CNN Headline News segment about developments in the Caylee Anthony mystery.

The rumor has persisted since skeletal remains were found yesterday near the Anthony home: duct tape was found on the mouth of the skull inside the plastic bag. WFTV reports this evening that “the body size and hair color” of the bones found in the woods a quarter mile from the home Casey and Caylee Anthony sometimes shared with Casey’s parents are “similar to Caylee’s.” WFTV has also published a transcript of the 911 call made by the meter reader who discovered the bones. The caller reports finding a skull that they “believe is human” very close to “the Caylee Anthony area.” Think about this — duct tape might be an awfully good medium for preserving a
fingerprint, or three. Check out the link in brackets to hear the audio and read the full article — be sure to note the mention of George and Cindy Anthony and “obstruction of justice.”  [WFTV.com]

danielleblack.jpgOn November 8, 2008, 15-year-old Danielle Renee Black’s MySpace page — screen name psychogirl1993 — sported the following headline: “~R.I.P~I love u dad!!~We will miss u!~” Beside Danielle’s profile photo was this quote: “wats there 2 say??…my heart is broken from so many guys….my father is gone….i need help from my ppl…my real ppl…u kno who u r….there is only 3 of u….but only 2 r here now….”

Danielle was referring to the murder of her father, Billy Lee Black, age 47. Black was found brutally stabbed to death on October 31, 2008. He’d been attacked in the early morning hours beside the work truck he parked behind his family’s row house in Hagerstown, Maryland.

Danielle’s friend Alec Scott Eger, age 19, was Alec Scott Draven and 911r3ap3r911 (911reaper911 for those who can’t read leet speak) on MySpace.com.

Prior to December, 2008, Alec’s “About me” was a lengthy, pseudo-Nietzschean screed about how to live your life. An interesting quote from the end of Alec’s little lecture, spelling and punctuation mistakes intact:

The only thing left is the need for vengeance against those who cause pain, sorrow.People get away with things they should never have done yet no one punishes them. Killers, child molesters, rapists, wife beaters, etc. So the question I ask is this. Is it wrong to extract vengeance on those who deserve it, in defense and revenge for those who cannot protect themselfs. Because in this world of unjust ignorance you are the only one who will stand up for the those who need help.

Emphasis was added.aleceger.jpg

On Wednesday, December 10, Danielle Black was arrested in Hagerstown and charged with solicitation of first-degree murder. Alec Scott Eger was also taken into custody. Eger was charged with first-degree murder.

Police believe Danielle Black approached another male prior to her father’s murder and asked him to kill Billy Lee Black. Danielle allegedly told her friend that her father would be entering the truck he used for work around 5 in the morning. The teen said he wouldn’t get anything out of it and refused.

But court papers referenced by the Washington Post indicate that Alec Scott Eger held the unsupported belief that his friend Danielle was being abused by her father. Eger decided to do something about it.

The assistant state’s attorney for Washington County, MD told the Post that the only problem Billy Lee Black really had was “with his daughter and her group of friends.” Dunlap believes that Danielle and Alec were members of a goth “crew,” and that they were into “sucking each other’s blood, cutting each other.”

Charging documents cited by the Post state that Alec Eger has confessed to killing Billy Lee Black. He approached Black that Halloween morning intending to confront the older man about the alleged abuse. They struggled, and Black managed to wrest a knife from Alec’s hands. But Alec (who gave his height as 6’5″ on his MySpace page), had another knife and he used that weapon to repeatedly stab Billy Lee Black about the head and neck.

Alec took some money from the dead man’s wallet. As he fled the scene he threw his weapon, the wallet and bloody clothing in a dumpster.

As often happens in cases like this, Alec Eger’s MySpace page has been changed since his arrest. Images of marijuana leaves and the Nietzschean screed have been deleted and the following message has been posted on his profile:

For those who may not already know, Alec has gotten into some serious trouble in Hagerstown, MD while trying to help a young women who he beleived needed his help. If anyone has any information regarding this situation, please contact Jerry Joyce at the Hagerstown Public Defender’s Office at 301-791-4735.

