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July 2002

2 July 2002

The Anchorage Daily News reports that Joseph Sivertsen was having sex with his girlfriend in a Spenard, Alaska, alley, when Jerome King, 41, walked by. King asked the pair 'Are you having fun?', whereupon Sivertsen, 36, hefted a piece of pipe - from a nearby construction site - and struck him multiple times in the head, according to police. Several witnesses in a nearby shop saw the attack take place in the parking lot.
The criminal complaint against Sivertsen says: 'Spontaneous interruption of a public sex act to engage in an aggravated assault should be considered as a strong indication of a seriously unaddressed anger management problem.'

Florida's St. Petersburg Times reports on a Homosassa man who got tired of waiting for the woman in front of him to complete her transactions at an AmSouth bank drive-through window. Between 11 and 15 minutes into Nell Davis's transactions, Hugh Allen McMahon, 70, leaned out of his van and started telling Davis, 17, to hurry up. He then swore. He then rammed Davis's car three times. McMahon then told Davis he had taken down her licence plate number and would 'track her down'. He drove off.
McMahon has been charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

Santa Fe, Texas, police say Grady Wayne Dennis, 37, was mid-burgle when he noticed a bottle of Crown Royal Canadian Whisky among the loot he was piling outside the house. According to the Texas City Sun, police found Dennis sitting in a living room chair, drunk. Dennis, scheduled to be on parole until 2011, is now in the Galveston County jail.

As fires rage through vast drought-ridden areas of the US, The Arizona Republic reports on the 'Chediski' fire, a 1,500-acre blaze that started as a signal fire set by an elderly woman lost in the woods. A pilot from KPHO television rescued the woman, but, according to Dorman McGann for the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests, 'they didn't take the time to put the fire out - nobody did'. Residents of Heber were given one hour to leave their homes.

When Brazil beat Belgium in a second-round World Cup match held in Kobe, Japan a couple weeks ago, none of the feared outbreaks of violence took place. But Haruki Yamazaki, 53, did grow violent because of the match. Hating soccer and annoyed at the loud celebrations outside his twelfth-floor apartment, he threw empty beer bottles at the revelers from his balcony. One bottle landed on a car, destroying its bonnet. Yamazaki was arrested for willful destruction of property.

Take this one for what it's worth, given that no names have been released. In dead baby news this time, a four-month-old boy died when his parents fought over him during an argument. The Daveyton, South Africa, parents allegedly began a tug-of-war when the woman threatened to leave the man. North Rand police spokesperson Captain Sophie Mayisela said the father allegedly grabbed his son by the neck and the mother gripped the child's body. The mother went to the nearest police station when she realised that not all was right with her son.

Mebane, North Carolina, police responded to a call describing a suspicious pickup truck circling a shop car park. Captain T.E. Caldwell saw Eldridge Freeman, Jr, 27, sitting naked inside the vehicle. Freeman drove off, leading Caldwell on a chase among the parked cars. When the chase ended, Caldwell recognised that Freeman had been trying to get dressed while weaving among the various stationary vehicles. Caldwell later stated: 'He had managed to get his t-shirt partially on, but that was basically all he was wearing. We also noticed that Mr. Freeman's hands and mid-section were both covered in Vaseline.'

The AP report on Jean Hoover, who stole $4,700 from the Binghamton, New York, store where she worked. Entering the store after hours to commit the crime, she thought to turn off the security camera but didn't think to take the videotape inside. Hoover left for Las Vegas, where she then was married. The money hasn't been recovered.

Daniel Fornash of Canton, Ohio, allegedly walked down the street with a marijuana plant and asked a passer-by this: 'Would you believe I'm walking down the street in the middle of the day with this pot plant?' - wherupon the passer-by replied with 'would you believe I'm a cop?'. The plain-clothes officer, Detective Joe Mongold, was returning from court at the time. Fornash told police the marijuana had been growing in the front yard of a vacant house, where he had been looking after it before deciding to take it home.

