Reward increased to $15,000 for info on 2016 murder of teenager burned to death 2/19/2019

Nearly two and a half years after 15-year-old Demetrius Griffin was burned to death on the West Side, his family has announced the reward for information about his killer has increased to $15,000.

Griffin, a freshman at Steinmetz High School, was found inside a burning trash can in the Austin neighborhood on Sept. 17, 2016. Officers discovered his body when they responded to a call of a refuse fire in the 5500 block of West Cortez Street.

The teenager’s death was ruled a homicide and an autopsy later determined he had been burned alive. His case has remain unsolved.

New contributions from community and faith leaders increased the reward from $10,000, Griffin’s aunt Rochelle Sykes said Monday.

Sykes said her family continues to be “heartbroken” by her nephew’s death.

Griffin’s image — along with those of four other child victims of Chicago violence — is included in a stained glass window at the West Side New Mount Pilgrim Missionary Baptist Church, 4301 W. Washington Blvd. The window, Sykes said, will be officially unveiled Sunday.

Sykes said it’s important that people don’t hear about these cases and forget. For low-income families from poor neighborhoods, Sykes said, homicides are all too often “swept up under the rug.”

“That’s not right,” Sykes said. “No child deserves what he got. My family has no closure … and this city is doing nothing.”

Florida student faces charges after refusing to stand for Pledge of Allegiance 2/19/2019

An 11-year-old student in Florida is facing charges after refusing to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance and creating a disturbance in the classroom, police said.

The boy was arrested for causing a disruption and refusing repeated instructions from school staff and law enforcement, Polk County Public Schools spokesperson Kyle Kennedy said in a statement. He was not arrested for refusing to participate in the pledge – even though students have the right to do so by Florida law and district policy.

The sixth-grader from a Tampa suburb allegedly told his substitute teacher the flag is “racist” and the national anthem is offensive to black people, Bay News 9 reported, citing a statement the teacher gave the district.

In response, the teacher said she asked the student why not go to another place to live if it was “so bad here.” She said he answered, “They brought me here.”

The substitute, identified by district officials as Ana Alvarez, said, “Well, you can always go back because I came here from Cuba and the day I feel I’m not welcome here anymore, I would find another place to live.”

Alvarez said she called the office on Feb. 4 because she did not want to keep “dealing with him,” according to her statement. An officer and a school administrator tried to calm the student, the Lakeland Police Department said in a Sunday night press release. The administrator asked him to leave the classroom more than 20 times, police said, and the student allegedly made threats while being escorted to the office. 

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Police transported the Lawton Chiles Middle Academy student to the Juvenile Assessment Center and charged him with disrupting a school function and resisting an officer without violence, the Lakeland Police Department said.

Officers would not arrest a student for not standing during the Pledge of Allegiance, public information officer Gary Gross told USA TODAY on Sunday, but, in general, would arrest a student for screaming, yelling and making threats.

Dhakira Talbot, the boy’s mother, told Bay News 9 that she wants the charges dropped. She denied the arrest affidavit accusing her son of threatening to beat the teacher, the station reported.

“She was wrong. She was way out of place,” Talbot told Bay News 9. “If she felt like there was an issue with my son not standing for the flag, she should’ve resolved that in a way different manner than she did.”

Alvarez no longer works as a substitute in the district, Kennedy said, adding that the teacher did not know students weren’t required to participate in the pledge. The district will also review training for substitutes, Kennedy said.

First Amendment rights prevent schools from requiring students to recite the pledge or salute the flag, the Supreme Court ruled in 1943.

‘Naked and belligerent’ Florida woman allegedly attacked her fiancé because he didn’t want to have sex with her 2/19/2019

A 21-year-old Florida woman allegedly attacked her fiance for not wanting to have sex and wound up spending the night in jail — but not until she spat on cops too.

Vero Beach cops picked up a “naked and belligerent” Samantha Hernandez after her fiancé fled their home in a ripped shirt with abrasions on his face and neck, according to the Sebastian Daily.

Hernandez allegedly propositioned her partner, then began attacking him after he rejected her, “striking him in the face and ripping his shirt,” according to police.

The man then allegedly went outside for a walk to “cool off,” at which point he called police.

When police apprehended Hernandez shortly after midnight Monday, she angrily yelled “I didn’t do anything!” but, according to cops, “was too intoxicated to advise any further.”

Once inside the police cruiser, Hernandez allegedly banged her head on the inside of the car until she appeared to have knocked herself out. When an officer went to check on the off-duty cashier, she opened her eyes and “maliciously spit on his arm while yelling profanities,” according to the Sebastian Daily.

Hernandez was transported to the Indian River County Jail, where she was held on $6,000 bail and charged with a felony count of battering a police officer and battery domestic violence.

Texas girl, 14, is sentenced to 25 years in prison for stabbing her friend to death during an argument over a sleepover ‘while her mother watched and did nothing’ 2/19/2019

A 14-year-old Texas girl has been sentenced to 25 years in prison for stabbing her friend to death during an argument over a sleepover.  

The teen from Fort Worth, who is not named due to her age, stabbed Nylah Lightfoot, 14, in the chest and neck when she went to pick up her clothes from her friend’s home on May 29, 2018.

