February 12 – What happened today?

Births

Harry Kendall Thaw

1871Harry Kendall Thaw – was the son of American coal and railroad baron William Thaw Sr. He was the heir to a multimillion-dollar fortune. Thaw is most notable for murdering the renowned architect Stanford White in front of hundreds of witnesses at the rooftop theatre of New York City’s Madison Square Garden on June 25, 1906.  Thaw had harbored an obsessive hatred of White, believing he had blocked Thaw’s access to the social elite of New York. White had also had a previous relationship with Thaw’s wife, the model and chorus girl Evelyn Nesbit, when she was age 16 or 17, which had allegedly begun with White plying Nesbit with alcohol (and possibly drugs) and raping her while she was unconscious. In Thaw’s mind, the relationship had “ruined” her.  Thaw’s trial for murder was heavily publicized in the press, to the extent that it was called the “trial of the century”. After one hung jury, he was found not guilty by reason of insanity. Plagued by mental illness throughout his life that was evident even in his childhood, Thaw spent money lavishly to fund his obsessive partying, drug addiction, abusive behavior toward those around him, as well as the gratification of his sexual appetites.  The Thaw family’s wealth allowed them to buy the silence of anyone who threatened to make public the worst of Thaw’s reckless behavior and licentious transgressions. However, he had several additional serious confrontations with the criminal justice system, one of which resulted in seven years of confinement in a mental institution.

1943John Patrick Henrietta – is a convicted criminal known for his involvement in a notorious crime that took place in Cleveland, Tennessee, USA in 1988. He and his accomplice, Michael Goodhart, were convicted for the rape, murder, robbery, and kidnapping of Frances Rose Crabtree, a 32-year-old employee at a Bradley County thrift store. The crime remained unsolved until 1994 when a letter written by Goodhart to a Pennsylvania federal judge revealed details of the crime. Henretta was indicted in 1997 and later convicted of first-degree premeditated murder in 2002. At the age of 67, he became the oldest person on Death Row in Tennessee.

1948Jerry White – was a criminal who was executed by an electric chair by the state of Florida in 1995 for the murder of James Melson, a shopper in a grocery store that White robbed in Orange County in 1981. White’s execution was noteworthy due to witnesses reporting that White had an unusual reaction to the electricity. Prior to the crime for which he was executed, White accumulated a long history of arrests for crimes including attempted murder, robbery, larceny, and burglary. Overall, prior to 1981, White had accumulated nine felony convictions.

1950Jesse Dewayne Jacobs – The State of Texas consistently argued that Jesse DeWayne Jacobs was not the one who pulled the trigger of a .38-caliber pistol, resulting in the death of Etta Ann Urdiales in 1986. Despite convincing a jury that Jacobs was unaware of his sister’s possession of a gun during the crime, he became the first person executed by Texas in 1995 for that offense.  At 12:02 a.m. last Wednesday, Jacobs found himself strapped to a gurney in Huntsville state prison, with his arms pierced by needles connected to intravenous tubes carrying a lethal dose of metabolic poison. In his final moments, the 44-year-old dedicated most of his last words to protest the perceived injustice of his impending death. Tearfully, he asserted, “This is premeditated murder by the appointed district attorney and the State of Texas. I am not guilty of this crime.”  Jacobs’ execution raised doubts about its legitimacy and legality, echoed by others. Despite a 6 to 3 vote dismissing his final appeal, Justice John Paul Stevens expressed deep concern in his sharp dissent, suggesting that if the prosecutor’s arguments about Jacobs’ sister were accurate, then Jacobs might be innocent of capital murder. Advocates, including George Kendall of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and even the Vatican, denounced the execution as “incredible, monstrous, and absurd.”  The saga began in 1986 when Jacobs’ sister, Bobbie Jean Hogan, enlisted him to kidnap Urdiales due to a dispute over child support. Jacobs initially confessed to the murder, but later recanted, asserting that his sister had pulled the trigger. Despite the contradictions, Jacobs was found guilty and sentenced to death.  The contradictions deepened when, seven months later, the same district attorney who prosecuted Jacobs reversed himself at Hogan’s trial, arguing that Hogan was the trigger person. While Jacobs became the key witness in his sister’s trial, Hogan received a 10-year sentence for involuntary manslaughter, convincing the jury that the gun had discharged accidentally.  Despite Jacobs’ guilty plea to kidnapping and possible involvement in conspiracy to murder, his attempts for relief through appeals courts and the Supreme Court were thwarted by a Texas legal maneuver. The attorney general’s office contended that there were no grounds to reconsider Jacobs’ sentence based on Speers’ error in positing Jacobs’ innocence during Hogan’s trial.  Justice Stevens emphasized the unfairness of executing a person based on a factual determination the state had disavowed. Jacobs’ plea for a reprieve went unanswered, and moments before his execution, he expressed hope that his death would contribute to halting all executions—an unlikely prospect in a state with 398 people on death row and a national sentiment where up to 75% of the populace supports the death penalty. Meanwhile, Bobbie Jean Hogan, a likely co-conspirator in Urdiales’ death, could be released on parole in the spring.

