Archive | January, 2012

Advocate Publisher Hospitalised

Posted on 31 January 2012 by Howard Copelan

High Desert Advocate publisher Howard Copelan

was released from hospital Monday night after receiving life saving emergency transfusion of hemoglobin.

Copelan was in Israel with wife Corinne visiting their daughter Anna who recently gave birth to their first grandchild.

“I thought I had the flu so I went to doctor for some antibiotics,” the publisher said. “Instead he sent me to the emergency room. My hemoglobin level was at 4.5, normal is 12-14 for adult men. Fatal low can be anything under 5.0”

Copelan is a sufferer of Hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia. HHT is a genetic disorder of the blood vessels, which affects approximately 1 in 5,000 people. It affects males and females from all racial and ethnic groups. The disorder is also sometimes referred to as Osler-Weber-Rendu (OWR) after several doctors who studied HHT about 100 years ago. In 1896 Dr. Rendu first described HHT as a hereditary disorder involving nosebleeds and characteristic red spots that was distinctly different from hemophilia.

Before Dr. Rendu’s work, doctors did not understand that individuals with what we now call HHT have abnormalities of their blood vessels, not a clotting problem in the blood itself. Drs. Weber and Osler reported on additional features of HHT in the early 1900s. More than one hundred years later, HHT is still often misdiagnosed in affected individuals and many doctors do not understand all of its manifestations.

“It really is an insidious problem,” Copelan explained. “My doctor explained that my daily nose bleeds were not dangerous one at a time but over a year or so taken all together I was losing more blood and hemoglobin than I replaced. I was bleeding to death in slow motion.”

While it is relatively widespread HHT often goes undetected or is misdiagnosed sometimes with fatal consequences. the easiest way to tell if one has HHT is a history of severe nose bleeds in the family.

According to survey’s HHT is the leading cause of fatal brain strokes in persons under 30.

the major center for treating HHT is the University of Utah in Salt Lake City.

Comments Off on Advocate Publisher Hospitalised

BREAKING NEWS TABLES TURN FRATTO TAKES PLEA BARGAIN, WILL TESTIFY AGAINST PATTEN

Posted on 20 January 2012 by Howard Copelan

EXCLUSIVE TONI FRATTO’S PLEA AGREEEMENT

PART 1

img-120162425-0001

PART 2

img-120162425-0002

With her lover ready to betray her, confessed killer Toni Fratto agreed to a plea bargain with District Attorney Marc Torvinen that could see her out of prison in as little as ten years in exchange for her testimony against Kody Patten who is still facing a possible death sentence for the brutal killing of 16 year old Mickie Costanzo.

Get the Flash Player to see the wordTube Media Player.

The announcement of the plea bargain came less than 24 hours after the High Desert Advocate published a story that Patten had at first accepted and then at the last minute changed his mind about a similar plea bargain that would have put him in the witness stand against Fratto.

According to informed sources the deal struck with Fratto’s attorneys John Springgate of Reno and David Lockie of Elko has the girl pleading guilty to second degree murder with a weapon enhancement in exchange for her testimony against Patten. According to state guidelines with good behavior and time served Toni Fratto could be paroled in less than 10 years.

Depending upon her testimony Patten, the boyfriend she has steadfastly supported until this week could wind up on death row for the march 3, 2011 murder of Costanzo.

See related stories.


Comments (5)

Snitch? Rat? Witness For The State? Patten Changes Mind About Testifying Against Fratto

Posted on 20 January 2012 by Howard Copelan

Get the Flash Player to see the wordTube Media Player.

The change of plea hearing that would have made admitted killer Kody Patten the star witness for the prosecution against girlfriend Toni Fratto was canceled at the 11th hour Wednesday morning.

Both Patten and Fratto have confessed to the brutal murder of 16 year old Micaela “Mickie” Costanzo last March.

Despite the confessions both have pled not guilty to the crime after Elko District Attorney announced that he would be seeking the death penalty for both West Wendover teens. Fratto’s trial is scheduled to begin in late February with Patten’s following a month later.

