Tuesday, 29 September 2015

The Death of Emma Sheard

Another obscure case from West Yorkshire was that of 75 year old Emma Sheard, who mysteriously disappeared in 1942 and it never raised suspicion amongst her neighbours for a number of years. It took a resuming of pit inspections that was to uncover the truth, and put another woman in the dock.  Emma shared her cottage in the tiny village of Walton with her great niece, Winnie Hallighan, a married nursing orderly.  One day, neighbours noticed that Emma was not around and asked her niece where Emma was.  She told them that her aunt had decided to go away for a short time.  This they accepted and eventually forgot about her.  A year later, the cottage was sold, and as Emma`s signature appeared on sale documents, this meant that Emma was alive and well.

    But it was in December 1948 that an inspection of the pit shaft by a mining inspector that uncovered it`s grisly secret.  Inspections had been halted during the war but now it was over, inspections were slowly being reintroduced, even in flooded shafts.  This particular shaft had flooded decades earlier and had been abandoned.  But it was still given periodical examinations.  December 20th 1948, and an inspector moved in to check the pit shaft, moving away debris away from the top and shining his lamp into the shaft, saw thing gruesome.  The shaft measured over 700 feet in depth with the water at least 130 feet from the top.  The inspector thought he saw human remains in the water, so summoned Police from West Riding Constabulary.  They brought in more powerful lights and grappling hooks and managed to bring all the remains to the surface that they could see.

    The bones were taken to the Pathological Laboratory in Wakefield and to be examined by Dr David Price.  He concluded the victim was a small female but unable to deduce cause of death.  A number of body parts were still missing, including the head, so Police asked the mining company for an expert.  They provided a man from the rescue squad, and he was lowered down the shaft to the water.  He had protective clothing and oxygen, and actually recovered all the rest of the bones from within the water.  Police had already started door to door enquiries, and neighbours remembered the sudden disappearance of Emma.  Her great niece was living close by in a terraced house, and told Police that Emma had moved away then later, sold her cottage.  They looked into the sale of the house but could find no trace of her.  With the neighbours remembering her suddenly going away, Police took Winnie in for questioning.  Soon, under intense pressure, she confessed that she had killed Emma but not murdered her.  She said they argued and she hit Emma after she claimed Winnie`s husband was having an affair.  Winnie said that Emma struck her head as she fell.  She started to panic and decided to put her in the old pit shaft which was nearby.  She used her nursing skills to move the body and drop her her into the flooded pit.  She also admitted forging Emma`s signature on the sale documents.  Put before a magistrate, it was decided that there was insufficient evidence to justify a murder charge and changed the charge to manslaughter.  In March 1949, she appeared at Leeds Assizes on  a Manslaughter and three forgery charges. She was jailed for five years.

The Unsolved Murder of Emily Pye

Halifax, the West Yorkshire town, has an unsolved murder that stretches back to 1957, but despite the best efforts of the Police, the killer got away with it.  The events began on June 8th 1957, when an intruder entered the premises belonging to 80 year old Emily Pye and inflicted severe head injuries to the elderly lady.  That particular day was a public holiday, resulting in many people going away for the day.  But Emily's niece and husband arrived at the shop to find it firmly locked, but with no sign of her aunt.  They had arranged to meet that day and go out for the afternoon.  Despite banging on the door and shouting, there was no response.  The niece went for the Police, and a Constable arrived.  He tried knocking but with no answer, he asked for permission to force entry.  They consented and he smashed the door in, and upon entering, found the body of Emily.  She had been partially covered with a rug, and showed severe injuries to her head.  The Constable immediately sent for reinforcements.  The Chief Constable, Gerald Goodman, decided that this required vastly experienced murder investigators, so asked Scotland Yard for help.  Two officers were dispatched to Yorkshire.  Detective Superintendent Herbert Hannam & Detective Sergeant Chris Rowe.  Hannam had been involved in solving the Towpath Murders & the unsuccessful prosecution of Dr John Adams, in which he was torn apart in the witness box by Adams`barrister, Geoffrey Lawrence.

