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Florida Air Force vet gets life in prison for brutal attack on roommate who spurned him
Nearly four years after she was almost beaten to death by a roommate she found on Craigslist, Danielle Cabo Jones appeared in a Miami courtroom wearing makeup to hide the remaining scars on her face.
The damage, however, runs deeper. The brutal attack severely damaged her brain, leaving her with sustained memory loss.
"I wanted to go to school for criminal justice and psychiatry and now, I have my 11-year-old brother help me with my math, which was my best subject in school," Jones told a judge on Monday. "I also used to be able to sing very well. I can't anymore. I used to be able to dance very well and I can't anymore."
"I'm still hopeful that every day I'll get slowly better but I feel my life has been destroyed."
For destroying that life, her attacker Byron Mitchell, 39, was sentenced Monday to life in prison. In June, a jury convicted him of attempted murder and false imprisonment for the Feb. 14, 2016, attack that left Jones in a coma for nearly one month.
Prosecutors said Mitchell attacked Jones, who was 23 at the time, inside their Overtown apartment. The two met after Jones placed a Craigslist ad looking for a roommate. They were living together just over a week.
Mitchell grew obsessed with Jones, and became so angry that she had no interest in him that he beat, choked and stabbed Jones. At trial, jurors rejected Mitchell's claim that he acted in self-defense.
The sentence was imposed by Miami-Dade Circuit Judge John Schlesinger, a longtime judge who said most of the women who endure the "savagery and brutality" of similar attacks don't survive.
Schlesinger rejected leniency for Mitchell, a former U.S. Air Force serviceman who sought to portray himself as having been bullied as a child, and affected by mental health woes stemming from head trauma he sustained in his youth.
"Despite his behavior following the military, he didn't get evaluated, or counseled... he got reprimands," clinical psychologist Dr. Michelle Quiroga testified. "He did not get the help that he needed."
But the judge said he did not find the struggles with mental health in school and during his years with the Air Force "particularly persuasive."
The state portrayed Mitchell in a much more sinister light.
Miami Detective Anthony Reyes, the lead investigator on the case, told the judge that Mitchell was a serial stalker of women.
Mitchell answered by rambling for more than six minutes, insisting that women have misinterpreted his approaches. "I'm not interested in being hostile, or being negative, or making people feel bad," Mitchell said. "I'm not interested in putting someone in a casket."
He tried to apologize to Jones.
"Danielle, I've heard everything that you said. We haven't talked in what seems like it's four years," Mitchell said. "You said that you had issues with moving forward through life... don't let a single incident hold you back."
She walked out of the courtroom.
©2019 Miami Herald. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
Once again, the United States and the Taliban are apparently close to striking a peace deal. Such a peace agreement has been rumored to be in the works longer than the latest "Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure" sequel. (The difference is Keanu Reeves has fewer f**ks to give than U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad.)
Both sides appeared to be close to reaching an agreement in September until the Taliban took credit for an attack that killed Army Sgt. 1st Class Elis A. Barreto Ortiz, of the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division. That prompted President Donald Trump to angrily cancel a planned summit with the Taliban that had been scheduled to take place at Camp David, Maryland, on Sept. 8.
Now Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen has told a Pakistani newspaper that he is "optimistic" that the Taliban could reach an agreement with U.S. negotiators by the end of January.
75 years ago, Audie Murphy earned his Medal of Honor with nothing but a burning tank destroyer's .50 cal and insane bravery
Editor's note: a version of this post first appeared in 2018
On January 26, 1945, the most decorated U.S. service member of World War II earned his legacy in a fiery fashion.
Florida senators are pushing for Purple Hearts for service members wounded in the NAS Pensacola shooting
Florida's two senators are pushing the Defense Department to award Purple Hearts to the U.S. service members wounded in the December shooting at Naval Air Station Pensacola.
The Navy Department is in the middle of a new force-structure review, which could change the number and types of ships the sea services say they'll need to fight future conflicts. But instead of trying to project what they will need three decades out, which has been the case in past assessments, acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly said the services will take a shorter view.
"I don't know what the threat's going to be 30 years from now, but if we're building a force structure for 30 years from now, I would suggest we're probably not building the right one," he said Friday at a National Defense Industrial Association event.
The Navy completed its last force-structure assessment in 2016. That 30-year plan called for a 355-ship fleet.
When Oscar Jesus Temores showed up to work at Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story each day, his colleagues in base security knew they were in for a treat.
Temores was a master-at-arms who loved his job and cracking corny jokes.
"He just he just had that personality that you can go up to him and talk to him about anything. It was goofy and weird, and he always had jokes," said Petty Officer 3rd Class Derek Lopez, a fellow base patrolman. "Sometimes he'd make you cry from laughter and other times you'd just want to cringe because of how dumb his joke was. But that's what made him more approachable and easy to be around."
That ability to make others laugh and put people at ease is just one of the ways Temores is remembered by his colleagues. It has been seven weeks since the 23-year-old married father of one was killed when a civilian intruder crashed his pickup truck into Temores' vehicle at Fort Story.