Kelsey Grammer- The story of a Hero.

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The man who made so many of us laughs(and still does) had so little to laugh about himself, but yet he remained positive. In my books that makes him a Hero.

Mostly known as Dr Frasier Crane in the sitcoms Cheers and Frasier, but he also appeared in “the X Men” “Star Trek-the next Generation” and produced the hit show “Medium”

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Most people are lucky enough to never experience having a loved one taken from them as a result of violence. Kelsey Grammer is not one of those people- his father was shot and killed and his sister was raped and brutally murdered.

Kelsey Grammer’s parents were divorced when he was 2 years old and his  father, Frank Grammer, owned a coffee shop and a bar-and-grill called Greer’s Place. His mother brought Kelsey and Karen back to her parents’ house in New Jersey where they were raised by their mother and grandfather. Unfortunately, his grandfather died when Kelsey was 11.

On April 25, 1968, a man named Arthur B. Niles set fire to Frank Grammer’s car outside the St. Thomas home he shared with his second wife, Elizabeth, and their four children (Betty, John, Billy and Stephen). When Frank Grammer went outside, Niles shot him twice. During the trial, Elizabeth Grammer testified that she pulled her husband’s body from in front of Niles’ car because he had threatened to run over him as well. Kelsey Grammer was only 13 years old at the time of his father’s murder.

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Niles was found not guilty of the murder by reason of insanity and spent several decades in a psychiatric ward. In 1994, he was assessed to no longer be a threat to society and was released. In November of 2002, a judge issued a restraining order against Niles which prevented him from seeing his son. In March 2003, Niles went back to prison after pleading guilty to threatening to kill that same judge.

Seven years later, when Kelsey was 20 years old, his younger sister, 18 year old Karen Grammer, was raped by four men and murdered by Freddie Lee Glenn.

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On July 1, 1975. Glenn, Corbett, and two other men decided to rob the Red Lobster restaurant on South Academy Boulevard. They left without any money, but on their way out they grabbed Karen Grammer,  who worked there and was waiting for her boyfriend to get off work, because they feared she could identify them.karen_grammerAfter robbing a convenience store, the men took Grammer to the apartment they shared, where they raped her repeatedly. They promised to take her home, then sat her in the car, put a cloth over her head and let her out in a mobile home park on South Wahsatch Avenue. Then Glenn, who, according to court testimony, had taken LSD, stabbed her in the throat, back and hand, and left her to die. In a desperate attempt to save herself, she ran toward the back porch of a nearby home where there was a light, but the homeowners were out. She died there, leaving bloody hand prints and fingerprints where she tried to reach the doorbell for help. Police photographs show a bloody hand print on the wall, inches from the doorbell. Police did not know her name for a week, until her brother Kelsey Grammer arrived to identify the body.

Glenn was convicted in 1976 for the murders of Van Lone, Profitt and Grammer. Judge Hunter Hardeman, noting “there was no rhyme or reason for what happened,” sentenced Glenn to the gas chamber for Grammer’s murder. Two years later, the Colorado Supreme Court overturned the state’s death penalty. When Glenn was sentenced, the law allowed parole after a convict served 10 years, so he became eligible. Because two of his sentences were to be served consecutively, Corbett became eligible in 1996. All his parole appeals have been denied to date

Alas the tragedies didn’t stop after the murder of Karen.Five years after Karen’s murder, on June 1, 1980, both of Kelsey Grammer’s half brothers died unexpectedly. Stephen and Billy were scuba diving off of St. Thomas at the time. When Billy failed to resurface, Stephen went back in after him but died of a fatal embolism during an improper ascent that followed. Billy’s body was never recovered.

Kelsey did also suffered  alcohol and cocaine addictions.He credits his religion and Alcoholics Anonymous for helping him through with his struggles with alcohol and drug abuse, as well as his personal tragedies.

The most amazing thing to come out of all these deaths is not the unreal amount of tragedy, but Kelsey’s ability to cope and prosper. He’s admitted to how painful these harsh realities felt, especially at such a young age, but he has refused to let bitterness consume him.

And even more astounding he has forgiven the killer of his sister. In a BBC 4 interview a few days ago he said “I have learnt to forgive. I have even told the guy I forgive him, although I don’t advocate his freedom. I don’t think that is reasonable.”

 

Kelsey on Radio

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John Emil List-Murderous Sunday school teacher.

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You just never know what goes around in someone’s mind or behind closed doors. You may look at someone in admiration because he appears to be such a good and wholesome human being, but deep inside lurks a monster.

John List was an outwardly normal and successful father. A Sunday school teacher and Boy Scout troop leader, List was a strict disciplinarian who insisted his children follow extremely rigid rules.

John Emil List (September 17, 1925 – March 21, 2008) was an American multiple murderer and long-time fugitive. On November 9, 1971, he killed his wife, mother, and three children in their home in Westfield, New Jersey, then disappeared. He had planned the murders so meticulously that nearly a month passed before anyone suspected that anything was amiss.

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The larger world had never heard of John Emil List until his neighbors began to wonder why the lights in his family’s house in Westfield, N.J., were going out one by one in the fall of 1971, weeks after anyone had been seen entering or leaving. And the high school drama coach of Mr. List’s daughter had begun to worry about her absence.

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On November 9, seemingly out of the blue, List shot his mother Alma (above her lefteye),his wife Helen (in the side of the head), and two older children in the back of their heads; he shot his youngest child, a son, several times in the chest and face. He then left the murder weapon alongside their carefully laid-out corpses.