1951Steven Parent – is most known for being a victim of the infamous Charles Manson murders.  On the night of August 8, 1969, Parent was visiting the property’s caretaker at 10050 Cielo Drive in Benedict Canyon, Los Angeles, California. This property was the home of movie actress Sharon Tate and her husband, film director Roman Polanski. That night, members of the Manson Family, under the direction of Tex Watson and Charles Manson, perpetrated a series of murders.  Parent, along with Tate, who was 8½ months pregnant; guests Jay Sebring, a celebrity hairdresser; Abigail Folger, a coffee heiress; and her boyfriend Wojciech Frykowski, an aspiring screenwriter, were all tragically murdered. Steven Parent’s life was cut short on August 9, 1969, marking a tragic end to a young life. His story is a chilling reminder of the Manson Family’s reign of terror.

1956William Ray Williams – known as Willie Ray, found himself entangled with the “wrong” crowd at a young age, ultimately leading to his conviction for capital murder and a death sentence at the tender age of 17. Before even reaching voting age, Williams had committed six known robberies, establishing a criminal career.  On October 13, 1980, around 9 a.m., Williams, along with friends Charlotte Parker, Evelyn Harvey, and Joseph Nichols, squeezed into a blue Toyota to carry out a robbery at Joseph’s Delicatessen and Grocery store in Houston. While the girls waited in the getaway car, Williams and Nichols entered the store. After grabbing a quart of beer and a corn dog, they brandished their guns at 70-year-old deli employee Claude Shaffer Jr., demanding money.  In a tense moment, Shaffer produced a gun, prompting Nichols to fire a shot out of fear. Shaffer sought cover behind the counter. As Williams and Nichols attempted to flee, Williams, seeing Shaffer squatting with his back turned, fatally shot him in the back. Williams then returned to the store to retrieve an $8 cash register box, confirming the impact of his shot.  Williams was apprehended three days later, confessing to the murder. His criminal record included three previous robberies, with two more discovered after the deli incident. Parker, a former girlfriend of Williams, testified against him in a plea bargain to secure a more lenient sentence for herself.  During the trial, Parker’s testimony, disclosing additional robberies, severely harmed Williams’ case. Despite attempting to waive a jury trial, it was mandatory in capital punishment cases. In an unusual turn, Williams pleaded guilty to a capital murder charge based on the advice of his lead counsel, Joe Cannon, who believed it would enhance his chances of receiving a life sentence instead of the death penalty.  Despite Williams’ guilty plea, the jury deemed his actions deliberate and sentenced him to death. Attempts to appeal on the grounds of ineffective assistance of counsel and the relevance of Parker’s admitted petty crimes were unsuccessful. Williams’ execution on January 31, 1995, was distinctive for Texas prison guards, as two individuals were executed on the same day. Williams and Clifton Russell, kept in separate buildings, both received lethal injections.

1961Dwayne Irvin Parker – is known for a crime he committed that led to his death sentence on June 14, 1990. He was found guilty of murdering William Nicholson on April 22, 1989, in Broward County, Florida, USA. The crime involved Parker and his accomplice, Ladson Marvin Preston, robbing a Pizza Hut in Pompano Beach. They stole from the restaurant’s safe and also took money and jewelry from 16 customers in the dining room. During the robbery, Parker fired six shots, injuring two customers. When Parker and Preston left the restaurant, Broward County deputies were waiting outside. Parker fired five shots at a deputy and then ran into the street. In an attempt to hijack a car, Parker fired a shot into the vehicle. Several people had left a nearby bar and were in the street, including William Nicholson. A witness saw Parker running down the street with Nicholson following him. The witness then heard another shot and saw Nicholson clutch his midsection before collapsing. The gunshot wound led to Nicholson’s death.