The announcement of Patten’s change of plea came late Friday morning with the tentative acceptance of the District Attorney’s plea bargain by Patten and his attorneys John Ohlson of Reno of Jeffrey Kump of Elko.

Get the Flash Player to see the wordTube Media Player.

While most details of the deal are not known it most certainly included the dropping of the death penalty and Patten’s promise to testify against his girl friend. Just what else the deal contained depended largely on Torvinen’s generosity and on his desire to convict Toni Fratto and possibly put her on death row.

Torvinen also probably offered Patten the possibility of parole if he accepted the deal and perhaps dropping the charge of first degree to second degree murder. According to statistics most convicted murderers served between 15 and 25 years behind bars before they are paroled, meaning that if the now 19 year old Kody Patten kept his nose more or less clean while in prison he would leave a still relatively young man.

The announcement of the change in plea came perhaps coincidentally with the filing of the motion by Fratto’s attorneys to throw her confession out.

The motion filed last Wednesday in Elko District Court expands on points originally made in response to a motion in limine made by Elko District Attorney Marc Torvinen last summer before Fratto’s preliminary hearing in Elko Justice Court.

Torvinen’s motion was a successful attempt to preempt a defense move that would seek to throw out Fratto’s confession on the grounds of attorney/client privileged conversation and therefore inadmissible in court.

Patten was arrested for the March 3rd murder of Micaela Costanzo three days after she had gone missing and within a few hours after her body was discovered in a shallow grave some 5 miles west of Wendover.

Patten cracked and admitted to killing the young girl after an all night interrogation session and a phone call to his father Kip. According to police reports at no time during the intense 8 hours of so of questioning did Patten implicate his live in girlfriend Fratto in the crime and indeed may have even used her as his alibi.

For the first six weeks after his arrest, it was the position of the Elko District Attorney’s office and the Elko Sheriff’s Department that Kody Patten was the sole suspect in the case and would alone stand trial for the murder of Micaela Costanzo.

All that changed on April 22, when John Ohlson, Patten’s lead attorney released the bombshell confession from Toni Fratto in which she claims it was she and not her lover who killed Costanzo. Within 24 hours of Ohlson’s release of the taped confession to the court, Fratto was arrested and charged with the death penalty eligible open murder of her classmate.

While the confession was allowed for the purposes of the preliminary hearing, its admissibility on the District Court level is a whole new ball game.

Where the outcome of a preliminary hearing is heavily weighted to the prosecution the playing field is much more level at the trial stage, and it is not unusual that some evidence presented during the hearing is thrown out before trial.

Fratto’s attorneys stress two major points in their motion. The first being that Fratto confession was protected by attorney client privilege and as such cannot be used against her. The second that without the confession the state has literally no other evidence linking her to the crime.

If the confession is thrown out for whatever reason the only evidence the state has against Fratto is the testimony of Patten’s father Kip which could be excluded or at least diminished as hearsay.

According to sources close to the case Kip Patten credibility is expected to be shattered by Fratto’s lawyers should he make it to the witness stand. Those sources add that Fratto’s defense team have assembled volumes of interviews and records that strongly suggest that Kip Patten has engaged in dishonest and violent or potentially violent behavior in the past.

“If Kip testifies, I don’t think anyone will have a problem in at least entertaining the idea that he coerced Toni to confess.” Said a source close to the investigation “We aren’t worried about Kip at all. No one will find him credible after the defense is done with him.”

That opinion of Kip Patten is also shared in the DA’s office sources contend and that may explain why the plea bargain was offered to Kody Patten in the first place.

If Toni Fratto’s confession is tossed, Kody Patten’s testimony against his girlfriend may be the strongest piece of evidence against the girl.

Ever since Fratto’s bombshell confession, Patten’s lawyers have contended the girl was some sort of criminal master mind who meticulously planned the brutal killing of Mickie Costanzo down to the minute and also enthralled Kody Patten to not only help her but also take the rap and face lethal injection all by himself.

