Recently in Murder Category

Here is a link to a shooting that happened Monday October 18, 2010 in Henning Tennessee. Two gunmen opened fire at a post office. No arrests were made and postal officials are pleading with anyone who may have information to come forward.  This article does go through how the police are investigating the shooting.

On April 29, a 40 year old man came into a preschool classroom and injured 5 preschoolers with a hammer. Right after this, he set himself on fire, killing himself. Officials think this is a copycat attack because there have been several similar attacks on young children. The previous day, a man went into a kindergarten classroom and stabbed 29 students. The day before this incident, a man injured 18 children in a different primary school. Luckily, no one died.  Last month, a former doctor, Zheng Minsheng, went into a classroom and stabbed 8 children to death and wounded 5 others. He was executed on April 27. Why would these men want to harm innocent children? Before Minsheng was executed, he said that he committed these murders because of his "failures in his romantic life and in society". It seems that he had some psychologically issues to take out his failures on young children. The other men who carried out similar attacks most likely had some psychological issues as well. They may have had depression or at worst, antisocial personality disorder, or something similar.

The trauma that students, parents, and children had to go through will need some counseling. The article states that schools have brought in people to help with these issues. The students will definitely suffer from some psychological problems but hopefully they can be resolved early on to prohibit further issues.

Here is the article:

This article explains that the US Army plans to seek the death penalty in the case of Major Nidal Hasan. It sounds like the Army never contemplated the decision to seek the death penalty. Nidal shot and killed 13 people at the Fort Hood army base last November. This is just another case in which people can argue if the death penalty is moral. I think that in this case more people may be able to except it. In my opinion this case is so extreme that I dont think I can argue with it. I am not an outright advocate for the death penalty by any means but I think when the crime is of this magnitude, it is hard for me to say i dont think that he deserves it. He obviously does have some issues but at the same time it was totally unexceptible what he did. Those soldiers and people that were killed sacrificed a lot to defend their country and they were killed prematurely by a guy that it seems was having a bad day. Two wrongs never make a right and it is never right to kill another human being but in a way I think that this guy deserves what ever punishment that he is given.

Bystander Apathy

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When I was in a social psychology class, we learned about the bystander effect. This is simply the fact that when with others, individuals act differently than they would alone. A huge case involving the bystander effect is the murder of Kitty Genovese in 1964. Kitty was 21 years old living in New York City. She managed a bar close to her apartment. One night, she was walking home late from work. Right outside her apartment, she was attacked and stabbed twice. She screamed but no one came to help her. The perpetrator left but returned 10 or so minutes later to find Kitty lying, barely conscious, by the back door. He continued to stab her, rape her, steal her money, and then leave. One man saw the first attack on Kitty and didn't call the police. Quite a few of the other tenants in the apartment building heard Kitty's screams but did not call the police either. This is the reason why this case is so well known. Many of the apartment tenants said they didn't want to get involved.

Four years after the murder, two psychologists did a study to try and figure out what the effect of bystanders had on people. They placed people in one room and were to speak through a microphone to the person in another room. The person on the other side, the confederate of the experiment, started to pretend he was having a seizure and even mumbled the words about dying. The psychologists found that the more people that were present, the longer it took for someone to act for respond to the person having the seizure. The people who didn't report the seizure said that the reason they didn't report it was because they wanted to abide by the rules of the experiment by staying in the other room apart from the confederate.

I think the bystander effect relates a lot to psychology and law. If someone is witnessing a crime, it's way less likely they'll report it if other people are present. It makes me wonder though if the bystanders being strangers has an affect on if people act or not. If I was surrounded by my friends, I think I would almost always react to someone getting murdered or having a seizure. People care a lot about what others think and sadly, this can have some negative effects.

This website is where I read about the bystander effect.
The case I'm going to discuss is several years old but I found it very interesting and relevant to psychology and law. In 1992, a hunter found the body of a decomposing woman while hunting. After the police found out that the dead woman had been a prostitute, it led them to believe that a possible suspect was Thomas Huskey, a man known for bringing woman to the area. Huskey had a reputation for taking women, tying them up behind the zoo, beating them, and then having sex with them.

About a week after the first body was found, police searching the area found three more dead women. Huskey was arrested and confessed, on tape, to all four murders. During the confession, Huskey changed his voice and expressions and said that he was now "Kyle". Apparently, "Kyle" was the one who killed the women, not Thomas. After "Kyle" emerged, "Philip Daxx", a British man, surfaced. This lead investigators to believe that Huskey had multiple personality disorder.