1966Leszek Pekalski – also known as The Vampire of Bytów, was born on February 12, 1966, in Osieki, near Bytów, Poland. He is a Polish murderer and suspected serial killer. It is believed that he killed at least 17 people between 1984 and 1992. At some stages of the criminal proceedings, he admitted to having killed as many as 80 people, which he later retracted. However, due to problems with the collection of evidence, he was convicted of only one murder. Pękalski was sentenced to 25 years in a psychiatric institution on December 9, 1996. Despite his initial confession, Pękalski later claimed that he was coerced into confessing to crimes he did not commit. He stated that he was a gullible man and was easily persuaded by what the officers had told him. He claimed that he was mentally weak and would break down under pressure, leading him to admit to things he had never done. Pękalski maintained that he had never killed anyone and expressed fear for his life if he were to be acquitted or receive a mild sentence.

1967Jackie Barron Wilson – was a convicted murderer. He was executed by lethal injection on May 4, 2006, in Huntsville, Texas, at the age of 39. Wilson was on death row for 18 years for the abduction, sexual assault, and murder of a 5-year-old girl named Lottie Margaret Rhodes.  On November 30, 1988, the child was discovered missing from her bed in her bedroom by her mother, in the Arlington Village Apartment Complex. The window above the child’s bed was raised, and the glass was broken from the outside. There was blood on the window ledge and the wall below the window. The curtains were torn and also had blood on them.  Maggie’s body was found that morning in Grand Prairie, on the side of the road. She was face down, and her shorts were pulled down, exposing her buttocks. There were tire tracks on the body, with two different tread patterns. The medical examiner found that in addition to being run over, Maggie had been vaginally and anally raped while alive, then strangled and suffocated.  A woman living in the same apartment complex as the Rhodeses reported that on the night Maggie was murdered, Wilson, then 22, broke into her apartment through a window and began sexually assaulting her in her sleep. When she awoke, Wilson offered her drugs in exchange for sex. She ordered Wilson to leave, and he did. When a police officer went to Wilson’s residence to question him, he fled.  Investigators located the car that Wilson was driving the night of the murder. The two different kinds of tires on the car were consistent with the two tread marks on the victim’s body. Hairs found inside and on the underside of the car were matched to the victim. A bite mark found on the girl’s body matched an impression taken from Wilson. Fingerprints found on the pieces of glass from the broken window of Maggie’s bedroom were matched to Wilson.  Wilson had a history of fleeing from police, resisting arrest, and giving false information to police, including an instance when he assaulted an officer. During his trial, Wilson asked a deputy to change the position of his handcuffs. When the deputy agreed and removed one cuff in order to change their position, Wilson jerked away and struggled with the deputy until another deputy arrived.  Wilson never admitted to being Maggie’s murderer, although he did not dispute the evidence against him.

1974Anthony A. Spann – is a convicted murderer who was sentenced to death on June 23, 2000. He was involved in a series of crimes that led to the murder of Kazue Perron.  On November 13, 1997, Spann drove the getaway car for a pawnshop robbery carried out by Lenard Philmore and Sophia Hutchins. They stole mostly jewelry and firearms from the pawnshop. Spann, Philmore, and two women spent that night at a motel.  The following day, Spann and Philmore decided they needed to leave town and planned to rob a bank for money. They believed that the police would be looking for Spann’s Subaru, which they had used in the pawnshop robbery and planned to use in the bank robbery. They decided to carjack a woman and use her car to leave town.  They found their victim, Kazue Perron, driving a Lexus. Philmore forced Perron back into her car at gunpoint and drove her to an isolated area. There, Philmore shot Perron in the head and dumped her body in a canal. They then proceeded to rob a bank and escape in the stolen Lexus.  Spann was later apprehended after an undercover officer observed him driving the Lexus and called for backup. Despite attempting to outrun the police, Spann was eventually caught. He was convicted and sentenced to death for the murder of Kazue Perron.

1975Christopher Jay Swift – He is known for a tragic event that took place on April 29, 2003, when he was 28 years old. On that day, Swift committed a heinous crime by murdering his wife, Amy Sabeh-Swift, who was eight or nine months pregnant at the time. The crime occurred in the recreational vehicle where they lived in Irving, Texas.  Swift was subsequently arrested, tried, and convicted for his crimes. He was sentenced to death and executed by lethal injection on January 30, 2007, in Huntsville, Texas, at the age of 31. His remains are buried at the Captain Joe Byrd Cemetery in Huntsville, Texas. His life and actions serve as a grim reminder of the consequences of violent behavior.

