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Sunday, September 30, 2018

Watery Graves: The Mystery of Foss Lake

     There's no telling how many murder victims lay on the bottom of America's lakes, rivers, and ponds. Most people don't realize that these boating, swimming, and fishing sites are also the unmarked graves of people who have gone missing and might never be found. It's a sobering thought.

     Whenever a lake goes dry or is drained, law enforcement officers often gather to recover guns, knives, cars, safes, cellphones, computers, wallets, and other potential indicia of foul play. Occasionally, the remains of missing persons are exposed as well. When that happens, one mystery is solved and another is created.

     On September 10, 2013, Oklahoma Highway Patrol officer George Hoyle, while testing a sonar detection device from a boat on Foss Lake 110 miles west of Oklahoma City, discovered a pair of vehicles sitting under twelve feet of murky water.

     A week after the vehicles were detected, Darrell Splawn, a member of the state's underwater search and rescue team, dove into the lake for a closer look. At this point, officers believed they had found a pair of stolen cars.

     When officer Splawn opened the door to one of the vehicles and probed its interior, his hand came in contact with a shoe. He also discovered, near the car, a human skull. The diver surfaced to report his finds. When the diver slipped back into the muddy water to check on the other vehicle, he saw skeletal remains inside the second car.

     Once the heavily corroded cars--a 1952 Chevrolet and a 1969 Chevy Camero--were pulled out of the reservoir, they revealed their gruesome secrets. Each vehicle contained the skeletal remains of three people. Officers also recovered, among other items, a muddy wallet and a purse.

     On April 8, 1969, 69-year-old John Alva Porter, the owner of a 1952 green Chevy, went missing. In the car with him that night were his brother Arlie and 58-year-old Nora Marie Duncan. These three residents of nearby Elk City, along with the Chevy, disappeared without a trace. No one had any idea what had happened to them.

     Jimmy Williams, a 16-year-old from Sayre, Oklahoma, a town of 4,000 a few miles from the lake, owned a 1969 Chevrolet Camero. On the night of November 20, 1970, he and two friends--Thomas Michael Rios and Leah Gail Johnson--both 18, were riding in Williams' car. Instead of going to the high school football game in Elk City, the trio had gone hunting on Turkey Creek Road. The teenagers and the Camero were never seen again.

     While the six skeletal remains are presumed to match the two sets of missing persons, it would take months to scientifically confirm their identities. Forensic scientists in the Oklahoma Medical Examiner's Office compared DNA from the bones with DNA samples from surviving family members. Dr. Angela Berg, the state forensic anthropologist, determined the gender, general stature, and approximate ages of the people pulled out of the lake. She did this by analyzing leg and pelvic bones along with the skulls. This data was compared with information contained in the missing person reports.

     What the 44-year-old remains did not reveal was the manner and cause of these deaths. While the six people presumably drowned, they could have been murdered by gun, knife, or blunt instrument then dumped into the lake. To rule out foul play, the forensic pathologist and the anthropologist looked for signs of trauma such as bullet holes, knife wounds; and smashed or broken bones. The forensic scientists also attempted to determine if the fates of the people inside the two cars were somehow connected.

     Custer County Sheriff Bruce Peoples told an Associated Press reporter that it was possible these underwater victims had been driven accidentally into the lake where they had drowned. "We know that to happen even if you know your way around," he said. "It can happen that quick." While that is certainly possible, until murder is ruled out, it should be presumed.

     In October 2014, the forensic pathologist officially confirmed the identities of the six sets of remains. Two months later, the medical examiner's office ruled out foul play. Some of the victims' family members, however, remained skeptical and suspected foul play in the deaths.

Lawyer Suicides

     Lawyers are killing themselves [according to] the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention….Lawyers ranked fourth when the proportion of suicides in that profession is compared to suicides in all other occupations in the study population….They come right behind dentists, pharmacists, and physicians.

     Lawyers are also prone to depression, which the American Psychological Association identified as the most likely trigger for suicide. Lawyers are 3.6 times more likely to suffer from depression than non-lawyers.

