January 10 – What happened today?


Joseph Massino

1843Frank Jamesborn Alexander Franklin James on January 10, 1843, was a Confederate soldier, guerrilla, and later an outlaw. He was the older brother of the infamous outlaw Jesse James and was part of the James–Younger Gang.  Frank was born in Kearney, Missouri, to Baptist minister Reverend Robert Sallee James and his wife Zerelda (Cole) James. He was the oldest of three children. His father died in 1850 and his mother remarried twice. As a child, Frank showed interest in his late father’s sizable library, especially the works of William Shakespeare. Census records show that James attended school regularly, and he reportedly wanted to become a teacher.  The American Civil War began in 1861 when James was eighteen years old. The James family was from the heavily Confederate western portion of the state. Frank joined the Missouri State Guard and later became part of the guerrilla band of Fernando Scott, and then the more active command led by William Clarke Quantrill. Frank took part in the August 21, 1863, Lawrence Massacre where approximately 200 mostly unarmed civilians were killed.  After the war, Frank was paroled in Nelson County, Kentucky. However, he ignored his parole and oath of allegiance and became an outlaw. He was part of the James–Younger Gang, which robbed banks from Iowa to Alabama and Texas, held up trains and preyed upon stagecoaches, stores, and individuals.  Frank surrendered to the authorities after the death of his brother Jesse. He was tried for murder, robbery, and armed robbery but was found not guilty in all the cases due to lack of evidence. After his release, he retired to a quiet life on his family’s farm doing odd jobs. Frank James passed away on February 18, 1915, in Kearney, Missouri.

1917Lester Edward Bartholomewwas born on January 10, 1917. He was a Protestant by faith and worked as a truck driver. He was one of five siblings and was born to parents Clair O. Bartholomew and Pearl Percifield.  On May 28, 1955, in a motel court at 2133 East Monroe Street, Phoenix, Arizona, Bartholomew shot and killed his wife, Marie Bartholomew, and two of their children, Rickie Bartholomew, age 3 years, and Pamela Bartholomew, age 2 years, using a 22-caliber semi-automatic rifle. Another child was involved but was not harmed due to the intervention of Marie Bartholomew.  On June 7, 1955, Bartholomew was charged with first-degree murder for the deaths of his wife and two children. On June 9, 1955, he pleaded guilty to second-degree murder for the death of his wife, Marie Bartholomew, and first-degree murder for the deaths of his children, Rickie Bartholomew and Pamela Bartholomew.  On June 22, 1955, Bartholomew was sentenced to death for the murders of his children. The execution was set for August 31, 1955, within the walls of the Arizona State Prison at Florence, Arizona. Before the sentence was passed, two psychiatrists were appointed to assess Bartholomew’s mental condition. Both doctors stated that in their opinion, Bartholomew was legally sane and knew the difference between right and wrong.  Lester Edward Bartholomew was executed by asphyxiation gas in Arizona on August 31, 1955.

1917Robert Marcus Burgunder JrHe was generally regarded by those who knew him as a model young man. He was smart and well-behaved, and during school vacations, he worked in the West Coast harvest fields, drove a tractor on a cinema studio lot, and organized magazine sales crews.  However, Burgunder had a darker side. In 1936, not yet 20, he put on his Boy Scout uniform, went out, and held up a drugstore, taking $14. He was identified, caught, and sentenced to a reformatory. After being paroled, Burgunder entered a teachers’ college in Tempe, Arizona. His classmates found him hard to understand and envied his ability to wangle high marks with hardly any study. His teacher of public speaking was puzzled when Burgunder handed in an outline for a speech entitled “Murder,” describing a “perfect crime.”  On April 29, 1939, Burgunder went on a test drive of a new car with two car salesmen, Ellis M. Koury and Elmer Beal Jack Peterson. The salesmen were later found murdered in the Arizona desert. Burgunder was subsequently arrested and charged with the murders. He was executed for the crimes by asphyxiation gas in Arizona on August 9, 1940. His life and crimes serve as a stark reminder that appearances can be deceiving and that even those who seem model citizens can harbor dark secrets.

