Talcotville Road in Vernon was closed to traffic in both directions between Merline Road and Regan Road following a serious crash on Monday evening, police said.

LifeStar was called to the scene but canceled, according to the helicopter service. Police said an ambulance brought the crash victim to Hartford Hospital.

The road reopened around 6:30 p.m.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

LifeStar Called to Crash in New Hartford


LifeStar has been called to a one-car crash on Route 202/Litchfield Turnpike in New Hartford, according to state police.

Route 202 is closed between Steele Road and Stedman Road. The state Department of Transportation said the car struck a utility pole shortly after 4:30 p.m. Monday.

Police have not released any information on injuries.

Check back for updates.

Driver to Serve Prison Time in Wolcott Fatal Crash Case


A driver who pleaded guilty to texting while driving when she struck and killed a motorcyclist in Wolcott last June will spend at least two years in prison.

Stephanie Clavell pleaded guilty to second-degree manslaughter in August. Police said she was using her cellphone behind the wheel when she slammed into the back of a motorcycle on Meriden Road in Wolcott in June 2013.

Motorcyclist Terrence Doyle died of his injuries three days after the crash.

Clavell was arrested in July 2013 and was sentenced Monday to six years in prison, suspended after two, followed by three years of probation, according to the court.

A driver who police said was texting while driving when she struck and killed a motorcyclist in Wolcott late June of last year has pleaded guilty to second-degree manslaughter.

Stephanie Clavell, 24, also pleaded not guilty to operating an unregistered motor vehicle and operating a motor vehicle with a hand-held telephone, electronic device or while texting, according to the state judicial website.

She is scheduled to be sentenced on Nov. 10.

Clavell was driving her Subaru on June 25 when she ran into motorcyclist Terrence Doyle while he was stopped at a traffic light on Meriden Road in Wolcott, killing him. 

Police arrested her on July 15, 2013 after she turned herself into police.

Photo Credit: Wolcott Police

Man Catches Fire Atop Train, Dies


A 21-year-old man died after catching fire on top of a New York City-bound Metro-North train in Connecticut, authorities said.

Officials with the MTA said the Ohio man, Brian McClellen, was found on fire atop the train shortly after 5 a.m. Sunday in Greenwich. Crew members were trying to figure out why the train lost power when they found him.

McClellen likely caught fire while being electrocuted after a pantograph -- a mechanical arm on top of the train that collects power from the overhead wires -- came down on him as the train entered the station, the MTA police said.

MTA spokesman Aaron Donovan says crew members doused McClellen with a fire extinguisher. He was taken to Westchester Medical Center, where he later died.

Greenwich police said McClellen jumped onto the train while it was in motion. It had been carrying about 20 passengers; they got off and took another train to New York. 

Photo Credit: NBC 7 San Diego

Accused Phone Thief Out on Bail


A 26-year-old man was freed on bail after appearing in court in Boston on Monday, days after police released now-infamous surveillance video they say shows him taking a woman's cell phone just after an MBTA train hit and killed her.

Josue Gonzalez of Brockton, Massachusetts, was charged in Boston Municipal Court with a single count of larceny. He had turned himself and the phone in to authorities over the weekend after the video was released.

Police say the woman's phone flew out of her hand and onto the platform at Boston's Downtown Crossing when she was hit. Moments later, they say, Gonzalez feigned horror before picking the phone up for himself.

Gonzalez has no criminal history, and a not guilty plea was entered in court on his behalf.

He pulled a hood over his head outside court Monday and refused to speak with a reporter.

Photo Credit: MBTA Transit Police Department

Activists Push for Safer Weapons


About three dozen religious leaders, law enforcement members and elected officials gathered in Bridgeport on Monday to call on gun manufacturers to embrace new safety measures and technology.

“Collectively, we want to say to say to the gun manufacturers that we want you to take your part in helping to keep us safer,” said Rabbi Joel Mosbacher of Mahwah, New Jersey, who helped to organize Congregations Organized for a New Connecticut.

The group sent Requests for Information, or RFIs, to multiple American gun manufacturers to find out what measures they have taken to make their weapons safer and to keep them out of dangerous hands.

“We are going to use our collective purchasing power to make things better,” said Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch.

Part of the campaign has to do with harnessing the purchasing power of police and other law enforcement agencies participating in the effort.

The idea is that making new demands on weapons – such as the ability to identify who fired rounds or developing bracelet technology preventing a round from being fired unless the bracelet is near the weapon – will require gun makers to alter their production lines.

Jackie Pettway, who lost her son to gun violence in Bridgeport in September 2013, said police in her city are doing their jobs and now it’s up to the makers of the weapons to rise to the occasion.

“It’s not so much about making stiffer laws because we’ve done all of that. It’s about holding the manufacturers accountable for the weapons that they are making,” Pettway said.

Calls and emails to Colt and Smith and Wesson were not returned.

Cop Thanks Hero Teen Who Saved Him


A Philadelphia police officer is thanking the heroic high schooler who pulled him from his cruiser after it burst into flames.

"He's my hero, by far," said Officer Mark Kimsey. "If he wouldn't have pulled me out of that car, I'd still be sitting in it." 

Kimsey, 30, was released from the hospital Monday after he was hurt in the fiery crash over the weekend. The married father was responding to a priority call around 5:25 p.m. Saturday when a Toyota pickup truck collided with his cruiser at the intersection of 28th and Tasker streets, police said.

The force of the crash left Kimsey trapped inside as the police cruiser burst into flames.

Seeing the flames grow around the officer, Joe Chambers, a 17-year-old volunteer firefighter with Leedom Fire Company in Delaware County, and his neighbor, 24-year-old Dante Johnson, rushed over to help.

