10 Innocent People Sentenced To Death

Here on Listverse you’ve already heard of people who were accused of crimes they did not commit, but you may have noticed that we didn’t include anyone who was then given a death sentence.

When you look into it, you soon find that there have been hundreds of cases of death row inmates who, it was later discovered, were actually innocent. In fact, in the United States alone this has happened to more than one hundred different people. Unfortunately, some of these were indeed executed; featured on this list, however, are ten who managed to get exonerated before their sentence was carried out.

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In 1987, someone robbed and murdered a North Carolina bootlegger named Leamon Grady, in a case we find particularly shocking because we had no idea that bootlegging still existed. Levon Jones was later convicted of the crime, and spent more than a decade on North Carolina’s death row before finally being removed in 2006 and released from prison altogether in 2007. So why did Jones get convicted in the first place? Well, all evidence points to a jilted lover.

Lovely Lorden, a former lover of Jones, had been the star witness: she testified at the original trial that Jones had indeed been the murderer. But she later admitted that she had lied under oath, and had in fact collected $4,000 in reward money for providing clues towards the arrest and conviction. Lorden lacked credibility to the point that a judge went so far as to chastise the defense attorneys who had originally worked on the Jones case, and removed the accused from death row while everything was sorted out. In 2007, the prosecution realized that they simply had no evidence and gave up trying to keep Jones on death row.

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Glen Chapman was sentenced to death in 1994, and spent fifteen years on death row before finally being released. Chapman had been convicted of the murders of Betty Jean Ramseur and Tenene Yvette Conley.

This was yet another case of the system being so hell-bent on getting a conviction, that the authorities decided to take matters into their own hands. Chapman was given his new trial when it was discovered that detectives had actually concealed evidence which pointed to his innocence, and that another detective had actually committed perjury while testifying at the trial. Chapman’s defense attorneys were also so bad that the North Carolina State Bar disciplined one, while the other was removed from another death penalty case to get treatment for alcohol abuse.

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We are not sure if there is a more heinous crime than the kidnapping, raping, and murdering of a small child. That’s exactly the crime that Akabori Masao found himself accused of committing—and it’s the crime which, in 1954, he confessed to carrying out. Of course, the fact is that he did not do any of those things, and it turns out that he admitted to them because of police torture. This was enough to get him convicted and sentenced to death anyway, despite his retraction of the confession.

Ultimately, Masao was exonerated and finally found himself a free man again in 1989, receiving compensation of just under a million dollars from the Japanese government.

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In 1985, Paul House was convicted of raping and murdering his neighbor, Carolyn Muncey—and for the next twenty-two years he lived on death row in Tennessee. Eventually he was released into house arrest after being stricken with multiple sclerosis. In addition to this, new evidence had come to light that threw his guilt into question.

Of course, even after his exoneration in 2009, prosecutors remain unconvinced that he is not guilty of the crime. But multiple DNA tests have been conducted over the years, and none of the samples found under the fingernails of the victim matched House’s DNA. This fact makes it pretty hard to fathom how he could possibly have raped Muncey, let alone killed her.

House had been set to be retried when this DNA evidence came to light, but the district attorney finally decided that there was enough reasonable doubt to keep him from being convicted. We’re assuming that he also felt that it would be kind of a jerk move to put a seemingly innocent man with MS back in prison after he’d already spent twenty-two years on death row.

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In movies about people on death row, the final piece of evidence that will prove the innocence of a wrongfully convicted man always comes to light just before the executioner is about to throw the switch. But that can’t possibly happen in real life, right?

As it turns out, that’s pretty much exactly how things panned out for John Thompson in 1999. Though the evidence in question did not come to light mere minutes before his execution, it did come out only weeks before he was set to be executed in Louisiana. That’s when it was discovered that prosecutors had withheld evidence which could have cleared Thompson of all charges.

Thompson was arrested for robbery and murder in 1985, and by 1987 he found himself on one of the most infamous death rows in the world, in Angola Prison. He was given six different execution dates over the period he spent on death row, but managed to delay them with appeals until, finally, a seventh execution date was apparently set in stone. But his lawyers had hired a private investigator who somehow managed to pull off a miracle: he found a report withheld by the prosecutors which showed that Thompson’s blood type did not match that of the perpetrator found at the scene of the crime. Because the robbery had been directly tied to the murder, he was taken off of death row. After receiving a new trial in 2003, it took the jury just thirty-five minutes to acquit him of all charges.

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We mentioned previously that in the US over one hundred prisoners on death row have been exonerated; Ray Krone has the unique distinction of being the hundredth. He was convicted in 1992 of murdering a waitress at a bar in Arizona. To make matters worse, the authorities decided to slap kidnapping and sexual assault charges onto his “resume” as well.

Amazingly, it took the jury only three and a half hours to convict Krone, who had earned the nickname “The Snaggletooth Killer.” But in 2001, a judge ordered a new DNA test on a piece of the victim’s clothing, and it showed that there was no evidence that Krone had been present at the scene of the crime. The DNA did match that of another man, however, who was already in the system. Krone was released in 2002 after the other man—who was already in prison for another sexual assault—admitted to the crime.

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So we’ve just told you about the hundredth person released from death row in the US, and now you’re probably wondering about the ninety-ninth, right? Well, Juan Roberto Melendez-Colon was released from Florida’s death row just three months before Ray Krone—and apart from being the ninety-ninth prisoner in America to be exonerated from a death sentence, he was the twenty-ninth in the state of Florida alone.

Melendez-Colon was convicted of murder in 1983. As it turns out, he was convicted largely based on the testimony of two felons, one of whom was believed to have been coerced and threatened into implicating Melendez-Colon. There was no physical evidence tying him to the crime, yet the jury found the testimony of the two convicted criminals convincing enough, apparently, to sentence Melendez-Colon to death.

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Since we’ve already told you about the ninety-ninth and the hundredth men who survived death row in the US, we may as well tell you about the first. Kirk Bloodsworth became the first man to have his death sentence overturned by DNA evidence. He was first convicted of murder in 1985, and sentenced to death. After the guilty verdict was overturned a year later, he was retried and convicted yet again, shortly afterwards. It wasn’t until 1993 that he was finally granted his freedom.

Bloodsworth had been convicted of the rape and murder of a nine year old girl, and his initial guilty verdict and death sentence were only overturned when it was discovered that prosecutors had withheld crucial evidence from the defense. After his second trial, he was actually given two sentences of life imprisonment rather than being put back on death row—so it seems that there are small victories even when you’ve been wrongfully convicted.

The real murderer was apparently described as being a large, burly man, which also makes it almost laughable when the actual perpetrator turned out to be a mere 5’6”, weighing only 160 pounds (73kg).

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While most death row exonerations have taken place in more recent years—largely due to the fact that people used to be awfully gung-ho about killing convicted felons—there are a few much earlier cases of innocent men being released from their death sentences. In 1910, for instance, two men in Spain were convicted of murdering a shepherd named Jose Maria Grimaldos Lopez, and prosecuted with the aim of securing the death penalty.

Those two men were Gregorio Valero and Leon Sanchez, and the gross miscarriages of justice that led to their conviction were to become infamous in Spain. Grimaldos Lopez disappeared without a trace in 1910, and despite there being no evidence of foul play, Valero and Sanchez were arrested and charged with murder. When the first trial failed to result in their conviction, the pair were tried again in 1913. This time, Valero and Sanchez were basically beaten into giving their confessions. In 1918 they were sentenced to prison time, though fortunately for them they did manage to narrowly avoid being sentenced to death, despite every effort made by the prosecution to see them killed for this crime they did not commit.

They were later exonerated when Grimaldos Lopez was discovered alive in a nearby town; apparently he had been living there the whole time. Oops.

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No one would deny that thirty-four years is a very long time. And every one of those years must feel longer when you’re on death row, waiting for that fateful day when the guards will enter your cell with their heads bowed. Yet that’s exactly what Sakae Menda went through. He spent more than three decades on Japan’s death row for a crime he did not commit.

Menda was arrested in 1948 for the murder of a priest and his wife who lived nearby. The police held him for three weeks without access to a lawyer, and they tortured him into a confession. He was convicted in 1951, and spent those long thirty-four years in a solitary cell with virtually no human interaction, before finally being released.

Menda, now eighty-seven years old, currently works as an activist. In 2007 he delivered a speech against the death penalty to the World Congress. He has also lobbied the United Nations in the hope of abolishing capital punishment around the world.

Read more: http://listverse.com/2013/04/09/10-innocent-people-sentenced-to-death/

10 Baffling Forensic Cases That Stumped The Experts

Forensic analysis has never been a perfect science, and there have been some truly weird cases over the course of history that tested the limits of what we can glean from a crime scene. From gruesome murders in the Tennessee backwoods to mysterious feet washing up on the shores of Canada, here are 10 strange forensic cases that defied logic.

