Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Today in History - The Columbine Massacre

Columbine Massacre

Today I'd like to dedicate this post to the victims of this tragic event.
This is really a story that shook me when I was at school when I heard about it...



Two teenage gunmen kill 13 people in a shooting spree at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado. At about 11:20 a.m., Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris, dressed in long trench coats, began shooting students outside the school before moving inside to continue their rampage. By the time SWAT team officers finally entered the school at about 3:00 p.m., Klebold and Harris had killed 12 fellow students and a teacher, and had wounded another 23 people. Then, around noon, they turned their guns on themselves and committed suicide.

The awful crime captured the nation's attention, prompting an unprecedented search--much of it based on false information--for a scapegoat on whom to pin the blame. In the days immediately following the shootings, many claimed that Klebold and Harris purposely chose jocks, blacks, and Christians as their victims. In one particular instance, student Cassie Bernall was allegedly asked by one of the gunmen if she believed in God. When Bernall said, "Yes," she was shot to death. Her parents later wrote a book entitled "She Said Yes," and toured the country, honoring their martyred daughter.

Apparently, however, the question was never actually posed to Bernall. In fact, it was asked of another student who had already been wounded by a gunshot. When that victim replied, "Yes," the shooter walked away. Subsequent investigations also determined that Klebold and Harris chose their victims completely at random. Their original plan was for two bombs to explode in the school's cafeteria, forcing the survivors outside and into their line of fire. When the homemade bombs didn't work, Klebold and Harris decided to go into the school to carry out their murderous rampage.

Commentators also railed against the so-called "Trench Coat Mafia" and "goths," and questioned why these groups and cliques were not monitored more closely. However, further investigation revealed that Klebold and Harris were not part of either group.

Columbine High School reopened in the fall of 1999, but the massacre left behind an unmistakable scar on the Littleton community. Mark Manes, the young man who sold a gun to Harris and bought him 100 rounds of ammunition the day before the murders, was sentenced to six years in prison. Carla Hochhalter, the mother of a student who was paralyzed in the attack, killed herself at a gun shop. Several other parents filed suit against the school and the police. Even Dylan Klebold's parents filed notice of their intent to sue, claiming that police should have stopped Harris earlier. A senior at Columbine was arrested after he threatened to "finish the job." And when a carpenter from Chicago erected 15 crosses in a local park on behalf of everyone who died on April 20, parents of the victims tore down the two in memory of Klebold and Harris.

In an effort to show the world "that life goes on," Columbine school board officials voted to replace the library where students were murdered with an atrium. The shootings at Columbine stood as the worst school shooting in U.S. history until April 16, 2007, when 32 people were shot and many others wounded by a student gunman on the Virginia Tech campus in Blacksburg, Virginia.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Womens Murder Club Nr 10!

10th Anniversary is here at last!


10th Anniversary by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro

For every secret
Detective Lindsay Boxer's long-awaited wedding celebration becomes a distant memory when she is called to investigate a horrendous crime: a badly injured teenage girl is left for dead, and her newborn baby is nowhere to be found. Lindsay discovers that not only is there no trace of the criminals--but that the victim may be keeping secrets as well.

For every lie

At the same time, Assistant District Attorney Yuki Castellano is prosecuting the biggest case of her life--a woman who has been accused of murdering her husband in front of her two young children. Yuki's career rests on a guilty verdict, so when Lindsay finds evidence that could save the defendant, she is forced to choose. Should she trust her best friend or follow her instinct?

There's a different way to die

Lindsay's every move is watched by her new boss, Lieutenant Jackson Brady, and when the pressure to find the baby begins interfering with her new marriage to Joe, she wonders if she'll ever be able to start a family. With James Patterson's white-hot speed and unquenchable action, 10th Anniversary is the most deliciously chilling Women's Murder Club book ever.


To be Released: May 2nd 2011

I can't wait to read this one, I love the series and when I read the last book I wanted more! Mr Patterson better know that 11 and 12 should be short on the heals of this one, he cant punish me by stopping now. :)

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Do you know of them?

This is a post for all of you who love researching serial killers...

Ten lesser Known Serial Killers, have you heard of them?

John Robinson

In all, there are eleven women either dead or missing that are linked to John Robinson. All of these women either vanished or were killed over a 16 year period. Robinson, a married middle-aged father of four, had a hunger for murder and money. Robinson was a sadomasochist, and met some of the women though his internet identity as the “Slavemaster.” Others he met through personal ads and other means.
His secrets were uncovered when two metal 55-gallon barrels were located on his property in rural Kansas and each barrel contained a female body. A few days later, three more female bodies were found in barrels in a storage locker rented by Robinson in Missouri. Robinson was convicted of the murders of the two women found in Kansas, and a third woman who’s body was never found. He was given the death penalty.
Unbelievably, Robinson gave the baby of one of his victims to his brother and sister-in-law to raise, telling them it was a legal adoption. He even charged his own brother $5,500 in bogus adoption fees. Robinson also cashed about $43,000 in social security and alimony checks meant for three of his victims.