Steven Schuryard, 33, called himself a 'full-fledged pedophile' on his Web site - perfectly legal. 'This guy is smart enough to know that he has freedom of speech', said agent Al Danna of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. But he was not clever when Temple Terrace police confronted him about apparently threatening e-mail messages he sent to his family. Appearing with a gun tucked in the waistband of his trousers, he threatened the police and then told them he had child pornography on his computer, police said. 'He wasn't lying' about the homemade photos, said police Captain Tracy Mishler. Dozens of children have been interviewed, and the charges are adding up. And Schurgard now calls his Web site 'all a big joke'.

Giovanna Mata, 21, of Fullerton, California, was allegedly kept chained to her bed by her parents. David Mata, 53, and wife Guadalupe, 51, were arrested for false imprisonment, assault and battery, and making criminal threats. They were trying to prevent Giovanna from going out with a married man. Lieutenant Danny Becerra said the couple told police that they used 30-pound chains and two large gate locks to keep her from seeing her boyfriend.

Cearra Roberts-Green, three years of age, was sitting on Santa's lap at a New York shopping centre when a 946 ml cup of soda and ice hit her on the head, leaving her with a concussion. The 17-year-old who dropped that container from a third-floor balcony has now been sentenced to 60 days in jail and three years of probation. Judge Jeffrey Merill said: 'This was a dastardly deed, pure and simple.' The teenager said that he'd been merely trying to hit the Christmas tree and splash the soda on Santa and the children.

Reuters delivers a follow-up to the 'pork chop shoes' item from January of this year ( A Sydney, Australia, court awarded AUS$34,817 to Troy Bowron, who broke his arm when he fell on the greasy floor of the Jannali Inn after a drinker made himself pork chop shoes in order to comply with the rule that customers must wear shoes if they are to be served. The drinker, Ross Lucock, was cleared of responsibility for the incident while the inn was not.

Omaha, Nebraska, police found a 21-month-old girl malnourished and with much of her nose eaten away by infection. Police Lieutenant Doug Chonis said Kevin J. Flynn, 48 and Sally A. Flynn, 31, are thought to have kept their daughter alone with the lights turned off most of the time. The girl had been in foster care since birth, when drugs were found in her system and Sally was deemed 'homeless and erratic', but was returned to her parents by a judge six months ago. Since then, she lost a third of her weight, and lanugo hair had grown on her sagging skin.
The Flynns, who denied the allegations, have been investigated for child neglect before, and three of their eight children are no longer under their care.

13 July 2002

In St. Petersburg, Florida, Daniel Beckley, 24, paid his taxi fare from a woman's handbag, so the taxi driver became suspicious and called police. Police spokesman George Kajtsa said: 'Never mind that he had an aquarium with snakes and a four-foot sword.' Police say Beckley robbed his former room-mate, Ryan C. George, whose Sinaloan milk snakes are now 'slithering in joy'.

From the Kansas City Star, we hear of another taxi, Yellow Cab No. 1163. Three New Orleans men expected this taxi to take them to their hotel 15 minutes away. Instead, 'we got in, and then [driver David Becker] started taking us the opposite way', said Clayton Lyons, 20. While driving at up to 145 kilometres per hour, Becker shared beers with a friend in the front seat.
Lyons and his friends Edward Simon, 21, and Jeremy Maggio, 18, persuaded the driver to stop at a petrol station, where they asked the clerk to help. Lyons said: 'I guess he thought it was a joke. Then the other rider came in to watch us, so we had to go back to the cab.' While the radio was turned up, Lyons contacted police on a mobile phone. Meanwhile, the driver demanded $75 for petrol.
With the telephone signal disconnecting each time the cab neared a new tower, the three students provided enough street names that the Raytown police were able to find and stop the car, 1.5 hours after the ride started. Chief Bob Beckers said that Lane 'was big-time drunk'. Lyons said a Yellow Cab supervisor offered them a ride home from the police station.

Mike Batt, behind such artists as the Wombles, placed a 60-second stretch of silence on the latest CD by the Planets. Batt has now received a letter from John Cage's music publishers in which they claim copyright on the piece, 'One Minute's Silence'. Batt had credited Batt/Cage for the track 'just for a laugh'. But he now claims that 'my silence is original silence, not a quotation from his silence [4′33″]'.

