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.

Teen Girl Charged in Triple Murders Over Hair Weave

No, I'm not making this up. When you think about it, it does seem like a murder that a teenage girl would be involved in, I guess. But still.... a weave? Really?
Eighteen year old Shelby Issac from Memphis and her friend Victoria Seay had been going to the online hair accessory store, VirginHair4Us for her hair weaves for quite some time and seemed to genuinely like the owner, EJ Tate and his pregnant girlfriend, Edwina Thomas.

On January 22 of 2016 Shelby and Victoria went to the Sycamore Lake Apartments in Memphis Tennessee where EJ and Edwina were sitting in a parked car. Shelby opened fire upon them shooting both several times. She then went through their belongings and stole several bundles of hair valued at near $250. She jumped back in the car with Victoria driving and the two sped off.

EJ died on the scene. Edwina was rushed to the hospital where both she and her unborn child died. Police were able to garner much information from the witnesses and eventually tracked the two women down at 4000 Covington Pike. Victoria was arrested there but Shelby ran. She was finally caught the following Friday and arrested. She was charged with three counts of murder. WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Zonna Chanae Locklear Staged Her Own Kidnapping to Cover a Muder

A 27 year-old North Carolina woman, Zonna Chanae Locklear, thought she had really come up with a great plan or she really was kidnapped. Who knows?

What we do know is police found her walking down highway 101,on May 26th,  disheveled, and she claimed two men busted in on her and a friend, Gary Wayne Bisbee, in bed.  Killing him and forcing her to drive her car to Chadbourne, she claims they kicked her out on the side of the road. Her car was found a short time later in Columbus County.

Locklear explained to police she had been kidnapped from 107 N. Sterling St., in Proctorville and when they arrived they found Gary Bisbee's dead body in bed with a gunshot wound.

Further investigation revealed that the home belonged to Locklear and Brisbee had been an unlucky visitor. The rest of the investigation has not been disclosed. Somehow, however, it was discovered that Locklear had actually been the one to shoot Brisbee and that he was engaged to be married and had a small child.

Locklear has been arrested  and was charged with first degree murder and conspiracy to commit first degree murder. I suppose once it goes to trial we will hear more about how they came to that conclusion.


How to Write True Crime

Wednesday June 8th 2016 I will be doing a live Facebook chat on the RJ Parker Publishing page.

I announced this last week and had almost 200 messages via Facebook, Twitter and email with questions galore about Shirley Turner, Terri-Lynn McClintick and the true crime writing business in general.

I am really excited to have this opportunity to answer all those questions as well as discuss some new projects on the horizon. We will also be giving away some prizes and having a lot of fun getting to know each other.

Please attend Wednesday night via the link above. I cant wait to meet everyone and tell you all about the crazy world of true crime.

See you then!

Kelly

Whitney Gray Killed Her Nashville Roommates

A photo posted by Kelly Banaski (@kellymbanaski) on

I was in the garden box this morning, quite pleased with myself for the ginormous Serano Pepper I grew (read: all by myself) with my Kindle Fire tablet beside me. I usually listen to classical or some other calming music when I'm out in the yard. I feel like it adds to my outdoor experience at times. It helps keep my mind in the moment and not wandering back to work even though my body is active and outdoors. Today I had the local news playing in the background when I heard the newscaster say something about a man and woman involved in the murder of another Nashville couple. Wow. One couple killed another couple. Wow, weird. Why? How? And I was off.....

Brandon Griswold and Whitney Gray  
Here we have one Whitney Gray, who, along with her boyfriend Brandon Griswold, killed Preston Claybrooks and Alexandria Grubbs last September. Their battered bodies were found in unit A-3, shoved in a closet, at the Garden Howe Apartments. According to Nashville Police Detective Mike Roland, who testified in court, Gray and Griswold owed the other couple almost $700 for heroin. They didn't have the money to pay them so the two formulated a plan to murder them and hide the bodies.
 Preston Claybrooks and Alexandra Grubbs
All four people lived together in East Nashville in Garden Howe Apartments. Police say at approximately 10:15 a.m. on Sept. 21 the offending couple entered the victim couples bedroom as they slept. They beat them immobile and then one of them slit their throats. They then wrapped them like mummies in their sheets and blankets and put them into the closet.  They didn't think things through because they were the leaseholders on the apartment. It wasn't long before Claybrooks mom reported him missing and  a few days later she called again to say the apartment was obviously stinking of death. The bodies were quickly discovered. Police were instantly searching for the other couple. They were located the following Monday afternoon after the killing with a homeless man near the Radnor Yard railroad depot.

Gray and Griswold were each indicted on two counts of first-degree murder, two counts of felony murder, two counts of abuse of a corpse, tampering with evidence and theft over $500. Wow. My fiance and I go to dinner in Nashville A LOT. There isn't much to do in Small Town USA where we live about 60 miles south of the city. So, when we get out we like to make a big production out of it. We were there in April for the Country Living Fair. These people could have been right next to us on any given trip. Creepy.

