The Daily Moth 8-27-19

Feud between Brazil and France over Amazon fires; Oklahoma judge orders Johnson & Johnson to pay $572 million for opioid crisis; Lebanese Harvard student denied entry at Boston airport; Updates on apparent murder of Grant Whitaker; Mavrick Fisher charged with first-degree murder

[Transcript] Hello, welcome to The Daily Moth! It is Tuesday, August 27. Ready for news?


Feud between Brazil and France over Amazon fires

There is a feud between the Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro and the French President Emmanuel Macron about the Amazon fires.

The Group of Seven (G-7) had pledged $20 million to help stop the fires. Britain made a separate pledge of $12 million and Canada pledged an additional $11 million.

Macron said the Amazon fires is a world issue because the rainforest represents the “lungs of the planet” and that he wants to send a message that Bolsonaro cannot be allowed to destroy everything.

Macron said the money is not just for Brazil, but for nine countries in the Amazon region. 60% of the rainforest is in Brazil.

Bolsonaro was resistant to accepting this aid because he feels like it is akin to colonialism and that other nations are interfering in Brazilian affairs. He said Macron has called him a liar and demanded Macron to apologize. He also said they welcome the aid as long as they decide where the money will be directed.

A top Brazilian official said Macron could not prevent a fire at Notre Dame so they should take care of their own home and French colonies.

U.S. President Donald Trump said the U.S. supports Bolsonaro and that he is working very hard on the Amazon fires.

A Brazilian agency that tracks deforestation said there this year has the highest amount of fires in the past six years. There are concerns that the fires were purposefully set to clear land for farming and ranching, which can be very profitable, and that the Bolsonaro administration is allowing this to happen.


Oklahoma judge orders Johnson & Johnson to pay $572 million for opioid crisis

A judge in Oklahoma has ordered Johnson & Johnson and its subsidiaries to pay $572 million to the state for the harm caused by addiction to painkillers.

Judge Thad Balkman of the Cleveland County District Court said Johnson & Johnson downplayed the dangers of the painkillers and oversold the benefits in marketing campaigns and visits to doctors. The judge said this has led to increasing rates of addiction, overdose deaths, and babies born exposed to opioids.

This is the first trial of a drug manufacturer in the opioid crisis, so it is a landmark case that will influence upcoming trials. There are 2,000 lawsuits pending in the U.S.

Oklahoma’s attorney general wanted $17 billion to pay for addiction treatment, drug courts, and other services that would be needed in the next 20 years, but the judgment of half a billion is worth one year of services.

Johnson & Johnson said they would appeal. A top executive said the company did not cause the opioid crisis in Oklahoma.

The company contracts with poppy growers in Tasmania to supply ingredients needed for oxycodone or similar opioid prescriptions.


Lebanese Harvard student denied entry at Boston airport

A freshman student from Lebanon who was to start studying at Harvard University on September 3rd was stopped by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at Boston Logan International Airport and sent back to his home country.

The student’s name is Ismail Ajjawi. He told the Harvard Crimson student newspaper that at the airport, his laptop and cellphone was searched for five hours. He said a CBP officer said she found people on Ajjawi’s friends list posting political viewpoints that were opposed to the U.S.

The student said he told the officer that he doesn’t have any posts discussing politics and that he is not responsible for what others post — that he did not “like” or share or comment on them.

But Ajjawi was sent back to Lebanon. The CBP told CBS News that the student was “deemed inadmissible.” The CBP did not specify exactly why.

A Harvard spokesperson said they will intervene to help the student and hopes he will be allowed to come back and attend classes this fall.


Updates on apparent murder of Grant Whitaker

Alex: I have several updates on the apparent death of Grant Whitaker and the arrest of Mavrick Fisher in Mexico on suspicion of murder.

I was in touch with two anonymous individuals who communicated with Mavrick shortly before he was detained in Mexico.

I will show you some screenshots or provide a summary of the conversations, but I must warn you that they are extremely disturbing and graphic.

The first individual said Mavrick confessed to him on Sunday that he killed Grant. Mavrick said that the two had some kind of falling out after a trip together to Elko, Nevada.

Mavrick told the individual that Grant was a “demon,” that he felt threatened by him, so he picked up a rock and smashed Grant’s skull with it.

The use of a rock as a murder weapon matches with a Facebook inbox conversation between the second individual and Mavrick, who used his alternate Facebook account “Zaden Blujay.”

Individual 2: Did you kill Grant?

Zaden: But I used rock to punch his head, and I crack his skull. His brain splatter all over floow. He died. So Yeah I did kill grant.

Individual 2: Where you at right now

Zaden: Guess lol

Individual 2: Mexico?

Zaden: Right on! LOL (Image of Mavrick smiling in front of a sign that reads, “Mexico.”

The first individual said he told Mavrick to turn himself in and immediately reached out to the Lake County Sheriff’s Office.

Both individuals said Mavrick told them that after he killed Grant, he decided to put his body in his sleeping bag, placed it in his vehicle, and then left it there for several days. He said that the stench was unbearable and that his body was decomposing.

