January 31 – What happened today?


Bernardo Provenzano

1911Wladyslaw Mazurkiewicz – was a Polish serial killer who was also known as the “Gentleman Murderer” and “the handsome Władek”. His crimes were committed for material gain. He was accused of six murders and was executed by hanging on January 29, 1957. His economic standing and polite manners in post–World War II Kraków earned him his nicknames. He was arrested in 1955 and charged with six murders and two more attempted murders. He was convicted of killing four men and two women. 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, 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.

1933Bernardo Provenzano – was an Italian mobster and the chief of the Sicilian Mafia clan known as the Corleonesi. He was also known as “Binnu u tratturi” (Bernie the tractor) and “Il ragioniere” (The accountant). His nickname “Bernie the Tractor” was due to his reputation for “mowing people down”.  Provenzano was part of the Corleonesi Mafia clan who backed mob boss Luciano Leggio in the ambush and murder of Michele Navarra in the late 1950s. In 1963, Provenzano became a fugitive after a failed hit. He also participated in the Viale Lazio massacre in the late 1960s.  When Salvatore Riina succeeded Leggio in the mid-1970s, Provenzano became the second-in-command of the Corleonesi. He took the reins after Riina and Bagarella’s arrests. However, all three had already been sentenced to life in absentia in the late 1980s as part of the Maxi Trial and in the 1990s for the two high-profile bombings that killed prosecutors Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino.  After 43 years living as a fugitive, Provenzano was captured in 2006, and subjected to the stringent Article 41-bis prison regime until his death on July 13, 2016.

1939Jerome “Jerry” Brudos – gained notoriety as “The Lust Killer” and “Shoe Fetish Slayer.” Raised in Webster, South Dakota, his early life was marked by a troubled relationship with his mother and a peculiar fascination with women’s shoes since childhood.  Enduring psychotherapy and hospitalizations during his teens, Brudos developed disturbing tendencies, stalking and assaulting local women for their shoes. At 17, he harbored girls as sex slaves, leading to psychiatric confinement. His fantasies centered on hatred and revenge against women, fueled by his tumultuous relationship with his mother.  Despite graduating high school and becoming an electronics technician, Brudos succumbed to his dark obsessions. In 1961, he married but struggled with migraines and “blackouts,” finding solace in nocturnal raids to pilfer shoes and lingerie.  Between 1968 and 1969, Brudos brutally murdered four young women, leaving witnesses puzzled by sightings of a large man in women’s clothing. Keeping macabre trophies, he dressed in women’s attire after each murder.  Police, guided by coed interviews, apprehended Brudos, who detailed his crimes. Charged with three murders, he received a life sentence.  In prison, Brudos surrounded himself with women’s shoe catalogs, considering them a substitute for pornography. Despite numerous appeals, he died behind bars in March 2006, leaving a chilling legacy of brutality and perversion.

1949Robert Berdella – was an American serial killer in Kansas City, Missouri, who committed heinous acts against at least six men between 1984 and 1987.  During 1967-1969, Berdella attended the Kansas City Art Institute and faced legal trouble for selling amphetamines, receiving a suspended sentence. Subsequent arrests for LSD and marijuana possession were dropped. In 1969, he purchased the house at 4315 Charlotte, where his crimes unfolded. A chef by profession, he later opened “Bob’s Bazaar Bizarre.”  Berdella’s reign of terror ended on April 4, 1988, when a tortured victim escaped. He had subjected at least six young men to abduction and torment, with suspicions in two other disappearances. Detailed torture logs and disturbing Polaroid pictures were discovered, remaining in police possession.  Claiming to “help” victims with antibiotics, Berdella inflicted sadistic acts, attempting to gouge out an eye and disposing of dismembered bodies in the trash. Despite an intoxicated confession months before the arrest, his revelations were dismissed.  Berdella, known for his novelty shop “Bob’s Bazaar Bizarre,” catering to occult tastes, faced his demise in 1992. He suffered a heart attack, alleging denial of heart medication in letters to a minister. His death went uninvestigated, leaving a dark chapter in criminal history.

