Browsing: Homicide

Police in Harris County, TX say 38-year-old Dannette R. Gillespie waited in the car while her daughter — all of 15 years old — and Vanessa Anne Ocampo robbed and killed bar owner Eugene Palma.
dgillespie.jpgFor their efforts, the teens and Ms. Gillespie pulled in a whopping $15. Fifteen bucks and charges of capital murder.
Reports out of Houston, TX say it all went down on Wednesday, Sept. 3. Gillespie, her daughter and Ms. Ocampo were on the lookout for someone to rob. They ended up in the bar owned by the Eugene Palma, age 75, Gene’s Better Times bar. The trio hung around until Mr. Palma headed home in Cadillac convertible. Police reports say they didn’t know Mr. Palma — I’d say the Caddy was probably all the bait they needed.
During police interrogation, Vanessa Ocampo told the cops that once the group followed Palma home, Dannette Gillespie doled out knives and told the girls to go rob the elderly man.
So Ocampo, along with Gillespie’s daughter (not named in the press because she’s a juvenile) exited the car and ran up to Palma’s garage. The girls allegedly stabbed the bar owner a number of times and took the only money he had on him, enough to put 4.5 gallons of gas in the car, at best.
Eugene Palma was found dead, face-down in his driveway, on Thursday morning.
A palm print on Palma’s caddy led the cops to Gillespie and the girls. Gillespie and her daughter were arrested in Houston. Vanessa Ocampo was picked up in San Antonio.
[Chron.com – Houston Chronicle]

izamora.jpgThe Associated Press has identified the suspect in a Washington State shooting spree as Isaac Zamora, age 28.
The spree left six dead and two wounded. A deputy from the Skagit County Sheriff’s Dept. was among the dead. A Washington State trooper was injured during the police chase that ultimately led to Zamora’s arrest.
A spokesperson for the Washington State Patrol said that Zamora had “a mental illness.” The AP also indicated that Zamora was in Skagit County detention as recently as early August.
Dennise Zamora, a healthcare worker, told the AP she was Zamora’s mother. In an interview she described her son’s severe mental illness and said that she was “devastated for the families” of the victims. Dennise Zamora also said that she wished that either she or her son had been killed rather than the 6 who died.
In another interview with a Seattle-area TV station, Zamora’s mother said, “This is the truth: I love him, but I would of rather it would have been him than any of them. Its’ not his fault that he is mentally ill.”
Isaac Zamora’s mother has apparently tried to help her son in the past, but she has been limited by the fact that her son is no longer a minor. Zamora has been in and out of jail for theft and drug-related offenses and may have even been homeless for a time.
Isaac Zamora was on a special list of Skagit County offenders who were watched due to issues such as mental illness.
Zamora did have a MySpace page, but he hadn’t logged in since December of 2007 and there really wasn’t anything there, save a birthday comment from a friend, left in August, 2007.
Perhaps because the victims of this spree were scattered over several crime scenes, making the investigation much more complex than usual, none of their names have been released.
Zamora is in the Skagit County jail. [Seattle Times and the Bellingham Herald.]

shootingspree.jpgAn allegedly mentally ill man with an extensive criminal history apparently went on a rampage today in Skagit County, WA. Six people were killed and two were injured before he was taken into custody.
The insanity began with a police call to a home on Silver Creek Drive in Skagit County.
When the responding deputy wouldn’t answer hails from dispatch, more cops went to the scene. There they found two dead people, including the deputy.
The toll rose when two workers were found shot to death at construction site near the Silver Creek Drive address. Victim number 5 was found nearby.
Somehow the shooter was spotted at a gas station. He shot a witness there and fled the scene. A police chase ensued down Interestate 5, the shooter firing wildly much of the way. In the process he wounded a state trooper and killed an innocent driver.
Finally the shooter pulled up to a police station, where he gave up. Police say he began discussing the crime spree right away.
So far, that’s just about all there is on this story. There’s likely to be much more,later, so look for an update later tonight or tomorrow.
[TheNewsTribune.com | Tacoma, WA and KATU.com.]

