For many people who lived in Houston in the early 1970s, trick or treat brings up memories of "The Candy Man," serial killer Dean Corll
. He, along with accomplices David Brooks and Wayne Henley (YouTube)
, kidnapped, raped, and tortured to death 27 boys between the ages of thirteen and eighteen between 1970 and 1973. Thirty-seven years after the bodies of their victims were discovered in mass graves in southwest Houston and the Bolivar Peninsula, three still were unidentified until recently when the efforts of forensic anthropologist Sharon Derrick
identified victim ML73-3349, now known to be Randall Lee Harvey
Scotland Yard thinks it knows who killed Bulgarian dissident writer Georgi Markov
with a ricin-tipped umbrella on the streets of London 30 years ago this month. Police are hoping to press charges against the man known as Agent Picadilly
, who received a secret medal
for his services. Interest in the case was sparked by "Kill the Wanderer
", a book by journalist Hristo Hristov
, who gained access to the archives of the former Bulgarian security service. Bulgaria has extended its own investigation
, just as the statute of limitations on the Markov murder was set to expire.
In the wake of The Scarlet Pimpernel
, countless figures have flamboyantly stalked the night. Among them were the scofflaw Arsene Lupin
and his more violent contemporary, Fantomas
. So influential was the latter that imitators soon arose, plying their merciless wiles on others. Among them were Fu Manchu
, the nefarious Dr. Mabuse
, the hooded Diabolik
, and Matt Wagoner's Grendel
. Not even Donald Duck
was immune from the seductive lure of crime. [more inside]
This is not horrifying news unless you know
who he was.
Then it becomes endearingly nightmarish. As with V, the man in the mask is
Noseybonk. [more inside]
She robs, she injects herself with heroin
, she flits across borders like a ghost, she seems to kill with almost professional precision
, she leaves clues and bodies – and she has no identity. [more inside]
Blood on the Mountain; part 2
. In 1981 Randall Smith killed two hikers along the Appalachian Trail
and served 15 years for second-degree murder. Two months ago Scott Johnston and Sean Farmer were camping along the trail when a man walked into their campsite. It was Randall Smith. And he was carrying a .22. [more inside]
Hans Reiser leads police to the body of his wife.
Software engineer Hans Reiser, who was convicted in the murder of his wife, Nina, long denied he killed her. His defense was based on the theory that she was hiding out in her native Russia and her body could not be found. Today, in a possible exchange for a shorter sentence he led police to the shallow grave of Nina Reiser, just a moment's drive from the house he lived in with his mother and two children. Previously
"Nobody in the antipoverty community and nobody in city leadership was going to welcome the news that the noble experiment that they’d been engaged in for the past decade had been bringing the city down, in ways they’d never expected. But the connection was too obvious to ignore, and Betts and Janikowski figured that the same thing must be happening all around the country."
American Murder Mystery
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NURSE CHILD WANTED, OR TO ADOPT -- The Advertiser, a Widow with a little family of her own, and moderate allowance from her late husband's friends, would be glad to accept the charge of a young child. Age no object. If sickly would receive a parent's care. Terms, Fifteen Shillings a month; or would adopt entirely if under two months for the small sum of Twelve pounds.
This kindly nineteenth-century advertisement had a hidden meaning. If a woman paid her adoption fee to a baby farmer
and handed over her infant, no one ever had to worry about that baby, ever again. [more inside]
More than 100 nations have reached an agreement on a treaty which would ban current designs of cluster bombs.
Naturally, the most militant nations (USA, Russia, China, India, Pakistan) have refused to negotiate (creating significant interoperability issues for allied nations such as the UK to the USA). The Cluster Munition Coalition
is an excellent resource about the issue. [more inside]
Ever wondered what life is like on the International Space Station? Wonder no more
. [more inside]
Fritz Langs M
by comicbook artist Jon J Muth
Performance Artist Killed on Peace Trip. Pippa Bacca
, performance artist, and friend wearing white wedding dresses, planned to hitchhike from Italy to the Balkans to the Middle East to send a message of peace and “marriage between different peoples and nations.” After three weeks on the road, Pippa Bacca was killed by a driver who offered her a ride. Her naked body was found and local authorities said Ms. Bacca had been raped and strangled.
What happens when a US President declares war on a concept? In 1964, Canadian photojournalist Hugh O'Connor traveled to eastern Kentucky to document the battlefields of Lyndon Johnson's war on poverty
and was shot for trespassing.
The incident is the subject of a wonderful documentary, Stranger with a Camera
by filmmaker Elizabeth Barrett
, produced by Appalshop
, a non-profit organization in Whitesburg, Kentucky, that works with local artists to promote self-representation in media and the expediency of culture to counteract a stagnating local economy.
Makes you think twice about nostalgic representations
of poor Appalachian coal miners plucking their banjo strings in the hollers, doesn't it?