Until she was detained by Hagerstown authorities on Wednesday, Danielle Black was updating her page on a regular basis…

By now you know that bones were found in Orlando today. You know they were a stone’s throw from the residence Casey Marie Anthony shared with her daughter and George and Cindy Anthony. You might just know that a meter reader working in the area apparently found himself between a rock and a hard place and while searching for a private place to pee, he found a plastic bag on the ground. Naturally curious, he picked it up.

The skull of a small child rolled out of the bag.

Local law enforcement authorities are striving hard to be professional about the find. They have hinted that the skull and the bones that were still in the bag might be those of little Caylee Anthony, who vanished sometime in June, 2008. But they can’t declare the remains are Caylee’s until they’ve run forensic tests to prove it.

Tim Miller, of Texas Equusearch, has no such constraints, and Miller told the Orlando Sentinel that the bones “appear to be Caylee.” Miller also said “It looks like finally it’s over with.”

The bones have been taken to the medical examiner’s office. Orange County Sheriff Kevin Beary has said that they are ‘a top priority’ for the FBI and the forensic investigators working on the find.

Their Orlando attorney said that George and Cindy Anthony were “obviously shocked” about the find.

Casey Anthony’s attorney, Jose Baez, has filed an emergency motion in an Orlando court asking that the defense be present during all forensic tests on the remains. A judge will hear the motion on Friday.

If the bones prove to be those of Caylee Anthony, it will be interesting to see how George and Cindy Anthony respond to the news. In their vocal, visible and sometimes seemingly delusional defense of
Casey, the Anthonys have become nearly as controversial as
their pretty, flat-eyed daughter.

They have proven remarkably inventive in their attempts to circumvent common sense when speaking publicly about the case against Casey. From insisting that the smell of decomposition in the car Casey drove after Caylee vanished was old food to later implying that someone placed the decomp material found in the trunk in the car after it was impounded, the Anthonys have been object lessons in active, insistent denial.

How will they be able to deny this, if the bones were once a little girl named Caylee? What will Casey say to her parents, no doubt pinning them to their chairs in the jail visiting area with her big, innocent but unblinking baby blues? Reasonable people would like to think they’d withdraw into their grief and let the system take over. That would make sense, and perhaps be better for them. But nothing in the Anthony case has made much sense. The Anthonys might not miss a beat — they may now come forward proposing police target neighborhood sex offenders, or insist that it was all an accident, and the only crime was a cover-up. People tired of hearing about this case in the news would do well to not sit back and say the story is over — it may have only just begun. [OrlandoSentinel.com]

findingcaylee.jpgOrange County law enforcement and the FBI are investigating the remains of a child found at a location less than a quarter-mile from the home Casey Anthony shared with her missing daughter Caylee and Casey’s parents, George and Cindy Anthony.

A meter reader seeking a hidden spot to relieve himself discovered the body in a plastic bag around 9:30 this morning near the intersection of Chickasaw Trail and Suburban Drive. According to MSNBC, a responding officer stated that the remains appeared to be those of a small child.

Drew Tate, who has helped in the search for Caylee, spoke to a local reporter and said he felt certain that the remains were Caylee Anthony’s. A spokesperson for Texas Equusearch told WESH TV that the area where the bag of bones was found was under water during one search by the volunteer recovery group and then blocked off by a hurricane fence during another search.

A public information officer told media at the scene that the Anthony family and corrections officials have been informed about the grisly discovery. George and Cindy Anthony were out of town and are on a plane returning to Orlando.

Local media has reported that Casey Anthony occasionally frequented the area where the remains were found — one reporter termed the area a “hideout.”

No one has said that the body is that of missing 3-year-old Caylee Anthony. Police do not yetweshcap.jpg know whether the remains are those of a boy or a girl. Local reporters, however, are describing the police response to the scene as “major” and “massive.” They have compared it to this false find from mid-November and say law enforcement seems to be much more serious about this find. All the Orange County law enforcement “top brass,” including Sheriff Kevin Beary, have headed out to the scene. Speaking to reporters, Beary would say little other than the skull, possibly of a small child, was found 20 to 30 feet from the road.

