anna's archive anna's archive anna's archive

May 2004


4 May 2004

Captain Kelsey McMillan arrived at the RAF Valley base in October. She told people at the Welsh facility that she was a medical officer on a retraining course. She wasn't. While racking up a 300-pound bar tab, she explained that she was waiting for her wages to be transferred. She wasn't. Nor was she a captain. The 35-year-old McMillan's civilian reservist's ID card allowed her to get away with the ruse for five months and participate in several search-and-rescue operations. She then applied for a transfer to Royal Navy Air Station Culdrose, which has more security restrictions. The transfer was granted, but McMillan was arrested four days after her arrival at Coldrose. She is currently under investigation. Her parents have paid her mess bill.

Rebecca Hall of Fairbanks, Alaska, told neighbour Arnold Reed that she smelled coffee in her apartment but didn't own any. Reed, however, did. He borrowed a video camera and trained it on his front door and kitchen. On the second day of recording, it captured Hall's house guest, Mark Bojniewicz, using a butter knife to gain entry to Reed's apartment and then steal French vanilla coffee from his freezer and hazelnut coffee creamer from his cupboard. Reed said 'If the guy would have asked me, I would have gave it to him'.

Ronald Langdale went into a Los Angeles bar and bought himself a beer. He then sat down with the white bag he'd brought with him and began counting out a large sum of money. A short while earlier, the Bank of America outlet in the same strip mall had been robbed. The 58-year-old Langdale had drunk half of his beer before police officers entered the bar on a tip from a witness. Bartender Martin Jimenez said Langdale then turned pale. He was arrested. Police Sgt. Mike Mello said of this type of incident 'In all my years, we've never had one of those'.

Carlos Machuca of Morelia, in the state of Michoacan, western Mexico, was recently arrested on an anonymous tip. Officers found human body parts simmering in saucepans on the tamale chef's patio. The mutilated corpse of Machuca's buddy was found in the living room. The 56-year-old Machuca had stabbed the man in the heart after the pair had been drinking together. Speaking for state prosecutors, Lorena Cortes said 'We saw the flesh and the tamales, and our first impression was that he was making tamales with the flesh of the deceased, although it has yet to be confirmed'.

Athena LaPera, 35, went to Orlando International Airport to fly home after a holiday. Security screeners turned her and her teenaged son away because she didn't closely resemble her passport photo and Colorado driver's licence photo. The next day, her enquiries led her to a federal Transportation Security Administration employee in Washington, who told her she would need new photographs and a letter from her doctor explaining that she had lost hair and weight because of chemotherapy. Following these instructions, she was allowed to return home the following day.

Indiana Congressman John Hostettler explained that he forgot he had put the handgun in his briefcase until an x-ray scanner at Kentucky's Louisville International Airport found it. After being questioned by the FBI and boarding a later flight to Washington, Hostettler reflected on the wisdom of placing a loaded weapon in his hand baggage and concluded that he had made a 'rather stupid mistake'.

Darlene Hall of Cleveland, Tennessee, bought an old brown vinyl ottoman for $1 at a jumble sale. When she returned home one day, a year after the purchase, she found that her puppy had ripped apart the ottoman, leaving bits of stuffing all over the porch. Taking a closer look at the mess, she noticed that the shredded stuffing featured the faces of early U.S. Presidents. Hall said of the shredded money 'They said to put it in a box and mail it to the Bureau of Engraving and Printing in Washington, DC, and they would send me a cheque'. She has every right to be dubious, as the majority of each note must generally be intact, but she points out 'What am I going to do with it?' otherwise.

Georgia's Eddie May Jr. was eating while driving his truck on the Interstate. When he began choking on a piece of food, he grew dizzy and passed out. His truck then crossed the median. When it hit a tractor-trailer heading the opposite direction, the impact dislodged the food from May's throat, according to Highway Patrol Trooper Robert Abernathy. Neither driver was seriously injured in the accident. May will be charged with careless and reckless driving and with failure to wear a seat belt.

