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Saturday, February 26, 2005

Dennis L. Rader arrested as Wichita BTK Serial Killer

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Dennis L. Rader, mugshot Dennis L. Rader, Park City, Kansas, Compliance Supervisor Dennis L. Rader in undated driver's license photo Dennis L. Rader from Park City web site photo
Dennis L. Rader

Authorities in Wichita, Kansas, announced at a press conference this morning, Feb. 26, 2005, that Dennis L. Rader was arrested for the BTK serial killings between 1974 and 1991. BTK stands for "Bind, Torture and Kill," a style of killing he used. The serial killer used the initials in letters he sent to local media. The murders of ten people: 7 women, 1 man, and 2 children are now attributed to Rader.

Dennis Rader's 1963 Wichita Heights High School year-book photo junior class yearbook photo of Dennis L. Rader was published in the 1962 Talon, the yearbook for Wichita Heights High School.

Dennis L. Rader in high school

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Photos of Dennis Rader, Air Force serviceDennis Rader - Air Force Service era photos
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Dennis Rader 1973 photoDennis Rader 1973 photo
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Dennis Rader at his arraignmentDennis Rader at his 2005 arraignment
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Facts about Dennis L. Rader:
  • Dennis L. Rader was born March 9, 1945. He was baptized at the Zion Lutheran Church in Pittsburg, Kansas.

  • The Sedgwick County Jail booking sheet lists Rader's height as 5-foot-11 and his weight as 195 pounds.

  • He was born to William E. Rader (Bill) and Dorothea M. Rader. William Rader was a former Marine. He held various positions with Kansas Gas and Electric Company (KG&E) from 1948 to 1963.

  • He has three younger brothers: Paul (born 1947) , Bill (born 1949), and Jeff (born 1955). All four boys were Boy Scouts.

  • He grew up in Wichita and spent his entire life, except for his service in the Air Force, in the Wichita area.

  • Rader went to Riverview School, Pleasant Valley Middle School, Wichita North High School and then Wichita Heights High School. The Class of 1963 transferred to Wichita Heights for its junior year and became the second class to graduate there.

  • He graduated from Wichita Heights High School in 1963. All of his brothers also graduated from Wichita Heights High School.

  • Rader served as an active duty airman in the Air Force from Aug. 17, 1966 to Aug. 11, 1970. His reserve service ran to June 20, 1972. Rader went through basic training in Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas, and later attended technical school at Sheppard Air Force Base in Wichita Falls, Texas. He was stationed at Brookley Air Force Base in Mobile, Alabama in February 1967. He served overseas in Turkey, Greece, Okinawa (Kadena Air Base, Jan. 1968 to June 1968), and Japan (Tachikawa Air Base near Tokyo, July 1968 to August 1970). He reached the rank of sergeant and was awarded the Air Force Good Conduct Medal, the Small Arms Expert Marksmanship Ribbon and the National Defense Service Medal.

  • He was married on May 22, 1971 to Paula Dietz. She was born May 5, 1948 and is the daughter of Palmer and Eileen Dietz of Park City. Paula Dietz is a 1966 graduate of Wichita Heights H.S. who had been working as a secretary at the VA Hospital.
Paula E. Rader

Paula E. Rader - Charter Member Christ Lutheran Church
  • Paula E. Rader was granted an emergency divorce from Dennis Rader on Tuesday, July 26, 2005.

  • He lived in Park City, Kansas since 1971. He is a registered Republican and his home address since 1975 was 6220 N. Independence St.

    Dennis Rader house, Park City, Kansas6220 N. Independence St
    Dennis and Paula Rader lived here for 25 years

  • Rader's house was sold at auction on Monday, July 11, 2004, for $90,000 -- $33,000 more than the appraised value ($56,700). The winning bidder was a Derby, Kansas, exotic-dance-club owner, Michelle Borin, a woman familiar to Wichitans from her late-night Michelle's Beach House commercials. Boren said she only hoped that all the proceeds would go to Rader's wife and two grown children.

    update: Rader’s house was torn down in March of 2007. Park City bought the house from Rader’s ex-wife for $56,000.

photos of Dennis Rader house, Park City, KansasRader house, Park City, Kansas
  • Rader attended Butler County Community College in El Dorado and Kansas Wesleyan University in Salina, KS.

  • He worked in the meat department for Leeker's IGA in Park City in 1971. His mother worked as a bookkeeper.

  • He worked as an assembler at what was then the heating and air division of The Coleman Company from June 19, 1972, to July 6, 1973.

  • Rader entered Wichita State University in the fall of 1973 and graduated in the spring of 1979 with a bachelor of science degree in administration of justice.

  • He has a son, Brian Howard Rader, born on July 27, 1975 and a daughter, Kerri Lynn Rader, born on June 13, 1978. Kerri Rader graduated from Wichita Heights in 1996. She qualified for the state golf tournament her senior year. She attended Kansas State University. Married to Darian Rawson. She moved to Farmington, Michigan in August, 2003. Rader's son is unmarried and in the Navy. Twenty-nine-year-old Brian Rader, who is a Seaman Apprentice, joined the Navy in 2004. He was in school at the Navy submarine base in Groton, CT, at the time of his father's arrest.

  • Rader worked for the security company ADT (from November 1974 to July 1989) - when four of the BTK victims were killed. Rader worked as a construction and installation supervisor. A former ADT supervisor, Michael Fitch, said Rader was eventually fired from ADT.

  • Worked for the U.S. Census Bureau in 1989 as a census field operations supervisor.

  • He was a Cub Scout and Boy Scout leader. Rader first worked with Cub Scout Pack 491 and then with Boy Scout Troop 491 - as his son progressed through scouting. His son became an Eagle Scout

  • His father, William E. Rader, died on Dec. 27, 1996.

  • He had served on the Sedgwick County Board of Zoning Appeals and the Animal Control Advisory Board (April 1996 - June 1998).

  • Rader’s most recent job was as a Compliance Supervisor for Park City, Kansas. That means he tickets people for public nuisances-things like appliances left in yard and loose dogs. Rader worked there since May 10, 1991. He was earning $16.62 an hour. The Oct. 4, 2001 issue of The Ark Valley News reported that Rader received a 10 year service award presented by Mayor Bergquist.

  • His wife, Paula Rader, worked as a bookkeeper at Snacks, the Diamond Shamrock convenience store at 61st Street North and Broadway since 1985.

  • He is a 30-year member of the Park City Christ Lutheran Church and was President of the Congregation Council at the time of his arrest. His wife and her family were original members of the church. Paula Rader and her mother sing in the church choir.

  • His mother, Dorothea, is a member of the church at 53rd Street North and Hillside. She was quite active in the church when she was younger. Rader's father was also active in the church when he was alive.
BTK murder victims:
  • Jan. 15, 1974 -- Julie and Joseph Otero along with their children Joseph, Jr., and Josephine were tied up and strangled to death in their home.
  • April 4, 1974 -- Kathryn Bright, 21, stabbed to death in her home.
  • March 17, 1977 -- Shirley Vian, 24, tied up and strangled in her home.
  • Dec. 8, 1977 -- Nancy Fox, 25, tied up and strangled in her home.
  • April 27, 1985 -- Marine Hedge, 53, abducted from her home.
  • Sept. 16, 1986 -- Vicki Wegerle, 28, tied up and strangled in her home.
  • Jan. 19, 1991 -- Delores "Dee" Davis, 62, abducted from her home.
---
Initial reports differed as to how exactly Rader was identified as a suspect. Some reports said his daughter turned him in. Another says it was through a Home Depot surveillance video tape of him dropping off a BTK package. A third report says that a computer disk in the BTK package #11 sent to KSAS-TV on Feb. 16, 2005, was traced back to a computer he had access to at Christ Lutheran Church.

photos of BTK package #11 with computer diskphotos of BTK package #11 with computer disk - traced to a computer at his church

It turns out the the daughter, Kerri Rader, living in Farmington, Michigan, did not give the FBI a DNA sample until about 45 minutes after her father was arrested. However, police had obtained DNA before Rader's arrest through a tissue sample linked to his daughter's medical records. The Rev. Michael Clark, pastor of Christ Lutheran Church, said Tuesday, Mar. 1, 2005, that police searched the church and found that a 3.5-inch diskette containing what is alleged to be communication from BTK had once been used in the computer in the church office.