     Prominent lawyers keep turning up dead….Kentucky has seen 15 known lawyer suicides since 2010….There was no clear explanation for the rash of suicides in Kentucky, two of which came days apart. "It's been primarily men," said Kentucky Bar Association Executive Director John Meyers. "To a large degree it's been trial attorneys. The men are primarily middle-aged."

Rosa Fores and Rose Marie Arce, "Why Are Lawyers Killing Themselves?" CNN, January 20, 2014

Friday, September 28, 2018

The Jeffrey Lee Michael Murder Case

     Jeffrey Lee Michael, a 44-year-old unemployed truck driver, lived on Juniata Valley Road in Geeseytown, a village 70 miles west of Harrisburg in south central Pennsylvania. Mr. Michael hadn't worked since being injured in a traffic accident in the spring of 2012. As Christmas approached, Michael had been behaving in a way that made his neighbors "uneasy." Health problems, a divorce, and child custody battles mixed with his apocalyptic beliefs based upon biblical prophecy and the ancient Mayan end-of-the-world calendar, had turned Mr. Michael into an unstable, unpredictable, walking time-bomb. Other than a few speeding tickets, Jeffrey Michael had not been in trouble with the law.

     On Friday morning just before nine o'clock on December 21, 2012, Jeffrey Michael loaded several handguns into the cab of his pickup truck. Before driving off, he aimed one of the guns at the Juniata Valley Gospel Church across the road from his house and fired a bullet through one of its windows. With a gun in his hand, Michael walked across the street and entered the building where he encountered two women who had come to the church to decorate the interior for an upcoming children's Christmas party. Although he didn't know either of these church volunteers, Mr. Michael shot 58-year-old Kimberly Scott in the head, killing her on the spot. (The other woman either wasn't in the room at the time, or escaped being shot by fleeing the scene.) The dead woman's husband owned and operated the car dealership in nearby Duncanville.

     Before climbing into his pickup, Michael approached Ken Lynn, a neighbor who was about to get into his car to go Christmas shopping with his wife. The 60-year-old neighbor, seeing Michael come toward him with a gun in his hand, tried to flee but was shot before he could get away. The calm, matter-of-fact gunman killed him with a single bullet to the head.

     After randomly murdering Kimberly Scott and Ken Lynn, Jeffrey Michael got behind the wheel of his truck and drove north on Juniata Valley Road. Less than a mile from his house, after intentionally ramming into the rear of another pickup stopped at an intersection, Michael climbed out of his vehicle with a gun in his hand and approached the other driver, William Rhodes. Michael shot the 38-year-old construction worker in the head, killing him instantly.

     Having murdered three people he didn't know, Mr. Michael got back into his truck and continued to drive north on the rural road. He had traveled a mile or so when a pair of southbound Pennsylvania State Police cruisers sped past him. As they went by, Michael fired shots at the police cars, striking both vehicles. With the fired-upon officers in pursuit, Michael crashed head-on into an oncoming police vehicle. The collision caused one of the pursuit cruisers to slam into the back of Michael's truck.

     Immediately following the crash, Jeffrey Michael climbed out of his damaged truck and opened fire on the state troopers. The officers responded in kind, killing him instantly. Before he died, Michael had shot one of the state troopers in the wrist and chest. Had this officer not been wearing a bullet-proof vest, he may have become Mr. Michael's fourth murder victim. A second officer had been injured by bullet fragments and flying car glass and the third had been hurt in the head-on vehicle collision. The state police officers were treated at a hospital in Altoona and released.

     A few days after Jeffrey Michael's murder spree, the Blair County coroner and the district attorney announced that this police-involved shooting had been legally justified. It appeared that Jeffrey Michael, after randomly murdering three people he didn't know, had committed suicide-by-cop. Since he had left his house that day with suicide on his mind, why hadn't this mentally disturbed man just blown his brains out? What compelled him to take three innocent lives before getting into the hopeless gun battle with the police? In murder-sucide cases, this is always the question that goes unanswered. We also wonder if steps could have been taken to stop these murders before they happened. But the problem is, you can't prevent what you can't foresee. And who could have foreseen this?