10Dr. John Schneeberger

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The Facts: Dr. John Schneeberger was once a popular, trusted medical professional residing in Kipling, Canada before he was convicted of two counts of sexual assault in 1999. He allegedly drugged his first victim, a 23-year-old patient named Candace, before assaulting her in his examination room. His second victim was his 13-year-old teenage stepdaughter, who reported the same awful story.

The Weird: After Candace reported her assault to the authorities, the police forced Dr. Schneeberger to give blood for two DNA samples. When both came back negative, the case was closed. The police were baffled, and Candace took matters into her own hands. She hired a private detective to get another sample of Schneeberger’s DNA. The detective managed to collect a sample from the doctor’s lip balm, which turned out to be a match to the DNA from the crime scene. But, since they’d gotten it without a warrant, the evidence was dismissed in court. Dr. Schneeberger walked free.

When Lisa Schneeberger accused Dr. Schneeberger of molesting her 13-year-old daughter in January 1998, the doctor went in for another DNA test. This time, however, the police weren’t taking any chances. Instead of drawing blood samples from his arm, the blood was taken from his fingertips. The examiner also took hair samples and saliva swabs. The samples were a positive match, and he was once again sent to trial.

Faced with overwhelming evidence, the doctor confessed to his clever plot: He had been saving blood from patients and surgically implanting a thin rubber tube under his forearm skin next to his vein. When the technician drew blood for the first rape charges, he had actually drawn someone else’s blood from the tube. Dr. Schneeberger was convicted of rape—as well as obstruction of justice—and was sentenced to six years in prison.

9The Zoo Man’s Split Personalities

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The Facts: The strange case of “Zoo Man” Huskey took place just east of Knoxville, Tennessee in the early 1990s. On October 20, 1992, a hunter came across a woman’s decomposing body. She was identified as a local woman named Patty Anderson who had recently been reported missing. Nearly a week after her remains were found, police came across two more bodies, both of them bound and dumped in the woods. One had been recently killed, while the other had been there a while and was missing a few body parts.

On October 27, the nearly entirely decomposed remains of a fourth victim were located in the same general area. Police were able to connect the victims to one man: Thomas Dee Huskey. The resulting trial became one of the most bizarre and expensive judicial cases in the history of Tennessee.

The Weird: The forensic anthropologist on the case, Bill Bates, worked tirelessly to figure out how the women had been killed, how they were connected, and why their bodies were so mangled. He eventually came to the conclusion that all four women were prostitutes. Marks on their necks suggested that the women had been strangled to death, and the bizarre mutilation of their bodies was chalked up to wild animals.

But there was a problem: Because the bodies had been ravaged so completely by animals, the police weren’t able to get any DNA evidence from the victims. Nevertheless, police eventually identified Thomas Dee Huskey as the probable murderer of the women due to his reputation. Prostitutes in the area called him the “Zoo Man” for his habit of taking prostitutes behind the zoo and brutalizing them.

Once arrested and interrogated, Huskey confessed to murdering all four women, but that’s when it got really weird. Huskey claimed that his alter ego, Kyle, had actually committed the murders. His demeanor then changed to that of a British man named Philip Daxx, who claimed that his role was to protect Tom from Kyle. The jury couldn’t agree on a verdict, and the judge declared a mistrial. In a second trial in 2002, his original murder confession was deemed inadmissible. Currently, Huskey is serving 44 years in prison for three separate rape charges, and the prosecution hasn’t decided whether to try him again for the murders.

8The Murder Of Leanne Tiernan

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The Facts: In the summer of 2001, a body was found in Lindley Woods in West Yorkshire, England. The body belonged to 16-year-old Leanne Tiernan, who had disappeared months earlier while walking home from a Christmas shopping trip with a friend.

The Weird: When Leanne’s body was discovered, she had a plastic bag around her head, which was held in place by a dog collar, a scarf, and a zip tie. Zip ties also bound her wrists, and the rest of her body was wrapped in green trash bags and twine, then wrapped a second time in a floral duvet. Police were able to track down the suppliers of the dog collar and found a man who had bought several dog collars similar to the one found around Leanne’s neck. This man was John Taylor, a poacher who often hunted in the same woods where Leanne’s body had been found.

Furthermore, officials were able to identify the unique twine wrapped around Leanne’s corpse as a product used for rabbit netting—specially made by a supplier in Devon. The twine also led back to John Taylor, and when they searched his home, they found more of the same zip ties, twine, and dog collars.

When the forensic team examined Leanne’s body further, they also found several strands of dog hair. The hair was sent to a Texas university, where scientists had developed a profiling system for pedigreed pets using hair DNA samples. They were able to create a partial profile for the dog in question, but were unsuccessful in linking the dog hairs to Taylor; it turned out that the dog he’d owned when Tiernan disappeared had already died. Even though it never led to a conviction, this was the first time that dog DNA was used as forensic evidence in a British criminal case.

7Kathy Mabry And The West Phenomenon

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The Facts: The murder of 39-year-old Kathy Mabry was nothing short of gruesome. When Kathy was found dead in a vacant house in 1997, it was determined that her assailant had raped her, then proceeded to slash her face and throat with a dull, rusty razor blade. She was left to bleed to death on the floor. The story rocked the small town of Belzoni, Mississippi.

The Weird: Kathy Mabry’s macabre murder led to a lot of questions that seemed to have no answers. In the hunt to find her assailant, the police also made use of some questionable forensic techniques. While performing Mabry’s autopsy, the medical examiner, Dr. Hayne, found several bite marks on her body. Thinking that they were probably made by the murderer, he called in a bite-mark expert named Michael West, who claimed to have invented a technique for matching bite marks to a specific mouth. He named this breakthrough “The West Phenomenon.” That’s where things got a little shady.

West claimed that he was the only one who could perform the analysis—nobody else was even allowed to photograph the body. The process itself was, well, strange. West donned a pair of yellow protective goggles and spent hours bathing Mabry’s body in extreme ultraviolet light. On March 27, 1997, Hayne took the molds from West’s method and began matching them to the list of suspects. Less than a week later, a man named James Earl Gates was arrested for the rape and murder of Kathy Mabry. He has since been found innocent, and the identity Kathy’s murderer—as well as the validity of “The West Phenomenon”—remains a mystery.

6The Smith Twins

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The Facts: On July 18, 2008, a schoolteacher by the name of Genai Coleman was waiting for her daughter when a man fatally gunned her down and stole her car. Police were later able to identify her killer from a cigarette butt that was found under the driver’s seat of her stolen car.

The detective on the case, Damien Cruz, said that the saliva sample from the cigarette matched a man named Donald Smith. Donald had a prior drug-related arrest and matched the profile taken from a surveillance camera that had captured the shooting. He was arrested on February 3, 2009. While that should have been the end of the story, it only got weirder when Donald Smith claimed that the murderer was actually his identical twin.

The Weird: When investigators decided to follow up on Donald Smith’s statement, they dusted the car for fingerprints to test his claim. It was conclusive: The fingerprints found at the scene of the crime did in fact belong to Donald Smith’s identical twin brother, Ronald Smith. It took the investigators three days to track down Ronald, but they eventually found him at his parents’ house. Both his parents and his sister confirmed that Ronald was the right twin from the surveillance footage.

Furthermore, his cell phone record proved Ronald had been in the area where Coleman’s car was dumped after her shooting. After he was presented with the substantial evidence against him, Ronald admitted to the crime. He was arrested for the murder on February 6, 2009.

5The Murder Of Mary Rogers

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The Facts: Edgar Allan Poe enthusiasts might know the curious case of Mary Rogers from his short story, “The Mystery of Marie Roget.” Mary Rogers’s body was found floating in the Hudson River on July 28, 1841. When her body was brought to shore, police found that her face had been beaten and bruised to the point of being unrecognizable. The mystery of her death took off in the press and caused a media frenzy.

The Weird: No forensic evidence could be gathered at the time of Mary’s discovery, despite the brutal markings on her body and sightings of Mary’s whereabouts before her disappearance. As a matter of fact, it wasn’t until two months after her body’s discovery that any progress was made in the case. The break came when some local children playing in the woods near Elysian Fields in Hoboken, New Jersey found a woman’s clothing and personal effects hidden in the bush. The items included a white petticoat, a scarf, a parasol, and a cloth handkerchief with the initials “M. R.” embroidered on the edge. An eyewitness had previously reported seeing Mary entering the same woods with six men on the night of her disappearance.

Police officers searched the area for anything that could put them on the track of the killer. Nothing came of the search, the investigation abruptly ended, and Mary Rogers’ murder remained in infamy.

