CBS News segment about the attack on Anne Pressly.
From the Arkansas Democrat Gazette, September 28, 2008, an article about upcoming movies by Karen and Philip Martin:
“W. Oliver Stone’s take on the life of George W. Bush. With Josh Brolin, Elizabeth Banks, Thandie Newton, Scott Glenn and KATV, Channel 7, reporter Anne Pressly (as Anne [sic]Coulter ).”
Anne Pressly’s Performer Profile on IMDB.com simply says she played a “Female Commentator.” The profile also gives the attractive journalist’s particulars: 5’10”, 120, hair blond, eyes green. At the top of the profile is Pressly’s phone number and GMail address.
Things were going very well for Anne Pressly. There was the brief role in W. Her status as an anchor at KATV was “up and coming.” She was popular with the community. And other ambitions may have been hinted at in her IMDB profile — in small bold letters at the top of the page are the words, “SAG Eligible,” meaning that Pressly is eligible for membership in the Screen Actors Guild.
Anne Pressly was found near death early Monday morning. Her mother had come to her home, concerned after some of her usual wake-up calls to her daughter went unanswered. She found the reporter in bed, bleeding from severe wounds to her head and upper body.
Early reports on Pressly’s condition said she’d been stabbed. Those reports are now in doubt. Police do believe she was badly beaten. Her condition has been described as “critical but stable.”
The reaction to the crime in Little Rock has been pure shock. As far as anyone knew, Anne Pressly had no enemies. She had an active Facebook page with many friends. She lived in a safe neighborhood. Her Sunday night prior to a bloody Monday morning was innocent enough. She had dinner with KARK-TV reporter Mallory Hardin and was home by 9:30 or so. According to a report published online by the staff of the Today Show, Pressly even exchanged “cheery” text messages with Hardin after she made it home.
Police suspect Pressly was robbed. They say her purse and other personal items are missing. Police say the attacker didn’t force entry into Pressly’s home. They don’t know the motive for the nearly-fatal beating, though. That’s not typical burglar behavior.
Mallory Hardin told Matt Lauer on Today that she didn’t know about her friend having “any type of stalker.” Hardin indicated that Pressly had never mentioned any weirdness from fans at all, but Little Rock police are still trying to find out if Pressly did, in fact, have a stalker.
The answer to what happened to Anne Pressly may be simple. A burglar was afraid he’d be caught and decided to eliminate a witness. But it may be more complex. It only makes sense to examine the possibility that the reporter was stalked in some manner. No one has mentioned the possibility of an angry ex-boyfriend, either.
One weird aspect of this story has been the fact that even if Pressly wasn’t stalked before, she is being stalked now, in a way. Publications in London have picked up on the story of “The glamourous American TV anchorwoman discovered brutally beaten in her own home.” Gossip blogs are following the story. This tall, beautiful journalist’s star has risen worldwide overnight for the worst imaginable reason.
The attention has led to some odd theorizing, as well. This Daily Kos diarist, pointing out Pressly’s movie role with the title of their post, alludes to what I’m talking about: “It would be inappropriate to connect conspiratorial dots but then again there’s something that seems strange about this.” A commenter on that Kos post expanded on the idea: “She wasn’t just a ‘bit part in a random movie.’ She played Ann Coulter (and not flatteringly) in the movie ‘W.’, a movie which is highly offensive to the extreme right wing […] It’s just a big DUH that it might be a hate crime. It’s also a big DUH that it might be a random robbery.”
There is certainly something strange at the heart of this story. Anne Pressly is an improbable victim — she lived in a safe area, she was a well-known face about town. Could it be that the attack on her somehow relates back to that September 28 notice in the Arkansas paper naming the character she so briefly played in W? I personally find it difficult to believe such a thing. I’m too skeptical after covering crime for a few years — the motives of those who try to murder another person are usually a little more straightforward than that. They’re trying to eliminate a witness. They’re angry, jealous, even suicidal but not afraid to get some homicide in before they’re done. But even a site as popular and well-known as Gawker.com isn’t afraid to wonder about such a thing, referring to Pressly’s role in the Stone film in a post titled “Ann Coulter Doppelganger Mysteriously Attacked.” (Thanks to Gawker blogger Hamilton Nolan for linking TCR’s first post about this crime.)
