Breakfast reading from the Voice Media empire: Chris Watts became infamous nationwide thanks to sweeping coverage of his arrest and subsequent conviction for killing his pregnant wife, Shanann Watts, and their two daughters, three-year-old Celeste and four-year-old Bella. But a civil suit filed by Shanann’s parents, Sandra and Frank Rzucek, and brother, Frank Jr., on behalf of her estate seeks to ensure that his name recognition doesn’t turn into cash. The document is accessible below, and its language echoes that of a complaint that the family of another murder victim aimed at arguably the most notorious alleged American killer of the past century. Westword has the story.
Breakfast reading from the Voice Media empire: Art can and should be ugly at times. But what is the responsibility of the artist and exhibitor in terms of preparing a viewer for such material? And does this obligation change depending on where and how the art is displayed?
These subjects arose during closing night of the 41st annual Denver Film Festival, when the forthcoming film Vox Lux was given the red-carpet treatment at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House.Most attendees probably knew little about the film beyond its description as a satirical portrait of a pop star portrayed by Natalie Portman, with original music by Sia. But the tale opens with a graphic school shooting set in 1999, when the Columbine attack took place. To make the allusion even more direct, the gunman, seen above, is clad in a long jacket that recalls what the Columbine killers wore. Westword has the story.
Breakfast reading from the Voice Media empire: Prosecutors in the 17th Judicial District DA’s office will seek the death penalty against Dreion Dearing, who’s accused of killing Deputy Heath Gumm on January 24.
At first blush, this move is unsurprising: Gumm died during a 42-day period from New Year’s Eve 2017 to February 10, during which three law enforcement agents (and eight suspects) were killed during fourteen officer-involved shootings in his state. But it also has political repercussions. After all, Governor-elect Jared Polis is on record as opposing capital punishment, and has said that if the general assembly sent him a bill abolishing the practice, he would sign it. Westword has the story.
Breakfast reading from the Voice Media empire: On the evening of November 8, 1900, Louise Frost, the twelve-year-old daughter of a prominent rancher, was found dying in the tall grass. She had been stabbed, beaten and raped. With its customary hack hyperbole, the Denver Post proclaimed the murder “the most fiendish crime ever perpetrated in Colorado” — an appraisal that neatly overlooked, among other outrages, the slaughter and mutilation of hundreds of women and children a generation earlier at another spot along the Big Sandy, an event known as the Sand Creek Massacre.
As it turned out, Frost’s murder wasn’t even the most fiendish crime to be perpetrated that month. For pure sadism, for cold-blooded, premeditated, murderous intent, her death was easily overshadowed by the vengeance that followed. On November 16, Preston Porter Jr., a sixteen-year-old African-American railroad worker, was led by a rope around his neck to the spot where Frost had been found. Chained to an iron rail, with kerosene-soaked wood piled around him, he was burned alive while hundreds of people watched. Some of the crowd had come by train from Denver and Colorado Springs to attend the spectacle. Westword has the story.
Breakfast reading from the Voice Media empire: This morning, November 19, Frederick’s Chris Watts will be sentenced for the murders this summer of his pregnant wife, Shanann, and their two daughters, three-year-old Celeste and four-year-old Bella. But unfortunately, this formality won’t be the last time we hear about him or his terrible acts. Indeed, thanks to the continuing popularity of true-crime programming on a variety of platforms, we’re likely to be reminded about the events of August 13 for years to come. Westword has the story.
Breakfast reading from the Voice Media empire: For more than a year, Susan Holmes has waged a lonely fight against authorities over the police-shooting death of her son, Jeremy Holmes, just south of the college campus where another of her children lived. She believes officers who knew Jeremy was in the midst of a mental health crisis — including one, Corporal Phil Morris, who had previously been accused, and later cleared, in an alleged brutality incident — unnecessarily escalated a situation that could have been resolved peacefully, and is upset that officials refuse to release ancillary video that she believes proves her point. Westword has the story.
Breakfast reading from the Voice Media empire: The lawyer for Burke Ramsey, brother of JonBenét Ramsey, who was murdered on Christmas Day 1996, believes that a subpoena issued for former District Attorney Alex Hunter won’t do anything to exonerate CBS in a $750 million lawsuit filed by Burke in December 2016.
To the contrary, Atlanta-based attorney Lin Wood thinks that Hunter’s deposition would only undermine the assertion in the CBS program The Case of: JonBenét Ramsey that Burke killed his sister when he was nine and she was six, which he characterizes as both defamatory and utterly unsupported by facts. Westword has the story.
Breakfast reading from the Voice Media empire: A new lawsuit argues that a coverup tainted the investigation into the March 2013 murder of Colorado prisons boss Tom Clements, and after the plaintiff, former sheriff’s office commander Juan San Agustin, spoke out about it, he was indicted in retaliation as part of the scandal that surrounded his boss, Sheriff Terry Maketa. Westword has the story.
Breakfast reading from the Voice Media empire: A state supreme court has agreed to hear a bizarre case that combines jury nullification, juror tampering and a grisly murder that left five people dead. And one of its main protagonists is a man known for appearing in public with an oversized hand flipping a bird emblazoned with the slogan “Fuck Cops.” Westword has the story.
Breakfast reading from the Voice Media empire: In many places, a killer clown display outside a costume store in the weeks before Halloween wouldn’t seem strange. But the one decorating a Spirit outlet is located just on the same block where a shocking murder involving a killer wearing clown-like makeup took place just over a year ago. Westword has the story.