4The Highway Of Tears

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The Facts: There is a remote stretch of highway cutting through the British Columbian wilderness named the “Highway of Tears.” The name comes from the fact that nearly 50 women have gone missing on the road over the course of 30 years. If that wasn’t scary enough, rumor has it that all of the women might have been taken by the same serial killer.

The Weird: One suspect has been linked to at least a few of the murders by a collective DNA sample. Known killer Bobby Jack Fowler was arrested after his DNA was found on the body of one of the women murdered along the Highway of Tears. He was also strongly suspected of murdering at least two more victims—possibly as many as 20—but there is no evidence to support the claim.

The other problem with implicating Fowler as the main suspect is that three more murders happened after his imprisonment in 1996. Whoever was doing it was still out there. In 2011, a massive manhunt to find the killer began. Canadian officials even began pressuring cab drivers to submit DNA samples, just to pull together the smallest scrap of a lead. Nothing was ever found, and the events around the Highway of Tears remain a terrifying mystery.

3Kendrick Johnson’s Mysterious Death

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The Facts: In January 2013, in Valdosta, Georgia, Kendrick Johnson was found dead in his high school’s gymnasium. The 17-year-old boy’s death was declared an accident—it appeared he fell headfirst into a rolled-up gym mat and suffocated. There was no evidence of bruises or foul play, but the bizarre circumstances of the boy’s death raised suspicion with the family.

The Weird: After a long back-and-forth between the boy’s family, the coroner, and, eventually, a grand jury, a new report was filed that stated that Kendrick had in fact died from “unexplained, apparent non-accidental, blunt force trauma.” Nobody was charged with the murder, but the weirdness of the case does not end there. When the second autopsy was performed, it was revealed that the brain, heart, lungs, liver, and every other vital organ from the pelvis to the skull were missing—they’d been replaced with crumpled newspaper.

The owner of the funeral home claimed that the organs were most likely destroyed through natural process due to the position of Kendrick’s body when he died. Nevertheless, replacing organs with newspaper is obviously not standard practice for autopsies. All evidence points to foul play, yet authorities are no closer to understanding what really happened in this case.

2Colonel William Shy’s Grave

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The Facts: On December 15–16, 1864, the city of Nashville became a battleground for the already bloody American Civil War. William M. Shy, a Confederate Colonel of the 20th Tennessee Regiment, was shot in the head at point-blank range on the second day of the Battle of Nashville. This is where the story should have ended, but a 1977 excavation of his grave site proved that Colonel Shy was not yet through with the world.

The Weird: In December 1977, forensic anthropologist Dr. Bill Bass arrived in Nashville to investigate a case of vandalism at William Shy’s grave. The grave had been excavated, and a headless body had been propped upright on top of a 19th-century cast-iron coffin. The body appeared to be in an advanced state of deterioration and decay, but some discernible flesh and joints were still completely intact. Dr. Bass and the other forensic experts on the case made the natural assumption that the body had not belonged to the colonel, because his body should have already decomposed to dust.

After further examination, Dr. Bass declared that the body had been dead less than a year, and therefore definitely could not belong to Col. William Shy. But the inconsistencies kept piling up. Soon after the initial investigation, the body’s head was found—with a gunshot wound through the skull. Further, the clothes and casket did seem to be authentic Civil War-era artifacts. The answer was almost laughably simple, but it kept the forensic experts baffled for weeks. The cast-iron coffin—which was a rare privilege reserved for someone of Col. Shy’s social status—was secure enough to keep out all moisture, insects, and oxygen that would have progressed the decomposition process. With none of those present, the body was essentially trapped in a time capsule.

1The Mystery Of British Columbia’s Floating Feet

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The Facts: Starting in March 2007, tennis shoes began washing up on the shores of British Columbia’s Georgia Strait. Over the course of five years, a total of 11 shoes washed up on the shore—some with feet still in them. Most theories for the mysterious case involved a serial killer with a foot fetish planning each murder and sending the shoes to shore as a calling card.

The Weird: It wasn’t until February 2012 that the case was cracked. One of the shoes contained the bones of an identifiable man—Stefan Zahorujko—whose capsized boat had been found in the same body of water in 1987. The coroner concluded that the cause of death was nothing more than an unfortunate accident, probably weather related, and the same assumption was hesitantly given to explain the rest of the mysterious shoes. British Columbia could rest easy knowing that the only serial killer on the loose was Mother Nature. As to why the shoes were the only things that made it back to shore, well, that’s still a mystery. Either way, it is the weirdest forensics case the area has ever seen.

Read more: http://listverse.com/2014/03/22/top-10-weird-forensics-cases/

10 Strange And Brutal Acts Of Violence From Texas

Texas is truly a land apart; despite being repeatedly struck down, there is an active movement there to secede from the US. Residents will tell you “everything is bigger in Texas,” and this quite includes the crimes, many of which rank among the most savage on the planet.

10 Goliad Massacre

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Texans have honored the brave martyrs of the Alamo for nearly 200 years. However, those who lost their lives in the Goliad Massacre just three weeks later have been largely forgotten.

During the Texas Revolution, the Mexican Army overwhelmed a smaller force at the Battle of Coleto Creek on March 19, 1836. Although the Texans defended themselves admirably, Colonel James Fannin, their leader, decided to surrender against the insurmountable odds.

The men were held as prisoners in Goliad’s Presidio La Bahia, a fort built more than a century earlier by the Spanish Army. A week later, the President of Mexico ordered the prisoners executed. A few, such as those who could serve as doctors, were spared. Forty men who were unable to walk were executed inside the fort. Another 302 men were marched outside and gunned down at point-blank range. Any survivors were then bludgeoned and slashed to death.

Colonel Fannin was made to witness the slaughter of every last man—he was the last to be killed. He asked his captors to send his possessions to his family, to be given a Christian burial, and to be shot in the heart rather than the face. They shot him in the face, stole his belongings, and burned his corpse in a massive pile with the rest of the men. The men’s scorched remains were not buried, to the delight of the local vultures, but when news of Texas’s victory in the Revolution reached the soldiers at the Presidio a month later, they hurriedly buried the evidence of their crime.

9 Austin Plane Crash

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Few government agencies are as openly reviled as the IRS, but most of us take out our frustrations with them by muttering a few expletives as we fill out our 1040s. However, Andrew Stack of Austin, Texas took his issues with the agency to a whole new level of crazy.

On February 18, 2010, Stack set fire to his home, then he drove to Georgetown Municipal Airport, where he kept his plane, a single-engine Piper Dakota. At 9:56 on a sunny morning, he slammed the plane into Echelon I, an office building containing 190 IRS employees. There was a massive explosion that killed both Stack and Vernon Hunter, a 68-year-old Revenue Officer Group Manager. Thirteen others were injured, a number which likely would have been much higher if a team of firefighters hadn’t coincidentally been performing drills nearby.

Stack’s accountant later confirmed that he was in the process of being audited. His suicide note read in part: “I saw it written once that the definition of insanity is repeating the same process over and over and expecting the outcome to suddenly be different. I am finally ready to stop this insanity. Well, Mr. Big Brother IRS man, let’s try something different; take my pound of flesh and sleep well.”

8 The Texas Eyeball Killer

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Serial killers often acquire strange nicknames based on their crimes; consider Nannie Doss, a cheerful woman known for poisoning family members (including four husbands, her mom, her sister, her grandson, and her mother in law) with arsenic. She was known as “The Giggling Granny.” Then there was “The Big Eared Midget” of Buenos Aires, Argentina, and Russia’s “The Hippopotamus.” Of course, the Lone Star state has had plenty of butchers, but the “Texas Eyeball Killer” stands alone.

The Eyeball Killer murdered three prostitutes in the Dallas area during a rampage that lasted from December 1990 until his apprehension in March 1991. Each woman had been shot dead and had had her eyeballs removed with surgical precision. Police patrols were increased in an attempt to catch this fiend, and finally a break came in the case. A fourth prostitute was attacked, but managed to escape by spraying the man with mace. Her description and some hairs found at the scene of the crime led to the capture of 57-year-old Charles Albright.

Albright’s past was a stereotypical serial killer history. An orphan, he was prone to petty crimes, violence, and cruelty to animals. He’d spent some time in prison for theft, and had previously pled guilty to molesting a nine-year-old girl. The prosecution’s case against him was flimsy, but Albright was eventually found guilty of the murder of the third prostitute. He was sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.

7 Murder Of Selena

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Selena Quintanilla-Pérez was a Mexican-American songstress making her way up the Billboard charts in the 1990s. While riding a wave of seemingly unlimited potential, Selena was unceremoniously murdered in Corpus Christi, Texas, by Yolanda Saldívar, the former president of her fan club (who’d been embezzling funds). Selena had met with Saldivar at a motel to discuss the theft, when they got into an argument. During the argument, Yolanda produced a handgun from her purse, and when Selena fled, he shot the young singer in the shoulder. The bullet severed an artery, and she left a garish trail of blood behind her as she ran for help. She died of blood loss in the hospital shortly thereafter.