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List had methodically devised a plan so that the bodies would not be discovered for quite a while, cancelling newspaper, milk, and mail delivery to his home in the days leading up to the murder. He then called the children’s schools to say that the family was going to visit a sick relative out of town. By the time authorities discovered the bodies, List had vanished without a trace.

When police officers entered the home on Dec. 7, 1971, they heard organ music on an intercom system and found the bodies of Mr. List’s wife, Helen, 46; his daughter, Patricia, 16; his sons John, 15, and Frederick, 13, and his mother, Alma, 85. All had been shot to death.

The police also found a note from Mr. List to his pastor at a Lutheran church where Mr. List sometimes taught Sunday school. Over five pages, Mr. List wrote that he saw too much evil in the world and that he had ended the lives of his wife, mother and children to save their souls.

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Local law enforcement officials had essentially given up looking for List when the television show America’s Most Wanted began airing in the late 1980s. After a segment about the List murders aired on May 21, 1989, calls began flooding in. Although most of them proved to be unhelpful, one viewer claimed that John List was living in Virginia under the alias Robert Clark.

On June 1, 1989, 11 days after his case was broadcast on AMW, List was arrested while living under the pseudonym Robert “Bob” Peter Clark,JOHN LIST MONSTER a name he adopted based on one of his college classmates, who later strangely stated that he never knew of John List. He was identified by a friend who had seen the television feature. In the 18 years since List committed his crimes he had been living in Denver, Colorado and Richmond, Virginia, where he remarried and started a new life and a career as an accountant. On April 12, 1990 he was convicted in a New Jersey court of five counts of first-degree murder, and on May 1 was sentenced to five life terms in prison. List has never expressed any remorse for his crimes, even during an interview with Connie Chung in 2002, and has said he believes he will go to heaven.

List died of complications from pneumonia at age 82 on March 21, 2008, while in prison custody at St. Francis Medical Center in Trenton, New Jersey.[32] In reporting his death, the Newark Star-Ledger referred to him as “the bogeyman of Westfield”

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Talked to Murder-The Jenny Jones talk show drama

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Talk shows used to be entertaining but they have turned into a bench marking tool the bring out the worst in society when you look at some titles of the Jerry Springer or Jeremy Kyle show

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It’s no wonder that it would come to the stage where someone would get killed.

Jonathan Schmitz was 24 years old when his acquaintance Scott Amedure, 32, revealed he was romantically interested in him during a taping of the “Jenny Jones Show,” which was filmed in Chicago. Schmitz, who said he wasn’t gay, fatally shot Amedure in Lake Orion three days after the taping.

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On March 6, 1995, Amedure Scott_Amedurewas taped for an episode of The Jenny Jones Show, in which he admitted to being a secret admirer of Jonathan Schmitz, who lived near him in Lake Orion, Michigan.Until the taping, Schmitz had no idea who his secret admirer was. Schmitz stated that he went on the show out of curiosity, and he later claimed that the producers implied that his admirer was a woman,although the producers of the show claim that they did tell Schmitz that the admirer could be male or female.

During the segment, Amedure was encouraged by Jones to share his fantasies about Schmitz, after which Schmitz was brought onstage. The two men exchanged an awkward embrace before the host dropped her bombshell.

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In response to Amedure’s disclosure, Schmitz laughed, then stated that he was “completely heterosexual”.

According to testimony at the murder trial, three days after the taping, Amedure left a “suggestive” note at Schmitz’s house.After finding the note, Schmitz withdrew money from the bank, purchased a shotgun, and then went to Amedure’s mobile home. He questioned Amedure about the note. Schmitz then returned to his car, took his gun, and returned to Amedure’s trailer. He then shot Amedure twice in the chest, killing him.

Schmitz turned himself in to police, saying he killed Amedure because he was embarrassed on national television.

He was sentenced 25 to 50 years for second-degree murder.

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In 1999, the Amedure family sued The Jenny Jones Show, Telepictures, and Warner Bros. for the ambush tactics and, as the Amedure family saw it, their supposedly negligent role that led to Amedure’s death. In May, the jury awarded the Amedures $25 million.The jury found that The Jenny Jones Show was both irresponsible and negligent, contending that the show intentionally created an explosive situation without due concern for the possible consequences.

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Time Warner’s defense attorney later claimed the verdict would cause a chilling effect on the industry.The judgment was later overturned by the Michigan Court of Appeals in a 2-to-1 decision.The Michigan Supreme Court declined to hear the case.

Geoffrey Fieger, who served as an attorney for the Amedure family, said that everybody involved in the Jenny Jones Show also deserved imprisonment.

‘That show set him (Schmitz) up and certainly took Scott Amedure’s life for no reason,’ Fieger said.The episode never aired but clips were shown on news shows.

The Jenny Jones show was cancelled in 2003 after recording the lowest ratings of any daytime talk show.435C0F0B00000578-4803478-image-a-6_1503089784312

Schmitz, now 47, was granted parole after a March hearing and was released on the 23rd of August 2017.

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Scott’s older brother, Frank Amedure Jr., said he’s troubled by the parole decision and that he’s unsure Schmitz “learned what he should have” in prison.

“I wanted assurance that the (parole board’s) decision was not based on just good behavior in prison,” he said. “I’d like to know that he learned something, that he’s a changed man, is no longer homophobic and has gotten psychological care.”

Looking at the talk shows that run nowadays it is only a matter of time before someone gets killed again.

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Juan Catalan the unlikely “Curb your enthusiasm” star.

