Trial and Error
We Will Never Forget
O.J. Simpson on the March 29, 2005 death of
superstar defense attorney, Johnnie L. Cochran Jr.:
"I don't think I'd be home today without Johnnie."
|"We need to pay more
attention to our young people and what they're saying and what they're doing."
-- Floyd Jourdain, March 24
"I strongly believe that my son will be cleared of these charges."
-- Floyd Jourdain, March 30
RAMPAGE AT RED LAKE
March 22, 2005
"No, Jeff, quit, quit! Leave me alone! What are you doing?" one student yelled as Jeff Weise continued on his killing spree at Red Lake High School.
Jeff, a loner who was often teased by classmates, smiled and waved to everybody as he shot them. He had previously come to campus wearing a dark trenchcoat and calling himself the "Angel of Death." Now he was hell-bent on proving it.
On Monday afternoon, he stalked the halls of his school with two handguns and a shotgun.
Red Lake Fire Director Roman Stately reports: "After he shot a security guard, he walked down the hallway shooting and went into a classroom where he shot a teacher and more students." After exchanging gunfire with police, Jeff Weise apparently killed himself.
Before the shootings began at the school -- located on an Indian reservation in upstate Minnesota -- Jeff had been at his grandfather's house and had shot him and his companion. Jeff's grandfather, Daryl Lussier, was a longtime officer with the Red Lake Police Department.
At least seven students were wounded in the rampage. In all, 10 people are dead.
The reservation is home to the Red Lake Chippewa Tribe, one of the poorest in the state. Tribal chairman, Floyd Jourdain said, "Our community is devastated by this event. We've never seen anything like this in the history of our tribe, and without doubt this is one of the darkest days in the history of our people."
Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold stalk Columbine,
April 20th, 1999
"I kind of take it like
a grain of salt. I'm just going to continue with my search efforts this weekend."
-- Mark Lunsford on March 17, 2005 about news of area sex offender, John Couey
"She's home now. She's right here with me. I can sleep now, I can eat now, and that's to give me strength to finish the fight for her. . . We will be fine, but, everybody needs to know that there's so many families out there that's not gonna have the closure that I have -- and me and Jessie, we have to do something for them, and we have to do something about this happening again."
-- Lunsford on March 20, 2005 about his daughter found dead March 18
A Valid Timeline
March 20, 2005
I live 1600 miles from Homosassa, Florida. I've never been there and probably never will be. I've never met Jessica Lunsford. I never will. And yet, having just heard late on Friday, March 17 about the kidnapping and killing of the 9-year-old, I'm still in shock. Due to the victim's age and the unsettling facts surrounding her case, I'm far from any sense of "closure."
Who is the confessed murderer named Johnny Couey? Who knew the convicted sex offender was living in the area? What was he doing there? How did he kidnap the child? What exactly did he do to her? Why?
Jessica Lunsford's father, Mark, however, flatly announced on Saturday, "It's over." Hiding behind black sunglasses, Mark announced, "Everyone heard me say, time after time, that she would be home. She's home now. And it's over."
Jessica's body was found near a mobile home where Couey had been staying at the time of her abduction about 150 yards from Jessica's house. It's far from "over" when the child is found in the very place everyone looked. How is it police, searchers and trained dogs failed to find her? Was she moved out and back in to the area? Did Couey have help? Where's the missing stuffed dolphin?
Information is just now starting to eek in from Homosassa. John Couey apparently claims he was in some sort of "drug haze state" and can't recall if Jessica was alive for a few hours or a few days. A few days? How is that possible?
Shortly after Jessica's body was located at the neighbor's house belonging to Couey's half-sister, Dorothy Dixon, Sheriff Dawsy oddly reported "We may never have a valid timeline."
Dawsy's comments, as well as Lunsford's, come strangely early in the investigation.
John Evander Couey
Couey has yet to be formally charged in the murder, and questions remain about how a man in a "drug haze state" managed to successfully hide such a crime for three weeks, but Mark Lunsford -- it seems -- has already put it all together.
Late on Sunday, Mark spoke to the media:
"People say that I'm so strong, standing up here talking the way I do and trying to accomplish the things that I'm getting done -- trying to get done -- but I wouldn't be able to do it without the support of my neighbors, my community, the people in the State of Florida and the people in other states around us. I mean I'm getting word from everybody, everywhere as far away as Canada, Afghanistan, Europe. And uh . . . I've got all the support I need. Now I need all the people to fight with me and to write your congressman a letter and to show him your anger. And for any people that are into politics I need their help and their support. I've not asked these people for anything since this took place, and now it's your turn. Okay? We did what we had to do and now we need your help, to help us to do the rest."
