February 15, 2015

West Memphis Three Judge Now Wants to End the Death Penalty

In a serious case of irony, former judge David Burnett is introducing a bill in Arkansas that would end the death penalty.  This is ironic because Burnett was the judge that presided over the trial of Damien Echols and Jason Baldwin, two of the convicted West Memphis Three.  Oh yes, he also sentenced Echols to death. 

So clearly he had no issue with the death penalty back when Echols was taking the rap for satanic panic in West Memphis but now he wants to do away with it?  Why?  Guilt maybe, since Echols, Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley were released in August of 2011, after being incarcerated since 1993, on an almost unheard of Alford plea. 

One of the worst grievances Burnett committed, outside of sentencing an innocent man to death, was not severing the trials of Echols and Baldwin.  The prosecution had no case against Baldwin and were desperate to keep him as linked to Echols as possible.  (Their case against Echols was painfully weak, consisting mainly of circumstantial evidence, his own moody teenaged writings and witness testimony that was later recanted.)  Had Burnett severed the trials, Baldwin likely would have walked.  Incidentally, the prosecution made Baldwin an offer twice to reduce his sentence to five years or less if he would testify against Echols (again, showcasing their lack of case against the so-called ringleader.)  Baldwin refused both times, even as he was told he was looking at life in prison.  Not surprisingly, Baldwin would be the last to agree to the Alford plea, wanting instead to move forward with the new trial and officially have his name cleared. 

But I digress.  That is certainly a post for another time.  Back to Burnett.  He has not spoken publicly about the case other than to say that he did not agree with the State letting the West Memphis Three accept the plea deal.  Interesting given that he is now standing to do away with the very penalty he bestowed upon one of them.  So does that mean he believes in the death penalty for those cases he already ruled on or just against Damien Echols?   

What do you think prompted the change in Burnett's stance on the death penalty?  Guilty conscience?  Or to garner favor? 

February 10, 2015

Sociopaths Are Everywhere

Feeling discouraged and depressed about the world in general?  This certainly won't help.

An 11 year old Cleveland, Ohio girl has been charged with murder in the beating death of a 2 month old infant.  The baby was staying overnight with the 11 year old, whose name has not been released due to her age, and her mother.  The infant's mother is - - or maybe I should say was - - friends with the tween's mother and the baby was staying overnight in an attempt to give the infant's mother a break. 

The tween's mother says she was awake until 3 a.m., with her daughter and the infant on a sofa with her.  She awoke about an hour later when her daughter wakened her to show her the baby was bleeding and with a badly swollen head.  The tween's mother called 911 and the infant was taken to a hospital, where she later died. 

Per Ohio law, a minor must be at least 14 years old to be turned over to the adult courts.  An 11 year old can, however, be sentenced to a Department of Youth Services facility until the age of  21. 

An 11 year old beating to death any living thing is disturbing enough but what made me feel absolutely sick was reading that the police chief stated the girl did not show any remorse.  I know some people might feel that an 11 year old cannot be responsible for her actions but that is bullshit, people.  I knew right from wrong before I was 11.  I certainly knew killing a baby was wrong before that. 

If I was a betting gal, I would bet this tween is a sociopath.  To have no remorse, no guilt, no nothing . . . sociopath, people.  This girl needs a boatload of therapy and she needs to be locked up.  She's a danger, plain and simple. 

Stories like this make me worry for our future.

February 9, 2015

Remembering Kimberly Leach

I have followed the Ted Bundy case for many years, reading every book written about him and his horrible trail of destruction.  I never fail to be moved by the tragedy of the entire mess but thinking of the victims makes me beyond sad, mainly because they become just that - - "Bundy victims."  So I like to try and remember them for who they were and not just the way they died or who killed them.

On this day back in 1978, Bundy would take his last, and officially youngest, victim, 12-year-old Kimberly Dianne Leach.  Kim was a Lake City, Florida junior high student, a bright and pretty girl whose main focus on February 9, 1978 was being named the runner-up to the Queen of the upcoming Valentine's dance.  She wasn't a delinquent or a runaway and it seems likely that Bundy used one of his tried and true ruses on her - - pretending to be a cop or person in authority - - to lure her away from her junior high as she navigated between buildings. 

There isn't much information on Kimberly Leach available online, other than the smiling picture of her above . . . the same picture that now graces her headstone.  Despite his eleventh hour confessions of scrambling to save himself, Ted Bundy would never discuss Kim.  He wouldn't discuss how he managed to get her to accompany him to his van (a witness saw him leading her, crying, into his stolen van) nor would he tell authorities exactly what he had subjected her to.  When initially caught and arrested, Kim was still missing and Bundy wouldn't give authorities any clue as to where she might be.  By the time she was found, months later, exactly what she had endured and how she died was conjecture and educated guesses.  It was for Kim's murder that Bundy was ultimately executed.