Yolanda was arrested after an hours-long standoff with police and insisted that the shooting was an accident, but the prosecution argued that Saldivar, who was a trained nurse, neither called 911 or attempted to come to her aid. Prosecutors explained that the gun she’d used required 11 pounds of pressure on the trigger to fire, and it certainly didn’t help that a witness on the scene claimed Saldivar had followed the wounded Selena, screaming curses at her.

She was ultimately convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison. While the prisons of Texas are chock full of murderers otherwise ignored by the general population, Saldívar carries with her a significant stigma. Other inmates, sworn fans of the slain Tejano singer, levied numerous death threats against Saldivar. For this reason, she is kept in isolation for 23 hours a day, with one hour for recreation. She will be eligible for parole in 2025, when she will be in her mid-60s.

6 Jake Evans

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Family photographs taken prior to October 2012 portray 17-year-old Jake Evans as the kind of handsome, all-American boy any girl would be proud to bring home to meet the folks. But something truly awful lurked just beneath this innocent veneer.

One night that month, Evans rang 911 in a sort of daze, explaining to the dispatcher in a chilling monotone that he’d just murdered his 48-year-old mother and 15-year-old sister. He’d shot them both to death with a .22 revolver. When asked why he’d done it, he told the operator that “I am pretty, I guess, evil . . . whatever.” He then said “I don’t know . . . it’s weird. I wasn’t even really angry with them. It just kind of happened. I’ve been kind of planning on killing for a while now.”

The police arrived shortly thereafter and Jake surrendered without incident. Luckily for the Evans family, there were only two people at home when Jake went on his rampage. Initially he’d considered causing much more carnage. In his written confession, he revealed, “My plan was to kill my sister and my mom at my house and then go over to my grandparents and kill my oldest sister, Emily, and my two grandparents. Then I was going to wait until morning and kill my other sister, Audrey, because she was visiting from college.”

Had he been a year older, Jake Evans likely would have been sentenced to die by lethal injection, but as he was a minor when he committed his crime, he will instead spend the rest of his life in prison.

5 The Mysterious Death Of Greg Fleniken

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Murder is usually as sadly mundane as any other pursuit; while the killer himself might remain mysterious, the methodology is grossly evident. But on September 14, 2010, the MCM Elegante Hotel in Beaumont, Texas, would play host to a bizarre death that stumped even seasoned pathologists. The morning after the incident, the co-workers of 55-year-old oilman Greg Fleniken reported to the hotel, explaining that their colleague was missing. When knocking on his door failed to rouse Fleniken, they entered, only to find his body lying on the carpet. He was a heavy smoker and his passing seemed like natural causes at first—until medical examiners opened his body.

They found broken ribs, massive damage to the internal organs, and, curiously, a small laceration on his scrotum. He’d received the kind of blunt force trauma typically reserved for a high speed car crash. This was bizarre, given the fact that the body didn’t show any signs of bruising. Investigators followed several promising leads, but eventually came up dry. Desperate for answers, Fleniken’s widow hired a noted private investigator named Ken Brennan.

Brennan doggedly pursued the case, and eventually came up with a novel idea: that Fleniken wasn’t in fact beaten, but shot. He returned to the hotel room where the body was found and discovered a hole where a bullet had traveled through the wall from the room next door. It roughly aligned with the indentation where the doorknob would hit the wall, and had been ignored. In the room opposite Fleniken’s, the hole had been patched with dried toothpaste. As Greg Fleniken had been cremated, his remains could not be exhumed, but upon studying autopsy photos with the medical examiner, it was determined that the trauma had been caused by the path of the bullet. The laceration to the scrotum was actually the entrance wound.

Eventually, the story was confirmed: Three drunken electricians had been staying next to Fleniken. One of them was playing with a gun, which accidentally discharged. The group swore each other to secrecy, but when confronted with the truth, they folded. A man named Lance Mueller was eventually sentenced to 10 years for the crime, which he likely would have avoided had he come forward immediately.

4 J.D. Tippit

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There are few events in American history as exhaustively studied as the assassination of John F. Kennedy. One of the pieces of trivia often glossed over about the saga was how Lee Harvey Oswald was apprehended in the first place. Within a few minutes of the shooting, Oswald’s description was circulated among the Dallas police. One of these officers was J.D. Tippit, a patrol cop who worked a beat in the residential neighborhood of Oak Cliff. Tippit spotted a man matching Oswald’s description on his rounds some 45 minutes or so after the incident.

Witnesses reported the policeman exchanging words with the suspect from his patrol car, then exiting the car. Oswald pulled a handgun and shot 39-year-old Tippit three times in the chest. The officer toppled over, already likely mortally wounded, when the assassin walked over and shot him in the right temple.

This crime was witnessed by several people, and has since been rolled into the labyrinthine conspiracy theory regarding JFK’s death. Certainly no publicly accepted reports implicate Tippit in any way. The grieving nation poured its support onto Tippit’s widow. One of the men who sent a donation was Abraham Zapruder, the man who filmed the most compelling footage of JFK’s death and went on to sell it to Life magazine for $150,000. He sent $25,000 of those proceeds to Tippit’s widow.

3 Luby’s Massacre

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These days, mass shootings are tragically de rigeur, but this was not always the case. On October 16, 1991, a disturbed man named George Hennard drove his pickup truck through the front window of Luby’s Cafeteria in Killeen, Texas.

At first, patrons believed that the crash was an unfortunate accident, and 48-year-old veterinarian Michael Griffith rushed to the driver’s aid. He was subsequently gunned down. Hennard then lurched toward Suzanna Hupp and her parents. Hupp was typically armed, but unfortunately, Texas law at the time prohibited concealed carry, and she had been forced to leave her weapon in the car. She watched helplessly as Hennard gunned down her parents.

The misogynist gunman stalked through the restaurant targeting mostly female patrons and screaming “All women of Killeen and Belton are vipers!” Twenty-three people were killed and another 20 were injured. The rampage finally ended when police arrived and began exchanging fire with Hennard. Wounded, he slunk off to the bathroom and took his own life.

The Luby’s massacre was the deadliest in American history for 16 years, until it was surpassed by the Virginia Tech massacre and the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting. Today, the building is occupied by a Chinese buffet.

2 Dr. John Hill

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The tale of Dr. John Hill and his wife is as dark and convoluted as any soap opera. Hill was a plastic surgeon and wealthy in his own right, but he married into a family stacked with riches when he exchanged rings with Joan Robinson, the daughter of millionaire Texas oilman Ash Robinson. Theirs was a rocky union, with Hill seeing a mistress on the side. On March 18, 1969, Joan suddenly fell gravely ill. John drove her to get help with little apparent concern for her condition, passing several medical facilities in favor of a hospital in which he had financial interest. She was tended to by doctors, but died hours later of a mysterious ailment.

Hill went on to be tried for murder by way of withholding medical attention. A mistrial was declared, but before he could be tried again, Hill was gunned down after answering his front door at his home in River Oaks, a suburb of Houston. Two women were traced to the crime—Marcia McKittrick, who was behind the wheel of the getaway car, and Lilla Paulus (who was connected to the victim’s father), who hired the gunman, a man named Bobby Vandiver.

There was considerable suspicion that Robinson had orchestrated the hit to avenge the death of his daughter. However, no solid connection could ever be established, and Vandiver was killed shortly thereafter in a shootout with police. Ash Robinson died of natural causes in 1985 at 87 years of age.

1 Jerry Duane Martin, The Last Execution of 2013

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Capital punishment was suspended in the United States in 1972, but in 1976, the US Supreme Court ruled to bring it back. Its occurrence is regulated on a state-by-state basis, with 18 states (plus Washington D.C.) banning the procedure. Unfortunately for the murderous, Texas does not count itself amongst these states. As of December 3, when a man named Jerry Duane Martin was given the lethal injection for murdering prison guard Susan Canfield during an escape attempt, 508 men in total have been executed since the reinstatement of capital punishment. Virginia, the next closest state, has only executed 110 people in the same time span.

Bizarrely enough, the Texas Department of Corrections maintains a website that catalogs not only each condemned person’s name, but their crimes and last words. The majority of these have been proclamations of love, innocence, and forgiveness, but some are, understandably, just downright odd.

Read more: http://listverse.com/2014/01/17/10-strange-and-brutal-acts-of-violence-from-texas/

10 Famous Hostage Situations

The practice of taking hostages is very ancient, and has been used constantly in negotiations with conquered nations, and in cases such as surrenders, armistices and the like, where the two belligerents depended for its proper carrying out on each others good faith. The Romans were accustomed to take the sons of tributary princes and educate them at Rome, thus holding a security for the continued loyalty of the conquered nation and also instilling a possible future ruler with ideas of Roman civilization. This list looks at 10 modern examples of hostage taking.

