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A Most Curious Murder - the Madeleine Smith Story

A Most Curious Murder - the Madeleine Smith Story. 'Thursday, 9th July 1857 - The atmosphere outside the High Court in Edinburgh was charged to fever pitch as the crowd awaited the verdict at the end of the most sensational trial of the century. Hanging in the balance was the life of Madeleine Smith, attractive 22 year old daughter of a prosperous Glasgow architect ... '
The site includes, amongst other things, this 1787 directory of Glasgow manufacturers and traders.
posted by plep on Jan 2, 2005 - 14 comments

Told you so

I hate people who say I told you so... But.... Edgar Morales shot a little girl, does that make him a terrorist? Other gang members were prosecuted before this for terrorism, other groups who maybe should have haven't - so what's the new law for? Is this the first of many prosecutions under new laws which some said would do one thing but are actually doing something else?
posted by Smedleyman on Dec 28, 2004 - 60 comments

Phantom Pregnancy and Postpartum Depression?

Why some women kill for a baby.
"Most often women do this to fool the husband, and they don't want to break the spell, and there comes a time when they need to go get a baby."
posted by grabbingsand on Dec 20, 2004 - 56 comments

What I had come looking for were the secrets to my father's murder.

What I had come looking for were the secrets to my father's murder. [LA Times link] In 1972, when Mark Arax was 15, his father was killed by two unknown gunmen. He spent nearly three decades trying to solve the crime, and wrote a book about his investigation. Then a break in the case led to some suprising discoveries.
posted by kirkaracha on Dec 13, 2004 - 27 comments

Matthew Shepard story on 20/20

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.
posted by livingsanctuary on Nov 28, 2004 - 68 comments

makes me hate teenagers

Girl murders mother, posts about it on her blog. Oh yes, it's real. Many of the 1300+ comments on her last entry are defending her actions, or saying it's unfair to judge her. (via Waxy via Glassdog)
posted by zelphi on Nov 27, 2004 - 111 comments

Film worth dying for?

Theo Van Gogh, murdered last week by a muslim in retalliation for a movie called Submission, a fictional short film critique of how women are treated within Islam. If you were curious about whether the film was worth dying for, the folks at iFilm have it on their site. It's basically an imagined monologue between a woman and Allah. It's 11 minutes long and is safe for work.
posted by mathowie on Nov 9, 2004 - 36 comments

Impossible demands, inhuman intent.

Ken Bigley murdered by Iraqi terrorists. The third of his group to be beheaded, his ordeal lasted three weeks, whilst his kidnappers demanded that the British release prisoners they didn't even hold. The poor man did not deserve this.
posted by dash_slot- on Oct 8, 2004 - 79 comments

Casey Jones, Stagolee, Frankie and Johnny - Murder and Death Ballad Back Stories

My Back Pages--Interesting in his own right Eyolf Østrem still maintains the fan's fan tab, chords and music site, the standard by which all others are judged. I just revisited it the other night, while trying to recall how that little run in Dylan's version of Delia went, and dang, if it didn't have the back story of that ballad. I love this kind of stuff. The source of that account, John Garst, is the folklorist king of such research--he puts John Henry at a railroad tunnel near Leeds, Alabama, just east of Birmingham on September 20, 1887, for example. Murder and heroic death ballad back stories are of extreme interest to me, so I decided to post a few more here: Frankie and Albert, Frankie and Johnny, Casey Jones and Stagger Lee. Did I say I love this kind of stuff?
posted by y2karl on Sep 23, 2004 - 10 comments

We miss you, Anna.

She was destined to lead us.
One year ago today, Sweden got it's own 9/11 trauma. Foreign Minister Anna Lindh died by the hand of a madman.
posted by mr.marx on Sep 11, 2004 - 21 comments

I Hear A New World

Meeksville centers around Joe Meek, Britain's first independent record producer, whose DIY engineering wizardry would transform record-making during the Sixties. Five years after an international #1 hit in the Tornadoes' space-age Telstar (Windows Media or RealPlayer), he would self-destruct, in an end not without tragedy or speculation. His works--along with his trademarked name--live on.
posted by LinusMines on Sep 10, 2004 - 4 comments

Devil in the White City

I've just finished reading a copy of Larson's Devil in the White City sent to me by a relative who heard of my love for Isaac's Storm. Devil is a biography of two men who were central to the 1893 Chicago World's Fair. One, Daniel H. Burnham would become one of the most influential architects and city planners of the early 20th century. Burnham organized a crew of the architectural, engineering and artistic elite including landscape artist Frederick Law Olmstead (famous for Central Park and Biltmore) in an effort to better the Paris world's fair of 1889. The Chicago exposition would be profoundly influential for American culture introducing Arabic Dance (the tune for "There's a place in France/where the naked ladies dance" was created in Chicago), the Ferris Wheel, Shredded Wheat, and helping to settle the Battle of the Currents between Edison and Tesla. The fair drew a large variety of larger than life figures including Archduke Ferdinand, Elizabeth B. Anthony, Buffalo Bill Cody and the mostly forgotten master of self promotion Citizen Train.

