10/30/15

Then No One Can Have Her by Caitlin Rother Steve DeMocker, Wife Killer

When soft, gentle soul Carol Kennedy met Steve DeMocker it was love at first site and the pair dubbed each other soul mates. Their two children, Katie and Charlotte soon followed and life was good.

The pair made a wonderful couple for years, working together and building a substantial fortune. Steve was talented, charismatic, charming and conniving, He was such a successful businessman that he always managed to get his own way. He used his charming personality in all areas of his life and it wasn't long before Steven started having extramarital affairs, one after the other.

Year after year, Carol would make excuses and cover up his embarrassing affairs but when he began to spend all their money as fast as they could spend it and was quickly running through their savings, she began to speak up. She filed for a divorce which left her financially bereft but feeling powerful and hopeful.

Immediately after the divorce, Steven began to flirt with Carol again who was still a bit bitter over losing so badly in the divorce. She was creeped out about it and the fact that he'd recently shown up at her door to ask her out for coffee. The divorce had torn apart Carols relationship with her daughter, which she was just repairing. She was on the phone with her mother one evening, preparing an evening meal and discussing all of these recent events when her mother heard Carol say the last thing she ever said; a very surprised and exasperated "Oh, no"!

Her beaten and bruised body was found in her rural home, her skull scattered in over 50 places. Steve was the immediate prime subject but it took almost five years to build a concrete case against him. Mired in legal red tape, mistakes and strange unpredictable hangups.

Caitlin Rother dazzles us again with her signature style of mesmerizing details and shocking twists in her book on this case called Then No One Can Have Her. She gives us a birds eye view of the entire marriage and its ultimate demise  as well as the most personal details of each players personality. The quaint town is crystal clear and the DeMocker home seems as personal as our home. 

New York Times bestselling author Caitlin Rother has written or co-authored nine books: Her latest, I'll Take Care of You, as well as Lost Girls, Poisoned Love, Dead Reckoning, Body Parts, Twisted Triangle, Deadly Devotion, Naked Addiction, and My Life, Deleted. 

Rother, a Pulitzer Prize nominee, worked as an investigative reporter at daily newspapers for nineteen years before deciding to write books full-time. Her work has been published in Cosmopolitan, the Los Angeles Times, The San Diego Union-Tribune, the Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, The Huffington Post and The Daily Beast. She has appeared dozens of times as a crime expert on Nancy Grace, the Jay Thomas ShowInvestigation Discovery, E!, HLN, the Oxygen Network, Greta Van Susteren’s On the Record, XM Radio, America at Night,CSPAN and various PBS radio and TV affiliates.

 Rother works as a book doctor/publishing and research consultant and teaches narrative non-fiction writing at UCSD Extension and San Diego Writers, Ink. Please visit her website at http://caitlinrother.com




10/28/15

These 14 Women Have Been Killed by the Country.

In the last century, only 40 women have received the death penalty in America — 14 since 1976, according to the Death Penalty Information Center. In total, 1,343 prisoners have faced execution since then.

Business Insider looked into the stories of the 14 women on death row since the mid-'70s, many of whom killed their lovers.

1.) Velma Barfield, a drug addict from North Carolina, forged her boyfriend's checks to fund her habit. Fearing he might find out about a $300 forged check, she poisoned his beer, the Associated Press reported. As the first woman sentenced to die in 22 years, Barfield eventually confessed to killing three others, including her own mother, The New York Times reported. She died by lethal injection in 1984.



2.) Karla Faye Tucker and an accomplice wanted to end three days of drug-induced shenanigans by stealing a motorcycle. So they killed the owner of the bike and his friend with a pickax in 1983, CNN reported. Sentenced to die for her crimes, Tucker became a born-again Christian and waited for a pardon until hours before her lethal injection. She was the first women Texas executed since the Civil War.