The Get-A-Way Kayak

     A fast-paddling Good Samaritan in a kayak helped sheriff's deputies in Washington state nab a suspected Christmas mail thief…Deputies received multiple calls on Wednesday morning December 24, 2014 that a man and a woman were going through mailboxes around the town of Sammamish. While deputies were on their way, residents spotted a car filled with mail and used their cars to block it in.

     The suspected mail thieves ran off, and one was caught immediately. The other fled into a nearby pond with a kayak he stole out of a yard. A resident grabbed his own kayak, caught up with the suspect and convinced him to return to shore where he was arrested.

     The sheriff's office said the suspect didn't get very far because he was using his hands to paddle.

"Good Samaritan in a Kayak Helps Nab Suspected Christmas Mail Thieves in Washington State," Associated Press, December 25, 2014 

Thursday, September 27, 2018

The Bill Cosby Rape Case

     Bill Cosby, married to his wife Camille for more than 50 years, was one of the most recognizable comedians in the world. A graduate of Temple University in Philadelphia where he starred in track, the 77-year-old still resided in eastern Pennsylvania. When the former TV star began criticizing certain aspects of black culture a few years ago, he became a somewhat controversial figure. While conservatives generally considered him a courageous speaker of the truth, many liberals and members of the black community considered him a traitor to his race.

     In November 2014, Mr. Cosby's good name and wholesome image came under public attack in connection with allegations of past behavior that violently clashed with his longstanding public persona. On November 16, 2014, 64-year-old Joan Tarshis told a CNN interviewer that Cosby, in 1969 when she was nineteen, knocked her out with a drugged drink and raped her.

     Tarshis said she met Bill Cosby in 1969 over lunch in Los Angeles. She accompanied him back to his bungalow on the set of "The Bill Cosby Show" to work on some comedy routines. After she drank a bloody Mary he had mixed for her, she passed out. She awoke to find him removing her underwear. In an effort to avoid being sexually assaulted, she told him she had an infection that he'd pass on to his wife. Instead of raping her, Cosby allegedly forced her to give him oral sex. She did not tell anyone, not even her mother, about what had happened to her.

     Cosby later called Tarshis at her home in New York to invite her to watch him perform at The Theater at Westbury. She accepted drinks at Cosby's hotel and in his limousine before the performance. While at the theater she began to feel drugged. She asked the chauffeur to take her home in the limo where she passed out. The next morning, Tarshis woke up naked in a hotel bed next to Cosby.

     Out of "guilt and shame," Tarshis did not reveal that Cosby had sexually assaulted her for the second time. She didn't think that anyone would take her word over a man revered as America's dad.

     On Saturday November 16, 2014, Scott Simon, in an interview on NPR, repeatedly asked Cosby if the rape allegations were true. Each time Cosby simply shook his head, no.

     The Cosby rape allegation scandal intensified the next day when a reporter with Village Voice wrote about a comedy routine on a 1969 Cosby album involving "Spanish Fly," a drug that supposedly made women beg for sex. As part of the comedy bit, Cosby joked that when he visited Spain he tried to acquire the drug.

     Janice Dickinson, the 59-year-old former supermodel, sat for an interview conducted by "Entertainment Tonight" co-host Kevin Frazier that aired on November 18, 2014. According to Dickinson, Bill Cosby had sexually assaulted her in 1982 after they had dinner in Lake Tahoe. He had invited her there to open a show for him. After dinner at his hotel, he gave her a pill and a glass of red wine. She passed out. "The last thing I remember," she said, "was Bill Cosby in a patchwork robe, dropping his robe and getting on top of me."

     Dickinson told the "Entertainment Tonight" interviewer that she wanted to expose Cosby in her 2002 memoir, No Lifeguard on Duty: The Accidental Life of the World's First Supermodel. The publisher, however, got cold feet when Cosby and his lawyers threatened a lawsuit.

     Cosby's lawyer, Martin Singer, in a letter to the Associated Press, claimed that Dickinson's allegations were "false and outlandish." According to the lawyer, she contradicted her story in her memoir where she described stopping at Cosby's hotel room door after they had dinner. When she declined to enter the room, he said, "After all I've done for you, this is what I get."

     On November 19, 2014, a detailed and damaging article about Bill Cosby and another alleged rape victim, 41-year-old Andrea Constland, came out in the Internet publication, "Mailonline." In November 2002, the 29-year-old former Temple University basketball star met Bill Cosby. She became a regular dinner party guest at his home and considered him a mentor.

