<![CDATA[Judith A. Yates: True Crime Author, Journalist, & Criminologist - Blog]]>Sat, 11 Feb 2017 04:32:11 -0800Weebly<![CDATA[Shock events, razzle-dazzle, rabbits, and crime]]>Tue, 31 Jan 2017 18:26:54 GMThttp://judithayates.com/blog/shock-events-razzle-dazzle-rabbits-and-crimeThere are certain events that occur in our lives, that rally us together: as a nation, as a special interest group, and/or as an individual sharing specific thoughts and emotions with like-minded souls. This is called a “Shock Event.” It is also a “Razzle-dazzle.”
 
According to Boston College history professor and Harvard graduate Dr. Heather Richardson, “(A shock event) is unexpected and confusing and throws a society into chaos. People scramble to react to the event, usually along some fault line that those responsible for the event can widen by claiming that they alone know how to restore order.”
 
Meanwhile, while society is rallying, protesting, and shouting (IN CAPS) on social media, “those responsible for the shock event perform a sleight of hand to achieve their real goal, a goal they know to be hugely unpopular, but from which everyone has been distracted as they fight over the initial event.” (Source
Distraction: the age-old, best kept secret of all magicians. Keep everyone’s attention elsewhere while adding a card, releasing a trap door, preparing the rabbit to pop out of the hat.
 
In “Chicago” one of my favorite performances (and based on a real crime story), smooth talking, slick attorney Billy Flynn tells his worried client prior to stepping into the courtroom, “Relax, kid. It’s all an act.” He sings how the trick is to keep everyone off balance, looking the other way, while the legal team pulls a myriad of distractions to make people say and recall what may not be true. “Razzle-dazzle ‘em,” he croons, “Show 'em the first rate sorcerer you are.” Sure enough, his very guilty client is found “Not Guilty” based on stoic belief in the truth, when the truth is only a puff of smoke.
 
In the media, in politics, in crime, there is the dynamic of “Shock Event” / “Razzle-Dazzle” that keeps us buying papers, watching the news, arguing and debating, and tuning in tonight for the BIG announcement. Anyone who calls “bluff!” is labeled a whiner, conspirator, un-American, a bleeding heart. “You bleeding heart, whining, liberal Commie hippy, go live in Russia if you don’t like it.”
 
The Un-American Activities Committee shocked and razzled with the “Red Scare” in the 1940-1950s. The 2003 invasion of Iraq was a result of a shock event, “WMD.” The War on Terror creates a national distrust based on the actions of a few. While they all created a “Bad Guy” (because there always has to be a bad guy) and everyone was distracted by pointing the finger at this Bad Guy, the card was turned, the secret trap door sprung open, the rabbit slipped through a hat. Meanwhile, the media sold news, the politicians worked it, and crimes were clandestine.
 
Criminologists know there is always more (to any story) than what meets the eye. As an investigator studies a crime scene, and a researcher keeps digging for information, our society can learn the truth by refusing to be blindsided with “shock and razzle.” Society needs to be investigators and researchers when faced with chaos. While everyone else is gasping at the magic, look for how that rabbit gets into the hat. 
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<![CDATA[My writing dates back over 35,000 years]]>Tue, 22 Nov 2016 18:24:15 GMThttp://judithayates.com/blog/-my-writing-dates-back-over-35000-yearsGeologists have determined the oldest cave paintings in the world are on Sulawesi Island, in Indonesia, in a cave called Leang Timpuseng. The drawings are at least 35,400 years old. This explains why I write true crime.
 
The drawings in Leang Timpuseng prove that people have always wanted to write, to tell their story, to leave a mark. These ancestors used handmade paint and a smooth wall for jotting it down: ideas, visions, observations, fiction or nonfiction. This includes stories of crime and punishment..
 
New Archaeology notes, “Archaeology suggests that the first writing emerged around 6,000 years ago.” Writing with pictures evolved to letters. Illustration to word, though it continued to be the same communication.
 
The first book “written” on the typewriter was Mark Twain’s Life on the Mississippi  (Twain did not type it himself; he said the typewriter caused him to swear too much; the famous memoir was dictated to a typist, who, presumably, did not cuss).
 
