Utah man accused of killing girlfriend, boy arrested in Hawaii

By LINDSAY WHITEHURST

The Associated Press

SALT LAKE CITY — A Utah man killed his girlfriend and her 3-year-old son, then wrapped their bodies in sheets and dumped them in a remote part of the state before they were reported missing two years ago, prosecutors said in charges unsealed Monday.

Emily Almiron, 23, and her son, Gabriel, have not been found but authorities have filed aggravated murder charges against her boyfriend. Christopher Richard Poulson, 28, was arrested over the weekend in Hawaii, where he moved shortly after being confronted with evidence collected over two years of investigation by Orem police and the FBI, prosecutors said.

Police said that a cadaver dog detected the presence of human remains in the trunk of a Ford Mustang that Poulson sold shortly after Almiron and her son vanished on Sept. 8, 2015. A roommate later told police that a hammer disappeared around the same time Almiron went missing, charging documents state.

Authorities also cite records showing Poulson drove to dumpsters near the apartment he shared with Almiron in Orem, about 40 miles south of Salt Lake City, the day after the woman and her son disappeared, according to GPS data in charging documents. He then bought a shovel and work gloves and drove to a rural area, according to the charges.

The following day, he bought sheets and another pair of gloves before leaving Almiron’s Toyota Prius, filled with bags of her belongings and the boy’s car seat, in a parking lot in the southern Utah city of St. George.

Poulson has told police that he broke up with her because he found drug paraphernalia in their apartment, and said that she left with her son, according to charging documents. Prosecutors, though, say Poulson used drugs, including marijuana and methamphetamine, himself.

No attorney or publicly listed phone number was available for Poulson on Monday.

He later moved to the northern Utah town of Smithfield and told friends that Almiron had moved to California, charges state. But police searched driver’s license databases all over the country without finding her. They also say she would be unlikely to leave shortly before she was due to graduate from a massage-therapy school where she had paid $13,000 in tuition. Her credit cards and phone have gone unused.

The aggravated murder charges carry the possibility of the death penalty, though prosecutors haven’t yet said if they will seek it.

Judge reinstates 6-game suspension for Cowboys’ Elliott

By TOM HAYS, Associated Press
NEW YORK (AP) — A federal judge cleared the way Monday night for the NFL to enforce a six-game suspension of Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott over domestic violence allegations.
U.S. District Judge Katherine Polk Failla denied the request for a preliminary injunction from players’ union attorneys working for Elliott. Failla put the ruling on hold for 24 hours to give Elliott’s legal team time to appeal, a likely move.
It’s the second time a federal ruling has overturned a reprieve that kept Elliott on the field. Earlier this month, a federal appeals court threw out a Texas court’s injunction and ordered the dismissal of Elliott’s lawsuit there.
The NFL briefly enforced Commissioner Roger Goodell’s suspension before a judge sitting in for Failla in the Southern District of New York issued a temporary restraining order that blocked the punishment for the second time.
If the suspension holds this time, Elliott will be out starting Sunday at home against Kansas City. He will be eligible to return for the final three games, starting Dec. 17 at Oakland. The Cowboys (4-3), defending NFC East champions, are in second place in the division.
Elliott attended the roughly two-hour hearing in New York on Monday, a day after rushing for 150 yards and two touchdowns in a 33-19 win at Washington. Last year’s NFL rushing leader left court without speaking to reporters.
One of Elliott’s lawyers and an NFL spokesman didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment after the ruling.
The 22-year-old Elliott was suspended in August after the league concluded following a yearlong investigation that he had several physical confrontations in the summer of 2016 with Tiffany Thompson, his girlfriend at the time.
Prosecutors in Columbus, Ohio, decided not to pursue the case in the city where Elliott starred for Ohio State, citing conflicting evidence. Elliott denied the allegations under oath during his NFL appeal.
The suspension’s announcement led to weeks of court filings, with NFL Players Association lawyers contending league investigators withheld key evidence from Goodell and that the appeal hearing was unfair because arbitrator Harold Henderson refused to call Goodell and Thompson as witnesses.
Unlike three federal judges before her, Failla rejected most of those claims and backed the NFL’s contention that it followed the collective bargaining agreement in suspending Elliott, and that those procedures were supported by federal labor law.
“Having negotiated with the NFLPA over the terms of a particular CBA, the NFL has an interest in obtaining the benefit of its bargain — an interest that might well be eroded if courts such as this one were permitted to micromanage the disciplinary decisions of the commissioner,” Failla wrote.
The judge also said some of the reasons for Elliott’s claim that he would suffer irreparable harm with a suspension were speculative.
“And any individual honors Elliott might attain absent suspension depend on countless variables — such as the Cowboys’ overall offensive performance, his opponents’ defensive performance, and Elliott’s health — that together render this alleged harm far too speculative to justify injunctive relief,” Failla wrote.
Failla based some of her rulings on the NFL’s successful appeal in the same jurisdiction in the Deflategate case that ended with New England quarterback Tom Brady serving a four-game suspension. Brady delayed the punishment more than a year by winning a district court ruling.
NFLPA lawyer Jeffrey Kessler argued before Failla that the hearing was “fundamentally unfair” because it downplayed the conclusion by an internal investigator that Thompson wasn’t credible in her account.
Failla disagreed, writing that testimony from the NFL appeal hearing made it clear that Goodell was aware of the investigator’s views.
She also backed the NFL’s interest in timely penalties under its personal conduct policy, which three years ago was changed to stiffen penalties in domestic cases.
Elliott is third in the NFL in rushing with 690 yards in seven games. He’s tied for the league lead with six rushing touchdowns.
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Dareus passes physical, completes trade from Bills to Jags

