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True Crime Update, 1/10/06

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Sensational and heinous crimes across the nation, notable for the type of crime, the celebrity of the criminal, or both.

Royal Caribbean Speaks Out on Smith Murder

There’s been some interesting information coming out lately regarding the disappearance of George Smith IV from a cruise ship he was on during his honeymoon cruise with wife Jennifer Hagel-Smith.

I posted about this murder first on 8/9/05, with a follow-up on 8/15/05.

This past week, Royal Caribbean officials have been speaking out. Seems new details left out in the initial and very sketchy reports on the incident cast doubt about the story of Smith’s wife, Jennifer Hagel-Smith.

For a long time, speculation has focused on employees of Royal Caribbean. This scuttlebutt came as a result of reports by other cruise ship guests. One guest was in an adjacent cabin and reported loud, thumping noises from the Smiths’ cabin. Another witness alleged seeing two men making a hasty retreat from the Smiths’ cabin in the middle of the night.

It is known that a bloody canopy below the Smiths’ cabin seemed to bear the imprint of a human body outlined in blood.

What makes this case all the odder is that the cruise ship captain reported Smith’s disappearance as an “accident”. The very first investigation of the incident was done by Turkish authorities. While this might sound odd, the ship was docked in, or close to, Turkey at the time of the disappearance. Evidently this is the protocol in a case like this. The authorities at the nearest port of call are notified of such cruise ship incidents.

Officials of the Royal Caribbean have been out and about on various talk shows. Their story is very different than previous accounts.

Seems Jennifer and her new husband spent a lot of time on board the ship fighting. Yes it was their honeymoon, but there you have it. Also, initially Jennifer was reported as being found the morning following her husband’s disappearance asleep in the ship’s lounge. She alleged she had no idea her husband was even missing.

Seems that’s not how it happened. It’s not clear who reported that Jennifer slept in the ship’s lounge and never went to her cabin that night. Perhaps this was reported as fact by Jennifer herself. According to the reports by Royal Caribbean officials, Jennifer was in her cabin that night. She was taken there by ship security.

From the AP:

On the night her husband disappeared, Hagel-Smith was found at about 4:30 a.m. sleeping on the floor of a corridor on the other side of the ship, far from her cabin, according to Royal Caribbean. She was taken back to her cabin by wheelchair – a standard procedure – at 4:47 a.m. by two security guards and a female supervisor, the cruise line said.

Smith was not in the cabin and his wife said she was OK, Royal Caribbean said.

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Okay, Jennifer was taken to her cabin at 4:30 a.m., at which time her husband was not in the cabin.

From the AP:
A man who disappeared from his honeymoon cruise last summer argued in the ship’s bar with his wife, who kicked him in the groin hours before he vanished, two witnesses said Friday.

The witnesses told The Associated Press the FBI has interviewed them about the July 5 disappearance of George Allen Smith IV of Greenwich.

“I was very surprised by their behavior, that a honeymoon couple would act that way,” said Margarita Chaves, a 29-year-old teacher from Phoenix.

Now we have reports of arguments, including a kick in the groin, between newlywed husband and wife.

The story seems to be taking a sinister tone. Could it be that George Smith returned to his cabin after Jennifer that night? With Jennifer in the cabin, not absent as originally reported? Could the security guards who took Jennifer back to the cabin be the people the passenger in the adjacent cabin saw leaving the cabin? With the common belief that Jennifer was found sleeping in the lounge the morning after her husband’s disappearance, the assumption was that somehow Royal Caribbean employees were involved in Smith’s disappearance. How could Jennifer have been involved if she’d never been in the cabin that night went the logic?

It could be, what with this new information now known, that Jennifer was taken to her cabin by ship employees, had yet another altercation with her husband, somehow hit him with something, then headed up to the lounge to get away from the crime scene.

Of course it’s all murky now. But this new information puts Jennifer Hagel-Smith at the crime scene. Before the ship officials began to speak out, the only reports out and about was that Jennifer was nowhere near the Smiths’ cabin that night.