An article in The New York Times notes “the graffiti movement that took root in New York in the 1970s and ‘80s more powerfully than anywhere else, spawn(ed) a new American art form.” When a pen and paper are not available, we write on walls to voice our thoughts and actions. From the Latin King’s tribute to gang members lost to artists who see the city as one big blank canvas, from the “fuck all ya’ll” to the “impeach Trump,” to the bathroom wall scratching of names and hometowns, humanity has a need to write and draw, to create for the world to see and share.
 
Authors and storytellers know writing is in our DNA, our history. Everyone has a book in his or her head. Some try to publish; some just “have to get it all out” of their mind.
 
I came from a generation where we handwrote all of our school composition papers. We were introduced to word processors and then personal computers (screeee …”you’ve got mail”) and now we bang or yap into a machine. When preparing a book, I handwrite all of my notes because there is something I like about the feeling of a pen in hand, of a part of me flowing onto my notepad to tell someone’s story (And, 90% of the time, I can read what I jotted out). Each of my books has several binders stuffed with all of the information that stands behind the actual product: research, court documents, legal papers, et. al. Much of this is handwritten: interview notes, notes to self, to-do lists, contact information, directions, instructions. For the actual product, I use my Mac (a fellow investigator said I was the fastest two-fingered typist he had known). From the notes to the keyboard to the screen, my letters and figures meld into a story.
 
Writing is just a part of our culture, like crime and love. We integrate it into our expressions: The writing's on the wall, written in stone. Humans share information: Did you read Facebook? The newspaper said… And now, with social media, we return to writing on a wall by posting, tweeting, and emailing. The wall is now electronic; our words are digital letters, pictures, and symbols. People leave legacies for the future, they rant, and they send condolences, and celebrate ... and onto the same screen I write my tales, my books, just like 35,400 years ago when my ancestors wrote in Leang Timpuseng.
 

The first known version of The Code of Ur-Nammu (ca. 2100-2050 BC),the oldest known tablet containing a law code and the basis of today’s laws. (Wikipedia.org for free use)
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<![CDATA[Chicago Crime Tour - Mobsters, Tommy guns, and G-Men, oh my!]]>Wed, 16 Nov 2016 18:03:06 GMThttp://judithayates.com/blog/chicago-crime-tour-mobsters-tommy-guns-and-g-men-oh-my​While in Chicago, I took a “Crime Tour” featuring mobsters and gangsters who ruled during prohibition. I wanted to share some of the highlights.
DO NOT COPY ANY OF THE PHOTOS HERE without a formal request.
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The Jewelers Building included a way for employees to drive right in for safety purposes. Al Capone found that handy so he made the top, round dome his speakeasy. The turrets once held huge water barrels in case of another fire (this was after the great Chicago fire); they'd be busted open and drench the area.

​Building across the street from the infamous Biograph Theatre. G-men were holed up in this building waiting to rush across the street to arrest John Dillinger as he exited the Biograph with Madame Anna Sage (true name Ana Cumpănașa, Romanian immigrant threatened with deportation for "low moral character") in 1934. Ana set him up in exchange for the promise of not being deported. “You’ll know me. I’ll wear an orange skirt and white blouse,” she told them. It showed red under marque lights so they almost missed Dillinger. Thus “The Lady in Red.”
​The Biograph still stands and is in use, with few changes since Dillinger’s fateful attendance.



​This building was purposely green because green was "go" meaning liquor available (this is why many speakeasy had "green" in the name). The top is 14K gold and it was purposely built to look like a champagne bottle! Basically, a big middle finger to prohibition.
​Dillinger ran to avoid arrest but was hit from behind and fell face first to the ground here. He was struck four times: 2 bullets grazing him, and 1causing a superficial wound to the right side and 1 entering the back of his neck, severed the spinal cord, passed into his brain and exited just under the right eye. Later, Ana was deported as the BI (No “F” yet) had no jurisdiction over deportation, but she did get ½ of the $10,000 reward.
Schofield's flower shop is now a boring parking lot. Mobster and anti-Capone Dean “Dion” O’Banion was involved in a violent criminal organization, but his true talent was arranging flowers.  The shop also served as a legitimate front. O’Banion had bought an interest in William Schofield's River North flower shop. The rooms above were the headquarters for the North Side Gang.  Schofield's soon became the florist of choice for all mob funerals... including victims Dion himself had arranged to be whacked. O’Banion was later killed in this shop with what would become the famous “handshake murder.”
Hymie Weiss was murdered by Capone’s men in the street in front of the shop. (photo, left, may be copied)
Below: ​Site of where the garage stood where “The St. Valentine’s Day Massacre” occurred on February 14, 1929. The victims included five members of George "Bugs" Moran's North Side Gang. Two collaborators were also shot. The sole survivor, Frank Gusenberg, was taken to the hospital, where police attempted to question him. True to gangster code, he told them, "No one shot me." He died three hours later. This was most interesting to me as I did a huge report on the incident in undergrad school (and made an A!). This was the location that I wrote about and researched so carefully.