And here's the Serrano pepper. I grew it. All by myself.






Murder Among the Milkshakes - A Death at Sonic Drive- In



I was sitting in the car at Sonic with my youngest daughter, waiting for my oldest to get off work when my mind began to wander, as it sometimes does, to murder. I wondered if anyone had ever been killed at a Sonic Drive-in. So, I decided to use my time waiting productively (Go, me!) and do a little research. I figured my chances were pretty good that someone somewhere had been murdered at a Sonic Drive-in. Surprisingly, I found only one case.

In DeKalb County, Georgia,  in January of 2015, a murder occurred during an attempt at robbery. Four teen boys tried to rob a Sonic customer at gun point but the customer pulled his own gun, and shot one of the assailants, 19-year-old Kenneth Brayboy, who later died at an area hospital from the wounds. The other boys, one a 17 year-old, Desmond McKnight, absconded, but McKnight was later caught and charged with murder and criminal attempt-armed robbery among other things.

I thought it strange that the boy was charged with murder and not the customer, the man who shot him. But it seems Georgia law says that because he was involved in the criminal act that resulted in Brayboy's death, he can be charged with his murder. The customer who was being robbed and who actually did the killing, was a National Guard member, 23-year-old Joseph Toombs.

So there you have it, the only case of murder to ever occur at a Sonic Drive- In.
You're welcome. My work here is done.

Judge orders retrial in 'black widow' murder case

Judge orders retrial in 'black widow' murder case | WBIR.com:



"KNOXVILLE - A judge has overturned the murder conviction of a Knox County woman charged in the 2003 shooting death of her husband and ordered a new trial.

Senior Judge Paul Summers agreed to toss the conviction against so-called “black widow” Raynella Dossett Leath for killing her husband Richard because the judge who oversaw the initial case – Richard Baumgartner – was on drugs throughout the trial.

“Baumgartner continued his spiral into addiction and addictive behavior,” Summers said in a judgment issued Wednesday. “He was addicted to opioids, and his sickness caused him to make many bad choices. He was an addict during the Leath trial and during the entire year between the trial and the motion for the retrial.”

Summers said Baumgartner was not able to properly evaluate prior testimony, weigh evidence or “fairly make a determination to fulfill his role as thirteenth juror.”

A jury convicted Leath in 2010 of killing her husband. She claimed he committed suicide.

In March, Leath asked the judge to overturn her conviction and allow her a new trial, claiming there was new evidence that Baumgartner used drugs during her trial. Baumgartner was the focus of a TBI investigation into illegal drug use. He spent time in prison following a conviction in federal court.

Leath was also accused in the 1992 death of her first husband, Knox County District Attorney General Ed Dossett. He died after being trampled by cattle on his farm, but investigators later determined he may have been drugged and the death staged.

She was charged in Dossett's death, but the charges were dropped after she was convicted in her second husband's death.

She actually stood trial twice for Leath's death. The first ended in a hung jury.

WBIR 10News has reached out to Cynthia Schemel, the special prosecutor in the case 2010, to see whether her office intends to appeal Summers' decision."



'via Blog this'

Linda Buckner Killed the Cat Lady

If this ain't a case for ID Channel's Nightmare Next Door or Fear Thy Neighbor, I don't know what is. There is also a connection to my home state of Tennessee which is what caught my eye in the first place.

Walter Renz    Linda Buckner
Walter Renz and Linda Buckner lived in Mansfield, Ohio in a pleasant, quiet neighborhood. Next door was Patsy Hudson. Patsy was the stereotypical cat lady. She was quiet. She kept to herself without a lot of company. Those who knew her called her kind hearted and easy going. She cared for several stray cats that roamed the neighborhood as well as any other animal that found its mangy way to her doorstep.

 Walter Renz and Linda Buckner, her neighbors, did not find this quite so charming a fact as everyone else might. They would confront patsy on a regular basis with complaints about the strays and went so far as to kill one of them by poison and seriously injure another.

All this came to a head on the 4th of July 2015. Patsy filed a police report that day stating her neighbors had killed and viciously attacked her cats, constituting animal abuse. The three neighbors got into a shouting match in the yard later that day. Afterward, Patsy was never seen again. While their Mansfield, Ohio neighborhood was quiet, it wasn't without witness. Neighbors reported the argument to police but they also reported that Walter Renz and Linda Buckner moved out that night. By the time Patsy was reported missing in December and an investigation was underway, they were long gone.

Gone, as it turns out, to Tennessee, the state I live in. The pair was a rolling mess anyway. Linda has a plethora of alias's and Walter is a grade-A asshole from way back according to interviews with people who know him. The pair slithered into Tennessee in a stolen car to a a roadside campground southwest of Nashville in Lewis County, where they were apprehended by  a U.S. Marshals Task Force in February of 2016.

Patsy's bones have been found scattered throughout the county where she lived. Walter was in possession of her credit card, which had remained active since her death, when he was arrested. Linda was already wanted for bail jumping in Kentucky.

It will be interesting to see how this case progresses.