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Thursday, June 30, 2022

The Jessica Hernandez Police-Involved Shooting Case

     In Denver Colorado at six-thirty in the morning of Monday January 26, 2015, two police officers responded to a call about a suspicious vehicle. The officers knew that the parked car, occupied by five people, had been reported stolen. According to the police version of the story, as the officers approached the vehicle it lurched toward them. Both officers opened fire, hitting and killing the driver who turned out to be 17-year-old Jessica Hernandez. The car struck one of the officers in the leg.

     Bobbie Diaz, the mother of a 16-year-old girl who was in the stolen car at the time of the shooting was in bed when she heard four gunshots followed by a man yelling, "Freeze! Get out of the car! Get down!"

     When Diaz went outside to investigate she saw police officers pulling young people from the car. They yanked Jessica Hernandez out from behind the steering wheel and handcuffed the unresponsive girl. One of the teens in the group screamed, "She's dead! She's dead!"

     Another witness to the police shooting, neighborhood resident Arellia Hammock, told a reporter she heard three gunshots that morning. In referring to the teenagers involved, she said, "They shouldn't have stolen a car. But the cops are too fast on the gun. You've got stun guns. You've got rubber bullets. Why do they have to shoot all the time?"

     One of the occupants of the stolen car offered a version of the incident different in a very important way from the official police account. According to this witness the vehicle didn't move toward the officers until after they killed the driver.

     The Denver chief of police, pursuant to departmental policy in such matters, placed both officers on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation into Hernandez's death. The inquiry was . conducted by three separate agencies: the Denver Police Department, the district attorney's office and a civilian oversight organization called the Office of Independent Monitor.

     At a vigil held that night for Jessica Hernandez, residents of the neighborhood critical of the police  held signs protesting the shooting. One of the signs read: "Your Badge Is Not a License to Kill."

     Two days after the fatal shooting, 200 angry protestors gathered outside Denver's District 2 police station. An official with the independent civilian oversight organization reported to the media that in the past seven months Denver police officers had fired four times at vehicles they perceived as threats.

     According to the Denver Police Department's use of deadly force guidelines, officers in cases like this are urged to step out of the way of approaching vehicles rather than to open fire. Moreover, if the driver of the vehicle is hit, the car or truck could become an unguided missile.

     Because Denver police cars were not equipped with dashboard cameras, shooting investigators would have to rely on witness accounts of the incident. It would have been helpful to detectives if the incident had been caught on a neighborhood surveillance camera.

     Not long after the fatal shooting Jessica Hernandez's family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the city.

     In June 2016, Denver District Attorney Mitch Morrissey decided there was not enough evidence to file criminal charges against the police officers involved in Jessica Hernandez's death. The officers were returned to duty.
     In April 2017 the city of Denver and Jessica Hernandez's family settled the wrongful death lawsuit for $1 million. 

Wednesday, June 29, 2022

The Gregory Randall Murder Case

     In May 2014, 57-year-old Gregory Randall and his 52-year-old girlfriend Angela Marie Cavalero lived in a house on Locus Road in Laughlintown, Pennsylvania in Westmoreland County just east of metropolitan Pittsburgh. They had lived together for slightly more than a year. Mr. Randall, a short-tempered, violent man, had a history of committing criminal assault and making terroristic threats.

     On May 7, 2014 Angela Cavelero lost her temper when Mr. Randall refused to accompany her to her mother's house for a visit. The argument intensified when she threw a TV frozen dinner into his face. Mr. Randall responded by picking up a hammer and beating Cavelero in the head 29 times. She died on the spot.

     After killing his girlfriend, Randall fled the scene. The next day someone discovered Angela Cavelero's body and called the police.

     On May 13, 2014 police officers arrested Gregory Randall at his ex-girlfriend's house in Coraopolis, Pennsylvania, a Pittsburgh area town in Allegheny County. The authorities returned the murder suspect to Westmoreland County where he was booked into the county jail on the charge of first-degree murder. Randall told his interrogators that because of his diminished mental capacity due to a traffic accident when he was 19 he had no memory of beating his girlfriend to death.

     In Pennsylvania, a first-degree murder conviction calls for a mandatory sentence of life in prison.

     Randall's attorneys delayed his case by filing motions asking the court to find him mentally incompetent to stand trial.

     While in the Westmoreland County Jail awaiting his trial Mr. Randall told an inmate exactly how and why he had killed his girlfriend.

     In 2018, judge Meagan Bilik-DeFazio declared Randall mentally competent and set his trial date for September 9, 2019.

     On September 3, 2019, Randall, pursuant to an arrangement agreed upon by his attorneys and the Westmoreland County District Attorney, pleaded guilty to third-degree murder. Judge Bilik-DeFazio sentenced the 62-year-old to 40 to 60 years in prison. Given his age, it is unlikely Mr. Randall will ever taste freedom again.

The Reshad Riddle Murder Case

     Reverend David Howard had just finished his Easter service on Sunday March 31, 2013 at the Hiawatha Church of God in Christ in the northeastern Ohio town of Ashtabula. As congregants began to file out of the church Reshad Riddle entered the building carrying a handgun and yelling something about God and Allah. A couple of church members grabbed the minister and ushered him to safety inside an office in the back of the building. Other congregants hit the floor and dialed 911 on their cellphones.

     The 25-year-old gunman walked up to Richard Riddle who was Reshad Riddle's 52-year-old father and shot him in the head. The victim died on the spot. Waving the gun in the air Reshad Riddle screamed that the murder had been "the will of Allah. This is the will of God," he yelled.

     Police officers stormed into the church and took the killer into custody before he shot anyone else.

     In 2006 Reshad, then 18, was charged with felonious assault and kidnapping in connection with his attempt to cut his girlfriend's throat. A year later he was arrested for another felonious assault. Riddle was charged again in 2009 for possession of cocaine and tampering with evidence.

     Ashtabula Chief of Police Robert Stell told an Associated Press reporter that "There was no indication that the father and son had a bad relationship. Everyone thinks this was very surprising," he said. 

     After a local prosecutor charged Reshad Riddle with aggravated murder and he was booked into the Ashtabula County Jail. The judge set his bond at $1 million.

     On December 20, 2013 a judge declared Reshad Riddle incompetent to stand trial. In this ruling the judge relied on the testimony of two psychiatrists who had examined the defendant.

     In December 2014, Ashtabula County Judge Ronald Vettel, based upon the findings of psychologist Thomas Gazely, officially declared Riddle legally insane. On January 15, 2015 the judge sentenced Reshad Riddle to life at the Northeast Behavioral Health Care System in Cleveland, Ohio.

     The lifelong incarceration reflected the belief that Riddle's mental illness was not manageable and that he would remain a danger to society as long as he lived.  

A Light Sentence For A Child Molester

     In December 2018, an 18-year-old woman from the Western Pennsylvania town of New Castle went to the local police with a terrible complaint. When she was 9-years-old a 36-year-old man named William Quigley began sexually molesting her. He continued to have indecent sexual contact with her until she was 11 when the molestation escalated to sexual intercourse. The girl was raped by this man for another two years.

     When taken into custody, William Quigley confessed to the almost five-year sexual relationship with the minor. The Lawrence County District Attorney charged him with rape and several lesser sexual offenses.

     In September 2019, pursuant to a plea agreement, a Lawrence County judge sentenced the 45-year-old child rapist to 5 to 12 years in prison followed by three years of probation.

     A man who sexually molests a 9-year-old girl for two years and rapes her for almost another three should not be sentenced to less than 20 years in prison. William Quigley should not have been allowed to plead guilty in return for such a lenient sentence.

     What's also disturbing about this case is that no one in the New Castle community seemed upset by Quigley's light sentence.

Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Airline Mechanics Are Supposed To Keep Planes In The Air, Not On The Ground

     On July 17, 2019 American Airlines Flight 2834 with 150 passengers aboard was about to depart from Miami en route to Nassau, Bahamas when an error message appeared in the cockpit that caused the Boeing 737-800 to taxi back to the gate and be taken out of service. The passengers were taken off the plane and put on another flight.

     Maintenance inspectors found that someone had inserted a piece of foam into a tube that obstructed the aircraft's flight navigation system. Specifically, the foreign object affected the pilot's ability to monitor air speed, pitch and other flight data.

     Following an investigation into the matter, Miami FBI agents, on September 4, 2019, arrested 60-year-old Abdul-Majeed Marquf Ahmed Alani, an airline mechanic who had worked at American Airlines since 1988.  He was a U.S. citizen who was born in Baghdad, Iraq.

     A local Assistant United States Attorney charged Alani with sabotaging an aircraft.

     Alani told his federal interrogators that he had been upset about the stalled contract negotiations between the airline and the mechanics union. He said the labor dispute had hurt him financially and that he tampered with the plane's navigation system to cause a flight delay in anticipation of overtime work. Alani insisted that it had not been his intention to harm the aircraft or endanger its passengers.

     Mr. Alani had also worked as an aircraft mechanic for Alaska Airlines. But in 2008, after working there twenty years during which time he was also employed at American Airlines, he was fired. Alaska Airlines let him go because he had made several maintenance mistakes. In 2010 Alani sued Alaska Airlines for wrongful termination due to discrimination based on his national origin. He lost his case. The FAA briefly suspended his airlines mechanic license.

     On September 6, 2019 American Airlines fired the suspected aircraft saboteur and in March 2020 he was convicted of sabotaging an aircraft. The federal judge sentenced Mr. Alani to 37 months in prison. 

Robert And Tiffany Williams' Nouveau Riche Nightmare

     Robert and Tiffany Williams of Montoursville Pennsylvania thought they had $1,000 in the BB&T Bank. Then someone deposited an extra $120,000 into their account. Aware that their bloated bank account had to be some kind of a banking fluke, and that the money was therefore not theirs, they decided to spend a good bit of it anyway. Perhaps the mistake would go unnoticed. Why rock the boat by calling the bank and pointing out their error?

