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Some crime stories you just can’t avoid, even if you try. The saga of Shawn Roderick, age 11, is one of those stories.
Police in Orlando, FL say Shawn marched into a Walgreens at 3:30 this morning and pulled out a pair of handguns, intent on robbing the place. It looks as though Shawn actually got some money from the till, but one of the Walgreens employees called 911 and cops snagged little Shawn as he exited the store.
Turns out the guns Shawn flashed upon entering the store were actually BB pistols.
There’s no word yet as to whether Shawn Roderick will be tried as an adult, but Orlando police released his name this afternoon, anyway. The UPI reported that the child will face felony robbery charges. [WKMG Orlando, UPI]

Not that anyone really doubted this, but Bernann McKinney, of the 5 cloned Booger puppies, admitted over the weekend that she was also the infamous Joyce McKinney.
McKinney tearfully said she’d hoped that people would focus on the story of her 5 cloned puppies and not past “garbage.”
She said that she figured “people would be honest enough to see” her as someone “who was trying to do something good and not as a celebrity.”
To Joyce Bernann McKinney, the portrait of her painted by the press over 3 decades ago wasn’t real. It was a “figment of the tabloid press.”
Speaking to the AP about the charges that she raped 6’4″ Mormon missionary Kirk Anderson as he was restrained in a remote English cottage, McKinney said, “I didn’t rape no 300-pound man […] He was built like a Green Bay Packer.”
Legally, McKinney has nothing to worry about. British authorities, citing the age of the charges against her, will not seek extradition.
[International Herald Tribune/AP]

Cops surely must appreciate the stupidity of guys like 19-year-old Justin Tyler Evans of Henderson, KY. It can only make a hard job just a little easier.
Evans recently sold an old phone on eBay. The unfortunate winner of his auction had a nauseating surprise in store: child pornography. According to police in Henderson, Evans admitted after he was arrested to downloading the images and saving them on the media card in that phone. There were more than 50 images. The Evansville Courier Press stated that the pics were “of nude children between the ages of 6 and 15 […] and one image showing a girl engaged in a sexual act.”
Naturally, police confiscated Evans’s home computer, and they say he had more kiddie porn on that hard drive as well.
Evans was “JustinTyler1715” on MySpace, and his profile revealed his loser’s resume, hopscotching from fast-food cashier jobs to supermarket cashiering, never seeming to stay too long at any one place.
Evans also had a blog on MySpace, which didn’t reveal much, save that his trailer had burned in March of this year. While many of Evans’s top friends looked younger than him only a slideshow of his photos induced a little queasiness; some of the pics were centered on young children.
Justin Tyler Evans is being held on $25,000 bail in the Henderson County Jail. The person who bought his phone on eBay hasn’t been named, but it’s probably a good bet they’ll think twice before they buy a used phone online again.
[Evansville Courier Press]

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]

Caylee Anthony, the Orlando, FL toddler missing since early June this year, turns 3 today. As a vigil was held for the little girl Friday night, her mother, Casey Anthony, remained in jail on a $500,000 bond. Casey has been charged with neglect, failure to report her daughter’s disappearance, and with lying to the authorities.
The search for little Caylee continues. Investigators have dived in ponds, questioned people in other states, and returned to the home of Caylee’s grandparents, Cindy and George Anthony, several times. But no one knows where she is.
A warrant to search George and Cindy’s home was filed on August 5. It doesn’t just list the remarkable series of lies told by Casey Anthony once she reported her daughter’s disappearance to police, it also gives reason to question Cindy Anthony’s behavior.
Some of Casey’s lies, according to search warrant:
* LIE: She worked at Universal Studios, and she told co-workers named Jeffrey Hopkins and Juliette Lewis that her daughter was missing. TRUTH: Casey didn’t work there, and there are no employees with those names.
* LIE: Casey said she had a supervisor at Universal named Tom Manley. TRUTH: No Tom Manley is employed at Universal.
* LIE: Zenaida Gonzalez lived at the Sawgrass Apts. when Casey dropped Caylee off on June 9. TRUTH: No one had lived in the particular apartment Casey pointed out since February.
* LIE: Casey said Zenaida had also lived at 301 N. Hillside Dr. TRUTH: It is a senior citizens-only facility.
* LIE: Zenaida Gonzalez had also lived with her mother Gloria at the Crossings at Conway, a town home community. TRUTH: No one in that community knew of either Zenaida or her mother.
* LIE: In general, Casey knew Zenaida Gonzalez, and had known her for some time. TRUTH: Zenaida Gonzalez has been cleared by police of any involvement in the case, and has never known or been acquainted with Casey Anthony.
* LIE: Zenaida had a roommate named Raquel Farrell, and Farrell worked at TGI Friday’s. TRUTH: No TGI Fridays has ever had an employee by that name.
* LIE: According to Casey’s boyfriend, Anthony Lazzaro, Casey said her little girl was being cared for by a nanny and being taken to Disney, Universal Studios, and the beach. TRUTH: Caylee was already missing when Casey told those lies. Casey told the same sort of lie to a friend named Jessie Grund.
* APPARENT LIE: Lee Anthony forwarded some e-mails from Casey to investigators. The thread of messages appeared to end with something from a Thomas Franck with the e-mail address [email protected] TRUTH: No such employee or address exists.
Again, that’s just a quick, incomplete list of some of the lies Casey Anthony has told.
Near the end of the search warrant was the following curious bit:

On August 4th, [investigators]conducted a second audio recorded interview with Cynthia [Cindy Anthony]. While discussing the recovery of Casey’s white car it was discovered that Cynthia had removed items from the car prior to law enforcement being contacted. Cynthia explained that she had removed a pair of gray dress slacks from the back seat area of the car. The slacks were reportedly on the rear floor board of the vehicle and were with a pair of boots and a pair of shoes that reportedly belonged to Casey. According to Cynthia she removed the pants and washed them due to the fact that smelled like the car. Cynthia reported that she ahd put the washed clothing in Casey’s bedroom.

Cindy Anthony admitted, then, that she removed and washed clothing from Casey’s car. She did this before she actually called police and said that the very same car smelled like there had “been a dead body in the damn car.”
[Fox News; WFTV.com — PDF of the warrant.]

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]

My wife leaves the TV on NBC when she leaves for work. So the first face I saw on the tube when I woke up this morning was a woman in rapture over 5 cloned Boogers. She was being interviewed on the Today show. She truly looked ecstatic. The journalist asking questions looked more and more uncomfortable as the interview progressed. It looked as though the journo — Natalie Morales — could feel the craziness closing in on her.
The woman with the 5 cloned Boogers was Bernann McKinney, and Booger was, once upon a time, her pet pit bull. Booger died two years ago from cancer. Bernann McKinney missed Booger so much she got a wild hair and contacted a lab in South Korea that said it could clone dogs and other animals. Bernann spent many thousands of dollars to end up with 5 cloned puppies. Five copies of her precious Booger.
The look on Natalie Morales’s face mirrored my feelings as I watched Bernann talk about her Boogers. Bernann said, “He became my service dog […] I was in a wheelchair, and my arms were in braces for a long time — I couldn’t use my hands. He could unlock a door with his teeth, he could answer the phone, he could do the laundry. He was my hands.”
Writing that out it doesn’t look nearly as crazy as it sounded. Bernann’s hyper way of speaking over-emphasized certain points, like how her dog could do laundry. When the camera came back to Morales, she looked like she wanted to be somewhere else.
So, I turned the channel, because I could only take so much. Still, I kept wondering about the story. I had the feeling something was up with Bernann McKinney. I wasn’t sure what, though. Perhaps the cloned puppies deal was a scam, a hoax. No, I decided — too many articles were out there about the puppies; they, at least, appear to be real. So maybe it was just Bernann — after all, the woman was so obsessed with getting her doggy back that she spent a small fortune to do it. That kind of commitment is rare, and can often result in, well, commitment. To a hospital, perhaps.
I went about my day. Since my day involves sorting through the news and finding interesting stuff to cover for this blog, I eventually ran across this, in the UK’s Daily Mail: “A cloned dog, a Mormon in mink-lined handcuffs and a tantalising mystery.” From the article:

Could the new owner of the world’s first commercially cloned pups be the same woman who had gone on the run from British justice 30 years ago, having been the star of one of the most bizarre, entertaining and downright saucy court cases in living memory?

Bernann McKinney had tripped my spidey-sense for a reason.

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]