"I saw that it was a cop car," Chambers said. "Right then, I just started sprinting and did what I had to do."

Chambers and Johnson pulled Officer Kimsey from the window of his burning car.

"The door was slammed," Chambers said. "It was dented and wouldn't open. The car caught fire. He said he couldn't feel his legs. We had to drag him through the window, and he was ready for it."

As the two good Samaritans pulled the officer to safety, other witnesses pulled the injured driver from the pickup truck.

Officer Kimsey and the pickup truck driver were both taken to the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania for treatment. Kimsey suffered trauma to his head from the airbag deployment and burns to his legs.

Chambers also suffered minor injuries and was taken to the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. Later Saturday night, he visited Officer Kimsey and the two posed for a photo.

"It felt great just to see that he was OK,'' the Ridley high school senior said of Kimsey. "He said, 'I can't thank you enough.' I was like, 'You don't have to, it's fine.' I would do it any day of the week if I had to.''

Kimsey left the hospital Monday evening and arrived at 17th District headquarters to file paperwork on the crash. Kimsey told NBC10 he's unsure when he'll be cleared to go back to work but felt grateful and lucky to be alive. He also thanked Chambers and Johnson for saving his life.

"I told him I owe him a steak dinner or something," Kimsey said. "I'll have to take him out." 

The 52-year-old driver of the pickup truck also suffered head trauma and is listed in stable condition, police said. Police had originally said the driver of the pickup truck had fled the scene, but later corrected that report.

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Man Stabbed Woman, Held Her at Hotel for Hours: Cops


New London police have arrested a man accused of holding a 28-year-old woman against her will at a local hotel for hours, beating her and stabbing her before she got away.

Police said the victim broke free and was running down Colman Street, bleeding and crying, just before 9:30 a.m. Monday when someone saw her and called authorities.

The woman told police she had been restrained at the Red Roof Inn, at 707 Colman Street, where her attacker stabbed her and struck her over and over. She provided investigators with a description of the man responsible and the vehicle he was driving.

Police arrested Dennis Parrish, 49, at his home on Boulder Drive and charged him with second-degree assault and first-degree unlawful restraint.

Authorities believe the woman he attacked in New London, who suffered non-life threatening injuries, might have been his second victim.

Parrish is being held on $100,000.

Photo Credit: New London Police

Free Wedding Dresses for Military Brides on Veterans Day


One local bridal shop is giving away wedding dresses to military couples in honor of Veterans Day.

Distinctive Style, a bridal salon in Middletown, is teaming up with Brides Across America to make it happen.

“My father is a World War II veteran, so this is something that is really close to my heart,” explained store owner, Shelley Bailey. “And I wanted to thank our military and do what I can for Veterans Day."

Lindsay Smith, whose fiancee is in the military, headed to the store Monday to try on dresses with her mother, grandmother and her sister.

“It’s really great because with me being in school, and with him being in the military, we’re trying to keep our costs low as we’re getting married and starting our life together,” said Smith.

Free wedding dresses are available to brides who are in the military themselves or who are engaged to members of the military. Brides or their fiances must have been deployed within the past five years.

Bailey said it's a sign of appreciation of the sacrifices military couples make for our country.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

82-Year-Old Woman Dies in Bloomfield Crash


Police are investigating a crash that killed an 82-year-old woman at the intersection Blue Hills Avenue and Cottage Grove Road in Bloomfield on Monday afternoon.

According to police, a car was driving westbound on Cottage Grove Road approaching the intersection of Blue Hills Avenue when a car driving in the opposite direction turned north in front of the first vehicle.

The two collided, and the 82-year-old victim, a passenger in the second car, went into cardiac arrest. She died at Saint Francis Hospital, police said. It's not clear if anyone else was hurt.

Blue Hills Avenue was shut down between Cottage Grove Road/Route 218 and Marguerite Avenue while authorities responded to the scene. The North Central Municipal Accident Reconstruction Squad was called out to investigate.

No charges have been filed.

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Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Frontier Executive Apologizes Over Messy Switch


Frontier Executive Vice President and Connecticut General Manager Paul Quick apologized for the service outages affecting more than 10,000 local customers in an exclusive interview with NBC Connecticut on Monday.

“We apologize for anything that has occurred where our service was not at the level our customers expected,” Quick said.

Frontier acquired the AT&T U-Verse voice and Internet accounts of approximately 1.3 million customers last year. The transition, which officially took place Oct. 25, was not without its glitches.

“We expect much better,” said Quick, who oversees all Connecticut operations.

Angry customers now say their service has become shoddy at best.

“We signed up for U-Verse right as the transition happened and were sort of stuck in a black hole,” explained Winsted resident Jay Markwell.

Markwell said she lost two weeks’ worth of work due to the Internet outages.

“[The] gentleman hooked it up, everything was fine and dandy, I went to use phone and the phone didn’t work," she said. "I called Frontier. They came back out, they corrected it, and then the Internet went down. It was ping pong back and forth.”

Markwell said Frontier has been incredibly accommodating over the past week. A technician repaired her phone and Internet last Friday following a week of outages.

“I was very happy to hear from them earlier today,” Markwell said of the customer service.

Quick said that’s what the company is striving for.

He said that even though the percentage of outages has been small compared to the total number of customers – about 10,000 – to each individual customer, those outages are important.

Quick said most customers should be up and running now but added that perfection is hard to come by.

“As of today we’re at steady state or business as usual, which is about 1,500 trouble tickets or service orders on any given day," he said. "We’re near that steady state now and we anticipate that we will be moving forward on a steady state basis.”

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com
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