     And spend it they did. The couple purchased, among other things, a camper, a new SUV and a race car. Being generous with someone else's money, they gave $15,000 to friends in need. During a ten day period, the couple withdrew more than $100,000 from their inflated account.

     In June 2019 a call from the bank put an end to the Williams' spending spree. They were informed what they already knew: the large deposit into their account had not been a gift from heaven but the result of a bank teller's mistake.

     As a result of the banking error, the Robert and Tiffany Williams' account at the BB & T Bank was overdrawn by $107,416. The couple owned the bank that money and the debt had to be paid immediately or the authorities would be notified. Without that kind of cash Tiffany Williams asked the bank if she and her husband could pay back what they owed on an installment plan.

     Paying back the bank in installments was not an option. Robert and Tiffany Williams had spent money that belonged to someone else and now they had to pay it back in one lump sum or face the possibility of jail.

     In September 2019, Mr. and Mrs. Williams, after confessing they knew at the time they spent the money that it was not theirs, were booked into the county jail on three counts of felony theft. They each posted $25,000 bail and were released.

     The IRS has been known to send large tax refunds to the wrong people. The smart recipients take immediate steps to return the money. The ones that are not so smart treat the mistake as a windfall and end up facing federal charges of theft.
     In February 2020, after the couple pleaded guilty to felony theft, the judge sentenced them to seven years probation and ordered them to repay the money they stole. 

Monday, June 27, 2022

Abortion Doctor Ulrich George Klopfer And His Dead Fetuses

     Ulrich Klopfer was born in 1940 in Dresden, Germany. He came to the United States in 1952 with his family. Klopfer attended high school in Bloomfield, Michigan and upon graduation became a naturalized U.S. citizen. 
     In 1963, Ulrich Klopfer, now going by his middle name George, graduated from Wayne State College in Detroit with a degree in organic chemistry. He graduated from the Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine in 1971.
     In 1974 Dr. Klopfer opened an abortion clinic in South Bend, Indiana. In June 2014, a prosecutor in St. Joseph County, Indiana charged him with the misdemeanor offense of failing to file a timely report with the state regarding an abortion he had performed on a 13-year-old girl in South Bend. (Indiana state law required doctors to report every abortion within six months of the procedure.) After Dr. Klopfer agreed to complete a re-education program, the prosecution dropped the charge.

     Also in 2014 Dr. Klopfer performed an abortion on a 10-year-old girl who had been raped by her uncle. After the procedure she went home with her parents who obviously knew she had been sexually assaulted. Neither Dr. Klopfer nor the girl's parents reported the rape to the police.

     The Indiana State Department of Health, in 2015, revoked the abortion clinic's license for violating the state's regulation regarding the registry of patients, and for failing to provide documentation that the clinic provided patients with state-mandated patient counseling at least 18 hours before an abortion.

     In November 2016, the Indiana Medical Licensing Board revoked Dr. Klopfer's medical license for failing to ensure that qualified staff was present when patients received or recovered from medications given before and during abortion procedures. By then, Dr. Klopfer was no longer practicing. He informed the medical licensing panel that during his 43 years of performing abortions, he had terminated 30,000 pregnancies without losing a patient.

     On September 3, 2019, Dr. Ulrich Klopfer died at the age of 75. Members of his family, on September 12, called the local authorities after finding, in his Crete Township, Illinois garage, 2,246 medically preserved fetal remains. The dead fetuses were turned over to the Will County, Illinois Coroner's Office for proper handling.  There was no evidence that Dr. Klopfer had performed abortions at his home.

     In May 2016, Indiana enacted a law that required the burial or cremation of fetal remains produced by abortions. Prior to that law, abortion clinics in Indiana turned the dead fetuses over to processors who disposed of human tissues and other medical byproducts.

     The Will County Sheriff's Office, on September 14, 2019, opened an investigation into Dr. Klopfer's possession of the fetal remains. 
     In December 2020 investigators reported that they had no clue as to why Dr. Klopfer's kept all those remains in his garage. The bodies were kept in moldy boxes and Styrofoam coolers and were preserved with formalin, a derivative of formaldehyde. According to the investigation, Dr. Klopfer had acted alone.

In England the Criminalizing Insult

     Forty-six-year-old Peter Nelson, an IT consultant with GlaxoSmithKline pharmaceutical company in the United Kingdom, lived with his wife and three children in a $1.8 million five-bedroom home in Ascot, Berkshire. On June 2, 2018, the 20-year employee of the drug company was traveling from London to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil aboard an 11-hour British Airways flight. Having had more than a few drinks, Mr. Nelson was asleep when awoken by flight attendant Sima Patel-Pryke who asked him for his food order.

     Enraged over being so disturbed, Nelson lashed out at the attendant. "You Asians," he yelled, "think you are better than us. I don't want to be served by your lot. I've paid your wages for the last 20 years." The out-of-control passenger demanded to be served by a "white girl."

     Peter Nelson's verbal outburst reduced the flight attendant to tears and caused the pilot to authorize the cabin crew to break out a "restraining kit" and inform the unruly passenger that if he continued disrupting the flight he would be "arrested."

     Upon his return to England, Peter Nelson was charged with one count of racially aggravated abuse. The criminal charge and the publicity that followed resulted in Nelson's discharge from the pharmaceutical company.

     The Peter Nelson racially aggravated abuse trial got underway in August 2019 before a jury sitting in Iselworth Crown Court. In his opening remarks to the jury, Crown Prosecutor Michael Tanney said, "It's no mere mischief to say he bullied and ranted and shouted. At one point, after a sustained targeting of Ms. Pryke, she began to back away in fright and became tearful."

     Representing the defendant, Lauren Sales informed the jurors that Mr. Nelson's wife, as a result of the publicity regarding her husband, had broken down under stress and had to be hospitalized. "He has lost his job. He was the breadwinner of the family. It is life changing for Mr. Nelson. He and his wife have taken their children out of school because it's an international school. The children feel they cannot go to the gates of the school and stand in the playground." According the Barrister Sales, the family might be forced to return to New Zealand.

     The Crown Court jury found Mr. Nelson guilty as charged. Before sentencing the defendant, Judge Edward Connell said, "You plainly displayed a contemptuous attitude towards the staff from the onset. When Ms. Pryke, simply doing her job, came to wake you up to take your food order you took immediate offense at her having the audacity to wake you up. It seems that was the beginnings of what turned out to be an opportunity for you to get upset without any justification at all. That manifested itself in the most unpleasant of ways. It was thoroughly unpleasant conduct by you."

     A bit longwinded, the judge continued his pre-sentence lecture: "It's quite plain, albeit this wasn't the most serious case the court hears, that it had an impact on Ms. Pryke who we heard in evidence was upset and ended up in tears because of your behavior. It was clearly unacceptable and I'm entirely satisfied it was contributed by the fact you drank a significant amount of alcohol during the course of the flight. I accept that this conviction will have profound ramifications for you and your employability so I'm persuaded that this can be dealt with as a financial penalty.

     Judge Connell fined Peter Nelson $2,450. He also had to pay $615 in compensation to the victim and $4,300 in prosecution costs.

Sunday, June 26, 2022

The Sharena Nancy Kidnap-Murder Case

     Twenty-one-year old Paul D. Johnson resided in the Westmoreland County Pennsylvania borough of Delmont located along Route 22 on the eastern edge of suburban Pittsburgh. He was the father of a 23-month-old girl named Nalani. During the summer of 2019 Mr. Johnson began an intermittent romantic relationship with 25-year-old Sharena Islam Nancy, a woman he had met through social media.

     On Saturday, August 31, 2019, Paul Johnson and his daughter were in Sharena Nancy's black, 2017 Toyota Yaris. Nalani was in the back of the car strapped into a car seat. At five o'clock that Saturday an argument broke out between Johnson and Nancy. At the intersection of Bryant Street and Clay Drive in the Pittsburgh suburb of Penn Hills, Mr. Johnson told Sharena Nancy to stop the car so he and his daughter could get out.

    When Mr. Johnson got out of the Toyota and was about to remove his daughter from the car, Nancy drove off with the child. In a state of panic, Mr. Johnson called Nancy's cellphone several times without getting a response. He then called 911 and reported that his daughter had been kidnapped by Sharena Nancy in a black Toyota Yaris with Lyft and Uber stickers on the front passenger side of the vehicle.

     The authorities, based upon Mr. Johnson's kidnapping report, put out a regional Amber Alert requesting information regarding the whereabouts of the Toyota driven by Sharena Nancy with Nalani Johnson in the back seat.

     The Amber Alert quickly brought responses from witnessed who had spotted Nancy's car. She was also captured on a surveillance camera at a Sheetz service plaza in Murrysville, a nearby Allegheny County borough. From the service plaza, Nancy, according to witnesses, traveled east on Route 22. About an hour after the abduction a witness saw Sharena Nancy's car in the Indiana County town of Blairsville.

     Just before 7:30 that Saturday evening, back in Allegheny County, an officer with the suburban Penn Hills Police Department spotted the black Toyota Yaris and pulled it over. Sharena Nancy was behind the wheel but Nalani Johnson and her car seat were not in the vehicle. The officer took Nancy into custody on suspicion of kidnapping.

     Questioned by Allegheny County detectives and FBI agents, Sharena Nancy had quite a story, one that accused Nalani Johnson's father of enlisting her help in selling his daughter to an unidentified woman for $10,000.

     According to the kidnapping suspect, Paul Johnson instructed her that Saturday to drive her car, with Nalani in it, eastward toward a service station on Route 22 in Monroeville, a town located in Westmoreland County. Nancy claimed that Johnson assured her that along the way, about 20 minutes into the trip, a woman standing along the side of the highway would flag her over.