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Ingrid Betancourt Pulecio is a Colombian-French politician, former senator, anti-corruption activist and Nobel Peace Prize nominee. Betancourt was kidnapped by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) on 23 February 2002 and was rescued by Colombian security forces six and a half years later on 2 July 2008. The rescue operation, dubbed Operation Jaque, rescued Betancourt along with 14 other hostages (three Americans and 11 Colombian policemen and soldiers). In all, she was held captive for 2,321 days after being taken while campaigning for the Colombian presidency as a Green. She had decided to campaign in rebel controlled areas despite warnings from the government, police and military not to do so. Her kidnapping received worldwide coverage, particularly in France, because of her dual French citizenship. She has received multiple international awards, such as the Légion d’honneur. In 2008 she received the Concord Prince of Asturias Award.

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On March 16, 1985, Terry Anderson had just finished a tennis game when he was abducted from the street in Beirut, placed in the trunk of a car and taken to a secret location where he was imprisoned. For the next six years and nine months he was held captive, being moved periodically to new sites. His captors were a group of Hezbollah Shiite Muslims who were supported by Iran in supposed retaliation for Israel’s use of U.S. weapons and aid in its 1982-83 strikes against Muslim and Druze targets in Lebanon. Several other U.S. citizens were held at the same time. At first Anderson was held alone, though he became aware that other captives were also nearby. Anderson was the last hostage to be accounted for, finally being released December 4, 1991 to a joyful reunion with his family. His daughter Sulome Anderson was born three months after his capture and had not seen her father until this point.

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The Iran hostage crisis was a diplomatic crisis between Iran and the United States where 52 U.S. diplomats were held hostage for 444 days from November 4, 1979 to January 20, 1981, after a group of Islamist students took over the American embassy in support of the Iranian revolution. The episode reached a climax when after failed attempts to negotiate a release, the United States military attempted a rescue operation, Operation Eagle Claw, on April 24, 1980, which resulted in an aborted mission, the crash of two aircraft and the deaths of eight American service members and one Iranian civilian. It ended with the signing of the Algiers Accords in Algeria on January 19, 1981. The hostages were formally released into United States custody the following day, just minutes after the new American president Ronald Reagan was sworn in.

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Patty Hearst, now known as Patricia Hearst Shaw, is an American newspaper heiress, socialite, and occasional actress. The granddaughter of publishing magnate William Randolph Hearst and great-granddaughter of self-made millionaire George Hearst, she gained notoriety in 1974 when, following her kidnapping by the Symbionese Liberation Army (SLA), she ultimately joined her captors in furthering their cause. Apprehended after having taken part in a bank robbery with other SLA members, Hearst was imprisoned for almost two years before her sentence was commuted by President Jimmy Carter. She was later granted a presidential pardon by President Bill Clinton in his last official act before leaving office. Hearst’s actions have often been attributed to Stockholm syndrome, in which hostages sympathize with the aims of their captors.

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The Moscow theatre hostage crisis, also known as the 2002 Nord-Ost siege, was the seizure of a crowded Moscow theatre on October 23, 2002 by about 40-50 armed Chechen rebel fighters who claimed allegiance to the separatist movement in Chechnya. They took 850 hostages and demanded the withdrawal of Russian forces from Chechnya and an end to the Second Chechen War. The siege was officially led by Movsar Barayev. After a two-and-a-half day siege, Russian Spetsnaz forces pumped an unknown chemical agent into the building’s ventilation system and raided it. Officially, 39 of the terrorists were killed by Russian forces, along with at least 129 and possibly many more of the hostages (including nine foreigners). All but one of the hostages who died during the siege were killed by the toxic substance pumped into the theatre to subdue the militants.

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The Beslan school hostage crisis (also referred to as the Beslan school siege or Beslan massacre) began when a group of armed terrorists, demanding an end to the Second Chechen War, took more than 1,100 people, including some 777 children, hostage on September 1, 2004, at School Number One (SNO) in the town of Beslan, North Ossetia-Alania, an autonomous republic in the North Caucasus region of the Russian Federation. On the third day of the standoff, Russian security forces stormed the building using tanks, thermobaric rockets and other heavy weapons. The hostage taking was carried out by the Riyadus-Salikhin Reconnaissance and Sabotage Battalion of Chechen Martyrs group lead by Shamil Basayev who was an independent warlord at the time. The tragedy led to security and political repercussions in Russia, most notably a series of government reforms consolidating power in the Kremlin and strengthening of the powers of President of Russia. As of 2008, there are many aspects of the crisis still in dispute, including how many militants were involved, their preparations, and whether some of them had escaped. Questions about the government’s management of the crisis have also persisted, including disinformation and censorship in news media, repressions of journalists who rushed to Beslan, the nature and content of negotiations with the militants, the responsibility for the bloody outcome, and the government’s use of possibly excessive force.

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The Eloá Pimentel hostage crisis refers to the kidnapping, hostage situation and murder of Brazilian 15-year-old girl Eloá Cristina Pimentel, which was accompanied by the shooting of her friend Nayara Silva, both committed by Eloá’s ex-boyfriend Lidemberg Alves. The incident received major media exposure not only because of the shootings, but also because of the mistakes committed by the police of São Paulo, and also because Eloá was held as a hostage for 100 hours – the longest kidnapping ever registered in the state of São Paulo.

In October 13, 2008, Eloá Pimentel, Nayara da Silva and two friends were working on a school project, when Eloás’ 22-year-old ex-boyfriend, Lidemberg Fernandes Alves, broke into her apartment in Santo André, holding a pistol. He soon released the two boys, but held Eloá and Nayara. The GATE (Grupo de Ações Táticas Especiais, or Special Tactical Actions Group) closely followed the case. On October 16, da Silva was eventually released by Alves, but she was suggested by the police to return to the apartment. She accepted, and was held hostage again. Hours later, shots were heard coming from the apartment, and the GATE decided to storm in the apartment. They eventually stopped and immobilized him, but not before he could put two bullets in Eloá (one in the head and other in the groin), and one in Nayara’s face. Eloá, severely wounded, was taken to the hospital, but was brain dead due to brain damage and died.

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The Burnhams were United States Protestant missionaries in the Philippines with New Tribes Mission for 17 years from 1986. The couple was among a larger group kidnapped by the Abu Sayyaf Group, an Islamist separatist terrorist group operating in the southern Philippines, on May 27, 2001. While most of the group were murdered by the kidnappers or freed after ransoms were paid, the Burnhams were in captivity for a year and a few days. The kidnappers demanded $1,000,000 for their release. A ransom of $300,000 was paid, yet the kidnappers refused to release them. During the eventual rescue attempt by the Philippine Army on June 7, 2002, Martin was killed by three gunshots in the chest and Gracia was wounded in her right thigh. Since her release and the death of her husband, Gracia Burnham has returned to the United States with their three children. She has written two books about her experiences, In the Presence of my Enemies (2003) and To Fly Again (2005). She has also set up The Martin and Gracia Burnham Foundation.

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Roy Hallums is an American contractor who was kidnapped in Iraq on November 1, 2004. He was held in Iraq for 311 days and freed on September 7, 2005. On November 1, 2004, 20 gunmen stormed the compound where Hallums and his co-workers were working, in the upscale Mansour District of Baghdad. Hallums was taken hostage along with Roberto Tarongoy of the Philippines, Inus Dewari of Nepal, and three Iraqis. Dewari and the Iraqis were later released soon after their abduction. A videotape of Hallums was released by insurgents on January 25, 2005. It is unclear when the tape was made. Hallums had a long beard, and was seated with a gun pointed at his head. “I have been arrested by a resistance group in Iraq,” Hallums said. “I am asking for help because my life is in danger, because it has been proved that I work for American forces.” Hallums didn’t appeal to American President Bush but did to Libyan president Muammar al-Gaddafi to help earn his release. Gaddafi later called for Hallum’s release. Hallums was freed on September 7, 2005, along with an Iraqi captive, when American troops raided a farmhouse 15 miles south of Baghdad. The location was apparently given by an Iraqi detainee. When coalition troops arrived, the kidnappers had fled.

Altogether, Roy Hallums had been captive ten months and seven days. He said that he had been bound and gagged for much of the time, but doctors described him as being in “good health.” After his release, he called his daughter and identified himself by saying “This is Dad.” The freed hostage also delivered this statement: “I want to thank all of those who were involved in my rescue — to those who continuously tracked my captors and location, and to those who physically brought me freedom today. To all of you, I will be forever grateful.”

