Browsing: Homicide

manson.jpgCharlie said, “Now is the time for Helter Skelter.”
It was August 8, 1969. Charlie Manson’s words set a world of madness in motion.
So later that night, Susan Atkins, Patricia Krenwinkel, Linda Kasabian and Charles “Tex” Watson prepared to leave the Family’s redoubt, an old movie set called Spahn Ranch. Charlie said, “Leave a sign […] You girls know what I mean, something witchy.”
A little after midnight on August 9, Atkins, Krenwinkel, Kasabian and Watson arrived at 10050 Cielo Drive in Bel Air, the home of director Roman Polanski and his wife, Sharon Tate. Polanski was overseas. Tate had guests that night, Abigail Folger, coffee heiress, Folger’s main squeeze, Voytek Frykowski, and stylist Jay Sebring.
Tex cut the phone lines. The group scrambled over a fence and entered the property. Unexpectedly, a car came down the driveway. Inside was Steven Earl Parent, age 18. He’d just been visiting a friend who lived in a caretaker’s cottage at the rear of the property. Tex ambushed Parent, shot him 4 times.
They left Linda Kasabian with their car, and the other 3 entered the Tate residence.
When the screaming was done, Folger, Frykowski, Sebring and Tate were dead. More than 100 stab wounds were divided across the 4 victims. Linda Atkins, after tasting Tate’s blood, scrawled “PIG” on the wall.
The Manson Family had only just begun their reign of terror. In the next 24 hours they’d kill supermarket magnate Leno LaBianca and LaBianca’s wife, Rosemary. They carved “WAR” into LaBianca’s stomach. The killers wrote “DEATH TO PIGS” and “RISE” on the LaBianca’s walls, in blood. They left the words “HEALTER SKELTER” on the refrigerator.
By July, 1970, the killers had been captured and they were going to trial. All the defendants were found guilty. Most are still alive and still in prison today, including Charlie, who said the following during the trial: “These children that come at you with knives. They are your children. You taught them. I didn’t teach them. I just tried to help them stand up.” [TruTV]

Just in case anyone was still wondering, yes, China, the most populous country on earth, has its share of paranoid lunatics, too. Todd Bachman, father of volleyball player and former U.S. olympian Elisabeth Bachman, was murdered just hours after the 2008 Olympics began. His wife Barbara was also seriously injured by the attack that occurred as they were visiting the Drum Tower, a historic tourist site in Beijing. After the attack, assailant Tang Yongming, age 47, killed himself by leaping from the 2nd level of the tower.
Elisabeth Bachman was with her parents at the time but apparently wasn’t injured in the attack. According to the LA Times, Bachman is married to a U.S. men’s volleyball coach Hugh McCutcheon.
Interpol has placed an interesting notice on its website about the attacker. Quoting:

INTERPOL has already conducted a name check of Tang Yongming against its databases of more than 178,000 individuals, including over 12,000 suspected terrorists. Tang Yongming’s name is not contained in any INTERPOL database. INTERPOL has also sent out an urgent request to all of its 186 member countries to conduct a similar name check against their national databases. Finally, INTERPOL will ask whether his name is known to INTERPOL’s global network of counter-terrorism experts.

If you do a Google search for Tang Yongming, you get some interesting results, and they aren’t connected to this crime. Of course, in a country 1 billion strong, there could be many, many Tang Yongmings, but still — the chances are very good that this was a type of crime all too familiar to Americans — someone with mental issues, dealing with his own demons, acted out of motivations no sane person can truly understand.
[theage.com.au; latimesblogs.latimes.com]

joshnheather.jpgJoshua Bean, age 24, was found guilty of murder on Friday. Even though prosecutors in Indianapolis didn’t have the body of his victim, Heather Norris — Bean dismembered his ex-girlfriend’s remains and disposed of them in dumpsters all over the south side of Indianapolis — Bean’s statements to police were enough to do him in.
I wrote about this case at my True Crime Weblog: “… Summer Lovin’ Gone Bad: The Crimes of Joshua Bean.” A striking element of the story was how Bean took such pains to eliminate evidence of his crime — even to the point of posting a fake entry on Heather’s MySpace weblog. That final post read, in part, “no one believes me and no one understands me […] i need to get out of this state!!!!!”
The blog post was published on April 17, 2007. Heather had been dead for at least a week at that point.
Joshua Bean, a former DJ, could get up to 68 years in prison.
[IndyStar.com | The Indianapolis Star]