In the book "Nightmare in Wichita: The Hunt for the BTK Strangler," Wichita attorney and author Robert Beattie said security tapes at the east-side Home Depot were reviewed, frame by frame, after a postcard that arrived at KAKE-TV, Jan. 25, 2005, mentioned there would be a package at the store. Beattie said he was told by his sources that cameras caught a vehicle (dark-colored Jeep Cherokee, belonged to Rader's son, who was away on military duty) driven by Rader driving repeatedly through the parking lot.

BTK package #7 was left at the Home Depot drop site on Jan. 8, 2005. The computer disk (BTK package #11) was received by KAKE-TV on Feb. 16, 2005.

updated timeline of events:

  • August 19, 2005, Rader arrived at the El Dorado state prison to spend the rest of his life isolated from the world he terrorized for 31 years. Neither Rader's wife nor his children appeared at any of Rader's court appearances or visited him in jail.

  • August 18, 2005, Dennis L. Rader, the 60-year-old confessed BTK serial killer was sentenced by Judge Greg Waller to a total of 175 years, to be served consecutively. Specifically, Judge Waller sentenced Rader to nine life terms, each without the possibility for parole for 15 years, and gave him one hard 40 life sentence — 40 years in prison with no chance of parole for the Dee Davis murder.

  • July 2005, Rader told radio station KSNW that his wife had written him. Rader's pastor, Rev. Michael Clark, confirmed that Paula had sent Dennis a letter.

  • June 27, 2005, Dennis Rader waived his right to a jury trial, and pleaded guilty to 10 counts of first-degree murder. He described in cool and dispassionate detail how he killed 10 people to satisfy his sexual fantasies.

    Rader described in cool and dispassionate detail how he killed 10 peopleAt his trial Rader described in cool and dispassionate detail how he killed 10 people

  • March 5, 2005, The Wichita Eagle reported that he confessed to all ten BTK murders he was charged with, shortly following his arrest.

  • May 3, 2005, Judge Waller entered a not guilty plea on Rader's behalf, and set a trial date of June 27th.

  • Rader was charged with 10 counts of first-degree premeditated murder on Tuesday, March 1, 2005.

  • Dennis Rader was arrested on Feb. 25, 2005, and held at the Sedgwick county Jail on suspicion of killing ten people. Bail was set at $10 million.
sources:
Dennis Rader/BTK [wikipedia.org]
BTK Arrest: ADT [KAKE-TV, Feb. 28, 2005]
Who is Dennis Rader? (video of Rader from 2001) [KSN-TV, Feb. 26, 2005] copy
Who is Dennis Rader? [Crime Library]
BTK Strangler Suspect Dennis Rader [The Crime Library]
Sentencing [CrimeLibrary
Suspect in BTK killings lived quiet life as city worker [MSNBC, Feb. 26, 2005]
The accused [The Ark Valley News, Mar. 3, 2005]
Friends & enemies [The Ark Valley News, Mar. 4, 2005]
More complete portrait of BTK suspect emerges [Washington Post, Mar. 6, 2005]
Rader details how he killed 10 people [CNN, Jun. 28, 2005]
Married to a Monster [msnbc, July 12, 2005]
BTK (Bind, Torture, & Kill) Strangler Info (known before capture) [TJN]

Wichita Eagle articles [now off-line, see Kansas.com archives]
Transcript of the [BTK] news conference - Feb. 26, 2005
Police: BTK is arrested; Dennis Rader named as suspect in killings - Feb. 26, 2005
Liked by many, loathed by some -Feb. 27, 2005
Dennis Rader makes first court appearance - Mar. 2, 2005
Transcript of Court Proceding - Mar. 2, 2005
If BTK likes series, he isn't the first - Mar. 2, 2005
Pastor: Disk gave police key clue - Mar. 2, 2005
BTK survivor ponders the what-ifs - Mar. 2, 2005
The lawyers in the case - Mar. 2, 2005
Source: Daughter's records were subpoenaed - Mar. 3, 2005
'Erasing' data often does no such thing - Mar. 3, 2005
Two timelines - Mar. 4, 2005
A glimpse of BTK's 10 victims - Mar. 6, 2005
The puzzle of Dennis Rader - Mar. 6, 2005
Rader trial expected to cost millions - Mar. 7, 2005
Lawyer: Rader is 'easy to deal with' - Mar. 7, 2005
Police shoo sightseers at Rader home - Mar. 7, 2005
Rader's letter for a class reunion (.pdf)
Rader arrives at El Dorado prison in chains - Aug. 19, 2005

other source, now off-line
Facts about BTK suspect Dennis L. Rader [KWCH-TV, Feb. 26, 2005]

Friday, February 25, 2005

Beginning of the end: Did they finally catch BTK?

---
hunt for the Wichita BTK serial killerPolice took a "person of interest" into custody today in connection with the BTK (Bind-Torture-Kill) Wichita Strangler case. Internet message boards are reporting that his name is Dennis Rader. He lives in Park City, Kansas (6 miles north of Wichita) near the intersection of I-135 and 61st Street North, at 6220 N. Independence St.

Dennis L. Rader: BTK serial killer
Dennis L. Rader
KAKE-TV reports the "person of interest" being questioned in connection with the BTK case is 59-years-old. Wichita State University records show he graduated in 1979 with a degree in Administration of Justice.

Fox News reports: "Authorities considered him a person of interest in the 1980s, but did not resume investigating him until recently. He is married and 59 year old."

Internet message boards reported the following (unconfirmed information about Mr. Rader):
-"POI has 2 children, male & female, ages 29 and 26, respectively. DOB's 7/75 and 6/78. His wife would have been 3 months pregnant with the girl at the time of Nancy Fox's murder. His wife is 56 y.o."

-POI, he was born March 9. 1945. He married May 22, 1971. His son's name is Brian and his daughter's name is Kerri and his wife's maid name is Paula Dietz

-Dennis Rader's middle name is Lynn
If the suspect does live on N. Independence St. he lived just doors away from murder victim Marine N. Hedge. On April 27, 1985 Marine N. Hedge was abducted from her home at 6254 Independence in Park City. Her body was found .2 miles east of Webb Road on 53rd Street North on May 5, 1985. Although her hands weren't tied, a knotted pair of pantyhose was found nearby. An autopsy showed that Hedge was strangled. The BTK never publicly claimed credit for her murder.

John Walsh, host of the television show, America's Most Wanted, told Larry King on CNN tonight that he is 99% sure that the police have the right man.

A news conference is scheduled for 10 a.m. (11 a.m. ET) Saturday, to be attended by police officials, the district attorney, Wichita's mayor and City Council members, the mayor's office said.