     Constland, while visiting Cosby at his home in January 2004, told him she had been stressed at work. To help her relax, Cosby allegedly gave her what he called a "herbal medication." Shortly after consuming the three blue pills, she became dizzy and her knees began to shake. A little later she was unable to move her arms and legs. At that point Cosby gave Constand another drug. He led her to the sofa where she passed out. When she awoke her outer clothes and her underwear were in disarray.

     Constand waited a year before reporting that Bill Cosby had raped her. She had returned to Canada, her native country. It was there she reported the assault.

     Bruce Castor, the then district attorney of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, the site of the alleged rape, was informed by the Canadian authorities of Constand's allegations. He launched an investigation. In the "Mailonline" article, the former prosecutor lamented the fact he didn't have enough evidence to file charges against Bill Cosby. "I wanted to arrest Cosby,"  he said, "because I thought he was probably guilty." But being able to prove a crime beyond a reasonable doubt and thinking that a suspect is guilty are two different things."

     Mr. Castor, in the "Mailonline" piece, pointed out that Constand's one-year delay in reporting the crime hurt the case. "We couldn't test for hairs, fibers, DNA and drugs that might have linked the victim to Cosby or his house."

     In March 2005, Andrea Constand sued Bill Cosby for causing her "serious and deliberating injuries, mental anguish, humiliation, embarrassment, post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, sleeplessness, anxiety, and flashbacks." The plaintiff asked for $150,000 in damages. Her attorney had rounded up thirteen other women who supported her claim that Bill Cosby was a rapist.

     In 2006, Bill Cosby settled the Constand civil suit out of court. Given the damaging publicity the trial would have brought him, and the relatively small amount asked for by the plaintiff, this was not surprising. Some took this as a sign of his guilt while others simply considered it a good business decision on his part.

     Shortly after the "Mailonline" article came out, executives at Netflix postponed Cosby's comedy special that was scheduled to air on November 28, 2014. NBC followed suit by scrapping a Bill Cosby project that was in development. TV Land cable network stopped airing reruns of "The Bill Cosby Show."

     On Friday night, November 21, 2014, Cosby appeared at the Maxwell C. King Center For The Performing Arts at Eastern Florida State College in the central Florida town of Melbourne. Following his 90-minute set he received a standing ovation from an adoring audience. One of the male attendees to the show, in speaking to a reporter with the Los Angeles Times, said, "If he raped all these woman, why did they not say something before?"

     The University of Massachusetts Amherst, where Cosby earned his master's and doctorate in education in the 1970s, cut ties with the comedian on November 28, 2014. According to a university spokesperson, "Bill Cosby has agreed to resign as an honorary co-chair of UMass Amherst's capital campaign. He no longer has any affiliation with the campaign nor does he serve in any other capacity at the university."

    On September 25, 2018, after being convicted of the aggravated assault of Andrea Constland fourteen years earlier, the judge sentenced Bill Cosby to three to ten years in prison. Following the sentencing hearing, Cosby was led out of court in handcuffs. His criminal past had finally caught up with him. This was clearly a case of justice delayed.

Friday, September 21, 2018

Thornton P. Knowles On The Harsh Reality Of Life

Growing up, the toughest pill to swallow is the realization that life is not fair and that nothing is on the level. The quality of one's life depends on how one deals with this harsh reality. To various degrees, this reality eventually destroys all of us.

Thornton P. Knowles

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Silence is Golden

We are a nation of talkers. Everyone is talking--nonstop. We talk about everything, and about nothing, and we don't listen because we're too busy talking. Often the talking turns into shouting. Turn on your television and you get talking heads going on and on about sports, politics, the weather, entertainment celebrities, and, of course, themselves. And there's talk radio with more of the same. We're in the Golden Age of Talk. The air is filled with words. There's nowhere to go to get away from it. Some day scientists my find that all of this media gabbing caused climate change. What ever happened to the old adage: "Silence is Golden."

