January 27, 2017

Abby Vandiver's Murder by Richard Gellner

Dunwoody, Georgia in 1987 was the very essence of a bedroom community.  Roughly twenty miles as the crow flies from downtown Atlanta, it seemed a world away from the violence, crime and traffic that had clogged up the state's capital city, earning it the dubious title in the early 80s as the murder capital of the U.S.  Upscale subdivisions with names like Brooke Ridge, Hidden Branches, Redfield, Wynterhall, Village Mill and Dunwoody Station skirted the homey Dunwoody Village, where you would pop into the local Hallmark store or Versatile Video to rent a game or VHS movie.  You played tennis at Dunwoody Country Club, you shopped, to shop or be seen - - usually wearing your tennis outfit - - , at Perimeter Mall and your kids went to Vanderlyn or Austin Elementary and then Dunwoody High.  Friday nights were devoted to Dunwoody's football games, weekends were devoted to one of the handful of churches in the area, shopping and possibly driving into the city to watch the Braves (America's Team) play baseball at the old Atlanta Fulton County Stadium.  Journeying into the city, be it for work or sport, was the closest residents of Dunwoody got to the grittier, less insulated, aspects of life.  Until July 18, 1987.

Dunwoody had been established in the early 1830s, named for Major Charles Dunwody. (The misspelling occurred due to an extra "o" being added to a bank note.)  The area's first church, the Ebenezer Primitive Baptist Church, dates back to 1829 and still stands, and is active, today.  It's also home to one of the area's oldest cemeteries, where many of Dunwoody's founding fathers were laid to rest.  Thanks to the Roswell Railroad running north along the Chattahoochee (the 'Hooch to locals) and what is now Chamblee-Dunwoody Road in 1881, the town of Dunwoody became a crossroads of sorts.  President Theodore Roosevelt made a campaign whistle stop in Dunwoody in 1905 on his way to Roswell.  While the railroad shut down in 1921, the little community of Dunwoody flourished.  It remained relatively rural until the 1960s, when suburban residential development was initiated.   The Spruill family, who owned a great deal of the land in Dunwoody, sold a large portion of it in 1971 in what would become Perimeter Mall.  In the years following Perimeter Center would sprout up around the Mall, complete with major office, commercial and residential developments, leading it to become one of the Metro Atlanta area's largest job centers. Also in 1971, Dunwoody Village, with its distinctive Colonial Williamsburg architecture, was completed and became what residents would consider the center of Dunwoody.

By 1987, Dunwoody had become one of "the" places to live outside the Metro area.  Good schools, nice homes and an involved (perhaps too involved by some) community.  Dunwoody residents prided themselves on their nice homes, cars and clothes; their children were expected to go to college and do just as well as, if not preferably better than, their parents. If the pressure was too much, either for the adults or their children, it wasn't discussed.

Abby Vandiver was twenty years old that summer of 1987.  She had been a competitive figure skater in upstate New York but had come to Dunwoody to stay with her older sister, Hope Taratoot, and Hope's family.  The pretty young lady had gotten a job working part-time at an Italian restaurant in Dunwoody Village.  She was happy; she would be turning twenty-one in September; her whole life was ahead of her.

Richard Gellner was fifteen years old that summer, also a resident of Dunwoody.  He lived with his parents and younger sister not far from Abby's sister Hope.  He was an Honor student at Dunwoody High School and a former Boy Scout who was seven merit badges away from becoming an Eagle Scout.  His sub-freshman yearbook photo from 1986 shows a slight boy, almost more innocent and teddy bear in appearance.  His slight frame and intelligence made him an easy target for the larger (and meaner) boys at his school.  Back in the 80s bullying wasn't looked at seriously; it was simply how some kids were.  You just had to deal with it.  Later on, after Abby's murder, there were rumors that there was physical abuse in the Gellner household. Regardless, no one seemed to recognize or appreciate the violent anger that was festering inside Richard.

As many boys did before they were able to drive or get a "cool" job, Richard mowed lawns around the neighborhood. He would occasionally mow the Taratoots' lawn, as he was friends with Abby's nephew.  It's unknown if he first saw Abby there at the house or at the Italian restaurant, where he also had a job washing dishes.