After 6 years had passed, the trial finally began. Huskey plead not guilty by insanity. The defense psychologist said that Huskey suffered from multiple personality disorder, however, the prosecution psychologist said that Huskey simply created these personalities to manipulate the court. During the course of the trial, the cellmate of Huskey, testified that Huskey had read Sybil and was going to try to make it seem like he had multiple personality disorder to avoid the death penalty. Huskey's mother also agreed that he did not have this disorder. To further the case against Huskey, the prosecution noted that he gave specific details about the crime while he was Tom but if he really did have multiple personality disorder, he would have no recollection of these memories, since they belong to "Kyle".

After the jury deliberated for quite some time, they still had not come to a unanimous decision. The judge declared a mistrial. Huskey was to be tried again in 2002 but he asked for a lawyer during his confession, which was then ruled inadmissible. Huskey is currently in prison for 44 years for previous rape charges.

On another website, I found that the murder charges against Huskey were dropped due to detective errors. He is still in jail for the rape charges mentioned earlier.

Psychology is obviously present here. Because multiple personality disorder is so rare, it probably wasn't Huskey's  best idea to pretend he had it. Any personality disorder is severe and it's likely that Huskey may have had some other form of one. Although he wasn't proven guilty, it seems pretty possible that he did commit the four murders. I'm glad that he's at least in jail for the rape crimes he committed so that he can't go out and murder more innocent women. 

Amy Bosley--- SNAPPED

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I was watching the show Forensic Files on night and I saw this case about a woman killing her husband. I found this case to be relevant to this class because of what she did when she murdered him.
The night that she decided to kill him, she called the police in a panic claiming someone had broken in to their home and was robbing it. During the 911 call she was crying and at one point (if you watch the video links below) she yelled at the him to not go upstairs to her children. During the call she said he had a gun, and by this point she was screaming to not shot her husband, and then fires were shot.
The police rushed to the Bosley's home and the house looked like it had been ripped apart like that from a break in. The window to the kitchen door was broken and the cabinets were all opened.
The police search went on for the man that broke in and killed Mr. Bosley. But it soon became focused on the evidence that was around the home. The window that was broken was found to have been broken from the inside instead of the outside. And another things just weren't adding up.
Also, Amy didn't think about her two young children who were still in the home. They became witnesses to what actually happened in the home that night. Which brings about the topic or children as witnesses in criminal cases and how much they know what is really going on.
This is an interesting case and the video provided below isn't from Forensic Files but from another show called Snapped.

Part #1

Part #2

Part #3

Also, here is an article about the case as well:

Michael Peterson Verdict

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After finishing the video on North Carolina v. Michael Peterson, I became interested in what his and his family's life was after his sentencing was given. I found a website that has the story. It describes how one of Peterson's defense attorneys is planning on appealing his verdict. I'm not sure if this has been done yet, but he plans on objecting to some of the evidence that was given at the trial, such as if it was legal to take Peterson's computer away from him and go through it, which is where they found his pornography.

Also on the website, are a few videos that you can click through and watch. One talks about what Kathleen Peterson was like, the other talks about the verdict of the trial, and the third is how Kathleen's sisters react to the whole situation.

In the article, they also bring up the possibility that the prosecution is also going to try Peterson for the death of his other wife, Elizabeth Ratliff, as well. It's a short article, but it does provide good information on what happened after Peterson's guilty verdict.

The McVeigh Tapes

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I was watching tv over Easter break and saw this on a commercial.  It is a documentary about the Oklahoma City Bombings.  It will air Monday, April 19th at 9pm.
Hank Skinner was blamed for a triple homicide in 1993 in which he supposedly killed his girlfriend at the time, Twila Busby, and her two grown sons. He was convicted of the crimes and has been on death row since. Skinner's former attorney did not test the crime scene evidence for his clients DNA. Skinner claims his innocence and also says that his ex girlfriend's uncle was the responsible party. A neighbor of Twila Busby's uncle claims that they seen the uncle tearing out and replacing carpet in his van the day after the murders. Northwestern University's Innocence Project is to thank for shedding doubt onto the case and bringing it to prosecutors attention. Skinner's request for a blood DNA test has delayed the execution and rightfully so since there is still time to prove his innocence given the nature of all these "new" details. The stop of execution came one hour before Skinner was to be executed.

Woman killed her infant, ate part of brain

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Last summer in San Antonio Texas the police were sent to a grizzly crime scene that was almost too grusome to describe. From what they did indicate in news it was something from a slasher zombie movie. The 33 yr old mother used a knife and 2 swords to kill her 3 week old son and that is not even the horrible part is just gets more strange and guresome. The police commented that the infants toes were actually bitten off, decapitated and his face ripped off and some of his brain were eaten. After the mother did that she stabbed herself twice. She is alive still though and when asked why she did it, she said because the devil told her to. So is she in fact mentally ill or suffering from some type of postpartm depression (possibly psychosis)or is it just a way to cover her track so later on she can take the insanity plea. Just as Andrea Yates also did. 