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Some people  say that TV has a bad influence on especially younger people.Juan Catalan will wholeheartedly disagree with that.

Juan Catalan was 24 when he was wrongly charged with gunning down 16-year-old Martha Puebla on her doorstep outside her home in Los Angeles.Martha had earlier testified in a  gang-related murder case ,involving Catalan’s gangster, and police were convinced that Juan was the killer.

In the days after the murder in May 2003, he was arrested by cops who pointed a gun to his head after pulling him over in his SUV.

 

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He had apparent motive in the girl’s killing, he frequented the neighborhood where the crime took place, and a composite artist’s sketch drawn from eyewitness testimony appeared to put him at the scene as the man who pulled the trigger.

From the outset, Catalan maintained that he had an alibi: on the night of the murder, May 12, 2003, he took his six-year-old daughter to the Dodger Stadium to watch a game against the Atlanta Braves.
nintchdbpict000358349029But despite providing his ticket stubs, police weren’t convinced of his innocence and proceeded with prosecuting him, which if he had been convicted, could have seen him face the death penalty.

While awaiting trial in jail, Catalan recalled that there was a film crew shooting something during the Dodgers-Braves game on the fateful night of Puebla’s murder.

‘I wasn’t supposed to be at that game, and that would replay in my head over and over,’ Catalan says in the trailer for a new Netflix documentary about this case.

And his defense attorney Todd Melnick discovered that cameras had been at the baseball ground to film an episode of the comedy Curb Your Enthusiasm called ‘The Carpool Lane.

Convinced that Catalan didn’t fit the profile of a murderer, his defense attorney Todd Melnik pulled out all the stops to free his client and vindicate his claims of innocence. He convinced Dodger management to allow him to comb through hours of “Dodger Vision” camera footage, images of the crowd that had been shot during the game. He spent an entire day watching dozens of videotapes in slow motion, and though he was able to spot Catalan and his daughter in their seats, the image resolution wasn’t clear enough to conclusively identify them.

When pressed for other possible ways to confirm his story, Catalan remembered that there had been a crew shooting some kind of video in the stands, with a man (who Catalan didn’t recognize) walking up and down the aisle. That man turned out to be Larry David.

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As it happened David was there to shoot an episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm, “The Car Pool Lane,” the one where Larry hires a hooker so he can use a freeway car pool lane to beat the traffic and get to the Dodger game on time.

Todd’s legal team then were allowed to scour hours of footage taken that night to try and find pictures to prove that Juan was part of the 56,000 crowd.

And eventually they found proof of Juan walking his young daughter to their seats inside the stadium.

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The evidence was enough for the case against Juan to be dismissed and after five and a half months in jail he was released and later received $3285,000 in compensation from the LAPD.

A year later, gang member Raul Robledo received a life term for Martha’s murder.

In September  2017 Netflix released a documentary called “Long Shot” on the Juan Catalan case.

Prior to his arrest, Juan Catalan never watched Curb Your Enthusiasm, but after his release from jail, he said became an avid fan of the series.

As for David, he quipped at the time that he was quitting his show ‘to devote the rest of my life to freeing those unjustly incarcerated.

 

How the West was convicted! Wait,What?

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I know all these W’s in the title would nearly make you dizzy , unfortunately there are more to come.

What happens if you are arrested and brought to jail and it is claimed you were there before and you know you weren’t but there is an eye witness placing you there.

This happened to Will West in 1903

Will West arrived at the United States Penitentiary in Leavenworth, Kansas in 1903. After seeing his mug shots, the prison clerk took one look at the photos and insisted she had seen him before. Mr. West explained he had never been to Leavenworth, and that she was mistaken.

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The clerk, convinced that she was correct, collected Mr. West’s Bertillon measurements (the identification method used to identify prisoners up until this case) and dug through the archives of inmates.

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Eerily, she pulled out a file that undoubtedly was the face of the man standing in front of her. However, he was telling the truth. Mr. West had never been to Leavenworth, and was naturally perturbed. How had his photo ended up in the files of the penitentiary? To be fair even Will West thought it was his picture He told the clerk“That’s my picture, but I don’t know where you got it because I’ve never been here before!” As it turned out, there was another inmate with the exact measurements as Mr. West who was already there serving a life sentence. If that wasn’t strange enough, his doppelgänger was named William West.

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The two men were not related in any way, and law enforcement quickly realized that a more reliable method of identification was necessary. The case of Will and William West changed the face of forensics. Fingerprinting soon became the standard method for identifying criminals.

Because of these two men, you never have to worry about going to prison simply for sharing the same face and physical characteristics of another known criminal. Luckily for us all, our unique fingerprints will never allow for another case of mistaken identity.

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I don’t actually know what either of the men were charged with but that doesn’t make this story less intriguing.

Soul Asylum’s Runaway Train- The story behind it.

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This is a very personal blog for me.Not because I was personally involved in it, because I wasn’t, but because it really touched me emotionally. Although I am don’t suffer from depression myself that is really what the song is about,depression and the effects it has especially on teenagers and young adolescents.

I first heard the song on the radio and fell in love with it, but that made the song not unique because I have fallen in love with thousands of songs.It was only after I saw the video of it , it had a profound impact on me, it really gave me the goosebumps.

The music video for “Runaway Train” featured photographs and names of missing children in the style of a public service announcement. At the end of the video, lead singer Dave Pirner appeared and said, “If you’ve seen one of these kids, or you are one of them, please call this number” before a missing children telephone helpline number appeared.