Individual 2: What happen what you do with his body after you smashed his head?

Zaden: I just zipped up his body inside sleeping bag. And put in car. I’m warning you… Dead body STINKS!!! Worst smell I ever did smell in all my life. I left the body in car for 3 days. Then his skin become yellow and green with a lot of worms.

Individual 2: Oh man, police will find out your hand print and a lot of evidence.

Zaden: Yep

There is one part of the story that is different in both individuals’s accounts — the first said Mavrick said he attacked Grant without provocation, but Mavrick told the second individual that Grant tried to stab him.

Individual 2: That grant try to kill you??

Zaden: Yeah he did try to kill me. With kitchen knife. He’s a fucking psychopath.

We know that there is a video that is circulating on deaf social media of Mavrick walking and talking in a phone saying that he was in Mexico and would rather die than to go to jail. This was apparently filmed on Sunday evening.

(Video) Mavrick: “I will die soon anyway. I’d rather die than go to jail. Fuck that.”

The first individual said that today (Monday) morning, Mavrick messaged him saying he decided he will turn himself in, but wanted to enjoy a few days in Mexico before going to jail.

After a few hours, the first individual said he received voice messages from Mavrick’s accounts, then text messages, and then realized that it was Mexican police asking if he was lost. The individual told the Mexican police that Mavrick needed to be arrested and that he was a dangerous person. The Mexican police then sent him images of Mavrick being detained.

The second individual also received the same messages from Mexican police. Here is a screenshot.

(Image of Mavrick leaning against a white pickup truck)

The Lake County Sheriff’s Office said Grant’s vehicle was found near a Dollar General store in Clearlake Oaks and that what they believe is Grant’s body was found at the 7500 block of Scotts Valley Road.

According to Google Maps, it is a drive of more than 27 miles, about a 37 minute drive.

(Image of a Google Maps route showing a 37 minute drive with 27.1 miles total from 7500 Scotts Valley Road to Dollar General in Clearlake). An alternate route shows 42 minutes with 30.6 miles.)

The Press Democrat reported that an autopsy is scheduled for Wednesday to positively identify the remains and determine the cause of death. Mavrick will be deported and is likely to be booked in San Diego, then transported to Lake County.

First-degree murder in California has a sentence of 25 years to life, while second-degree murder has a sentence of 15 years to life. A first-degree murder is done in a way that is willful, deliberate, and premeditated. A second-degree murder is when a person kills in self-defense, or suffered from insanity, or accidentally killed a person.


Mavrick Fisher charged with first-degree murder

Mavrick Fisher is now in custody at the San Diego Central Jail and is charged with first-degree murder.

According to online records, Mavrick was arrested by Immigration/Customs authorities and was booked Monday night just after 9 p.m.

The San Diego County Sheriff’s Department told “The Daily Moth” that the arrest is based on a warrant from Lake County Sheriff’s Office, who announced in a news release on Monday that Mavrick was detained in Mexico after he confessed to killing Grant Whitaker at a campground in Humboldt County. Human remains that is believed to belong to Grant was found in Lake County.

Lt. Corey Paulich, who is the public information officer for Lake County Sheriff’s Office, told “The Daily Moth” that they are currently working on getting Mavrick transported to Lake County and will know more tomorrow.

Paulich said Mavrick should face a judge in Lake County. The exact date will be set after he is booked in Lake County’s jail.

Online records from the San Diego jail say that Mavrick is not eligible for release and has no bail set.

In California, a conviction for first-degree murder carries a sentence of 25 years to life.

Pam Embry Thierry, who is the grandmother of Grant Whitaker, said they are thankful for the support they have received from the deaf community and said the family would not have known what happened to Grant if not for a few brave souls who came forward with what they knew, so she could go to the police.

Theirry said the family is grieving but that she is sure Mavrick’s family is grieving too. She said the family forgives Mavrick because those would be Grant’s first words to us if he could speak.

Thierry said Grant was planning to leave Mavrick to either go to work on a farm in Illinois or in Sacramento and that he felt Mavrick did not have the same vision as he had on forming a deaf farming community.

Shelby Viguier, who is Grant’s cousin, posted on her Facebook wall a tribute to Grant and gave “The Daily Moth” permission for me to share it.

Shelby said Grant is the reason why she learned sign language and that when she was pregnant, she told Grant that the child’s first language would be American Sign Language. She said she sent Grant a picture of her baby signing the “ILY” handshape last Tuesday morning, but that Grant never saw the message and never met her baby girl.

She said she is struggling with it, but will honor Grant by fulfilling her promise (to teach her ASL). She said, “May justice be served and you (Grant) rest in peace.”

San Diego: (put in “Fisher, Mavrick”)

Lake County:

[Previous updates]

LIVE: Mavrick Fisher in custody in Mexico for suspected murder of Grant Whitaker

[Updates on apparent murder of Grant Whitaker]


That is all for today. See you tomorrow and stay with the light!


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