Internet information about Mr. Rader:
links:
Sources: 'Person of interest' questioned in BTK case [CNN, Feb. 25, 2005]
'Person Of Interest' In BTK Case [CBS News, Feb. 25, 2005]
‘Person of interest’ questioned in BTK killings [MSNBC, Feb. 25, 2005]
Mayor announces BTK news conference [Wichita Eagle, Feb. 25, 2005]
Marine N. Hedge Cold Case [Sedgwickcounty Sheriff]
Map of Area [Park City, KS]
BTK (Bind, Torture, & Kill) Strangler Info [TJN]

updated: Feb. 28, 2005
Dennis L. Rader arrested as Wichita BTK Serial Killer [TJN]

Nico Claux: The Killer Cannibal Blogger

Nico Claux art
Steve Huff at The Dark Side points us to the website and blog of a most unusual person:

Nico is a frenchman. He lives in France. Nico is a professional artist. ...his website [is], www.nicolasclaux.com. He also has a livejournal [blog]. He's an interesting fellow. His paintings are popular with rock stars. His subjects are certainly appropriate to this blog (Link will take you to portrait Nico made from a photo of a famous serial killer).

His art is a bit of Warhol and maybe Frank Frazetta with something else I can't exactly pin down thrown in.

Nico says interesting things, too.

"Humanity is a Parasite."

There's times I'd agree with him.

Oh, and perhaps the most interesting thing of all about Monsieur Nicolas Claux; he's a convicted killer and confessed cannibal.
-----
Nicolas/Nico ClauxNicolas Claux was born on March 22, 1972 in the African nation of Cameroon. His father was a French banker. He moved back to Paris when he was 16.

He starting robbing graves in Paris when he was 17. He stole bones and mutilated mummified remains. He moved on to eating human remains when he worked as a morgue attendant and stretcher-bearer at Saint Joseph Hospital, which is also in Paris. Nico says human flesh tastes like horse meat. Claux murdered Thierry Bissonnier on Oct. 4, 1994. He was arrested on November 15, 1994 in front of the world famous cabaret, the Moulin Rouge.

Some people believe Claux was responsible for a string of six other random homophobic .22 caliber murders committed in Paris in October 1994.

Mr. Claux found his victim(s) through Minitel (an early French version of the Internet).

Claux said: "Back then it was a common practice in the gay community to meet on Minitel. They would establish contact through this means since it was quick and easy for them. I found out that it was an easy way for me to kill them without any witnesses, plus I had the guarantee of remaining anonymous, since there was no possibility of tracing back the discussions on Minitel.

Other sources claim portions of Nicolas Claux's confessed story are a hoax.

In May 1997 Nicolas Claux was found guilty of one count of premeditated murder, one count of armed robbery, and three counts of grave robbery. He was then sentenced to 12 years in prison and ordered to pay a civil fine of 25,000 francs (about $5,544 US) to the court and an additional 300.000 francs to the victim's family. [according to David Lohr of CrimeLibrary.com]

Nicolas Claux served just seven years, four months, and one week of a 12-year sentence (including time served before his conviction). Claux was released from Maison Centrale Poissy (French prison about 15 miles northwest of Paris) on March 22, 2002. Since his release, he divides his time between painting, tattoo work, the internet, and graveyards.

links:
Nicolas Claux, painter of the Macabre [LiveJournal]
Vampire of Paris: The story of Nicolas Claux [CrimeLibrary.com]
Interview with the infamous murderer, vampire, necrophile, cannibal and artist par excellence Nico 'The Vampire of Paris' Claux [bloodclub.com]
Nico Claux: The Vampire of Paris [Frances Farmer]

update Sept. 25, 2005: Nico Claux moved his personal blog from livejournal to myspace.com: www.myspace.com/nicoclaux.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Tennis on Helipad in Dubai, U.A.E.

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Roger Federer and Andre Agassi play tennis on Burj Al Arab Hotel helipadAndre Agassi and Roger Federer play tennis
on Burj Al Arab Hotel helipad in Dubai

Roger Federer and Andre Agassi play tennis on Burj Al Arab Hotel helipad
Playing tennis on the helipad of the Burj Al Arab Hotel in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, looks like fun. Just don't play too far behind the baseline. The hotel helipad projects from the building and is 24 meters (79 feet) in diameter and is 210 meters (689 feet) above the ground

A regulation tennis court for singles is 27 feet wide by 78 feet long (36x78 for doubles). The court they made for this demonstration was shortened by several feet. The hotel press release said:
In preparation for the Dubai Duty Free Men’s Open, tennis legend, Andre Agassi and the world No. 1, Roger Federer, couldn’t resist the temptation to have a friendly knock about on the world’s highest tennis court, the helipad of Burj Al Arab, the world’s most luxurious hotel.

Both players are in Dubai to compete in the US$1 million Dubai Duty Free Men’s Open, which is the first round of the two-week Dubai Tennis Championships.
sources:
World’s Top Tennis Stars Practice at Burj Al Arab, Dubai [burj-al-arab.com]
The helipad open tennis photos [bbc]

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

CSI effect: forensic science is nearly infallible

Wrong answer - forensic science is not as good as it is cracked up to be on the CSI shows. Solving every crime in one hour is distorting peoples views of what really goes on with forensic science. The BBC reported:

"The CSI effect is basically the perception of the near-infallibility of forensic science in response to the TV show," said Max Houck, who runs a forensic science graduate course at West Virginia University, US.

"This TV show comes on and everyone starts watching it - including the cops and prosecutors - and submissions to forensic laboratories go through the roof," he told the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

The American forensics expert said there were roughly 200,000-300,000 backlogged DNA samples in US labs.

Yet these constituted just 10% of the total test backlog, said Dr Houck.

Forensic pathologist Dr Patricia McFeeley said she had started to see the show's influence in dealing with the families of victims.

"What I find is that families now are more dissatisfied with the investigation than was previously the case," she explained.

"For example, on television, the toxicology results are available almost instantaneously. But when people find out that it can take several months, they can find that very difficult."

CSI shows give 'unrealistic view' [BBC, Feb. 21, 2005]
Pathologists Say TV Forensics Creates Unrealistic Expectations [AAAS.org, Feb. 21, 2005]
Crime sleuths cope with ‘CSI’ Effect [MSNBC, Feb. 20, 2005]
Prosecutors Feel The 'CSI Effect' [cbsnews, Feb. 10, 2005]
'CSI effect' has juries wanting more evidence [USA Today, Aug. 5, 2004]
542,700 Crime Scene DNA Samples Still Waiting [house.gov, May 11, 2004]

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Chinese Riots and War Drums

George Friedman, who heads the private intelligence service Stratfor is worried about the combustible situation that is building up in China. No one is really paying attention to China because of the attention focused on Iraq and the War on Terror.

China with a population over 1.3 billion has designs on regaining control of Taiwan. With the global human population currently estimated at just over 6 billion, China is home to approximately 21% or one-fifth of the human species. China has to deal with a growing civil unrest between the haves and the have-nots. Friedman was recently interviewed by Barron's Magazine, some of his thoughts:

China, for example this year could see significant deceleration in its torrid economic growth rate and may well be on the cusp of a meltdown, he says.

"Today's China boom can only be compared to the dot-com frenzy of the late '90's in the hype and conviction that China will somehow defy all the rules of normal economic cycles."

Friedman sees growing imbalances, seething social discontent and a rotting financial structure...the rot of loan misallocation, a shaky banking system and a huge overhang of bad debts...much of today's economic growth in China is profitless, due to both the weight of moribund state owned enterprises in the economy and a mania for market-share growth at the expense of economic returns.

Chinese enthusiasts are ignoring the demographic time bomb of an aging population as a result of China's one-child per family crackdown.

Signs of trouble in China are beginning to accumulate just below the surface of glossy economic growth...China can't afford too much monetary restraint; any large increase in interest rates could trigger a cascade of loan defaults and pop the credit bubble.

