Today’s “what the HELL?” crime comes from Austria.
A 48-year-old man apparently murdered his elderly parents with a home-made, propane-fueled flamethrower. The senior citizens, both 84, were burned alive. The killer then tried to off himself with a knife.
The State Criminal Police Agency (Landeskriminalamt or LKA) was alerted to the crime just before midnight. They arrived to find an horrific scene. According to Anton Kiesl, a spokesperson from the LKA, “The two were absolutely torched.”
The perpetrator had left a propane bottle sitting out and a gas spigot was still alight.
It only gets worse. The elderly woman was diabetic and bedridden; her legs had been amputated due to complications from the illness. She never had a chance. Her husband, however, tried to run. Police found him dead in a garden by the house.
The police couldn’t find the killer at first. Searchers found him hours later wandering near the residence. He had attempted suicide. He was taken to a medical facility. After an operation, physicians decided to put him into an artificial coma. He could still die from his self-inflicted wounds.
No one knows why this happened. There could have been ongoing family conflict, or the killer could have snapped from the stress of the demanding nature of elder care.
Court psychiatrist Reinhard Haller stated that method of murder was “highly abnormal” and said that the killer should be examined for signs of psychosis. Haller seemed to believe that the crime rose well above the typical domestic murder/attempted suicide.
This crime was gruesome and stunningly cruel, but it was also damned inventive. To me, the creation of a homemade flamethrower smacks of someone who has been thinking of committing the crime for quite some time. One doesn’t conceive of such a thing all at once and then do it before the impulse passes.
Something about this crime smacks of some kind of long simmering need for vengeance. Psychotic vengeance, perhaps, but still — flamethrowing your bedridden, elderly mom and dad isn’t exactly the most gentle form of euthanasia.
[kurier.at and oe24.at.]
Authorities in Santa Rosa, CA are on the lookout tonight for Christopher Anthony Lavis, age 41. Lavis is a suspect in the murder of his mother, Constance Elizabeth LaSalle.
LaSalle, age 63, was found deceased last weekend. Neighbors around her condominium at 300 Stony Point Road became concerned when they realized no one had seen her for a while. Ms. LaSalle’s car was missing and no one was watching her cat.
Constance LaSalle was stabbed to death.
Police think Christopher Lavis killed his mother and then fled in her car to San Francisco. The vehicle was found there after LaSalle was murdered.
There’s a no-bail warrant out for Lavis. He should be considered armed and dangerous.
Lavis’s profile on Linkedin.com states that until his mother’s murder he was a Network Technician at Visiting Nurse Service and Affiliates a company based in Akron, Ohio. He attended Santa Rosa Junior College in the 80s.
Three years ago, Lavis also created a personal profile on 360.yahoo.com. There were some photos there, but Lavis’s screen name turned out to be more interesting. On Yahoo! 360 he was actorman33.
The same screen name — actorman33 — was attached to a personal profile at a gay dating site, men4sexnow.com (very not safe for work — enough that I’ll just let you look it up yourself). Actorman33 on men4sexnow.com was a 38-year-old “bottom” in Santa Rosa, CA — zip code 95401 — seeking “a horny handsome guy looking to get his balls seriously drained.”
Not, as the man says, that there’s anything wrong with that. There isn’t. It does, however, give a little insight into Christopher Lavis’s life and perhaps his habits. He’s a distinctive looking guy, with the soul patch — though he may have shaved that by now. Lavis is medium height, 5’9″, weighs 150 or so, and has brown hair and brown eyes. Just call the police if you see him. After all, he is accused of murdering his mom. If he did kill her, he’s gone too far to go back now. He may not distinguish between friend or foe. So be wary.
Sometimes a crime is so grotesque and worthy of note that I don’t care if I have anything original to add to the story. This is one of those times.
Wilbur Lee Ake Jr. was found dead in his northwest Harris County, Texas apartment on September 23. Ake had been stabbed to death. That wasn’t enough for his killer. Ake was scalped. His killer also cut off pieces of his face. And according to at least one Houston-area news outlet, Ake’s killer dismembered him.
After Ake was murdered, someone used his ATM card to take approximately $1,000 out the bank. Cops think their man is a 37-year-old homeless crackhead named Mark Andrew Boyd.
This is the part that should scare you if you live in the Houston area — Mark Andrew Boyd is still on the street. Police think he’s still roaming north Harris County. Boyd has blue eyes and brown hair. He’s 6’0″ and weighs 165. And it seems like it should go without saying that a dude who would mutilate another man after death in the manner Boyd allegedly mutilated Ake is probably very, very dangerous. (Did I mention that police think Boyd has a gun? Yeah.)