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Cases For Home Schooling

The Criminal Compliment

     An elementary school principal in North Carolina recently suspended a fourth grader for sexual harassment after the 9-year-old called one of his teachers "cute." (One can only imagine what would have happened to the kid if he had called her "ugly.") The reason behind the school suspension caused such an uproar the school board forced the principal, after a 44-year career in education (I'm thinking of the Peter Principle here), to retire. While admitting that he may have been a little quick on the sexual harassment trigger, the public school administrator blamed his fall from grace on media overreaction to his overreaction. The principal wanted people to believe that because he lost his job, he, not the sexually abused teacher, was the victim.

No Holding or Biting

     A fifth grade teacher near Albany, New York, during an arm wrestling contest with several students yanking on his arm, bit one of his opponents. The girl on the receiving end of the bite, suffered a deep bruise on her forearm. The principal placed the biting educator on administrative leave, and the local prosecutor charged him with endangering the welfare of a child. If the defendant pleaded not guilty and denied inflicting the wound, one could imagine a battery of prosecution bite mark identification and DNA analysts testifying at his trial. While this case did not reflect the best in American elementary education, it had the potential of  becoming a triumph in forensic science.

All Students in Illinois Are Above Average

     An investigation by the Chicago Tribune in 2008 revealed that elementary school teachers in Illinois, to produce better state required test results, helped their students cheat. The cheating involved excessive coaching to providing kids with answers to the tests. While the state legislature, since 2009, had given the Illinois State Board of Education $1.3 million to investigate educator misconduct, teachers throughout the state caught in the test cheating scandal were not disciplined. They were still teaching, and I presume, still cheating with their students. (When I was a kid we learned to cheat on our own.)

Left Hanging

     A special education student at an elementary school in Baltimore complained to his teacher that he was being bullied. The teacher, apparently busy with another student, ignored the kid. To get her attention, this student threatened to hurt himself. When the distracted teacher didn't respond, the boy stood on a chair, tied his coat around his neck, attached the other end to a hook, then kicked the chair over. As the boy dangled in the air, the teacher grabbed her cellphone, and instead of calling 911, photographed the boy as he gasped for air. "Now that's the picture I want," she reportedly said before placing the chair back under the kid's twitching feet.

     When summoned to the school, the student's grandmother was shown the photograph of her dangling grandson. The boy survived his swing, but spent a week in the hospital. Grandma, claiming gross negligence, sued the school for $10 million. The school district settled out of court.  

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Thornton P. Knowles On Living And Dying Without a Trace

I've pretty much have lived alone my entire life. After my father hanged himself when I was fifteen, my mother, although present in the house, went somewhere else. I didn't have roommates in college, didn't join a fraternity, never married, and do not have children. I haven't bothered to meet my neighbors, and have never joined a club. I am not a member of a union or a church. I have lived alone and will die alone. I will have no gravestone, my ashes will be dumped into the trash, and because I have no will, what I leave behind will go to the state. I've destroyed all my papers. My books will comprise the only evidence that I have ever lived, and they will soon follow me into oblivion. Like a good burglar, I've covered my tracks and will slip quietly into the night.

Thornton P. Knowles

Monday, September 10, 2018

Thornton P. Knowles On The Love Of His Life

In high school, I hitch-hiked to a burlesque house in Steubenville, Ohio. It was there I saw a young stripper who performed under the name Salty Buttons. She stole my heart. I returned to the place several times but she was gone. Since then I have made up hundreds of stories of her life, including myself in many of them. As hard as I've tried, I've never been able to attach a happy ending to any of these stories. As pathetic as this sounds, my brief, one-time encounter with Salty Buttons turned out to be the romantic highlight of my life. Maybe that's why I never married.

Thornton P. Knowles

Thursday, September 6, 2018

The Michigan State Police Child Pornography Fiasco

     In March 2005, troopers with the Michigan State Police seized a computer they had reason to believe had been used to download child pornography. The suspect, 35-year-old Billy Joe Rowe from the town of Clio not far from Flint, Michigan, admitted downloading the pornography. But for some reason, the case fell between the cracks and was forgotten. As a result, Billy Joe Rowe went on with his life as though nothing had happened.