Beary did indicate that he felt this find likely marked the end of the search for Caylee Anthony.

This discovery comes on the morning that Casey Anthony saw her murder trial postponed till early January, 2009.

If this is indeed the body of Caylee Anthony, I would be surprised to see any more of George or Cindy Anthony on TV anytime soon. But you never know. Nothing about this case is sane or normal.

One thing we probably can guarantee — these aren’t the bones of Trenton Duckett — but that’s a whole ‘nother ball of wax. [FoxNews.com, WESH.com live video]

The video above was Amanda Knox’s first unwitting foray into acting onscreen for a large audience, as she tried to convince a friend and some cute guys that she was drunk after just one and a half shots of some sort of liquor. The video came to light after Knox was arrested along with her then-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito and an Ivory Coast native named Rudy Hermann Guede and charged with the murder of Knox’s flatmate during her year of study in Perugia, Italy, Meredith Kercher. Kercher was found dead in early November, 2007, and Italian prosecutors have focused on Knox, Sollecito and Guede ever since, insisting that Kercher’s death was the result of some sort of sex play gone awry.

Now the London Times is reporting that an Italian filmmaker has used Amanda Knox’s pretty face for an experimental film about prisoners daydreaming of freedom. From the Times:

The film, entitled The Last City (L’Ultima Citta) features 12
women inmates at Capanne prison just outside Perugia, where Ms Knox has been
held since Ms Kercher was killed in November last year.
[…] Claudio Carini, the former theatre actor who directed the movie, said he had
shot ten hours of film which had been cut in the final version to 55
minutes. It was made on a budget of €10-15,000, and filmed entirely in the
prison.

The film apparently begins with close shot of Knox’s “striking blue eyes,” before the shot widens to show Knox gazing “wordlessly” into the camera. According to filmmaker Claudio Carini, the film then tells of an “imaginary journey” for the the 12 women prisoners in which they visit both the real world and the worlds of their dreams.

Amanda Knox recites a Shakespeare soliloquy in the film and verses by Arthur Rimbaud, Fernando Pessoa and Pedro Calderon de la Barca. Knox reportedly told other prisoners that she had a “beautiful experience” making the movie.

The Last City‘s release in Perugia has been delayed in order to avoid another round of publicity like the publicity surrounding the murder of Meredith Kercher.

Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito (her lover at the time of Kercher’s murder) were supposed to go to trial this month but procedural snags postponed the trial date to January 16. Rudy Hermann Guede is already serving a 30-year sentence for his part in the Kercher murder after a “fast track” trial in October.

We won’t know if Knox is a murderer (in the eyes of the Italian judiciary, anyway — many Americans believe she’s being railroaded) until early 2009, but one thing already seems clear — the camera loves her, and she loves being the center of attention. In the end, this may be her downfall. It may also be the true beginning of a bizarre sort of long-lasting celebrity for Knox. No matter the outcome of Knox’s trial in January, it will be a career born in blood and the Kercher family’s tragedy. [TimesOnline.co.uk]

An MSNBC segment about the arrest of Gov. Rod Blagojevich. (D-IL)

Well, this is fun. Early this morning the Feds arrested llinois governor Rod Blagojevich. Blagojevich, say the Feds, was basically trying to sell the Senate seat vacated by President-elect Barack Obama. Well, that’s not all he was doing, but it’s probably the cherry on top of Blagojevich’s alleged corruption sundae. The FBI caught the governor through wiretaps.

Anyone old enough to have been annoyed that the Watergate hearings were pre-empting their cartoons feels a twinge of deja vu when stories like this hit the airwaves. I come from Tennessee, myself, and after Watergate my home state still had to contend with our own uber-crooked gov, one Ray Blanton. For me, the Blagojeviches and the Blantons actually make politics interesting.