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Newly acquired defensive tackle Marcell Dareus has passed a physical with the Jacksonville Jaguars, completing his trade from the Buffalo Bills.
The Jaguars (4-3) gave the Bills (4-2) a sixth-round pick in the 2018 draft for Dareus, a two-time Pro Bowl selection.
The 27-year-old Dareus passed a physical Saturday. The Jaguars released linebacker Jonathan Freeny to make room on the 53-man roster.
Jaguars czar Tom Coughlin says Dareus “will be a good fit with our team and our defense. We expect him to be stout against the run and to be able to put pressure on opposing quarterbacks. This was a great opportunity to acquire a proven player who can come in and help us immediately.”
Dareus had 300 tackles and 35 sacks in seven seasons with the Bills.
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First-year coach McDermott draws praise for Bills 5-2 start

By JOHN WAWROW, AP Sports Writer
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) — Nothing about the Buffalo Bills’ impressive start to the season comes as a surprise to cornerback Leonard Johnson.
Though new to Buffalo, Johnson is no stranger to Sean McDermott. And Johnson says the Bills’ first-year coach deserves much of the credit for instilling a winning mentality with his team-first approach in a bid to resurrect a franchise in the midst of a 17-year playoff drought — the longest active streak in North America’s four major professional sports leagues.
“If there’s one person I believe in, it’s him,” said Johnson, who spent last season in Carolina, where McDermott served as the Panthers defensive coordinator.
Turning down an offer to re-sign with Carolina last spring, Johnson instead called McDermott to see if he had a spot for him in Buffalo.
“I told coach, ‘Hey, man, I want to be part of what you’ve got going on. I know it’s going to be special,'” Johnson said. “And that’s what’s happening. I’m proud of the success we’ve had as a team. And it doesn’t surprise me one bit where we stand.”
Look up. Way up.
At 5-2, the Bills are a half-game behind New England in the AFC East following a 34-14 win over Oakland on Sunday. And Buffalo heads into its game at the New York Jets (3-5) on Thursday night with an opportunity to enjoy its best first half since opening the 1993 season at 7-1.
The Bills are succeeding despite a revamped roster with just 24 holdovers from last season, a new coaching staff and front office, led by general manager Brandon Beane, and despite continuing a yearlong purge of under-achieving stars.
The overhaul began in March, when Buffalo cut ties with most of its entire defensive backfield, including not re-signing cornerback Stephon Gilmore.
In August, receiver Sammy Watkins, selected fourth overall in the 2014 draft, was traded to the Los Angeles Rams.
Defensive tackle Marcell Dareus became the latest subtraction on Friday, when he was dealt to Jacksonville for a conditional sixth-round draft pick.
The Bills responded to Dareus’ departure with their most lopsided win of the season, and with starting defensive backs Jordan Poyer (right knee) and E.J. Gaines (hamstring) sidelined by injury.
The defense forced a season-best four turnovers, including rookie linebacker Matt Milano scoring on a 40-yard fumble return, while LeSean McCoy led the offense with a season-high 151 yards rushing and a touchdown.
“We’ve been doing that all year,” linebacker Lorenzo Alexander said of Buffalo overcoming adversity. “We believe in ourselves.”
The Bills’ two losses have been decided by a combined 10 points. And they’ve won twice when tied or trailing in the fourth quarter, something Buffalo managed just twice over the previous two years under former coach Rex Ryan.
McDermott arrived in January with “stick to the process” and “next man up” messages, which have thus far been validated by how players — rookies, veterans and journeymen — have bought in and contributed in the clutch.