Devil is also a biography of the man given credit for America's first recognized serial murders, the self-named H. H. Holmes. At the start of the fair, Holmes changed his modus operandi from marrying and killing women as part of insurance and real estate scams, to running a hotel from which an unknown number of his female tenants never checked out. Although information on Holmes's activities is scanty, he serves as a mirror of the utopia of civic safety created by Burnham. Larson makes the argument that the contrasts between optimisim and pessimism, well-intentioned virtue and depravity, urban utopia with a few blocks from slums, would set the tone for the 20th century.
posted by KirkJobSluder on Aug 7, 2004 - 13 comments

Don't talk to strangers, remember what happened to Sarah Cherry....

On July 6th, 1988 Dennis Dechaine of Bowdinham, Maine came home from work (transporting frozen chickens from a slaughterhouse) and planned to work on constructing a greenhouse. However, that project hit a glitch and sometime that afternoon he decided instead to take some amphetamines and go exploring in the woods near his home. When he emerged from the woods, lost and looking for his truck, about 8:30 pm that night he was questioned by the police who were looking for a missing 12 year old girl named Sarah Cherry. Two days later, Sarah's body was found and Dennis Dechainewas charged with the girl's murder. He was convicted in March of 1989 to life in prison without parole and an entire generation of Maine girls were told to 'remember Sarah Cherry' as a caution to not talk to strangers.
The question before us now, is, of course, did he do it?
posted by anastasiav on Aug 6, 2004 - 19 comments

Crimes of the century

Homicide in Chicago: 1870-1930
July 25, 1899 Murphy, James, 28 years old, shot dead, saloon 1210 Wabash Av., by Lorezo Sodini, proprietor. Murphy refused to pay for drinks and ran out of saloon and threw stone through window. Sodini ran out and fired at him, killing him instantly. Harrison St. Station. Held by Coroner's Jury, July 29. Acquitted Dec. 9, 1899, by jury in Judge Baker's court. Case number: 1498
posted by tcp on Jul 2, 2004 - 1 comment

Stalking the Bogeyman

"This time last year I was plotting to kill a man. I was going to walk up to him, reintroduce myself and then blow his balls off. I was going to watch him writhe like a poisoned cockroach for a few seconds, then kick him onto his stomach and put three bullets in the back of his head. This time last year I had a gun, and a silencer, and a plan." Westword's best writer makes a couple admissions.
posted by raaka on May 15, 2004 - 27 comments

Look Magazine

Emmett Till's murder case has been reopened, nearly fifty years after the killers' acquittal. Don't I mean alleged killers? No, the cretins happily confessed all to a national newsweekly after their trial. A thousand details here, and a couple more in the subsequent letters to the editor, that will forever kill any nostalgia you might have for the "old days."
posted by stupidsexyFlanders on May 14, 2004 - 8 comments

Let Her Dance, Let Her Dance, Ket Her Dance All Night Long....

Bobby Fuller was a Texas based rock and roll singer best known for the immortal rebel anthem "I Fought The Law,". Considered by many to be the heir to Buddy Holly as the king of Texas Rock, he built on Holly's style with songs like the aforementioned "...Law," "Jenny Lee," "Love's Made A Fool Of You," and the 2 1/2 minute masterpiece "Let Her Dance." And then it ended, at age 22, in very weird circumstances. Over the years, interest in Fuller and his work has ebbed and flowed, and plenty of archival material surfaced, but the mystery of his death remains unsolved, although many have speculated. Ann odd end for a footnote character in rick history, but who was bound for more
posted by jonmc on May 7, 2004 - 16 comments

Crazy or Contrite?

The facinating story of Seti Scanlan - After a mental meltdown, he went on a crime spree of robberies, in the process killing 2 victims. He fled from California to Oregon where he... gave himself up. Since then, he has pled guilty to all charges and waived his right to a trial. He attempted to wave his sentancing trial and accept the death penalty, but the judge would not allow it. Scanlan himself says that he just wants to stand up and face the consequences of his crimes.
posted by falconred on May 2, 2004 - 12 comments

A possible murder suspect's google-trail?