    The first task for the two, was to find people who had been in Gibbett Street that afternoon, but only came up with four witnesses.  One stated that Emily was alive at 12.20pm but soon there was a severe thunderstorm, which naturally made people stay indoors.  The autopsy by Dr David Price, determined death had occurred between noon and 3pm.  He also deduced that Emily had first suffered a physical beating before being struck with a blunt object.  This turned out to be one of her irons.  Money had been taken from the shop till but it was not much as it had been quiet due to the holiday and the weather.  Hannam believed that Emily knew her killer, as he did not immediately flee.  Did he decide to kill her after punching her, and that she recognised him?  Possible.  Or was he simply an evil brute?  Another pointer for a local was the fact that the killer securely bolted the shop door and left by a side door.  Hannam`s enquiries led him to check out hotels, hostels, boarding houses, places where drifters or homeless people would go.  Cars leading out of Halifax were stopped and drivers asked about hitchhikers.  Nobody reported seeing a man n bloodied clothes, none were found, and it seemed he had vanished completely unseen.  By christmas of that year, the investigation was halted and Hannam & Rowe returned to London.  So, did a local man commit this brutal crime?  Anybody out there with suggestions?

Thursday, 17 September 2015

Man Who Was Not A Man!

Here is a truly bizarre case that just ended in Chester, just down the road from where I originate from.  Gayle Newland, 25, was convicted of three charges of sexual assault.  What makes it bizarre, was that her accuser thought she was a man!  She was said to have disguised her appearance, spoke in a lower tone, and her aim was to have sex with her.  But to continue the deception, she insisted the other woman, also aged 25, was to wear a blindfold when it came to intimacy. This she complied with for a number of trysts but one day, she decided to take off the blindfold.  To her horror, he realised that the "man" was in fact, a woman!  You do not need to be a genius to work out that Miss Newlands was wearing a strap on penis!  Miss Newlands claimed that she knew she was a woman and willingly engaged in sexual role playing, because they were both experiencing problems with their sexual identities.  The relationship had been going on for two years.  The court clearly did not agree with her claims and convicted her.  It does raise a number of questions about how this was not discovered sooner.  Everybody will ask certain questions.  Feel free to comment.

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Anthony Jackson - Serial Killer

This is a case that showed that the so-called "Boston Stranglings" - a case that still divides opinions.  Some firmly believe that Albert DeSalvo was the Strangler whilst many others believe there were several killers at large.  But in the early 1970`s, Boston was plagued by another series of murders, namely those attributed to the "Hitchhiker Murderer."  This monicker was through that a number of the victims were known to have hitched a lift either to school or to their job.   One victim was Ellen Reich.  This young woman from Emerson College was discovered in a closet in an empty apartment in Seaver Street, in the Roxbury district.  An autopsy revealed that sexual activity had taken place before her murder but it was unknown if it was consensual or rape.  Ellen had been strangled, then shot.

    Another victim was Damaris Gillespie, 22.  This young lady was seen on November 29th 1972, and then she was discovered more than twenty miles away in Billerica, on February 8th 1973.  The Cambridge student had been strangled.  A  Police Officer on routine patrol had seen a man in driving a Cadillac, pestering a young girl walking down the street.  Officer Conroy stepped in, but upon seeing him, the perpetrator sped off.  During the chase, the driver fired at Police, and one officer returned fire, hitting the driver, and arrested him.  It was December 26th 1973.  He was Anthony Jackson.  This murderer had an exceptionally high I.Q. but despite having the intelligence to reach any goal, he was a man who operated as a pimp and had a serious taste for violence and cruelty to women.  He was convicted of a number of murders and received life without parole.  Jackson has been linked to as many as twenty seven homicides, all the victims were young women.  Police believe one victim was deposited in foundations of a building that was ready to be concreted over, in the Cambridge district.  At least he is out of the way.