     In telling this outlandish tale, Sharena Nancy said that she came upon a woman along Route 22 standing near a silver colored SUV with out of state plates. The woman waived her to a stop. It was at that time Nancy handed over Nalani along with the child's car seat.

     After passing off Nalani as instructed by her father, Nancy said she continued driving east to Indiana County's Blairsville where she turned around and headed back to Penn Hills. It was there she was stopped by the police officer and taken into custody.

     Officers booked Sharena Nancy into the Allegheny County jail on charges of kidnapping a minor, interference with the custody of a child, and concealing the whereabouts of a child. The magistrate denied her bail.

     On September 3, 2019, law enforcement authorities in Indiana County announced that Nalani Johnson's body had been found by a person or persons they did not identify. The corpse was discovered in Pine Ridge Park near Blairsville about 37 miles east of Penn Hills from where she had been abducted. The body was not far from the Chestnut Ridge Golf Course. Witnesses had reported seeing Sharena Nancy's black Toyota near the course on Saturday August 31.

     A private forensic pathology group, under the auspices of the Indiana County Coroner's Office, performed the autopsy and determined that Nalani Johnson had been smothered.

     On September 5, 2019, Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala told reporters that "there is no evidence that anyone other than Sharena Nancy was responsible for the child's being taken from Penn Hills and ultimately being placed in that field or in the woods in Indiana County." 
     In April 2022 Sharena Nancy pleaded guilty to kidnapping and third-degree murder. The judge sentenced her to 15 to 30 years in prison.


The David Pichosky/Rochelle Wise Murder Case

     In 2008, a year after his wife died of breast cancer, David "Donny" Pichosky, on a blind date arranged by his children, met Rochelle Wise. Donny, an active member of Toronto, Canada's Shaarei Shomayin Synagogue, a modern Jewish Orthodox congregation, retired after selling his office-carpet business in the North York section of the city. Rochelle, a divorcee, had retired in 2005 as a teacher and vice principal of the Bialik Hebrew Day School just outside of Toronto. She was also the founding director of the Crestwood Valley Day Camp. Shortly after their blind date the couple were married.

     In 2013, the 71-year-old Pichosky and his 66-year-old wife were wintering in Venetian Park, an affluent island neighborhood in Hallandale Beach, Florida, a town of 38,000 located between Fort Lauderdale and Miami. Surrounded by canals and waterways, the snowbirds resided in a stucco townhouse amid palm trees and the other pastel-colored dwellings. Donny and Rochelle must have felt safe living in this gated, security guard patrolled retirement enclave. (In 2012 there had been four criminal homicides in Hallandale Beach.)

     On Wednesday, January 9, 2013 Danny and Rochelle failed to show-up for a lunch date with a neighbor. The friend made several calls to the couple that were not returned. The next day, at six-thirty in the evening, a friend with a spare key entered the townhouse to check on the couple. The neighbor found Donny and Rochelle dead. Shortly after the discovery, a spokesperson with the Hallandale Beach Police Department announced that the Canadian retirees had been murdered.

     According to the Broward County Medical Examiner's Office the Canadian Couple had been murdered in their home. The cause of their deaths: asphyxiation either by hand or by ligature.

     In April 2013 Hallandale Chief of Police Dwayne Flourney told a reporter with the Miami Herald that detectives were looking for an intruder or intruders who had been motivated by robbery. Rochelle Wise's wedding band--valued at $16,000--was missing from the dwelling. Investigators asked local pawn shop operators to report anyone coming to their places of business with the platinum, five half-carat white diamond ring. 

     A month before publicizing the missing ring the police released a video taken from a neighbor's surveillance camera that showed a woman walking toward the rear of the murdered couple's home. That person remained unidentified. Detectives believed the murders were committed by two people.

     The home invasion criminal homicide in a place once considered relatively safe from crime made residents of that community fearful. The double-murder in Venetian Park put a lot of pressure on the local police to identify and catch the perpetrators.

     On January 8, 2014 a spokesperson for the Hallandale Beach Department held a press conference on the Pichosky murder case. It had been almost a year since the double murder. According to the spokesperson, crime scene investigators recovered DNA profiles of two women from the murder site. This DNA evidence did not match anyone who had access to the Pichosky home.

     In addition to the DNA, a partial shoe print left at the murder scene was identified as an Adidas model shoe that had been out of production since 2000. Over the past year detectives had questioned more than fifty people in the investigation of the case. A $57,000 reward had been posted for information leading to the identify of the killer or killers.

     This was one of those frustrating cases where the police had physical evidence but no suspects to match it to. 

     In January 2015, Jamie Wise, Rochell's son, wrote a letter to Florida Governor Rick Scott requesting the appointment of another law enforcement agency to take over the unsolved murder case. "What is desperately needed," he wrote, "is a fresh set of eyes, an independent investigation by an experienced entity capable of cultivating new leads through diligence, openness and the willingness to collaborate more purposely with agencies throughout the state."

     The Hallandale Beach Police Department remained in charge of the still unsolved double-murder.

     In April 2016, Police Chief Dwayne Flournoy told reporters that the best lead in the case involved crime scene DNA phenotyping that pointed to a pair of unidentified females. Flourney said that the constant running the DNA profile through CODUS, the U.S. DNA database, had to date failed to identify the killers. 
     As of June 2022 the Wise/Pichosky murder case remained unsolved.

Saturday, June 25, 2022

Kosta Karageorge's Football Concussions, Depression and Suicide

     In 2009 Kosta Karageorge graduated from Thomas Worthington High School in Worthington, Ohio, a suburb north of Columbus where the 6-foot-5, 285-pound athlete wrestled and played football. After high school Karageorge continued his wrestling career at nearby Ohio State University.

     In the fall of 2014 the 22-year-old fifth year senior joined the Ohio State football team as a walk-on. The defensive lineman played in one game in which he recorded a single tackle against Penn State.

     During his football playing years, Karageorge suffered several concussions, the last one occurring in September 2014.

     At one-thirty in the morning on Wednesday, November 26, 2014, Kosta Karageorge sent his mother what she considered a disturbing text message. He wrote that if he had been an embarrassment to the family he apologized, stating that his concussions had affected his behavior. Thirty minutes later, Karageorge left his apartment on East 7th Avenue in Columbus. He told his roommates he was upset over an incident involving his girlfriend and needed to take a walk.

     Karageorge did not return to his apartment that morning and failed to show up for the six AM football practice. He left his wallet in his apartment and did not possess any form of identification. He was dressed that morning in black sweatpants, black Timberland boots and a dark hoodie with the letters FOC on it. He had a short beard and had recently shaved his head.

     At five in the afternoon on the day Mr. Karageorge left his apartment and didn't return, his mother, after not hearing from her son all day, reported him missing to the Columbus Police Department. His earlier text message, and the fact he usually kept in daily touch with his family, caused her concern.

     Columbus detectives traced the missing football player's cellphone through GPS technology to West 3rd and Elmwood Avenues in the Grandview Heights section of the city. Officers, however, did not find his phone. He could have walked to that neighborhood, taken public transportation or accepted a ride with someone.

     On Friday November 28, 2014, 150 volunteers distributed hundreds of posters around the city that featured a photograph of the missing student. A group of former Ohio State football players put up a $1,000 reward for information leading to his whereabouts.

     On Sunday November 30, 2014, five days after he went missing, a searcher found Karageorge's body in a dumpster several blocks from his apartment. The authorities identified him by his tattoos. Detectives believed that Karaageorge had used the handgun found near his body to shoot himself in the head.

     The Franklin County coroner ruled Kosta Karageorge's death a suicide.

Daniel Chong: Missing In Action In The War On Drugs

     The years 2011 and 2012 were not good ones for federal law enforcement. The AFT was embarrassed by the Fast and Furious debacle; an ICE agent shot his supervisor, then was shot and killed by another agent; an ICE officer was convicted of embezzling a huge sum of government money; TSA screeners were accused of taking bribes from drug smugglers; and Secret Service agents were caught partying with prostitutes in Columbia. Just when you thought it couldn't get worse, the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) pulled one of the most bone-headed blunders in the history of the federal government's war on drugs.

     On Saturday April 21, 2012, 23-year-old University of California at San Diego engineering student Daniel Chong was smoking pot in a house in University City with eight of his friends. That day DEA agents raided the place as a suspected Ecstasy pill distribution center. The agents recovered 18,000 Ecstasy pills, several guns, ammunition and other drugs, and took Chong and the other eight suspects into custody.

     After the nine arrestees were fingerprinted, photographed and questioned at the DEA office in Kearny Mesa, agents released one suspect, took seven to a detention facility and placed the handcuffed Daniel Chong into a holding cell in the DEA office complex. Although being swept up in a federal drug raid was bad enough, Daniel Chong's ordeal had just begun.

     Because Chong was placed into a windowless 5 by 10 foot room with no sink or toilet, he didn't expect to be there very long. But as the hours dragged on, and no one came to release him or take him elsewhere, Chong began to worry. To call attention to his isolation he screamed for help and frantically kicked at the door. Still, no response. Hungry, in need of a bathroom, scared and in a state of panic, Chong began to lose control of his body and his emotions.

     A day or so into his confinement, Daniel Chong found a plastic bag containing white powder a previous detainee had hidden inside a folded blanket. Chong ingested the powdery stuff which turned out to be methamphetamine. (You can be cavity-searched at the airport, but apparently not in a DEA office.) The abandoned office prisoner drank his own urine, and by his third day in captivity, began hallucinating. In an effort to kill himself the prisoner used his teeth to break out the glass in his eyewear, then swallowed the shards. As DEA personnel went about their business just yards from him, Chong, locked into his private hell, completely lost his mind.

