Posts Tagged ‘Murder’
Thursday, June 23rd, 2011
James “Whitey” Bulger at 23 in 1953
James “Whitey” Bulger was captured yesterday by the FBI’s Fugitive Task Force, along with his girlfriend Catherine Elizabeth Greig. Bulger was the inspiration for the Oscar-winning film The Departed in 2006 and Showtime’s Brotherhood, and his capture crosses him off the FBI’s Ten Mosted Wanted list.
Whitey’s girlfriend Catherine was also a wanted fugitive, and the FBI launched a media campaign focusing on Catherine to canvass for tips. The campaign was successful–Tuesday evening they received a tip that led the task force to an apartment in Santa Monica. After staking out the apartment and spotting the fugitives, the task force used a “ruse” to lure Whitey from the building. They then entered to arrest Catherine.
Whitey was wanted for 19 counts of murder, conspiracy to commit murder, extortion, narcotics distribution and money-laundering, crimes committed during his time as head of the Winter Hill Gang in Boston. He was on the Most Wanted list since 1999 and a fugitive since 1995. He was also featured on America’s Most Wanted a number of times.
For more on his capture, click here.
Read our entry about the FBI’s Most Wanted, and a recent addition to the list
Wednesday, May 18th, 2011
Gacy’s portrait of his alter-ego “Pogo the Clown”
Would you want a portrait of Charles Manson painted by “killer clown” John Wayne Gacy? Someone might, according to the Arts Factory in Las Vegas, which is asking for $4,000 for the piece in an upcoming exhibit.
The exhibit will offer 74 pieces of art, memorabilia, and audio recordings of the serial killer Gacy, all made while he was awaiting his 1994 execution. The proceeds from any sales will go to a number of charities, but the National Center for Victims of Crime wants no part in it. While the owner of the Arts Factory feels something good can still come out of the life of the murderer, the victims group feels otherwise.
Perhaps they consider it blood money. Or perhaps they simply find it creepy, like the board president of the Contemporary Arts Center, who is also considering refusing the proceeds from the sale. The question seems to be whether exhibiting art and memorabilia associated with serial killers glorifies their crimes or simply provokes discussion. Whether a good thing or not, the exhibit has certainly already done the latter.
The art itself is unimpressive. Amateurish and often cartoony, the artwork has nevertheless been the object of much controversy and public attention. It includes portraits of famous criminals such as Capone and Dillinger, as well as a number of paintings of skulls, clowns, and dwarves from Snow White.
The full gallery can be seen on the promotional website hosted by the Arts Factory. For more on the controversy itself, go here.
Read more about John Wayne Gacy
Tuesday, April 19th, 2011
Timothy’s McVeigh’s mugshot
On April 19th 1995, a rented Ryder truck containing 5000 lbs. of ammonium nitrate fertilizer parked in front of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City. At 9:02 a.m. the bomb detonated, ripping through the north side of the building killing 168 innocent people, including 19 small children as well as injuring an additional 700. Approximately 324 other buildings within a 16-block radius sustained damaged, and it is estimated to have caused at least $652 million in total damages.
Ninety minutes after the attack, Timothy McVeigh was pulled over by the highway patrol and arrested on a firearms charge. Shortly thereafter, McVeigh was linked to the attack; a friend, Terry Nichols, assisted him. Their motivation: revenge against the Federal Government for the Waco tragedy that occurred two years prior. While all the deaths were tragic and senseless, it is hard to comprehend the intentional killing of children. In an attempt to justify his actions, McVeigh later stated, “I didn’t define the rules of engagement in this conflict. The rules, if not written down, are defined by the aggressor. It was brutal, no holds barred. Women and kids were killed at Waco and Ruby Ridge. You put back in [the government’s] faces exactly what they’re giving out.” McVeigh was later convicted of murder and conspiracy and was put to death on June 11, 2001. Nichols was found guilty for his role in the bombing and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Prior to the arrests of McVeigh and Nichols, the FBI had three theories as to who could have carried out the attack. And while international terrorism was one of them, not once was it thought to be the responsibility of homegrown terrorists. Up until the September 11th attacks, the Oklahoma City bombing was considered to be the deadliest act of terrorism on American soil in U.S. history.