Jonesboro Westside Massacre.

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I was sitting in my homicide class and someone gave a presentation on the Jonesboro Massacre. I wanted to learn more about what happened. I don't know who knows about this school shooting, but two young boys, Mitchell Johnson, 13, and Andrew Golden, 11 went to their school on March 24, 1998, with about 9 guns and waiting in the woods until Golden had to go in and pulled the fire alarm to make the students come out. As the students exited the school they shot at them. They managed to kill 5, 4 students and one teacher, and wound 10.


The murders were said to motived by the both of the girlfriends breaking up with them. They had told students about their plan but no one took them seriously about the threat. This is an article for the day after the shootings occurred. Due to Arkansas' law the boys only had to serve time in a juvenile detention center until they were 21 years old. My question is to why two young boys would do this at such a young age.

Here is another article that was written in 2008 that has more information on what happened and what happened after they were released.


Vampire killer

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I came across this article of a man, Allan Menzies, in the UK who murdered his friend in order to become a vampire. Menzies had watched the movie Queen of the Damned at least 100 times and claimed that he was told he had to kill someone in order to become immortal. Menzies called Thomas McKendrick to his house where Menzies attacked and killed him with knives and a hammer. After the death, Menzies drank his blood and ate some of his flesh. He then put McKendricks body in a wheelbarrow and dumped his body in a ditch, which was found 6 weeks later. After the killing, Menzies was convinced he was a vampire and immortal. Menzies was found guilty and sentenced to life in prison. The psychological issues surrounding Menzies is enormous. He had been diagnosed a psychopath by three psychologists in court. Menzies lawyer also said he was schizophrenic, which definitely runs true with Menzies actions. There needs to be more education for people to understand these mental health problems.


The Lindbergh Kidnapping

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I'm going to go way back and focus on the Lindbergh kidnapping.  Charles Lindbergh and famous aviator and his wife Anne Marrow Lindbergh were at their East Amwell, New Jersey home with their 20 month old son Charles Augustus Lindbergh Jr.  On March 1, 1932 Charles Jr. was abducted from his home.  Just two months later the boy of Charles Jr. was found near the Lindbergh home.  The baby had died from a massive fracture of the skull.  Two years went by before Bruno Hauptmann was arrested for the kidnapping and murder of the Lindbergh baby.  Hauptmann was found guilty and was executed by the electric chair in 1936.  This crime spurred Congress to pass the Federal Kidnapping Act also called the Lindbergh Law, which made transporting a kidnapping victim across state lines a federal crime.

The law aspects of the case found start from the time of the kidnapping, the finding of the body, the actual investigation, the arrest of Bruno Hauptmann, the trial and the death of Hauptmann by electric chair.  Of course all the other aspects that went in between these parts of the time line.  The psychology aspects of the crime are what was the kidnapping thinking when he took Charles Jr.  The parents emotional state went out the window.  The American people were effected by this.  This was a very public case and everyone knew about.  It scared the American people to know that someone could just come in a take a baby, this was even a baby of a famous person.  We could even think of how this effected the people finding the body of Charles Jr.  This case had an emotional impact not just on the family, but on the American pubic.

Here is the link for more details about the case:

The Most Dangerous Game

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While reading the novel Mind Hunter by John Douglas for my book report assignment, I came across a particularly interesting case. In the early 1980's Robert Hansen went on a murderous rampage that shocked the community of Anchorage, Alaska. Hansen, known throughout his community as a mild mannered baker with a strong affinity for hunting, was abducting local prostitutes and strippers, taking them back to his home while he raped and tortured them, then flew them out to his cabin in the woods where he promised if they cooperated they would be released. He would then let them go naked through the wooded area where he would hunt them down.


I was very interested in this case for two reasons. The first reason was that the killers MO closely followed one of my favorite short stories that I read in High School; The Most Dangerous Game by Richard Connell. The story is about some shipwrecked sailors who find themselves being systematically hunted down one-by-one through an island jungle. They are hunted by a man named General Zarroff, who tired of hunting animals and wanted more of a challenge. In Douglas's novel, he cites many similarities between Hansen and Zarroff, not only in MO. According to Douglas, Hansen felt that by killing prostitutes and women he felt were degenerate, he was doing society a favor. Likewise Zarroff felt that shipmen were degenerates and tramps.