3.) Judy Buenoano poisoned her husband and drowned her son, earning her the name "black widow," CNN reported. Buenoano attempted to bomb her fiancè's car in 1983, which then led investigators to realize she had drowned her partially paralyzed son and poisoned her husband years earlier. She died in 1998 in Florida's electric chair.







4.) Betty Lou Beets shot and killed her fifth husband in 1983, CNN reported. She claimed she was a battered wife and killed him in self-defense in an attempt to get clemency from then Gov. George W. Bush. He rejected that claim. In 2000, Beets became the second woman executed in Texas since the Civil War.





5.) Christina Riggs tried and failed to kill her 5-year-old son and 2-year-old daughter by injecting them with potassium chloride, BBC reported. Instead, she smothered them with pillows. She died in 2000 — the first woman Arkansas executed in 150 years.






6.) Wanda Jean Allen got the death penalty by lethal injection for killing her lover Gloria Leathers, whom she met in prison, USA Today reported. The American Civil Liberties Union wrote a letter for her clemency. The letter said she had severe, untreated mental disabilities that prosecutors knew about but never revealed during court proceedings. When she died in 2001, she became the first black woman executed since 1954.



7.) Marilyn Plantz plotted with her lover and another man to kill her husband and collect on his $300,000 life insurance policy, BBC reported. The two men bludgeoned her husband to death while her children sat in another room. She died from lethal injection in 2001 in Oklahoma, which attracted attention from Amnesty Intentional as the state with the highest rate of capital punishment.






8.) Lois Nadean Smith stabbed and killed her son's 21-year-old ex-girlfriend, Cindy Baillie, by shooting her nine times and stabbing her in the throat, The Philadelphia Daily News reported. Smith died at the age of 61 from lethal injection in Oklahoma.








9.) Aileen Wuornos, working as a prostitute along Florida's interstate highway, killed one of her male clients in 1989. Over the next year, she murdered five more. During her decade on death row, she garnered many titles: a "man-hating lesbian killer" or a "feminist hero who murdered in self-defense," The New York Times wrote. Her life inspired the major motion picture, "Monster," starring Charlize Theron. She died from lethal injection in 2002.





10.) Frances Newton, the first black woman Texas executed since the Civil War, killed her husband and 21-month-old daughter, the Austin Chronicle reported. Newton maintained her innocence, speculating that a drug dealer whom her husband owed money did the crime. The state refused her a pardon, and she died by lethal injection in 2005.







11.) Teresa Lewis plotted to kill her husband and stepson and collect the insurance money. "Instead of pulling a trigger on a gun, she pulled a couple of young men in to pull the trigger for her," Prosecutor David Grimes told a judge at the time, The Washington Post reported. Virginia sentenced her to die by lethal injection. She was the first woman executed in the state in more than 100 years.






12.) Kimberly McCarthy got the death penalty in Texas for killing her 71-year-old white neighbor, the Guardian reported. Lawyers attempted to get her pardoned because the police might have used her race as a factor to gain evidence. As the 500th person to die since capital punishment's reinstatement in the U.S. in 1976 as well as a black female, her case caused a bit of a frenzy.






Kelly Gissendaner was sentenced to death for conspiring to kill her husband.




http://www.businessinsider.com/women-on-death-row-1976-2013-8

10/26/15

Rosemary Chavira Arrested for her Part in Gang Rape & Murder from 2002

For more than a decade police have been trying to put away the people responsible for the kidnapping, rape and murder of 15 year old Brenda Sierra. She was on her way to school one morning, taking a detour to a friends where she could catch a ride to Schurr High School in Montebello.

Brenda was killed in 2002, all along authorities knew it was somehow gang related. Earlier in the year Brenda's mother and brother had witnessed a gang murder and testified against local gang members in court. Investigators believe the gang wanted to retaliate against the family and send a message to the neighborhood to show them what happens when you cooperate with the authorities.

Brenda was 15 when two male gang members and a female gang member Rosemary Chavira also 15, abducted her from the intersection of Whittier Boulevard and Leonard Avenue, taken to a "gang hangout" and repeatedly sexually assaulted.
When the rape and assault was through, they took her to an abandoned lot and bludgeoned her to death. Her dead body was then driven to the San Bernardino National Forest and dumped in an a area ironically known as the Valley of Enchantment where she was found the next day.

Rosemary Chavira was she was 27 when she was arrested for murder last Friday. Her two male cohorts, Eddie Chavira, 20, Daniel Cervantes, 35, and George Barraza, 35, were added to a felony complaint alleging murder and other charges already filed against Rosemary Chavira, 28, said Jane Robison, District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman.

Rosemary Chavira, Cervantes and Barraza are all charged with murder, conspiracy to dissuade a witness and forcible rape, as well as with the special circumstance of murder during the commission of a kidnapping to benefit a street gang, according to court documents. Eddie Chavira faces charges of murder and conspiracy to intimidate a witness.

Because Rosemary Chavira was herself only 15 at the time of the murder, she faces a maximum penalty of life in prison without the possibility of parole if convicted as charged, not the death penalty, as prosecutors have said. Eddie Chavira faces up to 25 years to life in prison if convicted.

Cervantes and Barraza’s crimes do make them eligible for the death penalty under California law, however authorities have not yet determined whether to seek capital punishment in the case.




Worlds Most Dangerous Female Prison

10/22/15

Ann Anastasi Tried It, Didn't Like it, Massacred her Husband and His GF Because of It.


This case is a cluster-fuck if I've ever heard of one. A love triangle gone wrong, mixed with a hate-filled father-daughter relationship and a gullible 18 year old boy comprise the major players in this twisted Shakespearean tragedy.

Ann Anastasi, 42, and her husband, Anthony J. Anastasi Jr., 40, had both been carrying on a romantic relationship with Jacqueline Riggs, 25, according to police. Ann and Anthony's 18-year marriage was laden with conflict and domestic abuse, police said. Ann Anastasi recently had a falling out with both her husband and Riggs, who had moved into the basement of the family home. Many long term marriages have tried adding a third person to their marriage and it rarely works out. It seems like a great idea to add excitement and lust back into a marriage gone stale over the years.

Ann recruited her 13 year old daughter and her 18 year old boyfriend, Gabriel Ezekiel Struss and the trio set about designing a plan to kill Anthony and Jacqueline. On October 5th, Ann called the police to report that she had found her husband shot dead of apparent suicide in their bedroom. She reported that Riggs was also dead in the basement, stabbed to death.

The police say the crime scene was very well staged and they may not have been able to figure out the dastardly deed if not for the fine detective work involved. Details such as the caliber of gun shells spent on the scene not matching the ones that made the wound gave the case away.

The mother Ann, 13 year old daughter and Mr. Struss are all in custody as thi case continues to unfold.



10/18/15

Tia killed her Dad Because She Has a Bad Temper...you know

A teen convicted of murdering her father and trying to kill her mother in a knife attack at their St. Clair County home says she regrets everything and blames her actions on a “bad temper.”

Tia Skinner, who is now 19-years-old, spoke to the Times Herald of Port Huron from the confines of the Women’s Huron Valley Correctional Facility in Ypsilanti, where she’s been locked up since the Nov. 2010 attack. It was the first time the young woman has spoken out since her arrest.

Skinner, Jonathan Kurtz and James Preston were convicted last year of first-degree murder, attempted murder and conspiracy to murder.

Paul Skinner, 47, chased the masked assailants from the home before he collapsed and died from stab wounds. Mara, his wife, was critically injured after suffering more than 25 knife wounds inflicted by Kurtz and Preston.

Police say Tia Skinner planned the murder because she was angry at her parents for taking away her cell phone and for forbidding her to see Kurtz, who was her boyfriend of two-weeks at the time.

Skinner described what happened as “awful,” saying “I regret all my decisions.”