Below is the video but alas without the message at the end, for some reason it is impossible to find a version with the message, but even without that you will appreciate what the video is telling you.

A few days after I had seen the video I saw news footage saying that one of the children in the video had been found because of it. Those goosebumps were back and a few teardrops to complement them.

Finally a music video with real value. I have listened to the song many of time afterwards. not realizing the story didn’t end there.

Earlier this week I looked up the story behind the missing children again, because cynical me doesn’t always take heed to all news reports. Since this was going back for more than 2 decades I just wanted to re-assure the more mature me that the finding of this 1 missing child just wasn’t an urban myth.

Turned out it wasn’t just 1 child, in total 26 children were re-united with their families after being featured in the video.(and whiles I am writing this the goosebumps are back)

Unfortunately not all of them were found alive.

Polly Klaas

Polly Klaas was a 12-year-old girl who went missing in October 1993, a few months after the song had peaked on the charts. The case made national news, drawing more attention to the issue of missing and exploited children.Polly_Klaas

It was later learned the Klaas was abducted and murdered. by Richard Allen Davis. On October 1, 1993, Polly Klaas and two friends were having a slumber party. Late in the evening, Richard Allen Davis entered their bedroom, carrying a knife. He tied both friends up, pulled pillowcases over their heads and told them to count to 1,000. He then kidnapped the scared Klaas. Davis was caught and arrested and admitted to strangling Polly.After a long, tumultuous trial, Davis was convicted on June 18, 1996 of first-degree murder and four special circumstances (robbery, burglary, kidnapping and a lewd act on a child) in Klaas’ death.A San Jose Superior Court jury returned a verdict of death. At his formal sentencing by a judge, Davis provoked national outrage by taunting his victim’s family, extending both middle fingers at a courtroom camera and later saying that Klaas’ last words just before he killed her were that her father molested her.

Curtis Huntzinger

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Below is some of the timeline of his case.

Early May, 1990 — 14-year-old Curtis Huntzinger reportedly tells his parents he has been molested by family acquaintance Stephen Hash, then 35, for whom Curtis was working.

May 11, 1990 — Curtis reportedly recants the allegations when asked about them by then-Blue Lake Police Chief Donald Trumble.

May 18, 1990 — Curtis, an Arcata High School freshman, is last seen at his sister’s Blue Lake home and is reported missing the next day. It is initially believed by authorities that Curtis, who had some trouble in school and a recent brush with the law, ran away from home. Trumble said at the time he was confident Curtis was not a victim of foul play.

April 1999 — Thomas Michael Fox, who was serving life in prison for the killing of 11-year old Danny Williams of Eureka, reportedly confesses to having killed Huntzinger. As a part of the confession, Fox reportedly admitted to shooting Huntzinger and fingered the accomplices who he said helped him bury the boy.

April 24, 1999 — During a confrontation with Huntzinger’s mom, Nancy, family acquaintance Stephen Daniel Hash reportedly admits to killing Curtis Huntzinger, even taking Nancy Huntzinger to her son’s burial site. Hash, however, refuses to talk to law enforcement about the case.

Over the ensuing weeks, police investigators search Hash’s property, even removing the floor boards of his house and sending its carpets to the Department of Justice Crime Lab for testing. The area where Hash claimed to have buried Huntzinger is scoured by dozens of members of the California Conservation Corps, police and the Huntzinger family. Several bones, including a vertebrae, are found, and believed to be those of Curtis Huntzinger. “This could be over in a few weeks,” then Blue Lake Police Chief Floyd Stokes said. The bones are later determined to be animal remains, and the case goes dormant.

Dec. 3, 2008 — Hash is arrested on suspicion of voluntary manslaughter by District Attorney’s Office investigators after reportedly giving a “complete confession” and showing them where Huntzinger was buried.

Dec. 9, 2008 — Investigators find a body believed to be Huntzinger’s located off old State Route 299 between Blue Lake and Korbel in the location Hash had led them to. The body is sent to the Humboldt County Coroner for an autopsy. where it is confirmed that the remains are those of Curtis.

Thomas Dean Gibson

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The last image in all three U.S. versions of the song is Thomas Dean Gibson, who disappeared from Glendale, Oregon, in 1991 at the age of 2. He is still missing as of 2014, and age-progressed photos of him at age 19 and age 21 were released in 2009 and 2012, respectively, by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.His father, Larry Gibson, a former deputy sheriff, was convicted of second degree manslaughter for accidentally shooting his son to death when he shot at a stray cat in his front yard even though no remains were ever found. He steadfastly denies killing his son and has worked on finding him since being released from prison in 1996.

The version shown in Australia showed a number of young backpacking tourists whose families were looking for them. Several of them turned out to be victims of Ivan Milat, the Backpacker Murderer.

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Dinah McNicol & Vicky Hamilton

 

The UK version of the video featured Vicky Hamilton and Dinah McNicol, who each went missing in 1991. Their remains were found in 2007 at a house in Margate. Peter Tobin has since been convicted of both murders.

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Also featured in the UK version was Mark Bartley, a runaway who went missing in 1992. He was recognised in the video by a man who knew Bartley was staying in the tenant’s house below them, but was unaware of his missing status. By the time the police arrived, Bartley and the man he was living with were gone. It is unknown what happened to him after this.

Although Soul Asylum had been formed in 1983 the album Grave Dancers Union which includes Runaway Train, was there only successful album.Soul_Asylum_Grave_Dancer's_Union

 

Released in 1992. The album spent 76 weeks on the Billboard music charts and was certified triple-platinum in 1993, establishing Soul Asylum as one of the most successful rock groups of the first half of the 1990s.

