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August 2001

18 August 2001

According to Utah's Salt Lake Tribune, the mother of the teenager who made the winning play in a youth baseball championship was knocked unconscious by parents of members of the opposing team. Salt Lake City, Utah, mother Cindy Morrison said she was assaulted by a woman with an umbrella and a woman with a collapsible stroller. Morrison said her husband asked the opposing team's coach to control the parents of his players but that the coach replied with cursing. When Morrison rang a police officer friend from her mobile phone, the two antagonists allegedly punched her and hit her with their makeshift weapons. Morrison was unconscious when police arrived.

According to Norwegian daily Verdens Gang, Oslo's Arne and Oeystein Tokyam let a 30-something woman into their home. With a friend, she then gave the two elderly men a 15-minute striptease show, uninvited. After the women left, the brothers realisd that their safe, 60,000 crowns in cash, and some social security vouchers were missing. The brothers were quoted as saying: 'It's been a long time since we had so much fun' anyway.

The Los Angeles Times reports on a burglary suspect who broke the window in the police cruiser as he was being driven to jail. Abraham Josh Derian, 25, 'hit the ground, rolled, and lost his pants. He was naked from the waist down, and he took off running', according to Police Lieutenant Mike Jackson. While police were hunting for him, Derian apparently pulled a knife on three women who were in a catering truck, ordering them to go to an auto parts store. Derian ordered one of the women to buy a bolt cutter there. When the clerk suggested Home Depot, the woman said she would drive there and to summon police.
The suspect was originally spotted trying to figure out which Mercedes Benz matched a stolen set of keys.

Saying she needed to use the loo, a woman asked to be let into the US Capitol building before it opened to the public in the morning. Capitol Police - who noted that the woman appeared mentally disturbed and was about six months pregnant - led her to the toilets while officers tried to figure out whether or not she had escaped from a local mental hospital.
Once in the loo, the woman took off all her clothes, threw them into a toilet, then balled them up and threw them at officers. After hitting the female officer who tried to restrain her, she tried to streak down a hallway. Rather than charging her with assaulting an officer, officials decided to try to commit her.

Utah trucker Robert James Mainwood drove past a rest area, instead falling asleep behind the wheel. The truck went through two fences and came to rest in a raw sewage pond. He woke up. It was over an hour before rescue workers managed to extricate Mainwood from the popcorn truck, which kept sinking deeper into the sewage. The pond, which stores sewage from nearby rest areas, will need repairs and will have to be drained in order to remove the truck.

Jasper, Missouri, three-year-old Joel T. Kinsey died of hyperthermia after his parents left him in the car while they were in church. Joel's father, Kevin, was late and in a rush to open the doors of Cornerstone Southern Baptist Church. He looked for his son about an hour later and found him in the car. County coroner Ron Mosbaugh said: 'They were just so preoccupied with what was going on in the church. They didn't think about the baby.'

A search for narcotics in Bonita A. Reid's house in Florida turned up nearly 100 cats and dogs, most of them malnourished. The animals live downstairs. The tenants, one of whom was found in possession of marijuana, live upstairs. The St. Augustine Human Society removed only 20 cats and one dog from the $292,000 home, for they had no more room available. Officials do want better conditions for the animals.
Humane Society director Tina Walker said: 'She sees nothing wrong with what she is doing', and there are no zoning regulations in the rural area to stop Reid. However, neighbours don't appreciate the smell. One also said she bought a $10,000 chainlink fence to keep Reid's dogs out of her yard. Walker stated: 'This lady is totally overwhelmed.'

A Japanese company has released a device that is supposed to tell pet owners what mood a dog is in. A microphone on a dog's collar records barking sounds. The hand-held 'Bow-lingual' device receives infrared voice prints and determines the levels of six different emotions. The device, produced by Takara Co Ltd, also has a 'dog diary' mode so owners can see how their canines have felt in their absence. Bow-lingual costs 12,800 yen (the equivalent of a little over 100 euros).