1943Joseph Charles Massinowas an American mobster and a member of the Mafia. He was the boss of the Bonanno crime family from 1991 until 2004, earning him the nickname “The Last Don” as he was the only full-fledged New York boss of his time who was not in prison. Massino was a protégé of Philip Rastelli, who took control of the Bonanno family in 1973. Rastelli spent most of his reign in and out of prison but was able to get the assassination of Carmine Galante, a mobster vying for power, approved in 1979. Originally a truck hijacker, Massino secured his own power after arranging two 1981 gang murders, first a triple murder of three rebel captains, then his rival Dominick Napolitano. In 1991, while Massino was in prison for a 1986 labor racketeering conviction, Rastelli died and Massino succeeded him. Upon his release the following year, he set about rebuilding a family that had been in turmoil for almost a quarter of a century.  In July 2004, Massino was convicted in a RICO case based on the testimony of several cooperating made men, including Massino’s disgruntled underboss and brother-in-law Salvatore Vitale. He was also facing the death penalty if convicted in a separate murder trial due to be held later that year, but after agreeing to testify against his former associates, he was sentenced to life imprisonment for both indictments in 2005.  Massino testified twice for the government, helping to win a murder conviction against his acting boss Vincent Basciano in 2011, and was resentenced to time served in 2013. Joseph Massino passed away on September 14, 2023.

1947Gary Eldon Alvordwas a man known for his long tenure on death row. He was convicted of three counts of first-degree murder in 1974, for which he received a death sentence. The crimes were committed in Tampa in 1973. Despite the sentence, Alvord spent almost 40 years on death row, making him the longest-serving inmate on death row in America. His lawyers argued that he was too mentally ill to be executed, which contributed to his extended stay. The average stay for death row inmates in Florida is 20 years, and 75 other death row inmates were executed after Alvord’s conviction. He survived eight presidents, nine governors, and two death warrants. His case was notable and attracted significant attention due to his mental health condition and the length of his time on death row.

1949Ahmad Suradjialso known by the names Nasib Kelewang, Datuk Maringgi, and The Sorcerer, was an Indonesian serial killer who confessed to the murder of 42 girls and women between 1986 and 1997. Born on January 10, 1949, in Pasar Rongkat, North Sumatra, Indonesia, Suradji worked as a cattle breeder and a “Dukun” (an Indonesian term for a shaman reputed to possess supernatural powers).  Suradji’s victims ranged in age from 11 to 30. They were strangled after being buried in the ground up to their waists as part of a ritual. He buried his victims in a sugarcane plantation near his home with their heads facing his house, which he believed would give him extra power.  Suradji claimed that his deceased father visited him in a dream in 1986 and commanded him to murder 70 women as part of a black magic ritual. He was arrested on April 30, 1997, and during interrogation, he confessed to the murders. He was found guilty on April 27, 1998, by a three-judge panel in Lubuk Pakam and was sentenced to death by firing squad. He was executed on July 10, 2008.

1957Charles William Basswas an American who was convicted of murder. He was executed in the state of Texas between 1982 and 1989. Bass was specifically executed on March 12, 1986, for the murder of Houston City Marshall Charles Baker. His execution was carried out by lethal injection at the Huntsville Unit in Huntsville, Texas. This period marked the resumption of executions in Texas, and Bass was among the 33 people executed during this time.

1968Lyle MenendezHe is the older of two brothers, with his younger brother Erik Galen Menéndez born on November 27, 1970, in Blackwood, New Jersey. Their parents were José and Mary Louise “Kitty” Menéndez.  Lyle and his brother Erik are infamous for being convicted in 1996 for the murders of their parents, which occurred on August 20, 1989, in Beverly Hills, California. The brothers claimed during the trial that they committed the murders out of fear that their father would kill them after they threatened to expose him for years of sexual, emotional, and physical abuse. However, the prosecution argued that they did it to inherit their father’s multimillion-dollar estate.  Their first trial saw them tried separately, with one jury for each brother. Both juries were deadlocked, resulting in a mistrial. In their second trial, they were tried together by a single jury, which found them guilty. As a result, they were both sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. They are currently incarcerated at the Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility.