At the 1994 ceremony, this won the Grammy Award for Best Rock Song, which went to its writer, Dave Pirner. Dave didn’t attend the ceremony, as he didn’t like the idea of proclaiming one song superior to another. When he won, Meat Loaf accepted the award on his behalf.

The band is still touring. They may not be considered as the best band ever, and musically this might be the case. But I believe they deserve a lot more credit for what they achieved with that 1 song which has changed the lives of so many.

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William Kemmler-First execution by electric chair.

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At Auburn Prison in New York, the first execution by electrocution in history was carried out against William Kemmler, who had been convicted of murdering his lover, Matilda Ziegler, with an axe.

William Kemmler was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Both of his parents were immigrants from Germany and both of them were alcoholics.After dropping out of school at age 10, having learned neither how to read nor write, Kemmler worked in his father’s butcher shop. His father died from an infection that he received after a drunken brawl and his mother died from complications of alcoholism. After his parents died, he went into the peddling business and earned enough money to buy a horse and cart, although at this point he was becoming a heavy drinker.

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In one episode involving him and his friends after a series of drunken binges, he said he could jump his horse and cart over an eight-foot fence with the cart attached to the horse. The attempt was a failure, and his cart and goods destroyed in the incident. He was known to friends as “Philadelphia Billy” due to his drinking binges that were very well known around the saloons in his Buffalo neighborhood. Kemmler was reportedly slender, with dark brown hair. He spoke both English and German.

Electrocution as a humane means of execution was first suggested in 1881 by Dr. Albert Southwick, a dentist.

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Southwick had witnessed an elderly drunkard “painlessly” killed after touching the terminals of an electrical generator in Buffalo, New York. In the prevalent form of execution at the time–death by hanging–the condemned were known to hang by their broken necks for up to 30 minutes before succumbing to asphyxiation.

In 1889, New York’s Electrical Execution Law, the first of its kind in the world, went into effect, and Edwin R. Davis, the Auburn Prison electrician, was commissioned to design an electric chair. Closely resembling the modern device, Davis’ chair was fitted with two electrodes, which were composed of metal disks held together with rubber and covered with a damp sponge. The electrodes were to be applied to the criminal’s head and back.

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On August 6, 1890, William Kemmler became the first person to be sent to the chair. After he was strapped in, a charge of approximately 700 volts was delivered for only 17 seconds before the current failed. Although witnesses reported smelling burnt clothing and charred flesh, Kemmler was far from dead, and a second shock was prepared. The second charge was 1,030 volts and applied for about two minutes, whereupon smoke was observed coming from the head of Kemmler, who was clearly deceased. An autopsy showed that the electrode attached to his back had burned through to the spine.

Dr. Southwick applauded Kemmler’s execution with the declaration, “We live in a higher civilization from this day on,” while American inventor George Westinghouse, an innovator of the use of electricity, remarked, “They would have done better with an axe.”

 

The Whitechapel 11

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The Whitechapel murders were committed in or near the impoverished Whitechapel district in the East End of London between 3 April 1888 and 13 February 1891. At various points some or all of these eleven unsolved murders of women have been ascribed to the notorious unidentified serial killer known as Jack the Ripper.

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Of the eleven Whitechapel Murders, it is widely believed that Jack the Ripper is directly responsible for five of them. It is possible that the Ripper may have claimed more than five victims, but most experts agree that at least five of the East End murders were the work of Jack the Ripper.

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The first victim in the series of Whitechapel Murders was a prostitute by the name of Emma Elizabeth Smith. Smith was attacked and raped on Osbourn Street in Whitechapel on April 3, 1888. During the assault, her attackers beat and raped her, then violently inserted a blunt object into her vagina, causing an injury which would take her life the following day. After the assault, the men emptied her purse and fled – leaving her to die on the street. Before she slipped into a coma and died the next day at a London hospital, Smith told authorities that two or three men, one of them a teenager, were responsible for her attack.

The press had linked Smith’s murder to the subsequent Whitechapel Murders, but most experts later believed that particular murder to be the result of random gang violence. Whitechapel was home to many notorious gangs who would patrol the streets of Whitechapel – harassing unfortunate women like Emma Smith – demanding they pay them money in exchange for ‘protection’.

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The next victim in the series of Whitechapel Murders was Martha Tabram. Tabram, a prostitute in the East End, was brutally murdered in the early morning hours of August 7, 1888. On the eve of her murder, Tabram was out drinking with another prostitute and two soldiers at a public house near the George Yard Buildings. Shortly before midnight on August 6th, Tabram and her friend paired off with their clients – Tabram heading through the archway into George Yard.

Tabram’s body was first encountered at around 3:30 AM on August 7th by carman George Crow. He had been returning home after work, and because of the darkness in the stairwell, mistook her body as that of a drunk woman passed out on the landing.

At around 5 AM, her body was again discovered by another resident of George Yard Buildings, but by this time there was enough light in the stairway to reveal her ghastly wounds. She had been stabbed 39 times. The wounds focused on her throat, chest and lower abdomen, and appeared to have been inflicted by a pocket knife – with the exception of one violent stab through her chest which looked to have been performed with a large dagger or bayonet.