We now know she was.


Strange New Year’s Eve Murder Involves Rocker and Desperate Housewives Star

Bryan Harvey, half of the rock duo House of Freaks, his wife Kathryn, and his daughters Stella, 9, and Ruby, 4, were found bound with tape and their throats cut in their basement playroom on News Year’s day. The house had been set on fire, possibly in an attempt to cover the crime.

Not only is this a strange and heinous crime, there’s some interesting connections to the music and TV industry. Kathryn’s half-brother is actor Steven Culp, who played Rex Van De Kamp on Desperate Housewives. Bryan was a singer with House of Freaks. Even odder are the lyrics in a song Bryan wrote which seems to describe a murder in a basement involving sharp knives.

From the NY Daily News:

Slain rocker Bryan Harvey penned a 1994 song for his rock duo House of Freaks that bears a striking resemblance to the shocking New Year’s Day massacre of his beloved family. In the song titled “Hey, Hey, Hey, Hey,” Harvey describes “knocking on the Pearly Gates in my Sunday best.”

The most disturbing passage conjures a murderer in a basement.

Who’s that man coming
Says hey, hey, hey, hey
Sharpens his knife singing
Hey, hey, hey, hey
Flashes of pain
Hey, hey, hey, hey
Heartbroken woman
Hey, hey, hey, hey
In the basement
Hey, hey, hey, hey
Begs him for mercy
Hey, hey, hey, hey

While I was composing this post, an arrest was made in the above slayings. Which makes me point out the coincidence of the lyrics by Bryan Harvey is just that, a coincidence. Eerie.

The arrested duo are alleged to have robbery as their motives for the murders not only of the Harveys, but at least one other slaying in the Richmond area.

I’ve posted a long quote below from the Dispatch to include the portion about another family killed by this duo, as well as an additional slaying in that area that Richmond police allege are not the work of the two arrested.

In another note, the Richmond police said, when the Harvey family was found so brutally murdered, that this was not a random killing.

And yet it appears that it was.


From Times Dispatch:

Jan 7, 2006

Iwo men arrested in Philadelphia today have been charged with conspiracy to commit murder in seven slayings in South Richmond this week.

Richmond Police Chief Rodney Monroe announced the charges tonight at a hastily arranged news conference at police headquarters.

Monroe said Richmond police believe Ray Joseph Dandridge, 28, and Ricky Gevon Gray, 28, are responsible for the New Year’s Day slayings of four members of a family on West 31st Street in Woodland Heights and last night’s slaying of three members of a family on East Broad Rock Road.

“The senseless killings of these seven people — two families — was disturbing, not only for the families of the victims, the community, as well as the police department,” Monroe said.

Monroe was joined at the news conference by various city officials, including Mayor L. Douglas Wilder, who expressed his appreciation for various police agencies working together to make arrests in the cases.

“It’s very, very comforting to have this kind of support,” Wilder said.

Monroe said robbery appeared to be the motive in the two crimes.

He stressed, however, that police do not believe Dandridge and Gray are linked to this week’s other multiple homicide in Richmond, the New Year’s Day slayings of Lewis Aaron Casper and his 17-year-old daughter, Roicana, in the 2400 block of Terminal Avenue in the Bellemeade neighborhood. Police are still pursuing leads in that case.

“We have strong leads,” Monroe said of the Casper case, “and will bring this case also to a successful conclusion.”

If This Story’s True I’ve Got a Bridge for Sale

How well I remember the tape of the sting made on former D.C. Mayor Marion Barry.

“The bitch set me up,” he moaned for the hidden cameras once the investigators burst in on his meeting with, well with a bitch, that included some recreational drug usage.

Now Barry has been mugged!

By two fellows whose help he elicited to “carry in groceries”.