​Go to Harry Caray’s Italian Steakhouse, River North, Chicago for some wonderful true crime history. The lower stairwell is lined with original newspaper articles about mobsters, mug shots, and photos donated by a private collector (he made a deal: free corned beef sandwiches for life in exchange). On the bottom of the stairwell, get a peek of the original safe and underground tunnel area (originally coal tunnels) where mobsters moved illegal alcohol back and forth through the city. Caray’s restaurant is in a building that once was a huge mobster HQ. 
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​If you are interested in a true crime tour of Chicago, click the button for more info. Please tell them you saw tour info on this site… the customer service is impeccable and besides mobster history, you will see the sites of modern –day crime and hear some trivia! 


DO NOT COPY ANY OF THE PHOTOS HERE without a formal request.


Crime Tour click here
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<![CDATA[My Pit Bull Story]]>Mon, 10 Oct 2016 00:05:43 GMThttp://judithayates.com/blog/my-pit-bull-story
My family adopted a pit bull pup from “Molly’s Mutts” animal rescue. As a pit bull advocate, I love reading stories of how these dogs enrich people’s lives. Now I have a story of my own.
 
Bronx was a joy from the moment his paws landed on our floor. He is a happy, gentle dog. One of his favorite games is to let our Guinea hen chase him around the yard. He hangs out with me as I am writing.
 
Bronx entered obedience as soon as he was old enough; much of the time he would sit and study the other dogs. His expression was of curiosity and understanding. 
 
My goal is to train Bronx for search & rescue (SAR), specifically for Alzheimer’s patients who wander away, in memory of my grandmother. As time went on I found this goal also helps me process my grandmother’s death, as I still cannot discuss it. Bronx is helping me though this process.
 
But my proudest moment as a pit bull “mom” happened yesterday. We took Bronx and our English bulldog to Nashville Pet Expo for a “dog day afternoon.” Our Bulldog became sick. He was rushed to the Nashville Pet Emergency Center in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.
 
Bronx sat in the waiting room with all of us, very quietly. He began what we now call his “Grief Counselor duties.” He was never obnoxious, pushy, or jumping ... his tail would wag very slowly and his eyes were full of worry. He took careful steps and eased up to people. Those people understood what he was doing:
 
A Chihuahua went into the examination room; Bronx worried about that dog. He would duck to look through the examination room door as people came and went. When the Chihuahua’s “parents” would come out for water, or just to breathe, Bronx would approach them with a little wag and soulful eyes. When the Chihuahua came out, legs bandaged, Bronx was very gentle and had to check on him. The parents had to let Bronx see this little dog to ease his worry. Bronx didn’t bite or bark; he just nuzzled and his tail wagged. He was genuinely happy!
 
It was a difficult place to be; people came in because their animals had to be euthanized. Bronx watched them, paying close attention. He would then walk gently to these bereaved people to "hug" them. When they looked at him, he would sit and offer a paw. People actually smiled through tears to pet him and shake paws. A few gathered him up and hugged him tightly. One of the vet techs said to Bronx, “You are very special.”
 

An elderly couple came in, crying, to have their cat euthanized; I started crying, listening to them say goodbye. Bronx clung to me. He did not jump up or whine, just leaned against me quietly.
 
Our English bulldog came out with a bandaged leg. Bronx usually jumps all over him and wrestles; this time, he only walked over and licked his buddy’s face. He stood close to him.

This is a “vicious, evil, killer pit bull.”
 
I was an Animal Control Warden when the “pit bull scare” was at its hype. My family continues to get lectured on what a dangerous animal we have, and people still react negatively when we talk about him or show pictures. Having a "pit bull" raises our home insurance and he is not allowed in many places. Sometimes I want to scream, “get educated, people!” Because...
 