Loraine Stout of Vienna, West Virginia, had a new roof put on her home a year ago. Returning from a recent business trip, she found shingles and nails from the top of her roof all over her yard, driveway, and deck. William Kiger of Jackson General Contracting said it was 'an honest mistake': the workers had the right house number but the wrong street. Stout said 'I don't understand how roofing contractors could not distinguish a brand new roof from one that needed to be replaced'. Debbie Richardson, who had ordered the new roof, said 'I think the streets are confusing here', explaining that, among other things, work had been done by mistake on her water softener a few years earlier.

In the U.S. Virgin Islands, 20-year-old Jerome James had just finished his shift at St. Croix's Schooner Market when a robbery took place. Surveillance camera footage showed James loading a company safe onto a hand truck and leaving the supermarket with it. Police spokesman Thomas Hannah said James had worked off and on at the market for two years and knew there were security cameras there. James, who was captured quickly and charged with grand larceny, said he simply forgot about the cameras. The stolen $3,794 in cash was recovered from brush.
And a would-be robber hid in a heat extraction unit when employees showed up early for work at the St. Croix restaurant he had been trying to rob. When workers turned on the cooling system, they heard an unusual sound from inside the roof, where the hood is located, according to Totto Bene Cafe executive chef Scott Hill. The man was hospitalised for numerous cuts from the system's fan blades.

Dutch artist Joanneke Meester had surgery performed to harvest a patch of skin large enough to cover an 8-by-1.6-inch plastic revolver. This was part of her attempt to express concern about violence in society. After sewing the bloody edges of the skin together, she preserved the firearm in formaldehyde. It will be on display next month. Meester said 'If everyone made a pistol from their own skin, I think they would think twice about using a gun'.

A man, whose name has not been released, crashed his vehicle into a school bus that was on its way to pick up children in Doraville, Georgia. To escape approaching police officers, the man, who was naked, hijacked the bus. A low-speed chase ensued. Finally, a concrete truck and a tractor-trailer blocked the path of the bus, pinning it against the retaining wall, according to police Capt. C.D. Atkinson. Charges are pending.

A 50-year-old All Nippon Airlines pilot fell asleep just after the autopilot engaged on a domestic flight with 80 passengers. A Transport Ministry official who was aboard the Boeing 767 to conduct an inspection noticed the dozing and tapped the co-pilot on the shoulder. The pilot then woke up. When the pilot fell asleep a few minutes later, the co-pilot yelled at him, which woke him up. An internal probe has been ordered, according to company spokesman Kunio Shibata, who called the incident 'extremely regrettable'.

Sharon Ann Luck, 43, entered a bank in Burleson, Texas, to deposit some money in her account. It was then that a dye pack in her handbag exploded. After the police and FBI were notified, the incident was linked to the robbery some time earlier in the day of a Fort Worth bank by a woman matching Luck's description. 'We're assuming the dye pack malfunctioned', said robbery detective Mike Baggott.

A Kentucky couple wanted some more baby pictures but might have gone overboard. After Elizabeth Lyvers and John Robert Gray dropped off their film for development at a convenience store, an employee became disturbed by the images. One photo featured Gray holding a water pipe up to to his two-year-old son's mouth while another man lit it. After Gray and Lyvers were arrested for felony child abuse, Gray admitted that the child was smoking marijuana in the images. The boy and another child of Gray were removed from the home, and Gray and Lyvers were taken to jail. The couple returned home to find that their house had been robbed.

An off-duty Milwaukee, Wisconsin, sheriff's deputy was apparently soliciting a prostitute at about 3 a.m. when he was mugged by a group of men and locked in the trunk of his car. An anonymous caller told the police where they could find the deputy, who has worked with the department since 2001. 'I am disgusted that this officer would betray his family, the public trust, our organisation, and himself', said Sheriff David Clarke Jr. The officer has been suspended with pay.

Roger Edwards, a burly 28-year-old, was arrested in central London and asked why he was carrying a large bag of Ann Summers lingerie worth over 300 pounds. Edwards told London's Southwark Crown Court that the underthings were his own and were intended to keep him warm in the winter. He said that 'It's a handout from a hostel. They give us clothes.' He later amended his story, explaining that he had been given the knickers, bras, and camisoles by someone outside a church and that he was trying to decide whether to sell them or take them back to the shop for a refund. In the end, he pleaded guilty to handling stolen goods.