And there is little doubt that had Patten taken the plea bargain he would have portrayed his girlfriend as just that kind of fiend.

Friends, teachers and other people who know the girl paint a vastly different picture. Far from an evil genius Toni Fratto is described as a mouse of a girl who if not for mandatory attendance being taken no one would know whether she was in school or not.

She was so completely dominated by Patten, friends say, that even when her boyfriend was caught on tape strangling her just two months before the Costanzo murder, fratto successfully persuaded school officials, her parents, and law enforcement not to bring charges against her lover by adamantly refusing to testify.

Instead Patten was put on in school probation, a probation he was still on when he killed Mickie Costanzo.

In addition to supporting her lover after he tried to strangle her, Fratto, according to sources has steadfastly refused to recant her confession even though there is very real doubt it is completely made up.

“There are enough holes in that thing to drive a semi through,” said a source close to the case. “There is simply no physical way she could have killed Mickie Costanzo when she said she did and walk away from the crime seen without leaving a drop of blood a follicle of hair or a foot print.”

Just why did Patten first a agreed to and then change his mind about testifying against the girl who literally put her life on the line for him is unknown.

“Perhaps he thinks he can get an even better deal if her confession is thrown out,” speculated one attorney familiar with the case. “Or maybe he doesn’t want to be labeled a snitch even before he gets to prison. He is young and strong and probably has a real good chance of being recruited into a prison gang as a soldier. But if he goes in as a snitch that might be a little different.”

Comments (1)

Three Seek W. Wendover JP Bench

Posted on 20 January 2012 by Howard Copelan

Get the Flash Player to see the wordTube Media Player.

With the Friday filing dead line passed the election for West Wendover Justice of the Peace has been set with three candidates incumbent Reese Melville, David Wiskerchen and Brian Boatman.

 

The three names on the ballot also means that there will be a primary election for the bench on June 12 with the top two vote getters facing off again in November.

 

Get the Flash Player to see the wordTube Media Player.

Both challengers for the job have a long background in law enforcement. Wiskerchen is a sergeant with the West Wendover Police department and has served as a law enforcement officer since 1987. Boatman is currently the Juvenile probation officer at the West Wendover High School before taking that position he was also a West Wendover Police Officer.

 

If either of the two are elected it would buck a long standing trend in West Wendover of voters rejecting Justice of the peace candidates with police backgrounds. Over the past six elections for judge voters when given the choice between a lay candidate and someone with a back ground in law enforcement have always gone for the lay candidate, such as Melville.

 

The incumbent won the bench in 2006 by defeating Lara Grant who was appointed to fill the position following the death of long time Justice Georgina LaCombe who like Melville was a lay judge.

 

Grant an attorney who worked in the Elko DA’s office as well as the Public Defender’s office ran on the strength of her law degree and on the fact that she purchase a home in West Wendover.

 

Grant however did not reckon on the popularity of Melville, a former City Councilman and Mayor, Melville trounced Grant with 57 percent of the vote by echoing a promise LaCombe made in election after election that the Justice of Peace was duty bound to be an impartial referee between the defendant and the police and not favor either side in court.

 

In other election news, the two jurist appointed by Nevada Governor Brain Sandoval: Nancy Porter and Al Kacin to District Court #1 and #2 will face no challengers in this years election.

 

Comments (3)

No Room At White Pine County Jail?

Posted on 20 January 2012 by Howard Copelan

Get the Flash Player to see the wordTube Media Player.

The White Pine County Jail is bulging at the seems with a bumper crop of inmates and little extra room said under Sheriff Scott Henroid.

 

“We have rarely seen it like this,” Henroid said last week. “usually there is an increase in population around the New Year’s holiday. But very rarely like this especially in the winter time.”

 

Ely like the rest of Nevada has seen a very warm winter with little or no snowfall and temperatures rarely dropping below freezing.

 

Get the Flash Player to see the wordTube Media Player.

And while the almost balmy conditions are welcomed by most residents and travelers passing through the Silver State, police have long noted that the nicer it is outside the more crime.