There is no such thing as a “pit bull.” It is a common name for a dog type, not breed. The “pit” is usually a cross of Staffordshire Terriers, Bulldogs (American and English), sometimes cross-bred with Shepherds, Rottweilers, Mastiffs and other Molossers, and even Labrador Retrievers. They do not have “locking” jaws or an inborn instinct to fight. Any dog will fight or attack if abused, threatened, or taught. (Think about the practice of dog fighting: a dog is given drugs, taunted, and set in a ring that smells of blood, fear, death, anger, and anxiety. Shouting idiots on drugs and alcohol surround it. This dog has had a life of pain, anxiety, abuse, and mistreatment. It knows the biggest reward is to bite and scratch. It knows biting a human is punishable. There is so much fear welled up --- some call that “aggression” --- and such a reward for hurting another dog … of course it is going to fight.) Overbreeding and lack of care have hurt these dogs emotionally and physically -- as with any breed.
 
Pit bulls make excellent therapy, obedience, rescue, police, and assistance dogs because they are hypersensitive, loyal, and eager to please. Their bark and stature means they make good “visual” guard dogs (which is most important; I’d rather have the bad person just stay away from, than to enter, my house). 
 
I am so lucky to have a pit bull in my life. We rescued Bronx, and he rescued us. I will defend him and the “pit” dog until my last breath. If you are scared of them, educate yourself. If you want one to fight or to guard, don’t get a dog, period. And if you still don’t like them or think they are going to slaughter your kid/puppy/chickens/etc., then come visit my house. Just be very careful coming in; you could trip over Bronx when he’s napping.

 

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<![CDATA[I worked for ITT … and not surprised about their closing.]]>Fri, 09 Sep 2016 21:07:56 GMThttp://judithayates.com/blog/-i-worked-for-itt-and-not-surprised-about-their-closing
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Goodbye... (wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons)

ITT Technical School students and staff came to school and work after the 2016 Labor Day weekend to find a note on the locked doors: ITT no longer exists. I worked for ITT; I am not surprised.
 
The Department of Education “banned the school from enrolling students who use federal financial aid ...” (source). ITT stopped enrolling new students; federal financial aid is the school’s life’s blood. I said, “Next will be a shut down. And students and staff will be alerted by an email.”
 
Now the for-profit school is closed forever. That means 40,000 students and 8,000 employees out of an education, out of a job.  As usual, the people on the bottom of the food chain suffer the misdeeds of those at the top (I discuss this in my book “How to Recognize the Devil;” specifically, Enron).
 
I worked as an adjunct professor in the Criminal Justice program. The pay was not great, but like many instructors I taught for the joy of teaching and the ability to help students grow and learn. I was offered the position of Department Chair and accepted.
 
I rehabilitated the program, working at least 50 hours a week. I observed how the corporation put income over student care, but I also observed students gain self-esteem, obtain a degree, and find jobs. We helped students leave abusive homes and start anew. I knew the student’s debt would be high when they graduated; that is the nature of all colleges. I saw success. I worked with some amazing people. I learned valuable life lessons. I worked hard, but had fun, too.
 
I disagreed with some of the practices. These schools are a business. The focus is money. Students who could barely read or write were graduating. I felt like we were badgering students who dropped out to return to school, even though I knew criminal justice was not for some. Outstanding instructors were “let go” because their classroom attendance rates did not meet a quota. Potential students were sometimes led to believe they could obtain just any job with their one degree, including criminal profiling and investigator. The commercials were misleading. Sometimes it seemed like madness.
 
I was there at the beginning of the end, and this beginning was one of the reasons I ended my career with ITT. After ITT received one of several warnings from the Department of Education, Department Chairs were ordered to work 15-hour days, at least 6 days a week. Besides running a program of over 100 students, this meant teaching classes, overseeing a program of outside professionals, scheduling guest speakers, special events, and field trips, overseeing equipment, and putting out fires anywhere they popped up.  Management was breathing fire down our necks: enrollment, retention, and attrition. I came in 10 minutes late one day and management snapped, “You’re late!” I would grab a nap in my car during lunch, then told this would not be tolerated.  I spent hours making class schedules only to have them rewritten. I was told to “avoid” my student’s questions regarding the program changes, and then I was told, “Just lie to them.” I still believed in the program and my students, so this was too much. After I left the job, my physical and mental health improved. I missed teaching, a few coworkers, and my students; I did not miss the grueling, vicious circle.
 