Monday, 14 September 2015

Mother Poisoned her Children

For some unknown reason Clara White committed what was thought to be the absolute unthinkable: murdered her own children.  Clara was a woman who always worried about everything, no matter what.  Her husband had packed his belongings and left her,even abandoning his two children, Patrick, 3, & Lillian, close to two years old.  It was early in 1912 that Clara found herself alone with the children, but she was able to move in to the home of Walter Riley, a man separated from his wife, in Edmonton, in Middlesex.  But Walter received injuries that prevented him from working, and so this put 30 year old Clara back in her worrying mode.  Walter received compensation for his injuries and so this was able to tide them over for a while.  But it could not last indefinitely.  Now Clara started worrying about how they would be able to afford the rent, and wished to know how they would pay the bills.  Walter replied that she should not worry, and left the house on the morning of 30th September 1912 and went to the Bricklayers Arms, joining Clara's brother Alfred.

    Clara joined them later for a drink and some lunch, then returned to the home.  Walter returned home at 12.15pm and found a neighbour and her child in the house with Clara and her two children.  The children were in a very playful and noisy mode, as youngsters are, but Walter found it a bit too much and asked that they went and played outside.  This angered Clara and a furious argument broke out.  Walter was actually very good to the children at all times, as he had a very gentle and soft nature.  Walter went and had a  sleep but was startled awake by screams from downstairs.  Clara had rushed outside shouting that "she had done it" and ran to a neighbours` house.  Walter went back into the house to find Patrick and Lillian foaming at the mouth.  Clara arrived back in the house with the neighbour, who helped gave the children salty water, in order for them to vomit up whether they had consumed.

    Clara announced that she was giving herself up to the Police and left the house, where she ran into Police Constable Ward.  A doctor also arrived, John Shaw.  The officer found a bottle of "Spirit of Salts" or Hydrochloric Acid.  Clara had given this to the toddlers.  Soon, they both died in hospital.  Clara was charged with double murder.  She appeared at the Old Bailey in October 1912 but she had a successful defence as it was shown that mental illness run deeply through her family.  She was found guilty but insane, and sentenced to an indefinite period in a secure hospital.  Were her actions the result of the constant worrying affecting her judgement and eventually leading her to be a ticking bomb?  Then the argument was the spark that set it all off?  Or was it the family history of mental illness that was going to lead to an horrific act?  What do you think?


Sunday, 13 September 2015

What is the Truth? Why is it Painful?

My post about Mick Tierney & Rab Carruthers has stirred up some comments.  As is clear, the information was given to me by the Tierney family.  They are entirely their comments.  And anybody is entitled to refute them!  But I wish people would back it up with something, other than "This is crap......."  I want to make some observations on this subject that are actually common sense comments.  Carruthers did have a fearsome reputation, yet he had to do Tierney with a chopper.  The Tierneys say the weapon was smuggled in by a woman then passed to Carruthers, who got Tierney drunk.  If so, why did he need a chopper?  Why did he need to get him drunk?  Why was the attack, literally from behind?  

    Tony "Gang Boss" Lambrianou once mentioned Albert Donoghue receiving a severe beating.  Why did the heroes responsible wait for many years before confronting an old and slowed down man?  Were they frightened that years earlier they would not have chanced it, as Donoghue openly admitted he could easily get a gun and shoot somebody dead?  At least he was honest about it.  Has anybody read the autobiography of David (Darth Vader) Prowse?  Working in a theatre, he was asked by his agent to go to an East End pub and speak to a man named Ronnie Kray, who would tell him what he wanted him to do.  He duly went and was told by this Ronnie guy to have a drink and have a sit down. The pub had a number of men in it as big as him, but he said, were really ugly.  After a couple of hours, he had to get to a theatre he was appearing at.  Kray thanked him for his time and paid him.  Prowse later asked his agent what it was all about.  The reply was the Krays were expecting a raid from a rival gang and had hired all the biggest men they could find, in case it did go off.  Not very good for what Kray claimed in "My Story" as the firm being one of the most feared gangs in Europe!

    Let us go back in time to just after the mid-1950`s when Underworld boss Jack Spot was attacked by Fraser and other men.  Fraser had a weapon, was team handed, and put Spot in hospital.  In front of his wife.  Not standing by the "code" of women being there.  Then again,Barbara Ibbotson was twice attacked with razors over the Pen Club incident.  "We do not involve women & children" has long been the boast.  Sure.  Back to Spot.  Was he still able to give a good smack, so it had to be done mob handed?

