Browsing: Celebrity Crime

apressly.jpgLittle Rock, AR — The New York Post reports this morning that police in Little Rock are investigating whether or not the assault on KATV reporter and anchor Anne Pressly was “motivated by Pressly’s portrayal of a right-wing pundit in the new Oliver Stone biopic about President Bush.”
I imagine they are — they have to, if concrete leads are few. And according to the Arkansas Times’Arkansas Blog,” that’s exactly the problem at the moment. Police still don’t have much to go on.
To me, that in and of itself may be reason to wonder if this was more than a robbery gone wrong. A burglar/robber who perhaps wasn’t experienced with violence would have left some evidence behind.
Anne Pressly remains hospitalized in critical but stable condition. [New York Post]

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 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.”
apressly2.jpgThe 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 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,]

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.
apressly.jpgAccording 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. [ An additional link: Pressly’s resume on *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).

Helen Sjöholm and Tito Beltran singing “The Prayer” during the Rhapsody in Rock Tour in 2000.
I trained to be an opera singer — a tenor — and I have performed roles and in concerts with opera companies throughout the South, so you’d think I might have noticed the ongoing drama overseas with talented Chilean/Swedish tenor Tito Beltran. After all, I’m pretty sure I have a couple of recordings featuring Beltran and his name was immediately familiar to me.
Beltran has performed leading roles at some of the greatest opera houses in Europe: the Vienna Staatsoper; Covent Garden; and Royal Danish Opera in Copenhagen, just to name a few. Beltran has also performed at several houses here in America, including the San Francisco Opera. Beltran has played the mercurial poet Rodolfo in Puccini’s La Boheme, the lovelorn and rather slow-witted Nemorino in Donizetti’s Elixir of Love and of course, the lecherous Duke in Verdi’s Rigoletto. According to his own bio on his website, Tito Beltran has performed with opera luminaries such as Placido Domingo, Roberto Alagna and Angela Gheorghiu.
Well, as the title of this post indicated, it looks as though this leading tenor may have had more in common with the Duke than with Rodolfo or Nemorino.
In 1999, Tito Beltran’s bio says he was called the “Artist of the Year” by Opera Now Magazine. Things were obviously going well. That same year he appeared in the Rhapsody in Rock concert tour in Sweden. One night after a concert, he raped an 18-year-old nanny in his hotel room.
Then in 2000 and 2002, Beltran “sexually exploited” a six-year-old girl who lived in Kungsbacka in western Sweden. He didn’t stop there. After the crimes against the little girl were reported to the authorities, Beltran allegedly harassed her father in an attempt to forestall any further judicial action.
Curiously, Beltran was first acquitted of all charges in a district court in Varberg, SE. The case was then reexamined as part of the appeals process and eventually, Beltran found himself in the Court of Appeal facing a combined case. He was convicted of all charges in February, 2008. The verdict against the tenor was unanimous. The court levied several thousand dollars of fines against the singer as well.
The case against Beltran relied less on forensic evidence and more on witness testimony, which was consistent. But Beltran’s status as an opera star in Europe seemed to be in his favor — other well-known musicians were more than willing to speak up on his behalf. Robert Wells, the musician who ran the Rhapsody in Rock tour, admitted that he just couldn’t believe the charges against the singer.
At one point, in January, Beltran even brought some of the drama from the operatic stage into the courtroom, as Wells was giving testimony in the case. Beltran, according Sweden’s English news outlet The Local, “burst into tears and collapsed” in court. Beltran’s lawyer described his client “lying on the floor vomiting,” and said it was “really serious.”
Beltran’s sentence in this case, less than 3 years in prison, may seem paltry by U.S. standards. For a tenor who once commanded the storied stages of Europe’s great houses, it is virtually a life sentence. The fall is Shakespearian in scope, from my perspective. I’ve put out feelers to friends in the world of opera for any anecdotes regarding this case, but most of my friends are Americans and never encountered Beltran when he performed here. If I do receive any comments or correspondence about this operatic Icarus, I’ll post them in another entry.

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: 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.
[ and TMZ.]

November, 2007 news story about David Ajemian, via YouTube and WCVB Television.
Wow, it’s just crazy priest Friday ’round these parts. Our newest frater rabidus is actually not so new at all — it’s former Father David Ajemian, the priest who came to infamy by stalking late-night talker Conan O’Brien.
The first tidbit about Ajemian — it looks as though he has a yen for stalking celebrities no other psycho would think to stalk. According to the Boston Globe, one Lindsay Crouse, ex-wife of playwright David Mamet, has accused Ajemian of sending her “very disturbing” letters. Ajemian allegedly sent one missive to a theater where Ms. Crouse was performing in a play, and the other letter through the mail.
Secondly, there’s this, a statement from the Archdiocese of Boston, issued on September 11:

[…] the Archdiocese of Boston was informed that Fr. David Ajemian, against the wishes of his bishop, Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley, and medical professionals, checked himself out of a medical facility located outside Massachusetts where he has been staying for the past several months. Our understanding is that he plans initially to return to Massachusetts to the care of his family.
As a priest of the Archdiocese of Boston, Fr. David Ajemian made a promise of obedience to his bishop when he was ordained in 2001. In the context of these vows and with his medical care a priority, Fr. Ajemian was instructed to remain at an out of state residential treatment facility indefinitely to receive the care he requires. By his own actions, he has violated this mandate from his bishop. Therefore, he is Absent Without Permission. He is not authorized to function as a priest.
We pray for Fr. Ajemian, for his family and for all those who are concerned about his health and well-being. We also pray for those who have been impacted by Fr. Ajemian’s actions.

So he’s got that going for him.
I did this post about Ajemian for Radar Magazine’s “Fresh Intelligence” blog back in November, 2007. I wanted to check it out again partly just to remind myself of why it may be a really bad idea for Mr. Ajemian (ain’t no Father no mo’, according to that Archdiocese announcement) to be free of daily, proactive medical supervision. The dude is just WHACKED.
He posted on several message boards as Padre009, and was, as you might imagine, something of a troll. It looks as thought NBC removed his messages some time ago, but I can quote the one I found when I wrote the piece for Radar.
Ajemian referred to O’Brien as “Corncob” in his posts and seemed to take umbrage at someone else referring to “complete lunatics” posting on the Late Night message board. He wrote, in part: “”I’m just a two-bit HACK and I don’t even know it!!! My stories and nuttiness are PATHETIC— why?? Well of course because they DON’T MEAN ANYTHING!!! Compared to THE WRITERS who are—- GOLDEN—- AND—- BEAUTIFUL—- AND—- BELOVED … Yes the WRITERS—THE WRITERS— UNDERSTAND EVERYTHING!!!!”
Oy. Here’s hoping someone figures out a way to slip some anti-psychotic medication into this guy’s communion wine.
[E! Online and the Boston Globe.]

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. 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 is offline now (go figure), but it can still be accessed via the links below:
* Homepage,
* Resume
* Bio
[KNBC | Los Angeles via E! Online]

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