     On Saturday, April 25, four days into his ordeal, someone in the DEA office discovered Mr. Chong. They had simply forgotten about him. (I'm not sure why the people Chong had been arrested with didn't alert someone, or make inquires with the DEA. It's really hard to believe that someone can go missing inside a law enforcement facility.) When the bureaucrat discovered the incoherent, waste-covered, raving drug detainee, he weighed 15 pounds less than when they had placed him into the room. Had he been there much longer, the DEA people would have discovered a corpse.

     Rushed to Sharp Memorial Hospital, Daniel Chong, suffering from a failing kidney, a perforated lung, severe dehydration and numerous other ailments, was placed into an intensive care unit. He left the hospital four days later.

     On May 2, 2012 Daniel Chong's attorney announced his plan to file a $20 million lawsuit against the DEA.

     On August 1, 2013, the DEA settled the Chong case out of court for $4.1 million.         

Friday, June 24, 2022

John Martorano: James Whitey Bulger's Hit Man

     James "Whitey" Bulger, the Boston area mobster and head of the Winter Hill Gang, went into hiding in 1995 after rogue FBI agent John Connolly tipped him off about an upcoming federal indictment. For years Mr. Bulger had avoided arrest by informing on other gangsters to the FBI. (John Connolly was convicted in 2008 of second-degree murder. In February 2022, due to poor. health, he was released from prison.)

     In June 2011 FBI agents arrested Whitey Bulger in Santa Monica, California where he had lived 16 years in an apartment complex with his longtime girlfriend, Catherine Greg. The fugitive and his companion had been living under the names Charlie and Carol Gasko. He was in his 80s.

     In 2013 Mr. Bulger was federally tried in Boston on 32 counts of murder, homicides he either committed himself or ordered. ( He was convicted and sentenced to life.) John V. Martorano, a professional hit man employed by the accused murder-for-hire mastermind, was one of the prosecution's most important witnesses. In 2007 Martorano cut a deal with the government to testify against the infamous Boston mobster. After confessing to twenty murders, Mr. Martorano was a free man. Three of the hit man's victims were innocent bystanders, including a man Martorano mistakenly shot because he was driving a car similar to the intended target's vehicle. (Even so-called "professional" hit men are notoriously incompetent.) After carrying out a contract murder Martorano would summon mob underlings to dispose of the body. Most of his victims were buried.

     On June 18, 2013, Bulger's attorney, Henry Brennan, during his cross-examination of the 72-year-old witness, asked Martorano if he considered himself a serial killer. "No," the witness replied. "Serial killers kill until they get caught or stop. I confessed my murders.  Serial killers kill for fun. They like it. I never liked it. I never had any joy." 

     "No satisfaction?" the defense attorney asked.

     "None." Later in his testimony Martorano insisted that he was a "nice guy." Moreover, he never thought of himself as a hit man or professional killer. "I didn't enjoy killing anybody," he said. "I enjoyed helping a friend if I could."

     "Does that make you a vigilante--like Batman?" Attorney Brennan asked in a sarcastic tone of voice. Later in the cross examination the defense lawyer asked the prosecution witness to describe how he felt about murdering three innocent bystanders.

     "I did feel bad. I still feel bad. It was the worst thing I did."

     Mr. Martorano's testimony provided a rare peek into the mind of a mobbed-up contract killer. Only a cold-blooded sociopath could, with a straight face, portray himself as a nice guy and a victim. 

The Leslie Sapp Police-Involved Shooting Case

     In 2014, 47-year-old Leslie Sapp, a resident of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, found himself on the U.S Marshal's Office Top 20 Wanted List. On July 21, 2014 an Allegheny County prosecutor had charged Sapp with rape, statutory sexual assault and related lesser offenses.

     Mr. Sapp stood accused of having sex numerous times with an underage girl at his home between April 2011 and May 2014. The victim, just 11-years-old when first assaulted, didn't report Sapp out of fear. She also kept quiet because she didn't want to get in trouble with her mother. On many occasions Sapp provided the girl with marijuana.

     At the time the charges were filed Sapp's whereabouts were unknown. The U.S. Marshal's Western Pennsylvania Fugitive Task Force took charge of the investigation to locate and bring him to justice.

     Leslie Sapp had a criminal history going back to the 1980s when the authorities in Philadelphia charged him with a series of crimes that included aggravated assault, robbery and various gun violations. Finally, in 1993 following a conviction in Philadelphia a judge sent him to prison where he served ten years of a ten to twenty year sentence. After getting out in 2003 Mr. Sapp continued to get into trouble by violating the terms of his parole.

     In 2013 Leslie Sapp pleaded guilty to possessing a prohibited firearm. The judge sentenced him to three years probation.

     At six-forty-five Tuesday morning January 6, 2015, a Pennsylvania State Trooper, a deputy with the Allegheny County Sheriff's Office and other members of the fugitive task force showed up at Sapp's house in the Knoxsville section of Pittsburgh. When the officer encountered the fugitive he displayed a handgun in a threatening manner. One of the officers responded by shooting him to death.

     As it turned out Mr. Sapp was in possession of an air gun that shoots pellets. Because it was black and didn't have the orange marker the gun looked real. According to a law enforcement spokesperson, Leslie Sapp held the gun "in a manner consistent with being used against a police officer."

     In April 2015 the Allegheny County District Attorney's Office ruled the Sapp shooting justified.

     To threaten a police officer with a pellet gun is no different than wielding a firearm that shoots bullets. Mr. Sapp must have known this and was willing to accept the consequences. 

Thursday, June 23, 2022

The Eugene Maraventano Murder Case

     Sixty-four-year-old Eugene Maraventano, his wife Janet and their 27-year-old son Bryan lived in Goodyear, Arizona, a suburb of Phoenix. On April 6, 2013 Maraventano called 911 to report he had killed his wife and son. To the dispatcher he said, "I can't kill myself. I stabbed them to death. My wife had cancer."

     When police officers rolled up to the two-story stucco house they encountered Mr. Maraventano walking out of the dwelling wearing clothing soaked in his own blood. (He had murdered his 63-year-old wife and their son four days earlier but had just attempted suicide.)

     Inside the Maraventano house police discovered Janet Maraventano dead in the master bedroom. The carpet, bed and bedroom door were stained with the victim's blood. A bloody 14-inch kitchen knife lay on the nightstand next to the bed.

     In another bedroom officers discovered Bryan Maraventano dead on the floor not far from the doorway. He had been stabbed as well.

    Later on the day of the 911 call, a police interrogator asked Mr. Maraventano the obvious question: Why did he kill his wife and son? The subject explained that he suspected he had infected his wife with a sexually transmitted disease he had picked up from patronizing prostitutes when he worked in New York City. After her cancer diagnosis he was worried she would test positive for HIV. He had killed his wife to spare incurring her wrath and disapproval.

     As to why he had murdered his son, Mr. Maraventano said that the young man had no life. He didn't have a job or a girlfriend and just sat around the house all day playing video games. He figured his son had some kind of mental disability and wouldn't be able to make it on his own.

     After the cold-blooded murder, Maraventano tried to kill himself by cutting his wrists and putting a plastic bag over his head. When he couldn't commit suicide using those techniques, he placed a knife handle against a wall and pushed himself into it. That didn't work either so he gave up trying.

     Following treatment for his self-inflicted wounds at a local hospital, Eugene Maraventano, charged with two counts of first-degree murder, was placed in the county jail under a $2 million bond.

     In June 2018, officers with the Arizona Department of Corrections found 69-year-old Eugene Maraventano dead in his cell. He had hanged himself.

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

The Zumba Prostitution Case

     Alexis Wright co-owned and operated Purd Vida, a fitness studio in downtown Kennebunk, a seashore town of 10,000 25 miles south of Portland, Maine. The 29-year-old Wright taught Zumba, an arduous Latin inspired dance workout in rented space above a hair salon and flower store. The studio operated across the street from where Wright's business partner, 57-year-old Mark Strong Sr. sold insurance and worked as a private investigator. The pair opened Purd Vida in early 2010 and in two years grossed about $150,000.

     In September 2011 someone tipped off the local police that some of Wright's male Zumba students were getting more than a good dance workout. According to the snitch (or snitches) these clients were paying the instructor for sex and there were a lot of these customers. The idea of a house of prostitution operating in this quaint upscale community was, for the media and those with a taste for the prurient, a scandal made in heaven.

     On February 14, 2012, officers with the Kennebunk Police Department, the Maine State Police and the Drug Enforcement Agency, armed with a search warrant, raided Purd Vida. The officers seized a hard drive that contained 100 hours of video-recorded sex acts featuring Wright, her business partner Mark Strong, Sr. and dozens of local men who may or may not have also been learning how to do the Zumba. Some of the taped sex sessions had porn film-like titles. Members of the police raiding party also walked off with boxes of business records which included a list of 150 sex clients. In Wright's office the cops found a massage table and a video camera sitting on a tripod.

     In July 2012 the police arrested Mark Strong Sr. on 59 misdemeanor counts of operating a house of prostitution. The York County prosecutor began issuing summons to men on Wright's client list which meant they would eventually have to appear in court to answer misdemeanor charges of engaging the services of a prostitute. (These court appearances would be matters of public record.)

     According to officials familiar with the Purd Vida investigation some of Wright's clients were lawyers, cops, accountants, local politicians, businessmen, firefighters and a local TV personality.

     On October 9, 2012, following their indictments, Alexis Wright and Mark Strong Sr. were arraigned in a district court. Wright had been charged with 106 misdemeanor counts of accepting money for sex and invasion of privacy. (The taped tricks had been secretly recorded.) Both defendants were released on their own recognizance after pleading not guilty to all charges.