Speculation on who might have wanted to kill Anne Pressly — and why — is all well and good, but at the moment, it’s still fruitless. The sad thing is that if the attack remains unsolved, the speculation will continue, and in other parts of the blogosphere, the Pressly-Coulter connection will be magnified beyond reason — if that hasn’t already happened.
Anne Pressly’s family issued a statement today. It’s worth ending with some portions of that statement:
“We are appreciative of the outpouring of love we’ve received – obviously out of your love for Anne. We are overwhelmed by your affection; the care Anne’s physicians and nurses have given her, the diligence of the Little Rock Police Department in this investigation and local and national reporters who have respected our privacy. […] Now our family needs private time. Please respect our wishes and give us time to heal as a family – privately – without visitors. We will issue statements as Anne’s condition improves…”
[Today Show, MSNBC.com]
A news segment about the attack on Anne Pressly.
A television anchor lays in a Little Rock-area hospital this evening, victim of a nearly fatal attack that occurred some time last night or early this morning.
Anne Pressly, age 26, was found in her own bed by her mom early Monday morning. Pressly’s mother typically gives her a wake-up call and she became concerned when her daughter didn’t answer. The Little Rock police say the anchor woman was bleeding from “severe wounds.” The LRPD believes Pressly was beaten and stabbed.
The attack occurred between 10:30 on Sunday night and 4:30 a.m. the following morning. The Little Rock police say Pressly’s purse was missing, and believe robbery may have been the motive for the attack. They are questioning Pressly’s friends and colleagues to determine if the journalist might have been threatened recently.
According to her bio on KATV’s website, Anne Pressly originally came from Greenville, South Carolina. She moved to Little Rock with her family when she was a teen. She started working for the television station while she was in college. Pressly worked her way through several jobs before landing her current position as a reporter.
She was no slouch intellectually, based on her resume. Pressly received her Bachelor’s in Political Science from Rhodes College in Memphis.
One of Anne Pressly’s most interesting, recent endeavors was a small role in W, Oliver Stone’s controversial dramedy about the Bush Administration. The role came about after Pressly met a casting director while visiting Shreveport, LA, where the film was made. According to entertainment columnist Nikki Finke (who runs Deadline Hollywood Daily, one of the True Crime Report’s “sister blogs”), Pressly’s moment on screen was a “blink-and-you-missed-it” turn as arch conservative talking head Ann Coulter*.
A Facebook page titled “Prayer for Anne Pressly” was created after the news about the attack was made public. The description of the group reads, “Please invite everyone on your lists to pray fervently for Anne Pressly. Prayer is one of the most powerful forms of healing there is. Pray for her physical healing now…we will need to keep her in our prayers for the days and months to come as she works through the emotional healing. God Bless You, Anne….you are loved.”
For some reason, this terrible story makes me think of the disappearance of Jodi Huisentruitt. Huisentruitt was a news anchor for an early morning broadcast in Mason City, IA when she vanished in 1995. Huisentruitt was apparently abducted in the early morning hours as she was heading out to work. Both she and Pressly were blond, popular, in the same age range, and of course, working identical jobs. Physically, however, they didn’t resemble much — Huisentruitt was 5’3″, Pressly is 5’10”. There are plenty of other differences, so this probably really isn’t a valid comparison, but I figured I’d throw it out there.
Police in Little Rock say Pressly’s neighborhood is not “known for any violent crime.” Investigators currently have no suspects. [KATV.com. An additional link: Pressly’s resume on IMDB.com. *Pressly’s IMDB resume just says female commentator, but Nikki Finke is the queen of Hollywood columnists, so I’m going with her interpretation — that, and Pressly’s general resemblance to the tall, blond pundit. Added later: Press release from KATV, Anne Pressly’s employer.]