About 60 people aboard a barge on Lake Travis, Texas, hoped to see Splash Day revellers on Texas's only nude beach. Witnesses said that when everyone aboard the barge moved to one side of the vessel, it began to tilt. It capsized, making the passengers the centre of attention as they hit the 12-metre-deep water. Two had minor injuries, but all aboard were safe in the end, according to Krista Umscheid, speaking for the Lower Colorado River Authority.

On Saturday, Takao Sato, a knife-wielding pensioner from Yonago in Japan's Tottori Prefecture, held up a pachinko parlour, making off with the takings - 6.2 million yen in cash. On Sunday, he decided he wanted to play pachinko. He was arrested while sitting in front of a pachinko machine in the parlour he had robbed. The police had been alerted by a parlour employee who recognised Sato as the armed robber. In his car, parked outside, was a bag containing 6.2 million yen. The police quoted Sato, who has no fixed address, as saying 'I needed the money'.

William Joseph Wolfe of Henderson, Texas, prepared a romantic bubble bath for his wife. Wolfe, a 34-year-old emergency room nurse, lit candles to provide the right mood. Teresa Wolfe said her husband also placed a radio on a bench by the bathtub to provide music - and to electrocute her. When he pushed the radio off the bench by the bathtub, Teresa caught it before it hit the water. She threw it aside. William, who bought a life insurance policy for his wife five months ago, had apparently used the home computer to visit Web sites dealing with bathtub electrocution.

And Speckles, the hen featuring in one of April's Clippings, has now been found strangled outside the market from which she had been stolen or rescued by Nicholas Gombos.

21 May 2004

Pittsburgh's Donald Preik confessed to more than 50 sexual assaults, which he performed after drugging his girlfriend, her mother, and four other female members of her family. Preik's defence attorney, John Doherty, maintains that 'this is totally out of character for him to be accused of anything like this'. He says that the prosecution are 'resting their whole case on my client's confession and the pictures'. In total, Preik took over 100 photos of the women in sexual positions.

An Australian father of four and former professional photographer was jailed for seven years following the discovery of his 100,000-image child pornography collection. When a family member was linked to a stolen car, the 55-year-old man grew worried that police might discover the box of photos, so he gave them to a neighbour to dispose of. The neighbour alerted the police.
The NSW District Court in Wollongong was told that the images included pictures of the man sexually assaulting his daughter while she slept during visitation periods. He also pleaded guilty to having sexual intercourse with her.

In a plea-bargain agreement, Oscar Pilamunga, a 25-year-old chef from Queens, New York, pleaded guilty to strangling his wife, then sawing off her head and abandoning her body on a Harlem street. He explained that he returned home one day to find his 22-year-old wife of nine years, Beatrice Yually, packing her bags to leave him. In a rage, he killed her and packed her body into a suitcase, which a passer-by later found on the street. Pilamunga was linked to the crime when police found the couple's telephone number inside the suitcase.

The parish priest in Cualac, Guerrero, Mexico, and Lorenzo Ruiz Villareal, mayor of the nearby town of Xalpatlahuac, became a bit excited during a religious festival. The priest, Justiniano Cuellar, fatally shot the mayor during an argument, then wounded Villareal's son. Apparently, alcohol was involved.

A visitor brought a grenade to Colombia's Villa Hermosa jail to help an inmate escape. According to prison spokeswoman Lina Maria Hoyos, the woman smuggled the device into the Cali prison inside her vagina, which was beyond the limits of the searches prison guards are allowed to perform. Prison officials said that inmates were handling the grenade later when it exploded. Three were killed instantly, and two died later in hospital. A further 20 were wounded.

A man arrived on a flight into Montreal's Pierre Elliott Trudea International Airport and returned home. He opened his bag and found an unfamiliar jam jar inside. It contained explosives labelled 'TNT'. He called the Quebec police. A preliminary investigation revealed that the weekly security screening exercise had gone awry - the explosives were intended for a security agent's bag, not a passenger's, and bomb-sniffing dogs failed to detect the explosives. Airport security spokesman Pierre Goupil said there will be further investigation.

