January 29 – What happened today?

Births

Volney Davis

1892Sylvestre Matuska – was a Hungarian mass murderer and mechanical engineer. He was born on January 29, 1892, in Csantavér, which is now known as Čantavir in Serbia. He is known for his attempts to derail passenger trains in Hungary, Germany, and Austria during 1930 and 1931.  His first successful crime was the derailment of the Berlin-Basel express train south of Berlin on August 8, 1931. This incident resulted in injuries to more than 100 people, but fortunately, there were no fatalities. His second and more notorious crime was the derailment of the Vienna Express near Budapest on September 13, 1931. This tragic event led to the death of twenty-two people and injuries to 120 others.  Matuska was arrested in Vienna on October 10, 1931, and he confessed to his crimes. He was found guilty of murder and was sentenced to death. However, his sentence was later commuted to life imprisonment. It is reported that he managed to escape from jail in Vác in 1945. His whereabouts and fate after the escape remain unknown.

1902Volney Davis – was an American bank robber and Great Depression-era outlaw. Born in Cherokee Nation, Oklahoma, Davis was first imprisoned in 1919 when he was 17 for grand larceny at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary; his crime was stealing a pair of shoes.  Davis was an early member of the Tulsa-based Central Park Gang during the 1920s, where he first met the Barker Gang, and committed his first major robbery with Arthur “Doc” Barker when they burglarized St. John Hospital in Tulsa. The night watchman, Thomas J. Sherrill, was killed during the robbery. Barker was arrested about 5 months later for the murder; however, Davis evaded authorities for nearly a year before he was captured. He was sentenced to life imprisonment for his role in the robbery.  In February 1923, he briefly escaped from the state penitentiary in McAlester, participating in a mass escape with several other convicts by using ropes and a ladder to climb over the wall, but was recaptured almost two weeks later. Seven years later, Davis applied for a 20-month “leave of absence” from the prison which was granted on November 3, 1932. He was scheduled to return to the prison on July 1, 1934, but Davis went on the run instead.  A month after his release, he reunited with his girlfriend Edna Murray, who herself had escaped from prison for a third time. The couple joined the Alvin Karpis-Barker Gang who were then at the peak of their activities and in the midst of a major crime spree. Davis and Murray were later implicated in the kidnapping of St. Paul banker Edward Bremer who was successfully ransomed for $200,000.  Davis received an unscheduled visit from John Dillinger and Homer Van Meter at his home in Aurora, Illinois. They had brought John “Red” Hamilton, who had been mortally wounded days earlier in a running gunfight in Minnesota hours after their escape from Little Bohemia Lodge. Davis agreed to hide Hamilton in his home and, with Murray, looked after him until he died of his wounds a few days later. Dillinger, Doc Barker, Van Meter, and Davis later buried Hamilton in an unmarked grave. Davis and Murray were never charged with the holdups he committed while part of the Karpis-Barker Gang. Davis was paroled from Alcatraz in the 1950s.

1905Winnie Ruth Judd –  born Winnie Ruth McKinnell, also known as Marian Lane, was a medical secretary in Phoenix, Arizona. She was accused of murdering her friends, Agnes Anne LeRoi and Hedvig Samuelson, in October 1931. The murders were discovered when Judd transported the victims’ bodies, one of which had been dismembered, from Phoenix to Los Angeles, California, by train in trunks and other luggage, causing the press to name the case the “Trunk Murders”. Judd allegedly committed the murders to win over the affections of Jack Halloran, a prominent Phoenix businessman.  Judd was tried for LeRoi’s murder, found guilty, and sentenced to death. However, the sentence was later repealed after she was found mentally incompetent, and she was committed to the Arizona State Asylum for the Insane (later renamed the Arizona State Hospital). Over the next three decades, Judd escaped from the asylum six times; after her final escape during the 1960s, she remained at large for over six years and worked under an assumed name for a wealthy family. She was ultimately paroled in 1971 and discharged from parole in 1983.  Judd’s murder investigation and trial were marked by sensationalized newspaper coverage and suspicious circumstances suggesting that at least one other person might have been involved in the crimes. Her sentence also raised debate about capital punishment in the United States.