ITT is now blaming the Education Department, releasing a statement, “(the sanctions) were inappropriate and unconstitutional.” Their declaration does not surprise me. The statement also read, “The damage done to our students and employees, as well as to our shareholders and the American taxpayers, is irrevocable.” At least they got one thing correct. 
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<![CDATA[Annonucing birth of a new eZine, True Crime: Case Files]]>Tue, 02 Aug 2016 20:49:04 GMThttp://judithayates.com/blog/annonucing-birth-of-a-new-ezine-true-crime-case-filesPicture
What happens now? Do I know what I am getting into? Is this the right thing to do now?
 
These are the questions I kept asking myself when I made a big decision last month. It was just an idea – what if … what about …
 
I opened my email to discover examiner.com was no longer. Defunct. Closed for business. It was now AXS, focusing on entertainment: concerts, festivals, and celebrity events…
 
I wrote for examiner: Nashville True Crime, Crime & Courts. I was not too happy that my articles on crime prevention, victim support, and law were squished in between articles about movie stars who got fat and what mysterious item cures eye bags, but I had a great following and usually made the Top 10. I like writing fun stuff every now and then, but writing articles on a performer’s sold-out show or which “reality star” had plastic surgery on her foot is not for me.
 
I announced it all on my Facebook page. I wondered about eZines. A friend, Wayne Sanderson, mentioned an eZine idea. My friend Kelly Banaski emails me: she wants to be part of this, too.
 
It went from there.
 
So the idea was born one dark night at my keyboard, slithered into my PC, and burst forth. True Crime: Case Files eZine was born. It does not look like any other True Crime eZine. The content is fresh: Wayne, Kelly, and I want it to educate readers about crime, provide information for criminal justice professionals and students, and support crime victims and law enforcement. We wanted to support established authors and up-and-coming talent. As I held the eZine business plan in my arms, thoughts began racing: What happens now? Do I know what I am getting into? Is this the right thing to do now?
 
Wayne is retired from corrections and his hobbies include volunteer historian and archival consultant for the NJDOC. He researches and writes about historical law enforcement and criminal events, forgotten crimes, scandals and curious events and mysteries. Wayne is an encyclopedia on crime in history. We can talk for hours on the subject. Kelly Banaski is a true crime author and an inmate liaison; her popular blog, The Woman Condemned, details the lives of women on death row. Kelly uses her insights to aid inmates in restoring some of the good they took from the world, and to understand, and help prevent, crime. She and I can talk for hours. Wayne and Kelly have traits I admire most: creativity, intelligence, and kindness.
 
Our Premier Issue is about to go into the world. It will be available September 1, 2016. Readers can learn about historical events, strange crimes, insights from popular true crime authors, new books, serial killers, victim support (both victim and perpetrator’s loved ones), available jobs in criminal justice and much more.
 
Like any new parent, I am elated, proud, and scared. I am no longer asking myself what happens next, and what I am getting into? This is the right thing to do now.
 

True Crime: Case Files - CLICK HERE
 
 
 
 
 


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<![CDATA[Carmelita Kaser, 92, murdered. No one held a protest.]]>Wed, 27 Jul 2016 13:52:44 GMThttp://judithayates.com/blog/-carmelita-kaser-92-murdered-no-one-held-a-protest
On Easter Sunday 2013 a 92-year-old woman was beaten with the butt of a pistol after the killers hit her in the neck with a machete. The perpetrators left her for dead, and that’s how she was found. Why did this case not make the national news, with protests, rallies, and a catchphrase?
 
Carmelita Kaser was at home that Easter Sunday when Jeffery Nichols, 22, and Christopher Lewis, 18, entered her home in an attempt to steal her car. According to court documents and one of the murderer’s admissions, they slashed Ms. Kaser in the neck with a “machete-type knife” shoplifted just hours before, then beat her with the butt of a pistol.  These two losers, one of them a parolee with recent reports of breaking his parole (then bonding out of jail), robbed Ms. Kaser and stole her vehicle. Ms. Kaser was still alive so they shot her dead. Her vehicle was found abandoned and on fire only a short time later. The men were arrested the next day, and Lewis pleaded guilty to 19 felony charges, sentenced to three consecutive 30-year sentences. Nichols' trial is set for later this year.
 