1963Lee Chun-Jae – is a notorious serial killer known for committing the Hwaseong serial murders. Between 1986 and 1994, Lee murdered 15 women and young girls, in addition to committing numerous sexual assaults predominantly in Hwaseong, Gyeonggi, and the surrounding areas. These serial murders, which remained unsolved for 30 years, are considered to be the most infamous in South Korea’s modern history.  Lee Chun-jae had a good education and worked well with others, according to his mother. He had a younger brother who drowned in his childhood, an incident that purportedly traumatized him. After graduating from high school in February 1983, Lee joined the Republic of Korea Army and served as a tank driver; he was discharged on January 23, 1986. He then worked for an electric parts company. In 1990, he began his job at a construction company in Cheongpa, Yongsan, where he became a crane driver without a license. The following year, he was employed as a crane driver for a company in Cheongwon, Chungcheongbuk. In April 1992, Lee married a bookkeeper and quit his job in March 1993. According to Lee’s wife, Lee was an alcoholic, as well as a violent husband and father who often physically abused her and their son.  Lee was sentenced to life imprisonment with the possibility of parole after 20 years for killing his sister-in-law in 1994, but despite DNA evidence and his confession to the other murders in 2019, he could not be prosecuted for them because the statute of limitations had expired. Lee Chun-jae confessed to the killings in front of Yoon, the only person ever convicted of any of the murders. He confessed to the murders last year to the police, but this is the first time he has publicly discussed the killings.

1974Ian Huntley – is a convicted murderer known for the Soham murders. He was raised in a working-class home and after leaving school with five GCSEs, he did a series of menial jobs. In December 1994, Huntley, then 20, met 18-year-old Claire Evans. The two embarked on a whirlwind romance and married within weeks. The marriage was short-lived, however, and Evans left Ian within days of their wedding, choosing to move in with Huntley’s younger brother, Wayne, instead.  Huntley developed a reputation for allegedly pursuing sexual relationships with underage girls. In April 1998, Huntley was arrested on suspicion of raping an 18-year-old woman, though the charges were dropped due to insufficient evidence. By 2002, he was working as a caretaker at a secondary school in Soham, Cambridgeshire, where he lived with his girlfriend, Maxine Carr.  On the evening of August 4, 2002, Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman, both aged just 10, went out to buy sweets in Soham. The girls walked past Huntley’s house. He invited them in, lying that Carr, a teaching assistant at their primary school, was inside. Huntley went on to murder the two girls – who are likely to have been killed by asphyxiation – before disposing of their bodies in an irrigation ditch close to RAF Lakenheath in Suffolk, where the bodies were discovered 13 days later.  Huntley was found guilty on two counts of murder and sentenced to life imprisonment, with a minimum term of 40 years. His girlfriend, Maxine Ann Carr, had knowingly provided Huntley with a false alibi. She received a three-and-a-half-year prison sentence for conspiring with Huntley to pervert the course of justice.

1975Arthur Barnhill III – is a convicted murderer known for the murder of 84-year-old Earl Gallipeau. Barnhill was raised by his grandparents after his mother essentially abandoned him and his father was imprisoned. When he was 20 years old, Barnhill’s grandparents asked him to leave the house because he did not follow their rules. He then lived with the family of his friend, Michael Jackson, for approximately two weeks before he was asked to leave their home as well.  On August 6, 1995, Barnhill and Michael Jackson walked to Gallipeau’s house to steal Gallipeau’s car. They entered the house through the garage and waited in the kitchen for approximately two hours. Gallipeau was in another room watching television. According to Michael Jackson, it was not until they were in Gallipeau’s kitchen that Barnhill revealed his plan to kill Gallipeau before taking the car. At that point, Jackson abandoned the enterprise and left.  When Gallipeau got up from watching television and went into the kitchen, Barnhill ambushed him and attempted to strangle him. When the attempt failed, Barnhill got a towel to use as a ligature around Gallipeau’s neck. The second attempt was unsuccessful, so Barnhill removed Gallipeau’s belt from around his waist and wrapped it around Gallipeau’s neck four times, breaking Gallipeau’s neck and killing him. Barnhill then dragged Gallipeau through the house to a back bedroom and left him there. Barnhill took Gallipeau’s money, wallet, keys, and car, and eventually met Jelani Jackson, Michael Jackson’s brother. Barnhill and Jelani Jackson drove to New York and Barnhill went to his girlfriend’s apartment. Shortly thereafter, New York police located Gallipeau’s vehicle found Barnhill, and arrested him on an old warrant.  Barnhill was convicted and sentenced to death for the murder of Earl Gallipeau on February 11, 2000.