The second reason that I found this case so interesting was because the killer, Robert Hansen started his criminal career about 40 miles from where I grew up; in small town Pocahontas, IA. In the 1960, Hansen served as a police academy instructor in Pocahontas. Later that year he was arrested for burning down a school bus garage and was sentenced to jail for 4 years. It was after this time that he moved to Alaska. Because Hansen had moved away from the area nearly 20 years before he started his killing spree, I was unaware of his existence and my friends from that area were also unaware. Digging a little deeper into Hansen's past, I discovered he was born in Estherville, Iowa; the small town where both of my parents grew up, but again, because Hansen hadn't lived there since before my parents were born, they were unfamiliar with the case. However, I do plan on asking my grandparents if they are at all familiar with Hansen since he would be closer to their age.

One of the themes that Douglas talks about in his book is that Hansen is an excellent example of how a killers MO changes and develops with each kill. In his earlier killings of prostitutes, Hansen would simply tie them up and kill them execution style, then fly their bodies and level them in the wooded area near his cabin. As he became more confident in his killings, Hansen began to torture his victims and then finally began to hunt them like animals. It is because of this sort of changing pattern that it makes a series of murders hard to tie together. If four women are murdered in different ways, people assume that it is a different killer. Douglas argues that MO can change while significance of the murder does not change. In this case, we see Hansen's method of killing change but they are all related in how they spoke to Hansen personally. He liked the thrill of the hunt, and he went after high-risk individuals such as prostitutes.  


This is an article that deals with the argument of whether there needs to be more laws dealing with predators or whether the current laws need to be better enforced. The story here is of a man who has been convicted of raping and killing a young girl who was jogging through a park. Police have also discovered the skeletal remains of another young girl, who was killed in similar fashion, and they think that the same man is responsible. The main issue here is that the man was locked up for the crime but somehow struck a deal to only get 6 years in prison instead of his original sentence which was life in prison. This happened in the San Diego area where they do in fact have a "one-strike" law against predators. The problem here seems to be that the courts become to lenient when its time for sentencing. In my opinion I feel that the San Diego law of "one-strike" is quite the consequence, but when a predator gets out after only a short time, it raises the threat of repeat offenders. When the courts give out such a short sentence for the crime, they are really eliciting thoughts of "hey I can do this again!" from the minds of predators. I'm not sure that California needs to crowd their prisons anymore than they already are, but lackluster sentences (in regards to these crimes) is a slap in the face to society - my opinion.

Crimes of Passion

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crime of passion n. a defendant's excuse for committing a crime due to sudden anger or heartbreak, in order to eliminate the element of "premeditation." This usually arises in murder or attempted murder cases, when a spouse or sweetheart finds his/her "beloved" having sexual intercourse with another and shoots or stabs one or both of the coupled pair. To make this claim the defendant must have acted immediately upon the rise of passion, without the time for contemplation or allowing for "a cooling of the blood." It is sometimes called the "Law of Texas" since juries in that state are supposedly lenient to cuckolded lovers who wreak their own vengeance. The benefit of eliminating premeditation is to lessen the provable homicide to manslaughter with no death penalty and limited prison terms. An emotionally charged jury may even acquit the impassioned defendant. this definition can be found at 

Passion Crimes happen quite often. We've all had those moments in life where something effects us so strongly we ourselves can not control our actions caused by the situation. If one were to sit back and really look and think about a situation I'm sure a lot of these cases would never have came about, but that's not the case. Is a sudden heat of the moment decision a reason to get off? Did one not still do the crime at hand? So why do some juries sympathize and let a guilty man or woman walk free? I think its because we can all relate to the situation-- and all would have had thoughts of the same acts.

Brene Brown Ph.D disagrees with my theory. her thoughts on the subject can be found at 

 But whether right or wrong the fact is there, it still happens and happens often. Maybe in the heat of the moment we can't control our feelings, but maybe we can. Only time and extensive research will show that.

Let the Jury Decide

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This article is about a man who was convicted of murdering a woman and her two sons on account of revenge. He found out that his wife was having an affair with another man and was pregnant with the other man's child. Serrano was upset and went to the other man's house to get him, but found his wife, 37, and his two sons who were 15 and 12. Serrano shot all three of them. The jury of 8 women and 4 men were to decide if Ricardo Serrano was to spend life in prison without parole or have the death penatly.

I found this disturbing because everyone on the defense side was trying to make it sound like Serrano was a good man. I understand that it is their job to defend the accused, but a good man doesn't go and shoot people out of revenge.
I also found another article that talks about the decision that the jury made and about how Serrano's wife wants to testify against him.

I was surfing the web and ran across this website and thought it was pretty cool.

This site features biographies of notorious killers and mass murders, some of which include Ted Bundy, the Black Dahlia, Charles Manson and Jeffrey Dahmer. 