From the AP:

Image hosted by Photobucket.comWASHINGTON – Former District of Columbia Mayor Marion Barry was robbed at gunpoint at his apartment by some youths who had helped him carry his groceries.

Barry, who wasn’t injured in the Sunday night robbery, said he gave the youths a couple of dollars for helping unload groceries from his car and they left. They returned, however, and after Barry let them into his Southeast apartment, they pointed a gun at his head and took his wallet, which contained cash and credit cards, Barry told WRC-TV.

“Obviously, I’m traumatized. To have a pistol cocked in your face is not something you cannot feel emotional about,” Barry said.

What’s unusual is the youths who helped him with the groceries returned and Barry, with no more groceries to unload, allowed them access once again to his apartment.


It’s possible, though I’m speculating, that the youths went off on a mission to obtain more recreation for Barry. After returning with the goods, they mugged him.

I must wonder why Barry reported the crime.

A Most Heartless Crime
Can cruelty to an innocent animal ever be forgiven?

The fine fellow below found great sport by ramming a snowmobile into a moose. Then, get this, once the moose’s legs were broke the group decided the animal had to be put out of its misery. Misery caused by one heartless man who then proceeded to kill the moose with an axe.

But there’s another reason for this entry. Read the entry below this one for an irony that can’t be ignored.

From CBC.CA:

A man from Newfoundland and Labrador has received a two-month prison term for charging a moose with a snowmobile and killing it with an axe.

Anthony Norris, 25, of Trinity committed a “horrendous and heinous act,” according to provincial court Judge Gloria Harding.

Wildlife investigators said they received a tip days after the moose was killed in March 2005, when a group of people drove snowmobiles and ATVs to a party at a cabin near Indian Bay.

When a moose wandered onto the groomed path, Norris plowed into it several times with his snowmobile until its hind legs were broken, said investigators. Norris then jumped on top of the animal, which put up a struggle to escape.

People in the group decided the moose should be put down because of its injuries. Norris then killed the moose with an axe.

Child Rapist Gets 60 Days
A Vermont Moonbat judge evidently didn’t want to “corrode the souls” of family members of a little girl who was repeatedly raped for three years by the criminal awaiting sentencing by the good judge.

So he sentenced the lovely child rapist to 60 days in jail. Seems the judge was more concerned with “rehabilitation” of this predator of small children.

Check the entry above. The Moose Killer too got 60 days.

Think about it.

From WCAX.com:

Rapist’s Prison Sentence Triggers Outrage
Burlington, Vermont — January 4, 2005

There was outrage Wednesday when a Vermont judge handed out a 60-day jail sentence to a man who raped a little girl many, many times over a four-year span starting when she was seven.

The judge said he no longer believes in punishment and is more concerned about rehabilitation.

Prosecutors argued that confessed child-rapist Mark Hulett, 34, of Williston deserved at least eight years behind bars for repeatedly raping a littler girl countless times starting when she was seven.

But Judge Edward Cashman disagreed explaining that he no longer believes that punishment works.

“The one message I want to get through is that anger doesn’t solve anything. It just corrodes your soul,” said Judge Edward Cashman speaking to a packed Burlington courtroom. Most of the onlookers were related to a young girl who was repeatedly raped by Mark Hulett who was in court to be sentenced.

The sex abuse started when the girl was seven and ended when she was ten. Prosecutors were seeking a sentence of eight to twenty years in prison, in part, as punishment.

Update on the Body Builder Murder

I made the first entry on this crime last week. As these things go, there’s more information on the body building duo extradited from Massachusetts when their personal trainer was found burned up in Craig Titus’ Jaguar.

Not surprisingly, it is alleged that this fine duo, widely known on the body-builder circuit, lived quite a swinging lifestyle.

From Reviewjournal.com:

The murder cases of elite bodybuilders Craig Titus and his wife, Kelly Ryan, likely will reveal a steroid-fueled lifestyle of wife-swapping and group-sex parties, sources say.

Titus and Ryan were described as regulars at local strip clubs, where they trolled for sex partners.