But this is a crime blog. And even though Rod Blagojevich has been arrested and charged with all kinds of juicy criminal corruption, the story is still more political than anything. Your best bet for finding out the nuts and bolts of this sordid tale so far is to follow these links:

* The USDOJ’s release about the arrest of the governor and his Chief of Staff, John Harris.

* And of course, The Smoking Gun has more than 20 pages of uncensored criminal complaint goodness. One of the many money quotes — Blagojevich, referring to Obama’s empty Senate seat and his ability to appoint someone to fill it: “I’ve got this thing and it’s fucking golden, and, uh, uh, I’m just not giving it up for fuckin’ nothing. I’m not gonna do it. And, and I can always use it. I can parachute me there.” Perhaps you see what I mean about the guy being a tool as well. As if his hair wasn’t enough of a giveaway.

If you’re looking for some irony (or something like it) related to this story, look no further than this announcement at Illinois.gov. Quote: “CHICAGO – First Lady Patricia Blagojevich today announced December’s selection for her Children’s Reading Club – How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss.



An Associated Press video report about Michael Mele, a person of interest in the abduction of Laura Garza.

He’s only 23, but Michael Mele, late of Walkill in Upstate New York, has graduated quickly from registered sex offender to suspected killer. Police in New York believe that Mele, the son of a former assistant deputy chief of police, had something to do with the disappearance of pretty 25-year-old Laura Garza, of Brooklyn.

Garza was last seen leaving a New York City nightclub with Mele and another man on the night of December 3. Garza, who had recently come to New York from McAllen, Texas, met Mele at the Marquee in Manhattan that Wednesday night. She probably had no idea as to what she was dealing with.

Michael Mele was sentenced early in 2008 on charges related to “forcible touching.” He would approach women at the Palisades Center Mall in Clarkstown, NY. Mele would sometimes touch and masturbate on his victims. Police in Clarkstown nabbed Mele after they matched his DNA to semen found on the clothes of one of his victims.

Since he had no previous record, Mele was granted six years’ probation after pleading guilty to the most serious charge against him. He was placed on the New York State sex offender registry at level 1. In most states, level 1 offenders are generally regarded as the least likely to re-offend. The police chief of Clarkstown, however, told ABC News that Mele was “a crazy sucker,” and that Mele’s behavior was “escalating.” Chief Bernard Cummings also said, “In all my years, seeing this kind of behavior is a little off the radar here.”

Michael Mele hasn’t been charged with anything in connection with the disappearance of Laura Garza. He has allegedly violated the terms of his probation: drinking, not seeing his probation officer, and not attending any sex offender treatment program. When he turned himself in it was for an outstanding warrant connected to a traffic violation.

Police have been searching in and around Mele’s condo in Walkill, NY and neighbors have reported seeing troubling items picked up by the investigators, such as weapons and a woman’s clothing.

Worse yet, Mele may have cleaned his apartment with bleach, and potentially most telling of all — he allegedly had bite and scratch marks on his body when he was jailed on Friday.

According to most reports, Laura Garza came to New York for the very same reasons so many young people flock to that city — she had dreams of becoming a dancer. Neighbors in video reports have universally described her as friendly, open, and kind. In other words, the exact sort of victim sexually predatory animals tend to seek.

Michael Mele is due back in court on December 22 to answer for his probation violations. Mele was hit with more warrants late Monday afternoon — this time for indecent exposure, in Paramus, NJ.

[LoHud.com, ABC News. Also — Laura Garza’s private MySpace. Hat-tip to Michelle in the comments for this post.]

houstonpress.jpg According to a special report published on December 2 by the Houston Press, 9 out of 10 Texas parolees never end up paying state-mandated restitution. From Chris Vogel’s article:

The Houston Press originally intended to investigate
restitution payments by probationers and parolees. Probation, run by
the county, is given instead of jail or prison; parole, run by the
state, is for offenders who are released from prison before their
sentence is over. This soon, however, proved to be problematic.