If you get bored over spring break, there is some interesting information on this site!

Was Kurt Cobain Murdered?

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As a grunge-junkie, I have had a long time interest in the alleged suicide of famous musician Kurt Cobain. For those of you who do not know who Kurt Cobain is, he is the lead singer of popular 90's grunge rock band Nirvana. Nirvana is considered by many to be the anthem band for the generation growing up during this time period. Kurt Cobain was found dead in his Seattle home on April 8th, 1994. Investigators ruled the death a suicide by gunshot blast coming from his jaw then exiting through the top of his head. Much controversy surrounds Kurt Cobain's death leaving many speculators to wonder if Cobain actually did commit suicide. These two websites highlight some of the controversy surrounding the death. Cobain's death is still largely considered a suicide. Those who advocate that his death was in fact a suicide site Cobain's alcohol and drug abuse, his history of depression, and a suicide note left behind. Despite the enormous amount of evidence, there is still a collective group of people who believe that Cobain was murdered. The main advocator that Cobain's death was indeed homicide is Thomas Grant, a private investigator that was under the employment of Cobain's wife prior to his death. Grant's main arguments are so strong that they have led many others to believe his theory. Some of Grant's main arguments are

-          According to the toxicology report, Cobain had an enormous amount of heroin in his blood at the time of his death. Cobain had so much heroin in his system that it would have been impossible to steady a shotgun and pull the trigger. The amount of heroin in Cobain's system would have left him completely incapacitated and unconscious  

-          There are complications with the suicide note including so irregularities in the handwriting

-          Inconsistency in the police reports including: failure to take finger prints off the shotgun trigger, inconstancies with the discharged shell in relation to his body, no finger prints were found on the suicide note yet Cobain was not wearing gloves at the time of the murder

-          Evidence that came out after Cobain's death that Courtney Love (Cobain's wife at the time of his death) attempted to pay someone to murder Cobain

Those who still feel Cobain's death was a suicide believe this evidence to be circumstantial.

I personally feel that there were many signs in this case that indicate foul play but due to Cobain's history of drug abuse and depression they were all overlooked by police officials. If the police had investigated further into the theory of murder then there might be a lot more evidence out there that was not "circumstantial."


Gary Ridgway is what we would call an expert serial killer. He was the best of the best and killing was his "forte". During the late 70's and all throughout the 80's he was killing. Police were never able to solve the homicides of 50 plus women of the Green River murders. It was a chase that lasted over 20 years. It takes a certain person to become a serial killer. They have to have a certain and different psychological state of mind. In the case of Gary Ridgway, he underwent a psychological profile done my John Douglas of the FBI.

In the psychological profile it lists out what kind of person would do this. What there manner was, what they looked like, what kind of job they held etc. Once Ridgway was caught, he fit the profile almost to a tee. Take a look at this profile and see if you can get in the mind of Gary Ridgway, then watch the video clip on 60 Minutes

It wasn't until 2001 that something came up for detectives. DNA testing was at a peak and had excelled greatly since those 20 years. He was linked to seven of those murders through DNA, but detectives cut a deal with him. They would spare him the death penalty in exchange for the truth, facts and answers as to why he did this. They wanted to know his motive for why he did this and how he did this. They spent the next 6 months living with this killer and finding out answers. The show 60 Minutes was there to catch the action.

This website gives the interview by 60 Minutes; it also has a page giving somewhat of an overview of this.

Prison Murder

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In my last class, Crime and Punishment, we watched a documentary that explained how prison life is in the U.S.  The documentary was entitled, "The Gladiator Days, The Anatomy of Prison Murder." It gave the story of a teenager, Troy Kell, who shot a man to death and consequently landed in prison for life with the option of parole.  Later in life Troy along with an accomplice ends up stabbing another prisoner 67 times until he finally dies.  What is most interesting in this documentary is focused on Troy's accomplice.  His name is Eric Daniels and he was put into a maximum security prison where he met Troy on the basis of forging a check.  So in perspective Eric was less of a dangerous man than Troy was.  Yet, they both came together to severely murder a man in prison.  This is where I think psychology comes into play.  Eric came into prison not being very violent at all but as time went on it was like being in an institution psychologically changed him into a man full of anger and hate.  The man who was stabbed by Eric and Troy was an African American and Eric and Troy were strong white supremacists.  After years had gone by Eric stated that he had found God and that he was no longer the person he used to be.  It is interesting that when interviewed Troy stated that mental problems arise while in prison because every day you are fighting for scarce resources that inmates share causing anxiety and even depression.  This documentary was very informative and it is made on the angle of both psychology and law.  Here is a website to explain more:


I found this article interesting because it kind of shows what goes through a juror's head when trying to figure out if a person is guilty or innocent.  This juror was involved in the Mark Becker case.  Mark Becker was accused of murdering Ed Thomas of Parkersburg.   The juror talked about how the jury debated over five days whether or not Becker was not sane at the time of the murder.  He said how everyone had their opinions on the case and that eventually the evidence showed no proof that Becker was insane.  Becker was then charged with first degree murder.

