"Much has been said about the storytelling techniques of 'Serial,' which comes out in weekly installments even as the show’s host, Sarah Koenig, reinvestigates the conviction of a Baltimore-area teenager for the murder of his ex-girlfriend. The serialized approach teases its audience with cliffhangers, prompts its listeners to construct their own theories and invites outsiders to glimpse the tricky winnowing process of reporting. But 'Serial' also testifies to how much the criminal justice system itself is founded on storytelling." (Laura Miller, Salon: The new "In Cold Blood" revisionism: Why it doesn't matter if Capote’s classic wasn't fully true) [more inside]
What I've Learned from Two Years Collecting Data on Police Killings. D. Brian Burghart, editor of the Reno News and Review, has spent two years compiling Fatal Encounters, a croudsourced national database of police violence and publishing stories with his findings.
59 years after an all-white jury in Mississippi acquitted Emmett Till's murderers, a majority-white grand jury in Ferguson, Missouri, decided not to indict Darren Wilson, the man who killed Mike Brown. [more inside]
There isn't a book out there called, What Do You Do When You Find Out That Your Dad's A Serial Killer? (trigger warning: animal abuse)
Audio recordings show that airspace restrictions over Ferguson following the killing of Mike Brown, supposedly due to shots fired at helicopters, were actually to keep the media out. Meanwhile federal charges against Darren Wilson are looking increasingly unlikely.
The Edwards were spooked. Christopher stole £10,000 from his employer and they ran away to Lille, De Gaulle’s birthplace. But they couldn’t access the Wycherleys’ account from abroad, Christopher couldn’t find work, and their money ran out. Instead of selling the memorabilia they’d brought with them, in desperation Christopher rang his elderly stepmother, Elizabeth Edwards, confessed to burying Susan’s parents and asked for money to save him and Susan from prison. If the memorabilia hadn’t mattered so much, no one would know today that the Wycherleys were under the lawn. It could have been the perfect crime. But Elizabeth Edwards called the police. The Murderers Next Door.
Jordan Davis's mother, Lucia McBath, reflects on the guilty verdict in his murderer's trial. by Ta-Nehisi Coates (SLAtlantic) [more inside]
Among other common myths and misconceptions regarding serial murder in America, one curious myth bears closer examination: the idea, propagated heavily in the media, that serial killers are almost always white men. This fascinating (though weirdly formatted) essay discusses this phenomenon, and suggests possible reasons for the anonymity of African-American serial killers, including historical racial bias, stereotypical media portrayals of African-Americans, and the FBI’s promotion of static ethnocentric criminal profiling. [more inside]
UVA Hospital employee and former Charlottesville cab driver Jesse Matthew has just been linked to the September 2014 disappearance of UVA student Hannah Graham, the unsolved rape and murder of Morgan Harrington, whose body was discovered on a farm outside of Charlottesville in 2010, and a 2005 sexual assault in Fairfax, VA. Graham and Harrison are two of a number of women who have gone missing near Charlottesville in recent years. [more inside]
In a book to be released Tuesday, an 'armchair detective' claims to have solved Jack the Ripper's identity using DNA.
Ali Hussein Kadhim, the only known survivor out of hundreds of an ISIS massacre outside of Tikrit in Iraq, tells his story. Ali, a Shi'a, was saved only by the kindness of people in the Sunni neighborhood around him. TW (violence): First video in link is an interview with Ali and includes footage of soldiers being shot.
One Generation’s Time: The Legacy of Silme Domingo and Gene Viernes (YouTube, 1 hour). The story of two activists who fought to improve the lives of Filipino workers in Alaskan canneries, their murders by members of a street gang, and the eight-year investigation that ultimately found Philippines President Ferdinand Marcos responsible for their deaths. [more inside]
Why Did Michael Brown Die in Ferguson? - According to the police of Fergusson, Missouri it was because he reached for an officer's weapon, necessitating that he be shot multiple times as he ran away empty handed. Eyewitness tell a different story. Whatever happened the killing has prompted demonstrations and looting. Ferguson police responded in full force, firing teargas and wooden rounds into crowds of protestors and sealing the area off from the media. In the wake of the tragedy questions of racial profiling, the paramilitarization of police and media depictions of black shooting victims have been raised. Meanwhile the shooter has not been named to preserve his safety.