     In March 2011, six weeks before the six-year child pornography statute of limitation barred prosecution in the Rowe case, Michigan State Police Sergeant Ronald Ainslie found the computer stored at the Computer Crime Unit in Lansing. When forensically examined, officers found numerous images of child pornography on the computer seized almost six years earlier in Clio from Billy Joe Rowe.

     On March 2, 2011, a prosecutor issued an arrest warrant for Billy Dean Rowe, a hard-working man without a criminal record who lived near Albion, Michigan 120 miles from where the child pornography computer had been seized in March 2005. While Billy Joe Rowe was six-foot tall and now 41, Billy Dean Rowe was five-foot-four and 32-years-old.

     On March 11, 2011, Michigan State Police officers showed up at Billy Dean Rowe's house near Albion. When the innocent man came to the door, one of the officers asked, "Are you Billy Rowe?"

     "Yes," the puzzled homeowner answered.

     "We have a warrant for your arrest."

     "What did I do?" asked the startled citizen.

     "We can't say. We are taking you to Flint, Michigan."

     "Why am I going to Flint? I've never been to Flint."

     "You'll find out when you get there."

     In Flint, when booked into the Calhoun County Jail, the officers informed Billy Dean that he had been charged with possession of child pornography, a felony that carried a prison sentence of up to six years.

     During his three-day incarceration in the county jail, Billy Dean tried to get someone to believe that they had arrested the wrong man. Eventually, Sergeant Ainslie, after he questioned Billy Dean and showed his photographs to Billy Joe's relatives in Clio, realized he had the wrong man behind bars.

     Sergeant Ainslie notified a judge of the case of mistaken identify. Billy Dean Rowe was released from custody and the charge against him dropped. When he returned home he learned that he had been fired from his job as a meat cutter in Jackson, Michigan.

     Because the statute of limitation had run out on the 2005 child pornography case, Billy Joe Rowe once again went on with his life as though nothing had happened.

     Billy Dean Rowe, in 2014, filed a false arrest lawsuit against the Michigan State Police. The agency immediately raised the defense of sovereign immunity. Per standard operating procedure in law enforcement, no one from the Michigan State Police apologized to Billy Dean Rowe for the stupid and traumatizing foul-up. The state police owed the public an apology for blowing a potentially successful child pornography case.

     As of September 2018, Mr. Rowe's false arrest lawsuit remained unresolved. 

Sunday, September 2, 2018

The Case Of The Naked Flesh Eater

     As a nation of drug addicts and alcoholics, are we creating a class of taser-resistant monsters and flesh-eating zombies?

Excited Delirium Syndrome

     According to  Dr. Deborah Mash, the University of Miami neurologist who coined the term Excited Delirium, men who are high on drugs and/or alcohol, and are mentally ill, can  fly off the handle when placed under stress. Their body temperatures soar to 103-5 degrees, and their hearts race. When in this state, these men also possess supernatural strength, and can be resistant to taser shocks. Many of these men, often overweight and black, die of cardiac or respiratory arrest when fighting with the police. Among forensic pathologists in the United States, Canada, and England, Excited Delirium Syndrome is becoming a recognized cause of death.

Rudy Eugene

     At two in the afternoon on Saturday, May 26, 2012, Larry Vegas, while riding his bicycle on the MacArthur off-ramp to Biscayne Boulevard in Miami, saw a naked man on top of another nude man on the pedestrian walkway. The area under the causeway, populated by homeless people, was littered with cardboard mats, personal belongings, syringes, and broken bottles. The person on the pavement wasn't moving as the man on top  chewed away at his face. The witness on the bicycle yelled at the attacker to stop. This man, with pieces of bloody flesh hanging out of his mouth, raised his head, looked at Mr. Vegas, and growled.

     Mr. Vegas, now joined by other horrified witnesses, flagged down a Miami Police officer who ordered the attacker to desist. The attacker, paying no attention to the cop, the rubber-necking motorists, and the witnesses gathering at the scene, continued to tear away his victim's face. Obviously stunned and repelled by what he saw, the officer shot the attacker. When the bullet didn't stop the gruesome assault, the officer fired again, three times, killing the flesh eating predator.

     Paramedics rushed the bloody, badly mauled victim to Jackson Memorial Hospital's Ryder Trauma Center. The homeless victim, whose face had been chewed beyond recognition, was in critical condition.

