Please keep in mind that this blog often has comments and statements directly from the women on death row. Statements of grief, statements of innocence, statements of regret and sorrow. If bearing audience to these women's feelings, my opinions or those of commenters offends you please do not read on.

Octavia Rogers - Is She Another Andrea Yates?

Miss Octavia Rogers stabbed her three young sons to death in June of 2016. Eight-year-old Jaikare Rahaman, 5-year-old Jeremiah Adams and 2-month-old Avery Robinson were found partially dismembered in her Phoenix home by police. She had sliced her own throat and stabbed herself in the abdomen. They found her boys in a closet, the baby stuffed inside a suitcase. She was raving about finding the true meaning of life and a new relationship with God. Her family said religion had recently been a topic of great interest to her and she had been nonstop talking about finding the answer. She posted on Facebook about taking God out of schools and how America had last control of its youth. 

She arrived in court Monday for a hearing. She has plead not guilty. Her lawyers have not given any clues as to their defense strategy. Rogers entire family has stepped up to say this isn't like her and she has always been an exceptional mother. She shuffled into the courtroom, barley healed from her serious self inflicted wounds that kept her hospitalized for months. She cried hysterically and held up her handcuffed hands wailing "Help me...". Her next trial date is set for mid February.

I believe we will see a maternal snap ala Andrea Yates has taken place here. Her attorneys are terrified that the death penalty will be on the table. So far, we've heard that investigators have found no signs of previous mental illness such as exhibited by Yates. Her own mother, while supportive, has issued comments saying there was no reason for Rogers to feel stressed by motherhood because she had a lot of family help. Her Facebook page shows a happy, healthy family.

I am curious to see what happened to this woman and why she did this horrible thing. Her poor mother suffers more than anyone right now. Her cherished grandchildren gone forever at the hands of her own daughter. Shes lost her daughter as well, to mental illness and to the state of Arizona forever. 

There are certainly no winners here and justice cannot be done in the face of illness.  

Texas Gal Mistie Vance Shotguns a Man- Now Faces Death Penalty

Mistie Vance, 32, has been charged with first-degree murder and armed criminal action in the death of Monty Beltz, 56, who was shot in the abdomen with a shotgun in his yard as he returned to his Highway Y residence, said Texas County Sheriff Carl Watson.
Beltz's brother arrived on the scene shortly after the shooting, disarming Vance who fled into the woods with another man. The sibling contacted authorities, which sparked a manhunt in the southern part of the county. Monty Beltz was flown from the scene to St. John's Hospital in Springfield, where he died at about 1 a.m. Friday.
Watson said both were waiting for Beltz. He identified Vance as the shooter. According to a court filing on Friday, "Evidence shows Miss Vance shot Mr. Beltz and then backed his pickup up to where he laid in the yard. Miss Vance reloaded her weapon and was going to shoot Mr. Beltz again when she was interrupted by a Beltz family member."
Vance, who court documents say confessed to the crime, was familiar with the victim. Vance told authorities she went to the home to retrieve some items and obtain some of Beltz's prescription medication. The statement was confirmed by man who also was on the scene, according to court documents.
The two waited for the victim to come home, according to the man, who said Vance put two shotgun shells in her pocket and walked toward the house to obtain the prescription drugs. A fight ensued between Vance and Beltz for an hour and later extended to the residence's lawn. According to a court document, the man said he saw Vance walk backwards, telling Beltz "not to make her do it." Moments later, Vance shot Beltz, he told lawmen.
Both fled the area. The man turned himself into Mountain View police, and Vance was arrested on an Arroll doorstep.
Vance's charges carries a penalty of life in prison or death. She is being held at the Texas County Jail in lieu of $2 million.
Watson said the investigation continues.

Read more:

Jessica Hicks The Arizona Killer Mom Who Never Killed a Soul

I know we have certain laws to make sure dangerous people might not get back on the street. Some of them are useful, I guess, but Im not partial to these ‘tricks” and bullshitery that end up putting people away forever for things they did not do. It is a sign of stupidity and a weak government. 

Case in point: Ms. Jessica Hicks, an Arizona mother of three.
Granted Ms. Hicks was not living the most righteous of lives. She had lived an off again, on again transient existence with her car-jacking, weapons charges carrying, trouble-maker of a boyfriend, Craig Uran. On March 18, 2014, the pair decided to carjack a woman. They cornered a woman in a parking garage and as Uran brandished the gun, Hicks wrestled her keys away. They took her truck and went to a motel. When leaving the room, they were spotted by a police officer. Uran driving and Hicks in the passenger seat, the pair took off like a modern day Bonnie and Clyde, complete with Uran pulling a gun and brandishing it at the cop before taking off in the truck. 

Police called out a mini-tank and rammed the truck several times. Eventually, Officer David Norman shot Uran after the crazy car chase through Phoenix. He’d crashed the stolen vehicle and was still trying to drive around deployed airbags when the police shot him. The bullet went through the window and into his head. Hicks was sitting next to him in the passenger side. They pulled her out through the window and onto the pavement. Thats when they found out the gun Uran had was a toy pellet gun.

Here’s where shit gets weird. Jessica Hicks has been sitting in jail for over two years for the murder of her boyfriend, Craig Uran. According to Arizona state murder law, if you are present during a felony when a homicide happens, you are charged.

