Freddie Lee Hall, as a child, had been classified as "mentally retarded"; he is illiterate, cannot cook for himself, bathe independently, clean his clothes, and is unable to handle his own finances. Halll
was sentenced to death for murdering Karol Hurst, a 21-year-old pregnant woman who was abducted leaving a Leesburg, Fla., grocery store in 1978. His guilt is not at issue; what is at issue, before the Supreme Court this morning
, is whether the Florida Supreme Court's definition of mental retardation (having an IQ of 70 or less) was correctly applied to Hall, who has tested at an IQ of 71. [more inside]
posted by roomthreeseventeen
on Mar 3, 2014 -
447 years ago this morning, the Provost's house at Kirk o' Field, Edinburgh, was annihilated
in an explosion. Lord Darnley
, king consort to Mary, Queen of Scots, had been staying in the house to recuperate from a bout of pox; his body was found in a nearby orchard, unburnt but asphyxiated. Rafael Sabatini recounts
the possible course of events in his Historical Nights' Entertainment
, a two volume anthology of murders, court intrigues, and scandals. [more inside]
posted by Iridic
on Feb 10, 2014 -
"My last meal was a half a bowl of ice cream. I put it in the freezer so I could go get my sis. That bowl stayed in our freezer three years." Sister of teen murdered in 1980 tweets at @billcomeans
. Story here
posted by dobbs
on Jan 22, 2014 -
Charles Manson Today: The Final Confessions of a Psychopath. He made for terrific TV. But after a booming, almost sexually aggressive chat with Diane Sawyer in 1994, the state of California banned the use of recording devices during prisoner interviews. This upsets Manson greatly. It's the reason why you haven't heard from him lately. He tends to sulk about it.
posted by Sticherbeast
on Nov 22, 2013 -
A son kills a father and the question is why. In the case of 10-year-old Joseph Hall, the answer seemed simple: The boy had been raised around hate."
Amy Wallace digs into a case of a young boy who killed his Neo-Nazi father: "A Very Dangerous Boy"
posted by lunasol
on Nov 7, 2013 -
Earlier today, the leader of Golden Dawn and three deputies were arrested (BBC
) after the neonazi party was declared a criminal organisation. Two more deputies are wanted. The criminal investigation started after the murder of a 34-year-old rapper Pavlos Fyssas
that sparked waves of protests
and a police shakeup
as the ties between Golden Dawn and the police are under investigation. Supporters of the neonazi party knifed a woman
(video interview) the day after the murder of Fyssas and have caused violence against immigrants to skyrocket. The police connects Golden Dawn to 30 such attacks. This map of attacks on migrants
provides more details about separate incidents. Previously: 1 2 3
posted by ersatz
on Sep 28, 2013 -
"Maria Ridulph was 7 when she was kidnapped from a street corner in Sycamore, Illinois, on December 3, 1957. Her kidnapping and murder is the nation's oldest cold case to go to trial. It required family members to turn against one of their own and haunted a small town for 55 years. Even now, the case may not be over." CNN: Taken: The Coldest Case Ever Solved [more inside]
posted by zarq
on Sep 2, 2013 -
The first postcard on today's Postsecret is disturbing. (TW: murder, abuse)
The text reads "I told everyone that she dumped me, but I dumped her (body)", along with a picture taken from Google Maps. It was determined that the location was likely Wooded Island in Chicago, IL. A search was made, though nothing was found
. However, as a commenter on Dianna E. Anderson's blog posting about this
points out, the postmark reads 2008
Frank Warren, founder of PostSecret has said he didn't go to the police, and instead sees this as a free-speech issue. [more inside]
posted by Rev. Syung Myung Me
on Sep 1, 2013 -
Wanted: Caretaker For Farm. Simply watch over a 688 acre patch of hilly farmland and feed a few cows, you get 300 a week and a nice 2 bedroom trailer, someone older and single preferred but will consider all, relocation a must, you must have a clean record and be trustworthy—this is a permanent position
, the farm is used mainly as a hunting preserve
, is overrun with game, has a stocked 3 acre pond, but some beef cattle will be kept, nearest neighbor is a mile away
, the place is secluded and beautiful
, it will be a real get away for the right person, job of a lifetime
—if you are ready to relocate please contact asap, position will not stay open. [more inside]
posted by gauche
on Aug 27, 2013 -
On Wednesday, William Van Poyck was executed
by the state of Florida for murdering a prison guard during a botched 1987 attempt to free an imprisoned friend. Poyck spent 25 years in solitary confinement on death row, during which time he wrote to his sister about his life in prison. Since 2005 she has published those letters to a blog called Death Row Diary
. 'Poyck used to write about everything from the novels and history books he was reading and shows he watched on PBS to the state of the world and his own philosophy of life – punctuated by news of the deaths of those around him, from illness, suicide, and execution.' Excerpts
. His final letter.
posted by zarq
on Jun 13, 2013 -
Going through my parents' stuff didn't make me suddenly miss them, but I became more intrigued by them every day. I wanted to know more and more about them, to solve their mysteries. At the same time, I felt a corresponding, if conflicting, urge to speak, or write, about what many people seemed to think was unspeakable: my ever-present lack of grief. So I decided to combine these seemingly divergent impulses into an Tumblr blog called My Dead Parents, which I kept anonymous both out of respect for my family and because, after years of writing fiction, I wasn't sure if I could handle revealing so much about myself in writing.