Tragically and cruelly, Ted Bundy would choose February 9, 1980 - - the second anniversary of Kim's death - - to marry Carole Ann Boone in open court in Florida.  Another attempt at manipulation by the consummate serial killer or a way to mark a macabre special day for him?  No one will know. 

 Kim was buried in Lake City, Florida and had she lived, would be turning 50 this year. 

February 8, 2015

Marshall Granted a Parole Hearing

In general "life is unfair" news, convicted killer Robert O. Marshall has been granted a parole hearing in March.  Marshall, best known from Joe McGinniss' true crime book Blind Faith, was sentenced to death in 1986 for the contract-for-hire killing of his wife, Maria, in September of 1984 but his sentence was overturned in 2006 due to ineffective counsel.  Is counsel ineffective if the guilty are found guilty?  Anyhow, Marshall was resentenced to thirty years to life and New Jersey abolished the death penalty. 

Regardless of how you feel about the death penalty, can there be any more heinous crime than one spouse who kills another?  And for money? 

Marshall was in debt up to his eyeballs and was getting his jollies with another woman.  His solution to his problems was to load his lovely wife up with life insurance and then have her knocked off.  He could then collect the life insurance money, pay off his debts and continue banging his skanky mistress without the pesky interference of his wife.  So Marshall hires a hit man, pulls off at a rest stop after a trip to Atlantic City because he suspects one of his tires is going flat and tells the cops that while checking this annoying tire, gets hit on the head and is knocked unconscious.  When he comes to, his wallet is empty and he finds his wife dead in the car from two gunshots to her back.  Uh-huh.  What amazing luck that a robber chooses an abandoned rest stop to wait for a victim and Rob just happens to have a few thousand in his wallet. 

Thank goodness the New Jersey cops called bullshit on this sorry story from the beginning.  Never mind that the supposedly flat tire had a jagged cut in it, likely from a switchblade and clearly intentional.  Never mind that a supposed thief just happened to be waiting at a deserted rest stop for someone to show up, which Marshall conveniently did.  Never mind that the same thief popped Marshall in the head and left him alive - - Marshall, the bigger threat - - and then killed his wife.  Those facts were bad enough but, like Jeffrey MacDonald more than a decade before him, Marshall sunk himself.  He was more grief stricken over not being able to see his mistress in the days and weeks following the crime than his wife's death and was rushing to collect the insurance money like a Kardashian runs to the media. 

Marshall tried to get early release due to health issues in 2012 but that request was roundly rejected. 

Marshall and Maria had three sons.  The two eldest sons spoke last month against their father's potential release, asking the court to defend their mother and her memory and keep him locked up.  The youngest son has supported his father from the beginning and begged the court to allow his father to come home and be part of his family, that's he's needed. 

I feel terrible for the Marshall boys (now men.)  They were robbed of their mother, especially the youngest who was only 13 or so when she was killed.  Maria missed out on seeing her boys married and have families of their own and the enjoyments of being a grandmother.   

After all these years, Marshall continues to manipulate his youngest son into believing his innocence.  This, despite the fact that alleged trigger man (who was never convicted) admitted in the last few years that he was indeed the one who killed Maria Marshall. 

I think the only way Rob Marshall should leave prison is in a body bag or a box.  He's a POS who put a dollar sign on his wife's head and hatched a lame murder-for-hire scheme to collect a payout . . . even going so far as to tell the killer that he didn't want anything to mar his wife's beauty when she was killed.   And he can spare me all the whining about not being part of his sons' lives.  If he cared about them at all, he never would have done anything to take their mother from them. 

Marshall will go before the parole board in Trenton, New Jersey next month.   

February 6, 2015

The MacDonald Case: The Tate/LaBianca/Manson Connection

If you believe Jeffrey MacDonald's account of what happened that night of February 16-17, 1970, the crimes had a direct correlation to the so-called Manson Family murders that happened in Los Angeles in August of 1969.  MacDonald alleges that a band of drug-crazed hippies invaded his home and while on an acid trip, slaughtered his family and left him barely alive.

Let's look at the connections between the two crimes.

Both the Tate-Polanski and LaBianca residences were home invasions, with the killers entering the homes uninvited in the very early morning hours.

Per MacDonald's story, his home was entered by a group of hippies in the wee hours of the morning.

Victim Sharon Tate was pregnant.

Victim Colette MacDonald was pregnant.

The Tate and LaBianca victims were stabbed multiple times.

The MacDonald family victims were stabbed multiple times. 

The word "Pig" was written in Sharon Tate's blood at the crime scene.

The word "Pig" was written in Colette MacDonald's blood at the crime scene.

On the surface it seems there is a lot connecting the two cases.  However, looking at the differences shows there are more of those than similarities.