     Stephen Schwartz, the attorney representing two of the alleged johns who had received summons, filed a motion to stop the authorities from releasing the 150 names on Wright's client list.

     Laura Dolce, the editor of the York County Coast Star promised to publish the names on the so-called "list of shame." In justifying the decision to publicize the list, Dolce said this to a CNN correspondent: "Many in the community would prefer we not print the names at all. There are people in this community who had their names dragged through the mud for months because people believed they are on the list. We also believe that printing the names of those charged with engaging a prostitute is the fair thing to do...to help set the record straight, and put to rest the ugly rumors that continue to circulate throughout town." (Publishing the names would also sell a lot of newspapers.)

     After the district court judge denied attorney Schwartz's motion to suppress Alex Wright's client list, the attorney appealed the ruling to the Supreme Judicial Court. In speaking to reporters, attorney Schwartz said, "We believe very strongly that their names ought not be released. The mere releasing of their names will have devastating consequences in a case in which the government, we believe, will have a difficult time proving. We fully expect that they [Wright and Strong] won't be convicted, but the damage is done once the horse is out of the barn."

     On October 16, 2012, the judge cleared the way for the authorities to release the names, addresses and ages of 21 suspected johns who have been issued summons to appear in court on December 5, 2012. Their ages ranged from 34 to 65, and all but two were from Maine. One was from Boston and the other New Hampshire. One of the men accused of paying to have sex with Alexis Wright was 58-year-old James Soule, the former mayor of South Portland, Maine.

     Mark Strong Sr., Wright's business partner, issued a statement in which he said, "I never had sex with [Wright] for money. The charges against me are untrue. I will be vindicated in a jury trial."

     In March 2013, following his conviction on 13 counts of prostitution, Judge Nancy Mills sentenced Mark Strong Sr. to 20 days in jail and a $3,000 fine. The judge sentenced Alexis Wright, on twenty counts of prostitution, to ten months in the York County Jail. She was released after serving six months of her sentence.
     In the course of the scandal 21 names on the infamous client list were released to the public. None of the johns were prosecuted in connection with the case.

Crematorium Fires

     Crematoriums are all about fire, that's where they incinerate bodies. So, a fire at a crematorium is nothing unusual. However, if an overweight corpse burns too hot the excessive lava-like body fat can leak out of the incinerator and take the fire to places it doesn't belong. That's when the fire department, as strange as it sounds, is called out to extinguish a crematorium fire.

Henrico County, Virginia
     In October 2014 a 500-pound corpse was being burned at Southside Cremation Services not far from Richmond. The body was not burned slow enough (it should take five hours to incinerate a 300-pound corpse) and the body fat melted too quickly and leaked out of the fire chamber. By the time firefighters arrived the building's roof was engulfed in flames.

Cincinnati, Ohio
     In April 2017 a fire broke out at the Hillside Chapel Crematory when an obese corpse's body fat leaked out of the chamber onto the floor. The body fat, acting like a combustion accelerant, seeped into the flooring and started a hot-burning fire that had to be put out by the fire department.

Nitro, West Virginia
     On October 25, 2019, at ten-forty-five in the morning, a fire broke out at the Cooke Funeral Home just outside of Charleston. The cause: the super-heated body fat from an overweight corpse. Employees called 911 and kept the fire from spreading to the rest of the building by using a pair of  fire extinguishers.

Tuesday, June 21, 2022

The Isaac Tiharihondi Mass Murder Case

     Uganda native Israel Ahimbisibwe, after being ordained in the Episcopal Church of Uganda, came to the United States where he earned three masters' degrees and a Ph.D. His masters' degrees came from the Theological Seminary at Princeton University, Harvard Divinity School and Rice University in Houston where he earned his doctorate after completing graduate research at Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

     The 51-year-old Reverend Doctor held the position of Vicar of the Redeemer Episcopal Church in Houston. He resided in a west Houston apartment complex with his 47-year-old wife Dorcus and their son Israel Ahimbisibwe Jr. who was five. Pastor Ahimbisibwe's 17-year-old son Emmanuel attended a private school in California. Isaac Tiharihondi, his 19-year-old son, graduated in 2014 from Houston's Memorial High School.

     Isaac told his father that he had joined the Marines and would report for duty on February 6, 2015. The pastor didn't believe his son and this led to an argument and bad feelings between the two of them.

     On Sunday evening February 1, 2015, Redeemer church members Keever Wallace and his wife Brooke knocked on the pastor's apartment door after the vicar, his wife and their son failed to show up that morning for church. No one came to the door that morning and the pastor did not return calls to his cellphone.

     The next day, at nine in the morning, Brooke Wallace returned to the Ahimbisibwe apartment. When no one responded she contacted the manager of the complex who had a key.

     The building manager called the Houston Fire Department and waited for the arrival of the emergency personnel before entering the Ahimbisibwe apartment. When members of the fire department discovered three dead bodies inside the dwelling they notified the police.

     In one of the bathrooms, Houston police officers found the bodies of the vicar, his wife and their 5-year-old son. The parents had been severely beaten to death with a lamp, baseball bat and hammer. The boy had been bludgeoned and stabbed in the neck and back.

     Investigators found no evidence of forced entry and no indication that the killer had taken anything from the apartment.

     On Wednesday February 4, 2015, in Jackson, Mississippi 350 miles from Houston, police arrested Isaac Tiharihondi, the vicar's 19-year-old son on a Texas warrant charging him with triple murder. Officers booked the suspect into the Hines County Detention Center in Raymond Mississippi where he would await extradition back to Houston.

     Isaac Tirarihondi had been staying at a Jackson Mississippi motel. His mother had told friends that she was worried about him. He had lied about the Marines and was depressed.

     On February 1, 2016 Isaac Tiharihondi pleaded guilty to three counts of capital murder. The judge, pursuant to the plea agreement, sentenced Tiharihondi to life in prison without the possibility of parole. On the day of his sentencing, the unemotional killer remained silent as to why he had committed such a horrific crime. 

Getting Out of Prison

     In 2010 Tony Maycon Munoz-Mendez, an illegal alien from Guatemala with at least two arrests for driving while intoxicated in Georgia, resided with his girlfriend in a town outside of Atlanta.

     In the spring of 2014 Gwinnett County prosecutor John Warr charged Munoz-Mendez with raping his girlfriend's daughter during a two-year period beginning in 2010 when the girl was ten. Munoz-Mendez maintained his innocence and was supported in his claim by the victim's mother. (The child was removed from the home and placed with a foster family. Her mother was later charged with second-degree child cruelty.)

     While awaiting his trial in the Gwinnett County Jail the accused child rapist wrote a letter to the judge in which he said: "I have no family here in the United States to help me out and I have to rely on myself on everything, and it's hard. I know I am innocent."

     In April 2015 a Gwinnett County jury found the defendant guilty of several counts of rape and aggravated child molestation. The judge sentenced Munoz-Mendez to three life sentences.

     The convicted rapist began serving his time at the Rogers State Prison in nearby Reidsville Georgia.

     At 11:30 on Friday morning, October 25, 2019, officials at Rogers State Prison mistakenly released the 31-year-old child rapist back into society. The people responsible for this stupendous foul-up didn't get around to notifying law enforcement that Munoz-Mendez was on the loose until the following Monday. (They either didn't catch the error until then or deliberately delayed notification.)

     Prison spokesperson Lori Benot released a press statement that didn't explain exactly how this corrections fiasco had unfolded. The escape had been, according to the release, a bureaucratic error. 

     On Wednesday, October 30, 2019, U.S. Marshals and ICE agents arrested the prison escapee in Fort Thomas, Kentucky, a town across the Ohio River from Cincinnati. The apprehension took place about 500 miles north of Rogers State Prison in Reidsville, Georgia. If anyone was held accountable for this bureaucratic foul-up it was not made public. 

Monday, June 20, 2022

North Korea: Living In A Country Without Civil Rights

     What a nightmare it must be to live in a country without a criminal justice system. In North Korea there is no constitution that protects citizens against the power of the state. There is no free press, independent judicial branch or any form of procedural due process such as the presumption of innocence and the right to a fair trial. In nations without criminal justice systems leaders eliminate political opponents by criminalizing dissent or manufacturing crimes against people they fear or don't like.

     In North Korea citizens accused of breaking the law have the burden of proving their innocence beyond a reasonable doubt. Guilt is a forgone conclusion for the criminally accused and punishment is swift, cruel and often brutal.

     In October 2012 North Korea's young Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un ordered the execution of Kim Chol, the vice minister of the army. Chol was put to death for drinking and carousing around during the official mourning period following the death of the boy leader's father, Kim Jong-il. The once high-ranking military leader who allegedly disrespected Kim Jong-il's death was not hanged, electrocuted, beheaded or gunned down by a firing squad. Kim Chol's executioners forced him to stand at a marked spot, aimed a zeroed-in mortor round, then fired a shot that blew him to bits. One second he was there, the next he was not.

     In North Korea capital punishment prisoners do not linger on death row up to fifteen years while their appellate attorneys and anti-capital punishment advocates try to save their lives. When the time comes to execute them they are not eased into eternity with a carefully prepared cocktail of drugs. In North Korea there are no last meals, last words or last anything except the condemned person's last breath.

     In 2003 when the Supreme Leader's son Kim Jong-un returned from boarding school in Switzerland he met and established a relationship with a famous North Korean singer named Hyon-Song-wol. Hyon was a member of the Unhasu Orchestra, the Wangjaesan Light Band and the Morganbong Band. She had recorded a string of hits that had propagandistic titles like "Footsteps of Soldiers," "I love Pyongyang" and "We Are Troops of the Party."

