Criminal Justice News

Thursday, May 24, 2018

F.A.M.I.L.Y. Helps Keep North Carolina School Safe; Indiana Trains School Safety Specialist; Read About Both on

A new article recently posted to, Justice Technology Information Center's school safety website, features the volunteer F.A.M.I.L.Y. program in Winston-Salem\Forsyth County (N.C.) schools, which uses parent volunteers to provide assistance to the school resource officer. Joining that article as new to the website is another that focuses on the free training that Indiana offers to its educators. After you read "F.A.M.I.L.Y. Volunteers Give School Staff Extra Eyes" and "Indiana School Safety Specialist Academy Keeps Training Fresh, Relevant," check out additional success stories, resources and more.

Eagan Man Sentenced To 25 Years In Federal Prison For Producing Pornographic Images Of A Two-Year-Old Girl

United States Attorney Gregory G. Brooker today announced the sentencing of ELLIS SCOTT TOOLES, 31, to 25 years in prison for production of child pornography. TOOLES, who pleaded guilty on May 12, 2017, to one count of production of child pornography, was sentenced earlier today before Judge Susan Richard Nelson in U.S. District Court in Duluth, Minnesota.

“This defendant is a dangerous predator who ruthlessly sought to harm children,” said U.S. Attorney Greg Brooker. “Although no amount of prison time will erase the horrific crimes that were committed, the sentence handed down today will hopefully provide some sense of justice for the victims and others impacted by this defendant’s evil acts.”

“The defendant admitted to attacking and perversely taking advantage of the most vulnerable and innocent member of society,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Jill Sanborn. “Today’s sentence ensures that those victims will have the opportunity to grow up in a world where the defendant will not have the opportunity to harm anyone.”

According to the defendant’s guilty plea and documents filed in court, on February 14, 2016, TOOLES engaged in sexually explicit conduct with a two-year-old victim and used a cell phone to record and distribute a video and images of the encounter. TOOLES also produced sexually explicit images and videos of 17-year-old victim.

According to court documents, TOOLES was arrested for distributing drugs in the Duluth area in June 2016. Following the arrest, TOOLES reached out to friends and family in the Twin Cities and asked them to retrieve his cell phone so he could access the phone numbers of certain individuals to help him post bail. While TOOLES’S friends and family accessed the phone, they uncovered the horrific video of TOOLES with an infant child in diapers, along with other sexually explicit text messages demonstrating the defendant’s clear intent to harm children. The friends and family turned the phone over to law enforcement.

This case is the result of an investigation led by the FBI, with assistance from the Eagan Police Department, the Apple Valley Police Department, the Burnsville Police Department, the Duluth Police Department, the Saint Louis County Attorney’s Office, and the Dakota County Attorney’s Office.

Charlotte Man Sentenced To 21 Years On Bank Robbery Charges

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – On Tuesday, May 22, 2018, U.S. District Judge Robert J. Conrad, Jr. sentenced Ronald McKnight, 34, of Charlotte to 20 years in prison and three years of supervised release on bank robbery charges, announced R. Andrew Murray, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina. McKnight was also sentenced to one additional year in prison for violating his supervised release on prior robbery convictions.  Judge Conrad also ordered McKnight to pay $3,425.98 as restitution to victims.

U.S. Attorney Murray is joined in making today’s announcement by John A. Strong, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Charlotte Division, and Chief Kerr Putney of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department (CMPD).

According to filed court documents and the sentencing hearing, on January 5, 2015, McKnight entered the Fifth Third Bank branch located at 212 South Tryon Street, in Charlotte.  Court records show that McKnight presented a note to the bank teller that read, “Robbery 100 50 20 No Die packs.”  The teller handed McKnight over $1,732 in cash and McKnight left the bank.  On January 9, 2015, McKnight entered the Wells Fargo Bank branch located at 2910 South Boulevard, in Charlotte.  McKnight again handed the teller a note that instructed the teller to give McKnight cash in denominations of $100, $50, and $20, and not to include a dye pack.  According to court records, the teller complied with McKnight’s demands, handed him more than $1,660 in cash, and McKnight fled the location.  Court records indicate that law enforcement arrested McKnight later the same day.

A federal jury convicted McKnight of bank robbery in June 2017.  He is currently in federal custody and will be transferred to the custody of the Federal Bureau of Prisons upon designation of a federal facility.  All federal sentences are served without the possibility of parole.

In making today’s announcement, U.S. Attorney Murray thanked the FBI and CMPD for their investigation of the case.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven Kaufman, of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Charlotte, prosecuted the case.