Larry Eyler

Born in 1952, Larry Eyler became known as the “Highway Killer” after some of his victims were found alongside highways. In his early 30′s Eyler started picking up men under the guise of consensual sex, with a bit of bondage thrown in. Once he got the victims to a secluded area and handcuffed them, Eyler would brutally beat the victim, and then kill them. Most of his victims were found disemboweled, with their pants pulled down.
Eyler was connected to one of his crimes by a tire track he left at one of the scenes, and was later observed dumping 8 trash bags in a dumpster. Police found the remains of a 15-year-old boy inside. Eyler was sentenced to die by lethal injection. Eyler confessed to the attorney handling his appeal that he had committed 21 murders. He offered to give information on these murders if his sentence would be commuted to life. The state refused to make a deal. Eyler died in 1994 at the age of 41 of AIDS-related complications. Two days after his death, the attorney handling his appeal went public with the details of the 21 murders Eyler claimed as his own. His confessions matched the physical evidence at the scenes, and the 21 cases of serial murder were closed.


Peter Kurten

Starting in the summer of 1929, Kurten held the city of Dusseldorf, Germany, in a grip of fear. Almost every week a fresh corpse was found, horribly slashed or bludgeoned to death, sometimes sexually assaulted. Most of the victims were young women, although men and children were not excluded. This unassuming killer sent police friendly letters explaining where undiscovered corpses lie, even going so far as to draw them a map. His atrocities continued for 15 months totaling over 30 murders. Kurten told authorities he liked to kill, “the more people the better. Yes, if I had had the means of doing so, I would have killed whole masses of people — brought about catastrophes”. He prowled for victims nightly finding sexual gratification in the slayings. The one way he achieved the ultimate satisfaction in killing was to catch the blood spurting from a victim’s wounds in his mouth and swallow it. Hence, Peter Kurten became known as the Vampire of Dusseldorf. Kurten was guillotined in Cologne, Germany on July 2, 1931. In his last moments, he said he wondered if he would hear his own blood spurting after his neck was severed.


Arthur Shawcross

Arthur Shawcross (born June 6, 1945) is an American serial killer, also known as The Genesee River Killer. He claimed most of his victims after being paroled early following a conviction for murdering a child. He was born in Maine, but the family moved to Watertown in New York State when he was young. Shawcross dropped out of school in the ninth grade, and when he was 19 he enlisted in the army. He fought in the Vietnam War where he was to later confess he had murdered and cannibalized two young Vietnamese girls, although there is nothing to back up this claim.
Back in civilian life, living in Watertown once more, Shawcross married four times, but his wives invariably left him after a short time because of his violent and erratic behavior. It was there, in May 1972, that he murdered 10-year-old Jake Blake. He lured the boy to some woods where he assaulted and strangled him. Four months later, he raped and killed an eight-year-old girl named Karen Ann Hill. Arrested for these crimes, Shawcross confessed to both murders but was later able to obtain a plea bargain with the prosecutors. He would plead guilty to killing just Karen Ann Hill on a charge of manslaughter, instead of first-degree murder, and the charge of killing Jake Blake would be dropped. With little evidence to go on, prosecutors went along with this, and the self-confessed double child killer was given a 25-year sentence. Shawcross served 15 years before he was released on parole in March 1987. He had difficulty settling down as he was chased out of homes and fired from workplaces as soon as neighbors and employers found out about his criminal record. Eventually he settled in Rochester, New York, and lived with a woman named Clara. Starting in March 1988, Shawcross began murdering prostitutes in the area, claiming 11 victims before his capture less than two years later. They were usually strangled and battered to death, and were often mutilated as well. After the last victim’s body was found in January 1990, the police decided not to remove it and instead keep surveillance on the area, based on a psychological profile that suggested the killer would return to the scene. Shawcross was spotted masturbating as he sat in his car on a bridge over the creek in which the body of his final victim was floating. He was arrested and eventually confessed in custody.


Bobby Joe Long

Bobby Joe Long, a distant cousin of Henry Lee Lucas, viciously raped and murdered at least nine women from May 1984 to November 1984 in Tampa, Florida. He was born October 14, 1953, in Kenova, West Virginia. While he was quite young his mother left his father and took Bobby Joe to Tampa, Florida. They moved around Tampa frequently, staying with relatives or in rented rooms. He and his mother slept in the same bed until he was 13. His mother tended to be overly protective and dramatic, but still Bobby Joe Long managed to suffer a series of severe head injuries beginning at age five, when he was knocked unconscious in a fall from a swing and had one eyelid skewered by a stick. At 6 he was thrown from his bicycle, crashing headfirst into a parked car, with injuries including loss of several teeth and a severe concussion. At age 7, he fell from a pony onto his head and remained dizzy and nauseous for several weeks. He also seemed to have gotten into countless fist fights with relatives and classmates.
Between 1980 and 1983, Long terrorized the Florida communities of Miami, Ocala and Fort Lauderdale as the “Classified Ad Rapist,” preying on housewives in mid-day attacks. Dropping by while their husbands were working, Bobby Joe Long typically produced a knife, bound his victims, raped them violently, and robbed their homes before he fled. Between May and November 1984, Bobby Joe Long strangled, stabbed and shot at least nine victims, with a tenth suspected but never charged against him. In early November, he abducted a 17-year-old girl off the street and raped her, but let her live. Two days later he raped and killed one last victim, before being arrested and charged. The girl who had been spared was able to describe him and his car to police. He was sentenced to death for raping fifty women and killing nine.