In June of 1987, Motley Crue released their album Girls, Girls, Girls. That album, along with Nikki Sixx's song "You're All I Need," became an obsession for Richard.   Sixx had written the song after learning his girlfriend was cheating on him.  The wording is raw and angry and the narrator of the song proceeds to get his revenge by stabbing his girlfriend to death.  A frightening portent of things to come.

Richard began listening to the song on his earphones every night before he went to bed. Parental advisories on music labels had just become a "thing" but the artists being singled out were more along the lines of 2LiveCrew, not the more mainstream Motley Crue.  With the glam metal sounds of the popular title track, along with Wild Side, the album hardly seemed destined to trigger something unhealthy, even violent, in a teen listener.

He had also begun to prowl his neighborhood, armed with a butcher knife, looking for some place to break into and cause some form of trouble.  He would later claim the only thing keeping him from following through with these dark fantasies was the fear of getting caught.  Sadly, that fear would not last long enough to save Abby Vandiver.

July 18, 1987 was a Saturday.  In six days' time, Atlanta would have its hottest day of the year with temps scorching to a blistering 98 degrees. On this day, the temperature would peak around 91.  Richard, at the Taratoot home, mowing the lawn had already decided that he was going to do "something" when he knocked on the front door.  He had taken off his wristwatch in preparation, so that it would not get bloody by his own later recounting.

It is unclear if he knew that the Taratoot family was out that day, save Abby, but given that he was friends with Abby's nephew and that he had already planned a vicious attack, it's likely he did.

Abby had just taken a shower when Gellner knocked at the door.  She answered in her bathrobe and when he asked to use the phone, she let him in without hesitation.  He was, after all,her nephew's friend and a co-worker.

Prosecutors later theorized that when Abby headed back upstairs to finish dressing, Gellner followed her.  It's unknown exactly how the attack started or what, if anything, precipitated it.  It's possible that he made advances to her that she rebuffed.  It's also possible she did nothing at all.  He attacked her with a phone cord, wrapping it around her neck.  He didn't count on her fighting back, and she did.  She bit off the tip of his right hand little finger before he managed to strangle her into unconsciousness.  At that point, Richard Gellner exploded.

He stabbed Abby 57 times with three different knives; bludgeoned her with a drinking glass to the head; and attempted to decapitate her with hedge trimmers.  Spent, he took a shower and returned home in his bloody clothing.

Quite amazingly, Gellner told his parents that he had an accident with the lawn mower in which he had lost part of his finger, in order to account for the blood. Equally amazingly, they appeared to believe him.  They drove him to the ER where they were told that the tip of his finger could be reattached if it could be located.

The Gellners, including the newly murderous Richard, returned to the Taratoot residence to search for the finger.  Instead, they were met by the police.

In the interim, Hope Taratoot had returned home to find her younger sister dead and had called the local police.  When the Gellner clan rolled up, they were naturally curious as to who they were and why they were at the property.  Richard Gellner informed them he was looking for his finger, saying he had lost it in the garage where - - not surprisingly - - there was not a drop of blood.

The police were happy to tell him they had found his finger . . . not six feet from Abby's savaged body.  Gellner was taken into custody immediately in what surely was one of the most quickly solved homicides in Georgia's books.

While the PD was able to consider the case "solved," the rumor mill was just getting fired up.  Classmates of Gellner's began telling tales of the unsuspecting looking teen being teased so badly that it took four, five, maybe even six, big teen boys to hold him down, he was so irate.  Whispers were that a friend of a friend said that Gellner had made sexual advances to Abby that she rejected.  Or that she had been teasing him and then laughed at him, sparking his murderous attack.  Some reported that she had been stabbed more than 100 times.  Some said that Gellner had rolled up his bloody socks and attempted to flush them down the toilet.  No one tried to understand why Richard Gellner had done what he did.

The arrest of Richard Gellner was a mixed bag for Dunwoody.  On the one hand, residents didn't need to worry about some bushy hair stranger (because aren't they always bushy haired strangers?) lurking around the community, waiting to commit unspeakable acts on them; on the other, it was one of their own members who had done such a thing.