1976Colin Norris – is a former nurse and convicted serial killer. He is known for a series of murders that took place in 2002 in Leeds, England. Norris, who self-admittedly disliked elderly patients and had previously stolen hospital drugs, was the only person on duty when all the five patients inexplicably fell into sudden hypoglycaemic comas. The victims were non-diabetic women who were in minor injury wards with merely broken hips.  Suspicions were raised when Norris predicted that healthy Ethel Hall would die at 5:15 am one night, which is when she fell into a catastrophic arrest, and tests revealed that she had been injected with an extremely high level of man-made insulin. Insulin was missing from the hospital fridge and Norris had last accessed it, only half an hour before Hall fell unconscious.  Norris was convicted by an 11-1 majority verdict on March 3, 2008, for the murder of four women, and the attempted murder of a fifth. He was sentenced the following day to life imprisonment, and ordered to serve a minimum term of 30 years in prison. Doubts were later raised about his conviction by, among others, Professor Vincent Marks, an expert on insulin poisoning, who concluded from his own studies that there was a 1 in 10 chance that each patient’s arrest could have happened naturally. However, others have pointed out that C-peptides are produced in hypoglycaemic attacks caused by insulin produced naturally in the body, and these were not detected in any of the blood tests of the victims, indicating that the insulin had been introduced to their bodies externally and artificially. Norris lost an appeal against his conviction in 2009. In February 2021 the Criminal Cases Review Commission referred the case back to the Court of Appeal.

1986Phillip Haynes Markoff – He was the son of Susan Haynes and Richard Markoff, a dentist in Syracuse, New York. He had an older brother, Jonathan Markoff, and a half-sister. He graduated in 2004 from Vernon-Verona-Sherrill High School, where he was a member of the National Honor Society, the History Club, the Youth Court, and the school bowling and golf teams. After high school, Markoff attended SUNY Albany where he was a pre-med student. He graduated from SUNY Albany in 2007.  Markoff was a second-year medical student at Boston University School of Medicine at the time of the crimes. He was suspended from the school after the criminal charges were filed against him. Markoff met Megan McAllister, a native of New Jersey, in 2005, while they were both volunteers at the Albany Medical Center Hospital emergency room. They were engaged to be married, with their wedding planned for August 14, 2009.  Markoff was charged with the armed robbery and murder of Julissa Brisman in a Boston hotel on April 14, 2009, and two other armed robberies. Markoff maintained his innocence of all charges and pleaded not guilty at his arraignment. A grand jury indicted Markoff for first-degree murder, armed robbery, and other charges. On August 15, 2010, Markoff died by suicide in Boston’s Nashua Street Jail, where he was awaiting trial. The media have referred to this murder and other murders as “Craigslist killings” because the killer was alleged to have met his victims through ads placed on the internet site Craigslist, two of whom were offering erotic services.

 

Deaths

James Bulger

1551Alice Arden – the daughter of John Brigantine and Alice Squire. She married Thomas Arden, with whom she had at least one daughter, Margaret, born in 1538. They lived at Faversham Abbey, which had been dissolved in 1536.  Alice began an affair with a tailor named Richard Mosby. Over time, she grew to loathe her husband and plotted to have him killed. She made an early attempt on his life by trying to poison him, but Thomas noticed the taste of the poison and stopped eating his breakfast.  Unable to carry out the murder herself, Alice found an accomplice in a local man named Mr. Green, who had personal grievances with Thomas Arden. They hired two men, Black Will, and George Shakebag, to commit the murder. After failing to find an opportunity to kill Thomas for two days, they finally succeed when Black Will strangles Thomas while Mosby distracts him with a game of backgammon. To ensure her husband was dead, Alice stabbed him seven or eight times.  The murder took place on February 14, 1551. Alice was subsequently tried, convicted, and sentenced to death for her part in the murder. She was executed by burning at the stake. Her co-conspirators were also rounded up and executed. Alice Arden’s life and actions serve as a grim reminder of the consequences of violent behavior.

