February 9 – What happened today?

Births

Kermit Gosnell

1941Marvin D Castor – is a notable figure who has been involved in legal proceedings. He was convicted of murder and initially sentenced to death. However, upon appeal, his conviction was affirmed but his case was remanded for resentencing. After a new sentencing hearing, he was sentenced to sixty years imprisonment

1941Kermit Gosnell – is a former physician and convicted serial killer. He provided abortions at his clinic in West Philadelphia, which was dubbed a “house of horrors” during his trial due to the horrific conditions and practices discovered there.  Gosnell was convicted of the murders of three infants who were born alive after using drugs to induce birth, the manslaughter of one woman during an abortion procedure, and several other medically related crimes. He was also convicted of 21 felony counts of illegal late-term abortion, and 211 counts of violating Pennsylvania’s 24-hour informed consent law.  In addition to these crimes, Gosnell was a prolific prescriber of OxyContin. In 2011, Gosnell, his wife Pearl, and eight employees were charged with a total of 32 felonies and 227 misdemeanors in connection with deaths, illegal medical services, and regulatory violations. Pearl and the eight employees pleaded guilty to various charges in 2011 while Gosnell pleaded not guilty and sought a jury trial.  In May 2013, Gosnell was convicted of first-degree murder in the deaths of three of the infants and involuntary manslaughter in the death of Karnamaya Mongar, an adult patient at the clinic following an abortion procedure. After his conviction, Gosnell waived his right to appeal in exchange for an agreement by prosecutors not to seek the death penalty. He was sentenced to life in prison without parole. Gosnell was also sentenced to an additional 30 years in prison for federal drug charges.  Before his criminal activities, Gosnell had a seemingly normal life. He was born to a gas station operator and a government clerk in an African-American family. He graduated from the city’s Central High School in 1959 and initially attended the University of Pennsylvania, then graduated from Dickinson College with a bachelor’s degree. He received his medical degree at Thomas Jefferson University in 1966.

1948Linda Lou Charbonneau – is a woman who was involved in a high-profile criminal case. She was convicted of orchestrating the killings of her husband and ex-husband in 2001. The victims were John Charbonneau, 62, and his nephew, William Sproates III, 45. Linda Lou Charbonneau was initially sentenced to death, becoming the first woman in nearly 70 years to face execution in Delaware. However, her conviction was later overturned, and she pleaded guilty to second-degree murder.  Linda Lou Charbonneau’s relationship with the victims was complex. John Charbonneau was Linda Lou’s ex-husband, and William Sproates, his nephew, was married to Linda Lou at the time of the killings. Linda Lou was living with John Charbonneau when the murders occurred. The authorities had little physical evidence tying Linda Charbonneau to the murder. They relied on her daughter, Melissa, to testify against her mother in exchange for a 25-year sentence for second-degree murder.  This case was notable for its tangled family ties and the shocking nature of the crimes, which took place in a small town in Delaware. The case has been featured in true crime television series and continues to be a subject of interest in the media.

1958David Elliot Penton – is an American child molester and serial killer. He was a mechanic by profession and had also served in the U.S. Army as a track vehicle mechanic from 1977 to 1984.  Penton’s criminal history began with a manslaughter conviction for the child abuse death of his own infant son in 1984. During an appeal of his sentence, he fled and remained a fugitive until 1987. He was then charged and convicted of the murder of a friend’s 9-year-old niece in Ohio.  In 2003, Penton was extradited to Texas and charged with the deaths of three young girls in Dallas in the mid-1980s. He signed a plea agreement admitting to the murders. Officials in Texas and several other states are investigating the possibility that Penton may be involved with other unsolved cases. He is suspected to be one of the most prolific child killers in American history.  Penton is currently serving life imprisonment for his crimes. His case continues to be a subject of interest in the media due to the shocking nature of his crimes and the number of victims involved.

1959George Bernard Harris – As per court records, George Harris acquired two guns, requesting Stanley Willoughby to conceal them. When Harris later sought the firearms, Willoughby claimed inability to locate them. In response, Harris fatally shot him in the head. Subsequently, Harris faced arrest, conviction, and a death sentence, ultimately being executed on September 13, 2000.

1967Steven T. Smith – Smith cohabited with his girlfriend, Kesha Frye, and her 6-month-old daughter, Autumn Breeze Carter. One night, past 3 a.m., Frye was awakened by a drunken and naked Smith placing a lifeless Autumn on her bed. Distressed, Frye promptly took her children to a neighbor’s house and dialed 9-1-1. The infant displayed extensive bruising and welts, indicating severe trauma consistent with brutal assault, although no semen was detected. Inside the residence, there were no signs of forced entry, but police discovered a considerable amount of white cloth from Autumn’s diaper scattered. The remaining diaper and 10 empty beer cans were found in a garbage bin outside. Initially denying wrongdoing, Smith later stood trial, was convicted of suffocating the 6-month-old, and received a death sentence, executed in May 2013.