Martha's Money Grab
March 3, 2005
We never really uncovered the main ingredients of Martha Stewart's secret wall street recipes. We may never know exactly how she was cooking the books, but it's obvious she was up to her white collar in dirty crimes.
Although she had the right to remain silent -- the domestic dominatrix repeatedly lied to authorities about her unique, home-baked financial schemes. She was given chance after chance -- but refused to come clean. Martha even chose to stew in prison rather than tell authorities the truth.
The truth about what? Well, Martha called it a "small personal matter" but the facts indicate she was mixed up in multi-million dollar, insider trading scams.
Stewart's money scams continue unabated. Her tasteless greed and grift are being celebrated tonight, by some, as she finishes her jail term and prepares to bilk it for all it's worth.
It's worth remembering -- money made from dumping stocks is money stolen from someone else's pocket. Martha Stewart is a thief, and no matter how you slice it -- that's not a good thing.
No Cause for Alarm?
March 2, 2005
"I'm so excited," Mark Lunsford said Friday night, February 25, from the mobile home he and his daughter, Jessica, share with his parents. "We're going to get Jessie back."
The Citrus County Florida Sheriff's Office has reported Lunsford told detectives he spent the night with a girlfriend and when he came home early Thursday, realized Jessie was not in her bed. "I have very high hopes," Mark told reporters.
Is it just me...? Or does Mark seem a little too happy? Maybe all that money pouring into his website from donations is what's making him so cheerful. From looking at the 41-year-old's shakes and giggles -- it may be Crystal Meth.
Mark said he came in his locked back door and Jessica's alarm clock was going off. He said Jessica normally gets up on her own and she makes sure everybody else gets up.
"I got ready for work and her alarm clock was still going off. When I opened the door to her room, she was not there," Lunsford said.
Nobody forced their way into the house, and police found Jessie's room undisturbed. A stuffed animal she slept with was the only thing missing.
Something's not adding up here.
Sheriff Jeff Dawsy said Lunsford passed an FBI polygraph test. "None of his answers to questions set any alarms off," Dawsy reported.
"I'm convinced that no family member has anything to do with this," Mark happily told the press.
Yeah? Well, I'm convinced Mark Lunsford did have something to do with this.
Court-TV Detective Busted
February 23, 2005
Ramapo Town Police arrested Court-TV's Scott Bernstein and charged him with criminal mischief in the third degree, criminal impersonation in the second degree, criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third degree, and harassment.
Bernstein is the shadowy figure cable's CTV hired to investigate Scott Peterson and dig for exciting dirt that would up their ratings. Bernstein appeared on the Catherine Crier Television show and discussed information he obtained while in Modesto pretending to be a police officer.
After two recent incidents in New York -- one on January 30, and one on February 15, involving Crier's favorite detective pretending to be a legitimate police officer -- a search warrant was issued for his vehicle. Evidence of his fakery was discovered.
The Mid-Hudson News reports CTV's investigator was also charged with drug possession because he had cocaine on him at the time of his arrest. Mr. Bernstein was arraigned and remanded to the Rockland County Correctional Center on $20,000 bail.
All The President's M4M
February 16, 2005
Some in the White House press corps always suspected there was more to Jeff Gannon than met the eye.
For one thing, his hard-hitting questions during presidential press briefings were more like love taps. It also struck some people as more than a little odd that -- despite his official credentials as "Talon News Washington Bureau Chief and White House Correspondent" -- research produced no history of a "Jeff Gannon." A reporter without a paper trail?
Although obviously a Ditto-Head, Mr. Gannon regularly attended press briefings for over a year, each time obtaining a "daily press pass." Considering that Gannon had to have been cleared at the highest levels of security, no one quite knew what to make of the clean-cut, Neo-Con, mystery man.
Then, during a rare televised Presidential press conference on Jan. 26, 2005 -- with a limited amount of time for questions -- Bush choose to field a soft one from Jeff Gannon:
"Senate Democratic leaders have painted a very bleak picture of the U.S. economy: Harry Reid was talking about soup lines, and Hillary Clinton was talking about the economy being on the verge of collapse. Yet in the same breath, they say that Social Security is rock solid and there's no crisis there. You've said you're going to reach out to these people. How are you going to work with people who seem to have divorced themselves from reality?"
Shortly after that cozy
suspicious bloggers finally got to the bottom of things.
The man who the White House called "Jeff Gannon" is really James D. Guckert, and "Talon News Agency" is an outpost of the vast right-wing conspiracy disguised as a news organization. Talon's owner is Bobby Eberle who also owns "GOPUSA.com."
