The Murders at The Lake. "In the summer of 1982 the city of Waco was confronted with the most vicious crime it had ever seen: three teenagers were savagely stabbed to death, for no apparent reason, at a park by a lake on the edge of town. Justice was eventually served when four men were found guilty of the crime, and two were sent to death row. In 1991, though, when one of the convicts got a new trial and was then found not guilty, some people wondered, Were these four actually the killers? Several years after that, one of the men was put to death, and the stakes were raised: Had Texas executed an innocent man?" [more inside]
"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]
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.
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.
"Andrea Yates' story tracks so many of the themes we talk about all the time today. The role of religion in family life. The cognitive dissonance of so many marriages. Lingering stigmas about mental illness, especially as they relate to postpartum depression. The Yates trial was a big deal 10 years ago — even though it was overshadowed by the fallout from 9/11." The Atlantic looks back at the Andrea Yates case and how she's doing now.
Need a spouse or uncooperative business associate taken care of? Have no fear! HitmanForHire.net is here.
This past August a murder charge was dismissed against Nga Truong, a young mother who had confessed to Worcester, MA Police interrogators in 2008 that she had smothered and killed her 13 month-old baby, Khyle. A judge later concluded that confession was coerced -- extracted in part by police "deception," "trickery and implied promises" -- and the case was dropped. (pdf). Her case raises questions: What coercive power do detectives have who are driven to extract confessions? Under what circumstances might someone admit to a crime they have not committed? WBUR (Boston's NPR station) investigated Truong's case and has an extensive report, Anatomy of a Bad Confession: Part One and Two [more inside]
In 1991, Troy Davis was convicted and sentenced to death for the 1989 murder of policeman Mark MacPhail in a Savannah, Georgia parking lot. Since then, seven of the nine prosecution eyewitnesses have recanted all or part of their testimony, with some citing pressure from the police to make false statements. An exception is Sylvester "Redd" Coles, who made the initial report of Davis’s guilt, and is regarded by the defense as the chief suspect. New witnesses have sworn affidavits that Coles confessed the crime to them. An array of figures have called for a stay of execution, including death-penalty supporters Senator Bob Barr and former FBI director William S. Sessions. Today, the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles denied clemency; barring action from the District Attorney, Davis is set to be executed by lethal injection tomorrow at 7pm. [Previously]
A year ago this August, 72 migrant workers -- 58 men and 14 women -- 'were on their way to the US border when they were murdered by a drug gang at a ranch in northern Mexico, in circumstances that remain unexplained. Since then, a group of Mexican journalists and writers have created' a "Day of the Dead-style Virtual Altar" Spanish-language website, 72migrantes.com, to commemorate each of the victims, some of whom have never been identified. The New York Review of Books has English translations of five of their profiles. [more inside]
"For the progress of humanity, work alone is not adequate, but the work should be associated with love, compassion, right conduct, truthfulness and sympathy. Without the above qualities, selfless service cannot be performed."On Sunday morning, Indian guru Sri Sathya Sai Baba passed away. He leaves behind a massive empire, several million mourning devotees worldwide, an extensive religious philosophy, a great deal of controversy and a legacy of large-scale philanthropic projects in India, including free hospitals and mobile medical facilities, a free university and schools, and other efforts which included supplying clean water to hundreds of rural villages. [more inside]
A DNA test has proven that a man was executed for murder by the State of Texas on the basis of false forensic evidence. [more inside]
A new study of death penalty deterrence by researchers from Sam Houston State University and Duke University suggests that there is a decline in murders in the month of or after executions. Meanwhile, Kenneth Mosley became the 448th inmate executed in Texas since 1982 on January 7th, 2010. (Last link: previously, previously and previously)
In 1947, Thomas Ley, a virulently sectarian, pro-hanging Australian politician, died in Broadmoor Criminal Lunatic Asylum, where he had been sent after being sentenced to death for murder. It was probably not his first.
