Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Kansas City man accused of robbing hotel guests in cop disguise

Aaron Hall
Aaron Hall (Suspect)
Well this is a strange one.  The police have arrested a man that they believe is responsible for multiple robberies in the Kansas City metro.  It appears this man's ploy was to meet women online and/or at a hotel and then tell them he was a Kansas City Missouri police officer.  He would then proceed to handcuff them and then rob or in some cases allegedly rape them.  Then leave with their valuables.  It looks like this guy was probably shaking down prostitutes mostly, probably in hopes that they wouldn't report the crime.

This whole scenario is just another reason why you never let a policeman into your house unless they have a warrant.  Had these citizens just shut the door and said let me see your warrant or you can not come in this alleged cop would have most likely left for an easier target.

Here is the article in the Kansas City Star.

Kansas City man accused of impersonating an officer to rob hotel guest
By: Chrisine Vendel -KC Star

Jackson County prosecutors have accused a 30-year-old Kansas City man of posing as a law enforcement officer and robbing a woman at a Kansas City hotel last month.  The heist is believed to be the fourth in a series of similar robberies, and a sexual assault, that occurred between May 11 and Aug. 19 in Kansas City.

Prosecutors charged Aaron M. Hall with robbery, armed criminal action and kidnapping in the most recent holdup against a 27-year-old woman he met online. He was arrested and charged on Sept. 9, but the case was kept sealed until today. The investigation into the other crimes is ongoing, police said. Court records said there is “evidence that Hall committed the other offenses.”

The most recent victim told police she met a man on a website and agreed to meet him to exchange $200 for one hour of sex. Once they got into her room at the Courtyard by Marriott, 500 E. 105th St., the man revealed a t-shirt that said “Police KCMO.” He had a gun in a holster on his hip and he showed her a silver badge which read: “special forces,” according to police reports. He told the woman she was under arrest for soliciting prostitution.  The man handcuffed her, ransacked the hotel room for valuables and fled with her car keys, cell phone, cash and a laptop.

After the crime, police publicly released photos of the suspect that were taken from a hotel in one of the other similar crimes. Four tipsters called police and said they recognized the man in the photo as Hall, according to court records. One tipster provided his date of birth. Police also linked the phone number that the most recent victim used to arrange her meeting with the suspect to Hall, court records said.  The victim also identified Hall from a photo array.  The other incidents, as reported to police:  On May 11, a man knocked on a 26-year-old woman’s door at the Drury Inn, 3830 Blue Ridge Cutoff, and told her she was under arrest because he had heard someone had been smoking marijuana in her room.

The man handcuffed the victim, searched the room and looked through the woman’s purse. He uncuffed her and left with her cellphone and $300 cash. The victim said she called her cellphone from the room phone and the man hung up on her.  On June 5, a man a 32-year-old woman met outside the Extended Stay Hotel, 550 E. 105th St., came to her room. He said he smelled marijuana, told the woman he was a police officer and handcuffed her. He then searched the room, uncuffed the victim and left with her purse.  On July 20, an 18-year-old woman received a call from a man who got her number from a hotline or chat room and he came to her room at the Super Inn Motel, 1600 N.E. Parvin Road. The woman said the man raped her and then said he was a police officer. He left with the victim’s money. The woman later told police that she no longer wanted to make a report.

Read more here:

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

City in Missouri seeks to alter Marijuana law to take away jail time.

Looks like the people of Springfield have elected some city council members that may actually have the citizens best interests at heart.  Revamping the city ordinance targeted at marijuana possession is before the city council in Springfield Missouri right now.  It was originally going to be brought before the general public to vote on the repeal/modification of the law, but it appears that the city council has decided to take matters into their own hands to revamp the marijuana possession law to save the public the cost of the $180,000 vote on the matter.

There are several proposals to modify the ordinance.  Here is the article in the Independence Examiner.

With the general election a mere six weeks away, marijuana law reform is receiving more public attention than any other time in recent history.  Springfield, Missouri, is about to be one of the first to take those steps. Pro-marijuana advocates worked tirelessly to gain enough signatures to ensure a spot on the November 6 ballot to decriminalize possession of small amounts of the non-lethal yet prohibited plant. Under the new ordinance, possession of 35 grams or less of pot will be punishable by a fine, as opposed to jail time.