This is all news to
White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan who claims he didn't find
out that Gannon was Guckert, or that Talon News has its claws sunk deep in
the heart of Texas until last month. He told reporters at the
Publisher "the president didn't know who he was." McClellan also
insisted Bush did not know who Bobby Eberle was -- despite the fact that
Eberle was a delegate to the 2000 GOP convention.
When Gannon/Guckert was fully "googled" it was revealed the arch conservative had set up several gay escort service sites such as hotmilitarystud.com and militaryescortsm4m.com ("these sites were never brought on-line"). Jim also has a number of his own private sex ads on net, and he doesn't come cheap. He was charging $200 an hour for his services -- $1,200 for a weekend -- though in light of recent news developments, he's probably pretty flexible.
Asked directly about his "Personal Trainer, Bodyguard, Escort" ads that were openly published on the web ("AGGRESIVE, VERBAL, DOMINANT TOP. I DON'T LEAVE MARKS....ONLY IMPRESSIONS"), Jim demured, saying "I'm just not going to address it."
Mr. Guckert also declined an offer to address an FBI investigation into his claims of having seen classified documents in the Joseph Wilson - Valerie Plame case.
With George Bush warning that there are "terrorists" hiding around every corner, one might find it shocking that a person with a fake past and a false name could repeatedly get clearance to the West Wing. But the truly awesome news is that imaginary reporter, "Jeff Gannon," has only ever provided White House officials with his real name.
For years, rumors swirled around Washington that straight-laced, Black conservative columnist, Armstrong Williams, was gay. Gossip that Armstrong -- who has worked under both Strom Thurmond and Justice Clarence Thomas -- was on the "down low" multiplied when a sexual harassment suit was filed against him in 1997.
The legal action was brought by male employee, Stephen Gregory, a YMCA personal trainer Williams had quickly promoted to executive producer of his radio show: The Right Side. Gregory's suit alleged that Armstrong "grabbed [Gregory's] buttocks and penis, tried to kiss him, and climbed into his hotel-room bed asking for affection while they were traveling together."
Armstrong vehemently denied the accusations, but when Mr. Gregory produced affidavits from other men who had similar encounters with the GOP mouthpiece, the case was settled out of court and disappeared. The gossip, however, has never gone away.
Whether or not the African-American ultra-conservative is also an anti-gay closeted-homosexual -- rumors that he'll take any position for a fee have been conclusively proven true.
Armstrong Williams was recently outed as a Republican shill, whose lip service was bought and paid for by the top men in the White House. He was secretly given $240,000 to -- among other things -- "regularly comment on 'No Child Left Behind' during the course of his broadcasts."
Once the truth came out, Armstrong did the talk show circuit to offer up a limp apology, but by that time, almost everybody -- Gay, Straight, Black, White, Liberal and Conservative -- agreed the sorry sight of the media whore was a real turn off.
"Well, you got a pretty face. You got a pretty face. Youre a good-looking guy. Better looking than my Scott anyway."
-- George W. Bush to Prime Minister of Canada Martins assistant, Scott Reid, about Press Secretary Scott McClellan -- reported in the Toronto Globe and Mail
"Now, Jeff Gannon, who is a terrific Washington bureau chief and White House correspondent for Talon News, actually shot me an e-mail today, and he's about to break a story in an exclusive about these CBS documents."
-- Sean Hannity, 9/10/04
Divorce Court TV
January 6, 2005
After a year of constant carping, catty criticism and cruel comments about Laci and Scott Peterson's marriage, Court-TV star Kimberly Guilfoyle Newsom has quietly announced that her marriage is in shambles.
The former Victoria's Secret model and her model husband, embattled San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, are filing for a divorce.
"Unfortunately, the demands of our respective careers have made it too difficult for us to continue as a married couple," the Newsoms said. "We will remain close friends." (At least until the frequent-flyer miles run out.)
The dynamic duo was featured in Harper's Bazaar Magazine four months ago and were crowned, "The New Kennedys."
It just goes to show that people who live in high-definition glass houses shouldn't throw stones.
"Today is a great day."
Tiffany Luna Lucks Out
On Tuesday, November 23, 2004, in a jaw-dropping reversal of fortune -- a Nevada jury acquitted Rick Tabish and Sandra Murphy of murder, robbery, and conspiracy to commit the murder of Ted Binion.