The Press filed a request under the Texas Public Information
Act asking for a list of probationers in Harris County over the past
five years who had been discharged even though they still owed
restitution, including names, how much they paid and owe. The county’s
Community Supervision & Corrections Department denied the request,
saying state district court judges have decided not to release
information located in probationers’ files, which county attorneys say
is allowed under state law.

In Harris County TX alone, the Press discovered that “$928,400 in restitution was never paid.” Just over $30,000 was collected — that amounted to “3.1 percent of the money owed by offenders who were successfully discharged.”

Check out the rest of the well-researched and sobering article here.

leroynash.jpgViva Leroy Nash is 93 years old and the oldest death row inmate in the nation. He has been awaiting execution since 1984. Writing in the Phoenix New Times, Paul Rubin tells the story of this career criminal and homicidal curmudgeon who recently wrote to the paper outlining some of his thoughts about who should or should not be put to death by the State. From the pen (or prison-issued pencil) of Viva Leroy Nash:

There are obviously many weird people in our world, with twisted minds, that have a tendency to not only kill helpless people, but often do it in a despicable manner. Often, psychos turn into insane serial killers who should be promptly eliminated, not tortured to suicide, as I’ve seen happen.

Genuine serial killers should be eliminated by execution quickly, but not by prison guards or their contemporaries. Same for adults or homos who kill children. Or Mormons who habitually force children into marriage.

Usually I’d say oldsters like Nash have earned the right to opine on such things — being… old, and all — but I’m not so sure about Mr. Nash.

For “Nation’s Oldest Death Row Inmate Will Never Be Executed,” Rubin interviewed a witness to a murder committed by Nash. She detailed Nash’s cold, cruel execution of a young man named Greg West on November 3, 1982:

This was after Mr. Nash shot Greg the first time. I was looking at the barrel of the gun and, for some reason, I flashed on my daughter, who was around 9 at the time.

He pulled the trigger, but it didn’t fire, and I dropped down under the table. I still don’t understand why Nash didn’t come around and kill me.

Greg was on the floor there bleeding. He was saying, ‘Please, God. Please, God, don’t shoot me.’ I was trying to stay still. Then Nash fired into Greg twice more. I watched him die. He was like a brother to me and to my husband.

Kind of puts Nash’s thoughts on execution, etc. in perspective, doesn’t it?

For Paul Rubin’s fascinating narrative about the life and crimes of a man who talks like a “grizzled old coot” but kills like Cormac McCarthy’s fictional Anton Chigurh, just click the link in brackets below.

[Phoenix New Times]

ojsimpson.jpgToday, a judge in Clark County Nevada sentenced O.J. Simpson to 15 years in prison for multiple counts related to an armed robbery that occurred there in September, 2007. Judge Jackie Glass called Simpson “arrogant” and “ignorant,” and stated that the evidence against the former football star was overwhelming. Simpson tried to apologize for the crime, but in the process he continually minimized the act, and Judge Glass was having none of that. She also ruled that Simpson can’t go free on bail while waiting for any appeals.

For anyone who followed the double-murder trial against O.J. Simpson back in the mid-1990s, this does feel like just desserts. Even the father of one of the victims of that crime, Ron Goldman’s father Fred Goldman (and his mustache), said today that he felt justice was done. When Fred said this, folks familiar with the case in the 90s (a link for you in case you lived in a cave then), knew exactly what he was talking about. He was just happy that a pathological narcissist like O.J. was now going to get a substantial amount of time in prison to sit and really think about all the golfing he could no longer do in his avid pursuit of the people who “really killed” his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and Ron Goldman. O.J. will likely be in protective custody as well, which sounds like a good thing — unless you understand that a guy like O.J. has always thrived on attention.

Nope. It’s official. O.J. Simpson’s real nightmare has just begun, and it couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy. For reaction from one of TCR’s sister blogs, see NudeCelebrityDeathSUV: “O.J. Simpson: Sentenced To Close To 20 Years … Now Go To Jail, Asshole.” [SportingNews.com/AP]