1945Daniel Burns Jr – He was convicted and sentenced to death for the murder of Florida Highway Patrol Trooper Jeff Young during a traffic stop on August 18, 1987. Burns and Samuel Williams were returning to Detroit from Ft. Myers when Trooper Young pulled them over on Interstate 75.  According to witness testimony, Burns and Trooper Young were fighting in a water-filled ditch when Burns grabbed Trooper Young’s gun and pointed it at him. Trooper Young threw his hands in front of his face as Burns fired one shot, which hit Trooper Young’s wedding ring and struck him in the head. Trooper Young was dead by the time additional troopers arrived at the scene. Medical examiners testified that the shot was fired at such close range as to leave gunpowder on Trooper Young’s face.  Burns was arrested on August 18, 1987, and indicted on August 25, 1987, on charges of First-Degree Murder and Cocaine Trafficking. The jury found him guilty on both counts on May 17, 1988. Upon advisory sentencing, the jury, by a 10 to 2 majority, voted for the death penalty. Burns was sentenced on June 3, 1988, to death for First-Degree Murder and 30 years for Cocaine Trafficking.

1949Curtis Wilkie Beasley –  He was convicted and sentenced to death for the murder of Carolyn Monfort in 1995. On August 24, 1995, Jane O’Toole, who had not heard from her mother, Mrs. Monfort, for two days, traveled to her mother’s home in Dundee, Florida, to make sure that she was alright. Several morning newspapers lay in their wrappers outside the house. While searching through the home, Jane found her mother’s body in the blood-stained laundry room. Mrs. Monfort had been severely beaten and was dead.  Beasley was known to Mrs. Monfort through her daughter’s former husband, with whom Beasley had attended high school. Beasley was staying at Mrs. Monfort’s house for a few days while doing some pressure washing and painting at the Lake Marie Apartments. The apartments were owned by Mrs. Monfort’s son-in-law, Neal O’Toole (Jane’s husband), and managed by Mrs. Monfort. Before moving into the Monfort home, Beasley had been living at Steve Benson’s house.  On the day of the murder, Mrs. Monfort had transported Beasley to work at the apartments at about 8:20 a.m. He returned to the Monfort home sometime in the late morning, after the housekeeper had left for the day. Jane picked Beasley up before noon (he was by himself at the Monfort home at that time).  The Supreme Court of Florida affirmed Beasley’s convictions and sentence of death for the murder of Carolyn Monfort.

1953Bruce Lindahl – He was an American serial killer and rapist who committed a series of rapes and murders in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Lindahl graduated from Downers Grove North High School and later attended college, graduating in the mid-1970s with a degree in electromechanics. He worked as an electrician while studying additionally at the Midvalley Vocational Center in Kaneville.  In his free time, Lindahl was fond of parachuting and racquetball. Despite his friends and acquaintances speaking extremely positively of him, he occasionally showed aggressive behavior towards others. Since 1974, Lindahl committed many minor offenses and was repeatedly arrested, but each time, the court gave him only fines. Over the years, he lived in Chicago and its various suburbs, before moving to Aurora in 1978.  In 2020, 39 years after his death, on the basis of DNA profiling, Lindahl was connected to the death of 16-year-old Pamela Maurer, who was killed on January 13, 1976, in DuPage County, Illinois. He has been declared a suspect in at least 12 murders and 9 rapes committed in different Chicago suburbs from 1974 to 1981, which are currently being investigated. In total, over 70 girls and women were killed during the indicated time period, both in DuPage and the surrounding counties.  After Lindahl’s death, one of his would-be victims contacted the authorities and identified him as her attacker. DuPage County Police later stated that further DNA testing would be conducted to determine whether Bruce Lindahl was involved in at least 10 other killings. Lindahl died on April 4, 1981.