Some on the panel were not certain Binion had even been killed -- reasoning that it could've been a suicide. They were confused about exactly what happened that night. "It did not seem like murder," one male juror said. Unlike the first trial, jurors weren't allowed to read the note Ted Binion wrote to his lawyer: "Take Sandy out of the will -- if she doesn't kill me tonight . . . If I'm dead, you'll know what happened."
Most jurors were sure it was homicide, but all agreed the state did not fully establish that Tabish and Murphy suffocated the millionaire. "For those of us who felt it was murder, there had been reasonable doubt -- and our instructions very clearly said, if there was reasonable doubt, we had to go with not guilty," said the forewoman.
Murphy's defense was bankrolled by 80 (something) year-old businessman, William Fuller. The aptly named Fuller paid more than $1 million for the former stripper's defense in the two trials.
"He's my guardian angel," Murphy said of Fuller. "God sent him to me, and I'm grateful to have him." Fuller said, "When I first talked to Sandy, I knew she was innocent, and that's why I helped her."
Sandy Murphy (AKA Tiffany Luna) is far from innocence.
Jurors convicted the gold-digger and her silver-tongued boyfriend of burglary and grand larceny -- both felonies. The demented duo were also found guilty of conspiracy to commit burglary and larceny which is a gross misdemeanor.
A FULLER AND HIS MONEY
"The only way I could sum it all up is that even though I was vindicated today, nobody wins. I still lost four and half years of my freedom and six years of my life. They can never give me that back even with a not guilty verdict."
"Bitter is not a part of my makeup. I'm not really a resentful person."
"This murder thing
is behind me, man."
November 13, 2004
Not unlike the return of a mysterious, horrible disease that you thought had been eradicated, the deadly duo of Sandy Murphy and Rick Tabish have resurfaced with a vengeance.
Murphy and Tabish were convicted in 2000 for the 1998 murder and robbery of millionaire Ted Binion. Each was sentenced to life in prison, but their convictions were overturned by the Nevada Supreme Court of appeals in 2003.
The second trial, which began October 11, 2004, has apparently been full of the same atrocious events as the first, with one horrendous addition: Mr. Tabish has taken the stand in his own defense.
I'm sure Judge Joe Bonaventure -- who famously called Tabish a "con man" -- nearly fell off his bench when Rick put his hand on the bible and swore to tell the truth.
Defense lawyer J. Tony Serra led his client through a series of softball questions about his childhood in Montana and his many businesses, then Tabish went on to testify about his friendship with Binion and the secret romance that developed with Binion's lover, Sandy.
"I became close to her. I had my problems, and she had hers. We had each other," Tabish said. "I had great feelings for her, and she had great feelings for me. Alcohol got the best of us, and we ended up having sex."
Tabish said he was not at Binion's home on the day Binion was found dead from lethal levels of heroin and Xanax and apparent suffocation. He claimed Binion had ordered him to dig up silver from the underground vault if he ever died.
At one point in his 5-hours on the stand, Rick Tabish turned to jurors and calmly denied killing Ted Binion. "Absolutely and unequivocally not," Tabish said. "I did not kill Ted Binion."
Tabish will return to the stand to face cross-examination from Clark County prosecutor Christopher Lalli.
I'm not a betting man but, odds are -- Ms. Murphy will not take the stand to explain the mysterious, horrible disease that left marks around the mouth and throat of her "Teddy Ruxpin" -- and left Ted Binion dead on a hallway floor.
Evil Revealed: Chester Turner
November 10, 2004
The Los Angeles Times reports that DNA tests have linked Chester Turner with murders of a dozen women in South Los Angeles during the 1980s and 1990s.
Turner, already a prison convict, will be charged with the rapes and murders that primarily involved women who were by and large homeless and involved in drugs and prostitution. The victims were killed between 1987 and 1998 and were sexually assaulted and strangled.
Chester Turner is now revealed to be one of the most prolific of L.A.'s many serial murderers.
"Some of the most influential people in our society like Bill Clinton, Jesse Jackson, Robert Downey Jr., and Darryl Strawberry provide a dismal example to our nation's youth."
-- Bill O'Reilly's book "The No-Spin Zone"
and HOLY ROLLERS
November 1, 2004
With breaking news of a tawdry phone sex scandal, FOX NEWS blowhard, Bill O'Reilly joins Rush Limbaugh and Bill Bennett in the . . .
Hypocrite Hall of Shame
Andrea Mackris, a former associate producer of The O'Reilly Factor, accused her boss O'Reilly, a 55-year-old married father of two, of sexual harassment in the work place. According to Mackris, O'Reilly gloated about how he lost his virginity; bragged about his sexual escapades in other countries; and also instructed her on how to use a vibrator -- even going so far as to say "We should do it together, I could coach you through it."