    Around here, a number of years back, a guy was accused of trying it on with a drunken woman, wife of a violent thug.  The victim told me himself that he saw her home safely, but she later accused him of impropriety.  The victim knew the husband, and what he was like.  He was in a pub with the husband, who had three or four of his friends with him, and they kept buying him drinks all night.  When they left and were someplace quiet, the guy was hit from behind, and whilst unconscious on the floor, was severely done.  He spent some months in hospital, but refused to talk to Police.  I asked him why.  "I do not involve Police in my problems" was the reply.  On top of that, I have been told two exceedingly unflattering stories about this thug, which I do not know if they are true or not.  The usual crowd would be screaming, "Not true. He would never do that!"  But these tales are doing the rounds. They MIGHT be true. They might not 

    Truth is always a loser, particularly in American courts, where defence lawyers will go to any lengths, and produce the most absurd and ridiculous explanations, in order to get an acquittal.  

Saturday, 12 September 2015

Sacco & Vanzetti

Do you remember an Italian actor named Gian Volonte`?  He played Ramon Rojo in "A Fistful of Dollars" with Clint Eastwood, and then played Indio in "For a Few Dollars More" with Clint & Lee Van Cleef.  Why mention this?  Well, Volonte` was a very politically motivated man and was well known for constantly talking about politics and their issues, on set.  He then made a film "Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion" about a corrupt and brutal cop.  Another issue close to his heart.  Therefore it would have natural for him to appear in a film about the execution of two Italian anarchists in 1927 in Massachusetts, USA.  They were Nicola Sacco & Bartolomeo Vanzetti.  They were convicted of an armed robbery in which a cashier was shot dead by an assailant and a guard wounded.  The trial was, to put it mildly, extremely biased.  The prejudice displayed by both a prosecutor and judge, was breathtaking.  The robbery occurred on April 15th 1920.  Sacco & Vanzetti were arrested because they had a car just like one used in another robbery.

    What about their alibis?  Sacco said he went to Boston in order to obtain a passport.  Sacco`s story was corroborated by the Italian Consulate.  This confirmation was usurped by the judge by questioning whether the Consulate had gotten the date wrong!  Sacco had a firearm, which prosecutors said was the murder weapon, but ballistic examinations were contested by the defence.  Ballistics was still in it's infancy.  Why did he have a gun?  Simple, he said, because he sometimes worked as a nightwatchman at his place of work.  His boss confirmed all this.  As for Vanzetti, he was in Plymouth, Massachusetts, selling fish.  His story was confirmed by numerous customers.  The prosecutor countered this by casting doubt on memories well after the event, and besides, Italians banded together, with no regards for Law & Order.  Though how conjecture can be accepted as evidence......

    They admitted that they were not truthful about their whereabouts when they were arrested.  They had gone to Mexico in 1917 to avoid being drafted into WW1, but said if they had said so at the time, they believed they would have been deported.  The prosecutor launched into an attack on the morality of what they did.  Did they not want to be on the USa?  Was it right to act as cowards, etc, etc?  Again, not connected with the case, but that did not matter.  Today, would any court allow defendants to be referred to as "sons of bitches" or "dagos" and the like?  What a higher court think of a judge who called defendants "anarchistic bastards!"  Both admitted they were anarchists, which can be interpreted in different ways.  The court's view was not hard to distinguish.  Vanzetti was an activist who supported workers going on strike and standing up to tyrant bosses. (Like Joe Hill, who was stitched up for a murder and executed by firing squad in Utah in 1915)

    This was all the proof that was needed to show these two individuals were a danger to civilised society and robbery and murder was easily within their grasp.  Again, how does standing up for fair pay and working conditions, threaten the very fabric of society......?  Not surprisingly, they were convicted and sentenced to death.  There were a number of appeals, stays of execution, and calls for clemency from around the world.  One appeal about bias and prejudice was dismissed.  By the very same trial judge!  Appeals came from distinguished writers, H.G.Wells & G.B.Shaw, cancer pioneer Marie Curie and the most famous innocent man of the early 20th century, Alfred Dreyfus.  Authorities were having none of this and finally sent the duo to the chair on August 22nd, 1927.  A very long overdue review of the case, took place in 1977, when the Governor of Massachusetts, cleared them posthumously in a signed pardon.

