Police in say a couple found dead in their West Des Moines home were killed in a murder-suicide. Police were called to the home Wednesday morning to conduct a welfare check and found the bodies of 52-year-old Dana Fortugno and 59-year-old Justine Fortugno. Police have not said how the two died, but said their deaths were the result of a murder-suicide. Police have not said which person killed the other. The Des Moines Register reports that Dallas County Assessor records show the Fortugnos are are listed as owners of the home in which they were found dead.
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An Iowa man has been sentenced to 30 years in prison for causing a 2020 crash that killed three people by driving drunk and the wrong way on a rural highway. The Ames Tribune reports that 27-year-old Spencer Bultman, of Hampton, was sentenced Tuesday after he had pleaded guilty to three counts of vehicular homicide while driving under the influence and one count of serious injury by vehicle. Investigators say Bultman was drunk and driving his pickup the wrong way in the westbound lanes of U.S. Highway 20 near Alden when he crashed into a sport utility vehicle. The crash killed 44-year-old SUV driver Cristy Gutierres, her boyfriend, 37-year-old Mario Zubia, and Gutierres' 10-year-old son Jesse “Alex” Gutierres. Gutierres' 6-year-old daughter was critically injured in the crash.
A Wisconsin court commissioner has ordered a Milwaukee man accused of plowing his SUV through a suburban Christmas parade, killing six people and injuring dozens more, to stand trial. Waukesha County Court Commissioner Kevin Costello ordered Darrell Brooks Jr. bound over for trial on more than 70 charges, including six homicide counts at the end of a preliminary hearing Prosecutors allege Brooks drove his SUV through a Christmas parade in the city of Waukesha on Nov. 21. Brooks' attorneys tried to argue that Brooks was high on marijuana and didn't mean to kill anyone but Costello declared there was “ample” evidence to justify moving ahead with a trial.
An investigation has found that Utah police made “several unintentional mistakes” when they stopped Gabby Petito and her boyfriend before she was killed in what became a high-profile missing person case. The independent report released Wednesday examines a stop by police in the tourist town of Moab on Aug. 12. They allowed the couple to leave after requiring them to spend a night apart. Body camera video of a visibly upset Petito was widely viewed as the investigation unfolded and raised questions about whether a more robust police response could have prevented her death.
A Michigan teenager charged in a mass shooting that left four students dead at his high school and others wounded has made his first appearance in trial court. Fifteen-year-old Ethan Crumbley was arraigned Wednesday in Oakland County Circuit Court via video from the jail where he's being held on first-degree murder, assault with intent to murder, terrorism and gun charges. Crumbley is charged as an adult in the Nov. 30 shooting at Oxford High School. Crumbley’s attorneys on Friday waived his preliminary examination, moving the case toward trial. Through defense attorney Paulette Michel Loftin, Crumbley stood mute Wednesday and entered a plea of not guilty.
Robert Durst, the New York real estate heir sentenced to life in prison for killing his best friend, has died. He was 78. Durst was convicted of the 2000 killing of Susan Berman in September. He was hospitalized with COVID-19 two days after his sentencing. Durst's attorney said he died in a state prison hospital facility in Stockton. His attorney Chip Lewis said it was from natural causes due to a number of health issues. Durst was also long suspected of killing his wife, who disappeared in 1982. He was acquitted in 2003 in the death of a Texas man.
A 46-year-old Iowa City man was sentenced to life in prison in the shooting death of a man during a drug robbery. Before he was sentenced Friday, Reginald Little told the family of the victim, 21-year-old Kejuan Winters, that he was not guilty of killing their son. Winters was killed in April 2020 when Little and others attempted to rob him of drugs and money. Prosecutors said the men hadn't plan to kill Winters but he was fatally wounded when a struggle broke out at Winters' apartment. Winters' two children and girlfriend were in the house when he was shot.
Charges against a man accused of pummeling another man in downtown Davenport on Christmas Eve have been upgraded after the other man later died. The Quad-City Times reports that 31-year-old Jaret Leonard Lee Peck, of Davenport, is now charged with second-degree murder after 47-year-old Terrance Woodard died from his injuries on Sunday. Peck had been charged with willful injury and interference with official acts in the case. Police say officers found Woodard on Dec. 24, beaten and suffering from critical injuries. He was first taken to a Davenport hospital, then transferred to an Iowa City hospital, where he died Sunday. Investigators say Peck punched Woodard in the head multiple times, including after Woodard already was on the ground.
A 45-year-old woman has been given two life sentences for setting a fire that killed a 9-year-old boy and his mother in Waterloo. Susanna O'Brien was sentenced Monday for the deaths of 32-year-old Ashely Smith and her son, Jaykwon Sallis, in April 2018. Prosecutors said O'Brien set the fire because she was upset her boyfriend was staying with another woman at Smith's home. The boyfriend and the second woman escaped. While handing down the sentence, the judge said O'Brien set fires at the home's front and back doors in order to trap everyone inside. O'Brien's attorney said she continues to maintain her innocence.
The Iowa Supreme Court says the lawyer for the family of a Burlington woman shot and killed by a police officer in January 2015 may seek the release of police car dashboard camera video and any unreleased 911 call audio. The decision is a partial victory for the family of Autumn Steele and open records advocates because it allows them to pursue getting additional information about the shooting that they’ve been fighting to obtain for over six years. The case involves the shooting of Steele by Jesse Hill, a Burlington police officer. The case now goes back to a state court judge for hearings on the release of the material.