1865George Victor Townley – was born in 1838 and lived with his wealthy and respectable middle-class parents about two miles from Manchester in Hendon Vale. His father was a General Commissions Agent involved with shipping and marine insurance.  Townley is known for the murder of 22-year-old Elizabeth (Betsy or Bessie) Goodwin on August 21, 1863. Elizabeth was the daughter of Henry Goodwin and had moved into the family home of Wigwell Grange near the small Derbyshire village of Wirksworth to help her 83-year-old grandfather, Francis Green Goodwin. Townley met Elizabeth through her uncle, who knew the Townley family. After they were introduced, the couple formed an attachment and became engaged. However, during the engagement, things were not always smooth. She ended their engagement sometime in May of 1863, and although it was revived for a short period, she broke it off again in August of that same year.  On the day of the murder, Townley visited Elizabeth at Wigwell Grange around 5:30 pm. They were then seen walking around the grounds and down the lane that led from Wigwell to the Turnpike road. It was a passion-filled murder where he stabbed her several times because she broke off their engagement.  Townley was arrested on the same day of the murder. He was sentenced to death in 1865. However, on February 12, 1865, he committed suicide in prison. He jumped over a staircase railing onto a stone floor twenty-three feet below. He landed on his skull and was pronounced dead. His life and actions serve as a grim reminder of the consequences of violent behavior.

1984Anna Anderson – born Franziska Schanzkowska on December 16, 1896, was an impostor who claimed to be Grand Duchess Anastasia of Russia. Anastasia, the youngest daughter of the last Tsar and Tsarina of Russia, Nicholas II and Alexandra was murdered along with her parents and siblings on July 17, 1918, by Bolshevik revolutionaries. The location of her body was unknown until 2007.  In 1920, Anderson was institutionalized in a mental hospital after a suicide attempt in Berlin. At first, she went by the name Fräulein Unbekannt (German for Miss Unknown) as she refused to reveal her identity. Later, she used the name Tschaikovsky and then Anderson. In March 1922, claims that Anderson was a Russian grand duchess first received public attention.  Most members of Grand Duchess Anastasia’s family and those who had known her, including court tutor Pierre Gilliard, said Anderson was an impostor but others were convinced she was Anastasia. In 1927, a private investigation funded by the Tsarina’s brother, Ernest Louis, Grand Duke of Hesse, identified Anderson as Franziska Schanzkowska, a Polish factory worker with a history of mental illness.  After a lawsuit lasting many years, the German courts ruled that Anderson had failed to prove she was Anastasia, but through media coverage, her claim gained notoriety. Between 1922 and 1968, Anderson lived in Germany and the United States with various supporters and in nursing homes and sanatoria, including at least one asylum. She emigrated to the United States in 1968. Shortly before the expiration of her visa, she married history professor Jack Manahan, who was later characterized as “probably Charlottesville’s best-loved eccentric”.  Upon her death in 1984, Anderson’s body was cremated, and her ashes were buried in the churchyard at Castle Seeon, Germany. After the collapse of communism in the Soviet Union, the locations of the bodies of the Tsar, Tsarina, and all five of their children were revealed. Multiple laboratories in different countries confirmed their identity through DNA testing. DNA tests on a lock of Anderson’s hair and surviving medical samples of her tissue showed that her DNA did not match that of the Romanov remains or that of living relatives of the Romanovs. Instead, Anderson’s mitochondrial DNA matched that of Karl Maucher, a great-nephew of Franziska Schanzkowska. Most scientists, historians, and journalists who have discussed the case accept that Anderson and Schanzkowska were the same person.

1993James Bulger – was a two-year-old boy from Kirkby, Merseyside, England, who was abducted, tortured, and murdered by two 10-year-old boys, Robert Thompson and Jon Venables, on 12 February 1993. Thompson and Venables led Bulger away from the New Strand Shopping Centre in Bootle after his mother had taken her eyes off him momentarily. His mutilated body was found on a railway line two and a half miles (four kilometers) away in Walton, Liverpool, two days after his abduction. Thompson and Venables were charged on 20 February 1993 with abduction and murder. They were found guilty on 24 November, making them the youngest convicted murderers in modern British history. They were sentenced to indefinite detention at Her Majesty’s pleasure and remained in custody until a Parole Board decision in June 2001 recommended their release on a lifelong license at age 18. The Bulger case has prompted widespread debate about how to handle young offenders when they are sentenced or released from custody.