Friday, 11 September 2015

War Hero Became Murderer

A very long running debate has been the effects of fighting in war, has on the military men who then return to civilian life.  Are they able to cope?  Are they suffering from PTSD?  We had it rammed down our throats by Hollywood on film & tv, with scenes of former soldiers turning into complete basket cases, ranting and screaming, having virtual breakdowns, after service in Vietnam.  But this was not the only war that affected men in combat.  There was Korea, WW2 & of course, WW1.  Sam Sweeney was a Merchant Seaman from Belfast, whom had served in the Royal Navy in the Great War.  He survived a terrifying experience when he was serving on HMS Hampshire.  The ship had struck a mine in 1916 and sank, taking 650 men down with her.  There was just 12 survivors.  Sam Sweeney was one of the fortunate.  But now it was 1926 and he was back in Belfast, and he was not a happy man.

    He and his wife had separated three years before, and now, after getting back from sea, he received a notice that his child support payments were to increase.  This took him into a rage and so he decided to go and see his wife.  It was October 15th, and Sweeney, 45, came upon his wife, Norma, 39, with his children, returning from school.  Sweeney went straight up to her and stabbed her in the throat, killing her.  Her mother heard the commotion and ran out to defend her, but Sweeney immediately began violently assaulting Rose Allen, aged 68.  The assault was enough to kill her also.  Now a young man frantically began wrestling Sweeney, attempting to get the knife from him but was thrown away by Sweeney.  The killer then turned the knife on himself, dying from a wound, one hour later.  The victims suffered even in death.  Sweeney was buried in ground reserved for sailors, whilst Norma and Rose were given pauper's graves.  Great `eh?

Thursday, 10 September 2015

John Dickman - Railway Killer

This is a case that goes back to 1910 and the robbery & murder of a wages clerk on a train running from Newcastle on March 18th, of that year.  The train had pulled into Alnmouth station in Northumberland, and the carriages were being checked by a porter.  He spotted blood in one compartment, so checked it thoroughly.  He came across a body shoved under a seat.  It was 44 year old John Nisbet, a wages clerk from a colliery.  Mr Nisbet had been shot in the head, and it was established that he had a wages bag which was now missing.  It was later confirmed to have had £370 in it.  A very nice sum for that time.  Police started a huge manhunt and established that Mr Nisbet had gotten on the train with a bookies tout, named John Dickman, 43, a man who was paid on commission.   They got on in Newcastle.  Dickman had left the train in Morpeth, but upon questioning, his alibi was not standing up to scrutiny.

    A search of his home produced trousers covered in blood, and a bag with £17 in gold sovereigns inside.  He claimed that he suffered a nosebleed and that explained the blood on his trousers.  The sovereigns were part of his float he used working for bookmakers.  The stolen money bag was found in an old mine shaft near Stannington that he was known to have been to.  All the evidence was circumstantial but the jury felt it was strong enough and convicted him of the murder of John Nisbet.  There was disquiet over the verdict, as witnesses were thought to have been unreliable, and Police did actually help a witness in picking out Dickman.  He was put in a room and witnesses were asked to look at him through a window but said they could not see properly.  An officer took them to a door slightly open and they seen Dickman from behind.  They were able to make out certain features that they remembered when it came to the actual identification parade.  The case was referred to the Court of Appeal by the Home Secretary but the court rejected the appeal, stating the evidence was still strong against Dickman.  He was hanged at Newcastle Prison in August 1910 by John Ellis & William Willis.