A possible murder suspect's google-trail of dark and bloody tales?

A contributing writer for 'Deviant Minds' webzine (scroll down a few clicks to Donn Gash) may be linked to the gruesome murder of his father. His mother has already been charged.
posted by moonbird on Apr 2, 2004 - 5 comments

CSI helped him get away with murder ... but The Passion of the Christ made him confess.

CSI helped him get away with murder ... but The Passion of the Christ made him confess. When did real life jump the shark and become a bad postmodern novel?
posted by blueshammer on Mar 29, 2004 - 28 comments

Conservatives Win Big With Fetus Bill

Conservatives Win Big With Fetus Bill
posted by SpaceCadet on Mar 27, 2004 - 26 comments

Be thankful for law and order.

Vigilante justice, Caribbean style.
posted by h00dini on Mar 25, 2004 - 16 comments

no winners

Air traffic controller killed by revengeful father ?? It's a long and sorry story I bet.
posted by johnny7 on Feb 26, 2004 - 15 comments

Did Florida's justice system fail miserably?

Joseph P. Smith had a criminal record dating back to 1993, now suspected of kidnapping and murdering eleven year old Carlie Brucia in Sarasota. According to the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, Smith had a history of "second chances." How typical is this, or is this just a case of hindsight being everything?
posted by SentientAI on Feb 6, 2004 - 23 comments

One way or another, it was going to come back to him...

Dad Kills Known Sex Offender Dad's in-law is caught in a possible compromising situation with 2 year old daughter, and having a history of sex abuse, dad immediately beats the registered sex offender up, and kicks him out. Takes girl to hospital, no penetration. Later on, he decides to gun the man down in the street with 9 bullets. Vigilante justice? Karma? Two wrongs don't make a right?
posted by Keyser Soze on Feb 2, 2004 - 111 comments

I eat cannibals, it's incredible, you bring out the animal in me, I eat cannibals

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.)
posted by homunculus on Nov 27, 2003 - 9 comments

Justice, Las Vegas Style

Framed for defending herself. On August 28th, 2002 in Las Vegas, Nevada a woman named Kirstin Lobato was sentenced to life in prison. She was the victim of an attempted rape in May 2001, and had defended herself against her rapist. prosecutors used this "confession" of self defense to convict her of a murder that happened months later and in a town where she didn't even live. How "innocent until proven guilty" can you be if prosecutors are willing to use known perjurers and refuse to allow expert testimony?
posted by dejah420 on Nov 26, 2003 - 17 comments

Durst Admits to Killing, Still Found Innocent

Robert Durst Admits to Killing but is found innocent because the jurors didn't think the prosecution proved beyond a reasonable doubt that Durst intentionally murdered, cut his ex-friend up and then threw the body parts in a lake.
I'm sure the fact that he's got like $9 billion had absolutely nothing to do with it.
But since he's got a history of killing, I suppose they'll just wait for him to "accidentally" kill someone else and then try to dispose of the body without getting caught.
But isn't an accidental killing still prosecutable? Isn't the fact that he admitted to chopping the body up and throwing it in a lake prosecutable?
Are you wondering what ever did happen to his wife too?
posted by fenriq on Nov 11, 2003 - 21 comments

Planet Autism

Planet Autism
"Last summer, a man in California shot his 27-year-old autistic son to death and then shot himself. I understand why." (warning - Salon link)
posted by Irontom on Sep 27, 2003 - 16 comments

Emergency Roadside Assistance

"One call to AAA and your worries are over," says the brochure. That's what Melissa Gosule's family thought, but she was kidnapped and murdered during the hours it took for AAA to get its act together. So the family is suing. Do they have a case? After all, she's not the only one who's waited and waited and waited and waited for multiple hours after calling AAA. I oughta know. [more inside]
posted by soyjoy on Sep 8, 2003 - 24 comments

John Geoghan killed in prison

It may be Massachusetts, and he may be a former Catholic priest, but today John Geoghan got the death penalty. News of Geoghan's death at the hands of a fellow inmate will likely do little to provide closure for his 130 alleged victims, or repair any wounds from a scandal that tested the trust and faith of a great many people.
posted by PrinceValium on Aug 23, 2003 - 44 comments

From garbage bag to garbage bag ...

