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 -
'In 2002, five years before journalist Chauncey Bailey was murdered
by members of Your Black Muslim Bakery
a woman identified only as Jane Doe No. 1 stepped forward to report decades of sexual abuse, welfare fraud and violence by the bakery's leader, Yusuf Bey Sr. She was prepared to hand over to Oakland police DNA from her three children -- evidence that Bey had impregnated her, the first time when she was 12. This was a risky move, but the woman had powerful motivation: her daughter, then 18, had alerted her that Bey was trying to abuse her -- his own child. Now, Jane Doe No. 1 has decided she no longer wants to be nameless. Her name is Kowana Banks and she is the first of Bey's victims to speak publicly
.' Video interview
. Transcript. (Via) This post recounts experiences of rape and sexual abuse. Topics may be disturbing to some readers. [more inside]
posted by zarq
on Aug 9, 2012 -
"What is a cult film? A cult film is one that has a passionate following, but does not appeal to everyone. James Bond movies are not cult films, but chainsaw movies are. Just because a film has become a cult movie does not automatically guarantee quality. Some are very bad; others are very, very good. Some make an awful lot of money at the box office; others make no money at all. Some are considered quality films; others are exploitation movies. One thing cult movies do have in common is that they are all genre films - for example gangster films or westerns. They also have a tendency to slosh over from one genre into another, so that a science fiction film might also be a detective movie, or vice versa. They share common themes as well, themes that are found in all drama: love, murder and greed."
- of the British TV film slots accompanied by an introduction perhaps the most celebrated
, running between 1988 and 2000 and presented first by Repo Man director Alex Cox
and then film critic Mark Cousins
. [more inside]
posted by Artw
on Aug 3, 2012 -
From Vanity Fair, The Murder Hustle
: In 1988, 'When businessman Gene Hanson died in a California doctor's office, his partner, John Hawkins, a former Studio 54 bartender, got $1 million in insurance. Nine months later, Hanson was caught in Texas with a new face and a new name, Wolfgang Von Snowden. He and the doctor are awaiting trial for murder. Hawkins, a scam artist and sex addict, has disappeared with the money. Ann Louise Bardach
investigates three double lives in the business community of Columbus, Ohio, the Genet underground of West Hollywood, and the luxury condos of Miami's Biscayne Bay.'
. [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns
on Aug 3, 2012 -
Los Tocayos Carlos
- a comprehensive investigation by Columbia Law School Professor James Liebman and a team of students which uncovers evidence that Carlos DeLuna, a poor Hispanic man with childlike intelligence who was executed in Texas in 1989, was innocent. The issue of The Columbia Human Rights Law Review, entirely dedicated to this investigation, is available at this website
posted by Gyan
on May 14, 2012 -
Between 40 and 50 percent of female homicide victims are killed by their husbands, boyfriends, and exes. And, for about half of these victims, police had been alerted to previous incidents of abuse. There is, however, one exception to this grim trend: Maryland. Since 2007, domestic violence homicides in the state have fallen by a stunning 40 percent. What is Maryland doing that other states are not? The answer appears to lie with a former high school nurse, an ex-Washington, D.C., police lieutenant, and their ground-breaking efforts to protect the most vulnerable victims of abuse.
is an article by Tim Stelloh about new method to identify and protect abused women, developed by a group of law enforcement officers and academics (Note: The article features graphic descriptions of domestic violence and murder). The article focuses especially on the work of Prof. Jacquelyn Campbell. You can watch an interview with her here
posted by Kattullus
on Apr 24, 2012 -
Gu Kailai, the wife of senior Chinese party leader Bo Xilai
, has been arrested for the murder of an English businessman
. Bo, until his sudden fall from power this year
, one of the most popular politicians in China, the leading figure of the Chinese New Left
and Party Committee Secretary of the megacity of Chongqing, has completed his downfall by being expelled from the politburo and stripped of all party positions. The collapse started in February, when his top lieutenant, Wang Lijun, was suddenly demoted and then fled to the US consulate for a day
- supposedly, either attempting to defect or to give incriminating evidence on Bo and Gu to the Americans for safekeeping. [more inside]
posted by strangely stunted trees
on Apr 10, 2012 -
"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
posted by Brandon Blatcher
on Mar 20, 2012 -
is a community-driven reporting project covering every murder in the District of Columbia. Using original reporting, court documents, social media, and the help of victims’ and suspects’ friends, family, neighbors and others, we cover every homicide from crime to conviction." [more inside]
posted by BobbyVan
on Mar 13, 2012 -
The Chicago Reader's current cover story, "The Color of His Skin," (parts 1
,) revisits the murder of a black man on Chicago's South Side in 1970 by a gang of white teens. Last September, a similar article by the same author, "The Price of Intolerance," (parts 1
,) examined an incident from 1971, in which a twelve year old boy and thirteen year old girl were killed.
posted by zarq
on Mar 7, 2012 -
June 25th 1906, was the opening night of the musical revue Mamzelle Champagne
on the roof of Madison Square Garden
. In attendance were Stanford White, renowned architect (Washington Square Arch, Judson Memorial Church, Madison Square Garden itself)
, and Harry Kendall Thaw
, eccentric coal and railroad scion. During the performance of the song I Could Love a Million Girls
, Thaw "left his seat near the stage, passed between a number of tables, and, in full view of the players and of scores of persons, shot White through the head
Standing over White’s body, Thaw said “You’ll never go out with that woman again.” [more inside]
posted by davidjmcgee
on Dec 22, 2011 -
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]
posted by zarq
on Dec 10, 2011 -
Jane Austen 'died from arsenic poisoning'. [The Guardian]
Crime writer Lindsay Ashford bases claim on reading of author's letters and claims murder cannot be ruled out. Almost 200 years after she died, Jane Austen's early death at the age of just 41 has been attributed to many things, from cancer to Addison's disease. Now sleuthing from a crime novelist has uncovered a new possibility: arsenic poisoning.
posted by Fizz
on Nov 15, 2011 -
In 1933, Anthony Marino, Joe Murphy, Frank Pasqua and Dan Kriesberg decided to make money by taking out life insurance on drunks and then letting the victims drink themselves to death. Then they encountered Mike Malloy...
posted by reenum
on Nov 11, 2011 -
My purpose here has been to inquire into mediated understandings of Hindley, and to question how popular texts delineate between the deeds of a human being and the way those deeds are culturally inscribed. The task is neither conclusive nor complete, for monsters are illusive. There is always some part of them that evades both enunciation and comprehension.
posted by Trurl
on Oct 30, 2011 -
"On the 28th October 1975 my mother
gave birth to a heroinhead
- that was/is me.
My father was a young Glaswegian junkie nicknamed Puggy. I was born with heroin in my veins. 7 years after my birth, my father was brutally murdered by infamous British serial-killer Dennis Nilsen
posted by metaxa
on Oct 10, 2011 -