Monday, April 30, 2007

World-Herald Stories Reveal Details
Following Grand Jury Investigations

The Omaha World-Herald recently followed up on a two cases that were investigated by grand juries, revealing new details about the incidents using public information laws to obtain information that was previously withheld.

In a story in Saturday's editions, reporter Lynn Safranek outlined the emergency response to a shooting that killed a woman and her two sons in January. Jaime Lee spent nearly a half-hour on the phone with 911 dispatchers while police determined a way to approach the home where 62-year-old Richard Wilkinson had shot Darrell "Jason" Lee, his wife, Jaime and her two young sons.

Wilkinson fatally shot himself as Omaha police entered the house. Last week, a grand jury cleared police of any wrongdoing in the incident.

A story by Jason Kuiper in Monday's editions uses calls to 911 to paint a picture of the events leading up to the officer-involved shooting of Robert Ventry on Feb. 7.

Ventry was under the influence of several narcotics as he broke into a number of homes that night and assaulted several people. A grand jury last week determined that there was no wrongdoing by Omaha police officers who shot and killed him.

In Kuiper's story, the fourth caller to 911 said a man had come into his house and torn the place up.

"The caller was breathless, saying he needed help. He said he was hit in the head with a pan and pleaded for authorities to hurry. 'Please come quick because I don't know what's going to happen,'" the story said.