12/27/14

Historic Females in Crime - Anna Antonio

We in this country make horror spectacles out of murder cases, especially when the condemned killer is a woman. We drag the thing out. We sob and wring our hands. … We play cat and mouse with the {condemned}, until we have reduced her to the last extremity of woe; then we kill her.”
I found this quote extremely interesting. It came from The NY Daily News after the execution of a woman. People often have this reaction to American serializing of murder and mayhem in our midst. We are societal monsters ourselves, always searching out more info on the sickest of our countries crimes and then bemoaning our outrage as we deny the irony in ourselves. Other countries snicker at our third world justice system and gangland tactics but we soldier on, oblivious to our own ridiculousness.

What is really interesting about the Daily News quote above is it was printed in 1934 after the execution of Anna Antonio. All these years later and still we flounder in our sickness.

Anna was an abused wife. She was called "Little Anna" by friends and family for her birdlike stature and 100 lb frame. Her husband, Salvatore, was a known gangster, drug dealer and all around asshole. He regularly abused her, their children and all those around him. He was feared by the entire neighborhood.

Salvatore was found stabbed, beaten and shot in the middle of the road one night by two college boys who rushed him to the hospital. He died only moments later. After several months police were able to track down his companions that night, Sam Ferraci and Vincent Saetta, The two men had been in a criminal endeavor with Salvatore they claim ended badly and they decided to kill him for it.

They confessed and indicated that Anna had hired them with a promise of $800 from Salvatore's insurance settlement. She was arrested and the three spend over a year in prison awaiting trial and sentencing.

The two men, meanwhile, frequently and loudly told everyone they could that they were just fine. They had no fear of getting the death penalty because a woman was involved. No one would sentence them to death. That was, unfortunately, untrue.

Once it became clear that they were, in fact, all going to die, the pair fessed up and said Anna had nothing to do with it. They had only implicated her because they felt if they did they wouldn't be sentenced to death. Hours before their execution Vincent Saetta made a jailhouse confession to his priest and jailer about what he had done. Anna admitted that the pair had told her they were angry and threatened to kill her husband but she chose to ignore it for many reasons.

Legislation and government did not care. There was a huge public outcry to save Anna. No one believed she committed the crimes she was accused of and the two who did the murder recanted their accusations, admitting it was only the $75.00 bad deal that brought on the murder. Governor Herbert Henry Lehman ordered a 24 hour stay but decided to continue with the executions.

Sadly, Anna Antonio was executed on her daughters birthday. She was perhaps the smallest person ever executed at approximately 80 lbs.


12/23/14

Tiffany VanAlstyne New York


Nineteen year old Tiffany VanAlstyne of Berne, New York, has murdered her five year old cousin, Kenneth White. She strangled him in her parents home, who had been caring for the young boy. She disposed of his body along a roadside and then staged a fake crime scene and called 911. Her story was was that two masked intruders broke in and kidnapped the boy. 




The police began a search last Thursday evening which ended when dogs picked up the boys scent around 9 p.m. They discovered his body covered in snow in a culvert. As police continued to question VanAlstyne her story made less and less sense every time she told it.

She was officially charged and stayed completely silent during her arraignment on Friday. 


Tiffany's parents had custody of the little boy and his two sisters. It is unclear, as of yet, why. She has been diagnosed as bipolar previously.





12/21/14

Amy Lynn Bates - Tennessee

Amy Bates
Very little information has been revealed in the case of Amy Lynn Bates. For reasons not yet uncovered or reported Amy Bates shot Paul Bryan Rector in the head late December 16th in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The house was full of other people, but no one is talking yet. 

After she shot him, she set the house on fire. Apparently she felt everyone in the home would be understanding because she alerted them to what she had done and told them the house was on fire. The witnesses saw flames emerging from her bedroom and called police.

Amy ran out the back door but was soon apprehended by police. She appeared in court last week, but it was postponed until January 6th. Perhaps more details will be released then. 

12/18/14

Christina Regusters Pennsylvania Update

Holy crap, has this case exploded since we last discussed it, and what a horrifying case it is. For reasons unknown Christina Regusters impersonated a Muslim mother and kidnapped a young five year old girl, Nailla Robinson, who she raped and tortured for hours before finally dropping at a playground. Her defense is mistaken identity.