     The Supreme Leader, who did not approve of Hyon Song-wol, ordered Kim Jong-un to break off the relationship. After Kim Jong-il died in December 2011, his son, the new Supreme Leader, married Ri Sol-ju, also a singer with the Unhasu Orchestra. Hyon, his ex-girlfriend, married an officer in the North Korean military and had a baby. There were rumors, however, that Kim Jong-un continued to see Hyon. The young Supreme Leader's wife reportedly resented her husband's former girlfriend and wanted her out of Kim Jong-un's life. Permanently.

     On August 17, 2013 North Korean authorities arrested Hyon Song-wol and eleven singers, dancers and musicians with the Unhasu Orchestra. Hyon and the others were charged with breaking the nation's laws against pornography. Specifically, they were accused of making and selling videos of themselves performing sex acts, charges that were patently false and absurd.

     Just three days after being falsely charged with pornography Hyon Song-wol and the others were lined up against a wall and machine-gunned to death. After family members were forced to watch the state slaughter their loved ones they were hauled off to labor camps.

     Toshimitsu Shigemura, a professor at Tokyo's Waseda University, an expert on North Korean affairs, told a reporter with England's The Daily Telegraph that Hyon Song-wol and the other entertainers had been executed for "political reasons" related to Kim Jong-un's wife.

The Aaron Trejo Murder Case

     In December 2018 16-year-old Aaron Trejo played high school football in Mishawaka, Indiana, a town of 48,000 in the northern part of the state. His girlfriend, 17-year-old Breana Rouhselang, was a Mishawaka High School cheerleader. She was pregnant with Trejo's child, and at eleven o'clock on the night of Saturday, December 8, 2018, Trejo asked Rouhselang to meet him behind his house to discuss the pregnancy.

     The next morning, Sunday December 9, 2018, Breana Rouhselang's mother, when her daughter didn't return home went to Aaron Trejo's house and asked him if he had information regarding Breana's whereabouts. Trejo told Mrs. Rouhselang that he and Breana had planned to meet that night but she never showed.

     Mrs. Rouhselang, on that Sunday, reported her daughter missing to the Mishawaka Police Department. Later that day police officers found an item belonging to the missing girl near a Mishawka restaurant. In the dumpster behind the restaurant officers found Breana's body. A black plastic bag covered the girl's head and upper torso. She had been stabbed in the chest.

     When questioned by detectives Aaron Trejo confessed to killing Breana Rouhselang. He said he tried to strangle her with her scarf, stabbed her in the chest, covered her upper body with the plastic bag then tossed her body into the dumpster. He threw his knife and the victim's cellphone into the St. Joseph River. Trejo said he had been angry that Rouhselang, six months pregnant, had waited too long to get an abortion. He said he had planned for a week to murder Breana and their unborn child.

     On Monday, December 10, 2018 a St. Joseph County prosecutor charged Aaron Trejo with murdering Breana Rouhselang. The prosecutor also charged the suspect with the level 3 felony of killing her fetus. If convicted as charged he faced up to 80 years in prison. The suspect was held in the St. Joseph County Jail without bond.

     On October 30, 2019 Aaron Trejo pleaded guilty to the charges of first-degree murder and feticide.

     A Joseph County Superior Court Judge, on January 9, 2020, sentenced Trejo to 65 years in prison. 

Sunday, June 19, 2022

Sirgiorgio Clardy: The Sociopath From Hell

     Sirgiorgio Clardy bounced from one foster home to another in Portland Oregon because even as a kid no adult could handle him. In 2000, when he was thirteen, he attacked his foster dad with a baseball bat. Clardy also threatened and attacked teachers, school administrators and classmates. He took brass knuckles to school and once tried to sexually assault a female student.

     By 2013 the 26-year-old Clardy had been convicted of twenty felonies that included crimes such as forcing young women to work as prostitutes, assault and robbery. When police officers arrested him he'd threaten to rape their wives and children. When he wasn't incarcerated Clardy made everyone who come into contact with him miserable, including the teenaged girls he forced into prostitution. This brutal pimp had no business living outside of prison walls.

     In the summer of 2012 several 18-year-old prostitutes, against their will, were doing business for Clardy out of the Inn at the Convention Center, a motel on the edge of downtown Portland. During the course of that operation a john tried to leave the motel without paying one of Clardy's prostitutes. Clardy caught the john before he left the motel. The pimp knocked the free-loader off his feet then stomped his face. With the john on the ground bleeding, Clardy took all of his money. It took plastic surgery to repair the damage to the assault victim's face.

     Police officers arrested Clardy shortly after the attack. A Multnomah County prosecutor charged the violent pimp with compelling prostitution, first-degree robbery and second-degree assault. The suspect pleaded not guilty to all charges.

     In the months leading up to Clardy's trial he threatened and spit on several lawyers appointed to represent him. Eventually Judge Kelly Skye, realizing that no lawyer wanted to be near this man, declared that he would have to defend himself with the help of a legal advisor who would not be required to sit next to him in court. After awhile even the legal advisor asked the judge to be relieved from the unsavory assignment.

     In July 2013, not long after Clardy's trial got underway in Portland's Multnomah County Circuit Court, the defendant spit on sheriff's deputies and threatened the judge. The next day deputies rolled the defendant into court handcuffed to a wheelchair. To keep him from spitting on people the defendant's head was covered in a mesh bag. Because Clardy refused to get dressed for trial officers had wrapped him in a suicide smock.

     A few days into the trial, notwithstanding the presence of nine deputy sheriffs, Judge Skye ordered the defendant into another courtroom where he'd watch the proceedings on a video monitor. The judge considered Clardy too disruptive to be physically present at his own trial.

     The jurors concluded Clardy's two-week trial by finding him guilty of all charges. At the sentencing hearing a few days later the prosecutor put Dr. Frank Colistro on the stand. The psychologist, in practice for thirty years, said, "I've evaluated serial murderers, serial rapists and I'm going to tell you very few of those people reached the evaluation scores we're going to talk about here."

     According to the forensic psychologist Clardy was in the 100th percentile of the narcissistic psychopath scale. "People like Mr. Clardy," the doctor said, "are born bad. It's not something we can fix. That's why we have prisons."

      At the trial, the prosecutor had put Dr. Colistro on the stand to counter the defendant's claim that he heard voices and wanted to kill himself. Dr. Colistro testified that Clardy exemplified the textbook case of an anti-social psychopath, a man who thought he was smarter, more attractive and better than anyone else. According to Dr. Colistro, Sirgiorgio Clardy was not mentally ill. He was evil.

     Judge Judy Skye, based upon Sirgiorgio Claudy's violent past, criminal record, courtroom behavior and psychological evaluation declared him a "dangerous offender". People so designated, if given the chance, would offend again. As someone beyond the reach of rehabilitation, Judge Skye sentenced Clardy to 100 years in prison with no chance of parole until he served 36 years. Clardy, upon hearing his sentence, swore at the judge and threatened the deputy sheriffs.

     In January 2014, from his cell at the Eastern Oregon Correctional Institution, Clardy, through a handwritten, three-page complaint, filed a $100 million civil suit against, among others, Phil Knight, the chairman of the Nike Company. Clardy based his tort claim on the theory that Nike, on each shoe, does not provide a label that warns users that stomping a person's face while wearing this Nike product could cause serious injury to the stomped person. As a result of the defendant's omission the plaintiff experienced "great mental suffering".

     Clardy's lawsuit, the product of sociopathy in the extreme, was dismissed by a judge on October 2, 2014. 

The George Wayman Murder Case

     In 2016 31-year-old Veronica Rene Castro lived in a travel trailer in Bellevue Texas, a remote Clay County community near the Oklahoma border 80 miles northwest of Fort Worth. Castro resided with her three-year-old son Dominic Tra'Juan Castro and the boy's 18-year-old stepfather George Coty Wayman. Wayman, a violent dimwit with a facial tattoo, had a criminal record that included a recent stretch in prison.

     Shortly after three in the afternoon on Tuesday, May 17, 2016 someone from the Castro dwelling on Buffalo Springs Road called 911 to report a shooting. When deputies with the Clay County Sheriff's Office arrived at the scene they found the Castro toddler shot once in the back of the head.

     Emergency personnel airlifted the seriously wounded boy to the United Regional Health Care System in Wichita Falls Texas. At ten-forty-five the next morning Dominic Castro died.

      George Wayman, when questioned at the scene of the shooting by the police said the boy had been accidentally shot when he jumped on the bed where a 9mm handgun had been placed. The physical evidence at the scene failed to support this scenario. Moreover, several people in the bedroom who had witnessed the shooting had a different story.

     According to the eyewitnesses Mr. Wayman, angry at the toddler for jumping on the bed, aimed the gun at the boy's head and shot him.

     A Clay County prosecutor, on May 18, 2016, charged George Wayman with capital murder. (In Texas the intentional killing of a child under six constituted a death penalty offense.) The accused murderer was booked into the Clay County Jail under $550,000 bond.

      In December 2016 following George Wayman's guilty plea a Clay County judge sentenced him to life in prison.

Saturday, June 18, 2022

Extreme Cruelty: The Samilya Brown Murder Case

     On October 30, 2019, police officers and medics responded to a 911 call from a house on the 1700 block of Folsom Street on the north side of Philadelphia Pennsylvania. A 4-year-old girl had fallen from a second-story window of the house and landed on some chairs, seriously injuring her face. The child was rushed by ambulance to Jefferson University Hospital then transferred to the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia where she was listed in critical condition.

     The injured girl was being cared for by 38-year-old Samilya Brown who had gained custody of her from Zya Singleton, the girl's mother. Singleton gave up custody of her daughter two years earlier because she didn't have the means to support her. She granted custody to Brown, who was married to her stepbrother, because she didn't want the child placed into foster care.

     When questioned by police officers at the scene regarding how the child had gone out the window Samilya Brown said the girl fell while playing with a cat.