Richard Gellner around 2013
The murder trial was scheduled to begin in late winter/early spring of 1988, with Gellner being tried as an adult.  In February of that year, seven months after the murder, Gellner plead guilty to first degree murder and was sentenced to life in prison.   His plea saved the state a boatload of money on the trial, as well as the special kind of agony Abby's loved ones would have to endure, reliving her brutal death.  It also left a lot of questions open.

The biggest question is why.  Why did Richard Gellner kill Abby Vandiver?  Why did he have such dark urges?

Despite the suggestive lyrics of Motley Crue's song, music cannot be held responsible.  If it wasn't their music, it would have been another band's or something else that Gellner would have grabbed ahold of, to obsess over.

If physical abuse was indeed present in the Gellner household, it could have affected Richard's emotional growth as well as his capacity for empathy.  I have not found a definite answer anywhere on whether there was abuse.  Regardless, there had to be have been something missing, something deficient in Richard Gellner with or without abuse.

The court appointed psychiatrists that examined Richard in preparation for the trial that would not happen could only guess at what went wrong. They stated he might have Borderline Personality Disorder.  BPD is characterized by emotional instability, feelings of worthlessness, insecurity, impulsivity and impaired social relationships. (These things, at least to me, also characterize being a teenager.)  There is no cure for BPD, only treatment which can include therapy, medication or even hospitalization.

The psychiatrists said his possible BPD was coupled with "low self-esteem and difficulties with his sexual identity."  I find this the most interesting part of their theory and the most realistic.  Most teenagers suffer with low self-esteem at some point.  Certainly Richard Gellner did, physical abuse in his home notwithstanding.  Being rejected by an attractive girl like Abby would be crushing but especially so to someone like Richard, who may have been sensitive about his slight size and who was being overtaken by dark fantasies telling him to act out violently.  If he was questioning his sexual orientation - - especially at a time when being gay was not as acceptable as it is now; when being questioned "What are you? Gay?" was the single biggest insult that a teen could hurl - - along with these dark desires to harm someone, his emotions and his identity itself could very easily have been fracturing.

In the end, it's likely no one will know exactly why Richard Gellner chose to murder Abby Vandiver on July 18, 1987.  Neither he nor his family have spoken publicly about it.  Abby's sisters have spoken at Gellner's parole hearings - - one would like to talk to him to know why; the other wants nothing to do with him and wants him to remain locked up for the rest of his life.

Abby was buried at the Westminster Memorial Gardens in Peachtree City, Georgia, never to see her twenty-first birthday.

Abby's final resting place

January 18, 2017

David Temple Freed From Texas Prison

The Temple Family before January 11, 1999

Oh, prosecutorial misconduct. Damn you.

David Temple, convicted in 2007 of the January 11, 1999 shotgun murder of his pregnant wife, Belinda, was freed on bail December 28 pending a decision on whether to retry him.   Why was a convicted murderer freed?  Because the prosecutors in his trial withheld significant evidence from defense attorneys, including information about an alternative suspect.  Law school 101, people.

Some background on the case.

David Temple was a coach at a Texas high school; his wife Belinda was a special education teacher at another local high school.  Together they had a 3 year old son, Evan, and Belinda was six months pregnant with their daughter, to be named Erin.

David Temple testifies 
Temple had been having an affair with a co-worker for months and in the days prior to the murder had supposedly told this teacher that he was in love with her.  Circumstantial to be sure but it doesn't look good.

On the day in question, Evan stayed home from daycare with a fever; Temple left his job early that day in order to be with him.  According to his story, he took his son to a local park, to the neighborhood where he grew up, to a grocery store to buy two drinks and cat food and to a Home Depot, where nothing was purchased.  Upon returning home, Evan remained in the garage while Temple found the back door ajar and the window broken.  He then took his son to a neighbor's house before returning to discover his wife dead in the master bedroom closet.

The prosecution believes that Belinda returned home from work, went into the master bedroom closet in order to change clothes and was ambushed there.

Many things don't add up about Temple's story.  First, if his son was suffering with a fever, would you really take him to a park, to a grocery store and a Home Depot and to the neighborhood where you grew up?   If you believed the home had been burglarized, wouldn't you call the police first?  Why did Temple have no fear upon entering the home himself?