McCoy might be the focal point of the offense, but others have made impacts. Andre Holmes has scored three times on just 11 catches.
Receiver Deonte Thompson was signed on Oct. 17 after being cut by Chicago, and five days later led Buffalo with 107 yards receiving in a 30-27 win over Tampa Bay.
On defense, safety Micah Hyde leads the NFL with five interceptions. And yet, others have made valuable contributions, such as Milano.
Aside from scoring a touchdown, the fifth-round pick has forced a fumble and has an interception in two games since starter Ramon Humber broke his right thumb.
McDermott refuses to get caught up in the team’s record by saying: “No one gives out awards for 5-2.”
And yet he briefly let down his guard Monday in reflecting on how the Bills have outperformed preseason expectations.
“I’m extremely proud of them and I’m happy for them,” he said.
“I’m happy for the fans of this team, that they’ve gotten what they so long have desired and yearned for, for so long,” McDermott added. “I know I don’t show that emotion all the time up here but, yeah, I’m pumped up about that.”
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17-year-old gets 40-100 years

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — A 17-year-old Grand Rapids-area youth has been sentenced to 40 to 100 years in prison in the strangulation death of his 18-year-old half-sister.
Seventeen-year-old Savon Schmus learned his sentence Monday after pleading guilty earlier this month Monday to murder in the death of McKenna Hilton. Her body was found Aug. 18, 2016, in a wooded area near Emerald Lake in Grand Rapids Township.
The victim’s mother, Stacey Hilton, addressed Schmus in court and said, “I hate you. I will never forgive you.”
WOOD-TV reports the father of the defendant and the victim, David Schmus, read a Bible verse from the book of Corinthians about the endurance of love and wept as the judge delivered the sentence.
Savon Schmus didn’t speak, but his attorney told the judge he is remorseful.

Police ID buggy crash victims

SHERIDAN, Mich. (AP) — Michigan State Police have identified the parents injured when a horse-drawn buggy and pickup truck collided, killing three of their children.
They say 40-year-old buggy driver Paul Martin of Sheridan was in stable condition Monday at a Flint hospital. His wife, 34-year-old Judith Martin, was in critical condition at a Grand Rapids hospital.
Police say seven of the couple’s children were in the buggy when the crash happened Sunday near Sheridan in a part of central Michigan where many Amish live. Two sons, ages 12 and 7, and a 9-year-old daughter were killed.
Three sons, ages 8, 3 1/2 and 2, remain hospitalized in Grand Rapids in stable condition. An 18-month daughter was released after hospital treatment.
Police say a 29-year-old man, also from Sheridan, was driving a pickup that crashed into the buggy’s rear. The investigation continues.

Bill OKs electric bicycles on trails

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — New Michigan laws will allow bicyclists to use electric-assisted bikes on roads and paved trails.
The legislation signed by Gov. Rick Snyder on Monday defines the bikes in law and classifies them based on speed and other factors. Under current law, e-bikes are treated the same as a moped, requiring licensing and insurance.
Certain e-bikes will be allowed on paved multi-use trails unless local communities opt out. Other electric bikes will be allowed if authorized by the local authority or state agency with jurisdiction over the trail.
Snyder says the bills, which take effect in 90 days, will help bicyclists “experience the beauty of Pure Michigan in a new, exciting way.”
The Michigan Environmental Council says the laws will encourage healthier lifestyles and reduce vehicle emissions.