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Father Lawrence Martin Jenco, a native of Joliet, Illinois, was taken hostage in Beirut by five armed men in January 1985, while serving as director of Catholic Relief Services there. He was held for 564 days before being released and allowed to return to the United States. In his book, Bound to Forgive, Fr. Jenco relives his kidnapping and imprisonment, and offers portraits of the Shiite Muslims who held him captive. He also discusses how his faith sustained him. He spent much of his time in prayer and meditation, making a rosary out of threads from a sack, and celebrated clandestine Masses whenever he could. At times he was imprisoned with other hostages (including Terry Anderson) who worshiped together as “The Church of the Locked Door”. He spent much of his time chained and blindfolded, and was allowed to use the toilet only once a day. Fr. Jenco suffered serious eye infections and other health problems as a result of his captivity. In changing from one hiding place to another, he was bound with tape and placed in stifling hiding places in trucks, lest he be found by soldiers or police inspecting a vehicle. He also suffered beatings by the guards. Toward the end of his captivity, Jenco was asked by one of his guards if he forgave his captors. Fr. Jenco tells in his book that at that moment he realized that he was being called to forgive, to “let go of revenge, retaliation and vindictiveness”.

This article is licensed under the GFDL because it contains quotations from Wikipedia.

Read more: http://listverse.com/2009/04/17/10-famous-hostage-situations/

10 People Who Got Away With Vigilante Justice

In modern society, when a crime is committed, a judge and jury are typically the ones who handle the punishment. Then are some people who, for varied reasons, decide to take the law into their own hands. The problem is that when they do that, they are often committing crimes themselves. Therefore, law enforcement officials never condone vigilantism, but there are a few cases where someone gets away with dishing out their own punishment.

10David Chen

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In May 2009, in Toronto’s Chinatown, 56-year-old drug addict Anthony Bennett stole about $100 worth of plants from the Lucky Moose Food Store. An hour later, Bennett returned to the scene of the crime. Store owner David Chen, along with his cousin and nephew who worked at the store, confronted Bennett about the theft. Things escalated when the Lucky Moose owner and employees tied up Bennett and locked him in the back of the delivery van.

However, in Canada, you’re not allowed to physically restrain someone like that unless they are actively in the middle of committing a crime. So Chen was charged with assault, forcible confinement, kidnapping, and carrying a dangerous weapon (a box cutter). Ultimately, however, the good guy won—Chen and his co-workers had all charges dismissed. The case made national headlines and Chen became a minor celebrity in Toronto. The case also changed Canadian law, when the “Lucky Moose Bill” was introduced which relaxed laws surrounding self-defense and citizens’ arrests. Bennett, on the other hand, pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 30 days in prison.

9Lori Palmer

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Growing up, Lori Palmer and Kaylene Phillips were good friends. Lori was even Kaylene’s maid of honor when Kaylene married her husband Scott. They were so close that Lori’s daughter would often sleep over at the Phillips’ home when she had to work nights as a police officer with the Wichita Police Department.

In autumn of 2000—when Lori’s daughter was 12—she told her mother that when she slept over at the Phillips’ house four years prior, she was molested by Scott a number of times. Palmer—now retired from the police department—did the responsible thing and reported the assaults to the police. Soon, however, Palmer decided that the police were taking too long and felt that other children, such as Phillips’ own daughter, were in danger.

Palmer drove to Scott’s work, flashed her police badge, and got Phillips into her car. Then she drove to a wooded area 20 minutes outside the city. There, Palmer made Phillips remove all his clothes and threatened his life if he did not tell the truth about what happened. Standing cold and naked in the middle of nowhere, Phillips quickly confessed to molesting Palmer’s daughter. Palmer then drove him to the police station, where he repeated his confession to the officers.

Phillips was arrested for rape, but Palmer was also arrested for kidnapping with intent to commit first-degree murder. She faced up to five years in prison, but ultimately only received a year’s probation. Phillips, meanwhile, was found guilty of aggravated indecent liberties with a child and sentenced to four years in prison.

8William Lynch

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In 1975, when William Lynch was seven years old, he and his brother went on a camping trip that was chaperoned by Jesuit priest Jerold Lindner. Lynch later on said that during that trip, Lindner made him and his brother perform oral sex on each other and then he forcibly sodomized them. The brothers were silent about it for years until the ’90s—by then, however, the statute of limitations had run out, so Lindner was never criminally charged.

Instead, the Lynches and other victims of Lindner sued the church. Lynch and his brother were given a $625,000 settlement in 1997, but Lindner never admitted to the assaults. In fact, while being questioned under disposition, he said that he didn’t remember the brothers at all.

This never sat well with William Lynch, so in 2010 he went to the nursing home where the 67-year-old Lindner was living. He wanted Lindner to sign a confession, but when he confronted the elderly priest, Lindner apparently leered at Lynch, who reacted by punching him “at least twice” in the head.

Now, you just can’t go around punching senior citizens in the face, no matter how despicable they may be. Lynch was arrested and offered a plea deal where he could avoid prison time. However, Lynch wanted to go to trial and bring attention to the priest’s vile past. He pleaded not guilty, despite fully admitting that he punched Lindner. By going to trial, he was looking at up to four years in prison.

When Lindner took the stand on the first day, he denied molesting any children. The next day, he pleaded the Fifth Amendment while testifying—as a result, the judge threw out his testimony. Even the prosecuting attorney told the jury that Lindner would probably be deceitful on the stand. After a two-week trial, Lynch was acquitted of all charges, despite admitting he committed elderly abuse. He was happy that he brought attention to Lindner’s awful past but does regret resorting to violence.

7Samuel Mohammed

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Samuel Mohammed lived in a poor neighborhood in West Palm Beach, Florida. Mohammed, who was formerly a bodyguard, grew tired of police not doing anything about an abandoned house in the neighborhood that was used as a crack house and frequented by prostitutes. Taking matters into his own hands, Mohammed went to the abandoned house, checked to see if anyone was in it, and then poured kerosene around the house before setting it on fire.

Mohammed was arrested and charged with arson and burglary. During his trial he was asked by the prosecutor if he would set another building on fire should the situation call for it. Mohammed admitted that he couldn’t rule something like that out. On the day when the verdict was going to be read, he wore a shirt that said “Hit Me With Your Best Shot.” Needless to say, Mohammed was a bit defiant, despite the possibility that he could be sentenced to nine years in prison. He was luckily only given probation and 200 hours of community service.

6Kimberly Cunningham

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When Amanda Cunningham was nine years old, her uncle Coy Hundley raped her twice. Amanda didn’t say anything about the rapes until 2003, when she was 14. At the time, she was having behavioral problems—when her mother, Kimberly, asked what was wrong, Amanda finally broke down and told her mother what happened. This was the second time one of Kimberly’s children had been sexually assaulted by her sister’s common law family, as Cunningham’s son had accused Hundley’s son of molesting him.

Prior, Kimberly had taken her revenge on Hundley’s son by smashing the windows of his car. Hearing this new allegation, a livid Cunningham drove over to her brother-in-law’s work in Knoxville, Tennessee to confront him about the accusations. Cunningham was hoping that Hundley would deny the rapes. Instead, he apparently laughed at her and said, “What are you going to do?” That’s when Kimberley shot at him five times with a revolver, before reloading and firing five more times. Hundley was hit four times in the head and four times in the body. Less than an hour later, Cunningham brought the revolver to the police station and turned herself in.

Cunningham was charged with first-degree murder and went to trial. One of the major questions that arose was why Cunningham simply didn’t go to the police in the first place. She claimed that she was afraid of Hundley because he threatened her when she went to the police the first time about his son. If she went to the police this time, she might be putting herself or her daughter in danger.

At her first trial, the jury deadlocked on a second-degree murder charge. During her second trial, she was acquitted of both first- and second-degree murder. However, she was convicted of voluntary manslaughter and given four years in prison. She successfully appealed that conviction and ultimately served six only months.

5Richard Dale Wilson

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Joan McShane Mills was engaged to a man named Richard Wilson, but she also had a wild side that involved parties, drugs, and sex with strange men. While on a Los Angeles business trip in April 1983, Mills went out partying and met a man named Jeffrey Parker. Together, they consumed a lot of drinks and snorted some cocaine.

Early in the morning on April 30, paramedics were called to the hotel room where Parker was staying. They found Mills lifeless and Parker frantically trying to revive her. However, it looked like Parker’s CPR attempt was what actually killed the 33-year-old woman. Mills’ family pushed for an arrest, and Parker was charged with murder.

Parker was set to begin trial on August 4, 1983. However, two days prior to the trial, he was walking out of his mother’s house when he was shot twice—once in the head and once in the throat. His mother ran outside and held her dying son. At first the police thought it was a hit man—quite possibly in connection to drugs, which Parker had previously been arrested for. However, since there was no physical evidence, the case sat cold for four years.