The door . . . in the courtroom
Most importantly, at least to me, was that the back door had small window panes in the top portion.  The window pane furthest from the door knob was broken out.  Wouldn't a burglar break the pane closest to the knob?  Why break out a pane that would require you to stick your entire arm through the pane and then stretch and angle as much as possible to reach the knob?  Especially when there was a pane directly next to the knob.  Furthermore, lab tests showed that the pane of glass was broken after the door was open.

And what burglar wouldn't take anything?  The house wasn't disrupted, nothing was stolen. Jewelry was out in plain sight. It doesn't make sense that a burglar would go directly to the master bedroom closet.  If Belinda was home, wouldn't she hear the breaking glass?  I don't think she would stay in the closet, waiting to be murdered with a 12 gauge shotgun.  And what burglar would carry such an unwieldy weapon?   The majority of burglars don't want to enter a home while anyone is in residence; for that reason, house burglars usually don't carry weapons.  Carrying a weapon also can up the ante on a conviction.

One more thing.  The Temples owned a Chow dog.  The police, upon responding to the call, were initially hesitant to enter the property because the dog was barking fiercely at the fence.  Where was the dog when the intruder showed up?

So none of it makes sense.  When you take all that and add in Temple's affair it looks as if he was trying to get out of that marriage as quickly and "easily" as possible.  That opinion is certainly not changed by the fact that one month after the murder, Temple sent his mistress flowers for Valentine's Day.

The two of them would be engaged two years after the murder and married within six months.  They are still married.

Another notable about this case is that the prosecutor was Kelly Siegler, who stars on her own reality show, Cold Justice on TNT.  Yep, that Kelly Siegler.  And yep, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals found that she suppressed evidence, also known as a Brady violation.

Do I think David Temple killed his wife and unborn daughter?  Yes, I do.  I think he wanted out of his marriage and didn't want to do so via divorce . . . very much like Scott Peterson.  He made a number of mistakes but the prosecution, in its zest, zeal or however you want to define it, chose to violate due process and based on that choice, it's entirely possible that David Temple could end up a free man.  A terrible injustice to Belinda Temple, baby Erin and their families.

The final resting place of Belinda and Erin

January 11, 2017

Betty Broderick Denied Parole

I have to say that I am not surprised in the least by the news released last week that Betty Broderick was again denied parole.   Back in 2010 she was found unsuitable for release and it was stated that she had not emotionally matured nor grown whatsoever and it appears that she continues to make zero strides toward accepting responsibility for what she's done and expressing any kind of remorse.

She may feel like Dan deserved to die (I've always believed that Linda was collateral damage) but she's had years to prepare for this hearing.  Why wouldn't she at least say she realizes what she's done and how wrong it was?  I'm not advocating lying but . . . I mean, I just don't understand it.

I think Betty wants to stay in prison.  She's been incarcerated since 1989.  The world has changed a great deal while she's been in.  She won't have to adapt, learn how to live in the 2017 world.  She knows what to expect there.  More importantly, I think she may enjoy playing the wronged wife.

Interestingly, if you search around various boards and forums about this case, opinion is still as divided as it was in 1989.  Some people believe that Betty has been punished enough and should be freed.  They are offended on her behalf that she put some clown through both medical and law schools and then was dumped for a bimbo office receptionist.  Some say that while they agree that she was wronged, she still needs to pay for her crimes and should remain where she is.  Others believe that Betty is a vicious killer who deserves no sympathy.

Which Betty do you believe in?  Was she just a selfish, manipulative woman who killed out of spite?  Was she pushed to being mentally unbalanced by a cruel man who used both the legal system and his mistress to dial up Betty?  Was Betty always mentally unstable?  Does she remain any of these things?

Given that I know someone who knew both Dan and Betty, I believe that Dan was a real asshole.  I think he was fine with Betty supporting him and putting him through school but when he decided that he no longer wanted to participate in their marriage, he did not want to reimburse Betty in kind.  Greed.  And just an asshole.  I also think that Linda had a cruel streak.  I believe that she tormented Betty; by dictating the message on Dan's answering machine, by sending Betty pamphlets for weight loss; by sending Betty pictures of herself with Dan, with notes that indicated how happy they were.  Heck, at the time of their deaths Dan and Linda were sleeping under a quilt that had belonged to Dan and Betty during their marriage.  Very childish actions on an adult playground.