Ernesto Miranda

1888Charles E. Boles – also known as Black Bart, was born in 1829 in Norfolk, England. He was the third of ten children, having six brothers and three sisters. When he was two years old, his parents immigrated to Jefferson County, New York, where his father purchased a farm four miles north of Plessis Village in the direction of Alexandria Bay.  In late 1849, Boles and his brothers David and James joined in the California Gold Rush, prospecting in the North Fork of the American River near Sacramento. They traveled back to New York in 1852, but Boles later returned with his brothers David and Robert. Both brothers fell ill shortly after their arrival and died. Charles Boles remained in California for another two years before giving up and returning East again. In 1854, Boles married Mary Elizabeth Johnson. By 1860, they were living with their four children in Decatur, Illinois.  On August 13, 1862, Boles enlisted as a private in Company B, 116th Illinois Regiment. He was a good soldier and became a First sergeant within a year. Boles was seriously wounded at the Battle of Vicksburg and took part in Sherman’s March to the Sea. He received brevet commissions as both second lieutenant and first lieutenant, and on June 7, 1865, was discharged with his regiment in Washington, D.C. He returned home at last to his family in Illinois.  In 1867, Boles went prospecting for gold in Idaho and Montana. In a surviving letter to his wife from August 1871, he told her of an unpleasant encounter with some Wells, Fargo & Company agents and vowed to exact revenge. His wife never heard from him again, and in time she presumed he had died.  Boles adopted the nickname “Black Bart” and proceeded to rob Wells Fargo stagecoaches at least 28 times across northern California between 1875 and 1883. He only left two poems – at the fourth and fifth robbery sites – but this came to be considered his signature and ensured his fame. He was considered a gentleman bandit with a reputation for style and sophistication. He was one of the most notorious stagecoach robbers to operate in and around Northern California and Southern Oregon during the 1870s and 1880s.

1976Ernesto Miranda – was born on March 9, 1941, in Mesa, Arizona. He began getting into trouble when he was in grade school, and his first criminal conviction occurred during his eighth-grade year. After his release from the Arizona State Industrial School for Boys, he relocated to Los Angeles, California. However, within months of his arrival, Miranda was arrested on suspicion of armed robbery and for some sex offenses.  After spending two and a half years in custody, Miranda was extradited back to Arizona. He drifted through the southern U.S. for a few months, spending time in jail in Texas for living on the street without money or a place to live, and was arrested in Nashville, Tennessee, for driving a stolen car. Miranda was sentenced to one year and a day in the federal prison system because he had driven the stolen vehicle across state lines. He spent his sentence in Chillicothe, Ohio, and later in Lompoc, California.  For the next couple of years, Miranda kept out of jail, working at various jobs, until he became a laborer on the night loading dock for the Phoenix Produce Company. At that time he started living with Twila Hoffman, a 29-year-old mother of a boy and a girl by another man, from whom she could not afford to obtain a divorce.  Miranda’s conviction on kidnapping, rape, and armed robbery charges based on his confession under police interrogation was set aside in the landmark U.S. Supreme Court case Miranda v. Arizona. This case ruled that criminal suspects must be informed of their right against self-incrimination and their right to consult with an attorney before being questioned by police. This warning is known as a Miranda warning. After the Supreme Court decision invalidated Miranda’s initial conviction, the state of Arizona tried him again. At the second trial, with his confession excluded from evidence, he was convicted. He was sentenced to 20–30 years in prison.  On January 31, 1976, Miranda was stabbed to death in Phoenix, Arizona. A Mexican man, Eseziquiel Moreno Perez, was charged with the murder of Miranda, but fled to Mexico and has never been located.

2002Hua Ruizhuo – In 2002, Hua Ruizhuo, a cement-truck driver, faced execution for a gruesome spree near the Great Wall Sheraton Hotel in Beijing. His heinous acts involved picking up prostitutes, restraining them in his van, committing sexual assaults, and callously discarding their lifeless bodies in various garbage sites across the city. The tragic toll of his actions claimed the lives of 14 women.



Jesse James

1606 – Guy Fawkes, Ambrose Rookwood & Thomas Wintour are executed for their part in the gunpowder plot

1675 – Cornelia & Dina Olfaart are found not guilty of witchcraft

1874 – Jesse James’ gang robs a train at Gads Hill, Missouri, and got away with $12,000

1931 – Black hand gang member James Belcastro has his US citizenship revoked

1970 – Grateful Dead members are arrested on LSD charges

2000 – Family General Practioner Dr. Harold Shipman is jailed for life for murdering 15 of his patients, making him Britain’s most prolific serial killer

2000 – A fight between Ray Lewis and his companions and another group of people results in the death of 2 people and the indictment of Lewis on murder & aggravated assault charges

2019 – Catholic leaders in Texas name 286 priests and others accused of sexually abusing children, dating back to the 1940s

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