Female Inmate Population... Whats Wrong Here?

Boston University’s Master of Criminal Justice online program

LINDA ANN WESTON Kidnapped and Tortured Disabled People to spend their Social Security Checks

Linda Weston
LINDA ANN WESTON, the alleged ringleader of a "family" of violent con artists accused of holding disabled people captive in a Tacony basement to bilk them out of their Social Security checks, was charged federally Wednesday and may face the death penalty, authorities announced.

Weston, 52, looking confused and wearing a dark sweat suit, stumbled into court Wednesday to hear the charges against her, which are contained in a 196-count indictment. She is charged with two murders, two counts of sex trafficking, forced human labor and multiple counts of fraud, kidnapping, racketeering and several other offenses.

Also in court were three of her four co-defendants - daughter Jean McIntosh, 33, boyfriend Gregory Thomas Sr., 49, and Eddie Wright, 52. Nicklaus Woodard, 26, was arrested Wednesday in West Palm Beach, Fla., and is being extradited, officials said.

Weston's co-defendants were charged with many of the same crimes, but only she has been charged with murder.

All five defendants made history by also being charged with violating the federal hate-crimes act. U.S. Attorney Zane David Memeger said this marks the first time the law has been used to protect disabled persons.

"Shocking does not being to describe the criminal allegations in this case," Memeger said at a news conference before the court hearing.

He said the criminal enterprise known as the "Weston Family" operated from fall 2001 through October 2011 in Philadelphia, Texas, Virginia and Florida, and victimized six disabled adults and four children.

During that time, Memeger said, Weston and company lured the disabled adults to live with them and got control of their Social Security payments, ultimately stealing $212,000.

The victims were fed substandard food, beaten and threatened regularly and were "tied up and confined like zoo animals and treated akin to slaves," Memeger said.

Philadelphia police discovered four malnourished adult victims locked in a filthy Tacony apartment building basement in October 2011, which led to the arrests of Weston, McIntosh, Thomas and Wright. After being charged by the District Attorney's Office with kidnapping, false imprisonment, conspiracy and related crimes, the defendants were held for trial during a December 2011 preliminary hearing.

During Wednesday's court hearing, however, Assistant U.S. Attorney Faithe Moore Taylor told U.S. Magistrate Judge Thomas Rueter that the state charges are in the process of being dropped.

All five defendants could receive life sentences if convicted on all counts, while the decision on whether to seek the death penalty for Weston is being studied and the final decision will be made by U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, Memeger said.

Rueter set an arraignment and bail hearing for Monday for the defendants, who are in custody.

The indictment's most shocking counts concern the deaths of two women identified as D.S. and M.L. When D.S. died in Weston's Philadelphia basement after being mistreated in June 2005, Weston ordered others to move the woman's body to a bedroom where an accidental drug overdose was staged before authorities were called, Memeger said.

M.L. was forced to cook, clean and babysit in Weston's Norfolk, Va., home and died there in November 2008 of starvation and bacterial meningitis. Weston also staged her body in a bedroom before calling authorities, according to the indictment.

"The physically and mentally disabled are among the most vulnerable in our society," Memeger said. "They deserve to be treated with respect and compassion, not violence."

On Twitter: @MensahDean

Appearance on Snapped on Oxygen

Michelle Byrom and I with the Snapped crew, her sister Renee and my assistant Michelle 
Michelle Byrom, my bestie and a woman recently released from Mississippi death row, was recorded for an episode of Snapped on the Oxygen network. Michelle, her sister Renee and I were all interviewed on camera in a lawyers office in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.

My assistant, Michelle, and I picked up the sisters at their brother's home in a Boro suburb and off we went to the lawyers office. It all started pretty quickly. I was amazed at how adept everyone was at their job.

Michelle was very sure of herself and not nervous at all. I was so proud of her and so excited that she was finally able to let everyone know how Mississippi treated her. Someone should be held accountable for the terror she lived for those many years.