I think Betty may have had a twisted perception of marriage and women's roles based on her upbringing and her generation.  But, again based on what I was told by someone who knew both Dan and Betty, I believe she was a good mother, at least before Linda.   After Linda, I think she was psychologically damaged.

None of this means that she was justified in killing anyone.  I'm sad for the children, who now have children of their own that do not know their Broderick grandparents.  I'm sad that Betty herself apparently cannot recognize what she's done - - not just to Dan and Linda and her children but to herself.  

Back to the Parole Board.  In their decision to deny Betty, they gave her the longest denial possible - - 15 years.  However, she can request an earlier hearing if she meets certain criteria.

January 10, 2017

People Magazine "Investigates" the MacDonald Case

Okay, so I watched People Magazine's take on the MacDonald case.  Good grief.  Where to even begin?

Given they subtitled the show (and MacDonald himself) "The Accused," it's really no surprise that the program itself was almost completely one-sided in MacDonald's favor.  Who was the "reporter" on this "investigation?"  Kathryn MacDonald?  O.J. Simpson?

I am guessing that no one on staff read the Article 32 hearing transcript (the document that firmly convinced me of MacDonald's guilt.)  By the same token, I'm also certain that no one read the autopsy reports, the reports of MacDonald's documented injuries or viewed crime scene photos.

Here is just a (relatively) short list of the program's oversights and flat out errors:

* MacDonald did not have some 23 stab wounds.  He had one abrasion on his forehead, some scratches to his bicep and one clean incision to his abdomen/lower chest.

* Despite reporting that MacDonald was attacked and stabbed with the icepick, he had no icepick wounds on his body (unlike his wife and daughters, who were viciously attacked with it many, many times.)

* MacDonald claimed to have been attacked and stabbed as he was seated on the sofa, fighting off three violent men.  He even claimed to have used his pajama top as a defensive weapon, to avoid blows.  First, how did the pajama top get around his wrists to use?  Secondly, why did he have no defensive wounds on his fingers, hands, wrists or arms?  I have never heard of anyone who was being attacked with a knife, especially by multiple people, to not have defensive wounds on their hands.  And thirdly, if he was seated and struggling, how on earth did these people manage to give him a clean cut to his lower chest/upper abdomen?

* MacDonald was not "left for dead."  Unless, of course, one could perish from excessive bicep scratching.

* Kristen was stabbed some thirty-three times; not the seventeen reported.

* The lab did not destroy the bloody footprint found in the doorway of Kristen's room.  While attempting to remove it, the boards came apart.

* The statement of no one in the MacDonald residence having a drug addiction/problem may not be accurate.  MacDonald had been taking Eskatrol prior to the murders.  Based on his own handwritten notes, those that were given to his attorney, he was taking some 3-5 capsules per day. He was also operating on very little sleep at the time of the murders.  A decade or so after the murders Eskatrol was taken off the market due to the possibility of excessive use causing paranoia and/or psychosis.

* The program's slant made it sound like MacDonald had not been granted DNA testing which would prove his innocence.  That is absolutely false.  DNA tests have been done.  None of them show any evidence of intruders being in the home that night.  To the contrary, a hair found grasped in Colette's death grip, a hair that MacDonald assured his four remaining supporters would belong to her killer, was identified as his own. (Possibly the only truth he ever uttered about this case.)

* The unidentified mystery hair is not such a mystery.  It was determined to have possibly come from one of the children's dolls or even from one of Colette's own falls.  The presence of a wig hair in a hairbrush does little to bolster the case of four drugged out hippies hell bent on destruction.

* Helena Stoeckley did indeed make a confession.  The program neglected to also report that she recanted her confession.

* What hippies, invading a home with the desire to obliterate everyone in it, would do so without weapons handy?  All weapons used in the murders came from the residence.  Furthermore, what persons would attack a pregnant woman and two little girls first, leaving MacDonald - - the biggest threat - - until last?  No, you would immobilize or incapacitate your biggest threat immediately.  Also, as MacDonald was reportedly their target (per this program, at least), it makes no sense to not go after him first.

* The evening/early morning hours of February 16-17, 1970 was a cold, wet one.  Yet not one bit of mud or water was tracked in by these intruders.  The only wet blades of grass found, in fact, were adhered to the hem of MacDonald's own bathrobe (left there, perhaps, when he put his robe on to walk outside and kneel in the grass to discard the weapons?)