Both Colette MacDonald and Kimberley MacDonald were bludgeoned with a club.  Other than two victims being hit with the butt of a gun, no Tate-LaBianca victims were bludgeoned.

Three of the Tate victims suffered gunshot wounds. None of the MacDonald victims had gunshot wounds.

Rope was placed around the necks of two, possibly three, of the Tate victims to either restrain them and/or hang them.  No rope was used or found at the MacDonald scene.

The Tate-LaBianca killers brought their murder weapons with them to each crime scene.  The MacDonald killers came empty handed and used weapons found at the residence.

The Tate and LaBianca victims were allowed to fall where they may.  No effort was made to return them to any particular room or "pose" them in any fashion.  Kimberley MacDonald was initially struck in the master bedroom and carried back to her own room, placed into her bed with her favorite blanket, and the covers pulled up to her neck before she was struck again and stabbed.  Colette MacDonald was bludgeoned in Kristen's room and then carried to the master bedroom in a bedsheet, where she was deposited on the floor before being killed by further blows and stabs.

The LaBianca victims were restrained with leather thongs and the cord from a lamp.  The MacDonald victims were not restrained.

At both the Tate and the LaBianca scenes, the male victims were restrained first and attacked first.  Makes sense as the men would be the larger threat to the killers.  At the MacDonald scene, MacDonald reported that his wife and children were attacked first and he was attacked last, despite being a far greater threat than a pregnant woman and two little girls.

No children were present or killed (save the unborn son Sharon Tate carried) at either the Tate or LaBianca crime scene.  Two little girls were found slaughtered at the MacDonald crime scene.

The Tate crime scene was not contained - - victims ran through the house and into the yard to escape their killers.  Two bodies were found on the yard and one body was found in a car.   The MacDonald crime scene appeared more methodical.  Each child was found in her own bedroom and Colette MacDonald was found in the master bedroom.  The bloodshed appeared to have been contained in the three bedrooms.

The Tate property was isolated, with the canyons able to play tricks on hearing.  The location was chosen in part due to its isolation, allowing the killers to murder their victims without threat of discovery.  The LaBianca residence had a fairly long driveway set off the road.  The MacDonalds' upstairs neighbors reported they could hear when the tv or stereo was on, or when MacDonald and his wife had loud discussions.  It seems inconceivable that four drug-impaired hippies could have massacred the family and attacked MacDonald, a Green Beret, without them hearing. 

The phone lines at the Tate residence were cut, isolating the victims.  The phones were not touched at the MacDonald residence.

The Tate killers discarded their bloody clothing and the murder weapons off an embankment en route from the Cielo Drive address back to the Spahn Ranch location.  The MacDonald killers supposedly discarded the murder weapons outside the back door of the MacDonald residence under a bush. 

Upon discovery of the Tate victims the following morning, housekeeper Winifred Chapman ran screaming for help to the closest neighbor.  Upon regaining consciousness from his wounds, MacDonald stated he did not go to the neighbors for help because he "didn't know them that well." 

No victims were left alive at the Tate or LaBianca scene.  In fact, all the victims were horribly overkilled.  Jeffrey MacDonald was left alive at the MacDonald scene and his wounds were entirely inconsistent with those suffered by his family.

A March 1970 issue of Esquire magazine was found at the MacDonald residence after the crimes, with a cover story on the Tate-LaBianca murders.  Many facts reported in the article were incorrect, including the word "Pig" being written on the headboard of Sharon Tate's bed and that acid had something to do with the crimes.  The word "Pig" was written in blood on the headboard above where Colette MacDonald slept and MacDonald reported that the female intruder stated that "Acid is groovy." 

Tate killer Susan Atkins spilled the beans to a cellmate while incarcerated for another crime, implicating herself and the other Manson Family members.  All of her information checked out, leading to the arrests and convictions.  Drug addict and police informant Helena Stoeckley claimed to have possibly been present at the MacDonald scene, recanted that "confession", stated again to have been there and then recanted again.  One of the persons she claims to have participated in the murders was proven to have been in jail that night.  Her story has never checked out.

Hmmmm . . . what do you think, dear reader? 

February 4, 2015

Ricardo Medina, Jr.: Another Actor Loses His Shit?

What is it with Hollywood anyway?  First we have O.J. Simpson, who gets all pissy because his ex-wife has the nerve to get over him and grabs his trusty knife and then we have Skylar DeLeon, some second rate actor (also a Power Ranger of sorts, coincidence?) who wants a big honking boat and thinks the best way to get one is to rob the owners and then throw them, alive, overboard chained to a cement block.   What the what? 

I'll admit that when I first saw the headlines I assumed that this Medina guy was probably another ass who didn't get his way or whose (quasi) career tanked and he just couldn't handle it.  Okay, he still could be someone whose career never really took off.  He seems to be best known for the Power Rangers franchise and the news reports indicate he lives in Palmdale, which I don't think is a big draw for the Hollywood set.  Anyhow . . .