Lance Kirkpatrick - Killer Rapist

Lance Kirkpatrick has been lucky to avoid a death sentence in Duval County in Jacksonville in Florida.  He was convicted of the savage rape and murder of Kim Dorsey, 38, in her home.  She was viciously beaten with fists, a pool cue and then had her throat slashed.  Kirkpatrick was trapped after his DNA was found inside Mrs Dorsey, and underneath her fingernails, where she had fought him.  Police believed he broke into her home in order to steal property to sell, so he could settle a drug debt.  Kirkpatrick made the unbelievable claim that her death was accidental!  

    The 33 year old claimed that he was having an affair with Mrs Dorsey, and that a fight broke out after he told her that he had made arrangements for her husband to have sex with a number of other men!!!   Obviously, as Mrs Dorsey was not in court to refute these allegations, he and his lawyer were free to make whatever ridiculous claims they desired.  But with good sense, the Jury threw it out and convicted him of rape and murder.  They did not want to recommend a death sentence and instead voted for life without parole.  It makes your blood boil to see what garbage defence lawyers will come up with, simply to get their client off.  There is no such thing as right and wrong.  There was a case in which a pathologist would not give answers a defence lawyer wanted to hear, so he openly accused him of making it up as he went along.  Naturally, the defence got hold of a pathologist willing to go their route, but the state won their case in the end.

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Charles T. Justice - The Man who Helped His own Execution

Charles Justice never knew that a brainwave he had, would be put to use on himself some years after.  It was 1912 and he was serving a prison sentence.  He was given a task of cleaning up the prison's execution cell and polishing up the electric chair.  Whilst polishing it, he was looking at the wrist straps and thought he could improve the electrocution with some alterations.  He passed on his idea to the Warden.  When a condemned man was being electrocuted, his wrists would strain against the straps and so his whole body would have contact except his wrists, prolonging his agony.  Justice`s idea was to replace the wrist straps with a malleable metal strap bent over and down across his wrists.  When he strained his wrists would still have contact the charge coursing through the metal straps, and thus, still receiving all the charge.  His idea was adopted and proved to be a success.

    A couple of years later, Justice was released but his criminal ways never deserted him and he found himself in serious trouble.  He faced a charge of murder in 1920, and was convicted and sentenced to death.  He now faced execution in the very chair he used to polish and had made a suggestion to improve it`s performance.  He found out the hard way just how effective his suggestion was.  He had to be dragged to the chair and strapped in.  His surname was very fitting in relation to the victim but Charles T. Justice would never have agreed.

Sunday, 6 September 2015

The Murder of John Johnston & The Execution of Susan Newell

In the twentieth century, only a couple of executions of women provoked outright public outrage.  Edith Thompson was one, Ruth Ellis, another.  But the execution in 1923 - the same year as Edith Thompson - did not bring very much public sympathy for thirty year old Susan Newell.  She not only callously killed thirteen year old newspaper delivery boy John Johnston, but then put his body in a small go-cart, and transported his body across town, in order to dump it somewhere.  She also took along her daughter, aged just eight.  Events began on June 20th 1923 in the small Lanarkshire town of Coatbridge.  Mrs Newell had strangled the young boy after he had called at her home.  Later, it was established that her daughter, Janet, 8, saw her mother truss up the boy`s body and put it in a go-cart, then cover it with a rug.  Her mother dragged the cart outside and started pushing it down the street.  Little Janet, oblivious to what was going on, sat on it.  A truck driver, Tom Dickson, stopped and offered to give them a lift to wherever they wanted to go.  He lifted the cart onto his truck, totally unaware of what was under the rug.  He dropped them off in Duke Street.

