John Lennon's killer Mark David Chapman is awaiting a decision over whether he will finally be freed from prison after his eighth parole case this week (beg18Aug14). Chapman was sentenced to 20-years-to-life behind bars for gunning down the Beatles legend outside his New York City home in December, 1980.
He has been eligible for parole since 2000 but has seen seven previous applications turned down due to the gravity of his offence and the ongoing public outrage over the murder.
His parole application went back before the New York state's review board this week (beg18Aug14), but Lennon's widow Yoko Ono has already written a letter to the officials laying out her objections and urging them to keep Chapman locked up.
The killer, 59, will find out his fate in the coming days, according to the New York Daily News. If he is denied parole, he will have to wait another two years for his next review.
Newly-freed rapper Remy Ma has credited her husband Papoose with keeping her spirits up while serving an eight-year sentence for a 2007 shooting. The Lean Back hitmaker, real name Reminisce Smith, walked free from the Bedford Hills Correctional Facility for Women in New York on 1 August (14), after completing six years of her 2008 sentence for assault, weapons possession and attempted coercion relating.
Now Remy Ma has opened up about her time in prison, insisting she wouldn't have made it through without the support of fellow hip-hop star Papoose, who made her his wife in 2008, while she was incarcerated.
During an interview on SiriusXM radio show Sway In The Morning, she revealed a lot of inmates would suffer from depression and stress, but she was able to hold her head high thanks to her loved ones - and their emotional and physical support has helped her make a smooth transition back into life outside of prison.
She explained, "Me and my case, I had a very strong support system. Not just my family and my friends, but my husband was ultimately super supportive. When I first got there, (Papoose) came up, literally, every single day for the first year I was there, visiting from like 8.30 in the morning 'til 3.30 in the afternoon, Monday through Friday... and which ever weekend my visit alternated on.
"So, when you have that support system that keeps you in tune with the world and keeps you sane, it's easier for you to come back and be how I am now."
The ashes of rock 'n' roll pioneer/beloved radio DJ Alan Freed were removed from the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame to make room for more music memorabilia. Freed was a popular DJ in the museum's hometown of Cleveland, Ohio, and his remains have been featured there for the past 12 years.
However, on Friday (01Aug14), Freed's urn was taken home by his son Lance Freed, as the Hall of Fame's Executive Director Greg Harris notes the museum is "moving away from exhibiting remains, as ashes don't help tell a story".
The DJ, who is credited for first using the term "rock 'n' roll" and heavily promoting African-American blues and rock artists, will now be commemorated in the Pioneers of Rock exhibit, as opposed to his own space.
Lance has shared his disappointment in the move, telling Ohio newspaper Plain Dealer that Harris' decision is "pushing him (Freed) to the side," adding, "It's making him part of the passing parade, rather than a place where people can say, 'Hey this is the guy who helped start it all.'"
The move coincides with a new exhibit featuring Beyonce's most memorable fashion items, which opened two weeks ago (22Jul14).
Argentine soccer star Carlos Tevez's stepfather has been freed following a kidnapping ordeal on Tuesday (29Jul14). Juan Alberto Cabral was ambushed by a group of thugs while driving his car in Moron, near Argentina's capital city Buenos Aires, and held captive as the criminals made contact with the soccer star's family and demanded a ransom for the patriarch's safe return.
The figure, which has differed in various reports, was paid and Cabral was released after eight hours.
Family spokesperson Gustavo Galasso claims the soccer player's stepfather is "in good shape" and appears physically unharmed.
Cabral helped to raise Tevez as a child after his biological dad was killed.
The former Manchester City star is reportedly on his way home from Italy, where he now plays for Juventus, to be with his family.
Two members of feminist punk group Pussy Riot are taking Russian government officials to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) to demand compensation over their imprisonment.
Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alekhina spent a total of 21 months behind bars on hooliganism charges following a protest at a church in Moscow in 2012.
They were freed in December (13) as part of a political amnesty, but now the singers are fighting to hold Russian authorities accountable at the ECHR in France over allegations the investigation and prosecution violated their rights under the European Convention on Human Rights.
They are demanding 120,000 Euros ($161,282/£94,872) each in compensation, plus an additional 10,000 Euros ($13,435/£7,903) for court costs.
Pavel Chikov from the human rights legal group Agora, which is representing the two stars, says, "They didn't get fair trial here in Russia so they want to get it finally in the European court of human rights."
"Plus they want this case to set a precedent that Russians can speak publicly on sensitive political issues, even if this speech is not supported by majority. This is a case about freedom of expression and fair trial first of all."
Director Randall Miller and his producer wife Jody Savin have been released on bail after surrendering to police in Georgia. The couple and fellow producer Jay Sedrish were charged with involuntary manslaughter and criminal trespass related to the death of a camera assistant on the set of their Allman Brothers biopic Midnight Rider.
Sarah Jones, 27, was hit by a train and killed in February (14) as the production crew shot footage on railroad tracks in Wayne County. Six other crew members were also injured.
Miller and Savin turned themselves in to cops on Sunday (13Jul14) and were each freed on $27,000 (£15,882) bail.
Executive producer Sedrish has yet to surrender to authorities.
The trio faces up to 10 years behind bars if convicted of involuntary manslaughter, while the criminal trespass misdemeanour could land Miller and the producers 12 months in prison.
Production on the movie, based on the memoirs of Gregg Allman, was halted following the train tragedy.