This is an interesting story I found regarding the arrest of two 10 year old boys that brutally beat and killed another 2 year old child. This happened in Liverpool in 1993. After serving eight years in prison, Jon Venables, (who is 27 now) has just been returned to prison for violating conditions of his release. The re-surfacing of this case has brought about outrage amongst the British public (once again) because of the fact that Jon was released but is now being re-called into custody - reasons for which are uncertain (although law enforcement did mention that these details will be released in the future). This outrage stems from the seemingly lenient government not keeping both gentlemen locked up for a longer amount of time (and rightfully so if you are family of the victim).

I found this interesting because this case happened many years ago but still has the power (via peoples memory and knowledge) to bring out anger and despise even though the case was completed over a decade ago. Both mens whereabouts have been kept secret because of the fear of death threats towards them.

I'm not an investigator or remotely close to being labeled one, but something tells me a case with 2 or 3 suspects doesn't seem near as bad as having to deal with 26. How would you even begin? Where would you begin?! The news story I chose deals with the murder or Hamas leader Mahmoud al-Mabhouh. Investigators had it "narrowed down" to eleven suspects when Dubai police announced that they had 15 new suspects. Investigators now have the daunting challenge of narrowing down this huge list of suspects. Police in Dubai, India suspect that secretive Israeli foreign intelligence unit is behind the attacks. Not only is the amount of suspects an issue to deal with, but also the fact that these suspects are carrying passports from various point around the world (passports from Australia, France, Ireland, Great Britain). Countries that are helping out with the investigation also noted that those passports were created in a legal manner - what a shocker.

Check out this story - there are videos along the left side you can view for further information.

Murders by Unlisted Sex Offender

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In this article it states that there are 63,000 sex offenders that are not registered and 22,000 of those are in California alone. Some of those the state defends are "low risk in general" yet there are innocent people killed by those low risk offenders. And the main one I want to talk about is Chelsea King whose body they found yesterday. 

This article goes more into detail about the case it self and explains that this may be a capital punishment case because it was a rape and murder case. If the DA decides to take the death penalty off the table then it is still 25 to life in prison. The reason for his arrest was due to DNA evidence found on his clothing.

The psychiatrist for the case wants the offender to be put in prison for as long as possible because of his previous charge that he served 6 years in prison for before paroled in 2008.

To those that take the time to read the article I would love to get your opinion on what should be done about our system the allows sex offenders to slip through the cracks and commit worse crimes then before and also I question if a person has show to be capable of such evil once if they should be allowed back into society without strict supervision?


Dexter By Design

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I recently just finished the latest of Jeff Lindsey's books about everyone's favorite serial killer; Dexter by Design. This book is the fourth in the Dexter Series, of which the Showtime Show Dexter is loosely based off of. Most people are aware of the show but few people are aware of the fact that the show actually started off as a book series by crime writer Jeff Lindsey. In the fourth installment of the series, the character Dexter faces a very unique kind of criminal: a performance artist murderer. Someone is leaving a trail of very decorative bodies scattered around Miami and it is up to Dexter and his sister Deborah to find out who exactly would want to hallow out a human stomach and fill it with a tropical fruit basket for all of Miami to see. But things are not what they seem. I really enjoyed this book because it put a lot of twists on what exactly motivates one to kill. Without giving away too much of the book, the main suspects intentions seemed to be motivated by art as the killer tries to capture human emotion and anguish in a permanent canvas. I am very excited to read Lindsey's next novel (due to come out sometime this year). Rumor has it that Dexter will meet a cannibal in this fifth novel and I eagerly wait to see how Lindsey will incorporate this into the series. For those who follow the show, the Dexter books do NOT follow along with the show. They are very similar but they contain very different plotlines and character twists. I highly recommend reading this series if anyone is interested in this type of literature. Though a lot of what takes place in these types of stories can be sort of laughed at by what we learn in class, they are very interesting and highly entertaining books which give sort of a different spin on what we learn about in class. I highly recommend looking into them if you love to read a good mystery book.

As we all know Parkersburg, Iowa and the whole state of Iowa suffered a tremendous loss, Ed Thomas. Mr. Thomas was the high school football coach, track coach, teacher, driving instructor, and most of all a father, husband, and grandfather.