Carl Panzram

Carl Panzram was one of America ‘s most ferocious, unrepentant serial killers. Embittered by years of torture, beatings and sexual abuse both in and out of prison, Panzram evolved into a man who was meanness personified. He hated everyone, including himself. “I was so full of hate that there was no room in me for such feelings as love, pity, kindness or honor or decency,” he said, “my only regret is that I wasn’t born dead or not at all.” He lived a nomadic existence, committing crimes in Europe, Scotland , the United States, South America and once killed six men in a day in Africa and fed their bodies to hungry crocodiles. In 1920, at the age of 29, Panzram committed his first murder, killing some sailors in New York he lured away from a bar, shooting them and dumping their remains into a river. Panzram also shot a man dead for trying to rob him. He later raped and killed two small boys, beating one to death with a rock and strangling the other with a belt.
  

Peter Sutcliffe

Beginning in July 1975 with his first attack, Sutcliffe killed thirteen women and left seven others for dead. The seven survivors were told how lucky they were, but with physical, emotional and psychological scars that would never completely heal, they didn’t feel very lucky. Some would even believe that they would have been better off if the man they had known for so long as The Ripper, had succeeded in killing them. Sutcliffe committed his first known assault in Keighley on the night of 5 July 1975. He attacked a 36 year old woman who was walking alone, striking her unconscious with a ball-pein hammer and slashing her stomach with a knife. Disturbed by a neighbor, he left without killing her.



Dennis Nilsen

Dennis Andrew Nilsen (born November 23, 1945) is a Scottish serial killer who lived in London. During a murderous spree lasting five years, he killed at least 15 men. Nilsen did not fit the standard profile of a serial killer. As a child he was repulsed by cruelty to animals. As an adult he worked to help the downtrodden at his job with the Manpower Service Commission. Even in his murders, Nilsen killed out of a grotesque form of love. He “killed for company.” Nilsen was a homosexual and experienced a series of failed relationships. In 1978, he picked up a boy in a pub and brought him back to his London apartment. Afraid the boy would leave him in the morning, Nilsen killed him in his sleep. He kept the body around his apartment for days, posing it bathing, eating dinner, watching T.V., sleeping in bed, and in other activities as though it was his boyfriend. This pattern continued, with Nilsen recruiting “companions” at local pubs, until a plumber found bones and rotten flesh in the apartment’s sewer system. Nilsen was sentenced to life in prison in 1983 after confessing to fifteen murders.


Fritz Haarmann

Haarmann had begun his crime rampage in September 1918, a time in which Germany was suffering economic depravation and severe food shortages. A young runaway by the name of Friedel Roth disappeared from home on the 25th, writing to his mother only to say that he would not return home until “she was nice again.” Various friends of the boy were forthcoming with information and eventually led the police to no.27 Cellerstrasse, the home of a man they claimed had seduced Friedel. A detective surprised one Fritz Haarmann in bed with a young boy and he was sentenced to nine months’ imprisonment for seducing the juvenile. Unbelievably, the rooms were not searched and, upon interrogation five years later, Haarmann confessed that the “murdered boy’s head was stuffed behind the stove wrapped in newspaper.”

  
Gerard Schaefer

This homicidal Broward County, Florida, ex-policeman, though convicted in 1973 of only two mutilation murders, is believed to be responsible for at least thirty more killings. A sadistic sex-beast by nature, Schaefer would lure young women off the roads with the help of his badge to rape, torture, mutilate and murder. He enjoyed tying his victims to trees and leaving them there while he went to work as a police officer. Teeth, jewelry and clothing from several missing girls and young women were found in a trunk in his mother’s attic.

Today in History - 13 April 1984

Mass Murderer Wilder commits suicide


Christopher Wilder dies after a month-long crime spree involving at 11 young women who have disappeared or been killed. Police in New Hampshire attempted to apprehend Wilder, who was on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted List, but Wilder apparently shot himself to death in a scuffle with state troopers to avoid capture.
Australian-born Wilder was a wealthy race-car driver who lived in an estate in Boynton Beach, Florida.


Authorities believe that Wilder began his kidnapping, rape, and murder spree on February 26 when Rosario Gonzales, a part-time model, disappeared. A week later, on March 5, Elizabeth Kenyon of Coral Gables also disappeared. When a private detective began looking into Kenyon's disappearance and interviewed Wilder, he suspected the man's involvement. However, before police could look any further into the matter, Wilder disappeared.

For a month, Wilder traveled across the country finding new victims. His typical method was to approach attractive young women in shopping malls with offers of modeling jobs.

After Wilder's death, the parents of Rosario Gonzales went to Wilder's estate to see if their missing daughter was buried there. Police arrested four members of the Gonzales family for trespassing. Later, the families of the victims filed claims totaling $50 million against Wilder's estate.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Giveaway!

Join the giveaway!!!



For all of you who love reading crime novels but just like me can't always afford EVERY book that I want to read on all my "favorite" serial killers, I'm hosting a giveaway!!!

I'm going to be giving away a gift voucher from bookdepsitory, and I'm throwing in some bookmarks too!

Fill in this FORM and stand a chance to win...

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Book Review - Kay Scarpetta Series # 2: Body of Evidence

Book Review - Body of Evidence

Goodreads synopsis:
"From Edgar Award-winning author Patricia Cornwell comes the latest in the murder mystery tales of Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Kay Scarpetta. After months of menacing phone calls and a feeling that her every move is being watched, a terrifying message scratched into reclusive writer Beryl Madison's car forces her to flee. But the very night she returns home to Richmond, she deactivates her burglar alarm and opens the door -- to her murderer."

