They were local bodybuilders with a penchant for steroids, strippers, and quick cash. And they became expert in the use of a peculiar motivational tool: Torture."Pain & Gain" [part 1, part 2, part 3] [print version: 1,2,3], a series of articles from 1999-2000, chronicles a true life story of kidnapping, torture, extortion and murder. Just the thing to inspire a "small" "character-driven" action-comedy from noted auteur Michael Bay. [Trailer]
Gene Weingarten: "Since 1979, Brian Murtagh has fought to keep convicted murderer Jeffrey MacDonald in prison"
Gene Weingarten: Since 1979, Brian Murtagh has fought to keep convicted murderer Jeffrey MacDonald in prison. (Here is the single-page link.) Warning: graphic details of the murders of Colette MacDonald and her two small children. [more inside]
On June 13, 1994, blond-haired, blue-eyed Nicholas Barclay was reported missing from his home near San Antonio, Texas. He was 13 years old. In October 1997, the family received a call from a man in Spain informing them their son had been found after having escaped from a child prostitution ring. Nicholas' half-sister immediately boarded a flight to Spain, where she was reunited with her brother and brought him back with her to Texas. There were a few things though, that seemed a bit off... [more inside]
Having previously put together a post with links to stories from the 2009 edition of Best of American Crime Reporting, I decided to go to earlier editions to gather together what is available on the web. Starting in 2007 with The Tainted Kidney: Charles Graeber, New York. A serial killer who chooses to donate his kidney has his motives questioned. [more inside]
The 2009 anthology of The Best American Crime Reporting is out. Each year this series collects examples of exceptional and diverse true crime journalism. Many of the entries are available in their online magazines. Starting with "Dan P. Lee, Body Snatchers - Philadelphia magazine" (part of the story previously discussed here), a ghoulish tale of stolen corpses and the market behind him. [more inside]
Then, in November 2007, exactly three years after the disappearance of Simjanoska, another woman from Kičevo went missing. Fifty-six-year-old Lubica Ličoska was, like Simjanoska, a custodian, and she also lived in the same section of town. When the similarities were noted, locals suddenly remembered Gorica Pavelska. She was seventy-three, a retired custodian who went missing in May 2003. No one had thought much of it at the time. She might have suffered a stroke in some remote place, they had speculated, or gone to work in Skopje. No trace of her was ever found and the whole business had been forgotten. But now it appeared that little Kičevo was home to a serial killer, and Vlado Taneski’s editors smelled a big story.- The Mask of Sanity: On the Trail of a Serial Killer in Macedonia by Dimiter Kenarov. An account of the Kičevo Monster and the killer's surprising identity. [Warning: Descriptions of the murders include graphic details]
The Hope Chest: Bad News from the Past is a new blog of old newspaper clippings, mostly from Detroit and Chicago in the 1930s, with true crime and other bizarre stories. Examples include Tries To Shoot A Cat And Hits Automobilist, Driver Loses His Arm Giving Traffic Signal, and Pastor Writes Spicy Book. Other highlights are a phony cop attacking a pornographer with acid and the teenage girl who became a tattooed atheist bandit.
"The best man was Kirk "Spanky" Smyth, who had recently been caught passing through the metal detectors with Buck knives in his rectum. Today he was loaded on smack and rubbing his face red." A Los Angeles Times series examines a woman's quarter-century of marrige to a man behind bars. Part Two. Part Three.
Stop Snitchin' may be the hidden link between hip hop and the 1980s alternative rock group, House of Freaks. According to the New York Post, journalist Ethan Brown has accomplished "making the Stop Snitching movement seem reasonable" in his new book Snitch: Informants, Cooperators, and the Corruption of Justice. Brown argues that harsh mandatory minimum sentences for drug offenses have created a "cottage industry of cooperators" and informants who fabricate evidence, because Provision 5K1.1 of federal sentencing guidelines gives leniency in exchange for "substantial assistance to authorities." According to Brown, two of these criminal cooperators included Ray Dandridge and Ricky Gray, the perpetrators of the Richmond spree murders that ended the life of Brian Harvey of House of Freaks, his wife, and his two children. On the other hand, Mark Kleiman argues that the Stop Snitchin' movement has driven homicide clearance rates so low that, in some cities, "you have a better than even chance of literally getting away with murder." [more inside]
Homosexuality in 18th Century England :: an amazing compilation of primary source material from newspaper reports and other sources.