How to best show your love if you're a rockabilly singer in the 50's? First, claim you might cry. Or die. Or commit suicide. If that doesn't work, you can threaten her vaguely, threaten her with a baseball bat, or even threaten her with death. Oh, you're female? Try the gun/sex metaphor (NSFW images) or just go hog wild and claim you'll blow his head off with nitro. Touched on previously. [more inside]
An antidote to the holly jolly malaise: Few Christmas carols contain as much blood and suffering as "Down in yon forest." It was first documented in England by Ralph Vaughan Williams, but John Jacob Niles found an even gorier version in North Carolina (Alfred Deller's rendition). [more inside]
"Night of terror - Madness and lunacy in Athens" reads the headline of one Greek newspaper this morning; "Night of agony and terror - Athens, Pireaus and Thessaloniki at the mercy of hooded individuals" reads another, and the rest follow suite. Three days of mass protests, demonstrations... and finally rioting, rampage and looting across Greece have followed Saturday's fatal shooting of a 15-year-old boy by police in Athens' bohemian/anarchist neighborhood of Exarchia. [more inside]
Lucky Dube Shot Dead - Lucky Dube, the South African Reggae musician, has been shot dead by car hijackers in Johannesburg. In front of his son. [more inside]
Public gatherings restricted? Check. Shutdown of independent businesses? Check. Lockdown on traffic and transportation in the area? You bet. Lawmakers in Baltimore trying to curb the city's homicide rate (already 108 this year) have come up with some "desperate measures" of questionable constitutional legality, including heightening police presence in order to lockdown streets in "emergency areas." It has been called, "partial martial law" by some, and one has to wonder if the city of Baltimore may not do better to take a page from The Wire's Hamsterdam for a solution to their inextricably linked drug and homicide issues.
A teenage girl was stoned to death for loving the wrong boy. Du’a Khalil Aswad, a 17-year old Yezidi girl who lived in Northern Iraq, fell in love with a Sunni Muslim boy, and possibly converted to Islam. For this she was stoned to death in a public "honour killing" which was recorded on video and spread on the internet (warning: graphic and disturbing. YouTube took theirs down.) 23 Yezidis have been killed in retaliation. [Via Disinformation.]
Actor Woody Harrelson's father just died of a heart attack at age 69. Don't care? Well, let's add a few fun facts into the story to make it more interesting & newsworthy for you. Charles Harrelson died in prison, where he was serving two life sentences for murdering Judge John Wood, Jr. (the first federal judge to be murdered in the 20th century) for a payment of $250,000. Oh, and also? Many conspiracy theorists feel that he was also deeply involved in the murder of JFK.
It's no wonder Woody smokes pot and feels like an alien creature. Can anyone blame him?
It's no wonder Woody smokes pot and feels like an alien creature. Can anyone blame him?
Boris Weisfeiler disappeared in Chile. The authorities claim that the experienced outdoorsman had drowned trying to ford a four-foot river. Uncovered documents tell a different story - that Pinochet's military had mistaken the vacationing mathematics professor for a "Jewish spy" and sent him as a political prisoner to the 37,000 acre German expatriate Nazi apocalyptic cult enclave of Colonia Dignidad. There, he was kept alive for at least two years before Paul Schaefer, the founder of the enclave, a Luftwaffe nurse and a serial child molester, most likely had him killed.
Mexican "Old Lady" Serial Killer finally caught. After more than a decade of killing little old ladies, Mexican police believe they have finally captured the person responsible - a female serial killer. An ex-wrestler who is also a devotee of La Santa Muerte there is no mention of her motive other than the shrine in her house. Popular with the poor and destitute on either side of the law, the cult has 2 million adherents in Mexico City and is popular on the US/Mexico border. "God helps the good, the Devil helps the bad, but Death treats everyone the same."
Murdered blogger's last entry helps find killer (Suspect admits to the deed) Here's his last entry. RIP (via digg)
New Details Emerge in Matthew Shepard Murder The piece on 20/20 Fridaynight about new "revelations" in the 1998 murder of Matthew Shepard supposedly tries to prove he was not murdered because he was gay. The family responds to the broadcast.
Cannibalism was widespread and routine. Citing archaeological evidence and recent findings in molecular biology, archaeologist Timothy Taylor, author of The Buried Soul: How Humans Invented Death, says that cannibalism has been the norm in the past, and the more interesting question is why particular societies gave it up. (Previous discussions of cannibalism here and here.)
Sir Peter Blake, one of the greatest sailors of recent times, killed by pirates in the Amazon. This is shocking news to the sailing community.
Girl is slashed by 3/4 inch electric cord to death by father. Sad as it is there was a passage in the article that made me laugh: "Pfeiffer said Larry Slack, who weighs more than 350 pounds, had sneaked a 6-inch kitchen knife into the Calumet Area police station by hiding it in the folds of his skin. He stabbed himself in the chest and was transported to Christ Hospital and Medical Center in Oak Lawn, where he was treated for minor injuries before being returned to police custody." My sincere apologies for the big FPP. (Article via DR.)
England vs. USA Over the death penalty. Initially I felt like saying "butt out" but America tends to get involved in other countries when our citizens are in trouble (like that kid in Singapore way back).