Bank robbers have written hold-up notes on the back of deposit slips. They have left their wallets behind. Benjamin Poirier of Nashua, New Hampshire, added his own take on the theme when he apparently couldn't find a better piece of paper for his note to the teller than a fax sheet listing the conditions for his bail in connection with a drug conviction. The 23-year-old Poirier left the note at the bank. While it didn't contain his name, it had enough other information to make it easy for authorities to track him down. Police Sgt. Richard Sprankle said this was 'obviously an error in his judgement'.

In New Rochelle, New York, an explosion of dynamite at an excavation site sent hundreds of rocks across the street when a heavy rubber mat failed to contain the blast. Phil Saporito, plant manager of the Hyundai dealership across the street, described it as like 'a gunshot of rocks' the size of beach balls. They broke showroom windows and left at least 40 cars damaged. The excavation company's operation permit has been suspended pending an investigation.

A 64-year-old Japanese man in Matsudo, Chiba Prefecture, Japan, discovered that his 43-year-old wife had been having an affair. Hiroshi Obashi demanded that his wife's 39-year-old lover come to his home to confront him concerning the affair. When the lover arrived, there was some discussion. Then the pensioner used a chain leash on him, bound him, and placed him in a wooden box. He then joined the lover in the 'box bed', about a cubic metre in size, which he nailed shut from the inside. Armed with an iron bar, a fruit knife, and documents concerning his arson conviction, he spent the next 13 hours in the box with the younger man. He was arrested.

A California woman agreed to let two friends of a family friend stay overnight in her home. In the morning, Kevin Frye and Andrew King refused to leave. They had stayed in the 51-year-old woman and her husband's apartment for six weeks, allegedly using it as a base from which to sell drugs, when she decided she had to do something. She opened her oven's natural gas line. An apartment full of gas didn't drive the 'guests' away. A woman rang the fire department that afternoon to say she was overcome by the fumes. When firefighters arrived, the 51-year-old woman, in tears, was taken to hospital. Sheriff's deputy Greg Myler said Frye and King were arrested, and money and cocaine collected from the apartment.

Waitress Briana Lane of Midvale, Utah, didn't have medical insurance or a driver's licence when she rolled her car while drunk. Doctors removed the left side of her skull to treat bleeding on her brain. Her head was stitched back together and the half-skull kept in a hospital freezer until it could be reattached two or three weeks later, after the swelling went down. Amid a debate about who should pay for the surgery, that time came and went. Lane kept wearing her plastic street hockey helmet during the day. She also grew tired of waking up in the morning to find that her brain had shifted to one side. After four months, the 22-year-old Lane and her mother contacted a local television station. Shortly thereafter, she was scheduled for the surgery.
Neurosurgeon Ronald Young, commenting on the incident, said 'for a person who is walking, who is ambulatory, to not have their skull is a problem'.

Tom Smith, an assembly line worker at Caterpillar Inc., was suspended from his duties in connection with a random drugs test. Smith, 55, suffers from the social phobia paruresis and was unable to produce a urine sample during the allotted three-hour period, even after drinking several glasses of water. Smith eventually provided a urine sample during an exam by a company-appointed doctor, but the three hours had elapsed and the company refused to test the sample. Smith then paid for an independent hair test, but company policy specifies that only urine tests are admissible. Smith was fired. He is now suing the company, saying 'It's just a matter of simple justice'.

Montana's David Lagarde, 19, rang emergency services to report that he was being robbed. He explained to the officers who responded to the call that one of the robbers was hiding in a closet. Bozeman Police Sgt. Dave McManis said the bedroom closet didn't contain any intruders. It did, however, have two marijuana plants inside. Lagarde was arrested for felony manufacture of dangerous drugs.

A house fire in Astoria, Oregon, is being blamed on a microwave oven. To be more precise, Fire Chief Lenard Hansen says the fire started after a microwave oven was turned on while the usage instructions were still inside. The fire spread through the kitchen and then to the attic, causing over $100,000 in damage to the home and its contents. The owners of the house, Gerald Peterson and his wife, weren't hurt.