1995Michael Lupo – was a serial killer originally from Genzano di Lucania, Province of Potenza, Italy. He was active in the UK during the 1980s and was known as “The Wolf Man” (“lupo” means “wolf” in Italian). He operated from the Yves Saint Laurent boutique in Brompton Road, London.  Lupo’s first known victim was James Burns, a 37-year-old railway worker from Edinburgh, whose body was found in a derelict flat in Kensington, London on 15 March 1986. On 6 April that year, the corpse of Anthony Connolly, 24, was found on a railway embankment in Brixton. He had been strangled with his own scarf.  Six weeks later, on 18 May, Michele del Marco Lupo was arrested and charged with the murders of Connolly and Burns. On 21 May, Lupo was charged with two other recent killings, those of a young hospital worker named Damien McCloskey, who had been strangled in West London, and an unidentified man, who was murdered near Hungerford Bridge over the Thames. In addition to these four murders, Lupo was charged with two attempted murders.  In July 1987, at the Old Bailey, Lupo was sentenced to four life sentences, plus 14 years. Lupo had pleaded guilty to all charges. There were investigations in cities Lupo had visited in the early 1980s, such as New York City, Berlin, and Los Angeles, to see if he was responsible for unsolved homicides in those locations, although no evidence of any further crimes committed by Lupo came to light.  In February 1995, Lupo died in Frankland Prison, County Durham from an AIDS-related illness. He had contracted the disease shortly before murdering his first victim and told the police that discovering his medical condition had led to a loathing of fellow homosexuals with him developing a “callous rationale” and an “urge to kill”. He spent the last years of his life in a prison hospital.

2004Bobby Ray Hopkins – was born on February 23, 1967. He was a former bull rider who was convicted and sentenced to death for the brutal murders of 18-year-old Sandi Marbut and her 19-year-old cousin Jennifer Weston. The two were stabbed inside the residence they shared. Days prior to the murders, Marbut had accused Hopkins of stealing money from a purse in the home and told him not to return.  Hopkins was arrested four days later. He was 36 years old at the time of his conviction. He was executed in the United States in 2004, making him one of the fifty-nine people executed in the country that year. Twenty-three of these executions, including Hopkins’, were in the state of Texas. His death marked the end of a tragic chapter in the lives of the victims’ families.

2007Sulejman Talovic – was a Bosniak refugee whose family moved to the United States from the small town of Cerska in the Vlasenica municipality of Bosnia and Herzegovina. He was living in Salt Lake City, Utah at the time of the Trolley Square shooting.  On February 12, 2007, Talovic went on a shooting rampage at Trolley Square, a Salt Lake City shopping mall, killing five people and wounding several others. He was carrying a shotgun, and a .38-caliber pistol, and had a backpack full of ammunition. The victims were Jeffrey Walker, 52, Vanessa Quinn, 29, Kirsten Hinckley, 15, Teresa Ellis, 29, and Brad Frantz, 24. Additionally, four more people were hospitalized: Allen Walker, 16, son of Jeffrey Walker; Carolyn Tuft, 44, mother of Kirsten Hinckley; Shawn Munns, 34; and Stacy Hansen, 53.  Talovic was shot dead by police on the same day. He was buried in his birthplace, the small village of Talovići near Cerska, Bosnia and Herzegovina on March 2, 2007. The motive for the shooting spree remains unknown. His aunt, Ajka Omerović, stated that the family had no idea why Talovic attacked so many strangers. Talovic had a record of minor juvenile incidents and had dropped out of high school at age 16. He often attended Friday prayers at the Al-Noor mosque in Salt Lake City.

2009Johnny Ray Johnson – Johnson admitted that he had proposed a trade to Leah Smith, offering her some of his illicit substance, crack cocaine, in return for intimate relations. After Smith had consumed the substance, she declined Johnson’s advances. This refusal incited Johnson’s anger, leading him to assault her, forcibly remove her clothing, and throw her to the ground. Smith attempted to defend herself with a wooden board, but Johnson retaliated by violently slamming her head against a cement curb until she ceased to resist, after which he violated her. During the sentencing portion of his trial, the prosecution presented evidence, including Johnson’s own verbal and written admissions, indicating that Johnson had committed similar acts of violence and violation against numerous other women.