A New Jersey machinist and self-described faith healer pleaded not guilty to sexual assault in connection his exorcism of a Philippine-born Maryland woman. The 50-year-old Jess Guevarra said he used folk medicine from the Philippines to treat the woman but denied that he told her: 'This will be how I get the demons out of you' before proceeding to have sex with her.
The woman's supposed demons manifested themselves in leg pain, her grandmother's death, and her mother developing a rash. Guevarra later allegedly told her she had another demon, which could cause more family members to die. She returned for a second treatment. Detective James Stoltenborg said: 'She did believe she had a demon, but we believe he took advantage of her.' The police find it likely that she is not the only one.

Pennsylvania chiropractor James Morell is being sued by three women who claim they sought chiropractic treatment but were sexually massaged. One claims she was kissed against her will during her session, and another alleges Morell exposed himself to her. Morell said he regretted the kiss and said he should have explained to another patient that his chiropractic technique only seems sexual.
In an interview, Morell described the women as 'trailer trash', 'the town slut', and a 'whack job';.

A California man is suing Jacumba nudist convention hosts, accusing them of 'misrepresenting to spectators that fire-walking was safe'. Eli Tyler was one of seven people hospitalised with severe foot burns after a 2000 American Association for Nude Recreation gathering. He alleges that the fire-walking demonstration's leader, independent contractor Fred Gilbert, said fire-walking is 'a safe and spiritual experience where you walk through your past to arrive at your future', although the resort director said that everyone agreed in advance not to sue if injured. Eli claims that Gilbert used the wrong kind of wood, had no medics present, started the fire walk before ash formed on the wood, etc.

Residents of Blue Hills, Missouri, say they complained for weeks about the dead dog that had been at the edge of the park for over a month. Cathy Douglas said maintenance crews mowed around the carcass, which she could smell from her porch. Animal shelter supervisor Gerald Countz said: 'To my knowledge, we've gotten three calls on it. I don't know why the officer didn't see it his first time out or (his) second time out either.' The dog has now been removed.

At about 1am, Detroit 20-year-old Shaniqua Betty handed her baby to a stranger at a bus stop, saying she needed to get her handbag from her boyfriend's home. When she returned from the 2.5-kilometre journey, the man was gone, along with the baby, three-month-old Isaiah Lewis. Police checked security tapes from a store near the bus stop and, after discoering that its timing was off by an hour, arrested a 48-year-old man, who led them to an abandoned building five blocks from the bus stop. The boy's body was found in a pile of dirty diapers and other debris.
Last year a psychological evaluation indicated that Betty was 'not capable of caring for or rearing a baby'.

In Daytona Beach, Florida, Tekela Harris and boyfriend David Carter went to pick up her children from the day care centre. She collected two of her children, Shaityea Hayward and Isznic Hinson, without incident.
The other didn't run to greet her. Carter said the workers told him they were looking for the two-year-old's shoe. But then Harris watched as a centre worker pulled two-year-old Zaniyah Hinson's body from a day care van. The child had been left in the van after a field trip in a park. She had spent as long as 3.5 hours in the Abundant Life Academy of Learning vehicle, whose temperature rescue workers estimated at 52 degrees Celsius.

A Longview, Texas, motel's swimming pool also spelled the death of some children. A motel guest reported that a child's body was afloat in the pool. Police then found a second body. The children's 14-year-old minder, returning from the motel room where a total of eight related children lived, told police that a third child had been using the pool.
'The pool is so murky you can't see the bottom', Police Sergeant Shaun Pendleton said. Firefighters tried to use poles to find a third body, until Lieutenant Joe Bob McCaleb jumped into the pool and brought up a t-shirt, then a corpse.
The children's 43-year-old mother was hospitalised after she tried to hurt herself. She was later taken into custody when she tried to leave the country.

In Seoul, South Korea, 20 men cut off their little fingers to protest Japanese textbooks glossing over the attrocities committed during World War II. At Independence Gate Park, where a former prison housed independence fighters during Japanese rule of Korea, the men cut off their fingers with straw cutters (wooden boards with metal cleavers). The protesters plan to mail the fingers to the Japanese embassy.
The protest was sparked by Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's visit to a martial shrine, where he paid homage to the 2.5 million Japanese who died in World War II or were executed for their actions therein.

A 36-year-old Texas man flying from Los Angeles to Beijing became increasingly agitated, eventually stripping down to his underwear, threatening passengers, and trying to open an exit door. Passengers and crew members restrained the man and covered him in blankets. The flight was diverted, in what is at least the fourth diversion of a trans-Atlantic flight to Anchorage, Alaska, to get an unruly passenger off the plane. FBI spokesman Eric Gonzalez said it seems the man overdosed on a medicine he was taking. The man was not charged with a crime.