That is, until the police got an anonymous tip telling them that Mills’ fiance, Richard Wilson, was responsible for Parker’s murder. Under questioning, Okel Wilson—Richard’s older brother—said his brother told him he planned to kill Parker and then bragged about it after Parker was dead.

Wilson was arrested and charged with murder. He went on trial in 1986, pleading not guilty. The trial lasted four months, with Okel Wilson playing a key role in the district attorney’s case. Wilson’s lawyers were able to discredit his testimony, and after two days of deliberations he was found not guilty. Wilson hugged his lawyers and told the jurors “It’s the last you’ll see of me!

4Bradley Willman

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In the late ’90s, a teenage Bradley Willman was talking to a man in an online newsgroup. This man apparently offered up his six-year-old daughter for sex. Willman contacted the police, and the man was arrested.

This led to Willman creating a Trojan virus in the guise of a picture. He’d post the picture on child pornography newsgroups—when users opened the file, it would seemingly be nothing but a random picture from the directory. However, it would also allow the virus to embed itself within the user’s computer. This gave Willman access to over a thousand individual computers, where he would search for child porn or other incriminating evidence. He’d then send the information along to child pornography watchdog groups.

The problem is that searching through people’s computers without their permission is completely illegal—even dirt bags that collect child porn have the right to privacy. Although Willman was living in Canada, he often broke American state and federal laws, but he didn’t care.

In 2000, Orange County judge Ronald Kline downloaded the virus. On his computer, Willman found over 1,500 pictures featuring young boys and a journal indicating that he planned on seducing children. Like he did with every other creep he came across, Willman passed the information on to a watchdog group who, in turn, passed it on to the police. Months later, Kline was arrested and charged with possession of child pornography.

At his trial, Kline’s defense challenged the legality of the virus, but it wasn’t enough. Kline was convicted and given 27 months in prison. Since Willman cooperated with police, he was not charged with anything, although he had to promise to retire from his vigilante ways forever.

3William Masters II

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Shortly after midnight on January 31, 1995, 18-year-old Rene Arce and 20-year-old David Hillo were painting graffiti under the Hollywood Freeway underpass when former Marine William A. Masters confronted them. The version of the story that Masters tells is that he wrote down their license plate, then Acre and Hillo threatened him with a screwdriver and demanded the paper and his wallet. Feeling threatened, Masters took out his gun and shot the two young men. Arce died, but Hillo survived.

After the shooting, Masters became a hero to some people. During interviews, however, he made quite a few controversial remarks, such as how he was convinced that no court could find 12 people who would convict him. He also blamed Arce’s death on the boy’s mother, saying that if she had done a better job raising her son, he wouldn’t have been in that situation.

Critics of Masters believe that he went out looking for trouble. After all, why was he was walking around an underpass, in the middle of the night, while armed? Masters argued that he should be able to walk wherever he wants, whenever he wants to. Unfortunately, he was not licensed to carry a gun. Masters was an advocate for the right to bear arms but had previously gotten in trouble in Texas for carrying a sword in public.

In the end, the district attorney’s office didn’t charge Masters with murder because they thought it was self-defense. He was only convicted of carrying a concealed and loaded firearm in public. He was ordered to get rid of all his guns, serve three years of probation, and spend 30 days cleaning up graffiti.

After the verdict, Masters made it clear that he enjoyed walking late at night through areas with high crime rates and would continue to do so even after the shooting.

2David Barajas

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Just outside Alvin, Texas on December 7, 2012, David Barajas’ truck ran out of gas. He and his two sons—12-year-old David Jr. and 11-year-old Caleb—were pushing the truck down a rural road near their home. Twenty-year-old Jose Banda, who had been drinking, was driving down the same road. He collided with the truck and the two boys. The crash killed David Jr. on impact, while Caleb died at the hospital.

Banda also wouldn’t leave the crash site alive, as he was shot in the head. David Barajas was charged with murder, as authorities believe that after the crash he went to his home—which was a short distance away—got his gun, returned to the crash site, and shot Banda dead.

During the trial, Barajas’ lawyers argued that there wasn’t much physical evidence linking his client to the crime. Indeed, the gunshot residue test performed on Barajas’ hand came back negative. In addition, the gun was never found. The district attorney, on the other hand, argued that Barajas had both the motive and opportunity to commit the crime.

The jury deliberated for only three hours before acquitting Barajas of all charges. Barajas says the whole event was a tragedy and that three sons were lost that day.

1Joe Horn

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In Pasadena, Texas on November 14, 2007, 61-year-old Joe Horn watched as two men broke into his next-door neighbor’s house. He called 911 to inform them of the robbery, but while on the phone, he volunteered to get his shotgun. He said he couldn’t let them get away with stealing stuff. The dispatcher continually tried to dissuade Horn from going outside or getting his gun. When Hill asked if he should stop the men, the dispatcher said, “Nope. Don’t do that. Ain’t no property worth shooting somebody over, OK?” However, Horn had already made up his mind and went outside to confront the two robbers.

That is where things get a bit unclear. On the 911 call, you hear Horn telling the burglars to stop moving or else he’d shoot. There was a gunshot, a pause, and then two more shots. Horn came back on the phone and said he didn’t have a choice—they came onto the lawn.

It is believed that the two men, later identified as Miguel Antonio DeJesus and Diego Ortiz, were running across Horn’s lawn. However, both men were shot in the back and both were unarmed save for a tire iron that they used to break the window to break into the house. In addition, one of Horn’s concerns was not letting the thieves get away, but police still arrived at the scene in time to hear the shooting. Also, the dispatcher continually told him not to confront the burglars, yet Horn kept saying he knew the law and was going to “kill them.”

Some people, including right-wing media personality Glenn Beck, hailed Horn as a hero. Perhaps not coincidentally, both murdered men had criminal records and were in the country illegally—one of the men had already been deported 10 years ago.

Horn was brought in front of a grand jury, where he testified and the 911 call was played. However, he was acquitted of all crimes based on Texas’ “Castle Doctrine,” which allows homeowners to use deadly force to protect their house. However, even the author of the law—Republican Senator Jeff Wentworth—said that it shouldn’t apply to Horn’s case. Also worth noting is that Horn didn’t really know the burgled neighbors very well.

Read more: http://listverse.com/2014/10/20/10-people-who-got-away-with-vigilante-justice/

Top 10 Gruesome Methods of Execution

Since we started writing down the history of our race, man has frequently come up with revolting methods of killing for punishment. This is a list of the most revolting methods of execution from history. Thankfully most of them are no longer used.

10. Brazen Bull

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The Brazen Bull was invented by Perilaus of Athens (a Brass worker) in the 6th Century BC and offered to Phalaris, Tyrant of Agrigentum, as a gift. It was a large brass bull that was completely hollow inside with a door on the side large enough for a man to enter. Once the man was inside the bull, a fire would be lit beneath it in order to roast him to death. In the head of the bull, Perilaus put a series of tubes and stops that were designed to amplify the screams of the victim and make them sound like the roar of a bull.

Interestingly, Perilaus was the first person to feel the pain of the Brazen Bull. After Perilaus said to Phalaris: “[his screams] will come to you through the pipes as the tenderest, most pathetic, most melodious of bellowings”, Phalaris was so disgusted that he tricked Perilaus in to entering the bull. Lucian recounts the tale:

‘His words revolted me. I loathed the thought of such ingenious cruelty, and resolved to punish the artificer in kind. “If this is anything more than an empty boast, Perilaus,” I said to him, “if your art can really produce this effect, get inside yourself, and pretend to roar; and we will see whether the pipes will make such music as you describe.” He consented; and when he was inside I closed the aperture, and ordered a fire to be kindled. “Receive,” I cried, “the due reward of your wondrous art: let the music-master be the first to play.” Phalaris I:12

Perilaus was removed from the Bull before he died and Phalaris had him thrown off a cliff. The Brazen Bull became one of the most common methods of execution in Ancient Greece.

9. Hanging Drawing and Quartering

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Hanging drawing and quartering was the common form of punishment in England for the crime of treason which was considered the worst crime you could commit. The punishment was only applied to men – women found guilty of treason were burnt at the stake. Unbelievably, this punishment remained in law until 1814.

The first stage of the execution was to be tied to a wooden frame and dragged behind a horse to the place of your death. Following that, the criminal would be hanged until they were nearly dead. The criminal would then be removed from the noose and laid on a table. The executioner would then disembowel and emasculate the victim, and burn the entrails in front of his eyes. He would still be alive at this point. The person would then be beheaded and their body cut in to quarters. Samuel Pepys, in his famous diary, was an eyewitness at one of these executions:

To my Lord’s in the morning, where I met with Captain Cuttance, but my Lord not being up I went out to Charing Cross, to see Major-general Harrison hanged, drawn, and quartered; which was done there, he looking as cheerful as any man could do in that condition. He was presently cut down, and his head and heart shown to the people, at which there was great shouts of joy. It is said, that he said that he was sure to come shortly at the right hand of Christ to judge them that now had judged him; and that his wife do expect his coming again. Thus it was my chance to see the King beheaded at White Hall, and to see the first blood shed in revenge for the blood of the King at Charing Cross.