     The man shot to death by the Miami police officer is a 31-year-old black man named Rudy Eugene. Police theorize Mr. Eugene had been under the influence of "Cocaine Psychosis," a condition which causes the body to heat-up. Perhaps this was why the attacker and his victim were nude.

     Forensic pathologists, police officers, emergency room doctors, EMS personnel, and people who treat drug abusers, had been aware of Cocaine Psychosis since 1987. Cocaine causes dopamine levels in the body to rise, causing euphoria. The dropping of the dopamine level when the drug wears off can cause schizophrenic-like symptoms, and/or extremely violent behavior. Cocaine Psychosis was  common in longtime drug abusers.

     At two in the morning on the day of the attack, Rudy Eugene, while at his girlfriend's house, rifled through his clothing and hers, then drove off in his purple Chevy sedan. He told a friend he was going to Miami Beach to attend a Memorial Day party. Later in the day, his car broke down, and as he walked across the 3-mile causeway, stated taking off his clothes. Police found his clothing and his driver's license along the road.

     As the investigation progressed, detectives began to suspect that Eugene had been under the influence of a LSD-like synthetic drug called "bath salts." His former wife, Jenny Ductant said this to a reporter: "I wouldn't say he had mental problems but he always felt like people were against him."

     The authorities identified the victim as 65-year-old Ronald Poppo, a man who lived under the causeway, and had been homeless for 30 years. He was a 1964 graduate of New York City's elite Stuyvesant High School. Before hitting the skids, Poppo had worked in the guidance officer at Stuyvesant. He had lived in Florida 40 years, during which time he had been arrested for petty crimes. Before the Miami police officer shot and killed Rudy Eugene, the attacker had been chewing on Poppo's face for 18 minutes. When the ambulance took the victim from the scene, he had lost 80 percent of his face including his nose, cheeks, lips and an eye.

     Rudy Eugene's girlfriend met him in 2007. Since that time they had an on-again, off-again relationship. The man she portrayed, a guy who read from a Bible he carried everywhere with him, did not comport with a man who had eaten a stranger's face. While the girlfriend admitted that Eugene smoked pot, she believes that on the day he was shot by the police, he was unknowingly drugged. She also floated the possibility that someone put a Voodoo curse on him.

     In 2004, Eugene had been arrested for battery after he threatened his mother and smashed furniture. He also threatened the responding police officer who shot him with a taser device.

     Toxicological tests revealed that Rudy Eugene, when he attacked the homeless man, was not under the influence of bath salts. He was, however, high on marijuana. Exactly what caused Mr. Eugene to do what he did to a complete stranger went with him to his grave.


Honeymoons And Hookers Don't Mix

     Between May 8 and 11, 2013, Florida undercover officers with the Polk County Sheriff's Office ran a prostitution sting involving an online ad aimed at prospective Johns. The operation resulted in the arrests of 92 men. One of the suspects caught in the web was a 45-year-old youth minister. Another unlikely catch involved a young man who was on his honeymoon.

     A 21-year-old Chicago area groom named Mohammed Ahmed was on his honeymoon in Orlando, Florida. After showing up at the place where he hoped to engage the prostitute, Ahmed was arrested by the cops running the sting. When Ahmed didn't return to his honeymoon suite at the Omni Orlando Resort at Championsgate, his bride called the police and reported him missing.

     As it turned out, the newlywed was only missing from his bride. The authorities knew exactly where he was--sitting in the Polk County Jail facing charges of prostitution solicitation and possession of marijuana. The realization that her husband tried to hire a hooker just hours after the wedding ceremony must rank near the top of the honeymoon-from-hell list.

     Because I believe that police officers should be spending their time and resources on more serious crimes, I am not a fan of prostitution stings. But in Ahmed's case, the Polk County Sheriff's Office did Mr. Ahmed's bride a huge favor. If she didn't treat his prostitution arrest as an indication of what life would be like with this husband, she had only herself to blame.

     While I could not find the disposition of this case, I'm pretty sure he made bail, pleaded guilty, and paid a fine. What effect this had on his marriage was not publicly revealed.