Three AB Biomonitoring employees have been charged with e-mail forgery after their hoax e-mail messages caused an employee at a rival Welsh company to go on a supposed business trip to Delhi last July and, allegedly, have a nervous breakdown. Returning home from India, Molecular Light Technology executive Philip Hall, who was under treatment for schizophrenia and manic depression, stabbed and killed his 12-year-old daughter, Emma. At his murder trial, Hall was ordered to be detained indefinitely in a hospital.

A two-year-old Ohio boy killed his grandfather with a loaded, and probably cocked, gun. The boy was playing out of immediate view of his mother and grandfather Thomas Hopps, who all lived together. Hopps, 55, kept the gun in a magazine stand behind his chair. He was sitting in the chair when a bullet from the .45 hit him in the back. He died in hospital several hours later.

24 August 2001

New York's Joanne Jones, 58, was recently charged in the death of a city marshal who was supposed to evict her from her apartment. Police say that Jones pushed Erskine Bryce from the stairs and hit him with a metal stick. When he was lying on the ground, Jones threw paint thinner on him and struck her lighter. Jones claimed the fire was an accident and that she didn't mean to actually ignite Bryce or his clothes.

A Reefton, New Zealand, man managed to drown in his cat's water bowl, according to coroner Peter Roselli. We don't have proof that Peter John Robinson, 28, had been drinking before the incident. What we do know is that he suffered a head injury shortly before he drowned. His mother, who found him, said he appeared to have slipped on the 3 cm layer of ice on the ramp between the family home and the water bowl. Robinson, whose balance was affected by a missing ear and curvature of the spine, was due to have spine surgery in two weeks' time.

When people in and near a Washington theatre reported seeing a naked man wandering around, the Island County Sheriff's Office became involved. Making conversation with the man after handing him a ticket for indecent exposure, a deputy asked the 30-year-old man what he did for a living. He said he grew marijuana. The deputy said he declined the man's request for help harvesting the marijuana but did agree to have a look at the operation, whereupon the naked man explained the elegance of his growing and watering system. When the inevitable happened, the man helped police load the 80 or so plants into police vehicles. Deputies said they asked the naked man what he had expected them to do when he showed them the plants, and he said he didn't expect them to do anything.

And in other dope news, Keith Jason Klein's neighbours complained to police when, at night, he set off a homemade compressed air cannon that produces flame balls from alcohol. Klein complains that police told him the cannon had to be 'rendered safe' and the Albuquerque, New Mexico, house searched to make sure no-one had been hurt. He did not approve, however, of police noticing the marijuana-growing operation inside. Klein's complaint argues that the 30 plants were only for personal consumption. Narcotics detective Jeannette Tate, who arrested Klein, said: 'If you're going to be doing this, it's not a good idea to shoot cannons. You want to alleviate any unwanted attention.'

In news from earlier this month, [IMG: Toy Yoda] Hooters are fighting a lawsuit by a former employee over a company-sponsored beer-selling contest. Jodee Berry, who sold the most beer at the Panama City Beach Hooters in April, was randomly chosen from among the top beer-sellers at local Hooters establishments. The winner was to win a Toyota, but restaurant manager Jared Blair said he did not know in advance what kind it was. Berry found out when she was led to the restaurant car park and her blindfold was removed. It was tiny and green, for she had won a toy Yoda doll. She quit a week later.
Stuart Houston, a spokesman for Gulf Coast Wings, Inc., the corporate owner of the local Hooters restaurants, said that 'Hooters never intended to purposely mislead Miss Berry or any other employee'.

Alfred Preast's relatives and friends want to know why a rattlesnake bite landed him in an intensive care unit, given that Mark 16:18 says: 'They will pick up snakes in their hands and be unharmed if they should drink deadly poison.' Preast was bitten at a Pentecostal church in Scrabble Creek, North Carolina, where faith is tested with strychnine and snakes.
Alfred's new girlfriend, Marilyn Sergent, said he should not have been allowed to handle snakes, especially since his recent strokes and heart attacks have left him 'like a child', but she went with him to the service to photograph him with the snakes. Alfred's daughter said: 'I don't go to no snake handling churches', and his grandson called the group a cult. But other family members said he was hurt because he wasn't in the right frame of mind. Brother Rob said: 'Everyone who got bit was a hypocrite.'