1969Deidrie Michelle Hunt – In 1989, Deidre Hunt, a slender 20-year-old bartender at Top Shots in Daytona Beach, worked for Kosta Fotopoulos, the owner. Kosta, 30 and married to Lisa, who owned prosperous businesses, engaged in an affair with Deidre. Unwilling to lose Lisa’s financial support, Kosta and Deidre plotted the murder of Kevin Ramsey, 19, who posed a threat to Kosta’s counterfeit money scheme. Tied to a tree by Deidre, Kevin was shot by Kosta to silence him.  When Lisa discovered the affair and considered leaving, Kosta, using the incriminating tape, coerced Deidre to arrange Lisa’s murder. Bryan Chase, enticed by a share of Lisa’s insurance, killed her. However, Kosta, having no intention to pay, shot Chase dead. Both Kosta and Deidre received death sentences.  Deidre, at 21 during her trial, wept at her fate, initially facing the electric chair. In 1998, her sentence was commuted to life in prison. Now 43, she seeks pen pals via a website. Kosta, still on death row, persists in appealing for a reduced sentence. Lisa survived but bears a bullet lodged in her head, having remarried since.

1971Donnie Lee Roberts Jr – Roberts was apprehended for the murder of Bowen, a 44-year-old, in October 2003. At the time, he had already breached his probation terms for a robbery conviction in Louisiana by absconding to Texas after leaving a drug rehabilitation program.  Roberts had reportedly met Bowen, a dental assistant, at a bar and subsequently moved into her home in Lake Livingston, approximately 75 miles northeast of Houston. Their relationship deteriorated due to Roberts’ unemployment and substance abuse. He fatally shot Bowen when she denied his request for money.  Roberts was taken into custody from a presumed crack den in Livingston after Bowen’s missing truck was seen there on the day her body was found. District Attorney Lee Hon reported that Roberts was cooperative and confessed multiple times, expressing a desire for the death penalty.  Roberts informed the authorities that he had made several trips from Bowen’s house after the shooting, gathering belongings to sell or exchange for crack in town. He also unexpectedly admitted to a shotgun murder that had occurred ten years prior in Natchitoches Parish, Louisiana. Initially, Louisiana authorities had assumed the victim, Al Crow, had died from suffocation in a camper trailer fire. However, following Roberts’ revelation, they reopened the case, discovered shotgun pellets, and concluded it was a homicide. Roberts was charged with murder for Crow’s death but was not prosecuted.  Stephen Taylor, one of Roberts’ defense attorneys during his Texas capital murder trial, stated that the confessions complicated his defense strategy. He compared it to someone admitting to being a serial killer, having killed before and again. Taylor emphasized the importance of exercising the right to remain silent.  Bowen failed to report to work on October 16, 2003. A colleague who went to check on her discovered her body, wrapped in a blanket and lying in a pool of blood. The medical examiner determined that Bowen had been killed by two gunshots to the head.  During the trial, Roberts testified, attempting to attribute the gunfire to Bowen. He claimed he had acted in self-defense by grabbing a .22-caliber rifle after seeing her reach for a pistol hidden in a couch. The trial evidence revealed that Roberts had a history of battery while incarcerated in Fulton County, Georgia. He had threatened his wife for drug money and warned of another murder if he was not given a single-person cell in Polk County jail, where he was held for Bowen’s murder.  Roberts’ robbery conviction in Louisiana stemmed from a Mother’s Day 2001 convenience store robbery in Baton Rouge, where he threatened to cut the female clerk’s throat with a knife.  Since his capital murder conviction in 2004, Roberts had been housed at the Texas Department of Criminal Justice Polunsky Unit, the state’s male death row. The prison is located just outside Livingston, close to where Bowen was murdered.

1975Reco G. Jones – At 23, Reco Jones was convicted of fatally stabbing his ex-girlfriend, Yolanda Bellamy, and four children. Yolanda, falsely claiming a pregnancy termination, triggered Jones’ violent reaction. On August 13, 1997, he attacked her with a butcher knife, inflicting 11 stab wounds. Despite Yolanda not being pregnant, the tragedy unfolded, with her sons, ages 3 and 5, and her niece and nephew, ages 3 and 5, suffering at least 17 stab wounds. The niece also endured 30 shallow puncture wounds, indicative of torture.  Initially blaming another girlfriend, Jones later confessed to destroying evidence and cleaning the crime scene. During cross-examination, he exhibited a series of sarcastic admissions, denials, and contradictions, and even referred to a script, acknowledging that his actions were self-incriminating