I thought I would be nervous but I wasn't. They were so professional things seemed to just float by. Like having a conversation with a friend. I had to learn to remember to drop the pronouns and always use full names. I couldn't wear my glasses and that kinda bummed me out. It was a fantastic experience Ill not soon forget.

Out and About - My Recent Public Appearances at the Dark History Convention 2015

Getting Set Up
Wow has it been a really busy past few weeks. I was fortunate enough to be invited to the Dark History Con in Illinois again this year. This amazing convention happens each year in Champagne, Illinois and serves as a source of information on history's most frightening happenings. I had a great time meeting other true crime writers, film makers, historians and so much more.

I was so excited to meet Judith Yates. She lives in Nashville, only about an hour from me, and wrote the book When Nashville Bled, a fantastic book about Paul Dennis Reid, a local murderer.

Judith Yates
I also met Linda Lee King who wrote Sticks and Stones and Broken Bones: What a Charmed Life I Lead. It tells the harrowing tale of her life growing up and the horrors se witnesses and lived through. 

Can I just say OMFG! I met John Borowski, filmmaker extraordinaire and went fan girl all over him. 

Meeting the incredible artist Jeff Gaither was such a pleasure. He and his wife are truly amazing people and I has such fun talking with them. 

What Type of Reader are You?

I always just assumed that the people that read this blog are of two types of people but I have learned there is an occasional third type thrown in on occasion.

One type are those who have an interest in prison reform. Perhaps they are ex-convicts, have family members who have walked that path or feel strongly about it for political or religious reasons.

The other type are those folks interested in true crime. These are the armchair criminologists and avid readers. They watch the Investigation Discovery channel religiously and you can find them by the truckload in Facebook groups discussing trials and cases and books about them. Most cite their reasoning as a simple curiosity. They, like me, want to know how and why normal people go rogue.

There is also that third type of person who sort of snuck up on me. Call me naive if you like, but it never occurred to me that these people existed. These types of people prefer to be cruel and nasty. Not just about the criminals but to me. I understand that people will always have their own opinions and that’s the really cool part of life and the Internet in general. I suppose it is the advent of the Internet and the ability to hide in anonymity that brings them out from under their rocks but I am always stymied as to why me? They hunt down personal info and attack me, my family and loved ones. They threaten me, my children and family.

It happens from time to time. Some troll stumbles upon my blog and shoots off an email full of venom. They are mad at people who want prison reform or who are against the death penalty or whatever. They are pissed off that I am doing something that they do not believe in. Sometimes it is through Twitter or Facebook and I can just report it and block. Done and done. Usually my assistant finds it and deletes it and I never even see it. No harm, no foul. I don’t think I could explain to a normal person how vile and sick these people are. You wouldn’t believe it.

What never, ever fails to draw the crazies out are posts about Jodi Arias and Darlie Routier. Both are their own special brand of crazy but they always want to attack ME for writing about them. That, ladies and gentleman, is a special kind of crazy. No one forces them to come here and read my opinions. Their comments, if I even see them, don’t stop me. I often wonder if these are the closet murderers. The things they say they are willing to do are just as bad and more often worse than the killers I write about.

So, I’d like to ask you, what type of reader are you? Do you come here to start shit and troll out of a boring or maybe sick mind? Or do you come to read about cases that interest you and fulfill some need for information you haven’t found elsewhere? Before you decide, let me warn you. My new assistant isn’t quite as lenient as the other one is.  She keeps records of threats and IP addresses. You just may end up being forced to answer for you keyboard ninja activities one day and this just might be the place.

Countess Bathory

The Woman behind the Legend

 Bram Stoker became famous for his legendary tale on Dracula. Many speculate that he based his idea on Vlad Tepes, or Vlad the Impaler; born 1431, and presumed to have died sometime in December of 1476, although how he exactly died, is still undetermined.
Vlad Tepes, the man that was imprisoned by the Turks, beaten and humiliated. Finally getting his revenge when he became king. His methods of killing his victims, especially the Turkish soldiers, spread throughout Europe.