Some people make it easy for law enforcement. Matilde Perez-Mulino checked in at a Gresham, Oregon, hospital and asked to be treated after apparently having a baby. Hospital officials rang police because Perez-Mulino didn't have a baby with her. The 24-year-old's baby was, rather predictably, found in a skip.
Perhaps she thought her children would feed themselves. A Clarksville, Tennessee, woman rang emergency services to report that her 15-month-old son was not breathing. Police found the boy, Matthew, dead and worked on saving Victoria Annette Dennis's other son instead. The one-month-old son appeared malnourished and dehydrated. The children's father, Michael Dennis, is in the Army and stationed in Kosovo.

Rounding off the obligatory 'dead children' section is Maria Ricardo, who looked on as two of her sister's children were tortured, killed, and buried by their father, Marco Barrera, in the Angeles National Forest. Sheriff's deputies happened to see the family near a freshly dug grave in the forest. They dug up five-year-old Ernesto Barragon's starved, beaten body and later found two-year-old Lupita Esquivel's body nearby.
Ricardo, 31, was sentenced to 12 years, eight months in prison on Friday. Her sister has just completed her sentence for child endangerment. Barrera now has only 14 children, eight by his wife and six by her sister, Ricardo.

Denver US District Judge Edward Nottingham likened a recent case to a book reviewed by Ambrose Bierce in the words 'The covers of this book are too far apart'. David Merrill's case, he said, was a 'rambling, nonsensical, incoherent blotch on this court's docket'. Merrill, 43, sued the United Nations, the Sanhedrin, a man he claims posed as Jesus Christ in a prank telephone call, and others in his suit; he and his motor scooter were named as plaintiffs in a case that refers also to mathematical texts and a Social Security speech by President George W. Bush,
Merritt's motor scooter was taken away when he was caught driving with expired licence plates, no proof of insurance, and no driver's licence after his car was confiscated. He didn't pay to retrieve his scooter or car, but he wants them back and says he wants $12.6 million from someone at the New York Stock Exchange if he doesn't get them back.
The best summary of the case is probably, from Merrill's complaint, 'Jesus Christ of Nazareth paid the ransom in blood for me on the cross and my motorcycle is part of the eternal inheritance in general'.

Last year Eduardo Veliz cut off his penis to draw attention to his unemployment. It was successfully reattached. Veliz, now employed, has now cut off one of his testicles 'to protest my lousy situation'. Carlos Viera, spokesman for the hospital that treated Veliz both times, said: He's a labourer. Last year he was asking for work [...] this time he wanted a pay rise because he says he earns a paltry wage.' Veliz performed both stunts in front of the Peruvian parliament building, Reuters reports.

The Houston Chronicle reports that Marvin Latryl Smith died when a train hit him. Smith, 25, stopped the car on a set of railroad tracks because he knew his girlfriend, with whom he was in the midst of an argument, would be scared. Jackson left the car, and Smith followed. He rushed back to the car when he heard a train whistle and was trying to move the car when he was squished.

Bunol, Spain, recently played host to the annual Tomatina Festival. Over 130 tonnes of ripe tomatoes were put in the streets near the town square for two hours of food fighting. About 30,000 people attended. The August festival, which was made official and regulated in 1959, has various rules. Tomatoes must be crushed before they are thrown at people, participants are not allowed to carry bottles, etc.

A man from O'Fallon, Missouri, showed up drunk for his burglary trial. Paul D. Brand was drunk in court once before, suffering an alcohol-induced seizure. The jurors had not entered the room yet when it became clear that Brand had been drinking alcohol. Brand succeeded in having his trial postponed again, but this time he will wait for the new date, two months from now, in jail. He was fined the amount it costs to bring in a jury for one day.

30 August 2001

Thierry Devaux has bungee jumped from such landmarks as the Eiffel Tower and Golden Gate Bridge. A few days after telling the media that he planned to bungee jump from 'one of New York's most emblematic structures', he attempted to land a motorised parasail on the platform surrounding the Statue of Liberty's torch. When the parasail's fabric got caught on the flame, Devaux was left dangling beside the statue's arm, a captive of Lady Liberty. An hour later he was rescued and arrested. He left Liberty Island in handcuffs.

