February 1 – What happened today?

Births

Andrew Kehoe

 

1872Andrew Kehoe – was an American mass murderer. Born in Tecumseh, Michigan, he was among the younger of a family of 13 children. He attended Tecumseh High School and Michigan State College (later Michigan State University), where he studied electrical engineering. After college, Kehoe worked for several years as an electrician in St. Louis, Missouri. During this period, in 1911, he suffered a severe head injury in a fall which resulted in him being in a coma for two weeks.  Kehoe was a Michigan farmer who became disgruntled after losing reelection as treasurer of the Bath Township school board. He subsequently murdered his wife and then detonated bombs at the Bath Consolidated School on May 18, 1927, resulting in the Bath School disaster. This event led to the deaths of 44 people, while 58 more people were injured. Kehoe committed suicide near the school by detonating dynamite in his truck, causing an explosion that killed several other people and wounded more. He had earlier set off incendiary devices in his house and around his farm, destroying all the buildings.  Kehoe was regarded by his neighbors as a highly intelligent man who grew impatient and angry with those who disagreed with him. His actions have left a lasting impact on the history of mass violence in the United States.

1933Maria Rosalia Auguste Nitribitt – She was raised in low-income conditions by her mother in Ratingen and Düsseldorf along with her two younger half-sisters. The girls were placed in a juvenile home and after 1939 lived with foster parents. There Nitribitt was raped at the age of 11.  Still, in her teenage years, she began to work as a prostitute. She was later sent to juvenile correctional homes, from where she escaped on several occasions. She then moved to Frankfurt am Main, where, after a brief interlude as a waitress and model, she took up prostitution again and was arrested at the Frankfurt railway station in 1951.  According to people who knew her at the time, Nitribitt tried hard to disguise her humble origins in order to be able to keep up conversation in polite society and to attract more sophisticated customers. For example, she started learning English and French. One of her regular clients gave her a car—a used Opel Kapitän —as a present. Others invited her to spend a Mediterranean holiday with them. Accordingly, she became very wealthy quite quickly, a fact which she demonstrated by buying a black Mercedes-Benz 190SL (a roadster that was to be colloquially referred to as the Nitribitt-Mercedes) with red leather upholstery in 1956; she would drive around Frankfurt in the car to solicit customers. Also in 1956, she moved into a luxurious apartment at Stiftstraße 36. The police later estimated that she had earned about 80,000 DM in 1956.  On November 1, 1957, she was found dead in her apartment in Frankfurt, Stiftstraße 36. Her death was alleged to have occurred three days earlier. Her body showed signs of strangulation and a head wound. She was interred at the Nordfriedhof (“north cemetery”) in Düsseldorf. Her head, however, was kept in police custody as evidence and later exhibited in the Kriminalmuseum (“criminal museum”) in Frankfurt; it was eventually buried on February 10, 2008.  Nitribitt’s violent death caused a scandal in West Germany during the Wirtschaftswunder years. The case gave rise to a novel, three movies, and a musical.

1978Very Idham Henyansyah – also known as Ryan, is an Indonesian convicted serial killer. Born in Jombang, Indonesia, he confessed to killing 11 people and was sentenced to death by the Indonesian criminal court after being arrested in 2008. He is currently awaiting execution at Kesambi Penitentiary in Cirebon.  Henyansyah’s case achieved notoriety throughout Indonesia due to the gruesome nature of the murders. Known for his uncontrollable temper, he bashed the heads of a mother and her child to death with a metal bar after they made him angry. The body of one of the victims was found at a roadside in Jakarta, cut up into seven pieces and skewered with a crowbar. Henyansyah buried his other victims’ bodies in the backyard of his home in Jombang Regency in East Java.  After his arrest, Henyansyah became known as the “singing serial killer”, entertaining the court officers, fellow inmates, and media audience from his jail cell by singing a song from his upcoming album. In February 2009, Henyansyah released an autobiography titled “The Untold Story of Ryan”. In the autobiography, Henyansyah indicated that he was formerly a Qur’an recital teacher and later became a male model.  Henyansyah is openly homosexual and has confessed that all but three of his victims were also homosexual men. He admitted to killing one of his victims after the victim offered him money and a car to have sex with his boyfriend. However, in October 2010, Henyansyah announced that he was planning to marry a female convicted drug dealer, Eny Wijaya, whom he had met in 2008 when they were both detained at the Jakarta Police Narcotics Detention Center. Eny Wijaya was released from Pondok Bambu Penitentiary around September 2010. One of his stated reasons for marrying Eny Wijaya, despite being homosexual, is to fulfill his mother’s wish that he be married to a woman.