And who was Wilbur Lee Ake? He was 47 years old and worked at Kentucky Fried Chicken. He originally came from Lawrenceburg, IN. Ake lost a child at some point, a son named Trenton. Ake is survived by another son, named Michael.
Wilbur Ake’s family buried him in Greendale Cemetery in Greendale, IN on October 1.
Of course, details gleaned from Ake’s obituary don’t really tell us much. They don’t have to. No matter who he was, Wilbur Ake deserved better than to end his days at the hands of some predatory, psychopathic crackhead. Let’s hope someone spots Mark Andrew Boyd and rats him out soon, so it doesn’t happen to anyone else.
NBC 17 in North Carolina reports that police have found what they believe to be the knife used to kill Sgt. Christina Loehrke Smith. Cops think Richard Smith conspired with Pfc. Mathew Kvapil to kill Christina Smith. Kvapil allegedly threw the knife in a creek about 4 miles from the scene of the crime. [NBC17.com]
[This one comes with a hat-tip to the Dreamin’ Demon.]
Jana Shannon Moffatt’s body was found decomposing in a field in Brazoria County, Texas on Sept. 15. The 47-year-old had been strangled to death. According to the Galveston County Medical Examiner, Jana had been dead for 10 days.
Her daughter, 19-year-old Erin Ashlyn Moffatt, reported Jana missing on September 7. Erin told police in League City, TX that her mom left the trailer they shared without her car or any of her personal effects, such as her wallet or purse.
During the police investigation into Jana Moffatt’s disappearance, a tip came in stating that the woman was probably dead. The same tipster indicated that Erin was in Louisiana.
Cops returned to the Moffatt mobile home and in short order they had what they needed to charge Erin Moffatt with her mother’s murder. Erin’s boyfriend, Michael Corey Lewis, was also arrested. Lewis allegedly tampered with evidence.
Erin Moffatt is being held on a quarter-million dollar bond, her boyfriend on a $100,000 bond.
As they noted at Dreamin’ Demon, Erin Ashlyn Moffatt had a MySpace profile with the screen name guera00618. She also used that screen name for her Yahoo e-mail account. The same Yahoo e-mail address found on this decidedly not safe for work profile for guera00618 at CPixel.com.
There, she gave her name as Ashlyn Serrano, from League City/Galveston, TX. She said she was 19 and of “hispanic/russian” extraction. This was “Ashlyn’s” greeting to anyone who visited her page:
WHATS UP TO ALL MY NIGGAS FROM THE H THAT KEEP IT REAL AND DONT HATE…..BUT ALL YOU FAGET ASS BITCHES NEED TO MOVE AROUND CUZ YOUR BREATHIN ALL THE GOOD AIR YA FEEL ME?????? WELL IF YOU DONT KNOW THEN NOW YOU DO, MY NAME IS ASHLYN AND YOU’LL FIND ME RIGHT OUT OF THE SOUTH WEST OF HOUSTON JUST STAYIN ON MY GRIND AND ALWAYS MAKIN THAT MONEY…RESPECT THE GAME AND YOU’LL GET ALONG WAY
Her photos showed a pretty young woman throwing a metric ton of attitude at the camera. In each image she was either partially nude, or if clothed, wearing glasses and giving her version of a smoldering glare.
She also blogged, on occasion, throwing out bits of genius like “LOVE…..LIVE…..LAUGH,” where she wrote:
EVERYDAY YOU WAKE UP AND WONDER……..Y AM I HERE???? YOU TRULLY WILL PROBABLY LIVE UR HOLE LIFE NEVA KNOWIN WHAT UR PURPOSE IS HERE BUT KNW THAT WHAT YOU DO WITH YOUR LIVE LIVES ON TO THE NEXT GENERATION VISA VIA YOUR CHILDREN AND GRANDCHILDREN AND ALL OF YOUR FAMILY CHAIN…..DNT QUESTION Y YOUR HERE JUST KNW THAT YOUR DOIN YOUR DAMN BEST TO MAKE IT AND PROSPER……TRUST YOUR FIRST INSTINCT AND NEVA LOOK BACK DNT REGRET YOUR CHOICES CUZ WITH THE BAD COMES THE GOOD AND DO WHAT MAKES YOU HAPPY IN THE END…..BELIEVE ME I KNW
Normally I’d quote some of her other blog posts, but they’re all in the same vein: all caps, faux-rapper/txt lingo. Reading Erin Moffatt’s ramblings, even though they’re brief, is a teeth-grinding task.