...also noted a dramatic jump in riots, strikes, bombings and the like throughout China that have largely gone unnoted or unreported by the bedazzled world media. Social tensions figure to grow as a result of increasing layoffs at the state-owned enterprises and yawning disparities in wealth between China's populous agrarian hinterlands and the thriving coastly cities.

Friedman expects Chinese authorities to increasingly fan nationalistic fervor in an attempt to defuse growing tensions at home. The recent spate of saber-rattling with Taiwan is just one example.

related:
Iran, North Korea Nuclear Threats Overhyped Says [Friedman]
In China, stresses spill over into riots [Christian Science Monitor, Nov. 22, 2004]
Class, religion spark riots across China [The Age, Nov. 3, 2004]
Chinese War with Taiwan in 2006? [TJN, Jun. 10, 2004]
Chinese Population Crisis [TJN, Jun. 3, 2004]
China's aging problem [IIASA, animation of demographic time bomb]

Friday, February 18, 2005

Rabid Coyote Attacks Cape Cod Woman

This type of attack is rare, only the second person ever attacked by a coyote in the state of Massachusetts:

BARNSTABLE, Mass. — A woman is receiving treatment after being attacked by a rabid coyote in her yard. Cindy Parker-Kelley heard her Norwegian elkhound barking as she was getting ready for work Thursday morning. When she went out to check on her dog, she saw the coyote.

She reached out to shoo it away, and the wild animal clamped its jaws on her left wrist.

Parker-Kelley's husband, David Kelley, heard her screams and rushed to the back yard in his underwear.

"The coyote was hanging off my wife's arm,"
Kelley told The Cape Cod Times in a story posted on its Web site.

Some explain the Dracula legend, by saying vampires were suffering from rabies.

links:
Bitten by rabid coyote [The Cape Cod Times, Feb. 18, 2005]
Experts surprised, but not alarmed [The Cape Cod Times, Feb. 18, 2005]
Rabid coyote attacks Cape Cod woman [Boston Globe, Feb. 18, 2005]
Rabid Coyote Attacks Cape Cod Woman [Crime Library]

related:
Rabies Information [CDC]
Rabies - the Vampire's kiss [BBC]
Could rabies explain the vampire legend? [skeptictank.org]

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Life Undercover: "No More Blunders"

Learning to become an undercover narc is risky work. Tony Falcon walks us through the learning process:

Things were moving along pretty fast on my first day of undercover work. I was just going with the flow and trying to take it all in, not saying much and hoping Poison didn't ask too many questions. It was obvious that my partners had spent a good amount of time in the bar and everyone seemed to know who they were, not in the real sense, but whatever their cover story was, everyone was buying it. LT had spent the travel time between the station and the bar briefing me on general administrative guidelines of the unit. Now, here I sat with a hardbody in my lap with three of her equally qualified friends holding down my partners. "Biker Tom," another of the narcs in the unit, came in after we had been there about a half hour. BT was immediately snagged by "Satin," his regular girl. I was still trying to figure out who was "friendly" and who was a "target." I figured at least one of the girls was probably working as an informant, but I had to wait for a better time to ask questions. "Watch and learn - No more blunders."

LIFE UNDERCOVER [Tony Falcon, Feb. 15, 2005]

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

The Hair Gallery Massacre

Steve Huff at The Dark Side reported that America's Most Wanted has picked up the case of the Florence, Montana triple murder (The Hair Gallery Massacre) from November 06, 2001, on its website:

Triple Throat Slashing

When a customer showed up for her 11 a.m. manicure at the Hair Gallery in Florence, Montana, she had no idea of the grisly scene she would be walking into.

Instead of being greeted by the always-chipper Dorothy Harris, the 62-year-old salon owner, the customer found Dorothy lying in a pool of blood.

The only other people in the salon were the manicurist, 44-year-old Brenda Patch, and her client, 71-year-old Cynthia Paulus. The three women, all grandmothers, were dead. Each of their throats had been slashed.

"This was a horrific crime scene. There was a tremendous amount of blood everywhere," said Sheriff Perry Johnson.

Fedora Wearing Suspect Florence,MT triple murder

Police had no suspects until witnesses began to come forward about seeing an oddly dressed stranger lurking around town the morning of the murders. Several described the man as wearing a black duster and fedora style hat.

Unknown Montana Triple Murderer [America's Most Wanted, Feb. 15, 2005]

Surviving an Airline Crash

Surprisingly the majority of fliers survive an airline accident. The Wall Street Journal reported:

Broadly speaking, the numbers are compelling. From 1983 to 2000, the National Transportation Safety Board investigated 26 major commercial accidents involving 2,739 people. A total of 1,525 survived, or 56%.

Here are some safety tips for air travelers:
  • Count how many rows there are between you ad emergency exits, both in front of you and behind you. The counting helps in case smoke or darkness makes it tough to see clearly.

  • Use the "crash" position and brace for impact. Coach seating these days doesn't give most of us enough room to get our head between our knees. But an alternative is to put your head in your hands and lean against the set in front of you. It works. You will be hitting the seat in front of you whether you want to or not.

  • Leave your luggage. As absurd as it sounds, fire-truck videos of real-life emergency evacuations show passangers going down slides clutching belongings-even when the plane is on fire. Smoke can fill a plane in seconds; spend that time getting out, not getting your carry-ons. No laptop computer is worth dying for.

  • Stay low and breath slowly. Hunched over works best if you can (if you crawl, you might get trampled). And know that breathing aircraft-fire smoke is going to hurt; the slower you breath, the better.

  • Get through exits quickly, but one at a time. Doors are small, particularly the exits over the wings; they can easily become clogged with bodies, with deadly consequences.

  • Don't worry about taking your shoes off. That's no longer necessary since the plastic used in evacuation slides is tougher and can resist rips better these days.

  • The Surprising Odds of Surviving a Crash [Wall Street Journal, Feb. 15, 2005]

    Monday, February 14, 2005

    Dangerous New AIDS Strain Identified

    On Saturday, Feb. 12th, New York City Department of Health in New York said they had found a new strain of highly drug-resistant HIV in a city resident. This new strain of the AIDS virus -- named 3-DCR HIV -- was resistant to 19 of the 20 licensed anti-retroviral drugs used to treat HIV.

    Also very alarming is that this new strain of HIV quickly transforms into AIDS within months rather than years.

    The infected man, gay and in his 40's, tested negative for HIV in May 2003, then tested positive in December (2004), health officials said. Investigators believe he may have contracted the virus in October 2004 when he engaged in unprotected anal sex with multiple partners while using crystal methamphetamine.

    Today it is being reported that a version of a drug resistant HIV has also been found in Massachusetts and San Diego. More testing and investigation is needed to see how far the new AIDS virus has spread.

    Resistant HIV in Mass. [Newsday, Feb. 14, 2005]
    Scientists urge calm over fears of new HIV strain [Guardian, Feb. 14, 2005]
    Scientists trying to find source of possible HIV strain [Newsday, Feb. 14, 2005]
    AIDS strain's a threat - Mayor Bloomberg [NY Daily News, Feb. 13, 2005]
    Drug-resistant HIV strain found [BBC, Feb. 12, 2005]
    New York Warns of Fast, Resistant Strain of HIV [Reuters, Feb. 12, 2005]
    Vicious new AIDS strain [NY Daily News, Feb. 12, 2005]

    Thursday, February 10, 2005

    Safeway shopper card leads to arson arrest

    ComputerBytesMan.com reports:

    Tukwila, Washington firefighter, Philip Scott Lyons found out the hard way that supermarket loyalty cards can come with a huge price. Lyons was arrested last August and charged with attempted arson. Police alleged at the time that Lyons tried to set fire to his own house while his wife and children were inside. According to the KOMO-TV and the Seattle Times, a major piece of evidence used against Lyons in his arrest was the record of his supermarket purchases that he made with his Safeway Club Card. Police investigators had discovered that his Club Card was used to buy fire starters of the same type used in the arson attempt.

