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True Crime Update 1/17/06

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

The Doe Network
This web site, the work of many volunteers across the nation, was featured on a recent CBS 48 Hours episode. It’s called “The Doe Network” and the site’s goal is to aid in locating relatives or people who can help identify human remains found for which there is no identification. This is especially tragic if the remains are of a young child. In the recent 48 Hours episode, one such body recovered was that of a young girl. I also covered the quest to identify the remains of a young boy found in the Chicago area.

You can reach the site by clicking on the picture below. Below the picture is a summary of the site’s purpose and goals.

This seemed a good place to hype the site a bit. Why not click in and see if you can identify those remains found that their murderer may be caught and their loved ones notified?

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

This is a place where you may be able to find missing or an unidentified person. Someone you know may need closure about a lost person. This is not a pretty site, but it could help someone.


Thou Shalt Not “Annoy” Anonymously Via Email
Slipped quietly into a bill to fund the Department of Justice, the congress critters last week quietly made it illegal to “annoy” someone via email unless proper identity is provided.

Whenever the congress critters go attaching major legislation via a budget bill, they’ve got nefarious reasons for doing so.

The law reads as follows:

“Whoever…utilizes any device or software that can be used to originate telecommunications or other types of communications that are transmitted, in whole or in part, by the Internet… without disclosing his identity and with intent to annoy, abuse, threaten, or harass any person…who receives the communications…shall be fined under title 18 or imprisoned not more than two years, or both.” Buried deep in the new law is Sec. 113, an innocuously titled bit called “Preventing Cyberstalking.” It rewrites existing telephone harassment law to prohibit anyone from using the Internet “without disclosing his identity and with intent to annoy.”

Methinks maybe the congress critters were looking to clear out their own Email in-boxes which were, as one might expect, brimming with “annoying” emails. Although it could be an attempt to prosecute spammers or go after those Nigerian nuts who always want to make a deal with me over lost bank funds.

Whatever the reason, noble or nefarious, this is not the way to pass legislation. Us idiots out here in la-la land were given no notification about this law, we were given no chance to debate it and, alas, unless the attempt is anti-American, the Mainstream Media pays it no mind.

The Internet is abuzz about this sneaky tactic. It’s time we cracked down on these Lords and Ladies in the House of Lords.


Susan Polk to Represent Herself at Trial

The murder trial for Susan Polk has taken an interesting turn. Polk, also the main feature of a recent 48 Hours program, is accused of killing her husband. She claims it was self-defense and she also claims she’d suffered years of abuse by her spouse’s hands. Polk has two sons. One declares her story of the night of the murder to be correct. The other son says Polk is not telling the truth. Another interesting factoid to come out in the trial is the verification that Susan Polk’s husband had, at one time, been her adolescent psychologist!

Now while this is interesting enough on its own, recently Polk’s lawyer, the well-known TV legal pundit Dan Horowitz, was himself the victim of a heinous crime. His wife, Pam Vitale, was murdered in the couple’s mobile home where they lived as their dream house was being constructed.

Now Susan Polk wants to drop Horowitz as her counsel and represent herself at trial.

More details on the Horowitz case covered in this True Crime post.

Posted on Thu, Jan. 12, 2006
Horowitz says Polk wants to represent herself at trial
By Bruce Gerstman
CONTRA COSTA TIMES

Defense attorney Daniel Horowitz said Wednesday that his client, Susan Polk, no longer wants his services and prefers to represent herself when she goes on trial this month on charges she killed her husband in their Orinda home.

“It doesn’t matter why she wants to represent herself,” Horowitz said. “She doesn’t have to have a reason.”

Polk and her defense team are scheduled to meet with Contra Costa Superior Court Judge Laurel Brady on Friday, about three weeks before Polk’s second trial is set to begin, Horowitz said. Polk will argue that she is competent and ready to represent herself.

Polk, 48, is accused of stabbing to death her husband, 70-year-old Felix Polk, in 2002 on their Orinda estate. She has said she killed him in self-defense.