Gera, Germany, has a police sergeant who likes women's handbags. The 49-year-old man was convicted on 15 counts of theft aimed at satisfying his fetish for women's handbags and their contents. He has also been suspended from work. A court spokesman said authorities were still investigating 1,000 further cases of handbag theft over the last six years. Speaking for the court, Philip Redeker said the man 'put his behavior down to sexual motivation'.

In Durham, South Africa, a man ran from a home where he allegedly raped a woman at knifepoint. The police dog unit was alerted. Superintendent Danilia Veldhuizen of the city's police force said 'the guy actually bit the dog... he was stupid because those dogs are trained not to let go'. The dog wasn't injured. The suspect bit a policeman's finger through to the bone, but the officer was still able to arrest him.

Chinese housewife Xiao Fang was afraid her husband's wolfhound would ruin the couple's recently furnished apartment. After she repeatedly tried and failed to send the dog away, the Nanjing woman's solution was to hire a group of hitmen to kill the animal, according to the Xinhua news agency. When her husband returned, he decided that divorce was the best course of action.

Jonathan Schempp asked friend Joao Fontes to help him pick out a wooden packing box. Four days later, after Schempp missed his appointment in court to face charges of public urination, Fontes received the receipt for the shipping papers that Schempp had had him sign. Fontes then thought a bit more about his friend's disappearance and the large box. He contacted the police, who paid the shipping company a visit. When they knocked on the box, still in the warehouse, a faint cry for help was heard. It was a dehydrated and confused Schempp who exited the box. Due to the shipping option chosen, the box was not due to be shipped out until the end of the month, which would have been followed by a journey of 15 days. Regarding the incident, Shempp's sister Jana said 'he's just kind of that way'.

In Eugene, Oregon, Angela S. Morris, 19, and her 31-year-old boyfriend were reading the Bible together when they got into an argument about a Bible verse. Morris went into the kitchen to prepare French fries, but the argument continued. Her boyfriend, whose name has not been released, grabbed her from behind and then went to his bedroom to lie down. The police said Morris then threw the boiling oil from the kitchen on him. He was admitted to hospital with severe burns to the face, neck, and chest.

Femesha Foster used to work for optometrist Mark Caruso in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. After Caruso decided that his Dr. Pepper didn't taste right and drove to the local hospital to be treated for poisoning, surveillance tapes were reviewed. The tapes show Foster putting poison in the drink. Her conviction for attempted poisoning, and thus also her 20-year jail sentence, has been overturned by the 4th District Court of Appeal because this is a 'nonexistent crime'. Her five-year prison term for writing cheques to herself from Caruso's account remains.

The police in Fairview Heights, Illinois, told Paul Schwarztrauber Jr. not to drink-drive. He might not have realised that this applied equally to lawnmowers. Schwarztrauber, 46, was pulled over in response to a complaint that he was driving his lawnmower erratically in the street. His one-year-old daughter was sitting on his lap. Lt. David Fellows said an officer walked up to the mower and and turned off the ignition, then performed the arrest. Fellows explained that driving any motor vehicle while intoxicated is illegal and that it's also illegal to drive one on a public road without a licence.

Ohio's Lakeside Danbury High School held a contest in which students bought 50-cent chances to throw a pie at various teachers and the principal, with the proceeds going to the American Cancer Society. A 15-year-old honour student won the latter draw. After the 50-kilo student threw his pie, principal Karen Abbott called for the teenager to be taken to the office, where the police were called. Abbott told officers that her head snapped back as a result of the impact, which Police Chief Mike Meisler said 'wasn't just a toss - he smashed the pie in her face'. The student has been suspended from school for 80 days.

When Metropolitan Transportation Authority Sgt. Nzingha Kellman was on her way to work via the Long Island Rail Road, she spotted a man with a nine-year-old girl on his lap and realised that the man was forcing the girl to have sex with him. About 30 other passengers, including the girl's younger brother, were riding in the same carriage. Kellman handcuffed the man, identified as 19-year-old David Reese, a blood relative of the victim. The girl was treated at a local hospital, then returned to her mother's care. Reese will face charges of rape and sodomy.