    Fortunately for Mr. Lyons the charges were dropped last month.
    The charge was dropped after "another person accepted responsibility for the fire," deputy prosecutor Jim Townsend said. He dismissed the case because someone else claimed responsibility, he said. He declined to identify the person who came forward, and would not say if it was a man or a woman.

    Safeway shopper card leads to arson arrest [ComputerBytesMan.com, Jan. 28, 2005]

    related:
    Arson charges dropped against firefighter [Heraldnet.com, Jan. 28, 2005]
    Tukwila Firefighter Cleared Of Arson Charges [komotv.com, Jan. 28, 2005]
    Fireman attempted to set fire to house, charges say [seattletimes.com, Oct. 7, 2004]
    Firefighter Arrested For Attempted Arson [komotv.com, Aug. 28, 2005]

    Analysis of a "Snuff Video" -- Is it Real?

    Senior Crime Scene Analyst, Alexander Jason evaluated a short video segment which had been distributed on the internet. The video appears to show an actual homicide in which a woman is shot at close range.

    He also does an analysis of the photo of the U.S. soldier "captured" in Iraq.

    Analysis of a "Snuff Video" [alexanderjason.com]
    American Soldier Captured in Iraq? [alexanderjason.com]

    Wednesday, February 9, 2005

    FBI Van Burglarized; SWAT Rifles, Ammo Taken

    Crooks were busy Super Bowl Sunday in Jacksonville:

    JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Four sniper rifles, scopes and ammunition were stolen from an FBI SWAT van parked outside a Baymeadows Road hotel before dawn Sunday.

    The FBI said the guns belonged to a team from Atlanta in Jacksonville to provide extra security for the Super Bowl.

    A spokesman for the FBI said authorities are concerned these weapons are out on the street and are doing everything possible to try and find whoever took them.

    Four high-powered rifles with scopes and 80 rounds of 308 ammunition were taken from the unmarked, locked van parked outside the Holiday Inn at Baymeadows and Interstate 95. An agent parked the van at 3:45 a.m. and discovered a few hours later the padlock cut and van burglarized.

    The FBI asks anyone with information that could help recover the rifles to call their Jacksonville office at (904) 721-1211.

    FBI Van Burglarized; SWAT Rifles, Ammo Taken [News4Jax, Feb. 7, 2005]

    Tuesday, February 8, 2005

    Self-defence with a Walking-stick

    This reprint of a classic 1901 self-defense article, "Self-defence with a Walking-Stick," is from The Journal of Non-Lethal Combatives, however the part about severing a man's jugular vein sounds sort of lethal.

    In the art of self-defence with a walking-stick, the stick is held in the hand with the thumb overlapping the fingers, and not, as in single-stick or sword-play, with the thumb resting on the blade. The stick is therefore manipulated with the wrist -- and not with the fingers as in sword-play -- and the blows are given by swinging the body on the hips -- and not merely by flips from the elbow. In this way blows can be made so formidable that with an ordinary malacca cane it is possible to sever a man's jugular vein through the collar of his overcoat.

    Self-defence with a Walking-stick: The Different Methods of Defending Oneself with a Walking-Stick or Umbrella when Attacked under Unequal Conditions (PartI)
    JOURNAL OF NON-LETHAL COMBATIVES

    Monday, February 7, 2005

    Latin Gang Chief Hiding Out In New Jersey

    AP reported:

    "King Homicide'' was hiding out in the nation's second-safest community, Brick, New Jersey.

    William Sosa, reputed to be the head of the Philadelphia chapter of the Latin Kings street gang, was arrested by federal agents and local police Thursday.

    The 25-year-old, also known as ``King Homicide,'' was charged with racketeering stemming from allegations of drug violations, robbery, assault and murder, said Jerri Williams, a spokeswoman for the FBI in Philadelphia.

    The capture came less than a week after FBI agents fanned out across Philadelphia, arresting alleged members of the street gang that prosecutors said used kidnapping and murder to expand its drug trafficking territory in eastern Pennsylvania and southern New Jersey.

    Based on 2003 data, Brick Township was rated the second-safest city in the country for the third straight year, behind only Newton, Mass., according to "City Crime Rankings".

    F.B.I. Finds Reputed Latin Gang Chief Hiding Out In New Jersey [AP, Feb. 5, 2005]

    Sunday, February 6, 2005

    Dirty War: Dealing with a Dirty Bomb

    The HBO film "Dirty War" teaches some important lessons regarding how to deal with a dirty or radioactive bomb:

    In a post-9/11 world, how do you prepare for the unthinkable? Is it possible to stop a coordinated radioactive-weapons attack by determined terrorists in an international city? And what, if anything, should the public be told about such a threat?

    What is a “dirty bomb”: A dirty bomb, or radiological dispersion device, is a bomb that combines conventional explosives, such as dynamite, with radioactive materials in the form of powder or pellets. The idea behind a dirty bomb is to blast radioactive material into the area around the explosion. This could possibly cause buildings and people to be exposed to radioactive material. The main purpose of a dirty bomb is to frighten people and make buildings or land unusable for a long period of time.

    What people should do following an explosion?
    • Leave the immediate area on foot. Do not panic. Do not take public or private transportation such as buses, subways, or cars because if radioactive materials were involved, they may contaminate cars or the public transportation system.

    • Go inside the nearest building. Staying inside will reduce people's exposure to any radioactive material that may be on dust at the scene.

    • Remove their clothes as soon as possible, place them in a plastic bag, and seal it. Removing clothing will remove most of the contamination caused by external exposure to radioactive materials. Saving the contaminated clothing would allow testing for exposure without invasive sampling.

    • Take a shower or wash themselves as best they can. Washing will reduce the amount of radioactive contamination on the body and will effectively reduce total exposure.

    What We Learn About Radiation Threats from Movies—Fact or Fiction [Center for Disease Control]

    Saturday, February 5, 2005

    Charlie Otero Interview About BTK

    A transcript of Catherine Crier’s interview with Charlie Otero on Feb. 3, 2005:

    CRIER: Charlie, even now this has got to be so horrific, but can, can you for the viewers who don’t know the story, take us back to that day when you came home from school?

    OTERO: Yes, umm. It was uh January, 1974 and I had just uh finished testing in school and came home and se… found my family murdered, tied up, tor… they had been tortured and killed. My mother and father were in their bedroom. Um I could sense and feel the terror and the fear that they had felt. I saw my mother as I had never seen anyone before not even on TV and uh it was pretty horrible. It was quite the life changing experience for me.

    CRIER: Now you, you never had to confront the rooms that held your brother and sister because you went for the police and the they later told you what they found. What did you understand that situation was?

    OTERO: Well it had…Well when I first found my parents my younger brother and sister were already in the room, crying and yelling for me when I first come in the house so my first uh priority was to get them out of the house and uh that I did and uh I didn’t really have a chance to look through the rest of the house. I was under the impression at that time that my, my baby brother and sister had gone to school and were still there and uh my most important thought was to keep them from coming home and finding the scene, so uh that’s how.

    CRIER: All right but in fact they had been, they had been killed and and uh killed in relativity brutal fashion, we don’t have to discuss.. but, but in various ways very brutal fashion. Let me ask you something. Let’s get to some of your suspicions about this. Your dad… ex-military?

    OTERO: Yes, he had recently retired from the United States Air Force where he had been an air commando and an instructor for the Inter-American Air Force Academy.

    CRIER: All right, you’ve mentioned before that you wonder if this wasn’t somehow related to his military service. What about his service that you know would make you think that there could be a connection?