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The body of Mary Ann “Polly” Nichols was discovered in the wee morning hours of August 31, 1888, at about 3:40am by 2 carmen on their way to work. Her body was found in front of a gated horse stable entrance on Buck’s Row, Whitechapel. The two men who happened upon her, Charles Cross and Robert Paul, saw Polly lying on the ground with her skirts pulled up to her waist. At first they weren’t sure if she was either passed out drunk or dead, but after some hesitation they approached her and felt her hands and face, which were both cold to the touch. Feeling very uneasy about what they had just stumbled upon, both men hurried off to alert the first constable they could find.

Minutes later she was discovered by PC John Neil while passing through Buck’s Row while on his nightly beat. He shone his lantern on Polly’s body which revealed her lifeless eyes staring up into the night sky.

Her throat had been deeply severed in two locations – nearly decapitating her – and her lower abdomen partially ripped open by a deep, jagged wound. The killer had also made several other incisions in her abdomen with the same knife. The doctor who had arrived at the scene to examine her body had deemed her time of death to be less than 30 minutes from the time she’d been found.

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A witness had reported seeing Annie Chapman talking with a man outside 29 Hanbury Street, Spitalfields, 5:30am the morning of her murder. Albert Cadosch, who lived at 27 Hanbury Street, reported hearing a woman in the next door backyard say “No”, followed by what sounded like a body falling against the fence. Approximately twenty minutes later, her badly mutilated body was found by carter John Davis near a doorway in the back yard of 29 Hanbury Street.

Her throat had been cut in much the same manner as Mary Ann Nichols had been slashed, and her abdomen ripped entirely open. Her intestines, torn out and still attached, had been placed over her right shoulder. A later autopsy revealed that the killer had removed her uterus and parts of her vagina.

The Ripper would claim two victims in the early morning hours of September 30, 1888; the first of which was Elizabeth Stride. Her body was discovered in Dutfield’s Yard, off Berner Street, at approximately 1am. The killer had cut her throat, severing her left artery, yet no other slashes or incisions had been made.

Because of the absence of abdominal mutilations, there has been some doubt as to whether or not Stride was in fact killed by Jack the Ripper. However, most experts agree that Stride was murdered by the same killer due to the nature in which her throat had been cut.

It’s also believed that the reason Stride had not been mutilated like the others was due to an interruption of some sort. It’s possible the killer feared he was in jeopardy of being detected by nearby witnesses and elected to flee before finishing his ritual.

Forty five minutes after Stride’s body was found in Dutfield’s Yard, Eddowes’ body was discovered in Mitre Square, within the City of London. Eddowes’ throat had been severed and her abdomen torn open with a deep, jagged wound. Her left kidney had been removed, along with a major portion of her uterus. Just before Eddowes’ mutilated body would be discovered in Mitre Square, an eyewitness saw her in the company of a man who he described as being approximately 5′ 7″ tall, 30 years of age, with a medium build, fair complexion and a moustache. His attire gave him the over all “appearance of a sailor.”

The Stride and Eddowes murders were later referred to as the “Double Event“.

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Considered to be Jack the Ripper’s Swan Song, Mary Jane Kelly’s murder was the most gruesome of all the Whitechapel Murders. She was found horribly mutilated, lying on the bed in her single room flat where she lived at 13 Miller’s Court, off Dorset Street, Spitalfields. She was discovered at 10:45am on the morning of Friday, November 9, 1888.

The landlord’s assistant, Thomas Bowyer, had been sent over to collect the rent, which she had been weeks behind in paying. When she didn’t answer his knock at the door, Bowyer reach his hand through a crack in the window, pushing aside a coat being used as makeshift drapery. What he saw at that moment was absolutely horrific.

Kelly’s body was mutilated beyond recognition. Her entire abdominal cavity had been emptied out, her breasts cut off, and her viscera had been deliberately placed beneath her head and on the bedside table. Kelly’s face had been hacked away and her heart removed, which was also absent from the crime scene. Kelly’s murder was by far the most grisly and ritualistic of all.

https://dirkdeklein.net/2016/11/09/mary-jane-kelly-the-last-victim-of-jack-the-ripper/

Rose Mylett

 

Following Kelly’s ghastly murder, there were four other women who were killed in the Whitechapel district during that same period, the first of which was Rose Mylett. Mylett was found strangled in Clarke’s Yard on High Street on December 20, 1888. Investigators assessed that her death may have been the result of a drunken stupor, as there were no visible signs of a struggle apparent anywhere on her body or clothing. Even though the inquest deemed it to be a murder, her death in no way resembled a Ripper killing.

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The body of Alice McKenzie was found on July 17, 1889, in Castle Alley, Whitechapel. She had suffered a severed carotid artery, along with multiple small cuts and bruises across her body – evident of a struggle. One of the pathologists involved in the investigation dismissed this as a possible Ripper murder, as it did not match with the findings of the three previous Ripper victims he had examined. Writers have also disputed McKenzie as being a victim of Jack the Ripper, but rather of a murderer trying to copy his modus operandi in an attempt to deflect suspicion.

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The tenth Whitechapel murder victim was The Pinchin Street Torso The victim was named as such because she was found headless and legless under a railway arch on Pinchin Street, Whitechapel, on September 10, 1888. Investigators believed that the victim was murdered at a different location, and the body dismembered for disposal.