 

“It’s simple,” explained now retired White Pine county sheriff Bernie Romero ten years ago during a similar winter heat wave. “When is 20 below freezing and there is a foot of snow on the road it is pretty hard to commit a crime.”

 

Since New Year’s day some 15 felons have been booked into the jail on new arrest warrants in addition to inmates serving out misdemeanor sentences.

 

 

 

Comments Off on No Room At White Pine County Jail?

Our Meeting With Mr. Mowszowski

Posted on 20 January 2012 by Howard Copelan

We are taking a couple of weeks off because with have a very important meeting with a certain Mr. Mowszowski in Israel.

He has not quite arrived but we are certain that he will be on time being his mother’s son.

Funny thing being in the news business our attention is pretty much pulled this way and that. The most important story is the one we are currently working on.

That was the way it was until we first heard about Mr. Mowszowski’s upcoming arrival.

Suddenly and for the past nine months the most important story is him and probably will stay him until an equally blessed event happens along in the near future.

One thinks a lot about the future when one is told of a grandchild. And one thinks a lot about the past.

Our Anna, Mr. Mowszowski’s mother is named after our father’s mother, that previous Anna had a grandfather name Joseph Neiderman. While we had no idea we were Neidermans until this year there are only four generations separating us from Joseph who was born and died under the Romanovs and lived when scientists actually debated whether a man could travel faster that 35 miles per hour and live.

We wonder what wonderful things Mr. Mowszowski and Mr. Mowszowski’s children and his children’s children will see long after we join Joe Neiderman on the family tree.

When we do join Joe, we hope to meet him and perhaps share a few words. But who knows what awaits us when we shuffle off this mortal coil and venture beyond that hilly borne.

But we will drink to him when we meet Mr. Mowszowski, Mazel Tov Joseph and to all the others both known and unknown in the family tree, we made it to another generation Mr. Mowszowski will do us proud.

 

Two years ago  we had over a dozen candidates run four three seats on the West Wendover City Council.

Only one person actually won a clear majority of the vote.

That wasn’t democracy, it was chaos. Even before the filing period begins this spring we think it would be a really good idea if our city council instittute a primary election to piggy back on the county primary to be held June 12.

City Clerk Anna Bartolome says it can’t be done. We beg to differ. and perhaps a little research by city Attorney Gary di Grazia could find a way.

Comments (2)

West Wendover Trials January 11, 2012

Posted on 19 January 2012 by Howard Copelan

Part 1

Get the Flash Player to see the wordTube Media Player.

Part 2

Get the Flash Player to see the wordTube Media Player.

Comments Off on West Wendover Trials January 11, 2012

West Wendover Arraignments January 17, 2012

Posted on 19 January 2012 by Howard Copelan

Get the Flash Player to see the wordTube Media Player.

Comments Off on West Wendover Arraignments January 17, 2012

West Wendover City Council Meeting January 17, 2012

Posted on 19 January 2012 by Howard Copelan

Get the Flash Player to see the wordTube Media Player.

Comments Off on West Wendover City Council Meeting January 17, 2012

Fratto Wants Confession Thrown Out Before Trial

Posted on 13 January 2012 by Howard Copelan

Get the Flash Player to see the wordTube Media Player.

Attorneys for accused killer Toni Fratto moved that her confession be thrown out of court just weeks before her trial is set to begin in February.

The motion filed this Wednesday in Elko District Court expands on points originally made in response to a motion in limine made by Elko district Attorney Marc Torvinen last summer before Fratto’s preliminary hearing in Elko Justice Court.

Torvinen’s motion was a successful attempt to preempt a defense move that would seek to throw out Fratto’s confession on the grounds of attorney/client privileged conversation and therefore inadmissible in court.

Get the Flash Player to see the wordTube Media Player.

Patten was arrested for the March 3rd murder of Micaela Costanzo three days after she had gone missing and within a few hours after her body was discovered in a shallow grave some 5 miles west of Wendover.