From the NYT (reg req.'d) This is the saddest story I can imagine. "It was only a week ago that the tiny body of Stephanie Ramos was found in a plastic bag in a garbage truck in the Bronx, discarded by a foster mother who told the police that she panicked when the severely disabled girl died. It was an ugly ending by any measure, but particularly cruel in this case because the little girl's life began the same way: wrapped in a plastic bag and discarded on a New York City byway." Has anyone ever been a foster parent? A foster child? Are things often this bad - and this good? (That'll make sense when you read the story.)
posted by Jos Bleau on Jul 18, 2003 - 9 comments

Words fail me...

Susan Smith needs pen pals. Remember the woman who killed her two sons by driving her car into a South Carolina lake while they were strapped into their car seats back in 1994? Well, she's 31 and looking for people who are "not judgemental" and "sincere". She's a Christian who enjoys attending church and loves "rainbows, Mickey Mouse, the beach, the mountains, and waterfalls."
posted by Irontom on Jul 10, 2003 - 58 comments

Justice for Shameful Behaviour

The Windshield Killer: Chante Mallard's Timeline of Shame details what this woman did on the evening leading up to her high speed hit and attempted run when she was on drugs, had been drinking and hit a 37 year old homeless man named Gregory Biggs on the highway. After he lodged in her windshield, she tried to pull him out but couldn't. Instead she drove home, parked the car in the garage and let him bleed to death over the next two hours. Why didn't she call the police or a doctor? She was too scared (read that, too wasted). Instead she had her boyfriend and cousin come and dump the body in a nearby park. Today she was found guilty in 50 minutes by the jury.
posted by fenriq on Jun 26, 2003 - 47 comments

Marc Dutroux ordered to stand trial in Belgium

Dutroux to face jury trial This one's a shocker. Marc Dutroux has been held in custody in Belgium since 1996, having been arrested for the kidnap and killing of several young girls. There's 2 theories why the Belgian legal system has been unable to bring this guy to trial - either gross incompetence, or a conspiracy to protect those more important than himself, going all the way up to the government. [ more inside ]
posted by derbs on Apr 30, 2003 - 8 comments

Mary, Mary... Quite Contrary

"Mary smiled and asked to see Martin. I said, ‘No, pet, Martin is dead.’ She turned round and said, ‘Oh, I know he’s dead. I wanted to see him in his coffin,’ and she was still grinning."

Mary Bell was convicted in 1968 for the murder of two boys: Martin Brown, age 4 and Brian Howe, age 3. And how old was Mary? She was 11. Released on license in 1980, Mary is in court again, this time to determine if she can retain the state-granted anonymity she has enjoyed since her release. But should one remain anonymous after profitting from their own biography?
posted by grabbingsand on Apr 15, 2003 - 26 comments

Laura Palmer's Secret Diary

The (not so) Secret Weblog of Laura Palmer brings back many memories of trying to work out who the real murderer was, and being deeply infuriated with how the story ended. As Agent Cooper puts it: "I know that good is stronger than evil and yet sometimes it's difficult to see it. Even in a place like Twin Peaks." [via Caro]
posted by feelinglistless on Apr 8, 2003 - 17 comments

Calling Captain Obvious

Latest musings from Laci Peterson's family: "He's just not around, he's not participating, he's not working together with us." Hmmm. Wonder why. That whole "Somebody hurt Laci. Scott's somebody. Therefore..." thing might have something to do with it. Even if you think he was involved, you've got to admit there's something creepy about accusing a guy of killing his wife and child simply because nobody else has shown up to take the blame.
posted by effugas on Feb 13, 2003 - 30 comments

Lana Clarkson, Dead Actress.

Lana Clarkson, gunned down in Phil Spector's home, was the star of B movies like Barbarian Queen and Barbarian Queen 2, and also made appearances on classic television shows such as the A-Team, Knight Rider, Three's Company and of course, The Love Boat.
posted by car_bomb on Feb 5, 2003 - 17 comments

'Da Serial Killer

Shortly after Jack The Ripper retired, a man named Henry Holmes moved to Chicago. Using insurance fraud money, in 1892 he built an elaborate mansion with over 60 rooms. This mansion, which became known as The Murder Castle, was perhaps the first extraordinary building in a city that has become known for its architecture, from Frank Lloyd Wright to the Sears tower. In his home, which he ran as a hotel for the unfortunate traveler, Holmes murderd & disposed of as many as 200 victims over the course of the next four years... (more inside)
posted by jonson on Feb 3, 2003 - 26 comments

Wall of trouble?