Polk, in an interview Wednesday at West County Jail in Richmond, said that Horowitz has ignored her interests since the October slaying of his wife, Pamela Vitale.

“He has not been focusing on my case,” she said. “He has not spent any substantial time with me since his wife’s death.”

Horowitz and his defense team have not pursued enough leads to prove her innocence and had portrayed her inaccurately to a defense expert.

“I would have liked to be represented by competent counsel,” she said.

“I don’t think Dan is competent.”


Jonathan Luna-It Just Got Stranger
The mystery of how Baltimore federal prosecutor died continues. I created a detailed post including my own surprising conclusion as to how Luna died in a post on my own Blog in late 2004.

There were comments left by persons who seem to be knowledgeable that my theory was correct. Others vehemently, and not so eloquently, disagreed.

To quote the link below:

Luna’s body was found Dec. 4, 2003, face down in a shallow stream in rural Lancaster County, Pa. He had suffered 36 stab wounds, most of them superficial, but an autopsy determined he died by drowning. His blood-spattered car was idling nearby.

I believed those 36 stab wounds were by Luna’s own hand and Luna’s death was a suicide.

Now we find out that there was strange goings-on by FBI investigators assigned to the case, including the little-known fact that there were rumors of an affair between Luna and the acting special agent in charge of the Baltimore FBI division.

Well this casts a pall over things. The article details the accusations over the FBI’s mishandling of this case but it’s a bit confusing. Evidently the FBI acting agent in charge of the Baltimore bureau allowed two FBI agents to check her computer for allusions to any relationship she had to Luna. Only the agents who checked Love’s computer were not the agents in charge of investigating the case!

I must wonder if the mystery surrounding Jonathan Luna’s death will ever be solved.

The inspector general’s report does not accuse the FBI of bungling the investigation to the point that the probe into Luna’s death was compromised.

But it faults FBI agents for the way they questioned one of their own about rumors of an affair between the female agent and Luna.

The female agent later filed an internal complaint charging that the FBI’s then-acting special agent in charge of the Baltimore division, Jennifer Smith Love, improperly ordered two agents to interrogate her and approved an illegal search of her computer, according to the report.


Kerry Workers’ Tire-Slashing Trial Begins
Flying under the radar we have this. Seems some of Presidential contender John Kerry’s supporters thought it would be all fair in a Democracy to slash the tires on vehicles intended to be used by Republicans to transport voters to the polls on election day. The damage pulled 25% of the vehicles planned for use on election day out of commission.

The state of Wisconsin was won narrowly by Kerry, thanks perhaps to a little help by Kerry’s friends?

Note the names of this gang called “The Milwaukee Five”. Imagine, if you will, if this were Bush partisans going on trial. Do you think the news coverage would be quite so, how shall we say, quiet?

Fourteen months after John Kerry narrowly carried Wisconsin in the 2004 presidential election amidst allegations of voter fraud, five campaign workers for the Kerry-Edwards campaign team are set for trial Tuesday in Milwaukee on felony charges of damage to property.

The “Milwaukee Five” is charged with slashing 40 tires on 25 separate Republican vehicles on the morning of the 2004 presidential election. The vehicles were rented by the Wisconsin Republican Party to transport less-mobile voters to the polls on Election Day. In total, the vandals disabled 25 percent of the Republican Party’s “Get Out the Vote” fleet.

The defendants include Sowande Ajumoke Omokunde, the son of Rep. Gwen Moore (D-Wisc.) who also goes by the name Supreme Solar Allah; Michael Pratt, the son of former Milwaukee Mayor Marvin Pratt and leader of Kerry’s campaign team in Milwaukee; Lewis Caldwell; Lavelle Mohammed, and Justin Howell.

According to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, four of the defendants were paid operatives of the Wisconsin Democratic Party, including Omokunde and Pratt


Thomas Capano’s Death Penalty Overturned by Delaware Supreme Court!
So why weren’t the rules at the time that a death penalty verdict should be anonymous? Because it seems now that Thomas Capano, a fine gentleman who killed his girlfriend for the crime of breaking up with him, gets another chance. After Tom murdered his girlfriend, he and Capano’s brother then sawed the lady’s body in half, stuffed it into a cooler, and dumped Anne Marie Fahey into the ocean.