Christina was a daycare worker in a South Philly school where the victim attended class. She dressed as the girls mother and checked her out of school without an I.D. Several school staff were fired in the aftermath. She walked the girl several blocks to the home she shared with her aunt. Christina put Nailla into a fabric laundry bag and carried upstairs. The girl was blindfolded, undressed, tortured and raped to the point of injury. She was released the next morning in the early hours. A man heard her crying and went to investigate. She ran out from under a slide. She was wearing only a t shirt. It was 30 degrees.
Nailla Robinson

The little girl was injured so badly she required multiple surgeries but was eventually able to lead police directly to the home she was held in. She had described her ordeal complete with tales of a huge, talking bird which her captors told her would peck out her eyes if she screamed or crawled out from under the bed.

She was also told a bad man was there and had been the one hurting her and was actually shown a cell phone picture of a black man. All a ruse by Christina to cover her tracks, police say.

Police searched the home and found evidence of the girls story and Christina, age 19 at the time, was arrested. Strange Japanese torture anime and child pornography was found on her computer. The t-shirt the little girl was found in carried DNA evidence.

Christina was raped by her father multiple times throughout her life before he was finally prosecuted. She had been accused in the past of  fondling little girls. Her trial was a high profile, big deal in Pennsylvania this year. Witness after witness testified against Christina, including her own cousin who claims she molested her daughter. That part of the testimony, however, got a little murky when the alleged victim changed the date of the attack when notified the defendant wasn't in the state at the time originally stated. The trial was postponed once because Christina had a melt down and screamed at the witness and cried and blubbered to her attorney. She was upset at her cousin and pleaded with her attorney to understand she was lying. The little girl herself even testified.

At the end of the day she was found guilty on six charges, Aggravated assault causing serious bodily injury, involuntary deviant sexual intercourse with a child involving serious bodily injury, kidnapping, unlawful contact with a minor, unlawful restraint of a minor and concealing the whereabouts of a child. She waits for January 20th to find out her fate. She could receive life in prison.




12/10/14

My First Appearance in a True Crime Book

The best of true crime writing on serial killers over the year is brought together in this second volume of the annual Serial Killers True Crime Anthology.

RJ Parker Publishing releases second annual Serial Killers True Crime Anthology on December 15. Available for Pre-order. 1
This is the second volume of the bestselling annual, Serial Killers True Crime Anthology, a collection of some of the best true crime writing on serial killers over the year.

Several of these authors who appeared in Volume 1 of the Anthology, return this year to Volume 2 with new stories.

2015 Serial Killers True Crime Anthology Volume 2:

Peter Vronsky in the chilling story "Zebra! The Hunting Humans 'Ninja' Truck Driver Serial Killer" describes the carnage perpetrated in 2007 by Adam Leroy Lane, a long haul truck driving serial killer who after repeatedly watching in his truck cab a serial killer DVD movie he was obsessed with, forayed out in the night from Interstate highway truck-stops dressed in Ninja black to re-enact the movie scenes by killing and mutilating unsuspecting women in their homes until he was captured by a fifteen-year old girl and her parents when he attempted to kill her as she slept in her bedroom.


RJ Parker in "Demons" introduces us to the little known story of Canada's serial killer Michael Wayne McGray who murdered men, women and children indiscriminately and whom even prison could not stop from continuing his killing. In the "Grim Sleeper" Parker describes the brutal crimes of Lonnie Franklin, Jr. who over a 23-year killing career, took a fourteen-year hiatus (thus his nickname) before resuming his murders of women in Los Angeles.


Katherine Ramsland in "The Babysitter" brings us up to date on the still unsolved horrific1976 mutilation child murders in Detroit that inspired Bill Connington's one-man Broadway play and Joyce Carol Oates 1995 novella Zombie. In "Really! The Other Guy Did It." Ramsland explores the bizarre case of serial killer Douglas Perry who after killing several women underwent a transsexual change into a woman, Donna Perry, who when apprehended, claimed the murders were perpetrated by his former male self who no longer existed. Ramsland asks, "Is guilt in the body or the soul?"


Michael Newton in "Bad Medicine" and "Angel of Death" describes two serial killers where we least expect them: health care workers. Physician Dr. Harold Shipman who murdered 250 victims in Britain and might be history's most prolific serial killer, and the smiling mild mannered Ohio medical orderly 'Angel of Death' Donald Harvey, who confessed to murdering 87 helpless patients, stating, "So I played God."


Sylvia Perrini, Britain's true crime chronicler of female serial killers in "The House of Horrors" revisits the notorious case of Rosemary West who teamed up with her husband Fred in the rape, torture and murder of ten young women in their rooming house, including her own daughter. In "The Mum Who Killed for Kicks" Perrini looks at the recent case of Joanne Dennehy, a mother of a thirteen-year old who inexplicably went on a thrill kill serial killing spree in which she tortured and murdered three men with a knife and attempted to kill two others.