He reviled in their pain, enjoyed the destruction he left. Yet, Count Dracula did indeed become well-known as being a Vampire. One that preyed on his victims at night, biting into their flesh, and rejuvenating himself by drinking their blood.

So, was the legend, Dracula, really based on Vlad Tepes? Or could there be someone around that time period that was far more sadistic? Someone that preyed on the innocent, someone obsessed with beauty and youthfulness. And someone that history tells us actually committed atrocious acts, only to drink and bathe in her victim’s blood.

Countess Elizabeth Bathory. A girl destroyed when she witnessed a brutal attack and murder of her two sisters, turning her into a woman bent on revenge and evil tendencies.
But who was Elizabeth Bathory? Is it really true that her victims reached the six hundred mark?

A Child Destined for Evil.

Elizabeth Bathory was born into a family of cardinals, princes and Prime Ministers on the 7th of August, 1560 by Gyorgy and Anna Bathory. A difficult birth for her mother, Elizabeth would experience violent seizures around the ages of four or five. The doctors in the day couldn’t quite explain it. Whether it was some form of epilepsy, or some other neurological disorder. Some may even surmise that she was indeed possessed.  
Although her family was one of the most prominent protestant families in Hungary, her extended family was known for their wild behaviour. Was she cursed from the beginning? Fated to become what she was.

One uncle dabbled with rituals and satanic worship, while her Aunt Klara was thought to be bi-sexual, bringing young women into her house, enjoying the game of torturing her servants. Klara rumoured to have had four husbands, each mysteriously dying. Ironically, the connection between Elizabeth and Vlad extended to her family. Her uncle, Prince Stephen participated in an expedition with Vlad Tepes in Wallachia, 1475.
Legend has it that her relatives dabbled in the black arts, diabolism and rampant promiscuity. But probably one of the most interesting things to note about her family, was the common practice of incest and rape.

The small catalyst that might have started ideas forming in Elizabeth’s head, was when she witnessed the rape and murder of her two sisters at the age of nine.
At the age of twelve, Elizabeth was engaged to Ferenc Nadasdy; known for his brutality towards servants, and his obsession with Italian sex toys. Being engaged didn’t stop her from rebelling against the expectations imposed on her; dressing as a boy, playing boy’s games. And although engaged at the time, Elizabeth gave birth by a peasant boy. Her child taken away, doomed to marry into a family for political reasons.
Even at a young age, Elizabeth was obsessed with beauty, spending hours in front of her mirror. Marrying the twenty-six year old Count Ferenc Nadasdy at the age of 15, and moving to live at the Castle Csejthe. Her husband spent much of his time away fighting in wars, and was nicknamed ‘The Black Hero of Hungary’. With a domineering mother-in-law, Elizabeth struggled to cope with her new life.

Rebelling against her duties, Elizabeth briefly eloped with a dark-haired, pale-skin stranger. But one day when she woke, he had disappeared, and she had no choice but to return to her life with the count.

The Persistent Vice

In the year 1578, Ferenc was appointed the chief commander of the Hungarian troops to fight against the Ottomans. Elizabeth took on her role to manage the business obligations of the estate, surrounded by villages and agricultural lands, bordered by the Little Carpathians.
A well-educated woman, Elizabeth could read and write in four languages. For a time, she looked after the peasants; making sure they were given adequate medical care. She even intervened on behalf of destitute women, or those that were victims of the Turks.

But evil still remained in Elizabeth. In those day, it was common for nobility to torture the servants, in which Elizabeth happily participated in. With guidance by her Aunt Klara, and the Count, she would experiment with ways to inflict maximum amount of pain.
However, it wasn’t until the death of her husband in 1604, did she finally begin her ultimate path of destruction.