1978Marc Vincent Sappington – is an American serial killer who was convicted of the murders of four acquaintances in March and April 2001 in Kansas City, Kansas. One of the particularly gruesome details of his crimes was his consumption of part of the leg of one of his victims, Alton “Fred” Brown.  During the legal proceedings, Sappington’s defense attributed the four-day killing spree to his history of schizophrenia and regular use of the hallucinogenic drug PCP. Sappington himself claimed that he heard voices in his head instructing him to consume flesh and blood, threatening dire consequences if he failed to comply.  On June 23, 2004, Sappington was found guilty of murdering Terry T. Green (25), Michael Weaver Jr. (22), and Alton “Fred” Brown Jr. (16) in April 2001. Additionally, on December 10, 2004, he was convicted of attempting aggravated robbery and the murder of David Mashak at his auto dealership in March 2001. The Kansas Supreme Court affirmed Sappington’s conviction on November 2, 2007.  In a disturbing April 2001 videotaped confession, Sappington admitted to stabbing Weaver to death, leaving Green’s body in a car, shooting Brown, and then dismembering his body, consuming a portion of his leg.  Currently, Marc Vincent Sappington is serving four consecutive life sentences.

1992Nicholas Waggoner Browning – His father, John W. Browning, was an attorney, and his mother, Tamara, was a homemaker. He had two younger brothers, Benjamin and Gregory. Nicholas was an honor student and Boy Scout who attended Dulaney High School in nearby Timonium, where he played varsity golf and lacrosse.  However, Nicholas’s life took a tragic turn in February 2008, when he was 15 years old. He was convicted for the murder of his parents and his two younger brothers as they slept in their home. He is currently serving two life sentences for these crimes. Despite allegations of abuse from his father, prosecutors argued that Nicholas committed the murders to avoid parental rules and to secure his inheritance. His case has been the subject of documentaries and continues to be a topic of discussion in the realm of criminal psychology.

 

Deaths

Kimberly Leach

1978Kimberly Leach – was a 12-year-old student from Lake City Junior High School, in Lake City, Florida. She was born on October 28, 1965. Tragically, she went missing in the middle of the school day on February 9, 1978. She is known as the final and youngest murder victim of the notorious serial killer Ted Bundy. Her disappearance and murder were part of a series of dreadful crimes committed by Bundy that spread fear across several states in the United States during the 1970s. Her body was discovered in April 1978, in a wooded area behind Suwannee River State Park. This case was instrumental in leading to Bundy’s capture and eventual execution.

1997Matthew Eappen – was an eight-month-old infant born to his parents, Deborah and Sunil Eappen, on May 24, 1996. The family resided in Boston, Suffolk County, Massachusetts. Matthew had an older sibling, Brendan, born in 1994. Tragically, Matthew fell into a coma and lost his life on February 9, 1997. His death was attributed to massive brain damage, believed to be caused by shaken baby syndrome. His then-caregiver, Louise Woodward, was accused of violently shaking Matthew and was arrested a day after Matthew was taken to the hospital after experiencing trouble breathing. The case garnered significant attention from the public and the media, shedding light on the issue of child abuse.

2002John Ingvar Lovgren – later renamed John Ingvar Andersson, was born on October 22, 1930, in Sweden. He was a notorious serial killer and rapist who confessed to four murders committed between 1958 and 1963 in the Stockholm region. His victims included two young girls, which led to him being referred to as “Flickmördaren” or “The Girl Killer”.  Lövgren’s parents died when he was young, and he was subsequently placed in a foster home. As an adult, he became infamous for drinking heavily and exposing himself to women, leading to several convictions and placements in different psychiatric hospitals between 1953 and 1961. The authorities described him as childish and weak, possibly with a mild intellectual disability. At the time of the murders, Lövgren held a job as a gardener.  After the murder of Ann-Kristin Svensson in September 1963, her playmates identified Lövgren as the perpetrator. In addition, while fleeing the crime scene, he left traces in the form of Svensson’s clothes in a desperate attempt to get rid of them, with these traces leading the authorities to Lövgren’s residential area. After he was arrested, Lövgren confessed to another murder: the unsolved murder of 26-year-old Agneta Nyholm in Fruängen in June 1958. Despite this, Lövgren was never convicted of her murder and her case has since been statute-barred. Police, however, consider it solved and Lövgren to be the assailant.  Lövgren was convicted and sentenced to closed psychiatric treatment at Salberga prison. He was, at the time of his death in 2002, no longer in treatment due to poor health, which he had received from his cancer. He was buried at Sala cemetery. His life and crimes were the basis for the novel “The Man on the Balcony” released by Sjöwall/Wahlöö in 1967.

Events

Dennis Nilsen is led away

1555 – Bishop John Hooper is executed for heresy by being burnt at the stake

1893 – Canal builder De Lesseps & others sentenced to prison for fraud

1947 – Bank Robber Willie Sutton escapes from jail in Philadelphia

1983 – Serial killer Dennis Nilsen is arrested

2022 – Ian Stewart, former husband and convicted murderer of author Helen Bailey is found guilty of murdering his first wife in 2010

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