The Springfield city council approved the measure to avoid enabling voters to cast ballots in support of the legislation, by their own admission.  According to, many council members admit they voted to yes on the provisions to save money. Voting no could have sent the issue to the voters.
"A vote, as just indicated, would cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $180,000. I think we can by far use that money in a better way," said Mayor Bob Stephens.

One may wonder what motivation the Springfield council members would have to take control away from the city's citizens, preventing them from casting their votes on the measure.  "It just seems to me our responsibility is to say this thing is so badly crafted, and so bad an ordinance, that we will assume responsibility and do everything we can to kill it some way," said Councilman John Rush.  "I am going to support passing and then gutting the entire ordinance," said Councilman Jeff Seifried.  Although hardly politically-honorable, not all council members wish to circumvent the will of the people. contacted Councilman Doug Burlison, who agreed to answer a few vital questions.

How would you characterize your opinion on this ordinance and its potential efficacy for the City of Springfield?
Burlison: "I feel that this ordinance would be a positive for Springfield, especially for our citizens, and for our local justice system. Local prosecutors and law enforcement brass are not supportive of this, I think mainly due to this being a departure from long-standing policies. Regardless of that, however, I they they would also see a benefit if they observed the intent of this ordinance. Community relations with citizens will improve, and I believe that enforcement costs will decrease, as well as the fear factor that citizens who are in possession of a simple plant will face when confronted by law enforcement."

If the City Council is successful in repealing this ordinance, what impact will it have in the months leading up to the election?

Burlison: "If this ordinance gets repealed tomorrow night, I believe it will possibly impact November and the following municipal elections in April of next year. A repeal will anger voters typically more supportive of Obama, and I would guess this will motivate some folks to show up at the polls that normally wouldn't. I personally realize that Obama is just as unfriendly to the marijuana issue as Romney, but the President's supporters believe otherwise. Then of course, there's the wild card Gov. Gary Johnson, who advocates total legalization . . . and it's tough to gauge what effect he'll have in November, especially if he can keep from being shut out of the debates. Of course, the following municipal election will have some extra importance for a lot of people, should this ordinance get repealed."

Show-Me Cannabis Regulation unsuccessfully attempted to gather enough statewide signatures to qualify for a ballot initiative to implement a medical marijuana program in Missouri. Would you have supported such an initiative?

Burlison: "I supported Show Me Cannabis Regulation's petition effort, and will do so again if the opportunity presents itself. That initiative would have, and possibly will, create one of the most hemp-friendly places on the planet . . . here in Missouri. The economic potential of a measure like that would be tremendous positive for any region that would respect the natural law, and end this type of prohibition."

The Springfield City Council is expected to make a final decision tonight on the ordinance. The agenda for tonight's vote can be read here.  During the August 24 primary city council meeting to address the ordinance, nineteen citizens stood and spoke in support of the decriminalization ordinance. Two people opposed it.

So, what are the options for the Springfield city council tonight?
From the Ozarks First website:
"Here's how the proposed amendments stack up:
1. Four Council members -- Jerry Compton, Jan Fisk, Jeff Seifried and John Rush -- are sponsoring a total repeal.
2. Mayor Bob Stephens is sponsoring an amendment that removes two provisions City Attorney Dan Wichmer has determined are clearly illegal: a requirement that City Council appoint a citizen oversight committee and expungement. This amendment also suggests increasing the fine for such possession from $150 to $450.
3. Mayor Stephens is also sponsoring an amendment that eliminates the two clearly illegal provisions, but leaves the fine at $150.
4. Councilman Doug Burlison, who has supported the initiative since its inception, offers an amendment that eliminates the oversight committee requirement. He resists removing an expungement provision until an opinion from the attorney general's office is available."
What this means for Missouri's ability to evolve one city's marijuana laws to catch up with medical, economic, and scientific reality remains to be seen.  It is important to note that Missouri used to be the chief agricultural center of industrial hemp. The farmland is ideal for cannabis cultivation. And the nation's attentions are on any form of marijuana law reform.

With the state of Missouri steeped in marijuana history, voters across the state will be watching to see what Springfield's elected leaders do... and they - and especially Springfield residents - will no doubt remember when it comes time for their re-elections in April 2013.