Barnes and Noble synopsis:
"A reclusive author, Beryl Madison finds no safe haven from months of menacing phone calls—or the tormented feeling that her every move is being watched. When the writer is found slain in her own home, Kay Scarpetta pieces together the intricate forensic evidence—while unwittingly edging closer to a killer waiting in the shadows."

I'll be honest, when I picked up this book from a Church sale last year for a very cheap price, I wasn't sure if I'd really read it. But then my Diabolical Challenge rolled around and I found myself having to read a book in a series and I thought well what the heck?

How glad was I that I read this! Now I can't wait to get my hands on the rest of the series to find out whats happend.

Dr Kay Scarpetta is the Chief Medical Examiner. When the body of Beryl Madison is found in her house, brutally stabed and nearly beheaded, Kay finds herself feeling very conected to this murder and she wants to find out who did this to Beryl, no matter what. She goes to great lenghts to find clues and answers, so much so that the killer starts stalking her.

The book reminded me alot of James Pattersons Womens Murder Club series, but its great having a female author write the female lead. Kay is smart and corageous, you really want her to find out what happens, you want her to be ok, you also want her to find love again. She's a great character.

The book gets slow at some points but it picks up pretty quickly. You also get to have some laughs in the book with Kay's "partner" (not really) Pete Marino who is a detective that works along with her. His a real tough guy and doesnt beat around the bush. He compliments her character well. You get to meet some other colourful characters along the way that makes the book a really interesting read.

Next up for me is Postmortem (Kay Scarpetta #1) and then All that remains (Kay Scarpetta #3).

Thursday, March 31, 2011

New Release in SA - Killing Kebble


New Release - Killing Kebble


In September 2005, Brett Kebble, a prominent South African mining magnate, was killed on a quiet suburban street in Johannesburg in an apparent “assisted suicide”. The top-level investigation that followed was a tipping-point for democratic South Africa. It exposed the corrupt relationship between South Africa’s chief of police and Interpol president Jackie Selebi and his friend Glenn Agliotti, and revealed a shadowy underworld dominated by drug lords, steroid-fuelled bouncers, hitmen for hire, an international smuggling syndicate, a dubious security unit moonlighting for the police and sinister, self-serving sleuths abusing state agencies. It even cost the country’s most senior prosecutor his job.



Indemnified by an agreement struck with the state, Mikey Schulz, Nigel McGurk and Fiazal “Kappie” Smith come clean to Mandy Wiener in exclusive interviews about the chilling events leading up to the night Kebble was shot dead and the life paths of the “bungling assassins”. Glenn Agliotti, the man once accused of orchestrating the hit, has also provided Wiener with unlimited access to his story, as have other characters whose versions of the events are previously untold.

This true-crime tale is set against the fascinating background of political interference at the highest level, a bitter feud between two arms of the country’s law-enforcement authorities, a festering police service tainted by dirty cops and the shady relationships between the magnate and aspirant young political turks who were ready recipients of his largesse.

Killing Kebble is not the story of one murder. It’s a gritty, fast-paced chronicle of how one death blew the lid off Johannesburg’s underworld.

About the author
Mandy Wiener is an award-winning Eyewitness News reporter. She has been covering this gripping story for five years and has unrivaled access to the main role players  
Book Details

ISBN-13: 9781770101326
Format: Paperback
No of Pages: pp
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Publication Date: April 2011
Country of publication: South Africa
 
Get this book here:

Today in History - 2 April

Today in History - 2 April 1992

A jury in New York finds mobster John Gotti, nicknamed the Teflon Don for his ability to elude conviction, guilty on 13 counts, including murder and racketeering. In the wake of the conviction, the assistant director of the FBI’s New York office, James Fox, was quoted as saying, “The don is covered in Velcro, and every charge stuck.” On June 23 of that year, Gotti was sentenced to life in prison, dealing a significant blow to organized crime.



John Joseph Gotti, Jr., was born in the Bronx, New York, on October 27, 1940. He rose through the ranks of the Gambino crime family and seized power after ordering the December 1985 murder of then-boss Paul Castellano outside a Manhattan steakhouse. Behind closed doors, Gotti was a ruthless, controlling figure. Publicly, he became a tabloid celebrity, famous for his swagger and expensive suits, which earned him another nickname, the Dapper Don.

During the 1980s, Gotti’s lawyer Bruce Cutler won him acquittals three times. A jury member in one of those trials was later convicted of accepting a bribe to acquit the mob boss. In December 1990, Gotti was arrested at the Ravenite Social Club, his headquarters in New York City’s Little Italy neighborhood. The ensuing trial, which started in January 1992, created a media frenzy. Salvatore “Sammy the Bull” Gravano, one of Gotti’s top soldiers, made a deal with the government and testified in court against his boss. Gravano admitted to committing 19 murders, 10 of them sanctioned by Gotti. In addition, prosecutors presented secret taped conversations that incriminated Gotti. After deliberating for 13 hours, the jury, which had been kept anonymous and sequestered during the trial, came back with a verdict on April 2, 1992, finding Gotti guilty on all counts. The mob boss was sent to the U.S. Penitentiary at Marion, Illinois, where he was held in virtual solitary confinement. On June 10, 2002, Gotti died of throat cancer at age 61 at a Springfield, Missouri, medical center for federal prisoners.