Phil Spector arrested, booked for investigation of murder. via Drudge
posted by 111 on Feb 3, 2003 - 31 comments

The Murder of Emmett Till

Emmett just barely got on that train to Mississippi. We could hear the whistle blowing. As he was running up the steps, I said, 'Bo,'--that's what I called him--'you didn't kiss me. How do I know I'll ever see you again?' He turned around and said, 'Oh, Mama.' Gently scolding me. He ran down those steps and gave me a kiss. As he turned to go up the steps again, he pulled his watch off and said, 'Take this, I won't need it.' I said, 'What about your ring?' He was wearing his father's ring for the first time. He said, 'I'm going to show this to my friends.' That's how we were able to identify him, by that ring. I think it was a Mason's ring.

Mamie Till-Mobley, 81, who wanted the world to see her teenage son's disfigured face after his slaying in Mississippi in 1955 and who became a figure in the civil rights movement, died of a heart ailment Jan. 6 at a hospital in Chicago. She had kidney failure.

The impact of the Emmett Till case on black America was even greater than that of the Brown decision. On January 20, 2003, The American Experience will present, on PBS, The Murder of Emmett Till. (Continued Inside)
posted by y2karl on Jan 9, 2003 - 51 comments

Blowback from Three Strikes Laws

Three Strikes Laws May Increase Murder Rates A recent article in the journal Criminology & Public Policy suggests that the politically popular "three strikes" laws may have the perverse effect of causing more murders. Because the sentences for murders and "third strikes" are the same, criminals have an incentive to change their M.O. to murder witnesses and police officers. Maybe using baseball metaphors in determining crime policy isn't such a good idea after all.
posted by jonp72 on Dec 11, 2002 - 16 comments

Death of a killer

Moors murderer Myra Hindley is dead The serial killer was serving her 36th year behind bars at nearby Highpoint Prison, Suffolk. Hindley and Ian Brady, 64, were jailed for life in 1966 for the sexual abuse, torture and murder of three youngsters. In 1987 they confessed to two more child killings.
posted by tomcosgrave on Nov 15, 2002 - 13 comments

Even though it was tricky to rock around, he wore his Adidas proudly.

Even though it was tricky to rock around, he wore his Adidas proudly. RIP Jam Master J of groundbreaking rap group Run DMC was shot and killed today. Remember where you were when these forerunners of rap came on the scene?
posted by wolfgangnorton on Oct 30, 2002 - 60 comments

Robert Flores' 22 page farewell.

Robert Flores' 22 page farewell. The man who shot and killed three people at the College of Nursing. Makes for interesting reading and should inspire some discussion as to the stereotyping of whites among whites. Please do read the whole thing, although I doubt you would be able to put down after having started.
posted by ( .)(. ) on Oct 30, 2002 - 110 comments

"Sometimes I question the wisdom of continuing on in a profession that is under siege and under valued. I am aging, I am tired and some days I don’t know how I can continue to teach the newest and brightest of our profession." Part of an essay written last year by Cheryl McGaffic, one of the nursing professors killed by a disgruntled student at the University of Arizona yesterday.
posted by rcade on Oct 29, 2002 - 13 comments

Washington, D.C. Killing Linked To At Least Three Of The Montgomery County, Maryland Shootings

Washington, D.C. Killing Linked To At Least Three Of The Montgomery County, Maryland Shootings The ballistics tests reported last night established the connection between the District shooting [Thursday night]and three of the Thursday morning attacks in Montgomery. and in the same story: Man Tied to Militia Groups Sought for Questioning, N.C. Police Say . . . The Raleigh News & Observer said a bulletin from the ATF said the man had once lived in North Carolina and had been affiliated with militia and white supremacist groups. I can't find out why the authorities want to talk to this man, just that he isn't a "suspect" yet, but is wanted for questioning.
posted by Corky on Oct 5, 2002 - 15 comments

Robert (Willie) Pickton.

Robert (Willie) Pickton. Now charged in the murder of 11 Vancouver-area eastside prostitutes. Not sure if many outside of Canada have heard of this man. They've been digging up his pig-farm for months now and they keep uncovering more victims (now as many as Clifford Olson). There's still a lot more to search and a lot more women missing. How long have they known about this guy and when will the gruesome discoveries end?
posted by trillion on Sep 20, 2002 - 16 comments

This week in 1978, the most bizarre and hideous of murders was committed. Georgi Markov, a Bulgarian dissident was jabbed in the thigh with a deadly umbrella. The umbrella inserted ricin into him, killing him on September 11th, 1978. To this day, his killer has not been punished.

Question to ponder: Does the US CIA have their own 'deadly umbrellas'?
posted by RobbieFal on Sep 13, 2002 - 38 comments

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