    OTERO: Well, as far as officially, um what I know about my father’s uh activities in the Air Force, um is not very much, but… prior to the murders I had overheard a conversation my father had made on the phone one night and he had asked me to leave my room so that he could use my room for a private call which was totally uncharacteristic of him and being the nosy little kid that I was at the time I put my ear to the door and heard a conversation that pretty much shocked me, scared me back to where I had been sent.

    CRIER: Well tell me what it, what, what was said?

    OTERO: So um I have reasons…

    CRIER: What was said?

    OTERO: I heard. I heard my father tell the other person on the .. on the other end of the line that he needed to tell somebody what he had been doing for the last several years and that he had worked for a certain organization that I am not uh uh allowed to talk about right now. They know who they are. They’ve denied it all these years but they know who they are and they know who he worked for.

    CRIER: All right, what we have though after the fact, uh after the murder of a good portion of your family then we’ve got individual murders in the 70s and now we’ve got this link to one in 1986, but these seem very different. If that was some sort of retaliatory killing or trying to keep your father quiet, slaughtering the family like that then why would this individual move on to … a much more, I hate to say traditional serial killer pattern?

    OTERO: Well that’s one of the problems with this case and uh the problem that the police are having in tying all this is in … there are no ties between the, the other uh murders and my family. I believe sincerely with all my heart that my family was killed for information that my father had. Um for reasons um known to uh the authorities and to myself, uh my father was uh untied and made to write something in the middle of the session, I do believe. And um once they got that information that the, they went ahead with the killing. And my theory and my thoughts are that one of the killers if there was more than one which I believe there was more um got off on it. He liked it and uh he decided to go off on his own uh little journey through life as being a serial killer.

    LATER IN THE SEGMENT--After Crier speaks to Larry Hatteberg, reporter, Crier goes back to Charlie Otero and allows him to issue a challenge to BTK to meet him “anytime, anywhere, anyplace” and “let’s finish this story.”

    Friday, February 4, 2005

    BTK Strangler Postcards & Victims Speak Out

    ABC News reports:

    On Thursday (Feb. 3rd), KAKE-TV received a postcard purportedly from BTK. Postmarked Feb. 2, it was the second message KAKE had received in a week. Last week, KAKE-TV received a postcard that had directions to a Post Toasties cereal box propped up against a sign on a rural road in Sedgwick County. The letters BTK were on the front of the cereal box.

    The most recent postcard has the name Happ Kakemann and lists KAKE-TV's address as a return address. It also says, "Thank you for your quick response on #7 and 8. Thank [sic] to the news team for their efforts.

    Last week's postcard had the name S. Killett and a return address of 803 N. Edgemoor — the home of BTK's first victims, the Otero family. The sender referred to the postcard as communication No. 8 and asked station officials whether they had received his seventh message. KAKE-TV said it only knew of six messages supposedly sent by BTK.

    Wichita police asked KAKE not to report other details of the message from Thursday's postcard. They have sent it to the FBI for analysis.

    Stephen Relford, who's mother, Shirley Vian, was a victim of the BTK in March 1977 has come forward to talk about his horrific ordeal. He and his two siblings just missed being BTK strangler victims themselves after a telephone call scared the killer into fleeing; thus saving their lives. This according to a later letter from BTK.

    "Are your parents home?"

    Little Steve Relford looked at the well-dressed man holding a briefcase who had knocked on the door, and, like almost any 5-year-old would have done in 1977, told him the truth.

    The Wichita Eagle also reports of another women who was almost a victim of the BTK (Bind, Torture, Kill) Strangler instead of Shirley Vian:
    On March 17, 1977, a man who would become known as the serial killer BTK knocked on a woman's door at 1243 S. Hydraulic.

    The woman's name was Cheryl. She was single and lived there with her 5-year-old son.

    A neighbor boy apparently saw the killer knock on her door. But Cheryl wasn't home.

    To this day, Cheryl says, she wonders whether she could have been another BTK victim...

    Cheryl, now 54 and living outside Kansas, spoke about the experience in interviews with The Eagle this week.

    Because she could have been a BTK target, she asked that her last name and whereabouts not be revealed.

    • Portion of Catherine Crier’s interview with Charlie Otero from Feb. 3, 2005. Four members of his family were murdered on Jan. 15, 1974 by the BTK Strangler:

    I had just uh finished testing in school and came home and se… found my family murdered, tied up, tor… they had been tortured and killed. My mother and father were in their bedroom. Um I could sense and feel the terror and the fear that they had felt. I saw my mother as I had never seen anyone before not even on TV and uh it was pretty horrible. It was quite the life changing experience for me.

    Steve Huff at The Darkside points out there is some suspicion that BTK may also have left a message on the CatchBTK.com website:
    An interesting aspect to this is the following post left at Tom Voigt's catchbtk.com - linked in the killer's moniker above - on the message board Tom set aside for communication exclusively from BTK:

    Posted on Thursday, February 03, 2005 - 1:33 pm:

    "Tom, you should try to identify BTK. You definitley don't know whether BTK or RIAC, or 2, or Thomas Killman are actually BTK. Or better yet, whether BTK is about to take responsiblity for a 1993 killing. Better yet, you never know if I would come forth. But let me tell you, i'm not dead just yet."

    If this is a message from BTK to Tom and catchbtk's readers, meant to be an addition to the message sent to KAKE, is it possible that the killer is referring to this 1993 murder, listed at Tom's site as a possible victim of BTK, but not confirmed?

    links:
    BTK Back: A Message To KAKE [KAKE-TV, Feb. 3, 2005]
    New postcard may be from BTK [Wichita Eagle, Feb. 4, 2005]
    Man Who Met BTK Serial Killer Speaks Out [ABC News, Feb. 4, 2005]
    BTK survivor recounts mother's slaying [Wichita Eagle, Feb. 3, 2005]
    Stephen Relford [KAKE, Feb. 3, 2005]
    Neighbor wasn't home, missed BTK [Wichita Eagle, Feb. 4, 2005]

    related:
    Finding the BTK Strangler: The DMV Numbers Game [TJN, Jan. 30, 2005]
    New Clues in the Wichita BTK Strangler Case [TJN, Jan. 26, 2005]
    BTK (Bind, Torture, & Kill) Strangler Info [TJN]

    What to grow: Coffee, Coca/Cocaine, or Opium Poppies?

    Coffee farmers in the mountains of South America make a life and death decision when they decide what crop to grow to support their families.

    When the coffee giant Starbucks tightens the screws on the prices it pays wholesalers for coffee beans the effects trickle down to the bean growers. Farms must also contend with the drug cartel buyers/wholesalers roaming the coffee farms of Brazil and Colombia offering financial incentives at the point of an automatic weapon to grow coca or opium poppies.

    So what should they grow?

    The Washington Post article "Coca Invades Columbia's Coffee Fields" from Oct. 2001 suggests what was starting to happen. Is the situation any better four years later?

    What is squeezing the coffee farmers are the caprices of economic globalization. Years of good growing weather worldwide and a rising number of countries planting the beans have increased supplies and sent world prices tumbling. As income flowing back to villages like this falls, farmers find themselves pushed away from Columbia's most renowned crop toward its most notorious....

    It would be a reach to say that Juan Valdez, the iconic Colombian coffee farmer of television advertising, has turned to drugs. Although hard numbers are impossible to come by, evidence and informed estimates suggest that only about 1,000 of the country's 560,000 coffee farms have scrapped coffee plants in favor of coca or opium poppies. But just about all coffee farmers wonder how they are going to survive at the current prices.

    Wikipedia on the Economics of Coffee growing:
    It is very questionable whether small growers can generate a high return on capital growing coffee if they have less than 1.2 ha (3 acres or 12,000 m²) and if they are based in the United States. The retail price of the beans varies between about 1 USD/pound for ripe berries to 9 USD/pound for extra fancy Kona milled beans, and there are many costs including fertilizer, irrigation, labour (e.g. picking and pruning) and land value. Integrated operations that capture much or all of the available revenue (by controlling the whole process from growing to retail) may generate higher returns.

    It is estimated that 10 million people are working on plantations in the source lands of coffee. A single worker can harvest 50-100 kg of fruits per day, which results in 10-20 kg of raw coffee. Crops from Brazil and Colombia comprise 40% of the worldwide coffee production. As of 1998, the world's coffee production equals about 100 million sacks of coffee.

    Many farmers receive a low price for their coffee because of a global market slump. This has led to coffee being available as a 'fair trade' labeled item in many countries.

    It is something to think about next time you order a Venti, Skim, half-caf, no sugar, upside down, extra hot, caramel macchiato.

    related:
    Conscience Coffee - At last. Colombian farmers have a plan for us to turn our morning caffeine shot into a politically correct experience [Gersh Kuntzman]
    Colombia's Juan Valdez coffee shops to go public [USA Today, Sept. 8, 2004]
    Friends of Juan [FriendsOfJuan.com]
    Just Coffee -- a coffee grower cooperative based in Salvador Urbina, Chiapas Mexico, with facilities in Agua Prieta, Sonora Mexico and Douglas Arizona. [justcoffee.org]
    CIA Spooks Drinking Lots of Starbucks Espresso [TJN]

    Thursday, February 3, 2005

    Aum Shinrikyo Doomsday Cult & Terrorist Organization

    Chizuo Matsumoto of the Aum Shinri Kyo Doomsday Cult & Terrorist Organization
    Chizuo Matsumoto aka: Shoko Asahara

    From the time he was a small child, Chizuo Matsumoto wanted only one thing, to be rich. It was quite an ambition considering his circumstances. Matsumoto, who is partly blind, grew up to become an acupuncturist, yoga instructor, charismatic cult leader, and terrorist.

    Chizuo Matsumoto changed his name to Shoko Asahara and established the Aum cult (pronounced "ohm") in 1987. They were approved as a religious entity in 1989 under Japanese law. When the cult was stripped of their legal religious status and tax breaks under Japanese law in 1995 they launched the poison gas attack on the Tokyo subway system.

    Despite the crack down after the Tokyo attack the Aum cult is still very active and potentially dangerous.

    The Crime Library has a good article about the Aum cult's history. John Rickard at the Military History Blog covers the Aum cult's current significant financial wherewithal and terrorist wildcard intentions:

    At the time of the Tokyo subway attack, the group claimed to have 9,000 members in Japan and up to 40,000 worldwide. Its current strength is unknown. The Cult operates in Japan, but previously had a presence in Australia, Russia, Ukraine, Germany, Taiwan, Sri Lanka, the former Yugoslavia, and the United States. The groups funding comes from the savings that new members turn over to the cult, from tax-exempt businesses staffed by cult members, and from fraud and extortion. Aum's assets have been estimated at between 300 million and one billion dollars. Thirteen Aum-associated businesses and five stores earn billions of yen each year. The cult's specialty is selling cheap computers. In 1997 its computer sales earned it more than 57.5 million dollars

    The cult has succeeded in recruiting highly trained scientists and graduate students in physics, chemistry, biology, medicine and electrical engineering. Its recruiting methods include a wide range of standard brainwashing techniques, such as sleep deprivation and forced isolation. The group may have perpetrated other crimes before the March 1995 attack and without a doubt planned future attacks; evidence indicates that members of the group travelled to Africa to try and obtain samples of the Ebola virus to use as a biological weapon and may be actively seeking other biological and chemical agents for use in terrorist attacks...

    In 2000, the organization changed its name to Aleph - the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet.

    links:
    Aum Shinrikyo Cult/Terrorist Organisation [rickard.karoo.net, Nov. 13, 2004]
    The Aum Supreme Truth Terrorist Organization [The Crime Library]

    related:
    Shoko Asahara [wikipedia.org]
    Aum Shinrikyo (also spelled Om Shin Rikyo) [wikipedia.org]
    Rick A. Ross Institute-Aun Sect/Shoko Asahara [detailed tracking of cult activities and history]
    Japan Aum cult's anthrax attempt was wake-up call [Reuters, Oct. 11, 2001]
    Aum cult's quiet comeback causing new concerns in Japan [AP, March 15, 1999]

    Aleph The organization's official website - English section.

    Wednesday, February 2, 2005

    William "Big" Harp & Joshua "Little" Harp: America's First Serial Killers

    The Harps, who were either cousins or brothers, reports differ, were America's first known serial killers. William/Micajah "Big" Harp was born about 1768 and Joshua/Wiley "Little" Harp was born about 1770. They were natives of North Carolina. They killed infants, including their own, children, women and numerous men. They killed for the sake of killing.

    They went on a killing rampage in Kentucky and Tennessee in 1797-1799. CrimeMagazine.com tells part of their wicked story:

    Big Harp confessed before dying in 1798 to 20 murders, probably not counting the babies. Estimates are as high as 40, but usually around 30. After two killings, one in Knox County and one on the Wilderness Trail, the Harps left Tennessee in December 1798 for Kentucky, where they killed two traveling men from Maryland...

    The final stretch of slaughter took place soon after this, in July 1798, when the Harps returned to Eastern Tennessee. The victims included a farmer named Bradbury; a man named Hardin; a boy named Coffey; William Ballard, who was cut open, filled with stones, and dumped in the Holston River; James Brassel, with his throat ripped apart on Brassel’s Knob; John Tully, father of eight. On the Marrowbone Creek in south central Kentucky, John Graves and his teenaged son, out planting crops, had their heads axed. Moving toward Logan County, the Harps came upon a little girl, whom they killed, as they did a young slave on his way to the mill. Once in Logan County, near today’s Adairville, near the Whippoorwill River, they butchered an entire migrating family asleep in their camp, but for one son who survived...

    The Harps liked to gut their victims and fill the stomach cavities with rocks to weight them down so they'd sink in a river.

    When the authorities caught and killed Big Harp they cut off his head, took it to a crossroads, and attached to an oak tree. The road in Webster County, Kentucky, along which Big Harp’s head was displayed in 1799, was named Harp’s Head Road. The crossing itself is called Harp’s Head.

    America’s First Known Serial Killers: The Harps, Big and Little [CrimeMagazine.com]
    The Story of the Harp Brothers [Hopkins/Webster County Historical Society]
    Serial killers biography: the Harps Brothers: America's first

    Tuesday, February 1, 2005

    Armanious Family Murdered in New Jersey: Islamic Hate Website Implicated

    Hossam Armanious and wife Amal Garas
    Murder Victims: Hossam Armanious and his wife Amal Garas

    A New Jersey man originally from Egypt, Hossam Armanious, his wife, and his two daughters, age 15 and 8, were found brutally murdered in their Jersey City Heights home on Jan. 14th, 2005. Mr. Armanious was an Egyptian Christian who spent his spare time online speaking out against Muslim persecuation of Coptic Christians in Egypt. He had been threatened online for his criticism.

    • The NY Post reported:

    Armanious, an Egyptian Christian, was well known for expressing his Coptic beliefs and engaging in fiery back-and-forth with Muslims on the Web site paltalk.com....

    The married father of two had recently been threatened by Muslim members of the Web site, said a fellow Copt and store clerk who uses the chat room.

    "You'd better stop this bull---- or we are going to track you down like a chicken and kill you," was the threat, said the clerk, who was online at the time and saw the exchange.