Here are two book reviews I wrote, both on the subject of Capano’s murder and his trial.

Here’s what I don’t understand. The BTK killer cannot get the death penalty because there was no death penalty in Kansas at the time of his murders. So okay, fine. But if the rule was that only a majority of the jury vote was required for a death penalty verdict at the time of Capano’s trial, why are we changing this?

It’s unclear to me whether Capano will undergo a completely new trial or if a new jury can be convened just to rule on the death penalty issue?

Image hosted by Photobucket.comAs an aside, the judge in the Capano trial, Bill Lee, ran for Governor of Delaware in 2004 and narrowly lost to Ruth Minner. If it wasn’t for the great Wilmington dead vote, he may have won.

From Delawareonline:

Tom Capano’s death sentence has been thrown out by the Delaware Supreme Court, which ordered a new penalty hearing and a resentencing for Capano. A former state deputy attorney general, Capano was convicted and initially sentenced to death for the 1996 murder of Anne Marie Fahey.

The justices overturned the death sentence based on new legal considerations of whether death sentences must be voted on unanimously. In Capano’s case, the jury’s 11-1 vote that the murder was premeditated meant it failed to find Capano eligible for the death penalty “beyond a reasonable doubt” – just as an 11-1 vote in a criminal trial fails to result in a conviction, Capano’s attorney
Joseph Bernstein argued before the Delaware Supreme Court last October.


Illinois Woman Sells Her Paralyzed Daughter to Sex Pervert
Here’s a story that has been reported on Greta’s show and Court TV. It concerns a man who repeatedly raped a paralyzed girl until his arrest this past Christmas day.

While gasps of horror echo across the land, it is now discovered that this raped teen’s mother took hush money for not reporting on the man. The paralyzed teen’s mother evidently agreed and is now charged with three felonies with bail set at $250,000.

I’ll even go one allegation further. According to the news article linked below, this fine mother met the rapist at a truck stop, struck up a relationship and the man ended up baby-sitting the teen. What mother would have a 68-year-old man she met at a truck stop baby-sit her paralyzed teenager? I’m wondering if the mother knew about the rapes as they were ongoing but kept her mouth shut because the man was supporting her.

Prosecutor: Mom of raped teen took $10,000 hush money
January 13, 2006
BY JOE HOSEY

A Wilmington woman took $10,000 to cover up the crime of a man who repeatedly raped her disabled teenage daughter for months, Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow said Thursday.

“I’ve been doing this for 28 years, and I’ve never come across a case with allegations of this nature,” Glasgow said after announcing the charges against Kimberly Riordan.

Riordan, 32, reportedly retained a twice-convicted sex offender to baby-sit her quadriplegic daughter, who suffers from cerebral palsy and is confined to a wheelchair.

The suspect, Larry Lee Southwood, 68, of Wilmington Township, raped the 14-year-old for the nine months leading up to his arrest Christmas Day, police said.

Southwood paid Riordan $10,000 to keep her from ratting him out to the cops, and she went along with the deal, lying to Detective Sgt. David Margliano, Glasgow said.


The Poisoned Handshake
Fellow says it was only olive oil.

I must ask who carries olive oil around with them to rub on their hands? Then immediately insists on shaking hands with those authorities who were causing him grief?

I must wonder if his revenge was worth the punishment surely to come.
From WFTV.com:

LANSING, Mich. — A man has been jailed on assault charges after a prosecutor, police officer and courtroom bailiff became seriously ill after shaking hands with him.

During a Dec. 21 court appearance on a traffic charge, John Ridgeway pulled out a vial of an unknown liquid, rubbed his hands with the contents and insisted on shaking hands with the three people, authorities said.

All of them got sick within an hour, suffering from nausea, headaches, numbness and tingling that lasted about a day. Two sought treatment at a hospital.

The FBI was running tests on the substance to identify it.

Ridgeway, 41, told officials the vial contained olive oil, according to prosecutor Keith Kushion.


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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