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; — 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.

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.
[ | 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. []

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]

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]

Orange County, FL authorities were back at the Anthony residence today. Crime scene investigators were inside the home owned by Cindy and George Anthony for 3 hours this afternoon. WFTV in Orlando reported that the CSIs departed with “10-12 mostly small bags of evidence.”
None of the investigators would comment on their reason for returning to the home.
Casey Anthony remains in jail on $500,000 bond. Her parents remain convinced that little Caylee, age 2, has been kidnapped. To that end they’ve set up a fund to assist them in their search for the child. According to attorney Paul Kelley, anyone in the Orlando area seeking to help can “Go into any SunTrust and they’ll get it right into the account for us.” [WFTV]

The USDOJ has made a number of documents pertaining to the Amerithrax investigation available online:
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, 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 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 Many of the Greek Chat posts discuss Kappa Kappa Gamma as well.