    Sylvia Armanious Monica Armanious

    The FBI is assisting local law enforcement on the case. Robbery was not a motive. None of the family's jewelry was taken, including a $3,500 ring Amal was wearing at the time of her murder. The NY Post cont':
    Armanious' fervor apparently rubbed off on his daughter, Sylvia — who would have turned 16 yesterday.

    "She was very religious and very opinionated," said Jessica Cimino, 15, a fellow sophomore at Dickenson HS.

    A family member who viewed photos of the bloodbath said Sylvia seemed to have taken the most savage punishment.

    "When we saw the pictures, you could tell that they were hurt really, really bad in the face; especially Sylvia," said Milad Garas, the high-school sophomore's great-uncle.

    The heartless killer not only slit Sylvia's throat, but also sliced a huge gash in her chest and stabbed her in the wrist, where she had a tattoo of a Coptic cross.

    Also murdered were the wife, Amal Garas, 37, and the parents' other daughter, Monica, 8. Many people in the Jersey City/Coptic Christian community believe this crime was motivated by religious differences. The murders have received very little media attention in the New York area [until this afternoon].

    • NorthJersey.com reported today:
    The FBI is investigating a radical Islamic Web site that posted photos and information about people who use an Internet chat room frequented by a Jersey City man whose family was murdered Jan. 14.

    The Web site, barsomyat.com [which currently appears have been taken down], contained detailed information about some users of the PalTalk.com chat service whom the site's members accuse of being outspoken critics of Islam, according to published reports.

    An FBI spokesman confirmed Monday that federal investigators are probing whether the site -which is run by a Jordanian -played any role in the murders of Hossam Armanious, 47, his wife, Amal Garas, 37, and their daughters, Sylvia, 15, and Monica, 8. The family was discovered bound and stabbed to death in their Jersey City Heights home.

    update -- more information about the barsomyat.com website and the murder investigation:

    WorldNetDaily.com reports:
    Now, people close to the family have told researcher and author Robert Spencer that an eyewitness of the bodies at the funeral home says he clearly saw that each of the family members had not suffered "stab wounds to the throat," as the prosecutor's report states, but horizontal slits in their throats, along with two holes bored below the slits.

    • The NY Sun article, "Christians on PalTalk Chat Service Tracked by Radical Islamic Web Site", by Daveed Gartenstein-Ross on Jan. 31, 2005 reported this about the Barsomyat.com website:
    many barsomyat.com users expressed jubilation at the deaths[of the Armanious Family].

    One user posted a photograph of Hossam Armanious and wrote, "This is a picture of the filthy dog, curser of Muhammad, and a photo of his filthy wife, curser of Muhammad. They got what they deserved for their actions in America."

    In all, about 40 different discussion threads on barsomyat.com berate the Christians of PalTalk, and there are at least seven collections of photographs of PalTalk Christians. The barsomyat.com discussion threads seem to focus on Arabic-speaking Christians rather than those who speak English.

    Barsomyat.com features not only photographs of the targeted Christians, but also attempts to track down their addresses. A post about a Christian man whose computer was apparently hacked to obtain his photograph includes the man's PalTalk name, his real name, and the city where he resides in Lebanon.

    Another barsomyat.com entry outlines the relations (both blood and marital) between four Christians who are apparently PalTalk users, posts photographs of them, and then states, "We have postponed publishing this information because there is a lot more to be revealed when the time is right."

    Even barsomyat.com's banner displays its hatred of Christians. The banner displays a crucifix crossed out by a violent red "X," and the main heading reads in Arabic, "Christians: Revealing the Truth Behind Our Belief."

    Barsomyat.com Wrap-Up on Feb. 1, 2005, from the CounterTerrorism Blog and Daveed Gartenstein-Ross:
    Yesterday I posted an article that I wrote for the New York Sun about a radical Islamic website, www.barsomyat.com. The website featured pictures and information about Christians who were particularly active in debating against Muslims on the internet chat service PalTalk. Barsomyat also included a number of explicit threats to the people it targeted.

    A number of prominent blogs, including Michelle Malkin and Robert Spencer's Jihad Watch, picked up the story early in the day. Jihad Watch readers organized a campaign to e-mail the web hosting company to which barsomyat.com was registered, Minnesota-based VizaWeb Inc. As I suspected, it seems that VizaWeb was unaware of what was going on over at Barsomyat, and the radical website was shut down before 1:00 p.m. One of the owners of VizaWeb, Rick Mueller, stated, "We started hearing about this [Monday]. We took the site off-line as we look into the content. If what we are hearing is true, we will not put it back up. . . . We obviously do not support its content." It seems that Internet Haganah played a key role in getting the website pulled.

    • America's Most Wanted (AMW.com) has picked up the case on their website today:

    Armanious Family Killer [America's Most Wanted]
    Tensions Run High at Funeral

    Hossam, Amal, Sylvia and Monica were all laid to rest on the Monday after their death. The funerals were attended by hundreds in the community, including some of Hossam's Muslim neighbors. During the ceremonies, tensions flared, and grieving members of the coptic community loudly voiced their disapproval of the Muslim community, accusing them of being responsible for the family's death. Shouts were exchanged between members of the community. Police were called in to quiet the crowd. Despite the raised tensions, no violence was reported.

    Since then, Hossam's family and the religious leaders have called for patience and calm.

    The Armanious Family had immigrated to the United States from Luxor, Egypt, in 1997.

    The Coptic Business Association of Jersey City has offered a $500,000 reward for information leading to an arrest.

    related links:
    Source: Slayings resembled Islamist executions [WorldNetDaily.com, Feb. 1, 2005]
    Feds eye Islamic Web site in Jersey City family slaying [Newsday, Feb. 1, 2005]
    Web Site Eyed In Family Massacre Probe [1010Wins, Feb. 1, 2005]
    Web site probed in family's deaths [NorthJersey.com (free sub. req.), Feb. 1, 2005]
    'ISLAMIC HATE' EYED IN SLAYS [NY Post, Jan. 16, 2005]
    4 Slain and the Media is Silent [faithfreedom.org]
    Christian family butchered in NJ [FreeRepublic.com]
    via: Family of Four Murdered in NJ After Father Receives Death Threats for Speaking Out Against Islam [Jawa Report]

    updated: March 4, 2005

    The Associated Press is reporting today:
    Robbery, not religion, was the motive behind the savage slaying of a family of four in January, prosecutors said Friday.

    Two paroled drug dealers who were deeply in debt were charged with four counts of murder and held on $10 million bail in the Jan. 11 killing of the Armanious family, Coptic Christians from Egypt who emigrated to the United States in 1997...

    "I'd like to make one thing perfectly clear: The motive for these murders was robbery. This was a crime based on greed, the desperate need of money," Hudson County Prosecutor Edward DeFazio said.

    Edward McDonald, 25, who rented a second-floor apartment above the Armanious family, and an acquaintance, Hamilton Sanchez, 30, pleaded not guilty. Dressed in a gray fleece top and blue jeans, his hands cuffed behind his back, Sanchez began sobbing as he stood before a judge.

    "I didn't kill nobody. I didn't kill nobody, man. I didn't kill nobody, people," Sanchez said, as he was led from the courtroom. McDonald, wearing a long-sleeved white shirt and black pants, stared at the floor during the hearing.


    Armanious Family Killer
    [America's Most Wanted]
    Armanious case on "America's Most Wanted" TONIGHT [freerepublic.com, Feb. 19, 2005]
    Armanious family murders remain unsolved, 'There are no suspects at the present time' [freerepublic.com, Feb. 20, 2005]
    Robbery, not religion, motive in Jersey City family slaying [NY Daily News, Mar. 4, 2005]

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