SAN DIEGO – Zewoinesh Badasso, the mother accused of intentionally throwing her 7-month-old son out a 3rd-floor window, was in court on Wednesday, where she pleaded not guilty to charges of murder and assault on a child.
As you may recall, passersby found the boy–being referred to as “David N.” in court records–on the ground in an alley near the building out of which he was allegedly thrown. CPR was administered and he was rushed to the hospital, but he was pronounced dead shortly after arriving. The evidence gathered at the scene and the results of questioning Badasso led police to place her under arrest.
Here’s what seems to be known about Zewoinesh Badasso at this time: The 33-year-old (or 32-year-old, depending on your source) came to the U.S. from Ethiopia around 12 years ago thanks to a sponsorship by some unnamed Catholic charity. Even so, she apparently has not developed a good grasp of English, since an interpreter was present with her at Wednesday’s hearing. She had been in San Diego for only a very brief time and did not know the three men with whom she and her son shared the apartment since she had been placed there.…Continue Reading
Pensacola, FL - Have you watched A&E’s Storage Wars? My dad got me hooked on it. Dave Hester (“YEP!”), Darrell Sheets, the ever-quirky Barry Weiss, and the prickly Jarrod-and-Brandi duo go head-to-head in auctions of the contents of abandoned storage units.
There’s already a spin-off titled Storage Wars: Texas, and there may wind up being a New York version as well…however, no Storage Wars-related filming has been reported in Florida…which is either really good news or a total shame based on what was found in a Pensacola storage unit last month: over 100 containers containing various human organs. YEP!
On Friday, 57-year-old Dr. Michael Berkland, a former assistant medical examiner, was arrested and charged with improper storage of hazardous waste, nuisance injurious to public health, and driving with a suspended license. (Check out the mug–can’t you hear the sad trombone “wah wah wah” tones?)
About three years ago, Berkland rented the storage unit, claiming its contents consisted of stuff like furniture and sporting and household goods…you know, normal junk many of us accumulate and just can’t seem to let go of.…Continue Reading
SAN DIEGO – At a bit after 5:00 p.m. on Friday, a woman walking down an alley near the Park View Apartments complex probably had the contents of her nightmares altered forever: she spotted something odd on the ground, and when she moved closer, she realized it was an infant.
It appeared that the little boy had fallen from one of the complex’s windows. She immediately called authorities, who discovered, upon arriving, that the child was severely injured. (Odd how falls from a significant height seem to affect infants that way.) Medics performed CPR and transported the boy to the hospital, but the little guy didn’t make it to 6:00 p.m.
Currently, there are more questions than answers on this case, but let me share what we do seem to know: (1) The infant’s injuries were caused by a fall from a 3rd-story window. (2) The police initially detained the boy’s 33-year-old mother for questioning but have since arrested her and are now investigating the death as a homicide; they indicate she will be charged with first-degree murder. (3) The mother, who goes by the brain-bending and seemingly unlikely name of Zewoinesh Badasso, is scheduled to appear in court on Wednesday.…Continue Reading
Forrest City, AR - It’s coming up on four years since I wrote about Reginald Davis (note: very graphic), and that case still rings my outrage bell loud enough to put any civil defense siren to shame.
Quick recap: Davis went to visit the new mother of an eight-day-old baby girl–supposedly his daughter. When the 15-year-old mom returned after leaving the baby alone with Davis so she could get a shower, she observed blood on the baby, and the mother and grandmother took the little girl to the Forrest City (Arkansas) Medical Center, accompanied by Davis.
A medical examination indicated the infant had been raped; it also was noted that she had a fractured skull. Police were called, Davis was arrested, and the little girl was transferred to the Arkansas Children’s Hospital in Little Rock due to the severity of her injuries.
For any of you new to the case, let me reiterate: EIGHT. DAYS. OLD.
If we were to say that the case as it originally stood filled all three able-to-be-perceived dimensions on the WTF?/OMG!…Continue Reading
Karen Mariner suffered from multiple sclerosis. Her primary caretaker for at least the last year was her 36-year-old son Clayton Mariner, who lived with her. Assisting him with her care was his older brother, 40-year-old Jason Mariner, who lived elsewhere. Apparently, both were being paid to care for their mom.