Kelly Banaski, a newcomer to true crime writing, brings us "Stripped of his medals and female panties", the strange case of a Canadian air force base commander, a colonel who piloted senior government officials and even the Queen of England, who suddenly began to commit a series of panty fetish burglaries that eventually escalated to horrific rape-torture murders of women.


Enjoy and be horrified!!

12/8/14

Krysten Webber and Bridges to Life

Check in from Krysten Webber this week. In it, she details a program she has been working in prison called Bridges to Life. Female inmates listen to the stories of survivors of violent crimes. Krysten says,
"You hear it from their perspective. Just how far and wide it reaches in a persons life to be victimized. It is very moving and it brings me to tears every time." 
The testimonials are given in person or recorded on DVD. The program also requires the inmates to share their own stories. They are required to report the details of their actions that brought them to prison. They also discuss their past as in childhood, adolescence and adult years pre-crime. They must answer pointed questions about their behavior and the devastation they have caused and are forced to confront their own crimes and others in the most personal way possible.

According to Krysten, it forces each participant to look at and consider things they may never have or may have chosen not to in the past. Doing so is terrifying, especially when you are listening to the stories of child killers. To hear what made that person into who they are points the finger at so many others besides the person who committed the crime. What is amazing, Krysten reports, is watching the countenance of 10 other people turn from judgemental to compassionate during the course of the program.

This program is working for her and others in her prison community. They are finding a way to resign to their fate and live a peaceful, fulfilling life inside. And yet, they are underfunded and lack volunteers.

What so many fail to realize is if we have thoughtful compassionate lifetime inmates, they work to keep others from returning. They use their experiences and newfound knowledge to counsel others on repairing their life on the outside. They change lives, sometimes ours.

12/7/14

Nazira Maria Cross - California

Nazira Cross
This is the stuff that ends up as a movie on the Lifetime channel. Nazira Maria Cross, 48, is accused of having poisoned to death her estranged husband, Michael Cross, 55, in 2008. The prosecution says she poisoned him at their home in California and then recruited neighbors to help load his stricken body into her vehicle and then drove his body to a secluded ranch the couple owned in Lovelock, Nevada and burying him.

Michael Cross was a successful car dealer with dealerships,Kietzke Auto Sales, in Lovelock and Reno, Nevada. The couple lived an opulent if a bit violent life together. They had split and reunited in 2008.

People started to look for Michael, police were called and neighbors told the tale of how they helped him into the car so Nazira could take him to the hospital and yet, no hospital records were found. They eventually found Nazira, who told all kinds of tales before settling on the one where he passes away and she panics and buries him. The body was found on the ranch.  Nazira is a native of Costa Rica and the prosecution contends she made use of the time the state was gathering autopsy reports to make haste from the United States. She had been wanted for six years and the case appeared on the Americas Most Wanted tv show.

In 2010 she was charged along with two grown children in an insurance scheme where she faked her own death. According to the FBI, it received information that Cross was living in Peru after a recent rebroadcast of information about the case went out. She had herself set up in a pretty nice little pad in Peru when she was arrested by Peruvian National Police early Thursday morning.

Can you imagine what this woman must be like? They say poisoning is one of the cruelest, most personal ways to commit murder. It takes a long time. It is painful, and if your poisoning a close family member, your going to be right there watching it all. Chilling.

12/6/14

Rebecca I. Trevino Michigan

Rebecca I. Trevino has got herself into a whole heap of shit. There are very few details to be found but this case sounds like it could get interesting. It seems Rebecca shot her boyfriend on Thanksgiving, just a few weeks ago, at approximately 9 a.m. She ran to a neighbors house and told him what she had done but he had heard the shots and had called 911. She also told him she had been assaulted by him.

Police showed up at around 9:20 and he was dead on the scene. Witnesses report hearing five to six shots. They also told tales of constant domestic violence and fighting coming from the house recently. She was arrested. She's been charged with an open murder charge (?) which apparently includes first degree murder as well as two firearm felonies


Her boyfriend was former police reserve officer, James Gascoyne. The couple is from Saginaw, Michigan. The shooting took place inside Trevino's home at 2690 Ohio. St. in Bridgeport Township. The arrest warrant reports she used a .22-caliber rifle to shoot and kill Gascoyne. 


Trevino has domestic violence convictions in both 2001 and 2007 but in relation to another man. She also had a 2008 felony third-offense domestic violence charge that was dismissed. Gascoyne also had one prior domestic violence case that was dismissed. 


During arraignment for Trevino on Monday, Dec. 1, Saginaw County District Judge A.T. Frank entered a not guilty plea on her behalf. Despite her request that he release her on a personal recognizance bond, the judge ordered her held without bond.
ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI