Monday, June 27, 2005

Bind, Torture, Quit

The BTK killer admitted his guilt today, so there won't be a long, drawn-out trial with lots of gory details.

In other news, the BTO killer (who killed to the tune of "Takin' Care of Business") might still go to trial.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

I hope he gets away

There's something about jewel theives that makes me just want ot give them a pass. I suppose it's the fact that a jewel theif cannot rob from anyone but the wealthy, and does not steal anything useful. It's a dashing, romantic type of crime ... reference John Robie, the Black Cat from To Catch a Thief. Any criminal that can be played by Cary Grant can't be that bad.

However, there are no brilliant strategies or slick moves from this guy. Still, you gotta love the balls of a guy who would purse-snatch 300K out of a bar.

Friday, June 24, 2005

RIP

As noted in a comment below, the founder of the Evening Whirl just died. For those of you unfamiliar with the paper, it was a rather unique crime-fighting weekly newspaper out of St. Louis that focused on the type crime that just shows up in the police blotter in other magazines. Most crime reporting focuses on the young, white and pretty, but the Evening Whirl wrote about all sorts of crimes and criminals, even if he victims were brown and ugly.

Bill the Butcher's hood

I guess I'm an odd sort of fellow: I'm the guy on the subway planning my day of sightseeing with a copy of the Not For Tourists Guide to New York and a much more worn copy of The Gangs of New York.

After yesterday's trip to Hell's Kitchen, I decided today to find the remains of the Five Points, which was the center of criminal activity in New York for years. Charles Dickens, that old slummer, wrote about it and other period writers compaired it to London's Whitechapel district (home of Jack the Ripper, of course).

Much like the infamous Hell's Kitchen, the Five Points are gone. This time, literally: most of the five streets that came together to form the Five Points are history, and much of the area is taken up by the courthouse district. The remains as described in Gangs isn't even whole anymore, and what used to be the center of infamy in the city is now the corner of Worth and Baxter, along with part of the very pleasant Columbus Park.

I was feeling a little depressed about my inability to find any real criminal flava in New York (which, I should note, is very different from finding real criminals) when I heard a brass band playing a mournful song that sounded very similar to the funearal dirge from the beginning of The Godfather Part II. The East Side of Columbus park is a very sudden line between the courthouses and Chinatown, and I'd stumbled onto to an ornate Chinese funeral. I'm not suggesting that the person who died was a member of a Tong (does anyone know a place to find Chinatown news?), but the only funerals I'd ever seen like this one were in gangster movies. The brass band played, women wore long pieces of white fabric over their faces, and there was one of those half hearse/half El Camino things, the back filled with flowers and an ornate photo of the deceased.

So there I stood, in the epicenter of New York's bloody criminal past, watching a Chinese funeral with Godfather undertones when I realized I was just around the corner from the Bloody Angle in the Bowery, and I decided I like New York.

Later I went to the Strand bookstore, which has a pretty good true crime section. Another question: has no one written a true crime guidebook to New York? Because the Strand had a copy of 100 Places to Kiss in New York or some such twaddle, but no crime guidebooks. What's up with that?

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Daredevil's Turf

I'm still settling into my new Brooklyn home, so posting is going to stay light for a while. However, today I tested myself on the subway system by taking a solo flight to an almost random location: I decided to try and find the headquarters of Troma Films (makers of such classics as Tromeo & Juliet and the crime-fighting masterpiece The Toxic Avenger.

This trip took me into Hell's Kitchen, the historic home of Daredevil. And you know what? Bor-ing. I took a wrong turn at first and ended up at the theater where Mama Mia is playing. Mama Mia shouldn't be allowed anywhere near a place called Hell's Kitchen. According to my trusty copy of The Gangs of New York, Hell's Kitchen was first the name of a dive bar (other tales attribute the nickname to a cop who actually thought it was very warm in the neighborhood). The Hell's Kitchen Gang tore the damn place up for years.

But its clean now. Nice work, Daredevil!

