The Rabbit Hole

Police officer shot dead after pointing stun gun at man's dogs as he attended domestic

A police officer killed while responding to a domestic disturbance in a small eastern Pennsylvania borough had pointed a stun gun at two dogs before being shot, court records reveal.

Freemansburg police officer Robert Lasso had pointed at the attacking dogs when the homeowner pulled out a shotgun and fired the fatal blast on Thursday evening.

In police custody, the alleged gunman, 46-year-old George Hitcho Jr, said he had told Mr Lasso to get off his property and not come on unless he had a warrant, authorities said.

'He tried to kill my dogs and pointed a gun in my face,' Hitcho said, according to the documents. 'I do not care if you a cop or not …Unbelievable.'

The officer had been responding to a report of a disturbance and ended up at the back of Hitcho’s house, authorities said.

5 More Women Testify Calling Marissa Alexander's Husband Brutally Abusive


According to First Coast News, last week, in Jacksonville, Florida, five new witness may turn out to be the best news for Marissa Alexander, and the worst news for her abusive husband, Rico Gray. In 2010, Marissa Alexander fired a shot into the air, to keep her husband from attacking her. Alexander had just given birth only ten days prior, and testified that Gray was in a jealous fury and threatened her life. In 2012, Marissa Alexander was sentenced to 20 years in prison, for firing that warning shot and harming no one. In a sworn deposition, Gray said,

I was in a rage. “I called her a whore and bitch and . . . I told her, you know, I used to always tell her that, if I can’t have you, nobody going to have you. It was not the first time of ever saying it to her.”

Ironically, according to Florida’s 'Stand You Ground,' Law if Alexander had killed Gray, she would have most likely gone free. (In states like South Carolina, Think Progress reports, Stand Your Ground doesn’t apply to victims of domestic violence.) First Coast News has extensively covered the Marissa Alexander case, and on October 10th they reported that five new witnesses came forth in a pretrial hearing, and testified against Rico Gray and his violent past:

Witnesses Thursday included three women with whom Gray has had children, as well as two sisters-in-law. All accused Gray of physically intimidating or brutalizing them. One girlfriend, Shartrecia Anderson, testified that Gray was prone to violence. “I know what he’s capable of. He will attack if he’s brought to that point,” she told the court. She also asserted that on at least one occasion, Gray stabbed himself with a fork in order to feign injury to police, and instructed his son to lie to officers in order to back up his version of events.

The prosecution is calling Shartrecia Anderson a liar. Anderson denied Gray abused her in a previous testimony. Keep in mind, many women are afraid of legally accusing their abusers; fearing their abusers will kill them. And that is often the case. According to Gloria Steinem, and verified by PolitiFact,

More women were killed by their husbands or boyfriends since Sept. 11 than “all the Americans who were killed by 9/11 or in Afghanistan and Iraq.” (Approximately 10,000)

Rico Gray did not take the stand on Thursday, and is due to give his side of the story(s) soon. It’s uncertain whether Judge James Daniels will take the testimonies of these new witness into consideration when ruling on Marissa Alexander’s new trial in December. Florida DA Angela Corey, the prosecuting attorney (and failed attorney in the Zimmerman/Martin trial) offered Alexander a 3-years guilty plea. Alexander felt she was innocent, and after having only three hours to decide, turned down the plea. Angela Cory then slapped Alexander with a 20-year sentence. Twenty years, for hurting no one, yet George Zimmerman walks free after what many call the ‘murder’ of Trayvon Martin. After Alexander spent many months in jail, including time away from her newborn infant, her trial was overturned in September of 2013, reportedly due to jury misinformation. It should be mentioned, the overturn occurred after a very big national protest. Once the original trial was overturned, rather than Angela Corey dropping the case, the District Attorney stated she will now go after a 60-year sentence in the new trial. Hard to even type that. It’s disgusting, merciless, unjust, and utterly ridiculous.

Another witness, former Gray wife Dashanna McGriff, alleged a raft of abuses, including being hit with a gun, having her nose broken, and being locked in a closet for hours.

After first seeing a Marissa Alexander headline via Katie Halper/Alternet, I have sworn to continue covering this case until Marissa Alexander is free. I also hope to see a renewed national discourse, not only about victims of domestic violence, but also about those who survive the abuse defending themselves, and are then prosecuted. Many victims of domestic abuse are taken from their children, incarcerated, and left to rot in prison. It’s no wonder so many women do not report domestic violence. Instead, they often stay in fear, and die horrific deaths. Here are the previous Marissa Alexander Daily Kos diaries I’ve written over the last two years. There are many more by other diarists and you can search those diaries by typing in the name, ‘Marissa Alexander,’ in the upper right search box. The diaries below are listed from first, to the most recent.

Stand Your Ground? Black Woman Fires Shot Gets 20 Years - White Man Kills And Goes Free - WTF
A Letter From Marissa Alexander - The Battered Woman Serving 20 Years For Firing A Warning Shot
Excerpts From Alexander’s Abusive Husband’s Deposition… And She’s The One That Goes To Prison
Anderson Cooper & Chris Hayes Cover Marissa Alexander. First Release Her - Then Argue
Prosecuting Attorney Angela Corey Refuses To Drop Marissa Alexander’s Case - New Trial Scheduled
MSNBC Host Melissa Harris-Perry Schools State Attorney Angela Corey On Domestic Violence
DA Angela Corey Now Seeks 60 Years Against Marissa Alexander In 2nd Trial

Special thanks to Karen Teegarden, the founder and president of - an organization that has continuously published news about this case, and supported Alexander, as well as many victims of domestic violence and sexual abuse. Many of the above diaries were also cross-posted in Liberals Unite.

If you are being abused, or know someone who is, there is help. Please contact: National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1.800.799.SAFE

For more information on the organizations fighting for Marissa Alexander’s release, visit: Free Marisssa Now, and Free Marissa Now on Tumblr. (Note: There have been a few stories circulating over the past few days saying Alexander’s case was overturned. That story is from last September (2013) and has caused confusion among Alexander supporters.)


Still off the grid exploring the music of nature.

This is day two hundred and twenty-four.