It’s unfortunate that Erin’s MySpace is so sparse. — she last logged in back in February. The demure photo of the young woman wearing pigtails and a pink blouse seems to be a striking contrast to the gangsta-wannabe chick throwing signs and wearing a black hoodie on her CPixel profile. Which one was an act, and which one was the real Erin Ashlyn Moffatt?
It may be that only her mother knew. And by then, it might have been way too late.
[The Galveston County Daily News]
Fayetteville, NC — The attacker came out of nowhere. One moment, Christina Loehrke Smith and her husband Richard D. Smith, Army Sgts at Fort Bragg, were just taking a walk. The next thing they knew, Christina was being stabbed by an unknown assailant.
Passersby heard Christina screaming. They came running to find the woman in a pool of blood, lying on Baxter Street. Someone called 911.
It was too late. Christina E. Loehrke Smith, former high school valedictorian and exemplary soldier, died in the ambulance on the way to the hospital.
Sgt. Richard Smith was apparently injured as well. He was treated at Cape Fear Valley Medical Center and released.
An accomplished woman was dead and police had no description of her alleged random attacker.
By now, the way this sort of story unfolds should be obvious: no description of the killer; a husband and wife alone, in the dark, on ‘a walk’; a random, seemingly motiveless attacker; no mention of robbery or attempted sexual assault. As anyone who follows many stories like this probably could have predicted, the most likely suspect was there the entire time.
And he has just been arrested along with another man.
Police in Fayetteville have arrested both Richard Smith and 18-year-old Pfc. Mathew Kvapil. Smith and Kvapil have been charged with conspiracy to commit murder and — obviously — murder.
The conspiracy to commit is just one of the many curious aspects of this case. How did 26-year-old Smith and young Kvapil arrive at such a pass? The answer will certainly be interesting, to say the least.
Christina Smith was an impressive woman in accomplishment — one news article listed her awards and decorations. They included the Army Achievement Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal and the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal. Christina also took the Army’s Warrior Leader Course.
A blogger who once worked with Christina Smith — prior to her marriage to her alleged killer — posted a telling anecdote after hearing of Christina’s murder. The story said more about this deceased soldier than any list of awards really could:
Not long before she resigned to move to Texas with her (now) husband, she joined a few of us on the MS 150 Charity Ride for Multiple Sclerosis. We all had expensive road bikes, biking gear and were pretty serious riders. Christina had her 10-speed from high school and tennis shoes. But she trained for it and gathered a lot of pledges. That year, the organizers changed the route and instead of the gentle spin through the countryside that we expected, it was a grueling, hilly, torturous 75 mile course. At about mile 35, we urged Christina to quit. Heck, we were considering it. She wouldn’t hear of it. She completed the 75 on Saturday and over dinner, we told her not to bother for Sunday. Again, she wouldn’t hear of it. She was there at the start at 7 am Sunday and completed the ride. It was an incredible performance, and she was at work before me on Monday morning…
If Richard Smith and Pfc. Kvapil truly did plan and execute the murder of an estimable young woman like Christina Loehrke Smith, I have to wonder if he just felt he couldn’t measure up to a woman like her. As destructive as murder is, it is usually the last resort of an ultimately inadequate man.
[KYPost.com and FayObserver.com.]
Family or friends of the allegedly murderous teen mom Karrae Starr may have begun trying to ‘clean up’ her online presence.
Above is a cached copy of Karrae’s MySpace profile as it appeared on September 2 of this year — almost a month before Karrae’s 3-year-old daughter Bianca died, allegedly by her mother’s hand. I haven’t been able to retrieve a copy of Karrae’s blog, yet, but it doesn’t look like it’s been altered at this point.
For a more in-your-face take on this story, you need to check out the post by “impqueen” at the Dreamin’ Demon. Imp is both insightful and cutting, and the comments from regular readers of the anarchic crime blog make for interesting reading as well.
St. Louis Attorney Ernie Brasier was, according to his own mother-in-law, “cut out for the priesthood.” Why would anyone want to kill him? Because that’s what happened to Brasier on December 19, 2006. Two years on, his murder is still unsolved. The suspects? The attorney’s former colleagues. Read about this fascinating unsolved murder in the Riverfront Times: “The Unsolved Murder of Ernie Brasier: A Clayton attorney’s death nearly two years ago continues to mystify police and colleagues.”