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Frances Coles was murdered on February 13, 1891. She was found at Swallow Gardens – a passageway beneath a railway arch between Chamber Street and Royal Mint Street, Whitechapel – with her throat slit. Visible wounds on the back of her head suggested that Coles was likely thrown to the ground after having suffered to knife wounds across her throat. Apart from the cuts to her throat, there were no mutilations to her body.

https://dirkdeklein.net/2016/12/14/the-real-edmund-reid/

The Metropolitan Police, City of London Police, and private organisations such as the Whitechapel Vigilance Committee were involved in the search for the killer or killers. Despite extensive inquiries and several arrests, the culprit or culprits evaded identification and capture. The murders drew attention to the poor living conditions in the East End slums, which were subsequently improved. The enduring mystery of who committed the crimes has captured public imagination to the present day.

https://dirkdeklein.net/2016/12/02/hell-broke-loose/

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D.B. Cooper-Probably the perfect crime

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One afternoon a day before Thanksgiving in 1971, a guy calling himself Dan Cooper (the media mistakenly called him D.B. Cooper) boarded Northwest Airlines flight #305 in Portland bound for Seattle.

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He was wearing a dark suit and a black tie and was described as a business-executive type. While in the air, he opened his brief case showing a bomb to the flight attendant and hijacked the plane. The plane landed in Seattle where he demanded 200K in cash, four parachutes and food for the crew before releasing all the passengers. With only three pilots and one flight attendant left on board, they took off from Seattle with the marked bills heading south while it was dark and lightly raining. In the 45 minutes after takeoff, Cooper sent the flight attendant to the cockpit while donning the parachute, tied the bank bag full of twenty dollar bills to himself, lowered the rear stairs and somewhere north of Portland jumped into the night. When the plane landed with the stairs down, they found the two remaining parachutes and on the seat Cooper w

On the afternoon of Thanksgiving eve, November 24, 1971, a man carrying a black attaché case approached the flight counter of Northwest Orient Airlines at Portland International Airport. He identified himself as “Dan Cooper” and purchased a one-way ticket on Flight 305, a 30-minute trip to Seattle.

Cooper boarded the aircraft, a Boeing 727-100 (FAA registration N467US), and took A seat In the rear of the passenger cabin. He lit a cigaretteand ordered a bourbon and soda. Eyewitnesses on board recalled a man in his mid-forties, between 5 feet 10 inches (1.78 m) and 6 feet 0 inches (1.83 m) tall. He wore a black lightweight raincoat, loafers, a dark suit, a neatly pressed white collared shirt, a black necktie, and a mother of pearl tie pin.

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Flight 305 was approximately one-third full when the aircraft took off on schedule at 2:50 pm, PST. Cooper handed a note to Florence Schaffner, the flight attendant situated nearest to him in a jump seat attached to the aft stair door. Schaffner, assuming the note contained a lonely businessman’s phone number, dropped it unopened into her purse. Cooper leaned toward her and whispered, “Miss, you’d better look at that note. I have a bomb.

The note was printed in neat, all-capital letters with a felt-tip pen. Its exact wording is unknown, because Cooper later reclaimed it, but Schaffner recalled that it indicated he had a bomb in his briefcase, and wanted her to sit with him.Schaffner did as requested, then quietly asked to see the bomb. Cooper cracked open his briefcase long enough for her to glimpse eight red cylinders (“four on top of four”) attached to wires coated with red insulation, and a large cylindrical battery.After closing the briefcase, he dictated his demands: $200,000 in “negotiable American currency”;four parachutes (two primary and two reserve); and a fuel truck standing by in Seattle to refuel the aircraft upon arrival.Schaffner conveyed Cooper’s instructions to the pilots in the cockpit: when she returned, he was wearing dark sunglasses.

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The pilot, William Scott, contacted Seattle-Tacoma Airport air traffic control, which in turn informed local and federal authorities.

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The 36 other passengers were told that their arrival in Seattle would be delayed because of a “minor mechanical difficulty”.Northwest Orient’s president, Donald Nyrop, authorized payment of the ransom and ordered all employees to cooperate fully with the hijacker. The aircraft circled Puget Sound for approximately two hours to allow Seattle police and the FBI time to assemble Cooper’s parachutes and ransom money, and to mobilize emergency personnel.

Schaffner recalled that Cooper appeared familiar with the local terrain; at one point he remarked, “Looks like Tacoma down there,” as the aircraft flew above it. He also correctly mentioned that McChord Air Force Base was only a 20-minute drive (at that time) from Seattle-Tacoma Airport. Schaffner described him as calm, polite, and well-spoken, not at all consistent with the stereotypes (enraged, hardened criminals or “take-me-to-Cuba” political dissidents) popularly associated with air piracy at the time. Tina Mucklow, another flight attendant, agreed. “He wasn’t nervous,” she told investigators. “He seemed rather nice. He was never cruel or nasty. He was thoughtful and calm all the time.” He ordered a second bourbon and water, paid his drink tab (and attempted to give Schaffner the change), and offered to request meals for the flight crew during the stop in Seattle.

FBI agents assembled the ransom money from several Seattle-area banks—10,000 unmarked 20-dollar bills, most with serial numbers beginning with the letter “L” indicating issuance by the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, and most from the 1963A or 1969 series and made a microfilm photograph of each of them.Cooper rejected the military-issue parachutes offered by McChord AFB personnel, demanding instead civilian parachutes with manually operated ripcords. Seattle police obtained them from a local skydiving school.

At 5:24 pm Cooper was informed that his demands had been met, and at 5:39 pm the aircraft landed at Seattle-Tacoma Airport.

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Cooper instructed Scott to taxi the jet to an isolated, brightly lit section of the tarmac and extinguish lights in the cabin to deter police snipers. Northwest Orient’s Seattle operations manager, Al Lee, approached the aircraft in street clothes (to avoid the possibility that Cooper might mistake his airline uniform for that of a police officer) and delivered the cash-filled knapsack and parachutes to Mucklow via the aft stairs. Once the delivery was completed, Cooper permitted all passengers, Schaffner, and senior flight attendant Alice Hancock to leave the plane.