The Woman Behind the Camera.
Film maker Errol Morris
, and the New Yorker's Philip Gourevitch
look at Sabrina Harman, photographer, and Army MP in Iraq. [more inside]
has been previously
mentioned in MeFi. A historical quirk
and geographical jigsaw
, these days the complicated border
criscrossing this Belgo-Dutch town had become little more than a tourist attraction.
What happens, however, when a dead body is found
, and nobody knows in which country it lies?
Kevin Ray Underwood found guilty
of first degree murder in the April 2006 killing of 10-year-old Jamie Rose Bolin. The jury only needed 20 minutes to decide on his guilt. Previously on Metafilter
, because he linked here. How could a seemingly normal
, albeit "single, bored and lonely", young man become a cannabalistic child rapist and murderer? Exhibits: The blog
he kept for almost four years up until the day after
the murder. A collection
of misc information about Underwood, including (near the bottom) the text of an online chat he had with a friend after killing Bolin. An extremely disturbing transcript
of his confession to the FBI. Video footage
of the trial. Deliberations will begin Monday as to whether or not he will be sentenced to death.
Google mashup: Last year's homicides
in Baltimore. Depressed yet? Try looking at it in Black
. [more inside]
A recent article
in the The New York Times depicts the violence in Iten, a village 18 miles outside of Elderot that has somehow managed
to produce most of Kenya's best athletes. Famous for its high altitude, forgiving clay roads, and dirt track
, elite runner Lorhah Kiplagat
chose to base her charitable foundation for women
and her training center
here. The camp is now under siege. Fellow humanitarian
and former world record holder in the marathon, Paul Tergat
, is missing. Former Olympian Lucas Sang
is dead, and countless others are injured or missing.
Dying Speeches & Bloody Murders
digitizes over five hundred broadsides owned by the Harvard Law Library, all of them devoted to "last dying speeches"--that is, sensational accounts of crime, punishment, and (fictional) confession, intended to be sold
at public executions. The New York State Historical Association has an online exhibition
devoted to nineteenth-century American murder pamphlets. You can find a couple of seventeenth-century examples at the Early Modern Web
and the Folger Library
. Old Bailey Online
briefly puts this literature into context. (Main link via C18-L.)
Dutch nurse Lucia De Berk has had her case reopened
5 years after her conviction for multiple counts of murdering her patients. [more inside]
Want to study some history and have hundreds of hours on your hands? Don't worry now. We already exhaustive know
about the Valley of the Shadow
project. But what about Great Unsolved Mysteries in Canadian History
, a bilingual English-French archive? If neither of these (vast) subjects tickle your pickle, don't worry... [more inside]
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]
The Baltimore Block
Real life in miniature.
New York artist Ashley Hope
's Ripeness is All
exhibit at the Tilton Gallery
recreates crime scene photographs of murdered women from the 1910s through the 1990s as oil paintings on huge 4' x 6' canvasses. [some nsfw art] [more inside]
All hail 70s-era Shatner! He began his career with some rather prestigious projects, appearing in The Brothers Karamazov
and Judgment at Nuremberg
, as well as some rather high profile appearance in Twilight Zone
and Alfred Hitchcock Presents
. But even then, there were hints of exploitation, such as 1961's The Explosive Generation
, in which Shatner played a teacher whose job is endangered when she speaks candidly to kids about sex
. And there was 1962's The Intruder
, a Roger Corman film from 1963 in which Shatner played a carpetbagging racist inciting violence in a southern town
) And, of course, there was Incubus
from 1965, a horror film in Esperanto
.) But, after Star Trek
, at the start of the 70s, something went haywire. [more inside]
The battle over Nandigram
continues (after the massacres
of March 14
), as a fresh spate of atrocities
have been reported.
King Ludwig II of Bavaria
was known as the "Fairy-tale King" and the "Mad King" due to his unusual upbringing, eccentric behavior
and architectural projects
based on Wagnerian operas.
For the last 121 years the official word on his death was that he committed suicide along with his psychiatrist, Professor Bernhard von Gudden
, by drowning himself in Lake Starnberg. New evidence suggests what many have long suspected
.....dum dum dum....Murder.
The State Department has promised Blackwater USA bodyguards immunity from prosecution in last month's murder of 17 Iraqi civilians
. Richard J. Griffin
, the head of the Bureau of Diplomatic Security
which granted the immunity, announced his resignation effective last Thursday.