 

Deaths

Stephen Wayne Anderson

1957Wladyslaw Mazurkiewicz – was a notorious Polish serial killer active in the post–World War II period. He also owned property in Warsaw. His economic standing and polite manners in Stalinist Poland earned him the nicknames “The Gentleman Murderer” and “piękny Władek” (the handsome Władek).  Mazurkiewicz’s mother died when he was just 3 years old, and he grew up with his father, a printer by profession. After graduation, he enrolled in the department of law at Jagiellonian University but dropped out. He was drafted during the September campaign. During the Nazi German occupation of Kraków, Mazurkiewicz made friends with the human resources chief of the local Gestapo, Rudolf Arnold, who issued him the Kennkarte of a Gestapo friseur which allowed him freedom of movement. He made a living by trading gold, money, and diamonds illegally. His first murder victim was another gambler, Wiktor Zarzecki, poisoned by tainted tea in December 1943 and stripped of 1,200 dollars.  After the war, Mazurkiewicz obtained a position with the Polish Red Cross and worked as a wine seller and driving instructor. In September 1955, he shot and wounded Stanisław Łopuszyński in Warsaw. His victim survived and contacted the police which led to his arrest and grand-scale investigation into his own crimes. His revolver was found, and he was recognized by the surviving victims.  Mazurkiewicz was arrested in 1955 and charged by the prosecution with six murders and two more attempted murders. He was convicted of killing four men and two women including Wiktor Zarzecki, Władysław Brylski, Józef Tomaszewski, and millionaire Jerzy de Laveaux along with his wife Jadwiga de Laveaux and her sister, Zofia Suchowa. He was tried by the regional court in Kraków and sentenced to death on August 30, 1956. He was executed by hanging five months later on January 29, 1957, two days before his 46th birthday. According to various rumors, Mazurkiewicz might have been responsible for as many as 30 murders, which were never confirmed. However, he himself pleaded not guilty and claimed in court to have been beaten and blackmailed during interrogations.

1985Jorge Jose Sagredo Pizarro – He was a member of the Carabineros, the local Chilean police forces, and also worked as a taxi driver. However, he is infamously known as one-half of the serial killer duo referred to as the “Viña del Mar psychopaths”.  Between August 5, 1980, and November 1, 1981, in the city of Viña del Mar, Sagredo Pizarro and his accomplice, Carlos Alberto Topp Collins, committed ten murders and four rapes. Their crimes spanned a period of just over a year, and their victims ranged from individuals to couples.  The duo was apprehended on March 8, 1982, just days after they had been discharged from the Carabineros. The case became controversial when more prominent individuals were implicated, but only Sagredo Pizarro and Topp Collins were punished.  Sagredo Pizarro was executed by firing squad on January 29, 1985, at the age of 29. He and Topp Collins were the last men to be legally executed in Chile before the practice was outlawed in 2001.

1985Carlos Alberto Topp Collins – He was a member of the Carabineros, the local Chilean police force. However, he is infamously known as one-half of the serial killer duo referred to as the “Viña del Mar psychopaths”.  Between August 5, 1980, and November 1, 1981, in the city of Viña del Mar, Topp Collins and his accomplice, Jorge José Sagredo Pizarro, committed ten murders and four rapes. Their crimes spanned a period of just over a year, and their victims ranged from individuals to couples.  The duo was apprehended on March 8, 1982, just days after they had been discharged from the Carabineros. The case became controversial when more prominent individuals were implicated, but only Topp Collins and Sagredo Pizarro were punished.  Topp Collins was executed by firing squad on January 29, 1985, at the age of 35. He and Sagredo Pizarro were the last men to be legally executed in Chile before the practice was outlawed in 2001.

1997Eric Adam Schneider – was born on December 7, 1961, in St. Louis City, Missouri, USA. He was executed by the State of Missouri for the crime of murder. His execution took place on January 29, 1997. He was 35 years old at the time of his death. He is buried at the Bellefontaine Cemetery in Saint Louis, St. Louis City, Missouri, USA.