31 May 2004

Yevgeniy Babenko, a 17-year-old Ukrainian national living in Florida, thought it would be cool to pull over commuters, with the aid of blue strobe lights and authentic police equipment. Babenko had been doing this for about two months, in the company of friends, before the real police started to investigate him. The attention was not sparked by Babenko's $250,000 in bad cheques to buy three new cars, nor by his theft of a cheque from his girlfriend's mother to pay for a car, nor by reports of the bogus traffic stops or his citing the police department as his employer on forms at a pawnshop. Rather, Babenko approached the cops and turned over several Broward County Police uniform shirts, a pair of handcuffs, and a cap, explaining that he'd bought the items at a jumble sale and didn't want them to enter the wrong hands. He'd actually purchased the items at police supply shops. Detectives later found a police badge and gun holster, along with fake police business cards, in the car Babenko had been driving.

Denmark's LL Media studied employees' Internet use and discovered that more than 80 per cent of all Web hits were for porn sites. The IT company decided to sign up all workers to porn sites. Director Levi Nielsen said this fringe benefit would prevent both distractions from coding and the cranky behaviour that could arise from the need being repressed. The sites are blocked during work hours, and employees get access to paid porn sites the rest of the time.

Last month, a Long Island man had a good idea for a bet. Or maybe it only seemed like a good idea due to the drinking he and his roommate had been doing. Police say Thomas Woods, 59, set the rug in their house on fire and then dared Rod Bennett to stay in the burning house longer than he himself could. Bennett rang for help from a neighbour's house as the flames spread. Woods won the bet, but it remains unclear whether the amount was enough to cover his funeral expenses.

Magistrates in Pontypridd have imposed an Anti-Social Behaviour Order on Robert Hughes, 37, and wife Lisa, 38, to address the effects of the couple's drinking. In August, officers used CS gas to break up a row at the couple's former home in South Wales. The order bans the pair from all pubs in Britain, for life, and they could be jailed for drinking in any public place. Also, Hughes did not appear pleased that his wife has to be indoors by 8:30pm as well.

A 22-year-old man went to Sydney doctor Wadie Farie Haddad to complain of a sore throat. After he left the 55-year-old GP's office, he had a new complaint: that he'd had his trousers pulled down to the knees by Haddad, who then touched his penis. Haddad said he had a 'quick look' at the man's genitals because he was young and Asian and thus at risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases. Haddad had been convicted of sexual assault on a patient in 1994 and reinstated in 1998. It appears Haddad will continue to practise.

Paul Lovie, a 47-year-old man from York, broke into an animal shelter to retrieve his dog. Armed with a samurai sword and air rifle, as well as lighter fluid and a hammer, Lovie entered the local RSPCA office, where his ailing Jack Russell terrier had been taken after he couldn't pay for the dog to be put to sleep and was overheard to say he would do the job himself with a pickaxe. Once in the office, Lovie is alleged to have rung the police and threatened staff. He surrendered after 90 minutes of negotiations.

A 33-year-old New York woman has been charged with selling her 15-year-old daughter to another family from Albania. The girl said 'I do not know too many people from my country, so I was excited' to visit the family, not knowing what was in store. In a statement to Police Investigator Ron Reinstein, she explained that during the visit, 21-year-old Bekim Lapjani raped her. She said that when she was still bleeding, her mother burst into the room, demanded to know what happened, and took her home and beat her 'like it was my fault'. For nearly a year, the girl spent weekends at the family's home under threat of severe beatings. She was forced to perform household chores and have sex with Lapjani. 'I asked him why he was making me have sex with him and he told me he had to pay my mom $3,000 for me to be his bride', the girl wrote. Her 12-year-old sister wrote that later 'My mother told her that was where she belonged and that [Lapjani] was her husband forever and if she left him she would die'.
The situation came to light when the younger girl was beaten with a studded belt after a classmate rang to get help with his homework. The 15-year-old told a school nurse of the beating. Both girls were then removed from the home.

An elementary school in Kochi Prefecture, Japan, received a letter saying 'If you don't want facilities at the school to be destroyed, prepare 15 sets of girls' gymnastic and swimming wear for me'. A second letter, in which the author demanded a smaller amount of clothing, stated that the items should be ready for collection on 28 May. Police left a bag in the schoolyard, and Tomoyuki Yokogyama took the bait. The unemployed 20-year-old said he went to the school because someone asked him to pick up the girls' clothing. He told the police he didn't send the letters.

