Wednesday, November 30, 2016
Phoenix Victoria Hope Sinclair was a Canadian five-year-old girl who was murdered by her mother and stepfather. The circumstances of her life and death resulted in one of the largest public inquiries ever held in Manitoba, examining the child welfare system. Biography: Phoenix Sinclair was born on 23 April 2000 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, to Samantha Kematch and Steve Sinclair. Her father chose her name. Both of her parents had previous involvement with child welfare authorities, and Kematch had a previous child who was a permanent ward of the state. Phoenix was immediately placed in the custody of the Child and Family Services (CFS) agency, as her parents were assessed as being unprepared to care for a baby. She was first housed in a temporary shelter and later with foster parents, where her parents were allowed visitation rights. Phoenix was returned to her parents in September, with conditions including that they receive training on how to care for children and supervision from social services; however, according to the inquiry on Phoenix's case, the training and assessment provided by CFS was inadequate. Phoenix's sister, Echo, was born 29 April 2001, at which point another CFS assessment was made but no change in custody was ordered. Police responded to a domestic violence call at the family home in June 2001; the couple had reportedly separated by early July 2001, with Steve Sinclair caring for both girls. Echo died of a respiratory infection on 15 July. As of summer 2001, Phoenix's case had been referred to CFS on several occasions. The agency considered Steve Sinclair to be the "primary caregiver" of record for Phoenix. However, during this period she spent most of her time at the home of Kim Edwards, a family friend. The agency's file on Phoenix was closed in early 2002, but another was opened when Phoenix was hospitalized in February 2003, as medical personnel expressed concerns regarding possible neglect. At the time of her hospitalization, she had had a foreign body (a piece of Styrofoam) lodged in her nose for nearly four months, and staff did not know whether her father would provide her with the necessary antibiotics to deal with the resulting infection. She was taken into custody by CFS in June 2003 and placed in the temporary guardianship of Kim Edwards in early July. In April 2004, Samantha Kematch took Phoenix from Edwards for what was to be a temporary visit. Around this time, Kematch became involved with Karl "Wes" McKay, and Phoenix began living full-time with the couple; Steve Sinclair left the province to live in Ontario. Phoenix was registered at Wellington School for nursery school in fall 2004, but school personnel reported never encountering either her or Kematch. New CFS files were opened for the family in November 2004, when the couple had another baby, and in March 2005 after reports of abuse; both were quickly closed. McKay and Kematch moved to Fisher River Cree Nation in April 2005, taking with them Phoenix, their other child, and a twelve-year-old son of McKay's from a previous relationship; a second son (aged 14) also lived with them occasionally. Another CFS file was opened in May 2005 after someone claiming to be a relative called the agency with concerns of possible neglect. On 11 June 2005, Phoenix Sinclair died. In the period leading up to her death, she had been physically and verbally abused by both McKay and Kematch. She was made to sleep in a cold basement, was given very little food, and was forced to eat her own vomit. McKay shot her with a BB gun and frequently played a "game" called "choking the chicken" in which he would strangle Phoenix until she lost consciousness. According to his testimony, on the day Phoenix died McKay's 12-year-old son saw his father beat her continuously for over 15 minutes as her mother looked on; when the pair left the house, the boy found that Phoenix was not breathing. Aftermath: McKay's sons were returned to their mother in Winnipeg by CFS in July 2005. McKay and Kematch also returned to the city with their baby in late 2005, and had a second child together in December; they continued to claim welfare funds for Phoenix, and told acquaintances that the girl was living with her father or another relative. In early March 2006, McKay's sons and their mother reported Phoenix's death to police. McKay and Kematch were arrested after trying to pass off another girl as Phoenix. Phoenix's body was found at the landfill at Fisher River on 18 March. The couple were convicted of first-degree murder in late 2008, and the convictions were later confirmed on appeal. Phoenix was buried in Brookside Cemetery in Winnipeg in April 2009. An official inquiry into the case of Phoenix Sinclair was announced in October 2006 but was delayed until the completion of legal proceedings against Kematch and McKay. The Manitoba Government and General Employees' Union (MGEU), which represents the social workers employed by CFS, filed a challenge to the province's authority to convene an inquiry on the case in early 2012, but the challenge was dismissed, as was a later attempt to impose a publication ban on the names of the social workers involved. The inquiry officially began on 5 September 2012 but was delayed by further legal challenges; it resumed in November. Further delays arose in February and March 2013 concerning a conflict of interest problem for some lawyers involved and a publication ban on the name of McKay's sons and their mother (which was granted). The inquiry was finally completed in July 2013 and the final report released in January 2014. All told, the inquiry cost between C$10 and 14 million, making it one of the largest and most expensive in Manitoba history. The inquiry report, written by commissioner Ted Hughes, made "62 recommendations for improving the child welfare system and is a call out to address 'deeply rooted' issues". He also recommended changes to the provincial school curricula and to programs for supporting those on welfare, among others. The province of Manitoba announced that it had or was planning to implement many of the suggested changes, and issued a formal apology, stating that "the child welfare system failed Phoenix Sinclair". Hughes concluded that To truly honour Phoenix, we need to provide all of Manitoba's children with a good start in life, and offer to the most vulnerable an escape from the cycle of poverty and vulnerability... The public interest that this Inquiry has received encourages me in the belief that achievement of the better protection of all Manitoba's children, and especially the most vulnerable, will be the true legacy of Phoenix Sinclair.
The Lava Lake murders refers to a triple-murder that occurred near Little Lava Lake in Central Oregon in January 1924. The victims were Edward Nickols (aged 50), Roy Wilson (aged 35), and Dewey Morris (aged 25), all of whom were working as fur trappers. Their bodies were discovered in Big Lava Lake in April 1924. Though police identified a potential suspect, a conviction never reached fruition. The crime is one of the oldest unsolved murder cases in Oregon history, and was the subject of a 2013 investigative book titled The Trapper Murders by Melany Tupper. Background: Edward Nickols, Roy Wison, and Dewey Morris, residents of Bend, had made plans to spend the winter of 1923–1924 in a log cabin owned by a local logging contractor, Edward Logan, to work as fur trappers in the wilderness. The men moved into the cabin the fall of 1923, and the week before Christmas, Nickols arrived in Bend, reportedly in a "jovial" mood, and sold a sled full of expensive furs. He told locals that the fur trapping had been going well. This was the last anyone saw or heard from Nickols or Wilson and Morris. Discovery of bodies: Having had no correspondence with any of the three men since December 1923, and having noticed that mink traps set in the area had been left unmaintained, Innis Owen Morris, a brother of Dewey Morris, and Pearl Lynnes, superintendent of the Tumalo Fish Hatchery, became suspicious. In April 1924, a search team traveled to the cabin, but found no sign of the men. Inside the cabin, burnt food was in pots on the stove, and the dining table had been set for a meal. Outside, the sled used for the transport of goods and equipment was missing, and a fox pen behind the cabin that contained five valuable foxes owned by Edward Logan was empty. Upon searching inside, a blood-stained claw hammer was found in the corner of the pen. The search team checked on the men's trapping lines, and discovered the frozen remains of twelve marten, four foxes, and one skunk, suggesting that their traps in the surrounding forest had been unattended to. The following day, Clarence A. Adams, the Deschutes County sheriff arrived at the cabin to begin an investigation. Near the shore of Big Lava Lake, the searchers found the men's large sled, which was marked with dark stains, which were later confirmed to be blood. On the edge of the lake, a depression in the ice was detected where a hole had visibly been cut, and frozen over. Nearby, on a trail leading to the lake, a searcher discovered pools of blood in the thawing snow, as well as clumps of hair and a human tooth. The coating of ice on the lake having thawed enough that the searchers could explore by boat, Innis Morris and Adams discovered the bodies of all three men, which had floated to the surface of the lake. Autopsies revealed the men had all died of shotgun and pistol wounds, as well as blunt force trauma, likely from a hammer. It was estimated that the murders occurred in the month of January. In an official police report, Sheriff Claude McCauley wrote of the scene: “Even though the weather was perfect, the clear air was impregnated with the odor of death and decomposition and it was with an undefinable spirit of awe and consternation that the little party of hardy outdoorsmen laid aside their packs, kicked off their snowshoes, and prepared to tackle a grim job which was little to their liking.” Investigation: he owner of the cabin, Edward Logan, provided police with a potential suspect shortly after the men's bodies were discovered—a fellow trapper named Lee Collins, who had at one time quarreled with the men over a purportedly stolen wallet. Collins had reportedly threatened to come back and kill Edward Nickols. Lee Nichols was discovered in actuality to be a man named Charles Kimzey, who had been arrested in 1923 for robbery and attempted murder in Bend, in which he threw W. O. Harrison, a stagecoach driver, down a well. Harrison survived, however, but Kimzey fled before the case went to trial. Another lead came when a traffic officer in Portland, Oregon recognized Kimzey as a man who had approached him on January 24, 1924, carrying a gunnysack and asking for directions to a fur dealer in the city. The officer directed him to Schumacher Fur Company on Third Street in Northwest Portland, where the man sold the sack of furs. Police issued a reward of $1,500 for Kimzey's arrest and conviction in connection with the murders, but the case went cold. Apprehension of Charles Kimzey: On February 17, 1933, nine years after the murders, Charles Kimzey was spotted in Kalispell, Montana, and was apprehended by police and returned to Oregon for questioning in the murders. Though police had a circumstantial case against Kimzey, the fur dealer who had purchased the furs in January 1924 could not positively identify the man as Kimzey. Kimzey was charged, however, in the 1923 attempted murder case of W.O. Harrison, and sentenced to life imprisonment in the Oregon State Penitentiary. In spite of the circumstantial evidence suggesting Kimzey's involvement in the murders, the case remains officially unsolved. In culture: A book about the murders, entitled The Trapper Murders, was published by Melany Tupper in 2013. In the book, Tupper suggests that the murders were committed by both Kimzey and an accomplice, Ray Jackson Van Buren, a man from Sweet Home, Oregon who committed suicide in 1938.
Friday, November 25, 2016
The Jacob Wetterling Crimes Against Children and Sexually Violent Offender Registration Act (the Wetterling Act) is a United States law that requires states to implement a sex offender and crimes against children registry. It is named for Jacob Wetterling, a Minnesota eleven-year-old who was abducted by a stranger in 1989, and was missing for almost 27 years until his death was confirmed when his remains were found on September 1, 2016. The law, enacted as part of the Federal Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, requires states to form registries of offenders convicted of sexually violent offenses or offenses against children, and to form more rigorous registration requirements for sex offenders. States must also verify the addresses of sex offenders annually for at least ten years, and those offenders classified as sexually violent predators must verify their addresses quarterly for the rest of their lives. The Wetterling Act required state compliance by September 1997, with a two-year extension for good faith efforts to achieve compliance; non-compliance would result in a 10% reduction of federal block grant funds for criminal justice. Under this law, states had discretion to disseminate registration information to the public, but dissemination was not required. Congress amended the Wetterling Act in 1996 with Megan’s Law, requiring law enforcement agencies to release information about registered sex offenders that law enforcement deems relevant to protecting the public. Also passed by Congress in 1996 was the Pam Lyncher Sexual Offender Tracking and Identification Act. This act requires the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to establish a national database of sex offenders to assist local enforcement agencies in tracking sex offenders across state lines. The Wetterling Act was amended for the final time in 1998 with Section 115 of the General Provisions of Title I of the Departments of Commerce, Justice and State, the Judiciary, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act (CJSA). The CJSA amendment provided for greater discretion among states for procedures used for contacting registered offenders to keep their addresses updated. Also, the CJSA required offenders to register in a state other than their own if they were there for school, and required federal and military employees to register in their state of residence.
There have been numerous conspiracy theories surrounding the assassination of John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963. These theories posit that the assassination involved many people or organizations. Most of today's theories put forth a criminal conspiracy involving parties as varied as the CIA, the Mafia, sitting Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson, Cuban President Fidel Castro, the KGB, or some combination of those entities. Some conspiracy theories claim that the United States government covered up crucial information in the aftermath of the assassination. In 1964, the Warren Commission concluded that Lee Harvey Oswald was the only person responsible for assassinating Kennedy. In 1979, the United States House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA) concluded that a second gunman other than Oswald probably fired an extra bullet at Kennedy. The HSCA did not identify that second shot, nor did they identify any other person or organization as having been involved. The acoustic evidence on which the HSCA based its second gunman conclusion has since been discredited. Public opinion polls have consistently shown that a majority of Americans believe there was a conspiracy to kill President Kennedy. Polls from the Gallup Organization have also found that only 20–30% of the population believe that Oswald did act alone. These polls also show that there has been no agreement on who else may have been involved. Former Los Angeles District Attorney Vincent Bugliosi estimated that a total of 42 groups, 82 assassins, and 214 people had been accused in various conspiracy theories on the assassination. Background: President John F. Kennedy was assassinated by gunfire as he traveled in a motorcade in an open-top limousine in Dallas, Texas, on Friday, November 22, 1963 (12:30 pm, CST); Texas Governor John Connally was wounded during the shooting, but survived. Within two hours, Lee Harvey Oswald was arrested for the murder of Dallas policeman J. D. Tippit and arraigned that evening. Shortly after 1:30 am, Saturday, Oswald was arraigned for murdering President Kennedy as well. On Sunday, November 24, at 11:21 am, nightclub owner Jack Ruby shot and mortally wounded Oswald as he was being transferred to the county jail. Immediately after the shooting, many people suspected that the assassination was part of a larger plot. Ruby's shooting of Oswald compounded initial suspicions. Among conspiracy theorists, Mark Lane has been described as writing "the first literary shot" with his article, "Defense Brief for Oswald," in the December 19, 1963, edition of the National Guardian. Thomas Buchanan's Who Killed Kennedy?, published in May 1964, has been credited as the first book alleging a conspiracy. In 1964, the Warren Commission concluded that Oswald acted alone and that no credible evidence supported the contention that he was involved in a conspiracy to assassinate the president. The Commission also indicated that Dean Rusk, the Secretary of State; Robert S. McNamara, the Secretary of Defense; C. Douglas Dillon, the Secretary of the Treasury; Robert F. Kennedy, the Attorney General; J. Edgar Hoover, the Director of the FBI; John A. McCone, the Director of the CIA; and James J. Rowley, the Chief of the Secret Service, each independently reached the same conclusion on the basis of information available to them. However, during the 1969 trial of Clay Shaw, New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison challenged the single-bullet theory with evidence from the Zapruder film which he claimed indicated that a fourth shot from the grassy knoll was responsible for Kennedy's fatal head wound. In 1979, the United States House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA) agreed with the Warren Commission that Oswald assassinated Kennedy, but concluded that the Commission's report and the original FBI investigation were seriously flawed. The HSCA concluded that at least four shots were fired with a "high probability" that two gunmen fired at the President, and that a conspiracy was probable. The HSCA stated that "the Warren Commission failed to investigate adequately the possibility of a conspiracy to assassinate the President." The Ramsey Clark Panel and the Rockefeller Commission both supported the Warren Commission's conclusions. Public opinion: According to author John McAdams: "The greatest and grandest of all conspiracy theories is the Kennedy assassination conspiracy theory." Others have frequently referred to it as "the mother of all conspiracies". The number of books written about the assassination of Kennedy has been estimated to be in the range of 1,000 to 2,000. According to Vincent Bugliosi, 95% of those books are "pro-conspiracy and anti-Warren Commission". Author David Krajicek describes Kennedy assassination enthusiasts as belonging to "conspiracy theorists" on one side and "debunkers" on the other. The great amount of controversy surrounding the event has led to bitter disputes between those who support the conclusion of the Warren Commission and those who reject it, or are critical of the official explanation with each side leveling toward the other accusations of "naivete, cynicism, and selective interpretation of the evidence". Public opinion polls have consistently shown that a majority of Americans believe there was a conspiracy to kill President Kennedy. However, on the question of a government cover-up, different polls show both a minority and majority of Americans who believe the government engaged in one. These same polls also show that there is no agreement on who else may have been involved. A 2003 Gallup Poll reported that 75% of Americans do not believe that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone. That same year an ABC News poll found that 70% of respondents suspected that the assassination involved more than one person. A 2004 Fox News poll found that 66% of Americans thought there had been a conspiracy while 74% thought there had been a cover-up. As recently as 2009, some 76% of people polled for CBS News said they believed the President had been killed as the result of a conspiracy. A Gallup Poll released in 2013 found that 61% of Americans, the lowest figure in nearly 50 years, believed others beside Oswald were involved. Possible evidence of a cover-up: Numerous researchers, including Mark Lane, Henry Hurt, Michael L. Kurtz, Gerald D. McKnight, Anthony Summers, Harold Weisberg, and others have pointed out what they characterize as inconsistencies, oversights, exclusions of evidence, errors, changing stories, or changes made to witness testimony in the official Warren Commission investigation, which they say could suggest a cover-up. Michael Benson wrote that the Warren Commission received only information supplied to it by the FBI, and that its purpose was to rubber stamp the lone gunman theory. Richard Schweiker, United States senator and member of the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, told author Anthony Summers in 1978, "I believe that the Warren Commission was set up at the time to feed pabulum to the American public for reasons not yet known, and that one of the biggest cover-ups in the history of our country occurred at that time." James H. Fetzer took issue with a 1998 statement from Federal Judge John R. Tunheim, the Chair of the Assassination Records Review Board (ARRB), who stated that no "smoking guns" indicating a conspiracy or cover-up were discovered during their efforts in the early 1990s to declassify documents related to the assassination. Fetzer identified 16 "smoking guns" which he claims prove the official narrative is impossible, and therefore a conspiracy and cover-up occurred. He claims that evidence released by the ARRB substantiates these concerns. These include problems with bullet trajectories, the murder weapon, the ammunition used, inconsistencies between the Warren Commission's account and the autopsy findings, inconsistencies between the autopsy findings and what was reported by witnesses at the scene of the murder, eyewitness accounts that conflict with x-rays taken of the President's body, indications that the diagrams and photos of the President's brain in the National Archives are not the President's, testimony by those who took and processed the autopsy photos that the photos were altered, created, or destroyed, indications that the Zapruder film had been tampered with, allegations that the Warren Commission's version of events conflicts with news reports from the scene of the murder, an alleged change to the motorcade route which facilitated the assassination, an alleged lax Secret Service and local law enforcement security, and statements by people who claim that they had knowledge of, or participated in, a conspiracy to kill the President. In 1966, Roscoe Drummond voiced skepticism about a cover-up in his syndicated column: "If there were a conspiracy to cover up the truth about the assassination, it would have to involve the Chief Justice, the Republican, Democratic, and non-party members of the commission, the FBI, the CIA, the Secret Service, the distinguished doctors of the armed services – and the White House – a conspiracy so multiple and complex that it would have fallen of its own weight." Allegations of witness tampering, intimidation, and foul play- Alleged witness intimidation: Richard Buyer wrote that many witnesses whose statements pointed to a conspiracy were either ignored or intimidated by the Warren Commission. In JFK: The Last Dissenting Witness, a 1992 biography of Jean Hill, Bill Sloan wrote that Arlen Specter, assistant counsel for the Warren Commission, attempted to humiliate, discredit, and intimidate Hill into changing her story. Hill also told Sloan that she was abused by Secret Service agents, harassed by the FBI, and was the recipient of death threats. A later book by Sloan, JFK: Breaking the Silence, quotes several assassination eyewitnesses as saying that Warren Commission interviewers repeatedly cut short or stifled any comments casting doubt on the conclusion that Oswald acted alone. In his book Crossfire, Jim Marrs gave accounts of several people who said they were intimidated by FBI agents, or intimidated by anonymous individuals, into altering or suppressing what they knew about the assassination, including Richard Carr, Acquilla Clemmons, Sandy Speaker, and A. J. Millican. Marrs also wrote that Texas School Book Depository employee Joe Molina was "intimidated by authorities and lost his job soon after the assassination," and that witness Ed Hoffman was warned by an FBI agent that he "might get killed" if he revealed what he had observed in Dealey Plaza on the day of the assassination. Witness deaths: Allegations of mysterious or suspicious deaths of witnesses connected with the Kennedy assassination originated with Penn Jones, Jr., and were brought to national attention by the 1973 film Executive Action. Jim Marrs later presented a list of 103 people he believed died "convenient deaths" under suspicious circumstances. He noted that the deaths were grouped around investigations conducted by the Warren Commission, New Orleans D.A. Jim Garrison, the Senate Intelligence Committee, and the House Select Committee on Assassinations. Marrs pointed out that "these deaths certainly would have been convenient for anyone not wishing the truth of the JFK assassination to become public." In 2013, Richard Belzer published Hit List: An In-Depth Investigation into the Mysterious Deaths of Witnesses to the JFK Assassination that examines the deaths of 50 people linked to the assassination and claims they were murdered as part of a cover-up. Vincent Bugliosi described the death of journalist Dorothy Kilgallen—who said she was granted a private interview with Jack Ruby—as "perhaps the most prominent mysterious death" cited by assassination researchers. According to author Jerome Kroth, Mafia figures Sam Giancana, John Roselli, Carlos Prio, Jimmy Hoffa, Charles Nicoletti, Leo Moceri, Richard Cain, Salvatore Granello and Dave Yaras were likely murdered to prevent them from revealing their knowledge. According to author Matthew Smith, others with some tie to the case who have died suspicious deaths include Lee Bowers, Gary Underhill, William Sullivan, David Ferrie, Clay Shaw, George de Mohrenschildt, four showgirls who worked for Jack Ruby, and Ruby himself. The House Select Committee on Assassinations investigated another alleged "mysterious death"—that of Rose Cheramie. The Committee reported that Louisiana State Police Lieutenant Francis Fruge traveled to Eunice, Louisiana, on November 20, 1963—two days before the assassination—to pick up Cheramie, who had sustained minor injuries when she was hit by a car. Fruge drove Cheramie to the hospital and said that on the way there, she "...related to him that she was coming from Florida to Dallas with two men who were Italians or resembled Italians." Fruge asked her what she planned to do in Dallas, to which she replied: "...number one, pick up some money, pick up my baby, and ... kill Kennedy." Cheramie was admitted and treated at State Hospital in Jackson, Louisiana for alcohol and heroin addiction. State Hospital physician Dr. Victor Weiss later told a House Select Committee investigator that on November 25—three days after the assassination—one of his fellow physicians told him that Cheramie had "stated before the assassination that President Kennedy was going to be killed." Dr. Weiss further reported that Cheramie told him after the assassination that she had worked for Jack Ruby and that her knowledge of the assassination originated from "word in the underworld." After the assassination, Lt. Fruge contacted Dallas Police Captain Will Fritz regarding what he had learned from Cheramie, but Fritz told him he "wasn't interested". Cheramie was found dead by a highway near Big Sandy, Texas, on September 4, 1965; she had been run over by a car. Another "suspicious death" cited by Jim Marrs was that of Joseph Milteer, director of the Dixie Klan of Georgia. Milteer was secretly tape-recorded thirteen days before the assassination telling Miami police informant William Somersett that the murder of Kennedy was "in the working." Milteer died in 1974 when a heater exploded in his house. The House Select Committee on Assassinations reported in 1979 that Milteer's information on the threat to the President "was furnished to the agents making the advance arrangements before the visit of the President" to Miami, but that "the Milteer threat was ignored by Secret Service personnel in planning the trip to Dallas." Robert Bouck, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Secret Service's Protective Research Section, testified that "that threat information was transmitted from one region of the country to another if there was specific evidence it was relevant to the receiving region." The House Select Committee on Assassinations investigated the allegation "that a statistically improbable number of individuals with some direct or peripheral association with the Kennedy assassination died as a result of that assassination, thereby raising the specter of conspiracy". The committee's chief of research testified: "Our final conclusion on the issue is that the available evidence does not establish anything about the nature of these deaths which would indicate that the deaths were in some manner, either direct or peripheral, caused by the assassination of President Kennedy or by any aspect of the subsequent investigation." Author Gerald Posner said that Marrs' list was taken from the group of about 10,000 people connected even in the most tenuous way to the assassination, including people identified in the official investigations, as well as the research of conspiracy theorists. Posner also said that it would be surprising if a hundred people out of ten thousand did not die in "unnatural ways". He noted that over half of the people on Marrs' list did not die mysteriously, but of natural causes, such as Secret Service agent Roy Kellerman, who died of heart failure at age 69 in 1984, long after the Kennedy assassination, but is on Marrs' list as someone whose cause of death is "unknown". Posner also pointed out that many prominent witnesses and conspiracy researchers continue to live long lives. Allegations of evidence suppression, tampering, and fabrication: Allegations that the evidence against Oswald was planted, forged, or tampered with is a main argument among those who believe a conspiracy took place. Suppression of evidence- Ignored testimony: Some assassination researchers assert that witness statements indicating a conspiracy were ignored by the Warren Commission. In 1967, Josiah Thompson stated that the Commission ignored the testimony of seven witnesses who saw gunsmoke in the area of the stockade fence on the grassy knoll, as well as an eighth witness who smelled gunpowder at the time of the assassination. In 1989, Jim Marrs wrote that the Commission failed to ask for the testimony of witnesses on the triple overpass whose statements pointed to a shooter on the grassy knoll. Confiscated film and photographs: Other researchers reported that witnesses who captured the assassination in photographs or on film had their cameras and/or film confiscated by police or other authorities. Author Jim Marrs and documentary producer Nigel Turner presented the account of Gordon Arnold who said that his film of the motorcade was taken by two policemen shortly after the assassination. Another witness, Beverly Oliver, came forward in 1970 and said she was the "Babushka Lady" who is seen, in the Zapruder film, filming the motorcade. She said that after the assassination she was contacted at work by two men who she thought "...were either FBI or Secret Service agents." According to Oliver, the men told her that they wanted to develop her film and would return it to her within ten days, but they never returned the film. Withheld documents: Richard Buyer and others have complained that many documents pertaining to the assassination have been withheld over the years, including documents from the Warren Commission investigation, the House Select Committee on Assassinations investigation, and the Church Committee investigation. These documents at one time included the President's autopsy records. Some documents are still not scheduled for release until 2029. Many documents were released during the mid-to-late 1990s by the Assassination Records Review Board under the President John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Collection Act of 1992. However, some of the material released contains redacted sections. Tax return information, which would identify employers and sources of income, has not yet been released. The existence of large numbers of secret documents related to the assassination, and the long period of secrecy, suggests to some the possibility of a cover-up. One historian noted, "There exists widespread suspicion about the government's disposition of the Kennedy assassination records stemming from the beliefs that Federal officials (1) have not made available all Government assassination records (even to the Warren Commission, Church Committee, House Assassination Committee) and (2) have heavily redacted the records released under FOIA in order to cover up sinister conspiracies." According to the Assassination Records Review Board, "All Warren Commission records, except those records that contain tax return information, are (now) available to the public with only minor redactions." In response to a Freedom of Information Act request filed by journalist Jefferson Morley, the CIA stated that it had approximately 1,100 JFK assassination-related documents, about 2,000 pages in total, that have not been released for reasons of national security. Tampering of evidence: Some researchers have alleged that various items of physical evidence have been tampered with, including: the "single bullet", also known as the "magic bullet" by critics of the official explanations; various bullet cartridges and fragments; the limousine's windshield; the paper bag in which the Warren Commission said Oswald hid the rifle; the so-called "backyard" photos which depict Oswald holding the rifle; the Zapruder film; the photographs and radiographs obtained at Kennedy's autopsy; and Kennedy's body itself. Photographs: Among the evidence against Oswald are the photographs of Oswald posing in his backyard with a Carcano rifle—the weapon identified by the Warren Commission as the assassination weapon. The House Select Committee on Assassinations concluded that the photographs of Oswald are genuine and Oswald's wife, Marina, said that she took them. In 2009, the journal Perception published the findings of Hany Farid, a professor in the Department of Computer Science at Dartmouth College, who used 3D modeling software to analyze one of the photographs. After demonstrating that a single light source could create seemingly incongruent shadows, Farid concluded that the photograph revealed no evidence of tampering. Many researchers, including Robert Groden, assert that these photos are fake. In 1979, after the HSCA had disbanded, Groden said that four autopsy photographs showing the back of Kennedy's head were forged in order to hide a wound created by a bullet fired from a second gunman. According to Groden, a photograph of a cadaver's head was inserted over another depicting a large exit wound in the back of Kennedy's head. G. Robert Blakey, chief counsel for the HSCA, replied to the allegations stating the "suggestion that the committee would participate in a coverup is absurd" and that Groden was "not competent to make a judgment on whether a photograph has been altered". Blakey stated the photographic analysis panel for the Committee had examined the photographs and that they "considered everything Groden had to say and rejected it." The Zapruder film: The House Select Committee on Assassinations described the Zapruder film as "the best available photographic evidence of the number and timing of the shots that struck the occupants of the presidential limousine." The Assassination Records Review Board said it "is perhaps the single most important assassination record." According to Vincent Bugliosi, the film was "originally touted by the vast majority of conspiracy theorists as incontrovertible proof of a conspiracy" but is now believed by many assassination researchers to be a "sophisticated forgery". Among those who believe the Zapruder film has been altered are John Costella, James H. Fetzer, David Lifton, David Mantik, Jack White, Noel Twyman, and Harrison Livingstone, who has called it "the biggest hoax of the 20th century". In 1996 Roland Zavada, a former product engineer for Kodak, was requested by the Assassination Records Review Board to undertake a thorough technical study of the Zapruder Film. Zavada concluded that there was no detectable evidence of manipulation or image alteration on the Zapruder in-camera original. David Lifton wrote that the Zapruder film was in the possession of the CIA's National Photographic Interpretation Center the night of the assassination. Jack White, researcher and photographic consultant to the House Select Committee on Assassinations, claimed that there are anomalies in the Zapruder film, including an "unnatural jerkiness of movement or change of focus ... in certain frame sequences." Kennedy's body: In his 1981 book Best Evidence, David Lifton presented the thesis that President Kennedy’s body (i.e., the "best evidence") had been altered between the Dallas hospital and the autopsy site at Bethesda for the purposes of creating erroneous conclusions about the number and direction of the shots. Fabrication of evidence- Murder weapon: The Warren Commission found that the shots which killed Kennedy and wounded Connally were fired from the Italian 6.5mm Carcano rifle owned by Oswald. Deputy Sheriff Eugene Boone and Deputy Constable Seymour Weitzman both initially identified the rifle found in the Texas School Book Depository as a 7.65 Mauser. Weitzman signed an affidavit the following day describing the weapon as a "7.65 Mauser bolt action equipped with a 4/18 scope, a thick leather brownish-black sling on it". Deputy Sheriff Roger Craig claimed that he saw "7.65 Mauser" stamped on the barrel of the weapon. But when interviewed in 1968 by Barry Ernest, author of "The Girl on the Stairs – The Search for a Missing Witness to the JFK Assassination", Craig said: "I felt then and I still feel now that the weapon was a 7.65 German Mauser. I was there. I saw it when it was first pulled from its hiding place, and I am not alone in describing it as a Mauser." So, in the videotaped interview he said he read Mauser on the rifle, and to Ernest he said that he felt it was a Mauser. Dallas District Attorney Henry Wade told the press that the weapon found in the Book Depository was a 7.65 Mauser, and this was reported by the media. But investigators later identified the rifle as a 6.5mm Carcano. In Matrix for Assassination, author Richard Gilbride suggested that both weapons were involved and that Dallas Police Captain Will Fritz and Lieutenant J. Carl Day might have been conspirators. Addressing "speculation and rumors", the Warren Commission identified Weitzman as "the original source of the speculation that the rifle was a Mauser" and stated that "police laboratory technicians subsequently arrived and correctly identified the weapon as a 6.5 Italian rifle." Bullets and cartridges: The Warren Commission determined that three bullets were fired at Kennedy. One of the three bullets missed the vehicle entirely; another bullet hit Kennedy, passed through his body and then struck Governor John Connally; and the third bullet was the fatal head shot to the President. Some claim that the bullet that passed through President Kennedy’s body before striking Governor Connally—dubbed by critics of the Commission as the "magic bullet"—was missing too little mass to account for the total weight of bullet fragments later found by the doctors who operated on Connally. Those making this claim included Connally’s chief surgeon, Dr. Robert Shaw, as well as two of the Kennedy autopsy surgeons, Commander James Humes, and Lt. Colonel Pierre Finck. However, in the book Six Seconds in Dallas, author Josiah Thompson took issue with this claim. Thompson added up the weight of the bullet fragments listed in the doctor reports and concluded that their total weight "could" have been less than the mass missing from the bullet. With Connally's death in 1993, forensic pathologist Dr. Cyril Wecht and the Assassination Archives and Research Center petitioned Attorney General Janet Reno to recover the remaining bullet fragments from Connally's body, contending that the fragments would disprove the Warren Commission's single-bullet, single-gunman conclusion. The Justice Department replied that it "...would have no legal authority to recover the fragments unless Connally's family gave it permission." Connally's family refused permission. Allegations of multiple gunmen: The Warren Commission concluded that "three shots were fired from the Texas School Book Depository in a time period ranging from approximately 4.8 to in excess of 7 seconds." Some assassination researchers, including Anthony Summers, dispute the Commission's findings. They point to evidence that brings into question the number of shots fired, the origin of the shots, and the ability of Oswald to accurately fire three shots in a short amount of time. These researchers suggest the involvement of multiple gunmen. Number of shots: Based on the "consensus among the witnesses at the scene" and "in particular the three spent cartridges", the Warren Commission determined that "the preponderance of the evidence indicated that three shots were fired". In 1979, the House Select Committee on Assassinations concluded there were four shots, one coming from the direction of the grassy knoll. The Warren Commission, and later the House Select Committee on Assassinations, concluded that one of the shots hit President Kennedy in "the back of his neck", exited his throat, continued on to strike Governor Connally in the back, exited Connally's chest, shattered his right wrist, and embedded itself in his left thigh. This conclusion came to be known as the "single bullet theory". Mary Moorman said in a TV interview immediately after the assassination that there were three or four shots close together, that shots were still being fired after the fatal head shot, and that she was in the line of fire. In 1967, Josiah Thompson concluded that four shots were fired in Dealey Plaza, with one wounding Connally and three hitting Kennedy. On the day of the assassination, Nellie Connally was seated in the presidential car next to her husband, Governor John Connally. In her book From Love Field: Our Final Hours, Nellie Connally said that she believed that her husband was hit by a bullet that was separate from the two that hit Kennedy. Origin of the shots: southeast corner of the Texas School Book Depository. The Commission based its conclusion on the "cumulative evidence of eyewitnesses, firearms and ballistic experts and medical authorities," including onsite testing, as well as analysis of films and photographs conducted by the FBI and the US Secret Service. In 1979, the House Select Committee on Assassinations agreed to publish a report from Warren Commission critic Robert Groden, in which he named "nearly two dozen suspected firing points in Dealey Plaza". These sites included multiple locations in or on the roof of the Texas School Book Depository, the Dal-Tex Building, and the Dallas County Records Building, as well as the railroad overpass, a storm drain located along the north curb of Elm Street, and various spots near the Grassy Knoll. Josiah Thompson concluded that the shots fired at the motorcade came from three locations: the Texas School Book Depository, the area around the Grassy Knoll, and the Dal-Tex Building.
Michael Shrimpton is a British barrister, immigration judge, and politician noted for his conspiracy theories and hoaxes. A self-described "national security and intelligence specialist", Shrimpton was convicted in 2014 for falsely reporting that Germany was planning a nuclear attack on the 2012 Summer Olympics. Professional career: Shrimpton studied at University College, Cardiff (now Cardiff University) and was called to the Bar by Gray's Inn in November 1983. He practised law as a barrister and immigration judge. Shrimpton represented the five defendants in Thoburn v Sunderland City Council, the "Metric Martyrs" case of 2001–2002. The barrister held that, despite the passage of the European Communities Act 1972, traders were still legally permitted to use imperial units. His argument that the Weights and Measures Act 1985 had implicitly repealed the European Communities Act was ultimately rejected by the court. In 2002, Shrimpton was the Immigration Appellate Authority adjudicator in what became Chen v Home Secretary, a landmark case in European Union citizenship law. In an unprecedented move, Shrimpton referred the case directly to the European Court of Justice, bypassing the Court of Appeal and the House of Lords. Shrimpton's written decision was lauded as "brave" by British peer and journalist Adrian Berry, and has been credited with ensuring that justice in the Chen case prevailed. As a result of Shrimpton's child pornography charges (see below), in April 2013 the Bar Standards Board revoked his ability to participate in cases involving children. Following his November 2014 conviction for a nuclear bomb threat hoax, the Board completely suspended him from practice pending conclusion of professional misconduct proceedings. Political career: According to Bill Rammell, a contemporary of Shrimpton's at University College, Cardiff, Shrimpton was a member of the Conservative Party when he was elected president of the students' union in 1981. He soon defected to the Social Democratic Party, then a few months later to the Labour Party, and finally joined the Socialist Workers Party by 1982. He contested the 1987 general election in Horsham and the 1989 European Parliament election in West Sussex as a Labour candidate. After being passed over for the Labour candidacy in the 1997 Uxbridge by-election, Shrimpton defected once again to the Conservative Party. At the time, he attributed his decision to Labour's becoming too "centralised and overriding the wishes of local constituency activists". Prime Minister Tony Blair characterised Shrimpton's departure as "odd" and Labour spokespersons stated that it was "just a simple case of sour grapes". Years later, Shrimpton would claim that he left Labour over the issue of European Union membership. Since 1997, he has been a member of the Aylesbury Conservative Association. He also served as chairman of the Watermead Parish Council. Conspiracy theories: Shrimpton is particularly noted for his claims concerning his role in the intelligence community and for his theories on the infiltration of British society by German spies and saboteurs. Shrimpton describes himself as a "national security and intelligence specialist". He claims that his address is the headquarters of an international intelligence network and that he has travelled the world on intelligence assignments, with contacts in the CIA, FBI, MI6, Pentagon, Chinese intelligence, and the British Parliament. He credits himself with a role in several intelligence successes, including the capture of Osama bin Laden. According to Shrimpton, Germany re-established its Nazi-era intelligence apparatus, the Deutsches Verteidigungs Dienst (DVD) in 1945, and has since used it to wreak economic and political chaos abroad. The DVD is supposedly responsible for the assassinations (often via "weaponized cancer") of Hugh Gaitskell, Ross McWhirter, Airey Neave, Ian Gow, John Smith, James Goldsmith, Christopher Story, Anna Lindh, Jo Cox, Mohandas Gandhi, and John F. Kennedy, as well as for the sinking of the Russian submarine Kursk and for the Japanese tsunami of 2011. Shrimpton further claims that German spies have infiltrated MI5, MI6, and GCHQ and have controlled Al-Qaeda, Osama bin Laden, and the British prime ministers Clement Attlee, Harold Macmillan, Harold Wilson, and Edward Heath. Many of these claims are laid out in his book Spyhunter, published in 2014 by June Press, and in his articles for Veterans Today and UKIP Daily. Shrimpton has also written or campaigned on issues and theories relating to Euroscepticism, organized paedophilia, global warming, Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370, Barack Obama's parentage and citizenship, the disputed status of Gibraltar, and coproxamol and its role in the death of David Kelly. Police and court officials and the mainstream press have generally rejected Shrimpton's claims as grandiose conspiracy theories that he uses to bolster his reputation and to ingratiate himself to those with real power. He is known to police forces across the United Kingdom as an "intelligence nuisance". Shrimpton denies that he is mentally ill or a compulsive liar, and a psychiatric evaluation at his 2014 bomb hoax trial showed no criminally relevant evidence of mental illness. His defence counsel nonetheless suspected him to be suffering from a developmental or personality disorder such as autism or narcissistic personality disorder. Madeleine McCann: The mysterious disappearance of toddler Madeleine McCann was a particular interest of Shrimpton's. He referred to himself as the "unofficial representative" for parents Kate and Gerry McCann, and claimed responsibility for setting up a meeting between them and Pope Benedict XVI. According to Shrimpton, he made arrangements for the British Armed Forces to rescue Madeleine, who was being held in or near Morocco after being smuggled there from Lagos on a drug-running vessel. Shrimpton further claimed that the government had invested him with the authority to issue Defence Advisory Notices, and that he once invoked this in the McCann case against the News of the World. Buckingham Palace and Leicestershire Police officials confirmed receipt of correspondence from Shrimpton, but denied that he was responsible for arranging the papal visit. The report of Madeleine's captivity in Morocco was also rejected as false, and authorities issued a strict warning to Shrimpton not to interfere with the case. 2012 Summer Olympics bomb hoax: On 19 April 2012, Shrimpton contacted Barry Burton, the principal private secretary of Defence Secretary Philip Hammond, to warn of an impending attack against London. According to Shrimpton, the DVD had stolen a nuclear warhead from the Kursk and planted it somewhere in London. The agency was supposedly planning to detonate the warhead during the opening ceremony of the 2012 Summer Olympics, with the principal target being either the Olympic Stadium or Queen Elizabeth II. Shrimpton said the source of this information was the Russian Main Intelligence Directorate, via a back-channel network that included a friend of Pope Benedict XVI. The following day, Shrimpton repeatedly called the office of MP David Lidington to make the same warning. Hammond and Lidington referred the reports to the Olympic Security Team. Though officials knew Shrimpton to be unreliable and were suspicious of his claims, they were obliged to take the reports seriously. When they were confirmed to be hoaxes, Shrimpton was arrested at his home in Wendover on 20 April on charges of communicating false information with intent. During police questioning, he said his arrest was a "colossal cock-up" and demanded "compensation and a nice lunch with MI5". He later claimed that his arrest had been engineered by DVD infiltrators in the Thames Valley Police, and had allowed the DVD time to remove the nuclear device. On 23 April, Shrimpton wrote to Buckingham Palace, the Ministry of Defence, the Kremlin, and the NSA to inform them that the Queen was no longer under threat, but that the bomb may have been moved to Ground Zero in New York City. The case went to trial at Southwark Crown Court in November 2014, with Shrimpton representing himself. Shrimpton admitted to the court that his claims sounded "strange, high falutin, incredible and fantastic" but denied making positive statements about the bomb threat. The Crown Prosecution Service disagreed, describing Shrimpton's claims as "false information" that he passed on as "a mechanism to gild his self-constructed reputation as an intelligence expert." At one point during the trial, Judge Alistair McCreath reprimanded Shrimpton for using witnesses to advance his conspiracy theories. On 25 November, the jury convicted him by an 11–1 majority on two counts of communicating false information. In February 2015 he was sentenced to a twelve-month term of imprisonment. While investigating the bomb hoax case, police discovered Shrimpton to be in possession of a memory stick containing forty indecent images of children. This resulted in yet another criminal case, with Shrimpton being convicted and sentenced to a three-year supervision order and a five-year sexual offences prevention order. He was also required to sign the Violent and Sex Offender Register. Shrimpton unsuccessfully appealed against the conviction, claiming that local police or the intelligence services had planted the pornographic images in his home in order to discredit him.
Gedhun Choekyi Nyima is the 11th Panchen Lama of Tibetan Buddhism as recognised by the Dalai Lama and various other Tibetan Buddhist leaders. He was born in Lhari County, Tibet. On 14 May 1995, Gedhun Choekyi Nyima was named the 11th Panchen Lama by the 14th Dalai Lama. After his selection, he was kidnapped by authorities of the People's Republic of China and has not been seen in public since 17 May 1995. Another child, Gyancain Norbu, was later named as Panchen Lama by the People's Republic of China, a choice rejected by most Tibetans. Selection of the 11th Panchen Lama: Following the death of the 10th Panchen Lama in 1989, the search for an individual to be recognised as his reincarnation by Tibetan Buddhists quickly became mired in mystery and controversy, as Tibet had been under the occupation and control of the non-religious People's Republic of China since 1959. Armed with Beijing's approval, the head of the Panchen Lama search committee, Chadrel Rinpoche, maintained private communication with the Dalai Lama in order to arrive at a mutually acceptable candidate for both the Dalai Lama and Beijing authorities concerning the Panchen Lama's reincarnation. After the Dalai Lama named Gedhun Choekyi Nyima as the 11th incarnation of the Panchen Lama on 14 May, Chinese authorities had Chadrel Rinpoche arrested and charged with treason. According to the Tibetan Government in Exile, he was replaced by Sengchen Lobsang Gyaltsen, so chosen because he was more likely to agree with the party line. Sengchen had been a political opponent of both the Dalai Lama and the 10th Panchen Lama. Because of the history of rivalry between different sects of Tibetan Buddhism, many Tibetans and scholars believe that this was a tactical move by the CCP to create more unrest and disunity between the typically unified Tibetan peoples. The new search committee ignored the Dalai Lama's 14 May announcement and instead chose from a list of finalists which excluded Gedhun Choekyi Nyima. In selecting a name, lottery numbers were drawn from a Golden Urn, a procedure used in Tibet by the Chinese (Manchu) emperor in 1793. The Tibetan method involves using possessions of the former Lama to identify his reincarnation, as the new child incarnate will reportedly recognize his past items amid miscellaneous ones. Chinese authorities announced Gyancain Norbu as the search committee's choice on 11 November 1995. Whereabouts: The whereabouts of Gedhun Choekyi Nyima are unknown. Human Rights organizations have termed him the "youngest political prisoner in the world". According to statements by the Chinese government from 1998, he was then leading a normal life. No foreign party has been allowed to visit him. Officials state that his whereabouts are kept undisclosed to protect him. Those who say Nyima is the 11th Panchen Lama call upon the Chinese authorities to prove that he is safe. The Committee on the Rights of the Child requested to be told of Nyima's whereabouts on 28 May 1996. Xinhua declined, responding that Nyima was at risk of being "kidnapped by separatists" and that "his security had been threatened". The Committee requested a visit with Gedhun Choekyi Nyima, supported by a campaign of more than 400 celebrities and associations petitioning for the visit, including six Nobel Prize winners. In May 2007, Asma Jahangir, Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief of the UN Human Rights Council, asked the Chinese authorities what measures they had taken to implement the recommendation of the Committee on the Rights of the Child, that the government should allow an independent expert to visit and confirm the well-being of Gedhun Choekyi Nyima while respecting his right to privacy, and that of his parents. In a response dated 17 July 2007, the Chinese authorities said: "Gedhun Choekyi Nyima is a perfectly ordinary Tibetan boy, in an excellent state of health, leading a normal, happy life and receiving a good education and cultural upbringing. He is currently in upper secondary school, he measures 165 cm in height and is easy-going by nature. He studies hard and his school results are very good. He likes Chinese traditional culture and has recently taken up calligraphy. His parents are both State employees, and his brothers and sisters are either already working or at university. The allegation that he disappeared together with his parents and that his whereabouts remain unknown is simply not true." This response did not answer the question about a visit or confirmation. In 2013, Gedhun Choekyi Nyima would have been turning 24. The protective custody should have ended when he turned 18 per Chinese law. On the twentieth anniversary of Gendun Choekyi Nyima’s disappearance, Chinese officials announced "The reincarnated child Panchen Lama you mentioned is being educated, living a normal life, growing up healthily and does not wish to be disturbed."
Thursday, November 24, 2016
The Industrial Christian Home for Polygamous Wives (or The Industrial Christian Home) was a women's refuge created in 1886 in Salt Lake City. Due to several conflicts, including low occupancy, the facility closed in 1893. The building was subsequently used as the seat of the Utah State Legislature; as a hotel; as officer's quarters in WW2 and then finally as a private club until it was demolished in 1985. History: The Industrial Christian Home Association was founded by Angie Newman in March 1886. Newman, a member of the Women's Christian Temperance Union, was a resident of Nebraska when she became aware of polygamy in Utah while visiting relatives there in 1876. She was determined to provide a safe haven for women in polygamous marriages, and by 1883 had financial backing from the Methodist Episcopal Woman's Home Missionary Society. When she eventually parted ways with the missionary society, Newman teamed up with women who were largely Protestant and ex-members of the defunct Ladies Anti-Polygamy Society (or the Womans National Anti-polygamy Society), including among their number the active Jennie Anderson Froiseth, editor of The Anti-Polygamy Standard. Representing the group before the Senate Committee on Education and Labor in Washington D. C., Newman applied for federal funds and was successful in securing an initial $40,000. The Industrial Christian Home opened in a temporary location in December 1886, overseen by a Congressionally appointed "Board of Control" (the Utah Commission), headed by territorial governors Eli H. Murray and Caleb Walton West. A dispute ensued when the women challenged who should administer the financial oversight. Newman appealed for intervention directly to President Grover Cleveland, who delegated the request to the Secretary of the Interior. Difficulties between the board and the staff caused organizational problems, which were exacerbated by Mormon attempts to discredit the whole enterprise. A total of 154 applications were made in the first nine months, most of which were refused by the board, who reasoned that monogamous wives, first wives, and children of polygamists would not be helped by the home. Mission staff restricted access to those whose marriages they considered illegal – second and third wives. Also excluded were those who refused polygamy, or indeed Mormonism as a whole. In 1888–1889 Congress approved funds for an elaborate new home. An additional appropriation of $80,000 ($75,000 for building and $5,000 for contingent expenses) paid for the construction of a large building at 145 South 500 East in Salt Lake City. The home opened in June 1889. It never had enough residents to fill its capacious accommodation. It closed in 1893. Later uses of the building: Briefly the building was the home of the Utah legislature. Afterwards it became a residential hotel – the Fifth East Hotel. During World War II it housed military officers. In 1945 it became the Ambassador Athletic Club. The building was demolished in 1985.
The Trow Ghyll skeleton is a set of human remains discovered on 24 August 1947 in a cave near Clapham in the West Riding of Yorkshire. It was named after a prominent topographical feature located some 800 metres (900 yd) away. Although the identity of the body has never been ascertained, it has been claimed that they were those of a German spy. The unexplained death has been described as "the most notable" mystery over a possible Nazi agent in Britain. Discovery: On 24 August 1947, two friends who were keen potholers decided to go out looking for new potholes to explore near the famous Ingleborough Cave. They were Jim Leach who was then working as an electrician and living at Great Harwood near Blackburn, and Harold Burgess, then a motor engineer and living in Leeds. The two were good friends (known as "Jim and Budge") who were members of the Northern Pennine Club and later became business partners. At about 12:30 PM, they discovered a small hole (subsequently named Body Pot) which was partly obscured by stones. On moving the stones to make the entrance bigger, Leach climbed down about 10 feet where he saw a pair of shoes. Looking round he then saw the skull and the rest of the body, under a large stone (although it was not resting on the body); the remains had suffered advanced decomposition and there was hardly any flesh remaining. Burgess spotted near the body a small bottle of white powder which he assumed to be flash powder. Leach and Burgess returned to Clapham to raise the alarm and later that afternoon returned to the cave with Police Sergeant Nock of Ingleton; the police stationed a guard outside the cave until the body could be photographed and then removed the following day. The remains were taken to Skipton mortuary and the effects found in the cave were sent to the forensic laboratory at Wakefield. The local community was quickly reassured that foul play had been ruled out as a cause of death. A second skeleton: By coincidence, a week later on 31 August another skeleton was found not far away at Gaping Gill. These remains were unidentified but were found to be those of a man of between 25 and 35 years, who had died two or three years previously, and had been killed in a fall down the cave. Inquest: The findings of the various checks on the discovery were reported to an inquest held on 25 November at Skipton town hall before Coroner Stephen E. Brown and a jury. Leach and Burgess gave evidence of their discovery, and the police witnesses told of how they had preserved the evidence and transmitted it to the appropriate authorities. The main evidence at the inquest was given by the scientific witnesses. Post mortem examination: On 26 August Professor P. L. Sutherland conducted a post mortem examination on the body. He found that the remains were those of a man who was 5 ft. 5 ¼ in. tall, aged between 22 and 30 at the time of death, and that death had occurred at least two and no more than six years before. He was able to rule out broken or diseased bones as a cause of death (none were fractured or broken), although not all of them were present. The bones were entirely separate from each other and the brain had disappeared; his clothes had rotted to the point where it was difficult to distinguish them. Forensic tests: Lewis Nickolls of the North East Forensic Science Laboratory reported that the man had been wearing a blue shirt and tie, and a grey-blue suit with red and white stripes "about three to the inch". He had a tweedy herringbone overcoat, grey trilby hat, and a plum coloured scarf (which would have been over the mouth at the time of death). He also had light brown to auburn hair. The most interesting evidence dealt with those of the man's possessions which had not rotted away. The glass bottle seen by Burgess turned out not to contain flash powder, but Sodium cyanide, a lethal poison. The bottle was full to the shoulder although it was possible, said Nickolls, to have extracted a lethal dose from it. An unbroken ampule of the same material was also found. Of his other possessions, the man had coins to the value of 11 shillings 5 ½ pence, with none of the coins newer than 1939. Nickolls said that the date of death would have been two years after that. There were two pairs of shoes, one of which had been made in 1938 and the other in 1939. There was a mineral water bottle of a type supplied to hotels in Morecambe, Lancaster and Ingleton, and containing a blue 'crown' top not introduced until 1940. Other items found with the man included a wristlet watch, handkerchief, shaving tube, studs, toothbrush, fountain pen, propelling pencil, compass, box of matches, tablets, flashlamp, and toiletries. The man had a key but the police were unable to identify the lock which it opened. Identity: When the body was discovered, wide publicity was given and several people came forward to link missing relatives to the remains. The police compiled the suggestions into a list of 18, of which four turned out to be alive, ten were ruled out for bearing no resemblance to the remains, and for the four remaining it was impossible to say whether they were the man. The inquest returned a verdict that there was insufficient evidence of cause of death and to identify the remains. Mystery: At the inquest, Nicholls had been asked about the cyanide phial and ampule and said that it was used commercially and as a poison for vermin. However, he had to admit that he had not seen the same design before. The legal historian A. W. B. Simpson, who was living in Clapham at the time of the discovery, later noted that the only known users of such an ampule were spies operating in enemy countries, who had them in order to commit suicide in the event that they were discovered. Simpson claimed that the individual was "plainly connected in some way with the German secret service" and that he was "the most notable .. mystery" over a German agent. He further remarked that "Such enquiries as I have made from persons who ought to know have produced evasiveness". However, Simpson's claims are not supported by German intelligence documents discovered after the war. According to the British domestic security service, MI5, Germany had sent around 115 agents against Britain during the course of the war. Almost all of these had been successfully identified and caught, with the exception of Willem Ter Braak – not the body found at Trow Ghyll – who had committed suicide before being captured.
On January 7, 2016, in West Philadelphia, in the late evening, a gunman shot Philadelphia police officer Jesse Hartnett, who was driving a marked police car. Hartnett survived, despite being shot multiple times in the left arm. He was able to get out of his car to shoot the fleeing suspect, Edward Archer. Later in the hospital, Archer claimed that he pledged allegiance to ISIS. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is investigating the shooting as a terrorist attack. Events: At 60th Street and Spruce Street in West Philadelphia, the attacker fired 13 shots at uniformed police officer Jesse Hartnett, who was driving his marked police car at about 11:40 p.m. when the shooting occurred. The attacker, who was wearing a white thawb (a robe generally worn by Muslim men), reportedly waved down the police car, then began firing as the car slowed down. He first fired through the driver's side window, then ran up to the car, reached through the shattered window, and continued firing directly at Hartnett who shielded his head with his left arm. Though he was wounded and bleeding from three gunshot wounds to his left arm, Hartnett managed to stop the car, get out, and give chase. He was able to fire off three gunshots, shooting the attacker in the buttocks before radioing for help. The suspect was arrested a block away by other responding officers. Suspect: Edward Archer, aged 30, was unemployed and living with his mother at Yeadon, Pennsylvania, at the time of the shooting. He was allegedly armed with a 9mm Glock 17 handgun capable of carrying 13 rounds, which was reported stolen from the home of a police officer in October 2013; the gun was recovered shortly after the shooting in Archer's thawb. Archer confessed that he committed the attack "in the name of Islam", that Allah ordered him to commit the attack, and that he targeted a police officer because they defended laws that went against the teachings of the Quran. Archer was said to have become interested in Islam during his teenage years. He allegedly attended a mosque in Philadelphia and became more radical after attending a second mosque nearby, where the imam identified him as Abdul Shaheed. He was described by local Muslims as devout, interested in the religion, and closely involved in the establishment of community activities. According to an FBI official, Archer spent time in Saudi Arabia from October to November 2011 for Hajj (the Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca). He also traveled to Egypt for eight months in 2012 to study Arabic. According to acquaintances, Archer was the target of racist comments during his time in Egypt, which came to a point where he returned to the U.S. prematurely. The FBI began investigating both of the trips following the shooting, citing that Archer, who was unemployed and had no prior foreign travels, could not have been able to acquire a passport and pay for an extended stay in the Middle East; suspicions of the trips being funded by people or organizations with links to terrorism have been raised. It was later found that the trip was funded by a group of local Muslim men who would give donations to finance such trips for newcomers. In March 2015, Archer pleaded guilty to a firearms offense, aggravated assault, and making terroristic threats, among other offenses, in relation to an incident that occurred in January 2012, in which he and two other men confronted the husband of Archer's ex-wife. He was released and placed on probation. In November 2015, he had been found guilty of several charges that included fraud and forgery; he was out on probation and awaiting sentencing for that case at the time of the shooting. According to Archer's mother, he suffered from head injuries from playing football and a moped accident. She also added that he had some form of mental illness, specifying that he would hear voices in his head. In addition, she claimed he felt targeted by police. A former classmate recalled that Archer was a loner in high school who had a passion for football and was not religious. Two associates stated that he had become more drastic and combative following his trips to the Middle East, though another said the trips seemed to have a calming effect on him. Victim: Officer Jesse James Hartnett, aged 33, was at the time a four-year veteran with the Philadelphia Police Department. He graduated from Monsignor Bonner High School in 2001. Hartnett previously served with the United States Coast Guard, joining right after the September 11 attacks occurred and serving on active duty throughout August 2008. He then served with the Coast Guard Reserve from 2009 to November 2015. In September 2010, he became an officer for the East Lansdowne police force and worked there until July 2011, which was when he transferred to the Philadelphia Police Department. Following the shooting, Hartnett suffered a broken arm and nerve damage. He was classified as being in critical but stable condition, and went into surgery at Penn Presbyterian Medical Center. He was wearing a bulletproof vest at the time of the shooting. An online fundraising campaign was set up on January 9 to aid Hartnett in recovering from his injuries. Hartnett was discharged from the hospital on January 22. Aftermath: In light of this attack, and a similar attack on French police that occurred earlier on the same day, officers of the New York City Police Department were instructed to "exercise heightened vigilance" and take "proactive measures". A SWAT unit and two units assigned to the Philadelphia Police Department's counter-terrorism unit were added to the police patrols in recent days. On January 12, five days after the shooting, a march was held in Philadelphia in support for Hartnett and other police officers. Some skepticism was raised at the suspect's claim that he committed the shooting in the name of Islam. In February 2016, Clive Watts, a homeland security expert, believed the suspect was mentally ill. He also stated that the shooting was possibly committed in response to a series of coordinated terrorist attacks in Paris in November 2015, explaining, "This is headline-inspired, not ISIS-inspired. It tends to happen after a successful attack, like what happened in Paris. People who already have psychological issues pick up a weapon and decide to act. It's more personal than ideological." Criminal investigation: Immediately after the shooting, the FBI searched two residences connected to the suspect. They also began scouring through the suspect's online activities and phone records. Three days after the shooting, an unidentified woman stopped a police officer on a street and informed him that the suspect was "part of a radical group that consists of three others", that he "is not the most radical of the four", and that "the threat to police is not over". The tipster also informed the officer that the other three men frequented the area where Hartnett was shot and claimed to have an affiliation with the group. As a result, all law enforcement agencies in Philadelphia were put on high alert, officers were ordered to work in pairs, and an investigation into the tip by a federal and local Joint Terrorism Task Force was launched. Investigators are aware of the names of two of the three men in question, but are still seeking the identity of the third. On January 13, six days after the shooting, FBI Director James Comey announced that the FBI is investigating the shooting as a terrorist attack. The next day, Comey announced that the FBI has currently found no evidence that Archer was involved with any terrorist cells or that there are any other planned attacks in Philadelphia. He also downplayed the significance of the January 10 tip. Legal proceedings: On January 9, Archer was arraigned on one count of attempted murder, along with charges of aggravated assault on a police officer, reckless endangerment, making terroristic threats, possessing an instrument of crime, violating a uniform firearms act, and related offenses. He is currently being held without bail. A preliminary hearing was scheduled for January 25. This hearing was postponed to March 10 and scheduled to be held in Philadelphia Municipal Court. Archer appeared in court on that date, which had several police officers in attendance, among others. Hartnett testified at the hearing, describing the details of his attack and the aftermath. He was formally arraigned in Common Pleas Court on March 31. Reactions: Police Commissioner Richard Ross denounced the shooting as "absolutely evil". He also commended Officer Hartnett's survival, which he called "absolutely amazing". Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney issued a statement condemning the shooting. Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf said in a statement, "This alleged intentional act of violence against an officer seeking to help a fellow citizen is horrifying and has no place in Pennsylvania." Pennsylvania Senators Pat Toomey and Bob Casey, Jr. both decried the shooting, with Toomey calling it an act of terror. Republican U.S. presidential candidates Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio also reacted to the shooting. Amara Chaudhry Kravitz of Upon Further Review criticized the Philadelphia District Attorney's prosecution of Archer and argued that Archer can, and should, be prosecuted pursuant to Pennsylvania's criminal terrorist statute, 18 Pa.C.S.A. 2717, based upon facts known to investigators at this time. She also argued that such a prosecution would double the maximum statutory sentence Archer could receive in state court and, at the same time, would not preclude a subsequent federal prosecution if investigators were to find sufficient facts to justify a federal terrorism prosecution. Fellow Upon Further Review writer Susan Lin responded critically to Kravitz's article, citing Archer's apparent mental health issues.