2002Stephen Wayne Anderson – He was an American contract killer and serial killer who was executed at California’s San Quentin State Prison by lethal injection in 2002 for the murder of Elizabeth Lyman. He was either known to have killed or admitted to the killings of at least eight other people, including a fellow inmate, and at least seven contract killings.  Anderson committed his first violent crime in 1971 when he burglarized a school in Farmington, New Mexico. During the robbery, he threatened two police officers. He was convicted of burglary and sentenced to one to five years in prison. He was paroled on that count in 1975 but continued to serve a sentence of 10 to 50 years on multiple aggravated burglary convictions.  While he was in the Utah State Prison, he killed a fellow inmate named Blundell on August 24, 1977. He also assaulted another inmate and assaulted a correctional officer. Anderson admitted to six other contract killings in Las Vegas, Nevada that happened prior to the crime for which he received a death sentence.  On November 24, 1979, he escaped from prison, after which he worked for narcotics traffickers and committed at least one murder in the eastern mountains of Salt Lake County, Utah. On May 26, 1980, Anderson, then 26, burglarized the Bloomington, California house of 81-year-old Elizabeth Lyman, a retired piano teacher. In the middle of the night, Anderson cut Lyman’s telephone line with a knife and broke into her home by removing a glass pane from her French doors. When he entered Lyman’s bedroom, she awoke and screamed. Anderson shot her in the face from close range with a .45 caliber handgun, fatally wounding her. He covered her body with a blanket, recovered the expelled casing from the hollow-point bullet that killed her, and ransacked her house for money. He found less than $100. Anderson then prepared himself a meal in Lyman’s kitchen. As he was eating and watching television, sheriff’s deputies responded to the call and arrested him.  Stephen Wayne Anderson died on January 29, 2002, at the age of 48.

2009Shojiro Nishimoto – was born on October 22, 1976, in Iida, Nagano Prefecture, Japan. He was a Japanese serial killer responsible for four robbery-murders committed in Aichi and Nagano Prefectures between January and September 2004.  Nishimoto was born into a wealthy family in Iida, with his father working at a bento production company of which his mother was the company president’s daughter. Not long after his birth, his father was sent on a work assignment in Tokyo, leaving the young boy to be looked after by his mother.  On August 21, 1994, he was transferred to the Iida Hamaiba Elementary School, where he gained a reputation as a seemingly normal student, with the exception that he often skipped school because he felt that he wasn’t very good at it. This tendency continued into junior high school, with Nishimoto’s performance gradually worsening because of his parents’ frequent arguing and eventual divorce. After graduation, he found employment at a forest maintenance company but was regarded as an unsavory worker who often slacked on the job.  Eventually, he changed companies at the age of 21, but in August 2002, he got into a car accident and suffered a herniated disc, forcing him to retire. Unemployed and with a dwindling cash supply, he traveled back to Iida, where he soon married a woman to whom he presented himself as “the son of a famous entrepreneur”. Despite his newfound love, Nishimoto was amounting debts from rental companies and his personal expenses, which eventually forced him to turn towards burglary to find a source of income.  While driving in his white Nissan Cedric through Nagoya on January 13, 2004, Nishimoto’s car ran out of gas. Having no mode of transportation, he wanted to steal a bicycle, but as he was unable to find one, he instead got into a taxi and asked to be taken to Kasugai. Once he arrived at the destination, he beheaded the driver, 59-year-old Yasuo Minato, and then stole 18,000 yen from his car. On April 27, he broke into the home of 77-year-old Mie Shimanaka in Iida, an elderly woman he had known as he had written a certificate for her the previous year. He strangled Shimanaka and then stole 15,000 yen in cash and a piggy bank. Her body was found later that same day by her eldest daughter.  Shojiro Nishimoto was apprehended on September 13, 2004. He was sentenced to death for these crimes, and subsequently executed by hanging on January 29, 2009, at the Tokyo Detention House, Tokyo, Japan. He was 31 years old at the time of his death.

 

Events

Bruce McArthur

1958 – American spree killer Charles Starkweather is captured by the police in Wyoming

1979 – 16-year-old Brenda Ann Spencer kills 2 people, when asked why she stated she didn’t like Mondays which inspired the Boomtown Rats to record the single “I don’t like Mondays”

1979 – US President Jimmy Carter commutes Patricia “Patty” Hearst’s 7-year sentence to just 2 years

1998 – Singer Bobby Brown is found guilty of DWI in Fort Lauderdale, Florida

2003 – Sally Clark was cleared of murdering her 2 sons after more than 3 years of prison in what was a life sentence

2017 – An attack on a mosque in Quebec kills 6 and injures 17, the shooter is found to be a French Canadian student

2018 – Toronto police arrest landscaper Bruce McArthur for murder after remains of at least 5 people are found in potted plants

2019 – Toronto landscaper Bruce McArthur admits in court to the murder of eight gay men, exactly 1 year after he was arrested

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