"No one knew who killed (13 year-old) Mackenzie Howard that cold February night last year — and people were terrified that the killer was still in their midst. But in the remote community of Kake, only accessible by air or boat, there was no law enforcement officer."
From behind the New Yorker's temporarily removed paywall, a postmodern murder mystery from Poland in 2007.
Calvin Trillin profiles Edna Buchanan, Pulitzer Prize-winning crime reporter for the Miami Herald during its heyday.
James Chaney. Andrew Goodman. Michael Schwerner. Murdered by the KKK 50 years ago today, in one of the galvanizing events of the struggle for civil rights in the South. (previously 1, 2, 3) [more inside]
Simpson is in Lovelock because he was convicted of kidnapping and armed robbery in Nevada in 2008; he's serving a sentence of up to 33 years, with the possibility of parole in 2017. He will turn 67 next month, but the O.J. personage who remains a cultural touchstone is much younger. That one was born 20 years ago this week, on June 17, 1994, a day that spawned a series of events that are as ingrained in Americana as anything that happened at Valley Forge or in Dealey Plaza. Sports Illustrated tackles Orenthal James Simpson.
California drive-by shooting: 'Son of Hunger Games assistant director' Elliot Rodger suspected of killing six in attack. Rodger embarked on his shooting spree hours after posting an online video detailing his plans for "retribution" for rejection by women. [more inside]
On a bitter Icelandic night in 1974, teenager Erla Bolladottir was having a nightmare. Voices, whispering outside her room. Who were they? What were they saying? It seemed so real. Terrified, she wet the bed. The dream would continue to haunt her for years to come.
Philip Welsh’s simple life hampers search for his killer. " By 1 p.m., Philip would leave the small yellow house in Silver Spring where he lived alone. He walked a half-block, waited for the No. 5 bus, took it to his job as a taxi dispatcher, returned home, cooked a late dinner, watched Charlie Rose and went to sleep. He never locked his front door and often left it wide open. Part was defiance. This is how I live. Part was warmth. Anyone is welcome. One February night, someone came inside — someone Philip may have known — and beat him to death. The case remains Montgomery’s only unsolved killing this year."
“He did what he did out of fear,” Michael’s father says now. “He was mentally ill. Not criminally responsible means you’re not morally responsible.”How does a family cope when one of them kills his mother in the midst of a psychotic episode?
“It wasn’t his fault,” says Rebecca, who rested her hand on her brother’s shoulder as they walked out of court that day.
The Dangers of the Monster Myth In 2012 Jill Meaghar was murdered. Today, her husband, Tom Meaghar speaks out about the dangers of the "monster myth". "I dreamed for over a year of how I would like to physically hurt this man, and still often relish the inevitable manner of his death, but wouldn’t it be more beneficial for Jill’s memory, and other women affected by violence to focus on the problems that surround our attitudes, our legal system, our silence rather than focusing on what manner we would like to torture and murder this individual? Adrian Bayley murdered a daughter, a sister, a great friend to so many, and my favourite person. I am the first one who wants to see him vilified and long may he be one of Australia’s most hated people, but it only does any good if this example highlights rather than obscures the social issues that surround men’s violence against women
"Debate has surrounded the legalization of marijuana for medical purposes for decades. Some have argued medical marijuana legalization (MML) poses a threat to public health and safety, perhaps also affecting crime rates ... we analyzed the association between state MML and state crime rates ... Results did not indicate a crime exacerbating effect of MML on any of the Part I offenses. Alternatively, state MML may be correlated with a reduction in homicide and assault rates, net of other covariates." (Press Release) [more inside]
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]
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]
26 year-old Inuk woman Loretta Saunders was working on an Honours thesis studying the Missing and Murdered Aboriginal women of Canada. Her supervisor called her proposal "the most beautifully written and cared-for assignment I had ever read in seven years of university teaching." Two weeks ago, Loretta disappeared and fell out of contact with family and friends. Yesterday police confirmed that her body had been found in the median of the Trans-Canada Highway. Her disappearance is now being treated as a homicide. [more inside]
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]
The Simple Facts About Mass Shootings Aren't Simple At All
The first step in stopping future mass shootings is figuring out what we know and working from there. Unfortunately, the real first step is getting rid of a bunch of stuff we “know” that turns out to be wrong.[more inside]
"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.