The victim’s mother Anntoinette Carter claimed that the mother of the then-13-year-old suspect stood by and watched the altercation between the two girls unfold, without stepping in. 

The defendant was found guilty of murder but not guilty on aggravated assault charges in Tarrant County court on Thursday, and faced a minimum sentence of probation and maximum of 40 years in prison.  

A 14-year-old girl has been sentenced to 25 years in prison for stabbing her friend to death during an argument over a sleepover on May 29, 2018, in Fort Worth, Texas. Victim Nylah Lightfoot, 14, is pictured

A 14-year-old girl has been sentenced to 25 years in prison for stabbing her friend to death during an argument over a sleepover on May 29, 2018, in Fort Worth, Texas. Victim Nylah Lightfoot, 14, is pictured

The girl will be held in a Texas Juvenile Justice Department facility, according to presiding Judge Alex Kim. 

The court will determine whether to transfer her to an adult prison or grant her leniency on or before her 19th birthday.   

Carter delivered a victim’s impact statement after the sentence was announced, telling her daughter’s killer: ‘When they told me it was you, it hurt. You was at my house every day.’

The heartbroken mother said that her daughter wanted to become a makeup artist, and that would sneak into her bedroom to get makeup for herself and the friend. 

Now, Carter said, she will never get to see that passion again, nor will she see her daughter go to prom, graduate high school or get married.  

‘You spent her last birthday with us. I don’t know how I come back from this,’ she said through tears.

Carter delivered a victim’s impact statement after the sentence was announced in Tarrant County court on Friday, telling her daughter’s killer: ‘When they told me it was you, it hurt. You was at my house every day. I don’t know how I come back from this.’ Nylah is pictured above

Carter had previously described her daughter and the suspect as ‘on-and-off’ friends.   

On the day she was killed, Nylah asked if the girl could sleepover, to which Carter said no, according to The Star-Telegram

Then the suspect asked Nylah to come over and retrieve clothes she had swapped with the teen.  

When she arrived at the girl’s Fort Worth apartment complex, the pair got into an altercation that turned deadly.  

The little girl was taken to John Peter Smith Hospital for her neck and chest wounds where she was pronounced dead, according to the Tarrant County medical examiner’s office. 

‘Now I’m daughterless. And my heart feels like it’s just been ripped out and stomped on,’ Carter said at the time. 

Nylah had gone over to the suspect’s apartment complex in Fort Worth (above) to retrieve clothes she left with her when the friends got into an altercation. The 14-year-old was stabbed in the chest and neck and later died from her wounds

The Nylah’s murder trial only lasted two days. When the suspect took the stand, she said killing her best friend it was something that she would forever regret.

‘She was like a sister to me,’ she testified.

Prosecutor Jim Hudson said during his closing statement: ‘The case was graphic, disturbing and unsettling. Because of the decisions she made, a family now lives without a daughter. 

‘We ask that you send a message to her that these acts have consequences.’ 

He continued: ‘There is no arguing what her intent was. When she came outside with the knife she was still in control. But not even her friend could stop her. She was only following through with what she had threatened twice.’ 

Teen found brutally murdered with mother one day before his birthday 2/19/2019

A mother and her teenage son were fatally stabbed, strangled and bludgeoned with a gym weight in their Bronx apartment by a fiend who callously threw torn-up money on the woman’s body before fleeing, sources told The Post.

Marisol Ortiz, 51, of Belmont, and her youngest son, Alanche del Orbe, who was a day away from turning 15, were found dead at 3:38 p.m. Sunday in their East 185th Street apartment and police were searching into the late-night hours for the woman’s ex-con boyfriend, sources said.

The crime was incredibly vicious. While both had been bashed with a heavy weight, the mother was also stabbed in the head and the boy strangled, according to law enforcement sources.

Ortiz’s 22-year-old daughter discovered the bloody bodies.

“I just heard the daughter screaming,” an upstairs neighbor, Iris Rosa, 58, told The Post. “I didn’t hear no words. It was just ‘Ahhhhh!’ And then nothing.”

The daughter, whose name was not released, had rushed home after the mom’s colleagues called to say she hadn’t been to work Sunday.

Ortiz, a business owner, had not shown up in the morning to open her store, and her distraught daughter called police.

“She was on the sidewalk, on the phone,” Rosa said. “She was crying.”

When cops arrived, they found the mother of four dead on the floor in one room and the boy, who may have been attacked as he slept, dead on a bed in another.

A bloody knife was found near the teen. Cops believe the killer left an exercise weight by each body after using them to bludgeon their heads, according to a law enforcement source.

A source also said cops found torn money on the mom’s body, but could give no more details.

Police did not immediately release the name of the boyfriend, who sources said has a prison record for assault.

Cops could not say exactly when the murders happened, but a neighbor, Angel Cabrera, told NBC News that he heard screaming at 1 or 2 a.m., but had thought it was from a party.

Haydee Leonardo, del Orbe’s grieving cousin, told The Post outside the apartment Sunday night, “Tomorrow is his birthday.”

The youngster’s Facebook page shows him to have been a Yankees fan who enjoyed rap music and playing baseball with his father.

“It’s incredibly sad,” Leonardo said.