"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
Not in Our Town [autoplay 1hr PBS video]
: the story of how the community of Patchogue, NY responded to the murder of Marcelo Lucero [more inside]
This week has seen a lot of discussion of the American criminal justice system and its failings, and a lot of concern about what can be done to fix it.
In 1947, a working class black man looked like he was about to have the full weight of the system brought down on him for taking justice into his own hands. But after Chicago leftists - including labor unions, religious leaders, artists, civil rights activists & others - launched a movement, James Hickman was set free
after an all-white jury, in a trial presided over by a white judge, failed to convict, and the DA chose not to re-try because of the magnitude of public support for Hickman.
According to a review
in The Nation, a new book
tells the story in a way that turns the typical right-wing biases of the true crime genre on their head. [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]
About one person is murdered every 35 minutes in Mexico. Statistics are bland, so the WSJ decided to track down the 25 murders on July 29th
, an ordinary day of death.
“Before me as I write lies an inch-square bit of brown leather --- not, you would think, an inspiring subject for a tale. But perpend. This fragment of human skin, for such it is, has been since 1829 in the possession of three persons only: The original owner, my grandfather, and myself. Inconsiderable in size and unimpressive of aspect, it was nevertheless potent to influence the direction of my future studies…
While yet a small boy, my grandfather would often show me by request this singular relic and I never wearied of hearing how he came by it. As a matter of history, its first proprietor, the late Mr. William Burke of Edinburgh, in the circumstances hereafter to be related, was publicly anatomized, his carcass thereafter flayed, his hide tanned, and his skeleton by order of Court preserved in the Anatomical Museum of Edinburgh University, where it remains as a memorial of his infamy even unto this day. Mr. Burke’s integument being cut up into sortable parcels to suit buyer’s tastes and exposed for sale by private bargain, my grandfather, who was then but a young man, invested a modest shilling’s worth. Wealthier purchasers bought larger lots --- I have heard that the late Professor Chiene had a tobacco pouch made of this unique material. Personally, despite my predilection for crime, I prefer India-rubber.” --- "The Wolves of the West Port" [more inside]
Russia had never seen anything quite like the prolific serial killer Alexander Pichushkin, for whom “life without killing is like life without food.” In the end, the Maniac was what his mother and Suprunenko say he was: ordinary. He didn’t have strong opinions. He lacked preferences or ideas about other people, God, art, beauty. He could talk about these things, and did, but these were simply words in the service of killing; they were bits of theater; they were nothing. [more inside]
Thirteen-year-old Milly Dowler
was kidnapped and murdered on her way home from school in 2002. During the six-month hunt before her body was found, her parents gave exclusive interviews to the News of the World
, saying they believed she would be found alive.
That hope was based partly on the fact that her voicemails were still being listened to and deleted. Today, it was revealed that the deleting was being done by the News of the World
. [more inside]
The Neverending Nightmare of Amanda Knox.
In an in-depth new article in Rolling Stone
, writer Nathaniel Rich makes a compelling case for the innocence of the American student at the center of a sordid, long-running Italian crime drama. [via Longreads]
The Bravest Woman in Seattle
"The reason for her sitting on the witness stand of a packed and sweltering eighth-floor courtroom at the King County Courthouse on June 8, in jeans and a short-sleeved black blouse, hands clasped over knees, a jury of strangers taking notes, a crowd of family and friends and strangers observing, a bunch of media recording, was to say: This happened to me. You must listen. This happened to us. You must hear who was lost. You must hear what he did. You must hear how Teresa fought him. You must hear what I loved about her. You must know what he took from us. This happened." (Trigger warning for rape and violence.)
Man confesses to Tupac Shakur robbery and shooting
Dexter Isaac, now serving a life sentence for murder, told AllHipHop.com
that he robbed Shakur outside the Quad Studio in Manhattan in November 1994 on the orders of hip hop management mogul James "Jimmy Henchman" Rosemond. [more inside]
"For about six months now
, Sound of Young America editor Nick White and I (Jesse Thorn) have been working on a secret project. Now, the secret can be revealed... please welcome WTF with Marc Maron, the public radio series
!" [more inside]
The Lazarus File. "In 1986, a young nurse named Sherri Rasmussen was murdered in Los Angeles. Police pinned down no suspects, and the case gradually went cold. It took 23 years—and revolutionary breakthroughs in forensic science—before LAPD detectives could finally assemble the pieces of the puzzle. When they did, they found themselves facing one of the unlikeliest murder suspects in the city’s history." [more inside]
, a pioneer in the field of baseball statistics
, has now turned his attention to serial killers and their methods
"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]
On June 30, 1999, sheriff’s officers in St. Louis, Missouri discovered the body of 41-year-old Ricky McCormick. He had been murdered and dumped in a field. The only clues regarding the homicide were two encrypted notes found in the victim’s pants pockets. The FBI is now asking the public to help them solve the murder.
"My name is Rodrigo Rosenberg Marzano and, alas, if you are hearing or seeing this message it means that I’ve been murdered by President Álvaro Colom, with the help of Gustavo Alejos." Rosenberg went on, "The reason I'm dead, and you're therefore watching this message, is only and exclusively because during my final moments I was the lawyer to Mr. Khalil Musa and his daughter Marjorie Musa, who, in cowardly fashion, were assassinated by President Álvaro Colom, with the consent of his wife, Sandra de Colom, and with the help of . . . Gustavo Alejos."