Officers in East Boston went to Jims Beneche's house to ask him some questions about the murder of Kayla Ravenell, his two-year-old son's mother. This might not have been the best time to throw a suspicious rubbish bag from a second-storey window. An officer stationed outside the house noticed the bag, which contained the body of Beneche's son. Beneche and girlfriend Jessica Deane, both 20, have been charged in connection with the first murder. The alleged motive for Ravenell's murder involves child support payments. The dead woman's mother said of Beneche and Deane, 'I just hope they stay in jail. She only got two lousy checks from him.'

Courtney Glowczewski's cerebral palsy has made her a ready target of bullying at Colorado's Martin Luther King Middle School. Recently, an older boy at the school brandished a knife. As she walked to her seat, she smelled a foul odour and another student began patting her hard on the back. Her hair had been set on fire. Glowczewski's mother was called to the school when her daughter reported the incident to the assistant principal. She was told that her daughter didn't need to come back to school and that there was no need to worry about any tests. The alleged attacker was not punished; the investigation extended only so far as to verify that he was carrying a knife. Courtney Glowczewski said 'I should be in school taking my education, and it's not fair'. In light of the negative publicity, the interim principal has promised the Glowczewski family a summer school programme.

Florida's St. Petersburg Times reports on Cynthia Christensen, who joined a group of neighbours in conversation and asked to hold a friend's pet python. Christensen, 46, held the four-metre-long python and then announced that she would bite off the animal's head. The snake's owner, Jennie Smith, turned round a moment later and saw the animal dangling headlessly from Christensen's wheelchair. Smith's boyfriend, Charles Burge Jr., who witnessed the decapitation from inside his house, ran outside and threw the snake into the woods, according to a sheriff's report. Burge said he asked Christensen why she killed the snake and she didn't answer. She later told a deputy that the snake bit her lip when she was holding it near her mouth. She later said she didn't kill the snake when it bit her but rather threw it to the ground, where it was bitten by a dog. The sheriff's report said Christensen's lips looked fine. She has been charged with cruelty to animals.
Yes, this is the same Cynthia Christensen who appeared in a Clipping from January.

New Orleans district judge Monty L. Doggett has been kicked off the bench for repeatedly being drunk in court. He objects, saying that his alcoholism became public before he was re-elected, proving that his constituents knew of it and weren't bothered by it. The Louisiana Supreme Court said in its disciplinary ruling that 'even if his constituency condones such behaviour', such action can still be cause for censure. Doggett has issued arrest warrants when too drunk to read them, sometimes was too drunk to hear cases, and once had to be carried out of the courtroom by deputies. The court said 'Although we feel compassion for Judge Doggett's struggle to maintain sobriety, we must, first and foremost, consider the grave implications which this misconduct casts upon the judiciary'.

In New York, the Commission on Judicial Conduct recommended a Niagara County judge for sanctions in connection with a case about a dog. Town Court Justice Bruce Barnes complained about a canine running around loose near his house. The dog catcher ticketed the judge's neighbour for not having a dog licence and for letting her dog run loose. A week later, Barnes heard the case and decided not to mention that he was the complainant. The neighbour paid a $25 fine. A sheriff's deputy raised the issue of conflict of interest. Barnes has 30 days to appeal the recommendation.

Brooklyn's Anthony Seblano, 11, was banned from pitching against the St. Athanasius Youth League baseball team. St. Athanasius officials had him removed from the pitcher's mound because he was too good. He said 'Most of the time, I just throw strikes... I really don't think this is fair, because my teammates depend on me.' Tom Gambino, co-chairman of the St. Athanasius Youth Organization, said Seblano 'blows away the competition, so he is what we consider an illegal player'. He added 'He can come in here and hit 10 home runs a game. I don't care, as long he he doesn't pitch.'