Quick Quiz: Does Brooklyn have any superheroes?

Monday, June 20, 2005

Thanks, mom

From my fairly uninformed view, I tend to think that the Michael Jackson jury's decision that Michael Jackson was a child molestor, but it wasn't proven in this case, is probably the right one. But I have to ask: even if the kid's mom pimped him out, isn't it still molestation? If so, who cares how you feel about her?

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Tessio's territory

This weekend I will be moving from St. Louis to Brookyln. So, posting will be sporatic. Also, I'm giving up a salaried writing gig for the life of a freelancer, so I'll be looking for ways to get into actual crime writing. Drop me a line at crime-spree @ jordanharper.com if you've got any hints or tips.

Thanks,
The Bookhouse Boy

Choose Your Own Manson

Earlier this week Henry Garfield over at Extreme Politics gave me a few belated birthday presents in the form of the rather new feature film The Manson Family and the old documentary Manson. From our brief discussions, I gather that I liked The Manson Family more than Garfield did. Although sometimes bloated with artsy farts, I thought it was a pretty good film. It reaches such a manic state at the end that you can almost understand why the family did what it did. Also, the choice to push Manson into the background was interesting.

As Garfield pointed out before I watched the film, the actor who plays Manson in the film isn't that great. But it's a difficult role. So, here's the game: who would you cast to play Charles Manson in a film? Here's my choice:

Gary Oldman


"Write something witchy." Posted by Hello


I pretty much think this is it. The man has played Sid Vicious, Dracula and Lee Harvey Oswald. He can act, he can do manic, he can envelope himself in a role. Who could be better? You tell me.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Slow True Crime Week

You hear about any true crime news this week? Me neither. Nope. Slow week, I guess. I'll let you know if anything big happens.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Friday Crime Spree

First, Do No Harm
An Indian doctor responsible for 87 deaths in Australia?

Have I Heard This Story Before?
It's hard to fight drug smuggling in a country whose income comes from drug smuggling. Maybe it's a Narco-State.

I Can See That
In India, 13 convicted for murder of three ... over right-of-way through a field.

Might As Well Ban Pints
Britain looks at banning rowdies from pubs.

Maybe There's a Good Explanation
When you carjack and kill a deacon, man, you're screwed.

Like Outlawing Dildos to Decrease Jerking Off
Scotland hopes banning replica weapons will lower the violent crime rate.

Um, What?
Mayor of Minneapolis wants firefighters to be crimefighters too.

At Least it Made the Service Interesting
Man attempts muder during church.

You think?
Jordan's Attorney General says the six-month sentence for a man who "honor-killed" his sister is too light.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Overheard in the Michael Jackson jury room

Well, I might be a small fry in the world of crime reporting, but the Bookhousse Boy has pulled a scoop on everyone here. Thanks to a bug I planted in a moment of whimsy on a recent California visit, I now have exclusive audio from the jury deliberations at the Michael Jackson trial. The full transcript I'll be holding onto, but here are some choice quotes:

Foreman: "I'm not sure I believe Maculy Culkin never got touched. In fact, I kinda hope he was. Remember when he got stung to death in My Girl? That was awesome."

Juror #1: "Am I the only one who, after hearing about the coloration of Jackson's wang, will never be able to eat a swirl cone again?"
Juror #2: "I always thought he was smooth as a Ken doll down there."
Juror #1: "Send a note to the judge. I want to see that bi-colored wack-a-doo."

Juror #1: "So let's get this straight ... it's the twenty-first century. Jackson hasn't had a hit in years. And yet, somehow, this kid wants his make-a-wish dream to be spent sleeping over with Michael Jackson? Shouldn't he have wanted to pal around with Fred Durst?"
Juror #2: "Thank God we're not on that trial. I couldn't take seeing Durst's 'oh face' again."

Foreman: "I mean, Culkin just has these giant red lips. They're pretty gross. And yet ..."

Stay tuned! More to come!