What’s being reported indicates that Clayton Mariner told police that his mother was “fine” on Thursday night but dead the next morning; it also seems he called his brother and two funeral homes before alerting police. I find it a bit strange that Clayton would describe Ms. Mariner as being “fine” on Thursday when the criminal complaint suggests that she had numerous bedsores, …Continue Reading
Apparently the ball on this case got rolling many months ago, when the parents of a 9-year-old autistic child called police to report their daughter was coming home after school with bruises on her hands and arms. Eventually arrested was Jennifer Davila, a school bus monitor, who also happens to be the daughter of school bus driver Evelyn Guzman.
Late last summer, Davila was charged with assaulting the 9-year-old (case still pending; next court date April 1), but it’s what was found during that investigation’s review of the school bus company’s video footage that currently has folks in a bit of an uproar.
The video captures the 47-year-old Guzman texting while driving the damned bus. How much texting? Well, let’s start with April 6, 2010, and end with May 15, 2010, and we would have…calculating…calculating…calculating…okay, got it! How about 1,068 text messages sent or received?
Police got an arrest warrant, and Guzman turned herself in Wednesday.…Continue Reading
PARKER COUNTY, TX – After the home of 62-year-old Lois Pearson burned to the ground on March 3rd, no sign of her body was found. Further searches of a 10-mile radius around the burned home turned up no additional clues to her whereabouts, and a friend described Lois as a “loner” who rarely left her house and indicated he believed foul play was involved. Parker County Sheriff Larry Fowler disagreed on this final point, suggesting that Ms. Pearson ran from the fire and perhaps was injured, but he expressed his department’s intention to keep looking, because, after all, as he stated, “Everybody’s gotta be somewhere.” Brilliant observation, Sheriff! But perhaps more brilliant was the friend’s statement on camera, because Lois Pearson has been found alive in Corsicana…after having been abducted by 58-year-old Jeffrey Maxwell.
It would appear that Maxwell, who previously lived near Pearson, abducted her at gunpoint on March 1st and then returned to start the fire that would burn the home to the ground. Between her abduction and discovery, Pearson was bound and repeatedly assaulted.…Continue Reading
GARY, IN – When Officer Simon Lillie pulled onto the property of the West Side Leadership Academy, he thought nothing about the van in front of him. Later, Lillie said, “I just thought someone short was driving the van.” The van circled the lot a couple of times and parked; it was a school employee who pointed out to the officer that the driver was a 14-year-old student of the school. Police say the boy stole the van — a church van, no less — because he didn’t want to walk the several blocks to school. And how did he get access to the van? According what the teen’s mother told authorities, he must’ve taken the van’s keys while attending choir practice at Evening Star Missionary Baptist Church earlier in the week.
The combination of these factors — church choir member, indications of sloth, theft of a church vehicle — causes a small bubble of wicked joy to form in my heart. But at the same time, I have to hand it to this kid.…Continue Reading
MESA, AZ – Mesa police say a home burglary attempt resulted in the arrest of 20-year-old Michael Trias after a common household storage item got involved: after removing the screen from a bedroom window of a townhome Thursday morning, Trias climbed through the window and subsequently became entangled in the clothes hamper that was underneath it. Apparently, upon hearing the commotion, the resident of the home rushed into the room, restrained Trias, and called police.
Police say nothing was taken but reported some damage inside the bedroom in question, which isn’t really surprising–every combative incident I’ve had with a storage solution has resulted in property damage, if not personal injury.
Trias is facing burglary and criminal damage charges.…Continue Reading
NEW CUMBERLAND, WV - A title that would do this one justice would read more like a paragraph. What we seem to have here is a 19-year-old convicted felon, on house arrest, who was arrested Wednesday night and faces a whole slew of charges related to what he’s been up to in the last month or so. This includes holding his ex-girlfriend captive, responding to classified ads offering dogs, and then torturing and killing those dogs (most of which were puppies) while making the ex watch. And did I mention he made her clean up after these dog-killing sessions?
Jeffery Nally, Jr. was taken into custody following a call made to state police by the ex-girlfriend’s mother about the young woman being held against her will by Nally. According to the mother, Nally said he would kill any officer who showed up at the residence, as well as himself and his ex. (The statement about killing officers may be what led to the arrest being conducted as a joint effort by the county’s version of a SWAT team and the West Virginia State Police.…Continue Reading
Hamilton, VA – Late Friday night/early Saturday morning, a Loudoun County Sheriff’s Deputy was heading westbound on Route 704 when he met up with a fire truck, which was–as these vehicles are wont to do–traveling at a high rate of speed.
Uncharacteristically, the officer was forced to veer off into a ditch to avoid a collision with the weaving pumper truck. He then checked for fire calls (there weren’t any), turned his cruiser around, and pulled the truck over. Inside were five volunteer firefighters for the Loudoun County Fire-Rescue system–all of whom had been drinking.