In South Fork, Pennsylvania, Shawn Popish took his sons, ages four and six, with him to burgle a neighbour's home. The police say the burglary victim found the boys in the home waiting for their father. According to the Tribune Democrat, Popish told police he was trying to stop a burglary after seeing someone enter the house. The cops don't think this likely.

In Troy, Florida, Wayne Stoner, 45, asked a Rent-A-Center employee to return the tape he accidentally left in the VCR he rented. He explained to the employee that the tape could get him into trouble. At this point, the clerk alerted police, whose viewing of the tape revealed hidden-camera shots of under-18 females at swimming pools and using the loo in his apartment. Stoner said the girls had come to his apartment to talk about their problems.

The Iowa City Press-Citizen reports on a court-ordered class for convicted drunk drivers, naming eight members of the group who recently were caught drinking vodka and/or were intoxicated at the class. Seven of them were under legal drinking age. Johnson County Attorney Patrick White calls the drinking 'disgraceful'. All eight will have to repeat the weekend programme.

The Boston Globe tells us of Kenneth Bambery, 77, whose retirement day as a postal worker at the State House featured a ceremony in his honour. But his '53 years of service' plaque went uncollected, as Bambery slumped in his chair during the ceremony and, despite attempts to revive him, was pronounced dead soon after arriving by ambulance at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Chicago's William Robinzine had a different kind of ambulance ride. Covered with blood and claiming he was being chased, Robinzine, 45, asked police to call an ambulance. When it arrived and the paramedics emerged, he got into the driver's seat and, according to police, sped away. A police officer dived through the passenger window and put the vehicle in park. Robinzine was arrested and placed on a stretcher in the back of the ambulance. He was pronounced dead on arrival at the Jackson Park Hospital emergency room. Police will not disclose the cause of death until after their investigation.

Tarajee Shaheer Maynor, 25, of Detroit, left her children, ages three and 18 months, in her car for 3.5 hours. While Adonnis unbuckled his younger sister from her car seat and both pressed their faces against the windows, Tarajee was having her hair styled. When she returned to the vehicle, both children were dead. 'We treat animals better than that', said Southfield Police Chief Joseph Thomas. When Tarajee returned to the car, she drove around for three hours before going to the police, during which time police say she concocted a story about being abducted, raped, and then returned to the car park.

In another child death, this one in St. Paul, Minnesota, Scott Tomlinson, 16, killed his 13-year-old sister as the pair argued over the TV remote control. He wanted to watch The Simpsons while she didn't, he testified. He claims he didn't strangle Megan on purpose but merely put his arm around her throat until she went limp. He said he put the body in a sleeping bag in a shed behind the family home, where police found her. Scott's attorney, Anthony Torres, said, the boy's parents realise they could have handled their son's depression and hyperactivity better.

In an update on the story from May about Edward Brewer, who sued a hospital for negligence for making it possible for him to rape a patient, in the criminal proceedings against him, plea-bargaining netted him only five years in prison. But, representing himself, he appealed the decision and won. However, he has now been re-tried - presumably because the original was declared a mistrial - and sentenced to 10 years' jail time for rape.

AP reports describe what can happen to children who cheat in class. An 11-year-old boy taking Bible classes run by Texas's Capitol City Baptist Church was caught cheating by the pastor. Police say pastor Joshua Thompson beat the boy for an hour with a stick while Thompson's twin brother Caleb held the child down. The child, returned home by Joshua, who told the boy's parents that the youth couldn't be 'broken', suffered kidney failure and needed a blood transfusion to live. Both men are still at large.

Jiten Bhunia, 19, won second place in a salt-eating contest in Tamluk in West Bengal, India. Police spokesman Sibdas Mukherjee said the young man died in hospital. Hundreds of villagers who had turned out for the contest left when Bhunia fell sick. Mukherjee also said: 'The villagers are reticent to tell us who organised the contest.'

Shortly after Leo D. Youngblood, 26, of Muncie, Indiana, obtained a marriage licence, he was charged with bigamy. Wife Michelle found out about her husband's new wife, Rebecca J. Copley, in the course of looking through the listing of marriage licences in the newspaper. She reported his second marriage to the police.