 

Deaths

Lynda Ann Healy

1974Lynda Ann Healy – was born in 1952 and was a senior at the University of Washington, majoring in psychology. She worked part-time for Western Ski Promotions and broadcast ski condition reports to 20 radio stations in Washington and Oregon. She lived in Seattle, Washington.  Healy was known for her dedication as a student and her work on a local radio station where she reported morning weather and ski conditions. She was also a talented musician and was full of life and self-assurance as she pursued her education.  Unfortunately, Healy’s life took a tragic turn when she crossed paths with one of the country’s most prolific serial killers, Ted Bundy. On February 1, 1974, Healy vanished from her home that she shared with four other women. Her disappearance left behind only bloody sheets and few clues about the evil she encountered while her roommates slept.  Her skull was later found on Taylor Mountain, and Bundy confessed to her murder shortly before his execution. Lynda Ann Healy’s unfortunate encounter with Bundy marked her as his first known victim, earning her an unfortunate place in American history.

2012Gerlando Alberti – born on September 18, 1927, was a member of the Sicilian Mafia. He was nicknamed ‘u Paccarè, which translates to “the imperturbable one”. Alberti belonged to the Porta Nuova family in Palermo, which was headed by Giuseppe Calò.  Alberti was born and raised in Palermo, in the derelict district of Danisinni. He was the son of a fruit seller and only attended school for four years. Alberti was initiated into the Mafia by Gaetano Filippone. His first test was to steal an entire cheese. In 1956, he was acquitted of a killing due to lack of evidence.  In the 1950s and 1960s, Alberti was considered to be an upstart Mafia boss in the shadow of men like Pietro Torretta, Tommaso Buscetta, and the La Barbera brothers. They formed the so-called “New Mafia”, which adopted new gangster techniques. Alberti’s official business was selling textiles, employing a squad of traveling salesmen, a wonderful cover for both his trafficking operations and smuggling jewels and works of art. In 1961, he set up a textile trading business in Milan and formed a cosca in Northern Italy, with bases in Genoa and Milan.  Alberti was involved in numerous notorious Mafia events, such as the Ciaculli massacre in 1963, the Viale Lazio massacre in 1969, the disappearance of journalist Mauro De Mauro in 1970, and the killing of Chief Prosecutor Pietro Scaglione in 1971. He was one of the top Mafiosi involved in cigarette smuggling and heroin trafficking in the 1970s. He once said of the Mafia: “Mafia! What is that? A kind of cheese?”  In 2008, Alberti was arrested again when the Carabinieri arrested 94 Mafiosi in Operation Perseo. He was among the men who wanted to re-establish the Sicilian Mafia Commission that had not been functioning since the arrest of Totò Riina in 1993. In October 2010, he was sentenced to 6 years and 4 months. Due to his age and suffering from cancer, he was put under house arrest. He died on February 1, 2012, in his house in the Porta Nuova district of Palermo.

2018John David Battaglia Jr – was born on August 2, 1955, in Enterprise, Alabama, U.S. He was of Italian ancestry and was born into a military family. As a child, he moved across the country and to Germany. His father left the military in 1970. He attended high school in Oregon and Dumont, New Jersey, ultimately graduating from Dumont High School.  Battaglia was an American convicted murderer who was executed by the state of Texas for filicide. He was convicted of killing his two young daughters in May 2001 in an act of “ultimate revenge” against his estranged ex-wife, Mary Jeane Pearle, who had separated from him after his numerous instances of assault and violence. Battaglia was executed for the murders on February 1, 2018.  He had a daughter, Christie, from a previous marriage to Michelle Ghetti (née LaBorde) in Dallas. At one point Ghetti, an attorney, filed a request for Battaglia to be arrested on grounds of harassment. He had committed domestic violence against Ghetti; on one occasion he assaulted her outside of the school Christie attended, on another, he caused her a broken nose, and on another, he assaulted her at a bus stop in retaliation for the arrest request, causing her to be admitted to a hospital. In 1987 Battaglia admitted guilt to a misdemeanor charge and was punished with probation for a two-year period.  The woman who would become his second wife, Mary Jean Pearle, resided in Highland Park, Texas, in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. They married on April 6, 1991. His two daughters with Pearle, Mary Faith, and Liberty Mae Battaglia, were students at John S. Bradfield Elementary School in Highland Park. In January 1999, Pearle separated from Battaglia after verbal abuse, and he was not permitted to live with her.

 

Events

Roman Polanski

1876 – A murder conviction effectively forces the violent Pennsylvania Irish anti-owner coal miners, the “Molly Maguires”, to disband

1906 – The first Federal penitentiary building is completed in Leavenworth, Kansas

1965 – Martin Luther King Jr & 700 demonstrators arrested in Selma, Alabama

1978 – Film director Roman Polanski skips bail & flees to France after pleading guilty to charges of engaging in sex with a 13-year-old girl

1979 – Patricia Hearst is released from prison for bank robbery

1993 – New York judge Sol Wachtler indicted for harassing Joy Silverman

1994 – Jeff Gillooly pleads guilty for his part in the attack on American Olympic figure skater Nancy Kerrigan; in a plea bargain, he confesses to racketeering in exchange for testimony implicating ex-wife Tonya Harding

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