Only the driver–27-year-old Sean Swanson–was arrested. Having failed a field sobriety test, he was taken to the Loudoun Adult Detention Center, where he was charged with DUI and Unauthorized Use of a Vehicle. Swanson ultimately was released on his own recognizance and later resigned from his position, and two of the other firefighters that were in the truck have done so as well.
I wanted to post this partly because (considering there were no collisions, no one was hurt, and this was NOT a truck that was “on duty” at the time) it appeals a bit to that hidden rebel/former adolescent in me: “HELL, YEAH, IT’S NOT GETTING USED!…Continue Reading
When I mentioned in the forums that I just didn’t have the stomach to watch the video related to this case, forum member redsaid stepped up and wrote the following. Welcome to the FP, redsaid, and thanks. ~Lizard
Plains City/Marysville, OH – A video from animal rights group Mercy for Animals (warning: visiting their Web site takes you directly to the video) shows the true-life horrors of just being a cow in the presence of 25-year-old Billy Joe Gregg, Jr., who was mebbe learnin’ hisself how to become a cop by beating cows and calves with crow bars, stabbing them with pitchforks, and punching them with his fists. The video clearly shows this fine gentleman picking up a very young calf and throwing it to the ground and then stomping on its head. Then the heartless fuck kicks it in the mouth while its down. Good experience for a cop. You know those brand-new baby cows are such a threat to society! “Enough!” you say? Not for Billy Joe.…Continue Reading
MILWAUKEE – I’m not a big fan of snakes, but surely you understand my interest in reptiles and why I’m looking forward to more details on this one. (Um, not to mention, I need a fucking break from beaten / burned / drowned / dead babies this week.) Authorities first visited the basement of this building on Milwaukee’s south side on Wednesday, apparently in connection to a report of a sexual assault, and found about 200 exotic animals (from alligators to turtles) being kept in too-small containers filled with waste. Some were “housed” with dead animals, and most of the living animals had mold and/or fungi growing on them. Further, responding officers were forced to deal with the smells of animal urine and feces. As if that weren’t bad enough, the floor of the space is reported to have been covered with “hundreds” of mice and rats. Am I the only one who is itching for some steel-toed knee-high boots about now? 50-year-old Jane E. Flint is in custody for charges related to mistreating animals and violating regulations on endangered or threatened species.…Continue Reading
Telford, TN – I’ve said this elsewhere and more than once–where you’re from doesn’t exclude you from being classified as an inbred redneck backwoods hick, and while you’re going to be as horrified as I am when you hear about the children in this case, I also suspect you’re going to want to pull out a banjo, holler for some grits, and reach for your spittoon. Let me hit you up with a few of the details that led to the arrest of 37-year-old Mary E. Tittle and 53-year-old Robert Simons III (among others). These “details” include children age 7 to 13 who had never (yes–never) been to school, could neither read nor write, were living in conditions that included no running water, had not bathed in at least two weeks, were completely unclear on their own ages, and were using the yard as a bathroom. One of these children, a girl estimated to be about 10, was suffering from an infection caused by a rat bite, was in stage 3-4 renal failure, and had not recently (if ever) received medication or treatment for either condition.…Continue Reading
Pine Mountain, CA – For many followers of true crime, April 1, 2010, probably will mark the end of a particularly heinous and bizarre chapter of American crime history. What we should remember about 35-year-old Timothy James White–whose death on that day was the result of a pulmonary embolism–is his role as a husband and as a father to two children and his service as a Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy. However, it is unfortunately more likely the case that he will be recalled as the cute five-year-old who was abducted by child molester Kenneth Parnell in February 1980 and returned to his family by fellow abductee Steven Stayner the following month. While the case was made shocking enough by the knowledge that 14-year-old Stayner had been abducted years earlier (1972) and subjected to countless molestations by Parnell and that it was partly White’s distress that led the older Stayner to attempt (and ultimately succeed at) escape, certain aspects of the criminal procedures are mind-boggling to contemporary readers, and no one could’ve anticipated the future fate of the Stayner family.…Continue Reading