Per CNN, he was arguing with his roommate Joshua Sutter and the argument turned into a physical altercation.  Medina allegedly retreated to his room with his girlfriend and Sutter - -a glutton for punishment?  not thinking clearly in the least? - - followed and forced the door open.  Medina then allegedly stabbed him once in the abdomen with a sword kept by the door.

Questions, questions.  First, why did he have a sword by the door?  These typically aren't things found in your average household.  Were drugs and alcohol involved?  Was Sutter brandishing any kind of weapon or was he physically assaulting Medina?  The article indicates that the argument became physical but it does not state who became physical. 

I had a roommate eons ago that I had issues with.  We ended up fighting over a guy (naturally) but it never became physical.  It was more bitchy backstabbing, eye rolling and theft (by her of some of my property.)  As much as she annoyed me and as stupid as we were fighting over some chucklehead, and irrational and immature in our early twenties, it never crossed my mind to just stab her.  Or do anything else physical for that matter.

It will be interesting to see where this goes.  Will this be considered self-defense?  Second degree murder?  Manslaughter?  Reckless homicide?  Medina is currently being held on a million dollar bail but as yet, no charges have been pressed against him.

February 2, 2015

The MacDonald Case: Resuscitation Attempts

If you know the basic facts about the MacDonald case, you know that old Jeff was a doctor.  He worked in Emergency Services at St. Mary's Hospital in Long Beach during the mid-70s and by all accounts, he was a good surgeon.  I'm not disputing that because I think Mac probably did well with people who were unconscious or dead. 

He was also an M.D. while he was a Captain in the U.S. Army stationed at Fort Bragg when his family was butchered.  It's part of what makes the case, and his tale, interesting.

To wit . . . MacDonald claims that he performed CPR on his wife and daughters, that he tried desperately to revive them before placing the call for help to the emergency operator (this was in the days prior to 9-1-1).  It would make sense, no?  For anyone but especially someone who is trained in administering medical care.

Here are the problems.

First, the positions of the victims.  Both children were found lying on their sides.  You may think it's not a big deal but if you're performing CPR, you want the person receiving CPR to be flat on their backs.  So if MacDonald attempted to revive his daughters, why weren't they found on their backs? 

Second, when performing CPR you want to do so on a flat, rigid surface.  So someone trained in how to resuscitate an individual would know to move the individual from a "giving" surface like a bed to the floor.  Both little girls were found in their beds.  

Thirdly, if MacDonald was attempting to save his family members, why didn't he turn on any lights?  When the MPs arrived, all three bedrooms were dark.  None of the lamps or light switches had been turned on.  Nor did MacDonald mention turning the lights on during his efforts.  Wouldn't any parent going to check on the welfare of their child, especially a grievously injured child, turn on a light to see exactly what was wrong?  How could MacDonald even know what was ailing his children if he was going into a dark room?  How could he see a knife protruding from his wife's chest (his account) if the master bedroom was cloaked in darkness?  No blood drops or swipes of blood were found on the switches themselves or the walls near the switches, which should have been the case had MacDonald flipped lights on after handling a body or two.

I don't recall reading that it was noted that MacDonald had any blood on or about his mouth.  Why is this an issue?  Well, Colette and Kimberley MacDonald had horrific head injuries; both were bludgeoned, resulting in their heads and faces being covered in blood.  If MacDonald did give them CPR, wouldn't that blood have transferred to his mouth and/or face? 

And finally, the timeline.  MacDonald claimed to have made attempts to revive his family before checking on his own wounds and washing his hands in the bathroom (really?) and then calling for help the first time.  There was a two minute gap in between his first call and second, during which he claimed to have checked all his family members for signs of life, possibly checked his own wounds again and washed his hands yet again and checked out the back door for signs of the intruders.  Two minutes is a very short period of time.  Even if you only spent thirty seconds on each family member (which is very perfunctory in my jaded opinion) that only leaves thirty seconds to check out the back door and then check your own wounds, possibly washing up again.  And we all know that MacDonald was and is all about MacDonald so not nearly enough time on himself.  But clearly also not enough time to perform all those acts he said he did. The time of the calls is not in question so that leaves us with the theory that MacDonald is lying.

I don't believe he performed CPR on his family for all the above reasons.  And if he was a victim, if he had nothing to do with the murders, wouldn't he?  Especially given that he was a doctor.  Yes, the victims were his family but wouldn't he automatically go into "doctor mode"?  Wouldn't he lift his children off their beds to do CPR?  Wouldn't he turn the lights on to treat them to begin with? 

This part of MacDonald's account simply doesn't add up. 

What do you think?