* The program reported that the government's case rested on the theory that the murders were committed solely because one of the children had wet the bed.  They did not mention this was an incident that may have started an argument but the murders were not committed only because of it.

* The program reported that the MacDonald marriage was a happy, harmonious one.  Completely at odds with what family, friends and neighbors reported and testified to about their view of the marriage in the months prior to the murders.  To wit, they stated that neither Colette nor MacDonald seemed particularly happy and neither was pleased about Colette's third pregnancy.  Additionally, Colette had called her mother on the morning of February 16, 1970, wanting to return home with her daughters.  All three of them would be dead in less than twenty-four hours.

* The report of MacDonald having a single one-night stand is beyond laughable.  MacDonald was a flagrant philanderer.  The investigators knew it, Colette knew it and we know it.   At the time of the Article 32 hearing, roughly two months after his family had been butchered, MacDonald was having sexual relations with a woman in his BOQ room.  Hardly the grieving widower and father the program would like us to believe.

* The show did not report much on the physical evidence at all.  For instance, Kimberley's blood (and brain matter) was found in the master bedroom.  Colette's blood was found in Kristen's room. Other than a smudge on the Esquire magazine and a drop on the lenses of MacDonald's glasses, no blood was found in the living room (and the intruders had allegedly already attacked Colette and the girls with the very weapons they were swinging at MacDonald.  Scrapes from the club were found on the ceiling of Kristen's room although she herself was not struck with the club; similarly, despite MacDonald claiming to have been struck by the club, no scrapes were found on the living room ceiling.  It was proven that Colette's blood was on MacDonald's pajama top before it was torn. Kimberley's blood was found on that same pajama top although MacDonald claims to have taken it off to cover Colette before he went to check on his daughter.  The urine stain found on the bed in the master bedroom was typed to Kimberley although MacDonald claimed it was Kristen that was in the bed.

* MacDonald claimed he did not go or call the neighbors for help because he did not know them well.  Really?  How well do you need to know someone to scream or cry for help when your family has been slaughtered?

* Children's clothing was found in a pile at the end of the hallway, closest to the living room.  Colette's belongings were found jammed in a dresser drawer.  A suitcase was discovered in the master bedroom; no blood on it but blood all around, indicating it was placed there after the blood was shed.  (Prosecutors theorized that MacDonald planned on fleeing; I disagree.  I think Colette had packed that suitcase, in the hopes that after calling her mother, she would fly home with her children. After killing his family, I believe MacDonald found that suitcase and in his attempts to stage the scene, unpacked it. I think he threw Colette's belongings into a drawer and may have forgotten about the children's, which were left in a pile on the floor.  He also forgot to return the suitcase to the closet.)

* The home telephone number of MacDonald's Commanding Officer was found either on the club used in the murders or written in the MacDonald home. The wife of the CO remembers getting a phone call in the early morning hours of February 17, 1970 from a man asking for her husband who was then not at home.  She claimed she could not identify MacDonald but it does seem coincidental, doesn't it?  I believe that MacDonald called his CO for assistance/guidance before he decided to go with the hippie intruder story.

* MacDonald told his former father-in-law Freddie Kassab that he had tracked down and killed one of the intruders.

* The program did not show the portion of The Dick Cavett Show where MacDonald laughed about the Army's incompetence and had to be reminded that three persons (and one unborn child) had died.  The program also did not report that Cavett himself felt MacDonald's affect was all wrong.

I hope that persons unfamiliar with the MacDonald case did not watch this show and come away with the feeling that justice was not served and MacDonald was unfairly convicted.

Jeffrey MacDonald is NOT the victim here.  Reserve sympathy for Colette, Kimberley and Kristen MacDonald.

January 8, 2017

Upcoming Programs on the Jeffrey MacDonald Case

It certainly wouldn't be like Jeffrey MacDonald, convicted killer of his family, to serve his time quietly and stay out of the media.  In keeping with that, there are two programs about the case coming up for your viewing pleasure.