1970Terry Lee Flenoryalso known as “Southwest Tee”, was born on January 10, 1970, in Detroit, Michigan. He is well-known as the younger brother of Demetrius Flenory, aka Big Meech, and they both are famously known for their illegal activities like drug trafficking and money laundering.  Terry and his brother began selling $50 bags of cocaine on the streets of Detroit during their high school years in the late 1980s. Their original group was known as “50 Boyz”. By 2000, the Flenory brothers had established a large organization overseeing multi-kilogram cocaine distribution sales in numerous U.S. states.  They co-founded the Black Mafia Family (BMF), a drug trafficking and money laundering organization in the United States. The BMF was founded in 1985, in Southwest Detroit, and by 2000 had established cocaine distribution sales throughout the United States through their Los Angeles-based drug source and direct links to Mexican drug cartels. The BMF operated from two main hubs: one in Atlanta for distribution run by Demetrius Flenory and one in Los Angeles to handle incoming shipments from Mexico run by Terry Flenory.  In 2005, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) indicted members of the Black Mafia Family, ultimately securing convictions by targeting the Flenory brothers under the Continuing Criminal Enterprise Statute, and both were sentenced to 30 years imprisonment. Prosecutors alleged the Black Mafia Family made over $270 million in the course of their operations.  According to the sources, Flenory was released from prison in May 2020 and currently serving the position of a businessman in the US.

1982Caleb Carrothersalso known as Caleb Corrothers, was born on January 10, 1982. He is a convicted criminal known for his involvement in a high-profile murder case in Lafayette County, Mississippi, USA.  On July 11, 2009, Carrothers was involved in the shooting deaths of Frank Clark, 44, and his son Charles Taylor, 20, during a robbery that was reportedly linked to drugs. Tonya Clark, Frank’s wife, and Taylor’s mother was also shot during the incident but survived.  Carrothers was convicted on two counts of capital murder and one count of aggravated assault. He was sentenced to death on May 20, 2011, for the murders and received a life sentence for the aggravated assault. At the time of the murders, Carrothers had been out on parole for six weeks after serving 10 years in prison on four counts of armed robbery.  In 2017, Carrothers, then 37, sought a new trial on the grounds of alleged juror bias during his original trial. His request for a post-trial hearing was granted by the Mississippi Supreme Court, and if the judge finds in favor of Carrothers, he could be granted a new trial.


Julio Antonio Mella

1929Julio Antonio Mellaborn Nicanor McPartland on March 25, 1903, was a Cuban political activist, journalist, and communist revolutionary. He is recognized as one of the founders of the original Communist Party of Cuba.  Mella was born in Havana, Cuba. His father was Nicanor Mella Breá, a tailor and son of Dominican revolutionary Matías Ramón Mella Castillo, one of the Founding Fathers of the Dominican Republic. Mella’s mother was Cecilia McPartland, the daughter of Irish immigrants.  Mella studied law at the University of Havana but was expelled in 1925. He had worked against the government of Gerardo Machado, which had grown increasingly repressive. After being expelled from the University, Mella left the country, reaching Central America. He traveled north to Mexico City, where he worked with other exiled dissidents and communist sympathizers against the Machado government.  He was assassinated on January 10, 1929, but historians still disagree on which parties were responsible for his death. The 21st-century Cuban government regards Mella as a communist hero and martyr.

1983Roy DeMeowas an Italian-American mobster and a member of the Gambino crime family. He led a group known as the “DeMeo Crew,” which was notorious for the large number of murders they committed in the 1970s and early 1980s. The crew is believed to have been responsible for up to 200 murders, many of which were committed by DeMeo himself.  DeMeo was born into a working-class Italian immigrant family in Brooklyn. He completed his schooling at James Madison High School in 1959 and started a small loansharking business at an early age. He also became involved in criminal activities while running a legitimate business side by side.  As a young man, DeMeo became acquainted with criminal Anthony Gaggi who had associations with the Gambino crime family. DeMeo also had his own crew for drug trafficking and car thefts. His own gang was called the Gemini Crew. It was Gaggi who introduced Roy DeMeo to the Gambino family, after telling him that he would earn a lot more if he worked directly for them. Over the next few years, he continued his loansharking business and also led his own crew of young men.  Most of the victims’ bodies were dismembered and disposed of very thoroughly, which resulted in them never being found. DeMeo is believed to have personally killed around 70 of them himself. He initially operated a successful loansharking business before venturing into the world of crime. He was approached by an associate of the Gambino family who told him that he could earn even more if he worked directly for the Gambino Family. Thus, he joined them and soon gained considerable notoriety for his assassinations performed in the ‘Gemini Method’.  His body was eventually found in Brooklyn in January 1983; he was assumed to have been killed by a member of the Gambino family. DeMeo’s character appears in the 2012 film ‘The Iceman’ which was about the notorious killer Richard Kuklinski. The story of DeMeo and his crew also appears in books such as ‘Murder Machine’ and ‘For the Sins of My Father’.

1989Colin Winchesterwas born on October 18, 1933. He was an assistant commissioner of the Australian Federal Police (AFP). Winchester commanded ACT Police, the community policing component of the AFP responsible for the Australian Capital Territory.  Winchester, the son of a baker, worked as a miner near Captains Flat before joining the Australian Capital Territory Police Force in 1962, aged 29 years. The ACT Police and Commonwealth Police were merged in 1979 to form the Australian Federal Police (AFP).  On January 10, 1989, at about 9:15 p.m., Winchester was assassinated. He was shot twice in the head with a Ruger 10/22 .22-calibre semi-automatic rifle fitted with a suppressor and killed as he parked his car in the driveway of his neighbor’s premises in Deakin, Canberra. Winchester is Australia’s most senior police officer to have been murdered.  At the time of Winchester’s murder, it was alleged that Winchester was corrupt; at any earlier period, it was said that he had handled bribes relating to a Canberra illegal casino. However, an audit of Winchester’s financial affairs after his murder revealed nothing untoward. There were also allegations of ‘Ndrangheta or Mafia involvement in his murder.  The story of Winchester’s murder was dramatized in Police Crop: The Winchester Conspiracy. Prior to Winchester’s murder, David Harold Eastman, a 44-year-old former Treasury Department economist, had made threats against Winchester’s life. In 1995 Eastman was tried and convicted of the murder of Winchester and was sentenced to life imprisonment without parole. During the 85-day trial, Eastman repeatedly sacked his legal team and eventually chose to represent himself. Eastman also abused the judge during his trial and during later legal proceedings and appeals. Subsequent to his conviction, Eastman continuously appealed against his conviction, attempting to win a retrial on the basis that he was mentally unfit during his original trial. On 27 May 2009, Eastman was transferred from the Goulburn Correctional Centre in New South Wales to the ACT’s Alexander Maconochie Centre to see out his sentence. A new inquiry relating to his conviction was announced in August 2012. In 2014, the inquiry, headed by Justice Brian Ross Martin, found there had been “a substantial miscarriage of justice”, Eastman “did not receive a fair trial”, the forensic evidence on which the conviction was based was “deeply flawed” and recommended the conviction be quashed.

2013Zhang Yongmingwas a Chinese serial killer and cannibal who was convicted of, and subsequently confessed to, the murder of 11 males between March 2008 and April 2012. It is believed that he fed flesh from some of his victims to his dogs and sold other parts at the local market, calling it “ostrich meat”.  Little is known about Zhang’s early life. He was arrested and sentenced to death in 1979 for intentional homicide but was released in September 1997 after receiving sentence reductions. Upon his release, he was given some land near his village of Nanmen in Jincheng Township, Jinning County, China.  In early May 2012, the Ministry of Public Security of the People’s Republic of China sent a team of investigators to Yunnan Province after media reports of missing teenagers in the area. One of the missing persons, a 19-year-old boy, identified as Han Yao, was confirmed as having been murdered. The investigation showed that an alleged serial killer had begun attacking males who were walking along a road near Zhang’s home starting in 2008. After the murders, it was alleged that Zhang used various means of disposing of the bodies, including dismemberment, burning, and burial, to destroy the evidence. Residents of Zhang’s village stated they had seen plastic bags hanging from his home with what appeared to be bones protruding from them. Upon entering his home, police reported discovering human eyeballs preserved in bottles and what appeared to be human flesh drying.  During his trial, it was reported that Zhang refused to apologize for the killings and did not show any remorse. He was executed on January 10, 2013. Twelve police officers were penalized for dereliction of duty regarding the murders, including Da Qiming, Jinning police chief, and Zhao Huiyun, head of the Jincheng Township police station, who were both dismissed from office.



Jayme Closs

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