The Liquid Elixir

Stories differ in accurate accounts, but it is a common belief that at the age of forty, she truly become obsessed with her beauty; terrified of losing her youthfulness. One day, a young servant girl accidently pulled her hair while combing it. Viciously slapping the petrified girl across the face, she instantly drew blood. Blood fell onto the Countess’s hand, and she was convinced that blood altered her skin, making it appear more youthful.

Determined to keep this youth, her plan began to formulate. Along with accomplices, Elizabeth decided to experiment with the servants and peasants. Bringing them to her castle, in which it was rumoured she tortured them, drained them of blood, and bathed in it.

The Obsession Leading to her Demise

The Countess’ downfall was when she decided to spread the word that she could teach the young girls of Aristocracy lessons in etiquette. Instead, she abused these girls just like the servants.
There are different accounts to what finally happened. Some say one of the girls escaped, others say the Protestant pastor who first buried some of the girls finally spoke forward, or whether too many girls from influential families disappeared. One way or the other, on the 30th of December, 1609, Elizabeth’s castle was finally raided, and her and her accomplices were arrested. The scene before those that raided the castle was horrific.

King Matthias, through his investigations determined that over 600 girls had been victims of Elizabeth and her servants. Her servants were put on trial in the year 1611. Some believe they were tortured to confess. Either way, three were executed in a brutal fashion.
Throughout those years, Elizabeth maintained her innocence. Only charged with 80 murders, Elizabeth was not executed because of her nobility, and influence from powerful family members. Instead, she was placed under house arrest, walled up so no one could get in, and she couldn’t get out.

On the 21st of August, 1614, Elizabeth Bathory took her last breath at the age of 54. One can only deduce what she might have died from. When the soldiers reluctantly went to retrieve her body, a document was found. She had written a letter to invoke a darker power to send ninety-nine cats to tear out the hearts of her accusers and judges.

Unravelling the Conspiracy

Records about her were sealed for a century, people were forbidden to talk of her. Several authors, including László Nagy and Dr. Irma Szádeczky-Kardoss claim that Elizabeth Bathory was a victim of conspiracy. That powerful men owed her a lot of money, and had set her up. Others dispute this claim.

Whether Elizabeth Bathory was a victim of a conspiracy, or whether she was indeed one, if not, the first female serial killer, her tale lives on.
She once quoted, “I grew up listening to stories about the miraculous restorative powers of blood… Given this liquid medium in which I spent my life, it would be surprising if I didn’t bathe in blood…”
Her inclinations were there, her childhood background providing a sadistic backdrop, coupled with her involvement with those that enjoyed inflicting pain. One could argue she was worse than the legend, Dracula.

Whether or not Bram Stoker was influenced by her, or by Vlad Tepes, one may never know. But Countess’ Elizabeth Bathory’s story still lives on, no one really knowing the true number of her victims.

About the author:

As an author of historical/21st century psychological, international thrillers, my books challenge readers to think beyond what they believe, as well as taking the reader on a journey throughout Europe and abroad. I have conducted a lot of research into the historical aspect, so that it is as close to what actually happened as much as possible.

Having studied in Criminology and Neuro Linguistic programming; in addition to doing a diploma course in body language, enables me to give an authentic feel to my characters, and the crimes committed. Because I’ve always been fascinated with human psychology, especially criminal psychology, I always include that element in every book I write.

My books don’t just cover the crimes committed, but what drove that person to commit those crimes? Examining their past, their weaknesses, and childhood; all building up to why some of the most infamous crimes were committed.

Elizabeth Bathory’s tale is my main focus in my second novel in the Annabella Cordova series, - The Legend Returns. In which I am currently contacting publishers to publish this book.
If you are interested to read the first book in the series – Initiated to Kill, you can find the details on my blog, and purchase link on my Facebook Fan page.