The first is titled People Magazine Investigates: Jeffrey MacDonald, the Accused.  Given that it is People magazine and they are calling MacDonald the "accused," rather than what he is - - a killer - - I am already thinking the program might be biased in MacDonald's favor.  The official description of the program does not help.  To wit, "A brutal home invasion claims the lives of Army surgeon Jeffrey MacDonald's wife and daughters."

Given that the facts show that there was no home invasion, brutal or otherwise, it seems like this will be a rehashing of MacDonald's chronology of events that night.  Or should I say lies.  That said, I will still watch it, although it will probably piss me off.

The second program is a reboot of sorts of the 1984 miniseries Fatal Vision, based on author Joe McGinniss' book of the same name.  The new version will be told through McGinniss' eyes, as played by Dave Annable, with Scott Foley playing MacDonald.  As it's told through McGinniss' eyes, the story begins as a tale of an innocent man being railroaded by the legal system before exposing an evil man hiding behind the All-American boy facade.  

I'm not sure how I feel about the reboot.  The original, with Gary Cole, Eva Marie Saint and Karl Malden, was top notch. It's telling that MacDonald's own mother liked actor Gary Cole after seeing him portray her son.

Interestingly, despite their opposite viewpoints, both are being aired on the Investigative Discovery ("ID") channel. People Magazine Investigates will air tomorrow night, January 9.   As of yet, there is no release date on the Fatal Vision reboot.

Also being aired on the ID channel, beginning on January 15, is Is O.J. Innocent? The Missing Evidence.  This, too, appears to be one of those programs that will set my nerves (and anger) on edge.  Does anyone out there truly believe O.J. Simpson didn't kill his ex-wife Nicole and Ron Goldman?  Seriously.

This is being touted as a "miniseries" - - a three part "event."  I can't believe there could possibly be any more evidence in that case, much less something that would take three parts to tell.

January 3, 2017

Manson Family Updates

So a few items on the Manson Family that are worthy to note.

First - - Tex Watson, as expected, was denied parole.  For the 17th time.  Thank you, California Parole Board.  Officially, Watson was found "unsuitable" for release.  No kidding.  This parole hearing, back in October, was his first since 2011.

One of the more interesting things to come out of Watson's parole hearing was that back in February of 2013 he was stabbed by another inmate.  I don't advocate violence but somehow I'm not seriously offended by this story.  I wonder why.

According to Watson, he was washing his clothing in a sink on a second story tier of the prison when another inmate approached and asked him if he knew anything about Kabala.  He responded in the negative and turned his back to the inmate.  Said inmate stabbed Watson in the back with a sharpened paint brush that was concealed in a rolled up magazine, and then attempted to throw him over the railing.  The inmate didn't succeed, maybe because Watson is a pretty big guy or maybe God was protecting this alleged born again Christian (and I write this with as much sarcasm as you can imagine.)   Anyhow, Watson was able to hang on to the railing until staff intervened.

Don't you just love it when the karma bus rolls around?  Sorry, Tex, but I hope it hurt like a bitch.

In other news, Patricia Krenwinkle's parole hearing has been continued.  Testimony lasting a day began on or about December 29 and information disclosed during the testimony is cause for an investigation.  Once the investigation is concluded, the parole hearing will proceed.

Krenwinkle, known as "Katie" within the Family and who personally stabbed to death Abigail Folger and carved the word "WAR" into the flesh of Leno LaBianca (she sounds like a peach, doesn't she?), had her last parole hearing in 2011 and was denied for seven years. She successfully petitioned to have her hearing date advanced earlier this year.

And last, but not least, when Leslie Van Houten was once again denied for parole, the California Supreme Court requested the Attorney General to provide evidence that she is an "unreasonable risk" for parole. Hmmm, I'm kind of thinking that maybe someone who got their jollies from stabbing another human being to death and then blames it on others may fall under the "unreasonable risk" thing but it could just be me.

Anyhow . . . given that the parole board's recommendation of parole didn't piss off enough California residents, this seemed a good plan.  Fortunately, the Supreme Court came through just in time for Christmas to deny Van Houten once again, refusing to hear her petition.

I think all Manson Family members should just get comfy behind bars.

ETA:  It's being reported that Charles Manson has been taken from Corcoran State Prison to a Bakersfield area hospital.  Reports do not indicate what medical condition Manson is suffering from, other than being a delusional asshole.