The Las Vegas couple was arrested Dec. 23 in Massachusetts and charged in connection with the death of their live-in female assistant, Melissa James, 28. Her body was found in Ryan’s burned-out, cherry-red Jaguar, abandoned on a remote desert highway.

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

In the February issue of Playboy, Titus, a former Mr. USA, defends anabolic steroid use and touts its powers as a sexual-performance enhancement.

“I’m talking about a libido like no other, a sense of wellness like no other. Should they be made legal? No. Should they be available by prescription to athletes? Yes.”

In the Playboy article about the annual Olympia bodybuilding event, Titus said he served 26 months in prison, starting in 1997. The reason was not given, but Titus, according to a bodybuilder Web site, was implicated in a drug crime in 1995, served time for steroid distribution and was charged with selling ecstasy.

Titus won the Mr. USA title in 1996, the same year Ryan captured the Fitness
America title.

Seems Titus likes steroids and ecstasy. It’s not surprising this couple’s lifestyle ultimately led to murder.

So much for Titus’ assertion that these drugs are good for you.

Speaking of Bad Judges

How about a judge who masturbates during trials where he is presiding?

With a penis pump of all things!

This fine jurist has already been convicted for keeping “explicit” photos on his office computer.

From Courttv.com:

By Emanuella Grinberg
Court TV

For the second time in less than a year, a retired Oklahoma judge was ordered to stand trial on allegations that he exposed himself on the bench during trials.

A court reporter for former Creek County District Judge Donald Thompson testified in a brief preliminary hearing Tuesday that she witnessed her former boss masturbating with a device known as a penis pump while he presided over several trials from 2001 to 2003.

Thompson, 59, is scheduled to be arraigned Jan. 26 on four counts of indecent exposure and one count of misuse of a state computer for allegedly keeping explicit photos of himself on his office computer.

The disgraced jurist faces up to 41 years in prison on the five counts.

Pat Fish is a published author and her books have drawn attention from her fellow reviewers on Blogcritics. Reviews of Memoirs of Josephine Fish and Mystery and Mirth have been conveniently provided for your reading pleasure.

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About pat fish

  • I see the argument, Deano. It’s certainly cruel to ram the moose with a snowmobile. but it’s also insanely stupid. I’ve seen the damage a moose can do to a car when you hit it – I would think the damage to a snowmobile would be even worse. Not to mention danger of injury if you hit the moose at speeds sufficient to break its legs.

    Of course, once you’ve broken its legs killing it is probably an act of mercy. Here in America the snowmobiler might have a gun to put the animal out of its misery, but it’s Canada so all he has is an axe. Killing a moose with 5 blows of an axe is probably about as merciful as you could hope for under the circumstances.

    The basic problem here is the preponderance of drunk people on snowmobiles with axes in Canada – and I have to admit in certain US states as well.

    As for Texas vs. Canada, I’ve been to both and I live in Texas. Perhaps it’s because I don’t want to devolve into the kind of person who drives a snowmobile and kills moose with an axe.


  • Dave,

    It’s not concern about the moose, but about the act of wanton animal cruelty that the snowmobile driver displayed by deliberately breaking the animal’s legs, then inflicting additional pain and suffering. Hunting moose is both legal and fairly common outside of the urban areas. If the snowmobile moron wanted to hunt moose, he’s welcome to do so, but anyone who hunts knows that the obligation is to put the animal down as swiftly and painlessly as possible. People who indulge in this type of torture and abuse should damn well get punished.

    By the way, I’d be cautious about calling Canada “an idiot country” as, if I recall correctly, you live in Texas…There is that old saying:

    “If I owned Texas and I owned Hell, I’d rent out Texas and live in Hell.”

  • What kind of moron would risk damage to their snowmobile by ramming a moose? And what kind of idiot country would be so concerned about a moose when down here in the US they’re turning into a dangrous plague – and from what I hear Canada has even more of them than we do.