John Travolta to play Mafioso John Gotti in biopic
John Travolta to play John Gott John Travolta

Nick Cassavetes, who worked with Travolta in the thriller "Face/Off," is set to direct the Fiore Films project, which will shoot primarily in New York.

We smell a "Godfather"-like classic in the making! It'll be fun to again see Travolta as a villain. The Leo Rossi screenplay is supposed to explore the father-son relationship in the Mafia family, specifically Gotti's relationship with his son John Gotti Jr. who last told his father  that he'd be leaving the business before his father died in prison.
The real Gotti Jr. has signed off on the project, according to the Hollywood Reporter. Producer Marc Fiore announced it in the fall when he secured the rightes to Gotti's story.
On April 12, Travolta, Cassavetes, Gotti Jr. and producer Marc Fiore will give a news conference about the project at the Sheraton New York Hotel.
We can be certain -- or at least hope -- that this film will probably go over much better than the A&E reality series "Growing Up Gotti," which followed Gotti's daughter Victoria and her three sons.
is revving up to play John Gotti Sr., the mobster who headed the Gambino crime family, in the biopic "Gotti: Three Generations."

Monday, March 21, 2011

Today in History - 21 March 1963

Alcatraz closes its doors


Alcatraz Prison in San Francisco Bay closes down and transfers its last prisoners. At it's peak period of use in 1950s, "The Rock, or ""America's Devil Island" housed over 200 inmates at the maximum-security facility. Alcatraz remains an icon of American prisons for its harsh conditions and record for being inescapable.

The twelve-acre rocky island, one and a half miles from San Francisco, featured the most advanced security of the time. Some of the first metal detectors were used at Alcatraz. Strict rules were enforced against the unfortunate inmates who had to do time at Alcatraz. Nearly complete silence was mandated at all times.

Alcatraz was first explored by Juan Manuel de Ayala in 1775, who called it Isla de los Alcatraces (Pelicans) because of all the birds that lived there. It was sold in 1849 to the U.S. government. The first lighthouse in California was on Alcatraz. It became a Civil War fort and then a military prison in 1907.


The end of its prison days did not end the Alcatraz saga. In March 1964, a group of Sioux claimed that the island belonged to them due to a 100-year-old treaty. Their claims were ignored until November 1969 when a group of eighty-nine Native Americans representing the American Indian Movement (AIM) occupied the island. They stayed there until 1971 when AIM was finally forced off the island by federal authorities.
The following year, Alcatraz was added to the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. It is now open for tourism.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Q&A with Thomas Amo - The Zodiac Killer

The wonderful author of An apple for Zoe, Thomas Amo, has agreed to do another great Q&A with me, this time about the unsolved case of the Zodiac Killer... trust me, this could give you chills.

The Killer has never been caught, so lock your doors friends.

There might be a follow up on this one as Thomas has lots of info about him... please ask questions and tell us what you know about it?


Tell me a bit more about the Zodiac Killer?

One of the most famous unsolved cases in American Criminal History. This case ranks with, Lizzie Borden, Jack The Ripper and Black Dahlia.

The Zodiac was like Jack The Ripper and BTK because he openly communicated with police. What started out as what appeared to be attacks on lovers lanes, turned into full scale terror when he talked about killing a school bus full of children. 7 murders are positively attributed to him, but he claimed to kill over 30. Zodiac proved that serial killers weren't these slobbering maniacal monsters, like a Charles Manson. They were calculating and intelligent.

How long was his killing spree?

Known killings began December 1968 last known official victim was October 1969, less than a year. Although a murder in southern California in 1966 has been long considered what may have been his first, but there is no solid proof, only circumstances that are similar to later killings. His letters to the police do go as far 1978, however those later letters are thought to be forgeries or hoaxes.

Was he really a male?

We can say, yes to that answer as he was witnessed by two survivors of his attacks. Both survivors were able to give very accurate details about his height, body build, voice.


How sure are we that he acted alone?

 I would say in full confidence Zodiac did work alone. These are the types of murders where I don't believe a second killer or an accomplice would have been able to stay loyal. Once the pressure was on by the police the accomplice would have most likely turned himself in, therefore tipping police off to the real identity of the killer. Even the closest of killers who murder as a team will turn against their partner in order to save themselves.

Zodiac killings are very similar to BTK killings. They are motivated by ego and the power to scare. Keep communities terrified. The difference about Zodiac's killings, they weren't sexually motivated. He never makes any attempt to do anything with the victims other than kill them.

First victims: Betty Lou Jensen and David Faraday: Teens out on a first date. Park on Lake Herman Road in Benicia,CA. Zodiac parks behind them and fires into the car from the drivers side, which causes the two teens to try to escape from the passenger side. Instantly he kills the boy, reducing the threat of a fight and allows Betty Lou to run.  However she never has a chance, because he has a sight on his gun that can pinpoint his target. He shoots her no less than 5 times in the back.

Seven months later: Darlene Ferrin and Mike Mageau 4th of July 1969 park alone when again Zodiac parks behind them walks up to the passenger side this time and shoot the boy first then the girl. He goes back to his car, perhaps to reload, returns shoots the boy some more,  rounds the car to the driver’s side to the girl and shoots her several more times. Quietly walks away and drives off never being seen by anyone, except the boy who amazingly survives after being shot in the face, knee, and body. After the attack, the Zodiac goes to a payphone and calls the police and tells them where they can find the two victims and relates he's also the killer of the two kids at Christmas. (BTK would do this same thing with victim Nancy Fox) about 5 years later.