jcancel.jpgThe 22-year-old who allegedly murdered Pace University student Kevin Pravia over the weekend is Jeromie Cancel, of Queens, NY.
The New York Post, citing police sources, reports that Cancel “sat down in the victim’s apartment and watched the movie ‘Saw’ just moments after smothering the teenager in his sleep.”
Cancel allegedly confessed to the crime. He may have told his father, Jesus Soto, and the cops who came to arrest him. Cancel claims he bought drugs from Kevin Pravia, but police don’t believe him. Still, why Pravia and Cancel returned to the student’s Chelsea apartment together remains a mystery. Pravia was gay, but there was no evidence of sexual contact between him and his alleged killer.
After Cancel watched the movie, he allegedly took electronic items from the residence Pravia shared with roommate Josephine Madonna.
Cancel was arrested at his dad’s home. Jesus Soto told the Post that Cancel came to his door and said ‘I just killed someone.’ Soto continued, “He had no remorse. He had a big smile. Then, he told me again he killed someone.”
Soto called the cops. When they arrived, Soto says his son “just turned to cops and told them he just killed someone.”
Jeromie Cancel’s father also told the New York paper that his son is “mentally imbalanced.”
On MySpace, Jeromie Cancel called himself “puertoricothug352.” Where the profile asked who he’d like to meet, Cancel wrote, “THE DEVIL.”
Cancel titled his profile “TEARS OF A KING,” and his headline read “F.T.W. AND THE PPL IN IT” — for you text-message challenged folks out there, “fuck the world and the people in it.”
All of Cancel’s photos showed a young man with a hard look, playing at gangsta poses. In two he appeared to be wearing fangs — which might make sense, as he was a member of a “Vampire clan” MySpace game, in addition to mafia and mobster games. Other photos showed new tats, one so fresh it still glistened with ointment.
Cancel’s last log-in was August 20, 2008, and he had only one friend left on his profile, though comments posted to the page went back to 2006. He’d apparently been living in Florida for a time prior to his arrival in New York.
Cancel’s ‘general’ interest on MySpace were simply “THE DEVIL.” He also posted “THE DEVIL” beside ‘Heroes’ on his profile.
Maybe Jeromie Cancel was sending a signal. Perhaps he had gone off the deep end and he knew it. The killing is still strange, for a robbery — there is something deeply pathological behind the bag in the throat, the strangling, and the smothering. Could Cancel have been a fledgling serial killer? At the moment, only he and “THE DEVIL” know. [New York Post]

jcancel.jpgThe 22-year-old who allegedly murdered Pace University student Kevin Pravia over the weekend is Jeromie Cancel, of Queens, NY.
The New York Post, citing police sources, reports that Cancel “sat down in the victim’s apartment and watched the movie ‘Saw’ just moments after smothering the teenager in his sleep.”
Cancel allegedly confessed to the crime. He may have told his father, Jesus Soto, and the cops who came to arrest him. Cancel claims he bought drugs from Kevin Pravia, but police don’t believe him. Still, why Pravia and Cancel returned to the student’s Chelsea apartment together remains a mystery. Pravia was gay, but there was no evidence of sexual contact between him and his alleged killer.
After Cancel watched the movie, he allegedly took electronic items from the residence Pravia shared with roommate Josephine Madonna.
Cancel was arrested at his dad’s home. Jesus Soto told the Post that Cancel came to his door and said ‘I just killed someone.’ Soto continued, “He had no remorse. He had a big smile. Then, he told me again he killed someone.”
Soto called the cops. When they arrived, Soto says his son “just turned to cops and told them he just killed someone.”
Jeromie Cancel’s father also told the New York paper that his son is “mentally imbalanced.”
On MySpace, Jeromie Cancel called himself “puertoricothug352.” Where the profile asked who he’d like to meet, Cancel wrote, “THE DEVIL.”
Cancel titled his profile “TEARS OF A KING,” and his headline read “F.T.W. AND THE PPL IN IT” — for you text-message challenged folks out there, “fuck the world and the people in it.”
All of Cancel’s photos showed a young man with a hard look, playing at gangsta poses. In two he appeared to be wearing fangs — which might make sense, as he was a member of a “Vampire clan” MySpace game, in addition to mafia and mobster games. Other photos showed new tats, one so fresh it still glistened with ointment.
Cancel’s last log-in was August 20, 2008, and he had only one friend left on his profile, though comments posted to the page went back to 2006. He’d apparently been living in Florida for a time prior to his arrival in New York.
Cancel’s ‘general’ interest on MySpace were simply “THE DEVIL.” He also posted “THE DEVIL” beside ‘Heroes’ on his profile.
Maybe Jeromie Cancel was sending a signal. Perhaps he had gone off the deep end and he knew it. The killing is still strange, for a robbery — there is something deeply pathological behind the bag in the throat, the strangling, and the smothering. Could Cancel have been a fledgling serial killer? At the moment, only he and “THE DEVIL” know. [New York Post]

