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In the heat of the moment.
04-12-2004, 11:24 PM
Post: #1
In the heat of the moment.

Is this justifiable?

If peeper suspect dies, 5 could face death penalty
Wednesday, August 18, 2004
John P. Coyne
Plain Dealer Reporter
North Royalton- Five adults and one juvenile who allegedly took part in the beating and sodomy of a man they found peeping into the bedroom window of a sleeping 5-year-old girl must now answer criminal charges.

The adults - one of whom is the girl's mother - could face charges that carry the death penalty if Mario Russo dies, police said. Russo, 44, remains unconscious on a ventilator at MetroHealth Medical Center, where officials described his condition as critical.


Police said apartment security cameras recorded Russo peering into the girl's window Saturday morning and the beating, and gave officers a minute-by-minute record of the crime.

"This is one of the tightest cases I've ever had," North Royalton Detective Jay Drake said. "Everything's on tape."

One woman, Athena Lemieux, 20, of Elyria, a part-time exotic dancer at Bugsy's Speakeasy on West 25th Street, faces rape and felonious assault charges because police say she inserted a foot-long tree branch into Russo's rectum.

Charged with felonious assault and complicity to commit rape were the 5-year-old's mother, Stacy Umstott, 28, of North Royalton, also an exotic dancer at Bugsy's; her boyfriend, Khalid Arafat, 34, of Cleveland; Nicholas Phipps, 21, of Cleveland; and Brandon Breeden, 19, of Elyria.

A sixth person, Breeden's 15-year-old girlfriend from Mentor, was also arrested and released to her aunt. She will face charges in Cuyahoga County Juvenile Court but cannot receive the death penalty because of her age.

Russo lives in an apartment building next to Umstott's.

Parma Municipal Judge Mary Dunning set the bonds for each of the adults at $3 million.

This is what Drake said happened:

Umstott was having a party in her ground-floor suite in the Bunker Ridge Apartments on Ridge Road after arriving home with the others at 3:30 a.m. At 4:10 a.m., the video shows that Russo walked up to the apartment window of the room where Umstott's 5-year-old daughter was sleeping and looked in.

At 4:21 a.m., Phipps went to his car to get a CD and noticed Russo standing in the bushes next to the bedroom window facing Ridge Road. Russo was masturbating with his pants partially down.

Phipps went to get the others and all six came out of the apartment, pulled Russo out of the bushes and began punching, stomping and kicking him. They left him on the ground, but returned to continue their assault.

The video shows Russo lay unconscious on the ground for an hour and nine minutes after the initial beating. His assailants came out to see if he was still alive and apparently even planned to dump his body on Cleveland's West Side if he died, Drake said.

They spotted one of the four video cameras at one point and ripped it from above the entrance to the building, Drake said. Police found the camera inside the apartment.

At 5:31 a.m., police received a call from a resident of the apartment building who said she heard a man moaning.

Sgt. John Elek, the first policeman to arrive on the scene, said he had never seen anyone beaten so violently. Russo was lying in a large pool of blood. Drake said his assailants had kicked him so hard his dentures had flown out of his mouth. He was flown by helicopter to Metro Health.

All of the de fendants ex cept Arafat and the juvenile waived their preliminary hearings and remain in County Jail. Arafat remains in North Royalton City Jail and has a preliminary hearing scheduled for 10 a.m. Monday.

Drake said the suspects admitted drinking and using drugs during the evening. Marijuana was found in the apartment.

Police said one of the suspects rationalized their behavior saying, "It was not the smartest thing we've done . . . But he deserved it."

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05-12-2004, 03:39 PM (This post was last modified: 05-12-2004 03:43 PM by survivorfan.)
Post: #2
In the heat of the moment.
secrets Wrote:Is this justifiable?

Depends if you mean were they justified in beating and sodomising him, or if you mean their facing the death penalty if he dies.

As far as the first goes, I wouldn't agree that what they did was right, although they themselves seem to have justified it by saying he deserved it, although that is clearly open to debate.

As far as the second goes, I suppose you can justify it by saying it's the law in their State where murder can carry the death penalty.

Any reason you chose this particular story, do you have your own view on it.

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05-12-2004, 07:28 PM
Post: #3
In the heat of the moment.
Indeed this is another one i did on a different board.

It ran for quite a while, and i even contacted the reporter in America who wrote the article and the follow up one.
I think overall it was decided that it was not justified to attack this man in such a fashion.
I will copy and paste the thread a little at a time for you to read if you want, or try and link it? There was more to this story, as i suspected, and it made an interesting debate.

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05-12-2004, 09:03 PM
Post: #4
In the heat of the moment.
Not a nice story at all.

My take on it is this. The guy was for sure perving over this child, but he never did anything to her, never touched her, and she didn't even know he was there, she was unharmed and untouched by it all. Doesn't make it right, but it was much less right what the others did to him, and I think they should be punished for what they inflicted on that guy - whether he lives or dies.

That 'taking the law into your own hands' went much too far.
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05-12-2004, 10:38 PM
Post: #5
In the heat of the moment.
Eternity Wrote:The guy was for sure perving over this child,

Yes that was the thinking of most people, and the natural scenario that most would see, but i had to persue this story - and you will see later on what transpired.

I'll leave it a while, in case anyone else has any comments,then i will post the link.:wink2:

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05-12-2004, 10:39 PM
Post: #6
In the heat of the moment.
It's not right to abuse another human being in that way. If the man committed an offence against the child then he should have been dealt with by the justice system. They didn't even give this a chance.

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06-12-2004, 02:04 PM
Post: #7
In the heat of the moment.
It's a grim story isn't it.

No, the beating/rape were not justified. The attackers should have let the authorities deal with the man, not taken the law into their own hands.

Mick Smile
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06-12-2004, 02:09 PM
Post: #8
In the heat of the moment.
I agree with all the responses so far - what that guy did was sick but imo wht those group of people did was worse - there is nothing worse than vendictive, cruel gang/mob mentality and they must have done awful awful damage to leave the guy in the state he was in.

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06-12-2004, 06:18 PM
Post: #9
In the heat of the moment.
I'm generally in favour of the right to protect one's household and family. However, this has gone much too far.
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06-12-2004, 06:46 PM
Post: #10
In the heat of the moment.
Poor kid - was the little girl kept out until 03:30am with her mother while she was drinking and taking drugs or was she at home alone or with a babysitter.

Who was looking after the kid while the mother was soddomising the guy with a branch?

Is there any proof the guy was masturbating? Maybe he was concerned for the child and checking in to see if she was ok (yes, stupid I know - but you never know!)

Either way I think they went way too far and should be punished accordinly (although I am anti-death penalty)
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