Jodi Arias Answers Readers Questions

*Jodi always draws the crazies out. I have disabled comments because the ugly people have started with vulgar comments. Before you read on please realize that I had no control over what she said or which questions she answered and her lawyer will not allow her to comment on the case. Jodi is serving LWOP.   

Jodi Arias heard of my inmate liaison services and contacted me earlier this year. Graciously, she explained she wanted nothing from me. She has many supporters but appreciates what I do for life and death inmates. She offered to help me in any way she could and I found that very inspiring. She is in the worst shape of her life. Innocent or guilty, she is in a world of shit and she's offering to help me and other inmates.

When I wrote about her earlier this year odd balls came out of the woodwork accusing me of all types of shit, assuming I'm a supporter of her crime. Insulting me and the blog and cyber stalking me all over Facebook and Twitter. I'm a sicko because I support prison reform, I'm a sociopath because I communicate with murderers, I'm just a big ol' bitch..... you get the picture.

The funny part is that when she wrote the first time she warned me about using her name in any form on the blog. She said her online haters are the most foul, supposedly because they are cowards who enjoy the anonymity of the Internet and take advantage of saying things without having to look someone in the eye and have others witness their behavior. So we had a good long laugh when I talked to her later about the haters. When I say "haters" I am talking about the people who put sexual and vulgar comments, threaten me because of my personal beliefs and advocate violence. It is possible to discuss these cases without acting like complete assholes.

When I told readers she was willing to answer questions I had literally hundreds of responses but many were illiterate jumbles of words that seemed to be anti-Jodi but it was hard to tell. SO I chose a few I thought we'd get answers to. A lot of people accused me of lying, saying prisons don't allow people to do that. I had to laugh at those. Google is your friend, folks.

So, all that being said, I sent her some of the coherent questions and here are her answers:

  • Matthew asks:

Hi Jodi, Just wondering how you keep such a positive attitude. You're awesome like that. You have many people thinking of you. Wishing you the best.

My attitude is not always positive. In fact, after developing PTSD, I experienced increased anger and irritability. Often, my positive exterior was a mask for pain, stress, shame and depression I felt. I think the biggest misconception among those who support me is that I am [insert favorite adjective]. Haters call me "evil" and supporter "angel". I am neither. I dont consider myself a sweet person (anymore) but I do try to be kind. I routinely fail and still catch myself being negative and cynical. I am human.

  • Alisa asks:

Your skin always looks flawless. What kind of foundation do you use? Do you have a go-to brand or some secret skin care secret you could share?

I don't presently wear foundation but I used to wear L'Oreal's Infallible... something. Its been so long. I don't remember the name. My skin is FAR from flawless. Many of the pictures you see from before my arrest are photo-shopped. As for skincare, I just follow the wisdom I've always read: drink water, sleep well, use sunscreen. I'm sure a good diet helps too. I don't wear makeup right now, but I also once read that no matter how tired you are don't fall asleep with makeup on.ik 

  • Patrick asks:
Do you get a lot of mail? Do people write you hate mail or is it all supportive? Do you answer all your mail?

Yes! I receive a ton of mail. Its almost always supportive. I rarely receive hate mail. I think haters must know it only flatters me. I try to answer as much as I can but I can never seem to get to it all.

Ririos asks:

IMO a fellow supporter has been changing the meaning of some of your testimony. I wanted to ask you directly for clarification. On this guys many websites and forums he claims you purchased a 4th gas can. He believed you returned the 3rd and bought a 4th. Can you clarify?

Also, how does it feel when supports feel they can interpret and know your actions and motives better than you do? I'm trying to be respectful and ask you directly and I wish more bloggers and supporters would go that extra mile too.

There are a lot of conspiracy theorists, Ill say that. I cannot comment on the facts of the case. I can only reiterate that I testified truthfully to the best of my memory.

I'm not online so the haters and different opinions have little to no effect on me at all.  I disagree with the analogy that its like an abuser controlling the abused. That feels way worse than people dissecting and interpreting my testimony.