One of the most hated men in Kentucky, killer Mel Ignatow, suffered one of the more ironic deaths you’ll ever read about.
Ignatow killed Brenda Sue Schaefer in 1988. He was tried for her murder and acquitted. Evidence was found after the acquittal that made it clear that Ignatow raped, tortured and murdered his former girlfriend. Double jeopardy prevented a new trial, though, and Ignatow only got put away for less than a decade for perjury.
mignatow.jpgThe most telling evidence against Ignatow came in the form of photos, made by his girlfriend at the time of the murder, Mary Ann Shore. Though Ignatow’s face never showed, marks and moles on his body were a perfect match for the male seen brutalizing Schaefer in the photographs.
These photos showed Brenda Sue Schaefer bound to a glass coffee table.
Mel Ignatow’s fate must have seemed appropriate, even to him. He fell on a glass coffee table.
When he fell, Ignatow apparently cut his arm and hit his head. Evidence suggests he roamed his apartment for a bit before he succumbed to his injuries.
The man who remorselessly degraded and murdered a woman to whom he’d once been engaged died slowly, alone in his apartment.
He made no attempts to call for help.
Maybe he saw the irony and the justice just as clearly as the rest of us. [Louisville Courier-Journal]

UPDATE
The New York Post is reporting an arrest and confession in the murder of Kevin Pravia. From the paper:

The suspect allegedly told investigators that he bought drugs from Pravia before they went to the apartment – though police sources said they doubt the drug buy claim.

The suspect allegedly accompanied Pravia back to the student’s Chelsea apartment. Pravia, who was reportedly very drunk (see below), eventually fell asleep. Then the as-yet-unnamed 22-year-old suspect allegedly struck Pravia, wrapped a cord around his neck, shoved a plastic bag in his mouth, and strangled him (NYC’s ABC affiliate says the suspect allegedly smothered the victim with a pillow). Police say the suspect then took off with Kevin Pravia’s iPod, laptop and cell phone. Some of the items were later sold on the street. [Hat-tip to reader “LoisDenominator.”]
Original Post
kmpravia.jpgThe New York Sun is reporting this morning that Kevin Michael Pravia‘s death is being investigated as a homicide.
The 19-year-old honors student at Pace University was found Sunday by his roommate, Josephine Madonna, in the apartment they shared in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood. Pravia was strangled with some kind of cord and a plastic bag was stuffed in his throat. According to the Sun, “a police report released yesterday indicated that they were investigating the death as a homicide.”
Pravia was wearing a t-shirt and boxer shorts when he was found. He was laying face up in his bed, covered with a sheet.
An article published this morning in the New York Daily News states that Pravia left a party around 5:30 Saturday morning. He was inebriated and had to be helped to a taxi and given cab fare home.
After he left the party, Pravia called at least five male friends. Police have already confirmed the alibi of one friend.
Further confirmation that Kevin Pravia was murdered may be inferred by the Daily News report that “Detectives were also looking for Pravia’s cell phone and laptop computer, which were missing from his apartment.” Other valuable items in the apartment, such as Josephine Madonna’s jewelry, were not taken.
While preliminary results from an autopsy were not conclusive, police say there was no sign of forced entry into the apartment and that Pravia was not sexually assaulted.
Friends who spoke to the press and at least one acquaintance who left a comment on this blog were clear about the issue of Kevin Pravia possibly being suicidal — he wasn’t. His high school friend, Kirk Emerson, told the Sun, “He wouldn’t do that.” An acquaintance who blogged about Pravia’s death described Kevin as a “chill ass dude.”
A commenter who posted here as Patrick Quinn wrote that “there is absolutely no way that Kevin killed himself. [If] you’d like to know a bit more about one of the most amazing people i’ve ever known, feel free to email me.” [New York Sun and the New York Daily News.]

