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True Crime Stories

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"I Killed 30 or 40 People Last Year"
2007-12-14 08:37:00
By Peter WestonDetective Dragnet February 1980 (Volume 24, Number 1)When the middle aged, dog-faced man walked into the West 100th Street Station in New York City, the desk sergeant yawned and demanded, "Well, what do you want, buddy?""I want to make a confession," the man replied. "I killed my wife yesterday. Stabbed her a dozen times and left her body on the bedroom floor. Up in Dutchess County."The sergeant was jolted to full wakefulness. Maybe the man was one of those oddballs who confessed to anything just for attention. And maybe he wasn't. There is no alternative for police in those situations. The man has to be checked out."What's your name?""Joe Fischer - Joseph Fischer. I'm 50. I might as well tell you something else. I'm an ex-con. Got out of Rahway State Prison over in Jersey last year. Did a stretch for murder.""Where did you kill your wife?""It was up in Dutchess County. A little town called Wassaic, outside of Poughkeepsie. I got a trailer in a trailer colony up t...
More About: People , Killed , Year
Money for Nothing
2007-12-08 05:39:00
Women's "gifting circles" are the fastest-growing -- and cruelest -- scam around.A Tantalizing FantasyGina DeJoy used to take people at their word. At her Maine antiques store, customers could ask for things to be put aside, on hold, no deposit necessary. These days, DeJoy would like to be paid in full first, thank you very much. After what she's been through, it's hard to blame her.Three years ago, DeJoy, 43, told an acquaintance that she was in a tough spot financially. Every six weeks she was flying to Virginia -- missing work each time -- to get her mother through chemotherapy. Her credit cards were maxed out, but she couldn't bear to let her mother suffer alone. DeJoy's friend said she had a solution.There was a local group set up to help women just like Gina. Called A Woman's Project, it was a "gifting circle" that worked like this: Give $5,000 to another woman in need, and in a short time your gift would come back to you eightfold -- $40,000.How could money multiply so ...
More About: Money
They Took My Life
2007-12-01 03:40:00
His wrongful arrest led to 12 years in jail. David Shephard can't make up for the lost time -- but he's determined to try.Fear of FreedomThe euphoria washed over David Shephard the instant he walked out of prison, and didn't let up for hours, not until he finally collapsed from exhaustion, safe back in his mother's house. But after spending so much time in jail, Shephard had changed -- and so had his world. Within days the exhilaration of freedom vanished, replaced by a crippling paranoia that dogged him all day, every day. For weeks he couldn't leave the house. When he finally did venture out, he made sure to save his bus ticket in case he had to prove where he had been. "I wanted to get back to my life," Shephard says, "but I was afraid it could all happen again." If you stop and think about it, Shephard's paranoia is understandable. Wrongly convicted of raping a 19-year-old New Jersey woman, he spent 12 years behind bars, until an advanced DNA analysis proved his innocence....
More About: Life , My Life
Partners In Crime
2007-11-24 15:01:00
By Max Alexander (From Reader's Digest)This new Bonnie and Clyde robbed $500,000 from a half-dozen banks, then lived the highlife on the lam.GiftedFor winter recreation, it doesn't get much better than Mt. Bachelor, with its 3,365-foot vertical drop and 350 annual inches of snow. The Oregon ski resort has it all when you throw in some kick-off-your-shoes nightlife; the area's Upper Castle Keep Lounge warns, "Choose one of our other facilities if you can't handle too much fun!"But too much fun wasn't a problem for good-looking Brent Wilson "Wil" Hicks and his athletic girlfriend, Alex Santini. The couple pulled into nearby Bend in December 1998, anticipating a fast-paced season of snowboarding and partying. An Internet stock trader, Hicks could work anywhere that had a high-speed connection for his laptop. After renting a two-month condo, paying $1,800 cash for ski passes and joining the local Gold's Gym, Hicks and Santini settled into a daily routine of a little work, and a lo...
More About: Crime , Partners
Married To The Mob: Mafia Wives And Mistresses
2007-11-15 15:37:00
By Anthony Bruno (Source)Behind Closed DoorsIn an episode of the hit television series ?The Sopranos? the fictional mob boss Tony Soprano scrambles to collect all the cash he has at home. He grabs a ladder and goes to his hiding place in the house, pulling thick packets of money from behind the ceiling panels. His long-suffering but ever-loyal wife, Carmela, holds a plastic garbage bag open as he drops his stash into it. At no point does she ever ask where all this money came from, nor does she seem surprised that it?s there. Like all good Mafia wives?the real ones included?Carmela ?doesn?t wanna know nothin?.? A mob wife?s operating principle is simple: As long as her husband can bring in enough income to support his family and maintain a respectable lifestyle, the wife doesn?t care to know where it all came from. And if she?s smart, she won?t ask.Most mafia wives exist in a unique state of denial. To the outside world, these women swear that their husbands are not thieve...
More About: Wives , Married
Child Killing
2007-11-07 16:32:00
Alcolu is a small town off Route 521 in Clarendon County, South Carolina, about 50 miles east of Columbia. The first African-American woman to play tennis at Wimbledon, Althea Gibson, was born here. So was Peggy Parish, famous author of children?s books. Five governors of South Carolina were also born and raised here (http//www.clarendoncounty.com). Forest products are a major output of the region, along with tobacco, cotton and corn. Cucumbers are grown in abundance in Clarendon County. It is primarily an agricultural area that features only one small city: Manning, whose population in 1944 was less than 3,000. Essentially, the county was, and still is, a quiet farming community whose routine was rarely, if ever, interrupted by such a climatic event as child murder.On the sunny afternoon of March 24, 1944, Betty June Binnicker, age 11, and her friend , Mary Emma Thames, age 8, had just left their homes to pick flowers. They were alternately walking and riding Betty?s bicycle along ...
More About: Child , Killing
A Killing in Central Park
2007-10-27 14:40:00
Handsome bad boy Robert Chambers murders attractive young Jennifer Levin in the park.The Jennifer Levin murder case captivated New York City and mesmerized the public with its sordid tale of "rough sex" and a freewheeling lifestyle among the city's spoiled youth. Fueled by the tabloids, which featured such titillating headlines as SEX PLAY GOT ROUGH, JEN'S SEX DIARY and the now notorious, HOW JENNY COURTED DEATH, the case dominated front-page news for two years.The media turned Chambers into the victim, blaming a very young woman for her rape and murder. Jennifer Levin, 5 foot 3 inches and 120 pounds, roughed him up a little too much during sexual play behind Manhattan's Museum of Art. He said that he was forced to act in self-defense when he accidentally choked her to death.Now "preppie" killer Robert Chambers is charged on multiple felony drug counts.On a crisp, sunny morning in August 1986, a dedicated cyclist pedaled her way through Central Park in New York City near the back...
More About: Killing , Central Park
The Killer Among Us
2007-10-19 17:51:00
An arsenic poisoning sends a small New England church into turmoil.By Max AlexanderPossible Food PoisoningThe potato fields that roll up to the edge of New Sweden were still dusted with snow on Sunday, April 27, 2003. Even by the standards of northern Maine it had been a tough winter, and the old furnace in the parsonage of the Gustaf Adolph Evangelical Lutheran Church was giving up the ghost. The church council had gathered after services to decide who would install a new heater.Council member Dick Ruggles, a 64-year-old retired ironworker, grabbed a cup of coffee and headed into the meeting.He lasted about five minutes. "I asked a question of one of the members," says Ruggles, "and before he could answer, I had to leave and go to the men's room." When the vomiting briefly let up, Ruggles staggered out to find his wife, who had been chatting over coffee in the kitchen with Erich Margeson. "Fran," he said, "I have to go home now!"Home was a white clapboard farmhouse just up the roa...
More About: Killer
Joel Patrick Courtney
2007-10-14 16:40:00
Vanished!On the morning of May 24, 2004, Brooke Wilberger, a beautiful blonde, blue-eyed coed who had just completed her freshman year at Brigham Young University, was washing lampposts in the Corvallis, Oregon apartment complex managed by her sister and brother-in-law. One moment she was there, the next moment, she was gone. She left behind her flip flops, a pail of sudsy water, and no witnesses to her disappearance.Brooke, an honor student, athlete, a devout Mormon and an integral part of her church community, was last seen wearing a hooded sweatshirt, a gray Brigham Young t-shirt, dark blue jeans, small hoop earrings, maybe a silver watch, and a ring with "CTR" engraved on it (Choose The Right?a Mormon tradition). She was 5'4" and weighed 105 pounds. She had a scar from a gymnastic accident that extended from her wrist to her elbow on her right forearm.When police arrived at the apartment complex, they found her sandals askew, leading them to suspect a struggle. Her purse, keys ...
More About: Patrick , Joel , Courtney
The Mob's President: Richard Nixon's Secret Ties to the Mafia
2007-10-06 16:10:00
by Don FulsomDuring the height of the Watergate scandal, Atty. Gen. John Mitchell's wife, Martha, sounded one of the first alarms, telling a reporter, ''Nixon is involved with the Mafia . The Mafia was involved in his election.''White House officials privately urged other reporters to treat any anti-Nixon comments by Martha as the ravings of a drunken crackpot.Time, however, has proved Mrs. Mitchell right.Richard Nixon's earliest campaign manager and political advisor was Murray Chotiner, a chubby lawyer who specialized in defending members of the Mafia and who enjoyed dressing like them too, in a wardrobe highlighted by monogrammed white-on-white dress shirts and silk ties with jeweled stickpins. The monograms said MMC, because ? perhaps to seem more impressive ? he billed himself as Murray M. Chotiner, though, in reality, he lacked a middle name.In this cigar chomping, wheeler-dealer, Nixon had found what future Nixon aide Len Garment called ''his Machiavelli ? a hardheaded...
More About: President , Secret
Two Million Reasons for Murder
2007-09-29 16:28:00
By Kenneth MillerJustin Barber said his wife was killed during a late-night robbery. But the details didn't add up.The Beach Went BlackFor couples craving solitude, the beach at Guana River State Park is an ideal spot for a late-night tryst. Hidden by thickets of saw palmetto, the ribbon of sand unspools along a lonesome stretch of Route A1A south of Jacksonville, Florida. Entry after sunset is officially forbidden, but intrepid lovers often park on the roadside and follow wooden walkways into the dunes.Justin Barber, 30, and his wife April, 27, had done just that on August 17, 2002. They were tipsy and amorous, Justin later recalled, having celebrated their third wedding anniversary with dinner at Carrabba's Italian Grill in Jacksonville, followed by cocktails at a bar. Around 10:30 p.m., as they strolled along the water's edge, April suddenly squeezed Justin's hand. A tall man in a baggy T-shirt was approaching. He waved a pistol and yelled something about cash and car keys. J...
More About: Murder , Reasons , Million
Kendall Francois
2007-09-24 16:13:00
The DisappearedDuring the late 1980s, when Argentina experienced a great deal of political unrest, opponents of the government suddenly began to vanish off city streets. Frantic relatives appealed to the authorities, who would do little or nothing to help them. A strong suspicion developed that the government was deeply involved in the abductions. In truth, these people were kidnapped by the police themselves who frequently tortured or murdered the unfortunate victims. Many were never seen again. They were called ?los desaparecidos,? the disappeared.Something similar happened in Dutchess County in upstate New York during the years 1997 and 1998. But ?los desaparecidos? in this case were not being abducted for political reasons. There were much darker motives. And when the truth emerged, it would leave in its wake at least eight women dead and a frightened, angry community that was dumbfounded that a serial killer could live and work undetected within their midst.The WomenIn October ...
More About: Kendall , Franc
Blood Money
2007-09-13 09:04:00
By Michael CrowleyAt first they seemed little more than small-town smugglers. Then the trail led to the world's most dangerous terrorists.Fairly RoutineWhen Ken Bell heard that the FBI wanted to see him, he thought little of it. After all, visits like that were a familiar part of his job. As a prosecutor in the U.S. Attorney's office in Charlotte, North Carolina, Bell was often handling cases that involved the agency. But what he'd been working on in the spring of 1999 was a cigarette-smuggling case that seemed fairly routine. In fact, his office was ready to file an indictment and make some arrests when the FBI said they wanted to talk to him about it.Something was up. Bell knew it as soon as the agents arrived at his office and handed him a document to sign. It was an acknowledgment that he was about to hear classified information, and could be prosecuted for sharing it. This is going to be good, Bell thought. The FBI agents set up a projector, and a PowerPoint presentation fl...
More About: Money , Blood
The O.J. Simpson Murder Trial
2007-09-10 10:46:00
No one enters suit justly, no one goes to court honestly; they rely on empty pleas, they speak lies, they conceive mischief and bring forth iniquity.Isaiah 59: 4,9-11, 14-15In the beginning it was a double murder, and then it was a criminal trial that dominated public attention as the law tried its hardest to convict a man.A man who became perhaps the most famous criminal defendant in American history and so easily recognizable that people referred to him by his initials only. It went on for nine months. There were 11 lawyers representing the man in the dock and 25 working around the clock for the largest prosecutor's office in the country.It became the most publicized case in US history. It was the longest trial ever held in California, costing over $20 million to fight and defend, running up 50,000 pages of trial transcript in the process. Th! ere were 150 witnesses called to give evidence before a jury that was sequestered at the Hotel Intercontinental in downtown L.A. from Janu...
More About: Murder , Simpson , Trial
There?s Been a Murder at the Versace House
2007-09-08 07:20:00
by Matt Meltzer on July 19, 2007The shooting of famed fashion designer and ?King of South Beach? Gianni Versace is perhaps the most visible and memorable homicide in Miami Beach history. And while it involved a cast of characters from Italy to San Diego, Minneapolis to Hamburg, the case and its associated players cannot escape the air of the bizarre and suspicious that any crime committed south of the Georgia border seems to embody. Had Versace been shot in New York or Milan or Los Angeles, it probably would have been your run-of-the mill celebrity shooting. But since it happened in Miami, well, nobody involved seems altogether reputable.For those unfamiliar, on the morning of July 15, 1997, Gianni Versace set about his morning routine of walking down Ocean Drive to News Café and purchasing himself a copy of an Italian newspaper. Upon returning to his oceanside mansion, he was accosted by a man named Andrew Cunanan and shot twice in the face, dying almost instantly. This random...
More About: Murder , House
Love Is A Risk
2007-09-04 15:11:00
by E.W. CountE.W. Count is the author of COP TALK: TRUE DETECTIVE STORIES FROM THE NYPD (Pocket Books), and is the moderator of Prodigy's online interest group, Cops & Crime. She is working on her third book about NYPD detectives.When I met retired Mafia Detective Roland Cadieux, I couldn't tell a Gambino from a Genovese. Along with a few other NYPD mob mavens I interviewed, Cadieux made the names, the families, spring to life, in all their rich, scheming brutality.The mob does business in every borough of New York City, of course, and Cadieux chased them all over, but Brooklyn -- full of mob flavor and history -- seems the quintessential venue. Bensonhurst and Bath Beach, for instance -- about as far south as you can get in Brooklyn, short of Coney Island -- are neighborhoods full of warmth, color, and streets kept clean and safe by fear. Don't mess with the neighborhood, or you'll hear from mob neighbors, cozy in their private houses.Brooklyn-born Ron Cadieux, whose French-Can...
More About: Love , Risk
Without a Trace
2007-08-29 08:37:00
Thousands of adults vanish each year. Kristen Modafferi was one of them.Terrible NewsRobert Modafferi picked up the phone in his Charlotte, N.C., office that late June morning and heard the news every parent dreads. "I don't know how to tell you this," said a flustered voice. "Your daughter's missing."The caller was Griffin Cherry, a 24-year-old website designer. For the previous three weeks, he had shared a house in Oakland, Calif., with Modafferi's 18-year-old daughter, Kristen, and three other men. Cherry, stammering, said that none of them had seen Kristen for three days -- not since she left first thing in the morning for her job at Spinelli's, a downtown coffee shop.He hadn't called earlier, Cherry explained, because he figured Kristen had just met up with friends. But when the second night went by, still with no word, he'd notified police and then placed the call to Modafferi.Robert, a 48-year-old electrical engineer, took a deep breath. How would he tell his wife, Debo...
More About: Without a Trace
Death Was On Her Shopping List
2007-08-18 07:47:00
The teenaged boy drove his car slowly down the dark road, his date snuggled against his side. In the back seat, the other couple was quietly necking. That?s exactly what the young driver had in mind, as soon as he found the right place to park. They?d been in the area before? it was just a matter of coolly stopping the car in such a manner that looked like the most casual thing in the world, even though the teenager was desperate to hold his girlfriend even closer.The wind had really kicked up since they?d left on their double date earlier that evening. It had been a pretty pleasant afternoon, but now another cold front was blowing in, and that made snuggling conditions even better. Not to mention the location, which had an air of eerie loneliness. Nearby was Walnut Creek, where Indians were said to have camped back before Austin, Texas had even been settled. Indeed, there were holes dug between the pavement and the creek, where amateur arrowhead hunters were said to have mad...
More About: Shopping , List , Death
Draw Me A Killer
2007-07-11 16:22:00
By Larry MauroDetective Dragnet February 1980 (Volume 24, Number 1)There very likely wasn't a more popular young couple in Paducah, Kentucky, than Teresa Hayes and Joe Mayer. So, it didn't come as any big surprise when they announced their engagement.During the three months that their marriage bans were posted in the St. Thomas More Catholic Church and they received their instructions from Father Aloysius Powers, the couple refurbished an older home and made plans for their honeymoon.Joe, 24, had lived most of his life in Paducah. He worked as an emergency medical technician with the Angels of Mercy ambulance service and had registered to enter the paramedic trainng program. Teresa, 21, planned to enter Paducah Community College to take a course in nursing while Joe was becoming a paramedic.The wedding was on Saturday, July 28, 1979. The church was filled to overflowing and someone said you couldn't have gotten another person inside with a shoe horn. The reception was a gala affa...
More About: Killer , Draw
Bride-To-Be And A Burning Car
2007-06-26 08:04:00
PRETTY 24-year-old Debra Smith, like hundreds of other young adults, had enrolled at Valencia College to take some special courses. There were several reasons that persuaded Debra to take these studies. In addition to her desire for more education, the schooling would relieve some of the tension of ther complicated personal problems which had become overwhelming. The college work notonly took her out of the realm of her problems, but also provided her with the enjoyment of the truly beautiful surroundings there.Debra, who was living (with her 5-year old daughter) with her father temporarily in Winter Park, Florida, near Orlando, left her home at about 6 o'clock on the Wednesday evening of October 4th, 1978, to drive out to Valencia to attend the biology class in which she was enrolled.It was a clear, comfortable night. Soft winds had carried away the afternoon and early evening heat. Eventually, however, as the time passed into the late hours, Debra's father casually looked at his...
More About: Bride , Burning , Burn
A Little Girl Watched Them Put Jimmy in Cement
2007-06-21 08:09:00
WHEN HER husband, James F. Stone, didn't come home from his Jacksonville, Florida, furniture store on the Monday night of October 4th, 1976, his anxious wife promptly reported him missing. On Tuesday morning she went to the store. Neither Stone nor his secretary were there and the staff said they hadn't seen the secretary since early Monday afternoon. One employee said he thought the secretary, Mary Potter, had been given a couple of days off.When Sergeant Miles and Detective D. L. Starling arrived at the furniture store at 1.15pm that Tuesday, Mrs. Stone told them that a considerable amount of money also appeared to be missing. She said she'd been trying all morning to reach Mary Potter by phone, but there'd been no answer. She'd also driven through the apartment complex in which Mrs. Potter lived. She'd seen the company VW that Mrs. Potter had been driving since wrecking her own car, but she hadn't seen her husband's Continental Mark IV and hadn't gone to Mrs. Potter's a...
More About: Girl , Jimmy , Cement , Little Girl
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