     On November 3, 2019 Zya Singleton's daughter died from her injuries and a serious blood infection. Because she had not died from natural causes the city medical examiner performed an autopsy. What the forensic pathologist discovered was shocking.

     The medical examiner discovered evidence that the girl had been the victim of years of physical abuse. Her body was covered with burns from some kind of acid, human bite marks and healed-over puncture wounds. The tiny victim had an incised wound that had been stitched up by an amateur, a cut that had become seriously infected. The child was also malnourished. The medical examiner also concluded that the girl's recent head trauma was not consistent with a fall.

     The forensic pathologist, presented with evidence pointing to a history of abuse at the hands of an extremely cruel adult, ruled the child's death a criminal homicide.

     When interrogated by homicide detectives, Samilya Brown admitted that she had been the one who had stitched up the girl's cut. She denied, however, causing any of the other signs of physical trauma found on the victim's body.

     On November 12, 2019, Philadelphia County District Attorney Larry Krasner charged Samilya Brown with murder and several lesser offenses. Child protection agents removed Brown's four biological children from her house. According to reports these children showed no signs of physical abuse.
     In May 2022, after confessing to the prolonged torture of the 4-year-old girl in her custody, Samilya Brown was allowed to plead guilty to third-degree murder, a crime that in Pennsylvania carries a sentence of 10 to 20 years. She is scheduled to be sentenced on July 11, 2022. Brown should have been charged with second-degree murder, an offense punishable by life in prison.

Friday, June 17, 2022

Ingrid Lederhaas-Okum: The Thieving Employee

     On July 1, 2013 at 8:45 in the evening, three men walked into the jewelry store inside the Borgata Hotel in Atlantic City, smashed a glass jewelry display case, scooped up $200,000 in Rolex watches then ran out of the hotel.

     While the Atlantic City smash-and-grab theft was considered a fairly big haul it was nothing compared to what a jewelry thief could steal working from the inside.

     On Tuesday, July 2, 2013, the day after the Borgata Hotel smash-and-grab, FBI agents arrested Ingrid Lederhaas-Okum at her upscale home in Darien, Connecticut. A federal prosecutor charged the 46-year-old vice president in charge of product development at the Tiffany flagship location on Manhattan's Fifth Avenue with stealing $12 million worth of jewelry from the famed store.

     FBI agents working the case believe that between November 2012 and February 2013 the executive had checked out more than 165 pieces of jewelry that were not returned to the store. The missing merchandise included diamond bracelets, platinum and gold diamond drop and loop earrings, platinum and diamond rings and platinum and diamond pendants. Lederhaas-Okum stood accused of selling the checked-out pieces of jewelry to another company. Federal investigators believed the suspect used her husband and one of her friends as sales intermediaries.

     After Tiffany & Company auditors couldn't find the 165-plus pieces of merchandise in the store's inventory the firm fired Lederhaas-Okum. She had held the position of vice president since January of 2011. Lederhaas-Okum began working for the company in 1991 following her graduation from Georgetown University.

     Igrid Lederhaas-Okum pleaded not guilty to the jewelry theft charge.

     In terms of stolen merchandise and cash, retailers in general are hit the hardest by employee thieves who steal three times more than shoplifters and robbers combined. Quite often the most trusted and longtime employees are the thieves who do the most damage. Most of them are eventually caught. A few of these so-called internal thieves avoid prosecution by agreeing to pay restitution. Occasionally, a retailer will decline to prosecute a dishonest employee because such an action would create unwanted publicity. Most of the time, however, inside retail thieves who have stolen large amounts of cash or merchandise end up in prison.

     It's hard to understand why a trusted, high-paid executive would risk everything by stealing from his or her employer. Some prominent high-end thieves steal because they are living beyond their means, have large medical expenses, are compulsive gamblers or addicted to drugs. Some employees simply enjoy the thrill of enriching themselves at the expense of their employers. 

     On December 23, 2013, following her guilty plea to one count of Interstate Transportation of Stolen Property, U.S. District Court Judge Paul G. Gardephe sentenced Lederhaas-Okum to one year and one day in federal prison. By any standard, given how much she had stolen, this employee thief got off light.

"Breaking Bad" at Henderson State University

     Henderson State University is a public liberal arts school with 3,500 students in Arkadelphia, Arkansas, a town located 70 miles southwest of Little Rock. On October 8, 2019 a powerful odor that came from the university's Reynolds Science Center forced the closing of the chemistry laboratory. The inquiry that followed revealed the elevated presence of benzyl chloride, a chemical commonly used in the manufacture of methamphetamine. The identity of this chemical prompted an investigation by the university police department.

     Two days after the closure of the university chem lab the president of the school placed 45-year-old Terry David Bateman, an associate professor and director of the undergraduate research department, on administrative leave. Bateman had been with Henderson State University since 2009.

  The university president also placed 40-year-old Bradley Allen Rowland on administrative leave. Rowland was an associate professor in the chemistry department.

     On October 29, 2019, the Environmental Protection Agency okayed the re-opening of the chemistry lab. The investigation into the potentially criminal activities of the two professors by the campus police department produced enough evidence to bring in narcotics specialists with the Clark County Sheriff's Office.

     On November 15, 2019 a Clark County prosecutor charged professors Terry Bateman and Bradley Rowland with the manufacture of methamphetamine. The suspects were booked into the Clark County Jail.
     In October 2021, a Clark County jury found Terry Bateman not guilty. A month later Bradley Rowland pleaded guilty to manufacturing methamphetamine and was sentenced to 120 days in the county jail and six years probation. The former professor was also ordered to pay a $150,000 fine to cover the cost of the methamphetamine lab clean up. 
     For many, the arrests of the college professors suspected of cooking meth brought to mind the popular television series "Breaking Bad" that was broadcast on the AMC channel from 2008 to 2015. The drama followed the life of Walter White, a high school chemistry professor from Albuquerque, New Mexico who became a major underworld figure as a world-class meth cook. 

Thursday, June 16, 2022

The Stanwood Elkus Murder Case

     As a young man who grew up in southern California's Orange County, Ronald Franklin Gilbert, the son of a physician, played in a rock band and worked as a stockbroker. In the late 1980s he followed in his father's footsteps by becoming a doctor. In 1993 Dr. Gilbert joined the Orange County Urology Group housed at the Hoag Health Center in Newport Beach. The Huntington Beach resident, as a urologist, treated patients with prostrate cancer and bladder conditions as well as with a variety of sexual dysfunctions. He performed vasectomies, prostate surgery and other urology related medical procedures. Dr. Gilbert's colleagues considered him one of the best in his field.

     Stanwood F. Elkus, a 75-year-old retired barber from Elsinore, California told a friend on January 27, 2013 that Dr. Gilbert had botched his prostate surgery 21 years earlier at a Veteran's Administration hospital. (While Dr. Gilbert had worked at that VA facility then, there was no record of him operating on Mr. Elkus.) To his friend, Elkus said, "I had surgery and now I am worse than before the surgery." According to Elkus, Dr. Gilbert's operation had aggravated his incontinence problem rather than fix it.

     The following afternoon at 2:30 Stanwood Elkus showed up at the Hoag Health Center for his appointment with Dr. Gilbert. He had made the appointment using a fake name. Fifteen minutes later, when Dr. Gilbert walked into the examination room, the patient shot him several times in the upper body, killing him instantly.

     After the shooting, Mr. Elkus emerged from the examination room holding a .45-caliber handgun. "Call the police," he said. "I'm insane."

     Newport Beach police officers arrived at the doctor's office eight minutes after the murder. They disarmed and arrested Elkus in the examination room. A few hours later police officers searched the shooter's home in Lake Elsinore.

     On Wednesday, January 30, 2013,Stanwood Elkus stood before an Orange County arraignment judge who officially charged him with murder. The judge set Elkus' bail at $1 million. The prisoner was booked into the Orange County Jail.

     On May 9, 2014 Stanwood Elkus settled a wrongful death suit brought by members of Dr. Gilbert's family. To shield his assets from the civil suit plaintiffs Mr. Elkus tried to transfer his ownership of eight houses and condominiums in Lake Forest, Huntington Beach and Lake Elsinore to his sister. A judge granted the plaintiff's injunction that stopped the real estate transactions. The accused murder's assets were valued at $2 million.

     In August 2014 the murder suspect's attorney Colleen O'Hara entered a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity. Orange County Deputy District Attorney Matt Murphy told reporters that he planned to prove that Mr. Elkus, at the moment he killed Dr. Gilbert, was sane. "We are very confident in our evidence," he said.

     On August 21, 2017, an Orange County Superior Court jury found Elkus guilty of first-degree murder. In so doing jurors found that the defendant was sane at the time of the killing. A month after the guilty verdict the judge sentenced Stanwood Elkus to life in prison plus ten years.

Wednesday, June 15, 2022

Homicidal Schizophrenics: Individual Rights Versus Public Safety

     In February 2009 Joseph Hagerman III, a diagnosed paranoid schizophrenic, stopped taking his antipsychotic medication. He had stopped taking his medicine twice in the past and had experienced psychotic episodes. This time, however, he decapitated his 5-year-old son and injured his wife who tried in vain to protect the boy.

     Following his arrest Mr. Hagerman, in a jailhouse interview with a local TV reporter, said he had killed his son because he believed the boy had become the antichrist.

     A few months after the homicide a jury in Virginia Beach Virginia found the defendant not guilty by reason of insanity. Under Virginia law this meant that Hagerman would be sent to a mental institution instead of prison. He would remain at the hospital until his doctors and a judge declared him sane enough to rejoin society.

     In late 2016 doctors at the Eastern State Hospital in Williamsburg Virginia recommended to the court that Joseph Hagerman be granted conditional release from the institution. According to the psychiatrist, this patient, over the past few years, had been given 48-hour passes that had not caused any problems. He had been, according to the hospital staff, a model patient.