While the mental, emotional, and physical effects of such an event can last a lifetime, immediate pieces of legislation were enacted in order to prevent any similar attacks. Two of the most notable were the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996, and the Victim Allocution Clarification Act of 1997. Smaller, but just as effective changes could also be seen in building codes, security measures, engineering improvements, and something even as simple as creating a new type of fertilizer that will not detonate when mixed with fuel oil.
While nothing can erase the tragedy and resulting loss of lives on April 19th, 1995, we can pause and reflect upon those 168 innocent people who lost their lives 16 years ago today, as well as their families, friends and associates, many of whom still grieve today.
We follow in tradition and take 168 seconds of silence to honor them.
Read about the trial of Anders Behring Breivik, the man who killed 77 people in Norway in 2011
Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011
Brittany Norwood was first looked at as a brave survivor after a brutal and “random” attack at the Lululemon Yoga store in Bethesda, MD. She has now been charged in the slaying of her co-worker. Norwood, 27, was charged in the March 11th death of her co-worker Jayna T. Murray, who was beaten and stabbed to death. Norwood had claimed that two men in ski masks had followed she and Murray in to the store, raping and beating both of them. Norwood was found beaten up and bruised inside the yoga store, but Montgomery County Police Chief J. Thomas Manger said that no evidence of sexual assault had been found, and that the bruises seemed to be self-inflicted. It was also later discovered that the only bloody shoeprints inside the store other than Norwood’s, were made by a pair of shoes that were for sale inside the store. Norwood planted them to support her story; a story that had local residents living in fear of being “randomly” murdered in a wealthy DC suburb.
Crime writer Christopher Beam reminds us how rare random murder actually is in saying, “Only 15 percent of homicides reported every year are committed by someone who doesn’t know the victim”. This information was gathered by the Bureau of Justice. Beam explains that there are several reasons why so many of us have the, “it could happen to anyone” mentality. He attributes part of this fear to a report done by the FBI in the 90’s, stating that half of homicides were committed by strangers. Criminology professors say that this report is flawed, and that part of this information was based on assumption because police reports did not establish a relationship between the victim and the killer, one way or another. Beam states that politicians also like to push “randomness” because it gives everyone a stake in the problem, and gives individuals the sense that they cannot protect themselves. The media also perpetuates this mentality, according to Beam, as murder seldom makes headlines unless it is “unusual” in some way.
To read more about the Lululemon case or Beam’s ideas on random crime, please click here or here.
Read about the outcome of the case here
Monday, February 21st, 2011
This past Friday, February 18, 2011, the Green River Killer pleaded guilty to murder number 49. Gary Ridgway, the confessed killer, is currently serving 48 consecutive life sentences in Washington State Penitentiary for his slaying spree that began in 1982. His targets were primarily prostitutes or runaways, many of whom were later found near the banks of the Green River just south of Seattle, Washington—thus the name the Green River Killer.
The remains of Becky Marrero, Ridgway’s 49th known victim, were found last December in a steep ravine in King County, Washington. Marrero, a 20-year-old mother, disappeared more than 28 years ago. On December, 3, 1982, Marrero left her 3-year-old daughter with her aunt and departed for the Seattle airport. She was never seen alive again.
Given the plea deal arrangement made in November 2003 following his arrest in 2001, Ridgway pleaded guilty to Marrero’s murder, was given a 49th life sentence, and was returned to his cell at the Washington State Penitentiary in Walla Walla. The terms of the original plea deal were simple. According to King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg, prosecutors would not seek the death penalty if Ridgway agreed to “plead guilty to any and all future cases (in King County) where his confession could be corroborated by reliable evidence.” This deal was made in an attempt to resolve more cold cases. However, should any other victims of the Green River Killer surface outside of King County, there is no limit to what prosecutors can seek in terms of punishment.
With Ridgway’s 49th conviction, Satterberg hoped that Marrero’s family would finally be given the answers they had searched for, with some degree of justice.
For more information, please click here.
Read our coverage of other famous cases