September 1969, Brian Hartnell and Cecilia Ann Shepard take an afternoon at Lake Berryessa,CA where alone by the water a man approaches them wearing a black hood in the shape of a box
and a black cover of his torso with the Zodiac cross symbol emblazoned across it. He pulls a gun and this time takes his time. He forces the girl to tie up the boy and then Zodiac ties up the girl. They then have a long conversation according to Robert Graysmith author of Zodiac. Zodiac relates to the couple he needs their car to go to Mexico. He escaped prison from Montana. (Interesting side note  Unabomber Ted Kazinsky was considered a Zodiac suspect and planned his bombings from a shack in Montana). Brian Hartnell relates the man was calm and in control the entire time he had them tied up and talked with them. After the long conversation Zodiac said plainly, I'm going to have to stab you now. Hartnell asked to be stabbed first because he couldn't bear to see Cecilia stabbed. Zodiac agreed and stabbed him and then the girl. He then quietly walked away. Later police got a call telling them of the killings at Lake Berryessa, only Hartnell had survived. On the door of Hartnell's car was a note that gave the dates of the previous two attacks with the date of the current attack and the addition of saying "by knife” This time he changed his attack from just shooting to stabbing. This is curious because, to murder with a gun, it's not personal. Not to say that it doesn't affect you, but to kill with a knife...that is very personal, not only are you involved in the killing but you feel the knife stabbing. This seems to be something he needed to experience. Shooting wasn't enough; he needed to feel the terror all the way.

One month later October 1969, he shoots cab driver Paul Stine in San Francisco. Again he walks away without any worry of being caught. He is seen by a little girl from a house across the street of the attack but she never sees his face clearly. He tears off a piece of Paul Stine's shirt that he cuts into swatches to include in his communications with police as proof he is the killer. BTK did this with the driver’s license of a victim when he contacted KAKE TV all those years later to prove it really was BTK.

Zodiac sent coded ciphers to newspapers that purported to reveal who he was. FBI, CIA, NAVY were unable to crack these codes. Ironically it was a high school teacher and his wife who managed to break the first Zodiac cipher. It didn't give his name but it gave a small insight to his ego and his showing off of his brilliant mind. How his ego must have increased when he learned FBI, CIA and Navy were unable to break his codes.

Summation: All in all, The Zodiac seemed outside of wanting to prove his was smarter than anyone and couldn't be caught, displayed some very telling signs. In all the attacks but the last one he focuses his attack on the girls. He quickly disarms the threat of the males but his overkill frenzy is focused on the women. This sounds like revenge for rejection. Rejection most likely from what he feels all women. He's not a homosexual, he's an alpha male, strong sex drive and as I said these killings weren't sexually motivated, by that I mean there was no rape, he seems to want to kill the kind of women he feels he can't have, or might have been rejected by in past attempts to date. I think he saw the kind of women he killed as women he wished would be his girlfriend, someone he would have wanted to have a relationship with, but maybe girls of this type may have made fun of him, growing up, he may have been an overweight kid in school and was awkward with girls. Most likely if this is the case then I would say there was ONE GIRL in particular that made him feel this way. So his focus goes from blowing off immature high school behaviour to taking it so personally he feels he has to make her pay for what she did. So if indeed the girl killed in 1966 was the catalyst of this...then it becomes his mission to keep killing her over and over or girls he thinks are like her. Also the letter writing is to prove to her, he's not dumb, he's not just some fat ugly kid...he's so smart even the FBI, CIA and Navy can't break his codes... And so Zodiac slips off into the darkness as quietly as he emerged into the lives of the bay area of 1968, keeping central California terrified over the next ten years. Never to be caught.

Today in History - 17 March

The Night Stalker terrorises Los Angeles

On this day in 1985, Richard Ramirez, the infamous Night Stalker, buys a gun and then kills two women in separate attacks in Los Angeles. These murders started an incredible spree that panicked the entire city during the summer of 1985. Ramirez, who swore allegiance to Satan, killed over a dozen people.



Ramirez, dressed in all black and wearing an AC/DC cap, cruised the freeways of East Los Angeles looking for a victim on March 17. As he drove, he listened to AC/DC's Highway to Hell album over and over again; his favorite song was "Night Prowler." Finally, he spotted Maria Hernandez and followed her as she drove home. As she was opening her door from the garage, Ramirez walked straight at her, pointed the gun at her head and fired.

Remarkably, Hernandez put up her hand in front of her face and the bullet deflected off her keys. In the dark, Hernandez played dead while Ramirez entered her home. Unfortunately, roommate Dayle Okazaki was not so lucky. Ramirez shot her in the head and killed her. He left behind two clues: his AC/DC cap and a footprint from a size 11.5 Avia sneaker.

That same night, Ramirez began to follow law student Veronica Yu as she drove home. Yu realized that she was being followed and confronted Ramirez, but he jumped into her car and shot her to death with the .22 caliber gun.

On March 26, Ramirez began to establish a pattern. He burst into homes in the middle of the night, immediately shooting the men and then tying up the women for rape. He made his victims swear to Satan and carved pentagrams on walls. Though the press initially called the killer the Valley Intruder, the Night Stalker name stuck.