2010Viva Leroy Nash – was an American career criminal who holds the distinction of being one of the oldest prisoners in history as well as one of those longest incarcerated, spending almost 80 years behind bars. He was the oldest American on death row at the time of his death in February 2010.  Born in Salt Lake City, Utah, Nash spent much of his life in and out of prison for crimes including transporting stolen vehicles, robbery, and attempted murder. He was first imprisoned in 1930 at 15 years old for armed robbery. In 1947 at 32 years old, he was sentenced to prison again after shooting a Connecticut police officer. He spent almost 25 years behind bars.  In 1977, he was sentenced to life for having murdered postal carrier David J. Woodhurst, but escaped from a prison work crew in 1982, at age 66. Soon after his escape, he went into a coin shop in Phoenix, Arizona, and shot an employee dead. Nash was sentenced to death in 1983. His attorneys claimed that senility had rendered him legally incompetent to be executed, describing him as a “doddering old man, who can’t hear, can’t see, can’t walk, and is very, very loony”. The sentence was never carried out; Nash died of natural causes on February 12, 2010, at the age of 94 in the Arizona Eyman State Prison Complex. At the time of his death, he was the oldest person on death row in the US.

2013Paul Eugene Rowles – was a convicted criminal with a violent history. Born in Pennsylvania, he had a troubled childhood and developed violent tendencies at a young age. He was first married to Linda Schaeffer in 1970, but they divorced in 1973. He later married Kathryn L Forguson in 1985.  Rowles was first sentenced to life in prison in 1972 for the murder of Linda Ida, a woman who lived in his apartment complex. He was paroled and moved to Pinellas County, Florida in December of 1985. In April of 1988, he moved to Gainesville, Florida.  In 1989, Tiffany Sessions, a 20-year-old University of Florida student, went missing. Her body was never found, but in 2014, police identified Rowles as the prime suspect in her disappearance and presumed murder. At the time of Sessions’ disappearance, Rowles was working for a construction-related company near the path where Sessions was last seen.  In 1992, Elizabeth Foster was reported missing and her body was found 11 days later in Gainesville. In 2013, detectives used DNA evidence to link Rowles to Foster’s murder. However, Rowles was never charged with her murder.  In January of 1994, Rowles kidnapped a Clearwater girl. He later confessed to the kidnapping and sexual assault of the girl. For these crimes, he was sentenced to an additional 101 years in prison in 1994.  Rowles died in prison on February 12, 2013. His life and crimes continue to be a subject of study in criminal psychology and law enforcement.

2019Edin Gacic – was a Bosnian serial killer who murdered four people between 1998 and 2019. He is the only known serial killer to ever exist in Bosnia and Herzegovina’s entire criminal history.  Gačić was born in Banja Luka in SR Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1976. According to his statements given to the police agencies during his arrest, he was sexually abused as a child. During the Bosnian War, he served in the El-Mudžahid military detachment of the 3rd Corps of ARBiH from 1993 to 1995.  After the war, he killed his fellow soldier Ismet Gunić in 1998, for which he was sentenced to 14 years in prison the following year in 1999. While on a weekend leave from prison, he shot and killed his mother Sifeta in the Bosnian town of Zenica in August of 2002. The court subsequently handed down a cumulative sentence of 20 years in prison for Gačić. He returned to prison, being released again 15 years later.  After his release from prison, he did not commit any crimes and was staying in Banja Luka until he sold his apartment and moved to Konjic. However, in 2019 he shot and killed two other men, Suad Sultanić, who was his neighbor and a shop owner in Konjic, and later Mahir Begić, who was a policeman, in Tarčin.  After the murder of Begić, the State Investigation and Protection Agency (SIPA) issued a nationwide manhunt against Gačić. Within eight days of continued searching, he was found in the Lepenica settlement near Kiseljak. During that time, Gačić engaged with the police in an armed confrontation, and he was shot and killed on 12 February 2019.

 

Events

El Chapo

1967 – Keith Richards, Mick Jagger & Marianne Faithful are arrested for drugs possession

1994 – Edvard Munch’s “The Scream” is stolen in Oslo

1997 – Fred Goldman, the father of Ron Goldman states he will settle for a signed murder confession from OJ Simpson in lieu of his $20.5 million civil court judgment

2007 – A gunman, later identified as Sulejman Talovic opens fire in a mall in Salt Lake City, Utah killing 5 people in the Trolley Square shooting

2013 – Former LAPD officer Christopher Dorner’s shooting rampage ended when he died during a standoff with the police

2014 – Former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin is found guilty of corruption charges and is sentenced to 10 years in prison

2019 – Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman is found guilty of all ten federal crimes against him in New York after 200 hours of testimony

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