Kaser had five children, 14 children, and 4 great-grandchildren.She was a widow from a marriage that lasted over 40 years. A pious woman, she was a devout Christian, volunteering for her church, visiting nursing homes residents to read the Bible with them, and spending a lifetime hosting pastors and evangelists from around the nation. She was a friend, a grandmother, a parent, a widow. She was much loved.
 
The case made the local news in Missouri, with occasional news flashes about the perpetrators, and less information about the victim. Typical.
 
No one was protesting in the street waving signs with angry messages. No special interest groups were demanding, arguing, or banging down the doors of legislation about crimes against the elderly, or screaming into news cameras about a 92-year-old woman’s horrific murder at the hands of two thugs.
 
I understand we pick our battles. I understand “all lives matter.”  I know all too well how the thugs go to prison and the family must carry on; despite the killers being locked up that loved one is gone forever. And I personally know how the media chooses what stories will outrage the nation. How the general public is more interested in the Kardashians and the Super Bowl and other crap that will never affect us personally, but we also need to be entertained and to have fun in life. We must recognize government corruption and racism in order to stop both. Yet …
 
Mostly, I know a helpless, kind-hearted, innocent grandmother, a 92-year-old woman, was slashed and beaten. And no group protested, no one created a social media blurb, or rallied to create awareness. We just read the articles, said “how awful,” and moved on.


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Photo from Carmelita Kaser's obituary
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<![CDATA[Strange historical facts about crime]]>Sat, 02 Jul 2016 03:09:10 GMThttp://judithayates.com/blog/-strange-historical-facts-about-crime
 
Mayra Rosales is credited as being the heaviest living arrested woman. Rosales weighed 1,036 pounds when she confessed in 2008 to murdering her nephew by falling and accidentally crushing him. It was later determined Rosales lied to protect her sister, the true killer. The case resulted in a documentary. (see above photo)

Amateur criminologist / attorney William Roughead is credited as the first true crime author in English history. He attended every murder trial between 1889 and 1949 at the High Court of Justiciary in Edinburgh. He detailed the crimes and trials in in essays that were published in numerous journals, including The Judicial Review.
 
Despite “In Cold Blood” (Truman Capote, 1966) being the second best-selling true crime book in publishing history, Capote and others involved in the writing admitted some of the information in the book was skewered or outright false.
 
Organized crime is reported to be the third largest business in the world. It supersedes oil and foreign exchange.
 
Despite the protests and “crime fighters” who insist English is the official language in America, there is no “official language” at the federal level.
 
The Vatican City has the highest crime rate per capita of any country, with 1.5 crimes per citizen. This is due to the massive crowds of tourists … a pickpocket's dream.
 
An inmate named Brian Bo Larsen, of Denmark, is famous for the most prison escapes. Larsen has 22 escapes to his credit. His last escape was in 2014, and he was apprehended soon after.
 
 Carl Mahan is credited as being the youngest murderer in the history of the U.S. Mahan was six years old in 1929 when he purposely shot and killed a friend over a piece of scrap iron. Mahan went home to retrieve a gun and returned to the scene with full intent to murder. He slept through much of his trial.
 
Minnesota native Dennis Anderson, 62, was charged with DUI after smashing into a parked car in October 2009. Anderson was driving a vehicle he built himself: a motorized La-Z-Boy couch powered by a lawn mower engine. The couch featured a living room lamp, boom box, and cup holders for beer while driving.
 
An Indiana sheriff’s deputy tells of what is possibly the strangest call ever received. He responded to a suicide where the man shot himself in the head. The man walked out of the house to collapse on the lawn, still breathing, with his head split in half (called “canoeing”). The victim’s eye had popped out of socket, still attached to the optic nerve. As the officer and emergency medical crew worked on the prone man, the eye, lying in the grass, moved around to watch the proceedings. The victim lived.


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<![CDATA[On supporting a convicted rapist ]]>Wed, 29 Jun 2016 20:04:16 GMThttp://judithayates.com/blog/-on-supporting-a-convicted-rapist

Brock Turner, Jan. 2015 mugshot (Photo: Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office)

I wrote an article about the Facebook page supporting Brock Turner, who was convicted for rape and sexual assault in March 2016; Turner’s sentence of 3-6 months has caused public outrage. Members on the Facebook page are raising money to care for Turner and his family, and some blame the victim. Again, more outrage for anyone who would condone Turner’s act and support him. This support and dedication is nothing new in the world of criminal justice.
 
