News of the Weird
by Chuck Shepherd
• Kansas lawyer Dennis Hawver was disbarred in November for his comically bad (24 separate deficiencies) defense of double-murder suspect Phillip Cheatham in 2005 (which led to a new trial for Cheatham). Hawver had admitted to the jury that his client was a “shooter of people” (a previous manslaughter conviction) who, as an “experience(d)” criminal would never have left that third victim alive with multiple gunshot wounds. A confident Hawver had virtually invited the jury to execute “whoever” the killer was. (At a September hearing to keep his license, he dressed as Thomas Jefferson, banging the lectern and shouting, as reverse psychology, “I am incompetent!”—leading the blog Lowering the Bar to muse that by then, the argument was wholly unnecessary.) Cheatham told the Topeka Capital-Journal that Hawver is “a good dude (but) just in over his head.”
Names in the News
• Arrested in October for burglary of a Kohl’s department store in Alhambra, California: Ms. Josephine Crook, 49. Passed away on Oct. 15 in Marietta, Georgia: Ms. Ida Gbye, 81. Arrested in October and charged with stabbing two men in Regina, Saskatchewan: Ms. Danielle Knife, 24. Charged in Mississauga, Ontario, in October with sexually assaulting three male patients: psychologist Dr. Vincent Hung Lo. Arrested in November in Gainesville, Florida, on sexual assault charges but then exonerated three days later when accuser Jeremy Foster was caught lying: Mr. Phuc Kieu, 58.
The Continuing Crisis
• The Creative Class: To spark interest in the new leisure center opening in spring 2015 in Selby in North Yorkshire, England, the management company WLCT sponsored a contest to name the center, with the prize a year’s free membership. On Nov. 5, General Manager Paul Hirst announced that Steve Wadsworth was the winner, proclaiming, “Well done to Steve on winning the competition.” The winning entry: “Selby Leisure Centre.”
• A German woman who identifies herself only as “Anna Konda” described to Vice Media in October her Female Fight Club in Berlin, now three years old, for women to test themselves in all-out wrestling matches. While some are fetish-motivated dominants, others display no particular sexuality—like Anna herself, who, she admits, simply likes to “crush” men’s and women’s skulls between her massive thighs. Anna says she is a product of East Germany’s cliched development of tough, muscular female athletes.
• Those Frightening Alabama Schools: (1) In October, a mother charged that officials at E.R. Dickson School in Mobile, Alabama, first detained her daughter, 5, for pointing a crayon at another student as if it were a gun, and then pressured the girl to sign a paper promising not to kill anyone or commit suicide. “What is suicide, Mommy?” the girl asked when her parents arrived. (2) In a 2010 incident at Sparkman Middle School near Huntsville, Alabama, an administrator coaxed a special-needs girl, 14, into a boys’ bathroom to “bait” a 16-year-old boy who had previous sexual misconduct issues into committing a prosecutable offense—and then failed to protect the girl. (The girl’s family sued and won a summary judgment, but the school board appealed, and in September 2014 the U.S. Justice Department formally endorsed the family’s lawsuit.)
• The West Briton newspaper reported in October that a darts team composed of blind men was ready for its inaugural match at an inn in Grampound, England, sponsored by the St. Austell Bay Rotary Club. The inn’s landlord acknowledged that the game-room door would be closed “just in case” a dart strays off course. (The blind darters would be aided by string attached to the bull’s eye that they could feel for guidance.)
• Twice in September, police in North Kingstown, Rhode Island, reported that women had complained of a motorist who would stop female strangers on the street to tell them jokes about blond women. The jokes were not sexual, but still made the women “uncomfortable.” A high school girl told her mother of a similar episode. Based on a license plate number, police visited the man at home, and he agreed to stop.
Unclear on the Concept
• In some developing countries, a sex “strike” organized by women is often the only hopeful tactic for convincing husbands and lovers to take grievances seriously. However, in November, Mr. Nderitu Njoka, head of a Global Men Empowerment Network in Nairobi, Kenya, announced that his organization would commence a “sex boycott” for five days, denying men’s “services” to their wives—to protest “tyrannical” female domination. According to Njoka, hundreds of Kenyan men are physically assaulted by females every year (including at least 100 whose wives vengefully castrate them). (Referring to a notorious U.S. incident, Njoka offered support to the singer Jay Z after he was punched by his sister-in-law Solange Knowles.)
• First, Do Harm: In November, according to the deputy police commissioner in Calcutta, India, a group of student doctors at Nilratan Sarkar Medical College cornered, beat, maimed and eventually killed a man they suspected of rummaging through their belongings and stealing their mobile phones. The incident followed a series of phone and laptop thefts, and some of the enraged medical students slashed the man’s genitals before leaving him to die.
• Despite a 70-year-old U.S. Supreme Court decision to the contrary, six states still have laws exempting parents from homicide charges when they deny a child life-saving medical care because they trust no remedy except prayer. Even among those states, all of the deaths since 1994 under those circumstances have occurred in Idaho, where (according to a November report by Vocativ.com) no prosecutor seems willing to put a trust-in-God parent before a jury. Children in Idaho have died when simple medical treatments were available (e.g., insulin and fluids for Type I diabetes). Neighboring Oregon, by contrast, now vigorously prosecutes parents who let their children die, including a 13-year-old girl’s parents convicted in November in Albany, Oregon.
Least Competent Criminals
• Police in Murfreesboro, North Carolina, announced in November that they had intercepted a shipment of 30 pounds of marijuana that had been loosely packaged and shipped from California by U.S. Mail, and an investigation was underway with arrests expected. Police Chief Darrell Rowe told WTKR-TV that the scent of the packages was so vivid that, even though he had summoned the department’s K-9 unit, “the dog kind of looked at us (as if to say), ‘Do you really need me for this?’”
• (1) Most recent drunk driver to hit a pedestrian with the victim’s body then lodging in the windshield—and the driver’s traveling on, seemingly oblivious: Marcos Ortega, 33, in Ocean Township, New Jersey, in November (whose 66-year-old victim did not survive). (2) Most recent report of birds in the wild consuming fermenting berries—and then comically crashing into trees and making goofy-looking landings: Bohemian waxwings in Canada’s Yukon, in November (where the Environment Yukon organization set up an “avian drunk tank”).
The Classic Middle Name
• Arrested recently and awaiting trial for murder: Jason Wayne Autry, Holladay, Tennessee (April); Dennis Wayne Brooks, Robertsville, Missouri (November); Jimmy Wayne Estes, Charlotte, North Carolina (June); Jestin Wayne Hooker, Lubbock, Texas (July); Walter Wayne Howard, Portland, Oregon (November, for 1988 cold case); John Wayne Mackay, James City County, Virginia (indicted January); Thomas Wayne Martin, Huntsville, Alabama (indicted November). Convicted of murder: Allen Wayne Densen Morgan, Munford, Alabama (June); Darrell Wayne Frederick, Oklahoma County, Oklahoma (November). Sentenced for murder: Gregory Wayne Hill, Sydney, Australia (June); Stephen Wayne Jamieson, Sydney, Australia (November); Christopher Wayne Robin, Beaumont, Texas (March). Execution for murder imminent, pending clemency hearing: Robert Wayne Holsey, Baldwin County, Georgia (November).blog comments powered by Disqus
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