University expert puts bird-like robot through its paces

By MIKE HOUSEHOLDER
Associated Press
ANN ARBOR, Mich. — A rare bird has landed at the University of Michigan: a two-legged robot named “Cassie” that researchers hope could be the forerunner of a machine that one day will aid search-and-rescue efforts.
Cassie — whose name is derived from the cassowary (KASS’-uh-WAIR’-ee), a flightless bird similar to an ostrich — stands upright on legs with backward-facing knees. The biped that weighs about 66 pounds (29.94 kilograms) may not have feathers or a head, but she is attached to a short torso that holds motors, computers and batteries and is able to walk unassisted on rough and uneven terrain.
Cassie, which stands a bit over 3.25 feet (1 meter) at full leg extension, was built by Albany, Oregon-based Agility Robotics and purchased by Michigan researchers using grant money from the National Science Foundation and Toyota Research Institute. Although other institutions have acquired similar models, Michigan’s team is excited to use its version to put Michigan Robotics’ cutting-edge programming to the test, said Jessy Grizzle, director of Michigan Robotics.
“This stuff makes our old math look like child’s play,” Grizzle said.
Although there is considerable excitement about Cassie and the potential she represents, certain real-world applications are still a bit out of reach.
Search-and-rescue “is a hard problem and serves as a template for ‘unsolved problems in robotics,’ which is one of the reasons you see it pop up so much when robotics companies talk about applications,” said Agility Robotics CEO Damion Shelton, who added that it is “difficult to even speculate” when a robot could be used for such a purpose.
Other applications will be launched sooner, according to Shelton, who said a robot capable of walking around the perimeter of an industrial site taking 3D scans is no more than two years away from becoming reality.
For now, Grizzle and some of his students are putting Cassie through her paces on and around Michigan’s Ann Arbor campus. During a recent a stroll on a pedestrian walkway, Cassie ambled on a grassy, sloped surface, then took a serious tumble and did a face-plant on the concrete.
“Well, I think that’s the end” of the test, Grizzle said, as Cassie lay in a heap on the ground, slightly nicked and scratched but no worse for wear.
The programs Grizzle and his students tested “are version 1.0,” he said.
“They are simple algorithms to make sure that we understand the robot. We will now focus on implementing our super-cool latest stuff,” Grizzle said.

Parents: Detroit police found missing woman dead years ago

DETROIT (AP) — Detroit police recently told the parents of a woman reported missing in 2009 that investigators actually found her body in 2010 and later buried her unidentified remains, blaming the mistake in part on investigative records that wrongly listed her ethnicity.
The parents of 28-year-old Crissita Cage-Toaster said they gave police a detailed description of their daughter — including of a large rose tattoo on her shoulder that included her parents’ nicknames — when they reported her missing in October 2009. Detroit police had discovered the woman’s abandoned car, with her purse, ID and cellphone inside, on a large island park east of downtown.
“From that day on, I’ve been searching for her,” said her mother, Rosita Cage-Toaster. “If they would have listened to me back in 2009, they could have then discovered my daughter.”
Local officials notified her parents this week of plans to exhume the body, which was buried with other unidentified remains at a cemetery west of Detroit about a year after it was discovered. The parents said Detroit police were negligent in their initial investigation.
Cage-Toaster, who lives in Atlanta, periodically checked in with Detroit detectives in the years after the case went cold. Then in April, she reached out to the National Institute of Justice, which maintains a public database of unidentified remains and missing persons. The database includes details like tattoos.
Cage-Toaster urged the organization to focus on her daughter’s tattoo. She said that’s when the organization contacted Detroit police, who later made the connection between a body found in the Detroit River in 2010 and the case of Cage-Toaster’s missing daughter.
Cage-Toaster said Detroit police called her in late September, telling her officers had found her daughter’s body about five months after she was reported missing. She said the coroner performed a cursory death investigation, but that a cause of death wasn’t determined.
Police said part of the reason the body wasn’t identified was because the Wayne County Medical Examiner’s Office and Detroit police records listed her ethnicity as Caucasian or Hispanic. She was black.
“Her body had been in the river all of that time,” said Lt. Kenneth Gardner. “The complexion and things of that … undergoes a change. It’s hard to elaborate on that.”
Gardner said it’s unclear why police didn’t make the connection using the woman’s tattoo years ago, but added: “What I can say is that the team we have in place today, they were able to make a turnaround in 24 hours and connect the dots.”
Cage-Toaster said police’s explanation doesn’t make sense.
“There’s so many inconsistencies,” she said. “This seems like, to me, you could give this to an elementary school student and they could figure out the puzzle. And they’re supposed to be professionals.”
The National Missing and Unidentified Persons System database said there are currently over 14,000 unidentified remains nationwide, nearly 300 of which are in Michigan.