Charlotte Ann Neely-White, 55, of Mount Vernon, Missouri, was preparing for her 4 July wedding when a stranger drove up and said: 'Someone call 911 quick; there's a bomb in my car', according to flower arranger Linda Cassidy. The man, Jorge Luis Cecenas, demanded Neely-White's pickup truck and threatened to set off the bomb when she refused. Neely-White said she told him to go ahead since her house needed work anyway. So the man attacked her with a riding whip, and Neely-White had her fiance bring her pistol. She shot Cecenas in the chest before he grabbed the gun and drove her truck away. Police arrested Cecemas after he abandoned the vehicle.

Posing as a police detective, Rahman Magundario stopped two Singapore teenagers and frisked them. He made off with a mobile phone, which he sold in a coffee shop. A short while later, the phone's owner heard his unique ringtone. The buyer pointed police to Magundario, 39, who has now been sentenced to six years of 'corrective training', according to Reuters.

In thefts that worked out better, someone stole all the security cameras from the Winston Arms condominium complex in Edmonton, Alberta. Police spokesman Wes Bellmore said the man has eluded capture thus far and seems to be an expert on security cameras. But Bellmore was optimistic, noting that, during each of the thief's three trips to the complex, he was leaving clear images of himself on tape, all safely housed in the security centre. The thefts, which it appears went unnoticed until all the cameras were missing, were spread over more than a week and involved more than 15 cameras.

And finally, magistrates in The Hague have fined the Rotterdam man who entered a Delft college library after being told not to enter. Teunis Teun had repeatedly taken off his shoes and socks there, in breach of the rules and allegedly driving other patrons away. Prior to their decision, the judges ordered an identity parade in which Teun's feet were compared to others' to determine if Teun's were especially smelly (Teun had complained that a judge showed bias in ordering him to put his socks and shoes back on in court after he had removed them to prove that his feet didn't stink). The fine was 250 euros.
I ran a story on Teun some time ago but can't find it in my records. Anyone?

20 July 2002

Pregnant New Zealand porn actress 'Nicky' decided that she would give birth on film, and her family had no problem with the idea. Chief social worker Shannon Pakura of the Department of Child, Youth, and Family Services said: 'This is the first time I understand the birth of a child has been used in a pornographic movie and so we are wanting to tread very carefully in making sure we are acting within the framework of the legislation.' She added that she is 'absolutely appalled' by the idea of the film, Ripe. The department are considering various options for removing the child from the mother's custody if the film goes ahead.
Ripe's producer, Steve Crow, said this is 'Nazi' talk and added that childbirth - and murder and mayhem - are shown on television fairly often.

When Albuquerque, New Mexico, police raided the crack house of Andrew Griego and Barbara Lopez, they found a loaded .410 calibre Derringer pistol on a bed next to unattended children, a one-year-old and an eight-month-old child. Police noted that the house had no running water, an ample supply of dog faeces, as well as the crack cocaine. Griego mentioned to police that his five-foot-long python was loose in the house and he hadn't been able to find it.

Eak Chongsawatwattana, a student at Bangkok's Assumption University, was merely following the example of other students when he looped a belt around his neck and attacked it to a door handle before sitting at his desk to study. With this study method, the jerk of the belt is supposed to keep one from falling asleep for long. But this student, age 20, will never wake up again. His mother told the Nation newspaper this: 'I warned him many times not to do this, but he just didn't listen. Now he's dead.'

In Sandusky, Ohio, an impatient motorist kept cutting into and out of a funeral procession. Michael Mullins, nephew of the deceased, was annoyed at this and, when the car stopped at an intersection, jumped out of his own vehicle and started punching the other car, breaking its windscreen. Police say that he then punched the driver. The Perkins Township police chief said it's the first time he had seen 'road rage in a funeral procession'.

Tanya Kathryn Brown, 21, and Justin Beall, 22, testified that a Marilyn Manson video gave them the idea of lighting a friend's shoes on fire. They said the friend insisted that his arm be lit instead. Beall poured lighter fluid on the friend and Brown lit it, back in November 2000. Prosecutors said Beall should have known better since he was a firefighter with the Centre Square Fire Company.