How in the hell is this ethical? I understand, we need a few laws to keep the crazies away but this? Really? How is this ok to keep a drug addicted, abused, homeless mom of 3 in prison for 2 years just to blame someone else for a murder a cop committed?

For further research, this article has a to of great info.

Free Books For You Cuz I Love You So So Much

I have the greatest readers in the world.

Its true.

You guys are smart, savvy and have a whole lot of interesting ideas and questions.

True crime fans are some of the smartest people in the world. They have solved cold cases and kept important cases in the forefront of our consciousness.

In honor of all this smartness floating around I thought Id give away a few books this week.

Anyone who leaves a comment anywhere on this blog between today and Friday will be entered into a drawing to get an autographed copy of my book Taking Tori and a few extra goodies.

Good luck!

Voices From Death Row

My upcoming book for RJ Parker Publishing is going to be titled Voices From Death Row. It is a compilation of stories that ended with a murderer on death row. When possible, I interview the inmate, their families and anyone else who will participate.

The first few cases I have taken on for this book have been Christian Longo, Joseph Edward Duncan III, and Lemaricus Davidson. I wrote to all three and have received an answer only from Lemaricus. His crimes are so horrible, so nightmarish, that even I, who have been involved with the like of Richard Ramirez and others as infamous, could not help but be afraid. I found myself worrying about which address to use and if he could have someone find me. These are things I have never thought about. People ask me all the time if I am afraid of inmates finding me and it always seems silly to me. They are, after all, in prison.

Christian Longo killed his entire family; a wife and children, because he couldn't cut the mustard. Always broke and moving, he just didn't have the life experience to support a family. He had grown up in a very strict Mormon household and bolted as soon as he turned 18. He ran off to Mexico after the murders and posed as a New York Times reporter. They made a movie about him starring James Franco. Once you make a movie about these fuckers they think they are Johnny Depp and I'm sure that's why Longo didn't write me back.  Hes had books and movies and articles out the ass about his murderous behavior and even weirder behavior on the run and after incarceration. There is nothing a small town crime blogger can do for him. I kind of wish I hadn't chosen him for the book.

Joseph Duncan is a distinct possibility for an in depth interview. He perpetrated some really heinous murders and child rapes. The more I read about him the sicker he made me. I poured through court transcripts and reams of interviews. Not to mention the miles of newspaper reports and every court reporter I could find who was involved. He finally killed an entire family and took the two smallest kids with him to a campground where he tortured and raped them. He killed one in front of the other. The whole time he was on this pedophilic rampage he kept a blog. Can you believe it? He enjoyed the process so much he started another from behind bars. He wrote that he would consider an interview but the journalist had to be coming from a scholarly point of view. Something more focused on the psychology of it all. That is certainly fine with me. I hope he will answer me. I have a lot of questions and I hope he knows the answers.

Now we are back to Lemaricus. He and his brother and associates, including a woman, carjacked, kidnapped, tortured and raped a young couple here in my home state of Tennessee. The details are so lurid and sick I shook when I wrote him. I tore the letter up twice feeling like it was too friendly, then too cold. I stood at the mailbox a full 10 minuets trying to decide if I really wanted to put the letter inside. But I did.

I almost didn't expect a response but I got one. He was polite. He told me not to be afraid and he hoped that he could show me there wasn't anything to be afraid of. He told me he wouldn't talk about his case but he did say that the media is the most powerful entity on earth. He said it can make a guilty man innocent and an innocent man guilty. I know that hes right about that but I wonder if its true in his case. I'm really looking forward to finding out.

Dusti Byers is Really Just a Nice Girl

So, speaking of readers and their comments, I have one from a month or so ago from someone claiming to be in the know on murderess, Dusti Byers. Another person claiming to be her mom left a comment on the post I wrote about her here.  The email read:

I feel really badly that you chose to call Dusti Byers the "sadistic sister."  If you knew more of the story you would change your mind.  You seem like a person that would look at both sides of a situation.  

Dusti Byers pleaded guilty to the murder of her father and sister only because she could not get decent representation in her rural county.  Her sister was killed because the bullet meant for the father traveled through his head into the sister.  There was no intent to kill her sister.  Dusti experienced years of sexual abuse from her father.  He also provided her with drugs from an early age.  Glenn County childrens' services were called out many times but never helped her.

That's all.  Just thought you should know.

Barbara Segal

Mkay. She might be right. I tend to listen to all sides of the story from every angle and figure it out myself. I wrote to Dusti, as is my usual routine when I write about someone and she never wrote back. All I had to go on was the news reports. Regardless of the circumstances she did indeed shoot and kill two people. That will most often garner you a few names a ton worse than "Sadistic Sister". 
So you, Julie Noakes, can go shit in your hat. I only write about people who murder. Not quite my fault that she did that, is it? 

And you Barbara? I suggest you guys search out more help than I can provide. I am a rural writer with a small following. Nowhere near what you need to investigate an entire town. It would serve you guys a lot better if you went after the people who gave ME the information, don't you think? People in that actual town perhaps? Throwing me shitty comments like Julie's surely isn't going to help. 

You have evidence? You have proof? Shoot it my way. I'm more than happy to publish it for you. If not, don't shoot the messenger.