     A Virginia circuit judge acting upon the psychiatric recommendation ordered that Mr. Hagerman be given two independent mental health evaluations.

     On May 9, 2017, following the testimony of two psychiatrists and Mr. Hagerman's father, the judge ordered the patient's conditional release from the hospital. Pursuant to this decree Mr. Hagerman was required to live at an adult foster care facility during the week. On weekends he was allowed to reside with his parents.

     Under the judge's order Mr. Hagerman would also receive periodic visits from social workers and psychiatrists who would check to make sure he was still taking his antipsychotic medication.

    At the conclusion of the sanity hearing Mr. Hagerman's sister told a local television correspondent that, "I just want to let the community know that my brother is a very loving, generous, Christian man. He had a wonderful family, and it was an unfortunate incident. [Italics mine.] Everyone needs to get educated on mental illness."

     The fact that a child died because his mentally ill father, for the third time, had stopped taking his medication was perhaps cause for concern. Compassion for the mentally ill is well and good but so is the need to protect people who will cross this man's path. One doesn't need to be highly educated on the subject of mental illness to know that the behavior of a homicidal schizophrenic is extremely unpredictable. 

Tuesday, June 14, 2022

The David Tarloff Murder Case

      In 1991 psychiatrists diagnosed David Tarloff with schizophrenia when the 23-year-old was in college. Over the next seventeen years the Queens, New York resident, on twelve occasions, ended up in a hospital mental ward. There was no question that the man was mentally ill.

     Tarloff lived with his mother in a Queens apartment until 2004 when she moved into a nursing home. By 2008 the 40-year-old schizophrenic had convinced himself that his mother was being abused by nursing home personnel. That's when he concocted a plan to rob Dr. Kent Shinbach, the psychiatrist who had initially treated him in 1991. With the money he hoped to acquire by using the doctor's ATM code Tarloff planned to pull his mother out of the nursing home and take her to Hawaii.

     In February 2008, after making several phone inquiries, David Tarloff learned that Dr. Shinbach had offices on Manhattan's Upper East Side. In preparation for the robbery Tarloff purchased a rubber meat mallet and a cleaver that he packed into a suitcase filled with adult diapers and clothing for his mother.

     On February 8, 2008 Mr. Tarloff showed up at  Dr. Shinbach's office armed with the meat cleaver and the mallet. But instead of encountering his robbery target he was confronted by Dr. Kathryn Faughey, the 56-year-old psychotherapist who shared office space with Dr. Shinbach.

    In the Manhattan doctor's office, Tarloff smashed Faughey's skull with the mallet then hacked her to death with the meat cleaver. He also attacked Dr. Shinbach when the psychiatrist tried to rescue his colleague. The assailant fled the bloody scene on foot and was taken into custody shortly thereafter. Dr. Shinbach survived his wounds.

     The Manhattan District Attorneys Office charged David Tarloff with first-degree murder. The defendant's attorney acknowledged what his client had done but pleaded him not guilty by reason of insanity. If a jury found that at the moment the defendant killed Dr. Faughey he was so mentally ill he couldn't appreciate the nature and quality of his act, they could return a verdict of not guilty. Instead of serving a fixed prison term Mr. Tarloff would be placed into an institution for the criminally insane. The length of his incarceration would be determined by the doctors who treated him. If at some point the psychiatrists considered him sane enough for society he could be discharged from the mental institution. (It is for this reason that most jurors are uncomfortable with the insanity defense, particularly in cases of extreme violence.)

     Under American law criminal defendants are presumed innocent and sane. That means the prosecution has to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. The defense, in insanity cases, has the burden of proving, by a preponderance of the evidence (a less rigorous standard of proof) that the defendant was out of touch with reality when he committed the homicide. Since even seriously psychotic murder defendants are aware they are killing their victims, insanity verdicts are rare. This is particularly true in rural communities where jurors prefer to send mentally ill murderers to prison.

     After years of procedural delays David Tarloff's murder trial got underway in March 2013. A month later, following the testimony of a set of dueling psychiatrists, the case went to the jury. After ten days of deliberation the jury foreman informed the judge that the panel had not been able to reach an unanimous verdict of guilt. The trial judge had no choice but to declare a mistrial.

     The Manhattan prosecutor in charge of the case announced his intention to try David Tarloff again.

     In May 2014, at his second trial, the jury rejected the insanity defense and found David Tarloff guilty of first-degree murder. The judge sentenced him to life in prison without the possibility of parole.     

The Thomas Fritz Murder Case

     Thomas Fritz grew up in Sylvania, a suburb of Toledo Ohio. In 1997 he joined the Ohio National Guard and six years later served a year in Iraq with a Guard military police unit. The 30-year-old graduated from suburban Toledo's Owens Community College in 2004 with an associates degree in criminal justice. His aspirations for a career in law enforcement came to an end in 2006 when, after having sexual intercourse with a woman who had passed out drunk, he pleaded guilty to sexual battery. The judge, who declared Fritz a "sexually oriented offender," sentenced him to one year in an Ohio prison.

     In December 2011 Thomas Fritz moved into a white two-story house in Blissfield, Michigan, a small town in the southeastern part of the state 20 miles northwest of Toledo. The 38-year-old shared the dwelling with his girlfriend, 33-year-old Amy Merrill and her two sons from a previous relationship. Fritz and Merrill also had a toddler of their own. In late June 2012 Merrill ended her relationship with Fritz who continued to reside in the Blissfield house with her and the children.

     Late Friday night on July 13, 2012, there was an altercation in the Blissfield house which at the time was occupied by Amy Merrill, her 24-year-old sister Lisa Gritzmaker and their 52-year-old mother Robin Lynn McCowan. Thomas Fritz opened fire on the family with a rifle, killing Amy Merrill and her sister Lisa Gritzmaker who was 8-months pregnant. The mother, Robin Lynn McCowan was wounded.

     After Fritz fled the murder scene in his maroon 2002 Honda, the wounded Robin Lynn McCowan called 911. A Lenawee County prosecutor charged Thomas Fritz with two counts of open murder and one count of assault with intent to commit murder.

     A man Thomas Fritz had worked for owned a remote cabin in Tyler County, West Virginia 80 miles south of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Fritz had stayed at this cabin before. After murdering his wife and her sister and wounding their mother, Fritz headed for West Virginia.

     The Tyler County cabin sat deep in the woods off Cow House Road three miles south of a wide spot in the highway called Sistersville, a village comprised of a store and one gas station. Someone who spotted Fritz driving through town called the sheriff's office. On Tuesday, July 17, 2012 a U.S. Marshal saw Fritz, armed with a rifle, enter the cabin. By nightfall the place was surrounded by U.S. Marshals and Tyler County sheriff's deputies.

     That night, while surveilling the cabin officers heard a gunshot from inside. After firing teargas canisters into the hide-out, officers entered the structure where they found Thomas Fritz dead in a back bedroom with a bullet in his head. Inside the cabin officers found two assault rifles, a shotgun and a gas mask.    

Monday, June 13, 2022

The Michael Nolan Murder-Suicide Case

     Michael Nolan resided in his 86-year-old father's house in Brentwood, New Hampshire, a town of 4,200 in the southern part of the state. The 47-year-old son and his father, Walter Nolan, shared the two-story house in a tree-shaded neighborhood restricted to people 55 and older.

     At four in the afternoon of Monday, May 12, 2014 a neighbor on Mill Pond Road called 911 to report shouting and screams coming from the Nolan residence. Ten minutes later officer Stephen Arkell, a part time 15-year veteran of the Brentwood Police Department, pulled up to the scene and was let into the house by Walter Nolan, the owner of the dwelling.

     Four minutes after officer Arkell entered the Nolan house Derek Franek, an officer with the Fremont Police Department, arrived at the scene. Inside the house officer Arkell, as he spoke to the older man, was shot and killed by Walter Nolan's son Michael. When officer Franek entered the dwelling through the front entrance Michael Nolan opened fire on him. Both the Fremont officer and the senior Mr. Nolan managed to escape the house without being shot. Once outside officer Franek radioed that an officer was down and that he had been fired upon by someone inside the Nolan dwelling.

     Officer Franek's urgent call brought a New Hampshire state SWAT unit and the Seacoast Regional Emergency Response Team. Walter Nolan, in a state of shock and unable to communicate coherently with police officers, was taken by ambulance to Exeter Hospital.

     Inside the police-surrounded house Michael Nolan poured gasoline throughout the dwelling, lit a match, then began shooting out a window at the SWAT officers. When the SWAT police fired back a bullet hit a propane gas line that touched off a massive explosion.

     At six o'clock that evening, thirty minutes after the propane blast blew off a third of the roof, firefighters began dousing the charred structure with water. Firefighters remained on the scene until nine-thirty that night.

    Cause and origin arson investigators combing through the debris found Michael Nolan's remains. Lying next to his body the officers found three handguns, three rifles and a cache of ammunition.

     Brentwood police officer Stephen Arkell, killed in the line of duty, left behind a wife and two teenage daughters. He was 48-years-old.

     Although a forensic pathologist performed an autopsy on Michael Nolan the medical examiner's office did not immediately reveal if he had been shot to death by the SWAT police, died in the fire or had killed himself.

     According to neighbors Michael Nolan rarely spoke to anyone and spent most of his time in his room watching television. Police officers had not been called to the Nolan residence in the past and Michael did not have a criminal record.

     In May 2015, the authorities, under pressure from the local media, released the results of the joint investigation of the case by the New Hampshire Attorney General's Office, the State Police Major Crime Unit and the ATF. According to the report, Mr. Nolan had shot himself to death before the house exploded. In the report he was described as a "stressed out" alcoholic gun enthusiast.