Patten cracked and admitted to killing the young girl after an all night interrogation session and a phone call to his father Kip. According to police reports at no time during the intense 8 hours of so of questioning did Patten implicate his live in girlfriend Fratto in the crime and indeed may have even used her as his alibi.

For the first six weeks after his arrest, it was the position of the Elko District Attorney’s office and the Elko Sheriff’s Department that Kody Patten was the sole suspect in the case and would alone stand trial for the murder of Micaela Costanzo.

All that changed on April 22, when John Ohlson, Patten’s lead attorney released the bombshell confession from Toni Fratto in which she claims it was she and not her lover who killed Costanzo. Within 24 hours of Ohlson’s release of the taped confession to the court, Fratto was arrested and charged with the death penalty eligible open murder of her classmate.

While the confession was allowed for the purposes of the preliminary hearing, its admissibility on the District Court level is a whole new ball game.

Where the outcome of a preliminary hearing is heavily weighted to the prosecution the playing field is much more level at the trial stage, and it is not unusual that some evidence presented during the hearing is thrown out before trial.

Fratto’s attorneys stress two major points in their motion. The first being that Fratto confession was protected by attorney client privilege and as such cannot be used against her. The second that without the confession the state has literally no other evidence linking her to the crime.

Fratto’s attorneys John Springgate and David Lockie allege that Fratto was lied to and manipulated by Ohlson and Jeff Kump to put herself possibly on death row while giving her vague assurances that anything she said would be more or less confidential.

Apart from revealing details about the confession itself, the motion indicates the deep rift between Fratto’s lawyers and Patten’s. Far from being on the same side the legal teams are seem to be gearing up for a legal version of “royal rumble” with every side for itself.

Time and time again Ohlson is mentioned in support of the DA’s assertion that Fratto’s confession is not protected by the attorney/client privilege. And for their part Fratto’s lawyers accused Ohlson of blatantly misleading their client and perhaps even violating the attorney rules of conduct.

Before she made her confession Fratto was in almost daily contact with Patten. Fratto visited him as often as twice a week making the four hour round trip to Elko on Wednesdays and Sunday ever since Patten was arrested March 7th.

She also talked to him at least once a day thanks to a collect calling plan purchased by her father. The frequent and continued contact the girl had with Patten also

Far from the black widow who directed Patten to kill a romantic or social rival, friends and acquaintances of both Fratto and Patten describe her as a mouse of a girl who was “barely there”.

Indeed some friends relate the Patten held the whole Fratto family in thrall and what official records exist tend to support the allegation.

He moved into the home after his own parents threw him out and bragged to classmates how he verbally and emotionally abused his benefactors.

So complete was his domination of the family, friends relate, that even when Patten was caught on school grounds strangling Toni Fratto just months before the murder, Claude and Cassie Fratto refused to press criminal charges and allowed the very disturbed young man back into their home.

By all accounts Fratto’s parents were oblivious to the point of denial that there was anything wrong with the future killer.

Then a juvenile Patten was suspended and than readmitted to the high school where he was put on probation.

According to one well placed source Patten was just one infraction away from being expelled at the time of the murder and like his girlfriend Patten also withdrew from the school’s social life in his senior year.

If Fratto’s confession is thrown out some legal experts familiar with the case suggest that the state would have no other option than to drop most charges against Fratto.

Even with the confession several observers in the courtroom expressed doubt that a jury would convict the girl for the murder.

Investigators admitted that there was not a scintilla of evidence putting her at the scene of the crime at the time it was said to have occurred.

“There isn’t a foot print, there isn’t a finger print, there isn’t any trace of her at the murder scene,” said one investigator. “This is the damnedest case I have ever seen.”

“Toni Fratto was always just a huge smokescreen,” said a source involved in the case. “Without her this is a simple murder of by a sociopath kid of a sweet young girl. She (Fratto) was used by Patten’s side to confuse everyone.”

Get the Flash Player to see the wordTube Media Player.

Comments (8)

Click to visit these advertisers or websites

Login

AdSense