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]
For lovers of old-time, mountain banjo styles and songs, Roscoe Holcomb
and Dock Boggs
are revered figures. To many, however, plucker and singer David Akeman
remains uncelebrated or unknown, even by his stage name of Stringbean
. Is it because he was
for a time actually famous
as a country music showbiz
staple, and therefore lacks folk cred
? Or maybe the purists just can't get with those low-hanging pants
the man was known for, his original hillbilly homeboy
styling? Or was it cause on any given tune his left hand
would likely be off
the neck of the banjo more than on it? Whatever the reason, it's time folks took a new look at Stringbean. After all, the lines between folk and commercial
styles have always
been blurry in American music. Let's hear it for Stringbeeeeeeeaaan! [more inside]
McHenry and his "roommates"
-- GOP Rep Patrick McHenry (NC), co-owner of a DC home with Scott G. Stewart, former chair of the College Republican Nat'l Cttee (and bilker of many senior citizens), received a DC home-ownership reduction improperly. McHenry's actual home in North Carolina was apparently also home to quite a collection of young men: (convicted fraudulent voter) Michael Aaron Lay
, Neil Everett Capano, Matthew Allen Hamilton, and (multiple violations, including "death by vehicle") Jason Jent Deans
. Also, McHenry's 04 consultant Ralph Gonzales was one of the men involved in a recent FL murder/suicide, and links to Robert Drake, the killer
(political work in NC and escort service connections), are still being documented. Stay tuned! [more inside]
was murdered by her brother last January in a horrible, but all-too-common
Syrian honor killing. Public outcry
at her murder
were a family of German immigrants who opened a store and restaurant in the newly formed state of Kansas in the late 19th century. Led by the spiritualist Kate
, they also were some of the United States first serial killers
. [more inside]
A gay Republican news story
that you probably didn't read about in the paper: In late August, Ralph Gonzalez
--Republican strategist, former Georgia GOP executive director, and "political powerhouse
(along with his roommate, David Abrami, another Republican political consultant) by Gonzalez' "friend" and former Marine Jason Robert Drake. Characterized as the result of a "lovers' quarrel," it's a bizarre crime story that should've made at least a ripple in the national news, given some other recent incidents
. But it never did. [more inside]
Krystian Bala has been convicted of murder in Wroclaw.
Bala, the author of the grisly 2000 crime novel Amok
, claimed to have taken his book's plot from news reports about the killing of a local businessman. Police were skeptical
after learning that the novel contained details known only to the investigators and the killer himself.
Bala was arrested in 2005
, interrogated, and eventually released for lack of convincing evidence; he finally went on trial this past summer. His lawyer claims the case against him was circumstantial, but e-mail sent from Indonesia and South Korea gave Bala away
is, by a wide margin, my favorite animated short ever produced. Set in the art deco Europe of the 1920's and (and released in 1997) it tells the story of a journey throughout several major vacation destinations of a wealthy tycoon, his young wife with wandering eyes, and a murderous turn of events. The story is told in reverse, from the final stage of the "vacation" back through each prior stop, and the artwork for each segment is painted in the style of the luggage travel sticker for that stop.
"November the 23rd, 1989, and possibly the most influential British guitar band of the last twenty years were making their debut on Top of the Pops.
The group were Manchester's the Stone Roses. Having just released one of the most acclaimed debut albums of all time, they had the world at their feet. But then it all went horribly wrong. Within a few short years, the Stone Roses had split."
Sensational Stone Roses BBC documentary Blood on the Turntables in one two three four five six
, who spent most of her life in Kenya, was a noted naturalist and filmmaker (along with her (former) husband
. She was murdered
by gunmen at point-blank range in January, 2006 in her home on Lake Naivasha
. Lake Naivasha is the only fresh water source in the Great Rift Valley
, and has become increasingly endangered by pollution and overuse for irrigation, and Root spent considerable time fighting to protect it. Today, a Kenyan magistrate acquitted
the four suspects in her murder, calling the testimony of 13 witnesses "defective".
An Unsolved Killing. Tom Wales
, a 49-year-old Assistant US Attorney, was murdered
in Seattle's Queen Anne neighborhood on October 11, 2001, and the case
is getting cold
. Former U.S. attorney John McKay was fired
in March 2005 in part for pressing for a more active investigation.
One day while crossing an empty field, fifteen-year-old Tim Masters
happened to see a dead body
. Twenty years later, he remains in prison
, serving time for a crime that he almost certainly did not commit.
tale of a murder investigation gone wrong
In late March the body of Lindsay Ann Hawker
in a bathtub on the balcony of a Chiba apartment. This week, with the help
of UK officers, the Hawker family has returned
to Tokyo, to seek help to find the main suspect Tatsuya Ichihashi, who has been missing since the discovery of the body.
Return to Crothersville: Aaron Hall
probably wasn't gay, but his murder
in April has become an argument for passage of the Matthew Shepard Act
, which would add attacks based on a victim's perceived sexual orientation to the list of federal hate crimes. The men accused of Aaron's murder are invoking the "gay panic" defense
. A citizen journalist at the Bloomington Alternative has published a
on her investigation of the circumstances of the crime and of Aaron's life, and why uncovering the truth in a place like Crothersville, where the social network is so tight-knit and there's no local hate crimes law
, requires an outside (federal) investigation.