LA Weekly‘s Steven Mikulan published “The Strange and Disturbing Trial of Anand Jon” last week. It’s an excellent story about the rape trial of Indian-born clothing designer Anand Jon. Jon faces multiple sex crime charges in California, New York and Dallas. Quoting Mikulan: “Even in its quietest moments, the Jon case is a volatile fable of rape, ambitious but naïve girls, the rag trade and feral male vanity.” Mikulan’s article is well worth the read for anyone fascinated by the intersection of crime and celebrity (of a sort).
Promotional video for Joe Son as a mixed martial arts fighter.
So back in May, a friend of Joe Son’s filed a vandalism charge against the actor turned mixed martial artist turned loser. Joe Son, who is 37, was required to give his DNA.
Whoops. Son’s DNA generated a cold hit in the California database, and on October 1, he was charged with 5 felony counts of forcible rape, two counts of forcible sodomy, seven felony hits for forcible oral sex, two counts of “sodomy in concert by force” and the nasty cherry on the top of this sexual predator’s sundae, a felony count of sexual penetration by a foreign object, by force.
A gang rape occurred on Christmas Eve, 1990, when Son was 19 or 20, and California authorities think Son was a participant.
Son, a native of Huntington Beach, CA first came to fame playing a character named Random Task in Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery.
Son decided to become an MMA fighter at some point, but according to the always-reliable Wikipedia (that’s a joke, for the humor-challenged among you), he retired with a 0-4 record. Son was apparently better known for dragging a crucifix into the ring before his fights and for wearing very little in the ring.
Joe Son’s MySpace: myspace.com/josondo. His general interests were listed as “The Bible. Throwing Shoes.” Under “About Me,” Son wrote, “I’m the founder of Josondo. You may remember me from an early UFC event as that asian fellow who took 10 straight punches to the pills. I also played Random Task in the first ‘Austin Powers’ movie.”
“Josondo” is apparently Son’s own made-up thing.
TMZ noted that if Son is convicted of the counts against him, he may face up to 275 years in prison. Plenty of time to perfect his “josondo” on amorous cellmates eager to show the guy what “gang rape” really means.
[FOXNews.com and TMZ.]
News story about the SEPTA hammer attack on DeWayne Taylor, via BlackTubeChannel on YouTube.
Just in case you woke up this morning saying, ‘damn, I’d sure like to ride the subway today, but I sure don’t want to get randomly beaten by some thickly-bearded, hammer-wielding psycho,’ I thought I’d let you know that the hammer dude has been arrested.
I know I may spoil the illusion for some when I report that the gentleman arrested for the assault on half-sleeping victim DeWayne Taylor was not a shy, retiring scholarly type but a career criminal named Thomas Scantling.
The 26-year-old Scantling has been charged with attempted murder, aggravated and simple assault and whatever else will help keep him behind bars and away from hammers.
During an interview on NBC’s Today, Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey said that Scantling has an extensive criminal history “including rape, robbery, assault, narcotics violations.”
Scantling may have tried to harm himself after the subway attack, which occurred last Thursday morning. His family didn’t know about the whole subway thing, so Scantling went to a mental institution. That was where the police caught up with him.
As for trying to find out why DeWayne Taylor had his morning ride to work so viciously interrupted, well, good luck with that one — apparently, the attack really was completely random.
Video via BlackTubeChannel on YouTube.
So, you drag a kid onto the subway and you ride a while. Just relaxing, standing there, you and the boy.
Then at some point you decide the child needs to sit with a dude nearby, because you’ve got a project in mind.
Your project? Take that hammer you’ve got tucked away in the backpack, beside the sippy-cup and the graham crackers, perhaps, and beat the ever-loving snot out of some innocent dude sleeping in a seat beside you.
The man attacked in the video above, the sleeping dude who received the rudest of rude awakenings, is DeWayne Taylor, age 20. Speaking to a Philadelphia Fox affiliate, Taylor said he was hit by the hammer in his head, neck and hand. “I got seven staples in my head, six stitches in the back of my neck and a broken finger,” Taylor said.
Taylor’s attacker, who has allegedly been identified and will soon be arrested, apparently yelled something about Allah as he whaled on the victim.
Remarkably, none of the passengers who witnessed the attack on Taylor did anything to help him. They didn’t call 911. I’d think you might want to go ahead and consider snitching on a crazy dude who shouts about Allah while he batters some innocent guy with a hammer, but what do I know?