During refueling Cooper outlined his flight plan to the cockpit crew: a southeast course toward Mexico City at the minimum airspeed possible without stalling the aircraft—approximately 100 knots (190 km/h; 120 mph)—at a maximum 10,000 foot (3,000 m) altitude. He further specified that the landing gear remain deployed in the takeoff/landing position, the wing flaps be lowered 15 degrees, and the cabin remain unpressurized.Copilot William Rataczak informed Cooper that the aircraft’s range was limited to approximately 1,000 miles (1,600 km) under the specified flight configuration, which meant that a second refueling would be necessary before entering Mexico. Cooper and the crew discussed options and agreed on Reno, Nevada, as the refueling stop. Finally, Cooper directed that the plane take off with the rear exit door open and its staircase extended. Northwest’s home office objected, on grounds that it was unsafe to take off with the aft staircase deployed. Cooper countered that it was indeed safe, but he would not argue the point; he would lower it himself once they were airborne.

An FAA official requested a face-to-face meeting with Cooper aboard the aircraft, which was denied.The refueling process was delayed because of a vapor lock in the fuel tanker truck’s pumping mechanism,and Cooper became suspicious; but he allowed a replacement tanker truck to continue the refueling—and a third after the second ran dry.

At approximately 7:40 pm, the 727 took off with only Cooper, pilot Scott, flight attendant Mucklow, copilot Rataczak, and flight engineer H. E. Anderson aboard. Two F-106 fighter aircraft scrambled from nearby McChord Air Force Base followed behind the airliner, one above it and one below, out of Cooper’s view.

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A Lockheed T-33 trainer, diverted from an unrelated Air National Guard mission, also shadowed the 727 until it ran low on fuel and turned back near the Oregon–California state line.

After takeoff, Cooper told Mucklow to join the rest of the crew in the cockpit and remain there with the door closed. As she complied, Mucklow observed Cooper tying something around his waist. At approximately 8:00 pm a warning light flashed in the cockpit, indicating that the aft airstair apparatus had been activated. The crew’s offer of assistance via the aircraft’s intercom system was curtly refused. The crew soon noticed a subjective change of air pressure, indicating that the aft door was open.

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At approximately 8:13 pm the aircraft’s tail section sustained a sudden upward movement, significant enough to require trimming to bring the plane back to level flight. At approximately 10:15 pm Scott and Rataczak landed the 727, with the aft airstair still deployed, at Reno Airport. FBI agents, state troopers, sheriff’s deputies, and Reno police surrounded the jet, as it had not yet been determined with certainty that Cooper was no longer aboard; but an armed search quickly confirmed that he was gone.

After hijacking an aeroplane and extorting $200,000 from the FBI, DB Cooper coolly made his escape via parachute.

Many suspect he died on the descent. That theory was strengthened in 1980 when an 8-year-old boy stumble open three wads of rotting $20 bills with serial numbers matching the cash given to Cooper.

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However, his body was never found leading to countless theories about who he was and what might have happened.

 

 

The Lindbergh baby kidnapping

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On the evening of March 1, 1932 Charles Augustus Lindbergh Jr., eldest son of aviator Charles Lindbergh and Anne Morrow Lindbergh, was abducted from the family home in the town of Highfields, in East Amwell, New Jersey.

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Lindbergh, who became an international celebrity when he flew the first solo flight across the Atlantic Ocean in 1927, and his wife Anne discovered a ransom note demanding $50,000 in their son’s empty room.

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The kidnapper used a ladder to climb up to the open second-floor window and left muddy footprints in the room.

The Lindberghs were inundated by offers of assistance and false clues. Even Al Capone offered his help from prison. For three days, investigators found nothing and there was no further word from the kidnappers. Then, a new letter showed up, this time demanding $70,000.

The ransom was packaged in a wooden box that was custom-made in the hope that it could later be identified. The ransom money included a number of gold certificates – gold certificates were about to be withdrawn from circulation,and it was hoped this would draw attention to anyone spending them. The bills were not marked but their serial numbers were recorded.

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The kidnappers eventually gave instructions for dropping off the money and when it was delivered, the Lindberghs were told their baby was on a boat called Nelly off the coast of Massachusetts. After an exhaustive search, however, there was no sign of either the boat or the child. Soon after, the baby’s body was discovered near the Lindbergh mansion.

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He had been killed the night of the kidnapping and was found less than a mile from home. The heartbroken Lindberghs ended up donating the mansion to charity and moved away

The kidnapping looked like it would go unsolved until September 1934, when a marked bill from the ransom turned up. The gas station attendant who had accepted the bill wrote down the license plate number because he was suspicious of the driver. It was tracked back to a German immigrant and carpenter, Bruno Hauptmann. When his home was searched, detectives found a chunk of Lindbergh ransom money.

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Hauptmann claimed that a friend had given him the money to hold and that he had no connection to the crime. The resulting trial was a national sensation. The prosecution’s case was not particularly strong; the main evidence, besides the money, was testimony from handwriting experts that the ransom note had been written by Hauptmann. The prosecution also tried to establish a connection between Hauptmann and the type of wood that was used to make the ladder.

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Still, the evidence and intense public pressure were enough to convict Hauptmann and he was electrocuted in 1935. In the aftermath of the crime—the most notorious of the 1930s—kidnapping was made a federal offense.