Charles Manson orchestrated one of the most horrific crimes of the 1960s, yet today he constantly receives “fan” mail, including supporters who believe Manson should not have been held accountable. The majority of the people who support Manson  were not even born in the 60’s.
 
When serial killer Paul Dennis Reid (the subject of one of my books, When Nashville Bled) was apprehended in 1997, he received dozens of letters a day from women professing their love and proposing marriage, and people pledging support despite the evidence. After his death in 2013, he continues to have support in the guise of claiming he was innocent, or not the sole perpetrator in his crimes.
 
People who, sometimes viciously, defend the killers in my books have bombarded me with emails and messages: mostly about Doug Sims, who murdered a child in 1990 (The Devil You Know). They will post numerous bad reviews on the book (using a variety of identities) in an effort to discredit the story.
 
And if you want to learn the true meaning of die-hard support, consider the case of “The West Memphis 3” (2011). If I were to post “Those arrested may have been guilty” I would be blasted with everything from a list of “facts” to outright hate mail.
 
For every criminal there are groups of supporters who use the same excuses throughout history: the criminal is innocent. The investigation was a botched job. Bad decisions. Drugs. Child abuse. Uneducated. Framed. Politics. Associates and accomplices. Mental health history. Media.
 
So we should not be shocked a Facebook page exists to support a convicted rapist. Despite what their crime may be, the criminal still has loved ones. Social media has become the mecca of gathering places for the world; what better way to gather and support than Facebook, Twitter, or Gofundme? 
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<![CDATA[The real culprit in the gorilla “Harambe” incident is … ]]>Wed, 01 Jun 2016 21:41:01 GMThttp://judithayates.com/blog/-the-real-culprit-in-the-gorilla-harambe-incident-is​Currently the public is shocked, angered, and clamoring to their keyboards to express sentiments over “the child who fell into the Cincinnati zoo's gorilla pit.” The media has a dream come true in this one; it involves animals, kids, and crime ... and a "caught on tape"  courtesy a gorilla named "Harambe." Everyone has an opinion on who should have done what, what to blame (and how they would have reacted).
 
There is the “mother’s fault” group, the “zoo is liable” supporters, the “poor gorilla was shot” gang, and the “had to kill Harambe” bunch. Our society loves to assess blame; things just cannot "happen"... well, if we are going to blame anything or anyone, let’s start with those truly responsible!
 
Blame the ticket taker/entrance to the zoo, because if they had not sold zoo tickets to that family, their child would not have present to fall through the bushes and  land in the gorilla pit. We should blame the vehicle manufacturing industry; if it were not for the family car driven to the zoo, their child would not have been at the exhibit to fall through the bushes to land in a gorilla pit. We need to blame the public transportation system, because if the roads leading from the family home to the zoo did not exist, that child would not have been at the zoo to fall into the gorilla pit. Or we should  blame the President, because (according to so many) he has mucked up everything and anything else. So, let’s just keep going: that child fell through the bushes into the gorilla pit because this country is heading for hell on the fast train, so everything else will go with it; to include falling children and gorillas. Lastly, let's blame race, religion, sexual orientation, the police, and ...
 
An investigator I interviewed for my first book made a profound statement: “people want to make sense out of a senseless crime.” Sometimes there is no one to blame ... life just happens. 

​However...

Gorillas are quiet animals living in “troops” of around 9. An adult male leads the troop of a few females and their young in peaceful environments, far away from people. Gorillas use eye contact to communicate. They travel nearly a mile, for about 14 hours, feeding and foraging daily. Gorillas, like so many wild animals, are foragers. They eat termites, leaves, ants, fruit, and over 200 different plant species.
 
So, our society is removing an animal living in a family group to either isolate it or "introduce" others. It is stuck in confinement, which no matter how pretty or big, will never replace this animal's natural habitat. Experts select the food to give it and on a timed schedule. Then a bunch of strange beings invade its personal space to scream, throw things, bang on the cages, and stare at it all day long.
 
And we become shocked and amazed when the animal acts out.  
 
So, who is to blame?

 

“Harambe” is Swahili for "come together in unity for a common cause." Indeed. 
(photo credits of above Atlanta zoo image: wikimedia.org with permission)
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