Mackris claims O'Reilly's harassment included three phone-sex calls in which he told of fantasies involving her -- and a loofah sponge.
O'Reilly according to Mackris:
"I would massage your boobs ... cause I like that and you have really spectacular boobs . . . and then I would take the other hand with the falafel (loofa sponge) thing and put it on your ... "
"This is good for you to have a little fantasy outlet ... I'm telling you this is good for your mental health."
"If any woman ever breathed a word I'll make her pay so dearly that she'll wish she'd never been born. I'll rake her through the mud, bring up things in her life and make her so miserable that she'll be destroyed."
"I had to protect my family. This is my fault. I was stupid, and I'm not a victim. But I can't allow certain things to happen. And I appreciate your support; we get thousands of letters. But I'm not -- I am stupid. I am a stupid guy, and every guy listening knows how that is. That we are very stupid at times.
But, there comes a time in life where you got to stand and fight. And I knew these people were going to do this, I knew they were going to do everything they could to try to destroy me and the channel. And I just made a decision that I'm just going to ride it out, and I'm going to fight them. Because what's right is right."
-- Bill O'Reilly, 10-19-2004 (he settled the case within a week)
Beyond the Pale
August 11, 2004
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla.
Troy Victorino, 27, of Deltona -- an ex-convict who blamed a young woman for taking his X-BOX video game system and clothes, recruited three teenagers to stab and beat her and five others to death.
The 22-year-old woman was singled out for an attack so vicious that even dental records were useless in trying to identify her. Some of the victims were attacked in their sleep, according to authorities.
The attack was the culmination of events revolving around a nearby vacant home owned by one of the victim's grandparents and used by squatters as a party house. The four men and two women who were slain had reported being harassed by the alleged assailants.
All four suspects -- Robert Cannon, 18, Jerome Hunter, 18, and Michael Salas, 18 -- were armed with aluminum bats when Victorino kicked in the locked front door, according to arrest records. The group wore black clothes and scarves on their faces, grabbed knives inside and attacked victims in different rooms of the three-bedroom house, authorities said.
May 1, 2004
Jayson Williams and his attorney, Billy Martin seemed
very pleased with themselves on Friday afternoon, April 30, 2004, when the
jury refused to find Williams Guilty of aggravated manslaughter.
One juror, who had smiled at Williams throughout the trial, softly wept as the verdict was read. Three other jurors "wore dark glasses and held their heads down," according to media reports.
As the foreman read "not guilty" on the most serious charges, some in the court room cheered and thumped on the benches. Williams was convicted of a few charges, mainly for trying to conceal the shooting death of limousine driver, Costas 'Gus' Christofi.
The killing took place at Williams' home, which he dubbed the "Who Knew?" mansion, and the former NBA player quickly paid out several million dollars to members of Gus Christofi's family.
Jurors who later spoke with reporters failed to explain why the defendant would go to such extraordinary lengths to disguise an accident -- placing his gun in the dying man's hand, convincing witnesses to lie to police, and stripping naked to take a dive into his pool.
Nor did any of the New Jersey jurors mention prosecutor Steve Lember who was found to have hidden evidence from the defense team for much of the trial.
The jury hung on the count of reckless manslaughter. Only four people found that Williams, playing with a loaded gun after a night of drinking, was guilty of that charge. So in theory, the case could be re-tried -- but reckless prosecutor Lember will probably be busy fighting his own charges.
"We really are pleased with the results . . . Our system can work, and the work of this jury, exonerating Jayson Williams of these charges proves that."
-- Billy Martin
A Raisin in the Shade
What happens to
a dream bestowed?
Does it lounge around like
Apologies to Langston
March 31, 2004
"Jayson Williams will tell you what happened that
night. Jayson Williams will tell you how this horrific, totally unforeseeable
accident occurred," attorney Billy Martin told the Somerville, New Jersey
jury. Mr. Martin promised that the defendant himself would explain that he
was not guilty of the aggravated manslaughter of van driver,
Costas "Gus" Christofi.
But on March 31, 2004, the once boastful Billy Martin suddenly rested his defense case.
Despite weeks of frowning, sighing, scowling and smirking from the defendant, the only words Jayson Williams spoke at his trial were said to Superior Court Judge Edward Coleman.
The former NBA star and proud author of the book "Loose Balls" quietly mumbled, "I understand my rights. On the advice of my counsel, I will not testify. I am innocent. I put my trust in God, and I have great confidence in this jury."
Who Knew Too
"Snitch," "stoolie," "fed" -- What gives?
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