Anya Yurchyshyn writes about rediscovering
her parents through their letters, after their deaths.
posted by the man of twists and turns
on Apr 20, 2013 -
What started as a report of a convenience store robbery near the campus of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology last night has sprawled into a chaotic manhunt for the perpetrators of the recent terrorist attack on the Boston Marathon
The deadly pursuit, involving a policeman's murder, a carjacking, a violent chase with thrown explosives, and the death of one suspect
, has resulted in Governor Deval Patrick
ordering an unprecedented lockdown of the entire Boston metropolitan area
as an army of law enforcement searches house by house for the remaining gunman.
The Associated Press has identified the duo as Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, and his 19-year-old brother Dzhokhar A. Tsarnaev
, who remains at large. Both are immigrants
from wartorn Chechnya
in southwestern Russia.
The Guardian liveblog is good for quick updates, and Reddit's updating crowdsourced timeline of events
that has often outpaced mainstream media coverage of the situation. You can also get real-time reports straight from the (Java-based) local police scanner
posted by Rhaomi
on Apr 19, 2013 -
"Before examining the night in question – the petrol, the plot, the screaming 999 calls, the dead children – Thirlwall said: “It is necessary to look at the history of your relationship with women.” I’ve rarely heard a judge say such a thing, although in the judicial system there aren’t that many female judges, so there’s more chance this take on events is overlooked. Across Europe, the average gender balance among judges is 52 per cent men and 48 per cent women. At 23 per cent, England and Wales is fourth from the bottom, followed only by Azerbaijan, Scotland and Armenia. The higher up the court system, the more male-dominated the bench becomes. Only 15.5 per cent of High Court judges are women. The odds were against Philpott meeting a female judge this week – one woman he had no chance of controlling, striking, or impregnating – but I’m quietly joyous he did." In The Independent
, Grace Dent looks at the abusive background of Mick Philpott
, who got his six children killed in a house fire he started to take revenge on his ex. [more inside]
posted by MartinWisse
on Apr 8, 2013 -
William Blake has been held in solitary confinement at Elmira Correctional Facility in New York State for nearly 26 years, after he murdered a Sheriff's Deputy and wounded another in a failed escape attempt back in 1987. Sentenced to 77 years to life, he will be eligible for parole in 2064. But Blake has no chance of ever leaving prison alive, and almost no chance of ever leaving solitary — a fate he considers "a sentence worse than death.
" (Via) [more inside]
posted by zarq
on Mar 16, 2013 -
Anthony Wayne Smith was a first round draft pick for the Raiders in 1990. Alternately described as a "big old teddy bear" and "[like] a dog [that] is super beautiful, sweet looking, wagging its tail, and it's acting really friendly, but there's something about that dog.... You worry one day he's gonna bite your hand," he faced the usual hassles of an athlete shifting to civilian life when his career came to an end. Then came the arson and murder
posted by Ghostride The Whip
on Jan 25, 2013 -
Western tourists (mostly female) visiting Southeast Asia (Thailand, Vietnam, and Bali) are ending up dead
, likely poisoned
. Local officials have blamed the use of the insecticide DEET
as an exotic ingredient in so-called "Bucket Drinks
", or the use of Chlorpyrifos
in hotel rooms. But Deborah Blum
, an author and poison expert, doesn't buy into the insecticide theories
offered by local officials. She thinks this looks like targeted murders
. Since writing about the poisonings, she says she's been contacted by people who claim poisoning foreigners is common in 5-star hotels, and the police and owners cover it up.
. A Facebook group
was formed not only so that world travelers could share safe travel tips, but also so that notice of the unexplained, and often uninvestigated
, deaths could be made public.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey
on Jan 9, 2013 -
Reportero (alternate link)
- follows a veteran reporter and his colleagues at Zeta, a Tijuana-based independent newsweekly, as they stubbornly ply their trade in one of the deadliest places in the world for members of the media. In Mexico, more than 50 journalists have been slain or have vanished since December 2006, when President Felipe Calderón came to power and launched a government offensive against the country's powerful drug cartels and organized crime. As the drug war intensifies and the risks to journalists become greater, will the free press be silenced? [more inside]
posted by IvoShandor
on Jan 8, 2013 -
You wouldn't think so from its trendy shops and restaurants today, but Seven Dials was once one of the worst slums in London. Intended as a smart residential area when its construction was completed in 1710, this cartwheel of streets between Charing Cross Road and Covent Garden quickly declined to become an over-crowded refuge for the city's thieves. It was here that London's thriving trade in gallows ballads made its home.