The trial for Mark Becker is in some of its last states. The jury has been in deliberation for over 8 hours now. They will either find of him guilty of 1st degree murder with life in prison without parole, or they will find him guilty, but categorize him as insane and Becker will undergo dramatic psychiatric evaluations.

This is a trial that is using the Insanity Plea, which is very unheard of for today. It is hard to prove someone legally insane, because you have to prove to everyone that before the crime, the time of the crime, and after the crime, that Mark Becker had no idea what was going on and it was out of his control. I want to make it clear that insanity is a legal term when used in law, not a medical term. Insanity is when they try to see if Mark Becker knew what he was doing, and if he knew right from wrong throughout the whole process of the crime.

This is going to be a hard case to defend based on the facts. Mark Becker did plan out this murder. He dressed so that he could hide a gun in his clothing. He drove himself to the high school and admitted to being scared that he would be pulled over with a loaded gun on him. These are just a few things that push away from the insanity plea.

Below is the Des Moines Register, which has been following the trial very closely. On the left side bar is over 15 blogs that take you through the trial, even a blog just recently posted about the juror's deliberation. In the middle of the web page will a section also taking you through the trial in detail.

I urge everyone to go through theses blogs and really see what it is like for the people of the court system. They have an expert witness, a Psychiatrist that the prosecution hired and his diagnosis and thoughts are very interesting to read.

Mark Becker Verdict

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I haven't been paying much attention to the Mark Becker trial, but I was talking with my secretary and this trial is very important to her because her son knew Mark Becker and was coached by Ed Thomas. I've started paying a little bit more attention towards the end of the trial and I really wanted to have a report on the verdict but it doesn't look as if the jury will have reached a conclusion by 3:15.
Mark Becker has been accused of killing teacher and coach Ed Thomas in a weight room last year.

The prosecution has explained a timeline of events in their opening statements saying Becker broke into his parents' gun cabinet and practiced shooting a 22-caliber gun at a bird house.

The prosecution says Becker then went to the school and asked the junior high assistant principal where Coach Thomas was so they could talk about the Tornado Relief Fund. According to the prosecution, Becker went into the weight room, shot Thomas multiple times, then began kicking Thomas and swearing at him.

The prosecution says even if Becker suffered from a mental illness, it does not mean he was insane at the time of the crime.

The defense argued during their opening statement that Becker suffered from mental illness that kept him from distinguishing right from wrong. The defense says Becker had delusions the night before the murder and believed Thomas was Satan and was turning people into fish.

The defense has brought in four medical experts that all diagnosed Becker as having paranoid schizophrenia. In light of this, I believe that Becker was insane at the time of the murder, and while he should be held fully responsible for his actions, he should not be sent to prison.

I say this because I believe that he will only get worse in prison. He needs to be sent to a place where he can receive proper care and support. He should be sent to an asylum where he can receive proper medical care and rehabilitation. If he is sent to a prison, he will degenerate and likely cause more harm to himself and others, and he will not be rehabilitated, and if he is eventually paroled or released, he will be much worse off than he is now.

I know that many people disagree with my thoughts on this trial, and I would love to have people politely explain their views in the comments to this post.

To learn more about the trial and to learn what the jury decides, visit

Mark Becker's plea of insanity

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Most of us have heard about the devastations that the community of Aplington-Parkersburg has gone through in the last few years. The first devastation that the community went through was the tornado that went through Parkersburg and destroyed many houses. The Community rebuilt and didn't let the horrific experience dampen there community pride. One of the main advocates for rebuilding the Community was the long time Football Coach Ed Thomas. Ed was seen as a key supporter in the community and everyone knew who he was and what he has done to better the community.  The second devastation that happened was on June 24th of 2009 when Coach Ed Thomas was shot by Mark Becker. Becker has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity. Both the prosecution and defense do agree that Becker has suffered from paranoid schizophrenia, so his mental state is playing a huge factor in whether he will be convicted or not for the murder.  Living in Cedar Falls for most of my life and having friends who went to Aplington-Parkersburg it hit close to home to me. I remember something on the news about how the previous day Becker had been detained by Cedar Falls police for breaking and entering a house in Cedar Falls. He was taken to Allen Hospital and was suppose to stay for a 48hr psych evaluation. However something went wrong and he was released that day. Which led to the next day's proceedings to Occur.  One question that comes to mind to me is, is our legal system at fault as well because the procedure wasn't followed through. Also some say that he didn't know what he was doing but I wouldn't think you would be able to put bullets in a gun and drive to the school and shoot your former coach. I think this is a very big controversy in the Cedar Valley. Below is just one of the latest articles about the case.