From the Boston Globe:

“I think Germany was too small for him,” Alexander Gerhartsreiter said. “He wanted to live in the big country and maybe get famous. Now that I see all this, he’s really famous.”

Enterprising American reporters have tracked down the real family of German national Christian Karl Gerhartsreiter, who may just be the man known to U.S. authorities as Clark Rockefeller. At least that’s one of the names he’s used. Several papers have also confirmed what I first reported here, two days ago — that Gerhartsreiter (Rockefeller) apparently moved to Wisconsin in 1981 and married Amy Jersild. That marriage permitted Gerhartsreiter to obtain a green card and made him a legal resident of the United States.
According to the Globe, Gerhartsreiter left his home and family in Bavaria in 1978, when he was 17. He first landed in Connecticut, where he attended one year of high school as an exchange student. Then he was off across the U.S., marrying in Wisconsin in ’81 before moving on to San Marino in the mid-80s. Gerhartsreiter adopted the Christopher Chichester pseudonym then. It was the last fake name his birth family knew about, for Gerhartsreiter stopped calling in 1985.
John and Linda Sohus vanished in February of that year, and Christopher Chichester seemed to vanish a few months later.
Though the real story of how a boy from Bavaria became a fake member of the American gentry and then a fugitive on the run with his daughter is becoming clearer with each passing day, the man who wanted to be known as a Rockefeller still isn’t talking to police from Boston or Los Angeles. He may never crack. He’s had a lot of practice keeping his secrets. [Boston.com]

The New York Daily News is reporting that a barback at Spotlight Live has been arrested in connection with the bludgeoning death of 24-year-old Ingrid Rivera.
Daily News police sources say Sayed Rahman, also 24, has confessed to the crime.
Ingrid Rivera had attended the club in hopes of giving flowers to rapper Lil’ Kim, who was at the venue to celebrate her 33rd birthday.
But Ingrid Rivera got drunk and fell afoul of the bouncers. She was booted from the place. That’s when police say Rahman zeroed in on her. He allegedly told Rivera he could help her get back inside the club. Sources cited by the Daily News say Rahman was trying to either rape or rob the victim. He allegedly struck the back of her head, then hid her body in the utility closet where she was ultimately discovered Wednesday evening. [NYDN]

benoitrivera.jpg
On her MySpace profile, 24-year-old Ingrid Rivera called herself Chyna 712. She stated that some of her favorite TV shows were King of the Hill, Girlfriends and CSI.
Ingrid is the focus of a real-life drama now, and the drama is more like CSI than any of her other favorite shows. Her bludgeoned remains were found Wednesday night on the roof Spotlight Live, a popular club in Times Square, NYC.
Ingrid went to Spotlight Live last Sunday night to attend the 33rd birthday party for well-known rapper Lil’ Kim. The New York Post reported Thursday that Ingrid was kicked out of the club that night because she was drunk.
When Ingrid didn’t come back the following day, her family filed a missing persons report. Detectives checked the club, but didn’t make it to the roof. That was why it was left to a maintenance worker to find the young woman’s body. Ingrid had a bloody head wound, and it appeared as though she’d been dragged into the spot where she was found.
Police aren’t talking about suspects yet, but if this article in the Daily News is any indication, the bouncers at Spotlight may soon find themselves under some pretty uncomfortable scrutiny.
[NY Post via Gothamist]

The USDOJ has made a number of documents pertaining to the Amerithrax investigation available online:
http://www.usdoj.gov/amerithrax/.
Highlights so far, just from an affidavit written to support a search warrant by USPS Postal Inspector Thomas Dellaferra:
* The type of anthrax identified in the letters sent out after 9/11 was traced via a chemical signature back to Fort Detrick, where Dr. Bruce Edward Ivins worked as an anthrax researcher. The postal service traced the envelopes back to Fort Detrick as well.
* Bruce Ivins normally worked 7:30 a.m. to 4:45 p.m., and all labs, including (of course) labs used to work with “hot” toxins like anthrax, were accessed with magnetic keycards. The keycards generally reflected a given worker’s typical pattern of entry and re-entry. The affidavit by Inspector Dellaferra states the following about Ivins: “Beginning in mid-August 2001[,] however, there was a noticeable spike in Dr. Ivins’s evening access to the B3 hot suite.”
* Bruce Ivins was having definite mental health issues in 2000 and 2001. On April 3, 2000, Ivins wrote the following in an e-mail: “Other times it’s like I’m not only sitting at my desk doing work, I’m also a few feet away watching me do it. There’s nothing like living in both the first person singular AND the third person singular!”
* On July 4, 2000, Ivins said the following in an e-mail message to a friend: “The thinking now by the psychiatrist and counselor is that my symptoms may not be those of a depression or bipolar disorder, they may be that of a ‘Paranoid Personality Disorder.'” In a different e-mail written three days later, Ivins specifically mentioned the National Enquirer and stated he never wanted to see the headline, “PARANOID MAN WORKS WITH DEADLY ANTHRAX!!!” One of the victims of the anthrax letters was a photo editor at the Enquirer.
* Dr. Ivins wrote an e-mail on September 26, 2001 that read in part, “Osama bin Laden has just decreed death to all Jews and all Americans.” Dellaferra notes that Ivins’s language was “similar to the text of the anthrax letters postmarked two weeks later warning ‘DEATH TO AMERICA,’ ‘DEATH TO ISRAEL.'”
* In December, 2001, Bruce Ivins wrote another e-mail detailing some poems he’d made up about himself and “the person in my dreams.” One stanza from one of the poems:
“I’m a little dream-self, short and stout
I’m the other half of Bruce when he lets me out.
When I get all steamed up, I don’t pout.
I push Bruce aside, then I’m Free to run about!”
* A separate affidavit from FBI agent Marlo Arredondo sought information about Bruce Ivins’s e-mail accounts. Ivins used the following:
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
and of course, [email protected].
According to Arredondo, Ivins used these addresses to “facilitate an obsession with a sorority group linked to the location of the anthrax mailings.” Ivins also used screen names such as “Ed Ivings,” “BigSky” and “prunetacos.”
* Ivins, using some of the names above, posted messages at AboveTopSecret.com, an online forum devoted to discussions of conspiracy theories, the paranormal, and supernatural subjects. Ivins posted messages and began threads about the Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority. Here is a thread at AboveTopSecret.com discussing the “removal of College Fraternity Secrets Threads.” Note that “prunetacos” posted in that thread about other boards where he’d discussed the Kappa Kappa Gammas. See also: a list of 50 posts left by “Prunetacos” at GreekChat.com. Many of the Greek Chat posts discuss Kappa Kappa Gamma as well.

beschorner2.jpgOne of 44-year-old Michelle Lague’s neighbors noticed that she’d not been out walking her dog. So on July 7, the neighbor called the cops. Investigators found Lague dead in her home.
Lague was slated to testify in a high-profile murder trial in San Antonio. She’d seen a vehicle speeding away from a crime scene in 2005.
Early Wednesday San Antonio police revealed that Lague’s death had no connection to her status as a witness for the prosecution. Michelle Lague died at the hands of a friend.
That friend was a former roommate, towering, heavyset Kethan Beschorner, age 29.
Beschorner claims the devil made him do it.

The 44-year-old son of the late, infamous “Dapper Don” John Gotti was arrested early Tuesday in Oyster Bay, NY. A wide-ranging investigation spanning from New York to Florida has led to charges against Gotti for federal racketeering and murder conspiracy.
The New York Times reports that five other suspects were also arrested: John A. Burke, James V. Cadicamo, David D’Arpino, Michael D. Finnerty, and Guy T. Peden. During a news conference held in Tampa, AUSA Robert O’Neill stated that all five arrestees were involved with the Gambino Family.
Gotti has done time in prison before. Beginning in 1999, he did a 5-year stint for six charges, including bribery, conspiracy to commit extortion, and loan-sharking.
The new charges against Gotti and the other alleged Gambino soldiers are connected to the murder of George Grosso in 1988, Louis DiBono, a known Gambino associate, in 1990, and Bruce Gotterup in 1991.
The 63-year-old DiBono was found dead in a parking lot at the World Trade Center in October of 1990. The 350-lb mob soldier had been ambushed as he sat in his caddy. A Port Authority spokesperson said at the time that the crime had “all the earmarks of a mob hit.”
The senior John Gotti, who passed away a couple of years ago while still in prison, was found guilty of conspiracy in the DiBono murder in 1992.
Bruce Gotterup was 36 when he was murdered on a boardwalk in Far Rockway, Queens in 1991. Stephen Newell was acquitted of Gotterup’s murder in November, 1997. [NYTimes.com]

Dr. Bruce Ivins, the man the FBI says created the anthrax letters that killed 5 people just after 9/11, may have been a bit of a troll on YouTube, among other sites. It appears as though he was leaving strange comments as recently as 4 weeks ago.
In an add-on to this post, I detailed some of “JimmyFlathead’s” activities on Wikipedia, and how Bruce Ivins’s screen name on Reunion.com matched him to JimmyFlathead. Ivins’s/Flathead’s Wikipedia activity dovetails with a report published today indicating Ivins’s long-term obsession with the Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority.
Five months ago, a woman named Deb posted her first attempts at juggling on YouTube. She received this comment from a user with the screen name “bruceivi”: “Way to go, Deb!!!! You probably don’t remember me but I’m your sister Jen’s Godfather, Bruce. Where did you learn to do all that great stuff? Did you ever try two in each hand? Start with doing two in one hand, then do two in the other, then you can put them together, either alternating throws or throwing at the same time. I used to juggle as stress relief – it’s hard to think of other things when you’re tossing stuff in the air and trying to keep gravity from winning! – bruce”
Bruce Ivins’s juggling hobby has been noted in many reports since the LA Times revealed his status as the FBI’s number 1 suspect in the “Amerithrax” investigation.
While bruceivi’s comment to Deb was pleasant and supportive, the same screen name was attached to a series of comments left on an entirely different video just 4 weeks ago. The comments were so unpleasant that others kept ranking them down, ‘burying’ them.
The clip was from Episode 7 of Season one of the ABC reality series, The Mole. You don’t need to know much about the show to read the comments from brucivi and wince.
bruceivi posted that readers should “Put the next 3 comments from bruceivi together.”
The comments put together as suggested are scary, even for comments left on a YouTube video:

Steve had a great chance to Kill Kathryn that would go down as the primo moment in reality TV.
After the fake fainting he’d say, “Kathryn, do you know what a mole is? It’s a blind useless,animal that humans hate. And do you know what we do to moles? We kill them!”
[…]
With that he should have taken the hatchet and brought it down hard and sharply across her neck, severing her carotid artery and jugular vein. Then when she hits the ground, he completes the task on the other side of the neck, severing her trachea as well. The “Blind” mole is dead and Steve is a hero among heroes! I personally would have paid big money to have done it myself.
[…]
Maybe something really dreadful will happen to Kathryn Price. If so, she will richly deserve it! The least someone could do would be to take a sharp ballpoint pin or letter opener and put her eyes out, to complete the task of making her a true mole!

The commenter seemed to almost immediately think about what he’d written, posting, “Sorry if my comments offended people. This occurred several years ago. It was meant as a macabre twist to a pretty lame reality show […] burceivi. [sic]”
It will be interesting to find out if Kathryn Price ever received any suspicious packages in the mail. A screen capture of the comments can be seen below.
bruceivi.jpg