In early August, Ramirez decided to go to San Francisco to continue his killing in a less security-conscious environment. However, after he hit his first home, detectives discovered size 11.5 Avia footprints. Amazingly enough, Ramirez was the only one on the entire West Coast who had a pair of those exact sneakers. When San Francisco's mayor announced that the Night Stalker was responsible for this attack because of the shoe evidence, Ramirez threw the shoes off a bridge and returned to Los Angeles, where he was captured on August 31.

On September 20, 1989, Ramirez was found guilty of forty-three crimes, including thirteen counts of murder, five attempted murders and eleven sexual assaults. As of 2011, he was still awaiting execution in California's San Quentin State Prison.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

True or Not... what do you think? (Ted Bundy)

So recently I came across these pictures on the Internet.


Do you think their the actual photos taken after his (Ted Bundy) execution? Or are they fake?


Saturday, March 12, 2011

Today in History - 12 March 2003: Police recover Elizabeth Smart

Police recover Elizabeth Smart and arrest her abductors


On this day in 2003, 15-year-old Elizabeth Smart is finally found in Sandy, Utah, nine months after being abducted from her family s home. Her alleged kidnappers, Brian David Mitchell, a drifter who the Smarts had briefly employed at their house, and his wife, Wanda Barzee, were charged with the kidnapping, as well as burglary and sexual assault.

In the middle of the night on June 5, 2002, Elizabeth Smart, then 14 years old, was taken at knifepoint from her bedroom in her parents house in the upscale Federal Heights neighborhood of Salt Lake City. Her captor slid into the house undetected after cutting open the screen of an open window. Elizabeth s younger sister, Mary Katherine, with whom she shared her bedroom, was the only witness to the kidnapping. Mary Katherine did not inform her parents until two hours after the incident, frightened that the man might return for her if she called out to alert them. She was initially unable to identify her sister s attacker.

Elizabeth was taken to a crude campsite in the woods just three miles from her family s home--close enough that she could actually hear the voices of searchers calling for her in the days following her abduction. There, it is alleged that Mitchell, who calls himself Emmanuel and professes to be a prophet with his own Mormon sect, sexually assaulted her.

After two months, Smart?who was forced to wear a wig and dress in a robe and veil?was taken to Salt Lake City and appeared in public, but was not recognized. From there, Mitchell and Barzee took Smart to San Diego, where they lived in a series of campsites and under bridges. Finally, the group returned to the Salt Lake City area and, just a couple of hours later, several people recognized Elizabeth. They reported their sightings to police, who immediately followed up on the lead and pulled over a car carrying Mitchell, Barzee and Smart.

Most of the early police investigation into Elizabeth s disappearance had focused on another suspect, Richard Ricci, who had also once worked as a handyman in the Smart home. Serving time in prison for a parole violation during the investigation, Ricci denied having any involvement in the kidnapping. The trail grew cold after Ricci died in prison of a brain hemorrhage on August 30. Finally in early February 2003, Mary Katherine Smart told her parents she believed another former worker at the Smart home, who called himself "Emmanuel," might be Elizabeth s captor and the Smarts relayed the information to authorities. On February 3, believing that the police were not taking Mary Katherine s tip seriously, the Smart family called their own press conference to release a sketch of Emmanuel. Several days later, a man contacted police to inform them that Emmanuel was his disturbed stepfather, Brian David Mitchell, and that he believed him to indeed be capable of kidnapping. In the days before finding Elizabeth, the Smarts continued to criticize police for failing to devote enough energy to following up on the lead.

When found, Smart, who called herself "Augustine" most likely at the behest of Mitchell, initially denied to police that she was in fact Elizabeth Smart. Undeterred, police took her and her captors in separate cars to the Salt Lake City Police Department, where she was reunited with her family. On March 18, 2003, after Mitchell and Barzee were formally charged, Mitchell s attorney announced that his client considered taking Elizabeth "a call from God." It has since been reported that Mitchell believed Smart was his wife and that the young girl may have suffered from Stockholm syndrome during the nine-month ordeal, answering questions as to why she did not try to escape even though it seemed she had been presented with several opportunities.



Police later discovered that Mitchell had also attempted to kidnap Smarts cousin several weeks after taking Elizabeth and added that crime to the list of charges against him. Both Barzee, who filed for divorce from Mitchell in December 2004, and Mitchell were declared mentally unfit to stand trial in January 2004 and July 2005 respectively.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Today in History - 9 March 1997: Rapper B.I.G is killed

Rapper Notorious B.I.G. is killed in Los Angeles


Christopher Wallace, a.k.a Biggie Smalls, a.k.a. the Notorious B.I.G., is shot to death at a stoplight in Los Angeles. The murder was thought to be the culmination of an ongoing feud between rap music artists from the East and West coasts. Just six months earlier, rapper Tupac Shakur was killed when he was shot while in his car in a drive-by shooting in Las Vegas. Ironically, Wallace's death came only weeks before his new album, titled Life After Death, was scheduled to be released.

Wallace was the most prominent East Coast practictioner of "gangsta rap," peppering his song with profane, violent and misogynistic lyrics. His 1994 record Ready to Die sold millions. That same year, Shakur, the West Coast's leading rapper, was shot several times in a robbery at a recording studio in New York.

Shakur claimed that Wallace was partially responsible and later taunted Wallace on one of his songs. He claimed to have slept with Wallace's ex-wife, singer Faith Evans, and insulted the overweight rapper for his ample girth.