Ohio's Columbus Dispatch reports on city licensing of astrologers. Applicants must correctly answer 16 of 20 true/false questions in order to be certified by Columbus. Ginger-lyn Summer, one of seven licensed astrologers in the capital city, mentions her licence in newspaper advertisements. Although Columbus has licensed astrologers since 1930 or earlier, there are no similar licences for palm readers, tarot practitioners, etc. Anyone practising astrology without a licence could in theory be fined and jailed.
Columbus astrologer Robert Peters said he doesn't need a licence because he is licenced by the American Psychological Association. Peters, who was asked to help with the test, said the city doesn't know anything about astrology anyway.

The Fresno, California, Municipal Sanitary Landfill has been declared a historical landmark. A spokesman for Interior Secretary Gale Norton, embarrassed at the media attention the dump has garnered, said they may revoke the honour now that they realise the landfill has for 12 years been on the Environmental Protection Agency's Superfund list as a toxic waste site, methanogen, and groundwater pollutant.
Norton said the landfill was given the honour because it was the first to use the trench method of disposal. City Councilman Brian Calhoun said, in reply, 'Are you kidding?'.

Someone found a wallet in Watsonville, California, and turned it in. Police succeeded in finding and contacting the person who lost the wallet and its contents - more than $2300 in cash. Ricardo Landecho said he would drive down to the station immediately to collect the wallet. The police, noticing that Landecho's driver's licence was suspended, figured they would also have a drug-sniffing dog handy in case he was violating the terms of his parole for drug-related offences. After Landecho and his teenaged daughter parked across the street from the station, the dog and two officers found about a pound of marijuana, 33 grams of what they think are methamphetamines, and eight grams of what is probably cocaine. The daughter was carrying much of this stuff.

The Boston Herald reports that a masked man with a cast on one of his legs tried to leave the Dip N Sip coffee shop with a shop's till. Two customers tackled the man, Brockton's James M. Jorritsma, leaving him with a second broken leg.
Jorritsma claimed he had been drinking from a bottle of de-icing fluid before the incident. During the crime he had a bottle of brake fluid in his pocket to make it appear as if he had a weapon.
Dip N Sip owner Eleni Lymberopoulos said that 'I am so thankful for my customers. I have good customers' but did regret that she wasn't allowed to give Jorritsma a slap in the face.

Christopher Bayer was found guilty of sodomy and sexually abusing a minor. The Riverhead, New York, man is better known as Smiley the Clown. His teenaged assistant, now 17, claims he was first sodomised by Bayer at the age of 11, during an out-of-town circus trip. Bayer was caught in 1999 when the boy's father, suspicious, put a surveillance camera in the family's living room, where Bayer sometimes stayed when in the area. The clown insisted that he was innocent, and his lawyer claimed Bayer had been plied with alcohol and set up before the taped incident.

Clearwater, Minnesota, County Undersheriff Lyle Colligan called it 'an absolutely unbelievable, tragic coincidence' when Arne and Carol Kleppe's three-year-old adopted son drowned in Six Lake on Sunday. The couple's son and daughter drowned in the same lake in 1998. The Kleppes said the boy vanished when he was off playing with the family dog. Colligan said that 'we've done a very thorough investigation, and we aren't seeing anything other than a horrible repeat of an awful tragedy', adding that the investigation is closed unless new information is brought forward.

Arkansas native Patrick Michael Penker's theft of US$1 million since 1997 came to light when Penker asked Texas bank executive John Reed to reissue a cashier's cheque under a different name and Reed recognised Penker's company name - Dewey, Cheatham and Howe - as a Three Stooges fictional law firm. Reed said: 'It did seem just a bit unusual for a company name. Evidently, he fooled a lot of people.'
Assistant US Attorney Roger McRoberts said that, 'because of [Reed's suspicions] we got into the investigation a year earlier than we normally would have' and were able to recover $550,000 from certificates of deposit. Penker, who pleaded guilty Monday to money laundering, using a fraudulent Social Security number - that of Georgia's Alvin Cheatham - and identity fraud, used 108 lines of credit and at least six assumed names.

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