From the “it couldn’t happen to a nicer guy” department: Mel Ignatow is dead.
mignatow.jpgWho is Mel Ignatow? He’s a guy who got away with murder. Also known to many in Kentucky as a downright evil, psychopathic shitbag.
On Sept. 24, 1988, Brenda Sue Schaefer vanished. She had been planning on breaking up with her boyfriend, Mel Ignatow. Long story short (you can read the full CBS 48 Hours account of the Ignatow case by clicking a link at the bottom of this post), Schaefer’s body was found on Jan. 10, 1989, and 2 years later, Mel Ignatow went on trial for her murder.
He was acquitted.
Cut to some 6 months after Ignatow’s trial: a contractor was doing work in the home owned by Ignatow when Brenda Sue Schaefer disappeared. The contractor found a baggie filled with jewelry and photographs of Mel Ignatow raping and torturing Schaefer. The photos had been taken by the star witness for the State of Kentucky, the woman who basically helped ruin the State’s case and get Ignatow acquitted, Mary Ann Shore. The photos depicted the exact events Shore described during her testimony at Ignatow’s murder trial.
Mel Ignatow couldn’t be tried again. Double jeopardy was in effect. So the State got him on perjury charges. During his perjury trial, Ignatow confessed to killing Schaefer.
He went away for a 5 to 8 year sentence, and was released from prison in 2006.
There’s still no word from Louisville on how Ignatow died, but let’s hope it was a painful and lonely death. If there is a hell and people burn there, Mel Ignatow is crispier than the Colonel’s chicken right about now. [WAVE 3 TV Louisville, KY and CBS 48 Hours.]

fifthnail.jpgI don’t care if it makes sense or not — you can’t kill a monster like Joseph Edward Duncan III too many times, for my taste. So now Riverside County, CA D.A. Rod Pacheco has made it clear that he wants to prosecute the convicted serial killer for the 1997 abduction and murder of Anthony Martinez, age 10.
Pacheco made the following statement about Duncan, “The Riverside County District Attorney’s Office is eagerly awaiting Joseph Duncan’s return to Riverside County to face murder charges in one of the most heinous crimes in Riverside County history.”
I say it’s worth the expense to the taxpayers, even though a jury in Boise, ID gave Duncan the death penalty last week.
The thing is, we will never know the depth of this man’s monstrosity. He’s said so, and Duncan has had the habit — peculiarly, for a sexually sadistic psychopath like him — of occasionally just stopping all the bullshit and admitting to what he’s done, admitting to being a monster in human form. I’ve been told a few things by sources close to the investigation, and without revealing anything too specific, I can say this — Duncan was even more vicious and evil towards his victims than the public truly knows. There may even allegations of necrophilia in the future (which, incidentally, would again put him in that relatively small group of profoundly sick and evil killers like Ted Bundy). Duncan was just that depraved. Bank on it.
Have at him, Riverside. May the best state, the fastest state to the plunger on the needles or the switch on the electric chair win. [KTVB.COM]

fifthnail.jpgI don’t care if it makes sense or not — you can’t kill a monster like Joseph Edward Duncan III too many times, for my taste. So now Riverside County, CA D.A. Rod Pacheco has made it clear that he wants to prosecute the convicted serial killer for the 1997 abduction and murder of Anthony Martinez, age 10.
Pacheco made the following statement about Duncan, “The Riverside County District Attorney’s Office is eagerly awaiting Joseph Duncan’s return to Riverside County to face murder charges in one of the most heinous crimes in Riverside County history.”
I say it’s worth the expense to the taxpayers, even though a jury in Boise, ID gave Duncan the death penalty last week.
The thing is, we will never know the depth of this man’s monstrosity. He’s said so, and Duncan has had the habit — peculiarly, for a sexually sadistic psychopath like him — of occasionally just stopping all the bullshit and admitting to what he’s done, admitting to being a monster in human form. I’ve been told a few things by sources close to the investigation, and without revealing anything too specific, I can say this — Duncan was even more vicious and evil towards his victims than the public truly knows. There may even allegations of necrophilia in the future (which, incidentally, would again put him in that relatively small group of profoundly sick and evil killers like Ted Bundy). Duncan was just that depraved. Bank on it.
Have at him, Riverside. May the best state, the fastest state to the plunger on the needles or the switch on the electric chair win. [KTVB.COM]

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