Investigators say she drew the map of her neighborhood and a diagram of the Skinner home that led the murderers to the bedroom where her parents were sleeping. Among the instructions she gave Kurtz and Preston were “The later, the better” and “Try to make it look like a break-in gone bad.”

Tia Skinner, who was adopted by the Skinners as a child and is Mara Skinner’s biological niece, said only on the night of the attack did she have second thoughts.

“Never would I have thought that these two boys would have gone against what I said,” she told The Times Herald. “I just wonder how everything could have been flipped upside down so quick, and I never would have thought I’d be the one to orchestrate something to hurt my family because my family is people I’d protect.”

But the attack happened anyway. The young woman, who was in the home on the night of the attack, said she’ll never forget the sounds of her father’s screams as her older brother, an emergency room nurse, tried to save him.

“It sounded awful to me, it literally made my heart-break in two to hear my dad like that,” she told The Times Herald. “I think it was just awful I just had a bad temper and I took it out on somebody who didn’t deserve it, somebody who looked after me and took care of me.”

Despite initially wanting them dead, Tia Skinner said her thoughts about the lives of her parents changed after the attack.

“I hoped that both of them pulled through. That was the biggest thing, that I hoped both of them would pull,” she told The Times Herald.

While life in prison is difficult, Tia Skinner said she is taking it one day at a time and hopes that one day, she’ll be freed. She said she hopes the community knows she is sorry for her role in the attack.

“I believe that everybody deserves a second chance in life,” she told The Times Herald.

Since being sent to the prison in Ypsilanti, Tia Skinner said she has not heard from her mother, siblings or anyone else from the close-knit Yale community.

“It’s been rough, it’s hard losing your whole family in a blink of an eye,” she told The Times Herald. “It’s tough because that’s my family; they’re supposed to stay by you through thick and thin.”

Tia Skinner, along with Kurtz and Preston, was sentenced to mandatory life in prison without a chance for parole.

After a recent opinion by the U.S. Supreme Court challenged Michigan law by stating such juvenile life sentencing constitutes cruel and unusual punishment (she turned 18 less than a month after the attack), Tia Skinner and her lawyers are trying to request a new sentencing.

Tia Skinner, who believes 20 years would be a proper sentence for her role in the slaying, is currently appealing her convictions on the grounds of being interviewed by police as a minor without parental consent and claiming her lawyer was ineffective.

http://detroit.cbslocal.com/2012/07/12/teen-convicted-of-deadly-knife-attack-on-parents-blames-bad-temper/

10/15/15

Sadistic Sister Shoots Sibling, Dad & Self But Lives - 19 YO Dusti Byers

Dusti Byers lived in a trailer park in Orland, California with her dad Daniel Byers, 55, and her sister, Jennifer Byers, 16. Police say they were
called out repeatedly for a variety of domestic issues and child neglect, abuse and abandonment.

One night in July of 2015, she gunned down her dad and her sister and then shot herself in the head. At approximately 3 a.m. on July 5th, police received a call about an active shooter in the area of  710 Mill St. in Paradise.

Police arrived on the scene to find the sister and father dead of gunshot wounds to the head. Dusti was found elsewhere on the property. Authorities say it was obvious she had shot herself. and it looked like some sort of family fight had taken place earlier.

Dusti was taken to the hospital for a few days and then on to jail in Glen County. During her first court appearance her attorney showed concern about her mental state so the court ordered her to be evaluated. She was deemed to be able to appear in court.a

*UPDATE: I sent a tweet to California reporter Andre Byik who let me know that Dusti goes to court today 10/16/15 for a re-arraignment as she previously refused a preliminary hearing.

10/8/15

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
http://articles.philly.com/2013-01-24/news/36529247_1_disabled-adults-thomas-and-wright-death-penalty

10/6/15

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.

Matthew Perkins Triple Murder

The man who committed these murders recruited my daughter into the Army. We had quite a bit of contact with him at the time. Can you ima...