If you’re just watching cable news to fulfill an addiction to things political, you may have missed the story of D. B. Tuber, the clever, mysterious criminal who pulled off an armored car robbery in Monroe, Washington on Tuesday, September 30.
D. B. Tuber isn’t his real name, of course, it’s the nickname someone somewhere (seriously, I don’t know how he got it) has already given the guy who masterminded a heist that could have come straight out of a Hollywood script. The nick is an obvious homage to the pseudonymous Dan “D. B.” Cooper, the mysterious skyjacker who parachuted with his ill-gotten gains from an airliner way back in 1971 and was never seen again.
Yeah, yeah, people who write about certain types of crime use the “out of a Hollywood script” trope a lot, but just wait — you’ll see what I mean. And at the end of it all you’ll get a half-assed theory/suggestion from me as to who might have concocted such an admittedly clever scenario.
The caper started off on Craigslist.org. An enticing ad was posted on or about September 27 seeking laborers for a landscaping job that was to begin on the 30th in Monroe. The job would pay $28.50 an hour. The poster, who used the e-mail address [email protected], was very specific about what laborers were supposed to wear: “workers must purchase safety glasses or equivalent eye protection, ventilator mask, yellow safety vest, long sleeves and no shorts, along with proper foot protection.” The poster also stated that anyone showing up that Tuesday morning should have “landscaping experience.”
Tuesday morning rolled around and a man wearing a long-sleeved blue shirt, a blue hat, and camouflage shorts strolled across the parking lot of the Bank of America on Route 2 in Monroe. He wore a particle mask (similar to a surgical mask if seen from a distance) and carried some sort of sprayer.
He ran up to the armored car and the guard parked there in the lot and sprayed the guard, disabling him. The robber grabbed a bag of money and he took off in the direction of the nearby Skykomish River.
The Seattle Post-Intelligencer reported that two men who witnessed the robbery took off after the guy, but he was too fast. A third witness spotted a man fitting the robber’s description near Woods Creek. It isn’t actually clear as to whether the guy truly hopped in an inner tube to make his getaway, but police did find a tube next to the river. Hell, it makes a good story, so for the moment, we’ll just imagine he did.
The cops came and found themselves confronted with the 12 or so guys who had shown up for the job advertised on Craigslist. Most of them were dressed as they’d been told to dress. Therefore, they were dressed like the guy who’d just robbed the armored car.
There was no landscaping job. There were only 12 guys looking to make a buck who were scammed into essentially being the robber’s camouflage.
As Monroe Police Operations Commander Gary Clopp dryly told one paper, “It is obvious that some pre-planning took place.”
I’m not so cocky as to write the following and call it gospel. At best it’s a guess, an intuition.
This story made me think of an alleged armored car robber and killer named Jason Derek Brown. Brown has been on the run from the law since 2004.
This isn’t as big a stretch as it may seem. For one thing, Brown has been spotted recently, in his home state of Utah.
Brown is wanted for the November 29, 2004 robbery and murder of armored car guard Robert Keith Palomares in Ahwatukee, AZ, just outside of Phoenix.
Read the way America’s Most Wanted describes the attack on Palomares:
As Keith left the theater complex, a hooded man, dressed entirely in black, came running, his gun drawn. Then, without speaking a word, police say the gunman started firing at Keith’s head. In all, six shots were fired, five striking the driver. Police say the gunman then grabbed the bag of money and took off towards an alley. The hooded fugitive hopped on a bike and fled…
A quick, running attack — only in this case with a gun. The money was snatched and the robber ran for a non-standard getaway vehicle — a bicycle.
The robber in Monroe fit Brown’s general description — right height range, and he looked to be in his mid-20s. While Brown is near 40, it isn’t a big leap to think a witness might mistake the age of a guy in a situation like this. Jason Derek Brown is known to be athletic and fit, and he has a peculiar habit of shaving all his body hair, save the hair on his head. That sort of thing might take a few years off a guy’s appearance.
Brown has ties to the Northwest. AMW listed locations Brown has frequented in the past. In addition to Salt Lake City, Brown may be hiding in places like Portland, Oregon and Vancouver and Whistler, Canada.
Brown is also into water sports like boating and fishing.
You can begin to see why the crime committed by the mysterious D. B. Tuber might make Jason Brown come to mind.
There’s another reason. It’s out there, but it’s the sort of thing that might just keep bothering me if I didn’t just go ahead and throw it against the wall, see if it sticks.
I did a Google search on a phrase from the Monroe Craigslist ad: “safety glasses or equivalent eye protection.”
There were nine hits. Three were news articles about this case, four were identical texts on auto repair. Another hit had something to do with aviation. The interesting result was from a Utah State Government manual dictating proper handling of hazardous waste. Utah — Jason Brown’s home state.
I’m fully aware of how tangential these connections are. Sometimes, though, a large number of connections that might be minimal by themselves can be compelling when they’re added together. Here we have someone who either is Jason Derek Brown himself or he has a hell of a lot in common with the Top Ten fugitive. Frankly, I think you could ignore the fact that Brown has frequented that part of the northwest and certainly ignore the oddly tell-tale phrase from Craigslist and still find the robber’s approach to the Monroe crime interesting. He cleverly set up a smokescreen with the fake ad. Then he approached wearing a disguise that was, in context, not all that odd. He blitzed the guard, just as Brown allegedly did in Arizona, but fortunately for the Washington guard, he used pepper spray instead of a gun. He took off on foot towards a body of water — a similar escape to Brown’s.
In the end, I honestly expect that police will find that someone else committed this crime. There are known details that might point away from Brown, after all — for instance, how did the robber know to set up the ruse with the laborers at the right time that Tuesday morning? That took either careful observation or inside knowledge.
But I just found the possible connections to the fugitive too interesting to ignore. If justice prevails and Jason Derek Brown ends up in federal prison with D. B. Tuber, whoever he is, at least the guys will have something to talk about.
[Seattle Times Newspaper and the Seattle Post Intelligencer. See also: KING5.com.]
From “Idiots Gone Wild” on YouTube, an interview with Jonathon Sharkey.
If you are a vampire and you recently felt a shuddering in the vampire continuum, a kind of vamp-quake, that was the sound of Jonathon Sharkey getting his ass thrown in jail.
Sharkey, aka Jonathon the Impaler, was arrested and charged with threatening the president. If the charges are valid, it won’t be a big surprise, because Sharkey once called George W. Bush “King George ‘Worthless Bitch’ Bush” — among other things — on video. On the same video he was holding an automatic rifle and he seemed to indicate that one of his other options for targets to shoot with said rifle was the Pope.
Sharkey has lived in Minnesota and Indiana. He was living in Grundy County, TN when he was arrested in connection with felony warrants from those states. In addition to the president, Sharkey allegedly threatened a judge in Indiana.
It’s tempting to spend some time telling you more about Jonathon Sharkey. He is nothing if not interesting. But it might be better to just give you some links and let you judge for yourself. I’ve already linked his music MySpace — this is one of his personal profiles. Sharkey’s “About me” from that page:
MY NAME IS JONATHON “THE IMPALER” SHARKEY AND I AM THE KING OF THE VAMPYRES…………. MANY OF YOU MIGHT HAVE SEEN ME ON THE NEWS OR HEARD ME ON THE RADIO. I AM ASKING FOR EVERYONE TO PLEASE FORGET ABOUT MY RELIGIOUS BELIEFS. YES I AM A SATANIC VAMPYRE, AND A HECATE WITCH…….IT’S VERY SIMPLE, CHILD MOLESTORS, RAPISTS, KILLERS, DEALERS AND ISTS IMPALED, INSTEAD OF GETTING OFF EASY LIKE THEY HAVE BEEN, I WILL IMPALE THEM!
OKAY…. anyway. This blog — The Official Gazette of the Vampire Nation — is not under Sharkey’s control, but he’s certainly mentioned in many posts, and the current owner of the blog has posted videos of what Sharkey may have intended to be a kind of Vampires’ reservation on the land he owned in Tennessee.
In reference to the arrest of the Vampire King, Grundy County Sheriff’s Chief Deputy Lonnie Cleek said this was “one of the most bizarre cases” his department has ever encountered. I am inclined to believe him.
If you want to go say hey to the Vampire King, or be able to tell your friends at your next cocktail party that you’ve met a dude who calls himself “the Impaler,” Jonathon Sharkey is currently incarcerated in Marion County, TN. He may face extradition to Minnesota.
Someone out there is hoping Sharkey makes it to Minnesota, because if the Vampire King is ever released, he’ll have a new score he surely will want to settle. After Sharkey’s arrest, someone set fire to a portion of his property in Grundy County. Local authorities say there are no suspects yet.
I’d personally be looking for a werewolf. We all know how much they hate vampires.