Michigan State Spartans men’s basketball team stacked as head coach Tom Izzo eyes title run

By LARRY LAGE
AP Sports Writer
EAST LANSING — Miles Bridges tilted his head back and pivoted, taking in the sights and sounds of the Tom Izzo Hall of Fame at Michigan State.
“I’m at loss for words,” the usually loquacious Bridges said. “This place is awesome.”
The $20 million new addition to the Breslin Center pays homage to Izzo, who has taken the Spartans to new heights. The Hall of Fame coach lifted what was a good program that won a national championship with Magic Johnson and the late Jud Heathcote and elevated it to one of the elite in college basketball with a second national championship and seven Final Four appearances in less than two decades.
Michigan State graduate Dan Gilbert, a billionaire who owns Rock Ventures and the Cleveland Cavaliers, donated $10 million and other donors paid for the other half of the project.
Izzo repeated a line Bridges used last spring when he announced his plans to return for his sophomore season.
“This is not about me,” Izzo said. “It’s about us.”
In the school’s shrine to basketball, its two national championship trophies are on display.
“We’re going to try to add one more crystal ball to that room,” Izzo said.
Here are some other things to watch this season:
BRIDGES IS BACK
Instead of making millions in the NBA, the 6-foot-7, 225-pound forward is a college sophomore and loving it. Bridges led the undersized and overmatched Spartans last year with team highs in points (16.9 per game), 3-pointers (56), rebounds (8.3 per game) and was among the top three in blocks, assists and steals. This season, the Big Ten preseason player of the year and national player of the year candidate will have a much better surrounding cast.
“Deserves all the attention he’s received,” Izzo said. “So far he’s handled it with humility and humbleness like hasn’t been seen around here that often.”
SUPER CLASS
Michigan State’s other sophomores are pretty good, too. Nick Ward averaged 13.9 points and 6.5 rebounds, behind only Bridges on the team in both category, and had a team-high 54 blocks. Cassius Winston showed flashes of what he could do as a dependable point guard, averaging a team-high 5.2 assists and tying for a Big Ten-best 2.4 assist-to-turnover ratio. Joshua Langford started his freshman season slow before playing closer to his potential later in the season, including a 13-point game in an NCAA Tournament win over Miami and 10 points in a loss to Kansas in the round of 32.
NEW FACES
Freshman Jaren Jackson is projected by some to be a top-five pick — ahead of Bridges — in the 2018 NBA draft. The 6-11 forward with a 7-4 wing span can score inside and outside, where he makes 3-pointers that don’t have a smooth backspin. Fellow Xavier Tillman, a 6-foot-8, 260-pound forward, was expected to be a seldom-used player until he stepped on campus.
“He’s probably been the biggest surprise at camp,” Izzo said.
BIG VETS
The Spartans were very small last season, forcing Bridges to play in the post more than he is suited to do. This season, they’re really big and deep in the front court. Both Gavin Schilling and Ben Carter — each of them 6-foot-9 — are healthy enough to play after sitting out all of last season with knee injuries.
THE SCHEDULE
Michigan State faces Duke on Nov. 14 in Chicago in a marquee matchup. Later in the month, the Spartans will play Connecticut or Oregon and possibly North Carolina in Portland, Oregon , before returning home to play Notre Dame.