Wallace's raps about violent street life were not completely fiction. He grew up in a poor section of Brooklyn and had many run-ins with the law growing up. Even after he reached stardom in the music world, his legal woes continued. In the summer of 1996 he was arrested when police found marijuana and firearms at his New Jersey home. He also gave a new meaning to fan appreciation when he assaulted a pair of admirers with a baseball bat.

The murder of Wallace has never been solved, though it has been suggested that either Marion "Suge" Knight, the former head of Death Row Records, Shakur's label, or the Crips gang may be be responsible. Knight was also shot (but not wounded seriously) in the fatal Las Vegas attack on Shakur and is rumored to have engineered a retaliatory strike against Wallace, whom he held responsible for the Las Vegas shooting. Since Wallace's death, Knight had been in and out of court and prison on a variety of charges.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Top Ten Tuesday - Dynamic Duo's

This is the awesome weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish
 
This week's topic: 
Top Ten Dynamic Duos
 
Wow, and what a fun one for crime right?
 
So here is my list of Dynamic Criminal Duos (a little change, sorry :))
 
1. Martha Beck and Raymond Fernandez - The Lonely Hearts Killers
 
2. Paul Bernardo and Karla Homolka - The Ken and Barbie Killers
 
3. Ian Brady and Myra Hindley - The Moors murderers
 
4. Bonnie and Clyde - No need for mentioning, duh
 
5. Fred and Rose West - Gloucester House of Horrors
 
6. Reggie and Ronnie Kray
 
7. The Menendez brothers - The Parent killers
 
8. Caril Fugate and Charles Starkweather - Natural Born killers is based on them
 
9. Kenneth Bianchi and Angelo Buono - The Hillside Strangler cousins
 
10. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
 
Who do you think is the most famous?
What's your top ten?
 

Monday, March 7, 2011

Today in History - 8 March 1951: The Lonely Hearts Killers get Executed

The Lonely Hearts Killers get Executed...


The Lonely Hearts Killers, Martha Beck and Raymond Martinez Fernandez, are executed in the electric chair at Sing Sing Prison in New York. The strange couple had schemed to seduce, rob and murder women who placed personal ads in newspapers. Beck and Fernandez boasted to killing as many as seventeen women in this manner, but evidence suggests that there may have been only four victims.

Martha Beck was an extremely overweight, and by all reports, unattractive woman when she joined a lonely hearts club advertised in a romance magazine. Her first letter came from Ray Fernandez in Brooklyn. After World War II, he suffered a serious head injury in an accident that left him bald and with serious headaches. He became a petty criminal and wore a cheap black toupee to cover up his baldness. He convinced himself that he had a power over women that could turn them into his sexual slaves.

In 1946, Fernandez found his first mark in a lonely hearts club. He dated the older woman until he had gained enough of her trust to loot her bank account.The next year, he took the latest in a line of victims to Spain, where she turned up dead in a hotel room.  Fernandez responded to Beck's note with the intention of conning her, but after a brief affair, Fernandez and Beck apparently fell in love. When he confessed his original idea, Beck liked his scheme so much that she decided to join him.

Over the next two years, Beck posed as Fernandez's sister as he seduced older women before stealing from them. By 1949, they had murdered one victim and killed another accidentally with an overdose of sleeping pills. The end came when Fernandez hooked up with a younger woman in Michigan. The woman was a bit suspicious of the "brother and sister," and although she allowed them to move into her home, wouldn't marry Fernandez immediately and provide him access to her funds. When the jealous Beck got tired of waiting, the pair killed the woman and her two-year-old daughter and buried them in the basement.
Police officers, challenged by Fernandez himself, searched the home and found the makeshift grave. Beck and Fernandez confessed readily in the belief that their lives were safe in the non-capital punishment state of Michigan. But they didn't count on being extradited to New York, where the electric chair was an option. At the last minute they attempted an insanity defense, but were unable to convince the jury.

Their depraved story was the subject of a particularly sordid 1969 movie The Honeymoon Killers. Another movie called the Lonely Hearts Killers was also made more recently.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Upcomming James Patterson...

UPCOMING CRIME OR RELATED READS...

I thought it would be fun to add some great books that involve crime to my blog.

There are some truly great authors out there (and keep your eye on the blog, our resident author Thomas Amo is writing his next novel!) and I taught I'd try and showcase some of their upcoming work.

This might have been released already, but bare with me, South Africa is usually a bit late.


NYC's #1 detective, Michael Bennett, has a huge problem--the Son of Sam, the Werewolf of Wisteria and the Mad Bomber are all back. The city has never been more terrified!
Tick--a killer's countdown begins
A rash of horrifying crimes tears through the city, throwing it into complete chaos and terrorizing everyone living there. Immediately, it becomes clear that they are not the work of an amateur, but of a calculating, efficient, and deadly mastermind.

Tick--Michael Bennett is on the chase

The city calls on Detective Michael Bennett, pulling him away from a seaside retreat with his ten adopted children, his grandfather, and their beloved nanny, Mary Catherine. Not only does it tear apart their vacation, it leaves the entire family open to attack.

Tock--your time is up

Bennett enlists the help of a former colleague, FBI Agent Emily Parker. As his affection for Emily grows into something stronger, his relationship with Mary Catherine takes an unexpected turn. All too soon, another appalling crime leads Bennett to a shocking discovery that exposes the killer's pattern and the earth-shattering enormity of his plan. "