I know that the next time I ride the train or subway for anything, I damn sure won’t be taking a nap.
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Google Street View of the Ark. Dem. Party HQ in Little Rock.
According to CNN, Arkansas Democratic Party Chairman Bill Gwatney died this afternoon in a Little Rock hospital. Quote:
The chairman of the Arkansas Democratic Party died Wednesday, hours after a shooting at the party’s headquarters, according to a statement from former President Clinton and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton […] the statement gave his name as Arkansas Democratic Party Chairman Bill Gwatney.
Arkansas law enforcement officials have named Tim Johnson, age 50, as the shooter in the attack on Arkansas Democratic Party Chairman Bill Gwatney.
Johnson entered the office at about 10 til noon today and asked to see Chairman Gwatney. Though the secretary on duty refused, Johnson entered Gwatney’s office and fired 3 times before fleeing the scene.
Johnson, a resident of Searcy, AR, may have then made his way to the nearby Arkansas Baptist Convention building. There were local reports of a white male in a t-shirt who pointed a gun at staffers there before leaving the building.
Police caught up with the suspect and a chase ensued, ending around 2:30 p.m. CT in Grant County, AR. Johnson was ultimately shot and killed during a confrontation with police.
Recent reports indicate that Bill Gwatney, a 48-year-old former Arkansas State legislator and friend to Bill and Hillary Clinton, is in critical condition at a Little Rock hospital. [MSNBC/AP and ArkansasOnline.com.]
The AP is reporting that the shooter died after his confrontation with Arkansas authorities.
The Associated Press reports that Arkansas Democratic Party Chairman Bill Gwatney is in critical condition after a shooting at the state party headquarters in Little Rock, AR.
The alleged shooter entered the party headquarters in downtown Little Rock around noon today and asked to speak with Gwatney. After Gwatney’s secretary refused to allow the man to see the chairman, he charged into Gwatney’s office. At least 3 shots were fired.
The suspect, a white man in his 40s, fled the scene in a blue pickup. Police gave chase. They ran the man to ground in Grant County, AR, where he was shot. Police say they don’t know the motive behind the attack. [CNN and the AP. Also on the Web: ArkDems.org.]
Clips from Shelley Malil’s work in TV and movies.
Forty-three-year-old Indian-born actor Shelley Malil isn’t a household name, but you’ve probably seen his face. IMDB.com shows a resume stretching back to 1994. Malil has appeared on TV shows like Seinfeld and NYPD Blue and movies such as Collateral Damage and more recently, The 40 Year Old Virgin.
Now Malil is making a move from near-fame to real infamy. Shelley Malil was arrested early Monday in Oceanside, CA.
According to the San Diego County Sheriff’s Dept., Malil went to his ex-girlfriend’s house Sunday night around 9 p.m. He found his ex in the back yard with a male companion. That was when Malil allegedly went berserk. He picked up a knife and stabbed the woman several times. She fled, and Malil gave chase, allegedly injuring the woman’s male friend when he tried to help.
A neighbor heard screaming and saw Malil and Malil’s ex near the front door of the victim’s residence. Malil left and the neighbor tried to help, putting pressure on the stab wounds. The neighbor said the woman’s “chin was almost entirely cut off” and there were “a lot of gashes on her back as well.”
The stabbing victim was taken to Palomar Hospital. She was in critical condition, but investigators tell San Diego-area media that she will live. Malil is in the San Diego County Detention Center, being held on $2 million bail for suspicion of attempted murder, mayhem and burglary.
Shelley Malil’s web page at Malil.com is offline now (go figure), but it can still be accessed via the links below:
* Homepage, Malil.com
[KNBC | Los Angeles via E! Online]
Police in Phoenix believe the young man who opened fire in a computer lab at South Mountain Community College in Phoenix on Thursday is a 22-year-old former SMCC student named Rodney Smith.
Smith is currently in custody. A 19-year-old male, one of the 3 victims of the shooting in the SMCC tech services building, is still hospitalized in critical condition. The shooting may have been part of a long-standing feud.