WorldStar HipHop has released a 40 minute mini-documentary on violence in Chicago and the young rappers who are a part of the scene surrounding it. The Field: Chicago features appearances from up-and-coming rappers such as Lil Durk, Lil Reese, King Louie, Lil Bibby, Katie Got Bandz, and more. [more inside]
531 of the most interesting articles on Wikipedia covering everything from the linguistic (self-contradicting words in English) to the philosophical (The Ultimate 747 Gambit); from the only German military landing in the Americas (Weather Station Kurt) to the world's only Bigfoot Trap; to oddities both geometric (Gömböc ) and mathematical (Tupper's self-referential formula); great lists of various things (Bible errata, unsolved problems, camouflage patterns, blurred spots on Google Maps, lost art, the last monarchs of the Americas) to things that will make great band names (Orbiting Frog Otolith). [prev, shorter lists]
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.
... is a time to commemorate past victims of violence — and rededicate ourselves to ending it. [TW: brief descriptions of some murders.]
The Yellow Dogs was a NYC-based group of young expatriates who fled their native Iran for Williamsburg, Brooklyn in order to freely pursue their dream of playing rock music, saying what they wanted to say, and, well, having fun, which were three things they couldn't do back home. Three members of the band were found murdered today. A sad farewell to The Yellow Dogs. [more inside]
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"
Amy Wallace digs into a case of a young boy who killed his Neo-Nazi father: "A Very Dangerous Boy"
Earlier today, the leader of Golden Dawn and three deputies were arrested (BBC, Guardian, NYT) 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.
Kelli Stapleton kept a candid blog about the struggles of raising Issy, a teenager with autism who suffers frequent violent episodes. A newspaper profile from earlier this spring detailed the family's trouble accessing the professional help Issy requires. Kelli admitted in her most recent blog post on September 3rd: "I have to admit that I’m suffering from a severe case of battle fatigue." Later that day, [Kelli's husband] received a message from Kelli that police described as "despondent". Kelli Stapleton is now under arrest on charges of attempted murder and Issy remains hospitalized after what appears to be a failed murder/suicide. Bloggers from the national autism community have responded.
"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]
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]
Paul Solotaroff of Rolling Stone investigates the life of former New England Patriots player Aaron Hernandez and the path he took from NFL player to murder suspect.
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]
For 30 years, an ex-con drifter from Saskatchewan named Dennis Melvyn Howe has eluded police in connection with the abduction, rape and murder of a 9 year old Toronto girl. In 2008, an Idaho man named Robert James Miller wrote two long, bizarre posts on the forum at unsolvedcanada.ca. He claimed to have identified Howe and turned him in after seeing a 1998 episode of America's Most Wanted. The FBI is now investigating the possibility that Miller himself is Dennis Melvyn Howe. [more inside]
Willie Reed, key witness in the Emmett Till case, has died in Chicago at age 76. Reed was an 18-year-old sharecropper who witnessed Emmett Till's murder in August 1955. Despite being threatened at gunpoint by J.W. Milam, one of Till's killers, Reed came forward to serve as a surprise witness for the prosecution at trial [PDF of Reed's testimony]. [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.
Domestic violence becomes news - only when it turns into a mass murder As the report points out, there's a glaring flaw in Washington State's protection-order system: "With very few, recent exceptions, law-enforcement agencies did not have protocols in place to remove firearms from protective-order respondents or convicted domestic-violence offenders." [more inside]