Immokalee, FL - I hate spending my hard-earned cash on something and winding up feeling like I didn’t get my money’s worth, especially with the current state of the economy and fears about what the future holds. I imagine about everyone shares my feelings on this, but you know, it has to be that much worse in those instances when your outlay of funds is directed toward illicit goods and services. For example, if your regular dealer is unavailable and the herb you procure from an alternate vendor is substandard, you’re pretty much shit out of luck. Thursday night, Jose Erebia probably was wanting the number to whatever might pass for the Better Unlawful Business Bureau. This is when he entered an Immokalee home through an unlocked door and made his way to the bedroom, where the homeowner’s niece, who was housesitting, lay asleep. He wakened her and then proceeded to throw a $20 bill at her and demand sex. It’s bad enough that she said, “No way, Jose!” and insisted he leave, but she also snatched up the twenty and wouldn’t give it back.…Continue Reading
ATLANTA – Due back in court today is 45-year-old Arelisha Bridges, who is accused of shooting and killing her husband following an argument earlier this month. Yeah, spouse murderers are a dime a dozen, but some of the circumstances surrounding this case are just too strange, ironic, and/or funny for me to not share: (1) As the title suggests, Bridges had been married to Anthony Rankins (who, at 26, was young enough to be her son) for a whopping five days before she killed him. As the title also suggests, (2) this was the sixth in a chain of marriages that began in 1981 when she was 16, with subsequent failed ball-and-chain joinings occurring in September 1984, August 1988, April 1989, October 1990, and May 2009. (3) The argument and subsequent shooting occurred on a public street, in full view of others, with Bridges dressed in a nightgown and shower cap. (4) After the shooting, witnesses reported Bridges walking calmly away, gun in her hand, to her car, even as others around her ran past in “frightened uproar.” (5) Bridges is a registered lobbyist for the National Declaration for Domestic Violence Order, a group fighting domestic violence.…Continue Reading
Birmingham, AL – Back in 2009, the board of directors of The Emergency Animal Rescue Service (TEARS) began noticing some irregularities with the rescue’s finances–including almost $70,000 in ATM withdrawals and a $20,000 check made out to “Cash.” When asked about the missing funds, TEARS founder and executive director Terra Cotromano claimed the monies went toward payroll. In November, the Alabama Department of Industrial Relations notified the board that audit notices were being ignored and a summer meeting had been missed. Further, apparently there were concerns about the condition of the animals at the TEARS compound, and at the end of 2009, the board removed Cotromano and asked her to vacate the trailer on the TEARS property in which she was residing. When investigators visited TEARS at the end of 2009 and beginning of this year, they found 200 animals living in what were described to be unsanitary, muddy, cold, and overcrowded conditions. Of particular concern were the 50+ cats–many suffering from upper respiratory infections–found in a trailer with no electricity, no running water, and no ventilation that was being heated by only three small portable heaters.…Continue Reading
Candler, NC – According to the Enka Middle School’s Web site, Rex Roland has managed to survive for over a decade as a middle-school teacher–no reported episodes of showing up so hungover he had to vomit in the wastebasket during the math quiz, no indications he ever put lame-ass “old guy” moves on any pre-teen girl (or boy), no suggestion that 75% of the students in his classes are more successful than him at correctly spelling the word “literacy.” Truth is, Roland seems to see himself as one “groovy” teacher. As a teacher, he’s just one “cool cat.” He’s totally “with it,” he’s “straight,” he has his hand on the pulse of today’s youth, yo! Case in point: rather than write on the paper of Patty Clement’s daughter something so pathetically old school and passé like “Needs improvement,” he recently penned, in a moment of genius-level progressiveness and “I’m-so-down-with-today’s-youth” brilliance, the following: “-20% for being a LOSER.”…Continue Reading
UPDATE 3/9/10 – New Orleans police have confirmed that a body pulled from the Mississippi River earlier today is that of Douglas Schantz. It is believed he accidentally drowned.
NEW ORLEANS – I grew up in south Louisiana, so even as I stand at my kitchen window to look out on the still-melting snow of my Midwestern back yard, any mention of the area around New Orleans makes me break out in a sweat, curse the humidity, and hear endless frog-song. Yes, I have a love-hate thing with that part of the country, but in no instance do I want to run my eyes over any Louisiana-based news story that includes the suggestion that “Foul play is suspected,” but this is one of them. 54-year-old Douglas Schantz, head of Houston-based Sequent Energy Management, was last seen about 2:00 a.m. Friday on Bourbon Street, clad in suit jacket and tie, by colleagues who had accompanied him to a ceremony marking a donation to Tulane University’s energy graduate program. Concern arose when Schantz failed to make his expected Friday morning meeting at the airport with with daughter, failed to show up for a noon staff meeting, and was later reported by his wife as having not returned home.…Continue Reading