Washington's state Commission on Judicial Conduct has recommended a 120-day suspension for Sunnyside Municipal Judge Steven Michels, who served as both defence attorney and judge in several cases in Toppenish Municipal Court, where he sometimes appears as a judge on a temporary basis. The state's Supreme Court will make the final decision on the suspension.

This item is weeks old, but I include it since you might not have seen it in the meantime.
William Kelly McCarter, 30, sent lewd mail to various women in Corsicana, Texas for six months. At first McCarter sent photographs of his genitalia, but he moved on to drawings and letters; Police Detective Jason Grant said: 'I asked him why, and he said it was because he ran out of film.' The break in the case came when McCarter's wife found a lewd picture in a closet in the house and notified police in the belief that she was being targetted by the lewd mailer.

Here are two more items from the same dusty corner.
A Berlin man had been living in an apartment with his dead father for over a year when neighbours reported a burning smell and firemen found the corpse on the sofa. The unemployed son, 42, had worried that he would be kicked out of the apartment, which was rented in his father's name, if he told anyone of the death. Petra Volk, spokeswoman for the Wiesbaden police, said: 'The flat was in a mess, with rubbish and empty bottles everywhere... It's incredible to think of them together like that.'
And, from 24 June,
The Steuben County, New York, sheriff's department said a 17-year-old flagged down a deputy when the car he was driving ran out of petrol. This sounds fine so far. But the teenager had been driving while intoxicated, and the story he told police did not make sense. Investigation revealed that the car had been reported as stolen. It appears that he also didn't have a driver's licence.

Linda Akin, 28, is accused of sitting on her mother's back until she died. During an argument, Catherine Akin was smothered by her 350-pound daughter, who has a history of psychological problems, according to Bastrop County, Texas, sheriff's Chief Deputy Ronnie Duncan.
The younger Akin rang 911 twice on the day of the death, announcing that she was a member of the CIA and that she had caught the person who (she claimed) had kidnapped her; when deputies arrived, Linda showed them the body.

The Winnipeg Sun reports that a parole board told Winnipeg authorities that a man had fled there from British Columbia after two dogs were found dead near his home, one hanging in the man's garage and one in a ditch. DNA tests showed that the man had had sex with the dogs, who were found wearing bras and knickers. Staff Sergeant Booyd Campbell of the sex crimes unit said that, while the unit is keeping an eye on the man, who fled with permission and whose name is not being released, he fears 'this is an escalating offence. Hopefully we are wrong but there is enough concern'.

In Chicago, a seven-year-old boy called down to Andy Orellana, 13, from a second-storey window, saying he had been locked in a pantry for two days and wanted to jump. Orellana had the boy promise not to jump and says he planned to tell his uncle of the situation. The boy, who had been using the window as his toilet, did jump, escaping Cynarae Colbert, 33, and Chris Rodriguez, 29. Jose Lavoy, 38, who lives on the first floor of the building, said he had seen the child only when the boy moved in two years ago - when Colbert and Rodriguez became his 'informal guardians'. The child's parentage and first name are unknown. He did not attend school.
Angel Resto, one of the workers called in to clean the unit after the boy's escape, said of Colbert and Rodriguez's flat: 'All over the place there is garbage stacked as tall as me.'

A Houston man, 36, was looking for people to give him punishment when he made contact with Roger Van, 55, online. The first two days of torture in the basement of Van's Wayne, Nebraska, flower shop went well well enough, but he then decided he wanted to leave. He testified in court that Van then reminded him of e-mail messages in which he'd told Van to punish him more severely if he were to 'freak out' and wish to leave. Flower shop employee Jerry Marshall, 36, helped the Texas man escape after nine days.
The man claimed he was branded with the letter 'w' on the back of one of his thighs and that Van injected saline solution in his groin area and said he would conduct experiments on him. County prosecutor Chris Connolly introduced the torture table, implements, and a collar with the word 'slave' on it as evidence. But the torture was deemed consensual.

In an update to a May 2001 Clippings item, a federal appeals court has now overturned the decision of federal judge Matthew Kennelly, who ruled that a Chicago woman's thefts resulted from her addiction to shopping. Kennelly decided that Elizabeth Roach shouldn't go to prison for racking up over $500,000 in credit card bills and embezzling over $240,000 in three years at the company formerly known as Andersen Consulting.

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