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives deliberately allowed assault rifles to be smuggled into Mexico
, so they could be tracked. The weapons were then used in a spree of murders, including that of US Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry
. The operation was called "Fast and Furious". The Mexican government was apparently unaware
of the operation, and is investigating
. The ATF is going to have a review
of whether their strategy supports "the goals of ATF to stem the illegal flow of firearms to Mexico".
Winston Burdett, one of the original Murrow's Boys
, was a reporter for CBS Radio. He covered World War II, the invasion of Norway, the Axis retreat in North Africa (mp3)
, the invasion of Sicily (mp3)
, the invasion of Italy (mp3)
and the capture of Rome (mp3)
. But from 1940 - 1942 Winston Burdett was also a spy for the Soviet Union
. [more inside]
In December 1964, Frank Morris' shoe shop was set ablaze in the middle of the night. Still inside at the time, Morris was severely injured; he died four days later at a nearby hospital in Ferriday, La. Like many Southern crimes against blacks in the 1960s — an era of racial strife dominated by criminal activities by the Ku Klux Klan — the incident went unsolved, despite an FBI investigation at the time.
A vast amount of research and investigation by the Civil Rights Cold Case Project (especially Stanley Nelson on this case) is described in gripping detail in the documentary David Ridgen brings us here called Murder at The Shoe Shop
(MP3 download link). [more inside]
New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson has declined
to pardon William H. Bonney, aka Kid Antrim, aka Henry McCarty, but best known as Billy the Kid
. [more inside]
Ken Rex McElroy
for years had terrorized the small town of Skidmore Missouri, and was considered the town bully. He had been charged with more than 20 felonies, robbing, raping, burning, shootings. He intimidated people by driving by at night and firing a shotgun blast, putting a rattlesnake in their mailbox, etc. He was murdered on July 10, 1981. No one in town would identify Ken Rex's killer and no one has ever been charged
with his killing, though there has been intense speculation
about who did it. There have been various dramatic depictions
of the crime. Is vigilante justice ever justified?
On 16 November 2010
, the UN General Assembly Third Committee removed
a reference to sexual orientation from a resolution
on extra-judicial, summary or arbitrary executions, a move condemned
by gay and lesbian rights
groups. [more inside]
The National Library of Medicine has put a selection of murder pamphlets from the late 1600s to the late 1800s
These pamphlets have been a rich source for historians of medicine, crime novelists, and cultural historians, who mine them for evidence to illuminate the history of class, gender, race, the law, the city, crime, religion and other topics. The murder pamphlets in the NLM's collection address cases connected to forensic medicine, especially cases in which doctors were accused of committing-or were the victims of-murder. [more inside]
Madness in the Fast Lane. Part 1
(YT -- videos include footage of human-car collisions and some NSFW language). On May 17, 2008, the identical twins Ursula and Sabina Eriksson
ran into traffic on the UK's M6 motorway, apparently for no reason whatsoever (original article & footage
). Despite the first being run over by a lorry and the second hit head on by a car, both sisters survived, even cursing and struggling against the police who tried to help them. That's when things got weird. [more inside]
After 18 years in prison on false charges, Anthony Graves
walked out a free man
yesterday. This recent Texas Monthly article by Pamela Colloff
played a major role in bringing awareness to his case. [more inside]
The London Murder Map.
the variety (by gun, by knife, by bomb, by blunt object) of homicides that committed in London from the 19th century to now. Populated so far with only the last few years, Murder Map will eventually incorporate data from the oft-linked The Proceedings of the Old Bailey, 1674-1913
. impressions so far? "Richmond, The City and Hampstead stand out as murderless pockets in an otherwise homogeneously dense circle of homicide."*
A team of researchers at Iowa State University has found that a murder costs more than $17.25 Million
to society. [via
Adam Higginbotham wrote an interesting article in 2007
about Chuckie Taylor's reign of terror in Liberia. (Note: PDF link) [more inside]
In the wake of the Port Arthur massacre
, in 1997 Australia implemented a gun buyback program that reduced the stock of firearms by around one-fifth, and nearly halving the number of gun-owning households. Leigh and Neill (2010)
find that the buyback led to a drop in the firearm suicide rates of almost 80%, or about 200 lives per annum (with no significant effect on non-firearm death rates). This translates into an annual benefit of $500M
, or $800 000 per weapon destroyed. However, Baker & McPhedran (2006)
have previosuly concluded that there was no impact on homicides.
A man believed to be a MI6 employee has been found murdered in a flat in Pimlico
. [more inside]
"The TV Wheel
was a television experiment created by and starring Joel Hodgson
, of Mystery Science Theater 3000
fame. Cable network HBO ordered a pilot, but ultimately passed on picking up the show. The pilot episode eventually aired once on Comedy Central as a special presentation following the last new episode of MST3K to be broadcast on that network."*
The pilot, bookended by introduction segments, is right through this door: [more inside]
In 2009, New Orleans, Louisiana learned that it had the unwelcome distinction of once again being the murder capital of the United States
according to the FBI's homicide data.
New Orleans' newspaper The Times-Picayune
even has a special map for keeping track of murders
(with associated twitter account
). [more inside]