I wish I could get this kind of publicity

Really, for three convicted child murderers, the West Memphis 3 get crazy good press. Check this out.

1). That's from onlypunjab.com. Huh? Is this really important new to the people of North Punjab? Where is North Punjab? Do they know where Arkansas is?

2). That's a pure press release posing as a news story ... which isn't too far off from most WM3 coverage.

3). By being reletively fact-free, the release manages to have less untruths in it than the average WM3 story. So here's something for you to think about instead: they folks who wrote this release would have you think this is part of "the passing of information on how concerned citizens can become involved in their democratic fight."

Um, where I'm from "democratic" doesn't mean just because Winnona Rider thinks something is true, its true. No, I'm pretty sure actual democratic values include a respect for the legal system. Damien Echols, like any other death row inmate, can appeal all the way up to the Supreme Court. And yet, he's still on death row. Judges up and down the ladder have looked at this case, and none of them have joined this "democratic" activity.

Hey, if these folks want to dedicate their life to convicted murderers, I can't stop them. But Lord, I can make fun of them, too. Democracy!

It shoulda been mine ...

The Dark Side has a great piece on a guy walking through customs with a bloody chainsaw and only having it taken away from him. Of course, it looks like he killed a few folks in Canada before strolling over here.

Man, that is so my kind of story. Damn you, Steve.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Nice lady

"Is this abnormal?" Morissette said. "That's the question."

When you are a lawyer for a convicted killer who has exchanged her underwear with a convicted male killer ... well, that kind of question answers itself, huh?

Thanks to G for the link.

Friday, June 03, 2005

Well, damn

Ain't it Cool? has a horrible script review of V for Vendetta. Seeing how the last film the Wachowski Bros. made was one of the worst movies I've ever seen (Matrix 3: The Craptastic Voyage), I guess I shouldn't be shocked. But why do you feel the need to fuck with Alan Moore? Why, lord, why?

Who killed Biggie?

The interlocked deaths of Tupac Shakur and Biggie Smalls have spurred a lot of theories and a suprising lack of solid facts. One of the main theories, involving Suge Knight and the LAPD, was dealt a crushing blow this week when the main informant on the theory turned out to be a paranoid liar. Ooops.

This pretty much scraps ex-LAPD detective Russell Poole and the book he inspired, LAbrynith. Which is unfortunate, as it stands as the major work on the cases.

I've always thought the theory was sketchy, anyway: it involves Suge okaying a hit on 2Pac while Suge was in the car. As a handsome man points out here, that's insane.

Friday Crime Spree

He said as he stole your wallet:
Gipsies aren't criminals, says gipsy.

Well, that does it for heroin
The UN has invited NATO to step in to cut down on Afghani poppy production.

What, no garlic?
Australian police investigate a vampire murder.

Sounds like a hate crime to me
Seattle police are cracking down on Latino gangs.

Kids these days
In a second killer-kid story this week, three pre-teens are being questioned for attempted murder of a five-year-old.

Admit it, it's funny
I don't know if Michael Jackson touches boy-wang or not. But I hope he goes to jail, because I think it would be hilarious.

Self-loathing jews beware
A black woman sends racist messages to other blacks to create a scene. Hate crime!

No jokes for this one
The nine-year-old murderer divides a family.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

What's missing from this story?

Please read this story about the re-investigation of the murder of Emmett Till. No, go read it now. I'll wait.

Okay, what was missing?

Why did they dig the body up? It isn't in the article anywhere. There's an aside about proving the body is Till's. There's a bit about new questions raised by a film-maker. Well, what are they?

This New York Times article answers a little more, but still ... why do people question the body's identity?

Well, it turns out that as far as I can tell, for no good reason. It's just something the racists cooked up to cover up how evil the bastards were back then. But it'd be nice for someone to say so.

Rashomon, mon

Read this story about cops shooting an undercover cop the next time you second-guess a police officer. What do you do?

Sad crime of the year

When a 9-year-old girl kills an 11-year-old girl, the last thing you want to hear is that people saw it comong.