    However, a housewife, Helen Elliott, saw what looked like a foot, protrude from the rug.  She quickly told her sister who said they should follow.  She disappeared into a yard, so the girls informed two men, who went into the yard.  They saw a woman climbing a wall, but they detained her, and she was heard to say that her husband had killed a boy and that he was in the cart, covered in the rug.  Police were summoned, and the rug opened up, displaying the body of a young teenage boy.  Susan Newell was arrested and charged with the murder of John Johnston, along with her husband.  Her had a perfect alibi, attending a family funeral in Glasgow, and so was found Not Guilty on the direction of the Judge, Lord Justice Alness.  A post mortem established that young John had been strangled, had trauma to the head, and had burn marks.  This was thought to have been caused by him falling into a hearth during the assault.  Her defence was one of insanity, but this was destined for failure, despite the efforts of her defence counsel, Mr Gentles & Mr Fisher.  She was sentenced to death and hanged at Duke Street Prison in Glasgow on October 10th 1923 by John Ellis & William Willis.  Susan Newell screamed at Ellis not to put the white hood over her head, so was hanged glaring at the watching officials.  She was the first woman to be hanged in Glasgow since 1853 when Helen Blackwood stood on the scaffold.

    Why did she do it? A theory was put forward by authors Renee Hugett & Paul Berry in their book "Daughters of Cain" in 1956.  Susan Newell, in their view,was simply a stupid woman from a much lower class, living a day to day existence.  They state that her husband (actually her second) had decided to leave her not long before the death of John, and she was about to be evicted from her small home.  They believe she must have thought John had some money on him and tried to take it from him.  He had ninepence on him.  They believe he was knocked over, hence the burns and injuries to his head, then realising the consequences, strangled him.  They put it down to survival instincts, not even rationalising what she intended to do.  She had to have that money.  She paid for it dearly.

Saturday, 5 September 2015

Derrick Todd Lee - Baton Rouge Serial Killer

Baton Rouge had two serial killers roaming free at the same time, in 2002 -03.  This did cause problems for Police as it was determining who was whose victim.  One of these men was Sean Gillis.  The other was Derrick Lee.  But this particular serial killer did not fit the traditional profile.  That very near all serial killers are white.  The theory is that black serial killers target their own colour, but this has been seen to be not the case.  Another theory is that killers always kill to a particular type of M.O.  Richard Ramirez blew that out of the water, as he targeted men, women, children, young, old, race irrelevant.  The series of murders centred near Louisiana State University, did have a couple of matching details.  Mobile phones taken, no sign of forced entry into the victims homes, and two of the victims were dumped in Whiskey Bay.

    What brought Lee on the Police radar was the murder of Geralyn DeSoto in January 2002.  She had been repeatedly stabbed in her home in Addis.  Her husband was the original suspect but scrapings from under the victim's fingernails put a new suspect in the cross hairs.  DNA tests confirmed the husband was innocent and the real killer was one Derrick Todd Lee.  A warrant was issued for his immediate arrest.  The DNA results also linked Todd to six unsolved murders.  Lee was arrested in Atlanta in May 2003.  Defence lawyers claimed that Lee was mentally incompetent and therefore not fit to stand trial.  He scored just under 69, the level used to determine mental incompetence.  His trial went ahead, nonetheless, for 2nd degree murder, convicted and received life without parole in August 2004.  He faced a second trial in October 2004, and was convicted of the first degree rape and murder of student Charlotte Pace.  He received the Death Penalty, and resides on Death Row at Angola Prison in Louisiana. (where John Gotti died)

The Riverside Prostitute Killer

This offender is yet another one that comes into the category of "I cannot believe it is him.  He does not look the sort!"  A predator who pulled the wool over everybody's`s eyes, with his quiet demeanour and helpful ways to all his neighbours.  He was involved in his local community, he had eye catching cars, but he had a dark side to his character.  It is like a good looking man in court on rape charges.  His attorney would be saying "Look at this man.  Does he need to rape?"  As if his looks instantly guarantee a woman lowering her panties!  But when he is rejected......  William Suff was a 41 year old Government clerk, working in Riverside County, in California.  Suff certainly had a passion for one thing; impersonating Police Officers.  He later developed a very deadly second.  What Suff`s neighbours did not know, was that he was an ex-convict.  Nothing truly wrong in that.  Except for what he was jailed for.  Back in 1974, he and his wife were convicted of killing their two month old daughter, whilst residing in Texas.  He received 70 years, yet in one of those truly appalling acts of judgement by a parole board, he was released after just ten years.