"Jury Deliberating Becker's case"

I was doing research for another class about how people with mental disabilities were being treated after committing a crime. I actually came across a very sad story of a mentally disabled woman tortured to death by people she thought were her friends. This is a very eye opening story and thanks to the new law passed by President Obama, prohibiting hate crimes against those who are mentally disabled, her so called "friends" will be punished as they should be.

She was not only murdered, but tortured prior to her death. Her "friends" did things to her such as making here drink urine and chemicals and writing a suicide note to go along with the idea that is was her who wanted to die. She was also physically abused. She was hit with various objects and her body was stuffed into a garbage can. I actually think that after someone commits these acts towards another person the real question is who really has a mental disability? Jennifer may not have been at the same learning level as her "friends", but she is not the one who felt the need to torture another human being. If I were evaluating the case I would say that her attackers had a serious mental problem that needed to be taken care of.

Here is a link to just one of the sites on the case and at the bottom of the site there are links to other information on the case. I think everyone who believes people with mental disabilities are not positive parts of society should read this article. It is not right for someone to be treated differently because they are different than you. 

The Case of Amanda Knox

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On November 1st, 2007 Meredith Kercher was found dead on the bedroom floor partly naked with stab wounds on her neck, many bruises, and signs of being sexually assaulted.  At the time, Meredith was a foreign exchange student in Perugia, Italy along with Amanda Knox, an American foreign exchange student.  Five days after interrogation, Amanda Knox and her boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito were arrested and later convicted with murder, sexual violence, as well as other charges (Knox was sentenced to 26 years while Sollecito was sentenced for 25 years).  DNA and fingerprint evidence at the scene both inside and around Meredith's body pointed to another man, Rudy Hermann Guede.  Guede was later arrested, tried, and was also convicted of murder an sexual assault.  Guede was initially sentenced to 30 years in prison but appealed his sentence which was then reduced to 16 years. 

I had never heard of this case before but I happened to turn on Oprah today and caught the tail end of the story. I got the sense that it was a pretty well known case and I found this to be true when I was searching online and I did end up finding a lot of information about it.  Here is the link to the Wikipedia article which I think does a great job summarizing the case and is a good place to start if you haven't heard of the case before:

There seems to be quite a bit of controversy going on about the differences in the criminal justice system and culture of Italy compared to that of the United States when dealing with this case.  I haven't looked into this issue very extensively, but what I have gathered is that many people feel that if Amanda was tried in the United States rather than Italy, she would have never been convicted.

Regardless of this controversy, it became apparent to me while watching the rest of the Oprah show and reading and watching the videos online (, being wrongfully convicted has substantial consequences not only for the person wrongfully convicted, but for their family as well. 

First of all, being wrongfully convicted puts a huge financial burden on the person who is desperately fighting for their freedom.  The book I am reading for this class (Hurricane: The Miraculous Journey of Rubin Carter) also touches on the tremendous debts one can be in when fighting their conviction.  Thousands upon thousands of dollars were spent, not only by Carter himself, but by his supporters.  Amanda's case seems to be no different.  When searching through sites online, I came across her official site where you could donate money to contribute to her defense fund which will hopefully someday free her.

Being wrongfully convicted also takes a emotional toll on the person who has been wrongfully convicted as well as their family.  On Oprah's website, you can watch a short video of an interview of Amanda's three sisters.  The oldest of the three talks about her new responsibility of being the older sister since Amanda is away and how she struggles at being a good example for her younger sisters.  Amanda's youngest sister talk about how she feels like she doesn't have a family because she describes a family as everyone being there, which is not the case.  Her younger sister struggles with her emotions and her need to stay strong for Amanda and her parents.  My book focuses a lot on Carter's emotional struggles to keep his identity while in prison and the shame he feels, which inevitable causes him to distance himself from his former wife and children.  Carter's family was torn apart by his wrongful conviction, but Amanda's has come together.  Her parents divorced when she was three, but since her conviction, they have combined forces in attempt to free their daughter.  Every Saturday her family gets together for the weekly phone call from Amanda. 

Being wrongfully convicted has tremendous repercussions for the individuals and their families.  Stories like these really make me understand the importance that psychology plays in the law.  I'm not sure how heavily eyewitnesses played in Amanda's conviction, but eyewitness evidence was the only thing used to convict Carter of his sentence of triple-murder.  In order to keep the innocent out of prison, it is evident that a better understanding and acceptance of faulty eyewitness testimonies is necessary, but I'm afraid that no matter how hard we try, there will always be people who are wrongfully convicted.  Even if our criminal justice system improves on keeping the innocent out of jail from now on, there are currently many innocent people in prison, most of which are more than likely desperately trying to free themselves.