A collaboration across more than 100 years, from the jobbing hacks writing ballads and selling them at the foot of the gallows to the historical investigation
of the British Library's broadsheet collection by MeFi's own Paul Slade
, to modern rock, folk, and blues musicians, and then to your ears. [via mefi projects] [more inside]
posted by carsonb
on Jan 6, 2013 -
The complicated and contradictory life of Cecilia Chang, former dean at St. John's University. [NYT]
Having enjoyed a meteoric rise at St. John's as a fundraiser in the 1980's and 90's, and having served there as an administrator for over thirty years, in 2010 Chang was accused of embezzling $1 million from the school to pay for "lingerie, trips to casinos and her son’s tuition bills." [NYT]
Shortly thereafter, it was revealed that she was using foreign scholarship students as her servants, making them clean and cook at her home for up to 20 hours a week. [NYT]
And during her trial, it came to light that Chang's first husband, Ruey Fung Tsai - with whom she argued over millions and divorced bitterly - was executed in broad daylight back in 1990. As he lay dying in the hospital with three bullets in his back, he wrote on a piece of paper, "My wife did this" and handed it to the police.
She was never charged. [more inside]
posted by phaedon
on Dec 13, 2012 -
], eccentric Silicon Valley mogul and creator of a McAfee antivirus software, lowered his taxes by relocating to Belize a few years ago. But his expatriate neighbor Gregory Faull was not a fan
McAfee's dogs, prostitutes and partying. After Faull was shot to death last month Belize police named McAfee a "person of interest" in the case. McAfee went on the lam and invited Vice Magazine
to join him, which must've seemed like a good idea at the time. McAfee was soon arrested and has since been fighting extradition back to Belize from a Guatemalan jail. McAfee said yesterday he just wants to return to a "normal life" in the U.S.
posted by nowhere man
on Dec 10, 2012 -
'On April 12, 1987, Michael Morton sat down to write a letter. “Your Honor,” he began, “I’m sure you remember me. I was convicted of murder, in your court, in February of this year.” He wrote each word carefully, sitting cross-legged on the top bunk in his cell at the Wynne prison unit, in Huntsville. “I have been told that you are to decide if I am ever to see my son, Eric, again. I haven’t seen him since the morning that I was convicted. I miss him terribly and I know that he has been asking about me.” Referring to the declarations of innocence he had made during his trial, he continued, “I must reiterate my innocence. I did NOT kill my wife.
' [more inside]
posted by mahershalal
on Nov 20, 2012 -
John McAfee is the founder of the McAfee security software company
, one of the first and, to this day, one of the biggest. But it's what he has done since leaving the company in 1994 that has attracted him notoriety. After working on instant messaging software
for a few years, McAfee devoted himself to thrill-seeking: yoga, jet skiing, and "aerotrekking,"
or flying small aircraft at low altitudes. After the 2008 financial crisis reportedly wiped out most of his personal fortune
, once estimated at $100 million, McAfee decamped to Belize, where he began promoting a business venture aimed at halting the spread of bacterial resistance to antibiotics. But as science writer Jeff Wise (who also wrote the aerotrekking article) detailed
after interviewing him in 2010, McAfee's commitment to the project seemed half-hearted at best, and his behavior came off as erratic and even paranoid. In a follow-up article
, written after Belizean police raided
McAfee's compound on suspicion of illegal weapons possession and drug manufacturing, Wise explores how "the enlightened Peter Pan seems to have refashioned himself into a kind of final-reel Scarface."
posted by Cash4Lead
on Nov 9, 2012 -
He was methodical, he rode the highways, and he preyed on teenage girls. Girls who'd run away. Girls no one would miss. In the summer of 1985, the author was such a girl. One night on I-95, she hitched a ride from a stranger and endured the most terrifying moments of her life. Now, years later, she returns to the scenes of her fugitive youth looking for clues to that terror—and the girls who lost their lives to it
- The Truck Stop Killer
posted by Artw
on Oct 28, 2012 -
“I was a monster,” Malvo said. “If you look up the definition, that’s what a monster is. I was a ghoul. I was a thief. I stole people’s lives.
I did someone else’s bidding just because they said so. . . . There is no rhyme or reason or sense.”
posted by silby
on Sep 30, 2012 -