Sensational, horrific and heinous true crimes across the nation, notable for the type of crime, the celebrity of the criminal, or both.
Bodybuilders and Murder
Here’s a new crime to come across the radar during the holiday week just passed. Two bodybuilders, a Craig Titus and Kelly Ryan, had a live-in personal assistant, Melissa James, who was discovered bound and gagged in the trunk of Ryan’s Jaguar. The Jaguar had been torched.
Seems even in liberal Las Vegas they don’t approve of this sort of behavior, which is likely why these two went on the lam, ending up clear across country in Massachusetts. Ryan was picked up there as she was getting her nails done.
They claim they were not trying to escape the authorities, but I must ask, then, just why are they fighting extradition back to Nevada?
Laci Peterson’s Mom Tells Her Story
Sharon Rocha, mother of slain Laci Peterson and mother-in-law to the lovely Scott Peterson, finally has her book for sale. She provides many glimpses into the strange and weird soul of Scott Peterson, who is believed to have killed his pregnant wife on Christmas Eve and has been sentenced to death by a California jury.
Some early tidbits in the book have been released. We especially like that bit about Scott proposing to have the family dog interviewed by a pet psychic to help “find” the then missing Laci. One can only imagine how that would have worked. Perhaps the pet psychic would have revealed that the family dog claimed that Laci had been captured by a band of witches in order to steal her unborn baby. No, wait. That was Scott’s contention as relayed by his lovely defense attorney to the stars, Mark Geragos.
Mother writes of Laci’s life, the trial
Sharon Rocha shares intimate thoughts on traumatic experience
By GARTH STAPLEY
Modesto BEE STAFF WRITER
Last Updated: December 28, 2005, 05:56:36 AM PST
The unspeakable grief of losing a child and grandchild to family murder crashes down in every chapter of “For Laci,” a book by Laci Peterson’s mother scheduled to hit bookshelves Saturday.
“You wake up from most nightmares and they’re over,” Sharon Rocha wrote in the book’s opening line. “Mine was different.”
Most of the eight books published about Modesto’s blockbuster double-murder case have focused on Scott Peterson, who arrived on death row in March. In contrast, Rocha’s book – subtitled “A Mother’s Story of Love, Loss and Justice” – provides by far the best look at the soul of the victim.
A Case FOR the Death Penalty
Perhaps it’s me, but I’ve noted there have been a lot of jail escapes of late. One lovely Reynaldo Rapalo, a serial rapist, escaped over the past holiday season by using the old knotted sheet trick.
One of the arguments against the death penalty is the concept that those behind bars for life cannot commit more of their heinous crimes.
Rapalo is not, I must emphasize here, on death row, nor did he receive the death penalty. I’d argue that he would have tried his escape, and succeeded as he obviously did, regardless of his crime.
More disturbing, this fellow planned, even as he was on the lam from the law, yet another sexual assault. Well, he is a serial rapist, so it’s not far-fetched that he dreamt of more such crime while on the loose.
Point being, and I don’t necessarily agree but I’ll throw it out there, that sometimes felons do escape prison. Ted Bundy, now dead by state execution, also escaped prison as I recall and managed to murder a few more young women before he was finally picked up in the state of Florida.
Life in prison does not ensure that these heinous felons will be kept from the innocent public is what I’m saying here.
MIAMI (AP) — A serial rape suspect who escaped jail said he considered committing a rape while he was on the loose for nearly a week, authorities said.
During a six-hour interrogation after he was caught Monday, Rapalo said he came out of hiding and stopped by a party on Christmas Eve where he considered raping two people.
“He actually contemplated committing a sexual act on these two people,” Miami-Dade police Sgt. Robert Perez said.
Safe in the Mideast, Shot Dead in America
Here’s a strange and sad tale. A Navy reservist returns home from the Mideast and is soon shot dead by his wife and her teenaged boyfriend.
Seems the wife of Paul Berkley, Monique, got herself an adolescent lover while her husband — who was twenty years older than Monique, please note — was deployed overseas. The story below as quoted by the AP is a bit confusing. The story refers to Paul Berkley’s 18-year-old son but refers to a “Becky Berkley” as his stepdaughter. It then again refers to Becky Berkley as Monique Berkley’s stepdaughter.
Okay, it’s likely an error in reportage so we’ll assume for now that Becky Berkley was, indeed, Paul Berkley’s daughter.
Which makes the whole thing more odd in that it would seem that Becky’s boyfriend was part of the plot to kill Paul Berkley. Even weirder, Becky has her own blog and has been writing about this crime. So who is this Latwon Johnson, alleged to be Becky’s boyfriend, and what did “MistressBecky” know and when did she know it?
Sailor home for holidays slain in park
Wife, teen boyfriend held without bond in shooting
Monique Berkley, 26, has been charged with the slaying of her husband, Navy
RALEIGH, North Carolina (AP) — Home for Christmas after nearly a year in the Middle East, Navy Reservist Paul Berkley was making up for lost time with his family.
He arrived Wednesday, in time to hear his 18-year-old son, Zeke, sing the national anthem with his high school chorus. On Friday, he and 16-year-old stepdaughter Becky ate pizza, watched movies and danced.
By Sunday, the 46-year-old sailor was dead, shot once in the head during a walk in the park with his wife, Monique. She now stands charged with his slaying, along with two men — her alleged teenage lover and her stepdaughter’s boyfriend.
“It’s all just so ironic, isn’t it?” Becky Berkley wrote Tuesday on her own blog, MistressBecky, as her stepmother was making her first court appearance.
“My dad was in the Middle East for months and months and didn’t get shot,” she wrote. “Then he came home, where you’d assume he’d be much safer… and then, all this happened.”
Monique Berkley, 26, was ordered jailed without bond. Andrew Canty, the man who moved in with her during her husband’s deployment, and Latwon Johnson, both 18, also were denied bond. They were in the process of being assigned public defenders.
Talk About Perfect Casting
Lillo Brancato Jr. once appeared in a movie with Robert De Niro and was featured in several episodes of The Sopranos.
He played a hood on The Sopranos and now it would seem he was a two-bit hood in real life.
He and another accomplice were attempting a break-in to steal drugs after a lovely evening at a strip club. An off-duty police officer heard the ruckus and was shot, allegedly by Brancato’s accomplice. Brancato is boo-hooing about the dead police officer and swearing he never would have gone along if he’d known his partner in crime had a gun.
Perhaps. Brancata has been charged with murder and despite his tears, it’s not clear just who had the gun and who did the shooting.
We love that bit about Brancata “might” take the witness stand. We assume Brancata’s going to blame his accomplice, and it could well be that’s how it came down. We’re pretty sure Brancata will have to take the witness stand if his charge against his accomplice is his defense.
Why should we assume Brancata, lovely person that he is, would never conceive of such as carrying a gun?
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.