Jensine Berthelsen of Greenland's Atassut party said it was cold outside and that's why she had to force her way into the hotel in Sisimiut and steal liquor while there. Police gave the Member of Parliament the choice between a fine and going to court. She chose the latter because 'if I pay the fine, it amounts to declaring myself guilty, and I don't think I am'. She will plead self-defence.

In recent months, Japan has seen several women fall victim to 'Hi, Mom! It's me!' scams, in which a caller pretends to be the woman's son or other relative in need of money to pay a debt. The Mainichi Shimbun reports that the latest such incident occurred in Tama-ku, Kawasaki, where a 45-year-old real-estate agent heard a caller pretending to be her oldest son explain that he had to work off a loan for several days. Another man told the woman that he worked for the money-lending firm and said 'It is a dangerous job, so we'll take life insurance out on him'. The mother offered to pay off the loan. She went to the bank later that morning and transferred 1.2 million yen to the scammers' account.
During the conversation, the son was sleeping upstairs in the family home. When he woke up, his mother had already left the house.

Iswan Maarif, a 25-year-old Malaysian man arrested on a marijuana possession charge, persuaded Magistrate Normazaida Ahmad Narihan to impose a lenient sentence. He explained that he was a first-time offender and about to be married. The New Straits Times reports that the magistrate fined him 5,000 ringgit. He was told he would be thrown in jail if he couldn't pay the fine. While Iswan was taken to the local jail, his fiancee went to get the money. She hadn't returned before he was made to empty his pockets. One of them contained a packet of marijuana. Iswan will again go to court for possession of marijuana.

An eight-year-old boy in Mt. Carmel, Tennessee, passed $50 notes out to his classmates during a class trip. A teacher saw what was happening and stopped him. Meanwhile, Terenia Cipro rang the police to report that about $1,600 in cash had been stolen from her handbag. The police were able to determine that the incidents were related - due in part to the fact that the boy is Cipro's son. Assistant Police Chief Mike Campbell said 'I asked him if he knew what he'd done was wrong, and he said he did. He didn't tell me why he did it, though.' Campbell said he believes the child was punished for the misdeed.

The Washington Post reports that a seven-year-old girl at a Prince George's County elementary school left the playground during recess to use the loo. She was followed by two male classmates, who allegedly held her on the ground and penetrated her. The family's attorney, William Kohler, said one of the boys was back at school less than a week after the incident and that both were heard bragging about the attack. Kohler said the family were reluctant to come forward but 'they did so because they haven't heard anything from the school'. County attorney Glenn F. Ivey said the authorities want to gather evidence before taking any action, especially since state laws define a seven-year-old as too young to be held responsible for his or her actions.

Gay Wilson of Arlington, Texas, said she found a note in an aeroplane lavatory that warned of a bomb in the cargo hold. The 37-year-old American Airlines air stewardess's discovery caused the flight to be diverted. According to Doug Riggin of the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force, Wilson was 'one of the people we interviewed, and our investigation revealed that she was indeed the person responsible for the note'. She has been arrested and charged with unlawful interference with an airline.

And finally, a heartwarming 'when boy meets girl' story...
Dr. Richard Schmidt met nurse Janice Trahan in 1982 at the Lafayette Medical Center in Louisiana. She was his patient and then his mistress. After a 10-year extramarital affair - during which she had six other affairs - Trahan divorced her husband and had Schmidt's child on the promise that he would leave his wife for her. When she finally decided to end the relationship, in 1994, Schmidt rang her to say he was coming over to give her another B12 shot for her chronic fatigue. Trahan left the door unlocked and awoke to find Schmidt standing over her. She changed her mind about the shot, but he administered it anyway and left quickly. Several months later, a gynaecological check-up revealed that she had HIV and hepatitis C.
When Trahan decided to sue Schmidt for injecting her with the two nasties, a search warrant was obtained for Schmidt's office and home. The thick file on Trahan cast doubt on his claim that he'd never treated her as a patient. Further investigation revealed that Schmidt had contacted a patient with full-blown AIDS a few months earlier to request a blood sample. A hepatitis C patient told a similar story. A year later, scientists at Baylor University were able to link the AIDS patient's genetic material with that in Trahan's case. Schmidt was convicted of attempted murder in 1998 and remains in prison today.


Gentle reader...

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