The Townville Elementary School shooting occurred on September 28, 2016, in Townville, South Carolina, located 40 miles (64 km) southwest of Greenville. A gunman shot three students and a teacher, fatally wounding six-year-old student Jacob Hall, who died from his wounds three days later. Fourteen-year-old Jesse Osborne, who allegedly killed his father before the shooting, was arrested as the sole suspect and charged with murder and attempted murder. Details: The shooting started before 1:45 p.m., when a gunman began firing into the air near the school's playground, repeatedly shouting, "I hate my life." He then jumped the fence and began firing at students. Police received a 9-1-1 call on the shooting at 1:44 p.m. At around 2:00 p.m., the suspect was apprehended by a volunteer firefighter. A body, later identified as the suspect's father, was later discovered at the family home by the suspect's paternal grandmother. The woman had received an "unintelligible" call from her grandson before the shooting started, which prompted her to go to the home to investigate. One student was shot in the foot and a female teacher was shot in the shoulder; both were treated at AnMed Health Women's & Children's Hospital and released the following evening. Another student suffered a superficial wound that did not require medical treatment. A third student, six-year-old Jacob Hall, suffered a gunshot wound to the leg, which led to massive blood loss and then cardiac arrest. He was airlifted to Greenville Memorial Hospital and underwent surgery. Hall died on October 1, three days after being shot. A funeral for Hall was held on October 5. Suspect: Jesse Osborne, aged 14, was identified as the suspected gunman. He was not a student of Townville Elementary School. At the time of the shooting, he was being homeschooled after being expelled from middle school for attacking another student with a hatchet in 2015. Osborne was charged as a juvenile with two counts of murder and two counts of attempted murder.
On November 20, 2016, Benjamin Marconi, a detective with the San Antonio Police Department, was shot to death in San Antonio, Texas, during a routine traffic stop in front of the department's headquarters. The suspected shooter, identified as Otis Tyrone McKane, was arrested the next day after a massive manhunt, and charged with capital murder. Event: The shooting occurred in front of the San Antonio Police Department headquarters before noon. Detective Marconi was sitting inside his patrol car, writing a traffic ticket to a motorist he pulled over. At that moment, another motorist pulled up from behind him, walked out of his car, approached Marconi's side-window, and shot him in the head. He then reached through the open window, shot Marconi in the head again, and then fled in his car. The shooter was believed to have had no relationship to the original motorist who was pulled over. Marconi, a 50-year-old officer who had been with the department for 20 years, later died at the San Antonio Military Medical Center at 12:22 p.m. He was the first San Antonio police officer to die in the line of duty since 2013. Aftermath: Investigators believed the shooter was targeting police officers in general. The shooting took place on the same day as three other attacks against police officers in St. Louis and Gladstone, Missouri, and Sanibel, Florida; these shootings were unrelated to one another and the San Antonio shooting, and resulted in serious but non-fatal injuries. At the time of these shootings, there was already an "alarming spike in ambush-style attacks", and the total number of attacks on uniformed officers was reportedly up in 2016. This was also the 60th shooting homicide of a police officer in 2016, already representing a significant increase from 2015's total of 41 officers shot and killed. San Antonio Police Chief William McManus compared the killing to the recent mass shootings in Dallas, Texas, and Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Suspect: Otis Tyrone McKane, aged 31, was identified as the suspected shooter. He was arrested on the day following the shooting, after a massive manhunt, while riding in a car with a woman and a child on Interstate 10. McKane allegedly visited the San Antonio police headquarters and briefly spoke to a clerk four hours before the shooting. He had a criminal record, including an assault charge recorded in 2012. He married an unidentified woman between the aftermath of the shooting and his arrest; though there is a 72-hour waiting period between receiving a marriage license and holding a ceremony, this waiting period was waived by a judge who declined to give a reason. Following his arrest, McKane was charged with capital murder and jailed on a US$2,000,000 bond. While being escorted out of the police station to be taken to Bexar County Jail, he claimed to reporters that he had been upset at the court system for not allowing him to see his son, and also issued an apology to Marconi's family. Reactions: Governor Greg Abbott condemned the killing and proclaimed that "attacks against law enforcement officers will not be tolerated in Texas and must be met with swift justice." Mayor Ivy Taylor also condemned the killing, called for patience in the ongoing investigation, and extended her condolences to Marconi's family. President-elect Donald Trump called Marconi's family to offer his condolences. Other law enforcement agencies sent tributes for Marconi on social media. On the day after the shooting, Governor Abbott urged the Texas Legislature to pass his proposed Police Protection Act, which would classify attacks against law enforcement officers as hate crimes. The act received support from James Pasco, executive producer of the Fraternal Order of Police, who also expressed concern about the San Antonio killing and the three other shootings in Missouri and Florida, and blamed the erosion of trust in law enforcement on politicians, activists, and the media. In a Facebook post commenting on the announcement of McKane's arrest, Burnet County Judge James Oakley wrote, "Time for a tree and a rope..." Oakley later deleted the post and apologized for his choice of words, telling the Huffington Post that he did not intend to make a racially-charged comment.Chief McManus announced that, as a result of the shooting, San Antonio police officers would not be conducting traffic stops alone. The four shootings on November 10 prompted some police departments to put its officers in pairs until further notice.
Gary Michael Heidnik was an American murderer who kidnapped, tortured, and raped six women, and held them prisoner in his basement in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Heidnik was sentenced to death and executed by lethal injection in July 1999. Childhood: Heidnik was born to Michael and Ellen Heidnik, and was raised in the Eastlake suburb of Cleveland, Ohio. He had a younger brother, Terry. His parents divorced in 1946. The Heidnik children were then reared by their mother for four years before being placed in the care of Michael Heidnik and his new wife. Heidnik would later claim that he was often emotionally abused by his father. Heidnik suffered a lifelong problem of bed wetting, and claimed his father would humiliate his son by forcing him to hang his stained sheets from his bedroom window, in full view of their neighbors. After his son's arrest, Michael Heidnik denied that he abused his son. At school, Heidnik did not interact with his fellow students, and refused to make eye contact. When a well-meaning new female student asked, "Did you get the homework done, Gary?", he yelled at her and told her she was not "worthy enough" to talk to him. Heidnik was also teased about his oddly shaped head, which he and Terry claimed was the result of a young Heidnik's falling out of a tree. Heidnik performed well academically and tested with an I.Q. of 130. With the encouragement of his father, 14-year-old Heidnik enrolled at the since defunct Staunton Military Academy in Staunton, Virginia for two years, leaving before graduation. After another period in public high school, he dropped out and joined the United States Army when he was 17. Heidnik served in the Army for thirteen months. During basic training, Heidnik's drill sergeant graded him as "excellent". Following basic training, he applied for several specialist positions, including the military police, but was rejected. He was sent to San Antonio, Texas, to be trained as a medic and did well through medical training. However, Heidnik did not stay in San Antonio very long and was transferred to the 46th Army Surgical Hospital in Landstuhl, West Germany. Within weeks of his new posting in Germany, he earned his GED. In August 1962, Heidnik reported in sick, calling and complaining of severe headaches, dizziness, blurred vision, and nausea. A hospital neurologist diagnosed Heidnik with gastroenteritis, and noted that Heidnik also displayed symptoms of mental illness, for which he was prescribed trifluoperazine (Stelazine). In October 1962, Heidnik was transferred to a military hospital in Philadelphia, where he was diagnosed with schizoid personality disorder and honorably discharged from military service. Adulthood: Shortly after his discharge, Heidnik became a licensed practical nurse and enrolled at the University of Pennsylvania, only to drop out after one semester. He worked as a psychiatric nurse at a Veterans Administration hospital in Coatesville, but was fired for poor attendance and rude behavior towards patients. From August 1962 until his arrest in March 1987, Heidnik spent time in and out of psychiatric hospitals, and had attempted suicide at least 13 times. In 1970, his mother Ellen, who had been diagnosed with bone cancer and was suffering the effects of alcoholism, committed suicide by drinking mercuric chloride. His brother Terry also spent time in mental institutions and attempted suicide multiple times. In October 1971, Heidnik incorporated a church called the United Church of the Ministers of God, initially with only five followers. In 1975, Heidnik opened an account under the church's name with Merrill Lynch. The initial deposit was $1,500. Heidnik eventually amassed over $500,000 (US$ 1,081,208.26 in 2010). By 1986, the United Church of the Ministers of God was thriving and wealthy. Heidnik used a matrimonial service to meet his future wife, with whom he corresponded by mail for two years before proposing to her. Betty Disto arrived from the Philippines in September 1985, and married Heidnik in Maryland on October 3, 1985. The marriage rapidly deteriorated after she found Heidnik in bed with three other women. Throughout the course of their brief marriage, Heidnik forced his wife to watch while he had sex with other women. Disto also accused him of repeatedly raping and assaulting her. With the help of the Filipino community in Philadelphia, she was able to leave Heidnik in January 1986. Unknown to Heidnik until his ex-wife requested child support payments in 1987, he impregnated Betty during their short marriage. On September 15, 1986, Disto gave birth to a son, whom she named Jesse John Disto. Heidnik also had a child with Gail Lincow, a son named Gary, Jr. The child was placed in foster care soon after his birth. Heidnik had a third child with another woman, Anjeanette Davidson, who was illiterate and mentally disabled. Their daughter, Maxine Davidson, was born on March 16, 1978. The child was immediately placed in foster care. Shortly after Maxine's birth, Heidnik was arrested for the kidnapping and rape of Anjeanette's sister Alberta, who had been living in an institution for the mentally disabled in Penn Township. Criminal activities- 1976: First legal charges: In 1976, Heidnik was charged with aggravated assault and carrying an unlicensed pistol after shooting the tenant of a house he offered for rent, grazing his face. 1978: First imprisonment: Heidnik signed his girlfriend Anjeanette Davidson's sister, Alberta, out of a mental institution on day leave, and kept her prisoner in a locked storage room in his basement in 1978. After she was found and returned to the hospital, examination revealed that she had been raped and sodomized and that she had contracted gonorrhea. Heidnik was arrested and charged with kidnapping, rape, unlawful restraint, false imprisonment, involuntary deviant sexual intercourse, and interfering with the custody of a committed person. The original sentence was overturned on appeal, and Heidnik spent three years of his incarceration in mental institutions prior to being released in April 1983 under the supervision of a state-sanctioned mental health program. 