Orange Is The New Black star Taryn Manning has been granted an order of protection against a former friend who is accused of harassing the actress. Jeanine Heller appeared at Manhattan Criminal Court in New York City to face a misdemeanour charge over allegations she bombarded Manning with hundreds of online messages between April (14) and July (14), according to the New York Post.
Heller was freed without bail, but Judge Lisa Sokoloff issued an order of protection banning her from contacting Manning, as well as the actress' mother and the family dog, telling the defendant, "The last person who violated my orders of protection is now in jail."
Getty Images/U.S. Army
It’s not shocking that the media frenzy surrounding Bowe Bergdahl, the U.S. Army Soldier who was controversially traded for five Guantanamo Bay prisoners after spending five years as a prisoner of the Taliban, release is still going strong. But it is somewhat of a surprise that just three weeks after he was freed, two separate films have already been launched about his story, one by Zero Dark Thirty helmer Kathryn Bigelow and the other by relative newcomer Todd Field. According to the Hollywood Reporter, the former will center her film on the events leading up to his extraction from the Taliban, while the latter has optioned the Rolling Stone article, “America’s Last Prisoner of War,” as the inspiration for the project.
But while the conversation regarding these projects seems to be centered on whether Bigelow or Field will finish their film first (or whose final product will be better, or who will finally option the rights to Berdgdahl’s life), one fact is continually overlooked. Namely, that it is way too soon for Hollywood to make a movie about Bergdahl and his release. There’s no denying that his story has all of the makings of a great film, and both Bigelow and Field will likely do an excellent job with the material, but now is not the time for that film to be made.
Though there are countless articles, opinion pieces, comments and exposes available about Bergdahl’s time in the Army and his rescue from the Taliban, very little of those contain any actual facts about the case, because there simply aren’t very many available. Most of the Army’s investigations and findings are classified, and they haven’t released much to the media other than general statements. Almost everything that is known about Bergdahl’s case is conjecture, which means that there is very little objective truth for Bigelow and Field to base their films on.
Basing a film primarily on conjecture and evidence that has been pieced together by the media will result in a movie that is heavily biased, no matter which way it leans. Admittedly, all films are biased in some way, but Bergdahl is such a controversial figure that whatever the films’ biases are, they will be used by the media to support or refute any points they want to make, which will color the public’s consciousness towards the situation, and make it more difficult for the truth to come out. And since the government and the Army are still looking into the circumstances that surrounded Bergdahl’s release, those perceptions could impact the outcome of those investigations. Whatever impact these projects have on the public consciousness could help sway the decision in Bergdahl’s case, rather than allowing the objective facts to decide.
In addition to the public implications that Bigelow and Field’s films could have, making them now is just insensitive. Bergdahl hasn’t even been out of captivity for a month, and already Hollywood is attempting to capitalize on his story. He has yet to return to his home and his family – he hasn’t even returned to the United States at all yet – and already directors are circling to try and profit off of him. No matter your personal feelings on Bergdahl or his actions, the fact remains that he should be allowed to recover from a traumatic experience before people attempt to turn those experiences into other people’s entertainment. At the very least, consider his family and loved ones, who deserve the right to spend some time with Begdahl and celebrate his return home before they have to work through their feelings about the films.
We’re not saying that a film should never be made about Bergdahl; we’re just saying that it doesn’t need to be made now. Hollywood should wait until we, as a nation, have some perspective about the situation, or at least until the 24-hour news cycle has found something else to focus on. Wait until the ongoing investigation has concluded, wait until we have some answers to support the media’s endless theories, or even just wait until Bergdahl arrives back on American soil. It doesn’t matter when the film finally does get made, as long as it's not right now.
Chris Brown celebrated his prison release at a star-studded secret bash thrown by his family and friends on Thursday (05Jun14).
The troubled singer was freed from jail on Monday (02Jun14) after serving time for being kicked out of court-ordered rehab, a condition of his probation violation case stemming from his 2009 assault conviction for attacking ex-girlfriend Rihanna. Brown marked his return at a surprise party in Beverly Hills, California on Thursday evening.
After being guided in blindfolded by his girlfriend Karrueche Tran, he was greeted by friends including rappers T-Pain, Tyga, Akon, and Romeo at the poolside bash. In posts on Instagram.com, a shocked Brown could be seen hugging and shaking hands with his pals.
Prosecutors in Chris Brown's Washington, D.C. assault case have asked a judge to bring forward the newly-freed singer's trial date to the end of June (14). The Kiss Kiss hitmaker was released from prison on Monday (02Jun14), over two months after he was incarcerated for violating his probation by getting kicked out of a court-ordered rehab programme for bad behaviour in March (14).
He was also handed an additional four-month term in early May (14) after admitting to breaking the terms of his probation, served up during his 2009 Rihanna assault trial, while in D.C. in October (13), when he allegedly became embroiled in a fight outside a hotel.
Brown is due to appear in a Washington, D.C. court on 25 June (14) for a status conference, but the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia filed legal papers on Wednesday (04Jun14), seeking to change the hearing to the start date for the trial.
The lead prosecutor claims there is no reason to delay it any longer as Brown's probation violation admission is grounds enough to try him on the misdemeanour assault charge, according to TMZ.com.
The embattled star's lawyer, Mark Geragos, previously insisted Brown's admission was not a confession of his involvement in the attack on 20-year-old Patrick Adams.
The singer's bodyguard Christopher Hollosy has already been found guilty of assaulting Adams, who accused the minder and Brown of beating him up and breaking his nose in an unprovoked altercation.