    Suff relocated to California, to Riverside County, in 1984.  Soon, bodies of prostitutes started being found dumped amongst the orange groves.  He drove around the red light area in a van, carefully selecting a victim, and then pouncing.  Once they were in his van, he subjected them to rape, stabbing, strangulation, and if that was not enough, mutilation.  Police set up a squad to try and catch this serial killer.  Suff, being a stock clerk, once delivered some furniture to the squad actively hunting him!  But, as in many cases, sheer luck brings a felon to justice.  Suff was pulled over in a traffic stop and a look in the van by Officers, resulted in his arrest.  Evidence was obtained from the van interior, leading to Suff facing twelve murder charges.  August 17th 1995, a jury convicted him on all twelve counts, with him receiving the Death Penalty.  He is still on Death Row at San Quentin.  Police believe he may have murdered more than twenty women, and also believe he cooked some of his victims` body parts for food, served at an office party!!  At least he will not be out on the streets!

Thursday, 3 September 2015

James Oliver Huberty - Spree Killer

Another less well known US spree killer - certainly over here - was James Oliver Huberty, 41, who ran amok in a McDonald's restaurant in San Ysidro, only a couple of hundred yards from his home. Huberty hailed from Canton in Ohio, and studied at the Pittsburgh Institute of Mortuary Science.  It was here that he met his wife, named Etna.  He then started a career, first as an undertaker, then becoming a welder for a number of years.  This was curtailed by an injury, preventing him from carrying on his trade so he found work as a security guard.  Huberty was one of that group of people known as "Survivalists" who keep a huge stock of food and equipment in preparation of the downfall of the nation, through economic collapse.  Huberty`s mental state was deteriorating.  He was violent to his wife, but confessed he was extremely worried over his mental state.  As happens in situations like these, despite the warnings, they receive no help.

    Huberty had made his mind up.  He treated his family to a day out at San Diego Zoo, and then returned to the family home.  He loaded up with a small arsenal weapons and ammunition.  He told his wife "I am hunting humans!"  He then walked into a nearby restaurant and opened fire on everybody.  Not even a toddler was exempt.  When it was over, 21 people were dead and 19 wounded.  Huberty was taken out with a single shot by a SWAT officer.  Yet another example of people being allowed to amass a small armoury.

Patrick Sherrill - Spree Killer

Patrick Sherrill was one of those people that explodes in not just the American consciousness but also the world.  Yet he is one of the many that nobody has heard of.  Infamous incidents on both sides of the Atlantic; Hungerford, Dunblane, Virginia Tech, Columbine, Clock Tower in Austin, Texas, we all know about.  But a man running amok in a postal delivery office?  Actually, Sherrill has not been the only aggrieved employee to go into work with a small arsenal and open fire on anybody who got in their way.  Sherrill was a former marine, obtaining marksman status and becoming a firearms instructor.  He was 44, unmarried and had lived with his mother in Oklahoma city.  She died in 1978, with Sherrill opting to carry on living in the family home.  He did have some issues.  He was not one for forming friendships and became known as a loner.   He went through a series of jobs but was unable to adapt to working in civilian employment.  He ended up working for the US Postal Service as a relief delivery man.  This meant covering for any duties that fall open, due to holidays, sickness, etc.  He was a cover man and nothing more.  It was eating him up inside.

    August 19th 1986 was the day that the fuse was lit for an explosion.  Sherrill received a reprimand from two supervisors.  This tipped him over the edge.  But showing that he still had control, he spoke to a female colleague, who was friendly with him, and asked not to come into work the next day.  Most of the staff were unfriendly to him.  Why this was, seems to be unknown.  He duly arrived into work the following morning, in full uniform.  But he did not have work items in his delivery bag.  He had three handguns and considerable ammunition.  His first kill was one of the supervisors who chastised him.  He then moved about the office, firing at will.  Fourteen were killed and six were badly wounded.  A Police SWAT team tried to negotiate with him, but at 8.30am decided to forcibly enter the depot.  Sherrill was found with a self inflicted head wound.  Like other spree killers, once the mission was over, he finished himself off.  Years later, postal worker, Jennifer Sanmarco did the same.