1986: Spousal rape: After his wife Betty left him in 1986, Heidnik was arrested yet again and charged with assault, indecent assault, spousal rape and involuntary deviant sexual intercourse. 1986-1987: Serial rape and murder: On November 25, 1986, Heidnik abducted Josefina Rivera. By January 1987, he had five women held captive in the basement of his house at 3520 North Marshall Street in North Philadelphia. The captives, who were all African-American women, were raped, beaten, and tortured. One of the women, Sandra Lindsay, died of a combination of starvation, torture, and an untreated fever. Heidnik dismembered her body but had a problem dealing with the arms and legs, so he put them in a freezer and marked them "dog food". He cooked her ribs in an oven and boiled her head in a pot on the stove. Police came to the house due to the complaints of a bad odor, but left the premises after Heidnik's explanation: "I’m cooking a roast. I fell asleep and it burnt." Several sources state that he ground up the flesh of Lindsay, mixed it with dog food, and fed that to his other victims. His defense attorney, Chuck Peruto, said that upon examination of a Cuisinart and other tools in his kitchen, they found no evidence of this. Peruto said that he made up the story to support the insanity defense. The defense attorney said that he started the rumor of cannibalism in public and that in fact there was no evidence of anyone eating human flesh. Heidnik used electric shock as a form of torture. At one point, he forced three of his captives, bound in chains, into a pit. Heidnik ordered Josefina Rivera and another woman to fill the hole with water and then forced Rivera to help him apply electric current from a stripped extension cord to the women's chains. Deborah Dudley was fatally electrocuted, and Heidnik disposed of her body in the New Jersey Pine Barrens. On March 23, 1987, Heidnik and Rivera abducted Agnes Adams. The next day, Rivera convinced Heidnik to let her go, temporarily, in order to visit her family. He drove her to a gas station and said he would wait for her there. She walked a block away and called 911. She told the police the story and they were somewhat unconvinced at first. The police made her repeat the story and she told it exactly the same way again. The responding officers, more convinced after they looked at her leg and noted the chafing from the chains, went to the gas station and arrested Heidnik. His purported best friend, Cyril ("Tony") Brown, was also arrested. Brown was released on $50,000 bail and an agreement that he would testify against Heidnik. In part, Brown admitted to seeing Sandra Lindsay's death in the basement while in chains and Heidnik dismembering her. Shortly after his arrest, Heidnik attempted to hang himself in his jail cell in April 1987. Trial and appeals: At Heidnik's arraignment, he claimed that the women were already in the house when he moved in. At trial, Heidnik was defended by A. Charles Peruto, Jr., who attempted to prove that Heidnik was legally insane. Heidnik's insanity was successfully rebutted by the prosecution, led by Charles F. Gallagher, III. The fact that he had amassed approximately $550,000 in his bank and brokerage accounts was used to argue that he was not insane. Testimony from his Merrill Lynch financial advisor, Robert Kirkpatrick, was also used to prove competence. Kirkpatrick called Heidnik "an astute investor who knew exactly what he was doing." Convicted of two counts of first-degree murder on July 1, 1988, Heidnik was sentenced to death and incarcerated at the State Correctional Institution at Pittsburgh. In January 1989, he attempted suicide with an overdose of prescribed thorazine. In 1997, Heidnik's daughter, Maxine Davidson White, and his ex-wife, Betty Heidnik, filed suit in federal court in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania seeking a stay of execution on the basis that Heidnik was not in fact competent to be executed, despite the fact that only two days prior, the Pennsylvania Court of Common Pleas had found that Heidnik was competent for execution. That ruling from the Court of Common Pleas contained 38 findings of fact attesting to Heidnik's competence. While Heidnik's daughter and ex-wife had filed the suit, Gary Heidnik himself was not a party to the action, and he had repeatedly asked courts to forego further delays and proceedings in his case that would needlessly prolong the period of time until his sentence could be carried out. In his ruling Judge Franklin Van Antwerpen cited the state court's ruling on Heidnik's competency and section 2254(e) of Title 28 of the United States Code (28 U.S.C. § 2254(e)), which provides that findings of state courts are to be presumed correct unless there is clear and convincing evidence to the contrary. Since the state court had established that Heidnik was competent only two days earlier and since there was no reason to think Heidnik was suddenly incompetent, disabled, or otherwise unable to act on his own behalf, Van Antwerpen ruled that neither Heidnik's daughter nor his ex-wife had standing in the case. With no party with standing before the court, Van Antwerpen ruled that the court had no jurisdiction in the matter. The district court's ruling was immediately appealed, and the very next day, April 17, 1997, attorneys for White and Betty Heidnik argued their case before a three judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. The Third Circuit's decision, issued on April 18, 1997, vacated the district court's order with instructions to order the stay of execution. While the Appeals Court's order for a stay of execution ultimately allowed legal proceedings to continue for another two years, on July 3, 1999, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania issued its final ruling in the case, denying White's application for a further stay of execution, dismissing White's final petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus, and denying certificate of appealability. The Governor of Pennsylvania had already signed Heidnik's execution warrant, and scheduled the execution for July 6, 1999. This final ruling from the district court effectively ended any recourse to the federal courts by Heidnik or on his behalf. Execution: Gary Heidnik was executed by lethal injection on July 6, 1999, at State Correctional Institution – Rockview in Centre County, Pennsylvania. His body was later cremated. As of 2016, he is the last person to be executed by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. List of captives: - Josefina Rivera, age 25, kidnapped on November 25, 1986. - Sandra Lindsay, age 24, kidnapped on December 3, 1986, murdered in February 1987. - Lisa Thomas, age 19, kidnapped on December 23, 1986. - Deborah Dudley, age 23, kidnapped on January 2, 1987, murdered on March 19, 1987. - Jacqueline Askins, age 18, kidnapped on January 18, 1987. (featured on The Steve Wilkos Show "I Survived A Serial Killer") - Agnes Adams, age 24, kidnapped on March 23, 1987 (rescued the same day). Trivia- In film and literature: - Blind Faith, a 1989 direct-to-video feature film directed by Dean Wilson, was "based upon the true story of Philadelphia sex killer Gary Heidnik." - Heidnik's defense attorney, A. Charles "Chuck" Peruto Jr., told Philadelphia magazine: "Eventually Gary’s story wound its way into Silence of the Lambs. If you watch that movie, you can see a lot of Heidnik in the Buffalo Bill character. The way he has the girl in the pit." - Heidnik's methods of captivity and torture were used for inspiration in Dan Wells' young adult thriller novel Mr. Monster. In this novel, a killer keeps his victims locked in the basement or put into "the hole" for extra punishment, which is a dug-out hole in the floor (partially filled with soiled water) where a victim is kept, covered with boards and water barrels to ensure captivity. The killer also employs the use of shock torture in a situation similar to the methods Heidnik used with Josefina Rivera. - Cellar of Horror: The Story of Gary Heidnik. Book about Gary, his crimes, trial and sentence. - Josefina Rivera - Cellar Girl - shocking but ultimately inspiring story of one brave, young woman saved herself and others from a life worse than hell. Book first published in 2013 by Ebury Press, written with Katy Weitz. In music: - In 1988, the Punk rock band from Philadelphia, The Serial Killers, released a 7" single of their song "Gary Heidnik's House of Horrors". Included with the record was a small bag of dirt from the front yard of Heidnik's North Philadelphia row home. It also included a "Certificate of Authenticity". - American death metal/grindcore band, Macabre recorded a song about Heidnik (from their Murder Metal album) called "Morbid Minister". - Hardcore/gabber artist Angerfist, under his alias Bloodcage, released a track in 2008 called "Strangle & Mutilate" with lyrics referring to Heidnik's methods of torture. - Doom Metal band Church of Misery, released a track in 2013 called "Brother Bishop" about Heidnik on their album, Thy Kingdom Scum. - New Jersey punk/hardcore band Heidnik Stew were named for the mixture of human remains and dog food allegedly served to the other victims. - Philadelphia Hardcore/Grindcore band named Heidnik released an Album (Nothing) and two EP's in the late 1990's/early 2000's. - Belgium deathmetal band, Aborted referenced the cannibalism, electrocution, and starvation events in the Heidnik serial rape and murders in their song titled "Cadaverous Banquet"