The normal practice was to send the five parts of the body to various areas where they would be put on display on a gibbet as a warning to others.

8. Burning

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Burning at the Stake was normally done in one of two ways. In the first, the victim would be lead to the center of a wall of sticks and straw and tied to the stake, after which the space between the criminal and the wall would be filled with wood – concealing the person. It is believed that this is the manner in which St Joan of Arc was burnt. The other method was to pile sticks and straw up to the level of the calves only.

When performed by a skilled executioner, the person would burn in this sequence: calves, thighs and hands, torso and forearms, breasts, upper chest, face; and then finally death. Needless to say this would have been excruciating. If a large number of people were to be burnt at the same time, death could occur through carbon monoxide poisoning before the fire reached you. If the fire was small, you could die of shock, blood loss, or heatstroke.

In later versions of burning at the stake, the criminal would be hanged until dead and then burnt symbolically. This method of execution was used to burn witches in most parts of Europe, but it was not used in England for that purpose.

7. Ling Chi

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Ling Chi – execution by slow cutting – was practiced in China until it was outlawed in 1905. In the execution, the criminal is slowly cut in the arms, legs, and chest, until finally they are beheaded or stabbed in the heart. Many western accounts of the execution method are largely exaggerated, with some claiming that the execution could take days to perform.

One modern eyewitness report from Journalist and Politician Henry Norman, describes an execution thus:

The criminal is fastened to a rough cross, and the executioner, armed with a sharp knife, begins by grasping handfuls from the fleshy parts of the body, such as the thighs and the breasts, and slicing them off. After this he removes the joints and the excrescences of the body one by one-the nose and ears, fingers and toes. Then the limbs are cut off piecemeal at the wrists and the ankles, the elbows and knees, the shoulders and hips. Finally, the victim is stabbed to the heart and his head cut off.

You can see a particularly revolting image of a criminal who has been executed by this method here and another here.

6. Breaking Wheel

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The breaking wheel was also known as the Catherine Wheel and it was a mediaeval execution device. The criminal would be attached to a cart wheel and his arms and legs stretched out along the spokes. The wheel would be made to turn while a heavy metal bar or hammer would deliver bone breaking blows to various parts of the body between the spokes. If a merciful execution had been ordered, after a large number of bones were shattered, fatal blows would be delivered. In cases where mercy was not offered, the criminal would remain on the wheel until they died – this could sometimes take days and the person would die of shock and dehydration.

After the shattering was complete, the limbs of the person would be woven between the spokes and the wheel would be hoisted to the top of a pole for birds to eat the, sometimes still living, body.

In France, a special grace was sometimes offered in which the criminal would be strangled to death before the blows were delivered, or after only two or three.

5. Boiling

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In execution by boiling, the condemned is stripped naked and either placed in a vat of boiling liquid, or in a vat of cold liquid which was then heated to boiling. The liquid could be oil, acid, tar, water, or molten lead. During the reign of King Henry VIII it was a punishment especially reserved for poisoners.

“The preamble of the statute of Henry VIII (which made poisoning treason) in 1531 recites that one Richard Roose (or Coke), a cook, by putting poison in some food intended for the household of the bishop of Rochester and for the poor of the parish of Lambeth, killed a man and woman. He was found guilty of treason and sentenced to be boiled to death without benefit of clergy. He was publicly boiled at Smithfield. In the same year a maid-servant for poisoning her mistress was boiled at King’s Lynn.” [Encyclopedia Britannica, 1911]

The “Chronicle of the Grey Friars of London” (published by the Camden Society) has an account of a case at Smithfield, in which a man was fastened to a chain and let down into boiling water several times until he was dead. In modern days, Idi Amin has been accused of using this method of execution on his enemies.

4. Flaying

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Execution by Flaying is when the skin of the criminal is removed from their body with the use of a very sharp knife. Attempts are made to keep the skin intact. This is a very ancient method of execution. The apostle Bartholomew was flayed and crucified upside down. His skin and bones are kept in a Cathedral in Sicily.

There are accounts of Assyrians flaying the skin from a captured enemy or rebellious ruler and nailing it to the wall of his city, as warning to all who would defy their power. The Aztecs of Mexico flayed victims of ritual human sacrifice, generally after death.

While this method of execution is not lawful in any country, in 2000, government troops in Myanma (Burma) allegedly flayed all of the males of a Karenni village.

3. Necklacing

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Necklacing is a type of execution in which a rubber tyre is filled with gasoline, forced over the arms and chest of the victim, and set alight. It was a common practice in South Africa during the 1980s and 1990s anti-apartheid struggle.

Necklacing sentences were sometimes handed down against alleged criminals by “people’s courts” established in black townships as a means of circumventing the apartheid judicial system. Necklacing was also used to punish members of the black community who were perceived as collaborators with the apartheid regime. These included black policemen, town councilors and others, as well as their relatives and associates. The practice was frequently carried out in the name of the African National Congress (ANC), and was even endorsed by Winnie Mandela, then-wife of the imprisoned Nelson Mandela and a senior member of the ANC, although the ANC officially condemned the practice. [Wikipedia]

Necklacing has also occured in Brazil, and Haiti, and at least one person was killed by this method in Nigeria during muslim protests over the Muhammad Cartoons.

2. Scaphism

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Scaphism is an Ancient Persian method of execution. According to Wikipedia, a naked person would be firmly fastened within a back-to-back pair of narrow rowboats (or in some variations a hollowed out tree trunk), the head, hands, and feet protruding from this improvised container. The condemned was forced to ingest milk and honey to the point of developing severe diarrhea, and more honey would be rubbed on his body so as to attract insects to the exposed appendages. They would then be left to float on a stagnant pond (or alternately, simply exposed to the sun somewhere). The defenseless individual’s feces accumulated within the container, attracting more insects, which would eat and breed within his or her exposed (and increasingly gangrenous) flesh. Death, when it eventually occurred, was probably due to a combination of dehydration, starvation and septic shock.

Plutarch writes that it took Mithridates 17 days to die by this method of execution. Native American Indians also used a similar method of execution where they would tie the victim to a tree, smear him and leave him to the ants. Because he was not previously force-fed, he would generally starve in a few days.

1. Sawing

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In Execution by sawing, the criminal would be hung upside-down and a large saw would be used to cut their body in half, starting with the groin, all the way to the head. Because the person was hanging upside-down, the brain received sufficient blood to keep them alive until the saw finally reached the main blood vessels in the abdomen. In the Asian version of this execution, the victim would stand upright and the sawing would begin at the top of the head.

Some traditions state that the Prophet Isaiah was executed by the saw. It is believed that Saint Paul is making reference to this in his Epistle to the Hebrews 11:37:

They were stoned, they were cut asunder, they were tempted, they were put to death by the sword, they wandered about in sheepskins, in goatskins, being in want, distressed, afflicted.

This method of execution was used in the Middle East, Europe, and parts of Asia. It was also used in the Roman Empire and was considered to be the favorite punishment dished out by Emperor Caligula.

Read more: http://listverse.com/2007/09/12/top-10-gruesome-methods-of-execution/

10 Infamous Crime Photos

In the history of photography, there have been many pictures of crimes and criminals that have left an indelible mark on society. Regardless of the actual content, all of these pictures embody the sadness and depravity of the acts that were committed.

Warning: This list contains graphic photos that may be disturbing to some readers.

10The Mad Bomber’s Mad Smile

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Over a span of 16 years, an unknown man simply called the “Mad Bomber” terrorized New York City. He would plant explosives in various public places like movie theaters, subway terminals, libraries, and buildings that were owned by the energy company Consolidated Edison.

In all, 33 bombs were planted and 22 of them detonated. Amazingly, only 15 people were injured. For each of the bombs, the man would call the police or newspapers stating where a bomb was planted, but he never gave the exact location. This would make for chaotic scenes as the police tried to evacuate people and simultaneously look for the bombs which were filled with gunpowder and set with a cheap pocket watch.

The police were looking for any leads, so they asked a criminologist for a profile of the bomber. The criminologist concluded that the bomber was from Eastern Europe, and that he worked for Con Edison but was probably fired for reasons he deemed unfair.

The day after the profile was published, the police printed a message to the bomber in the New York Journal American telling him to give himself up. He responded saying he would make a truce, but he still wanted to crush Con Edison. The police published his letter in the paper and released a statement of their own.

In turn, the bomber wrote a letter back in which he admitted being an injured worker. A file clerk at Con Edison looked through the files of compensation cases with disturbed individuals. Then she came across a file for a man named George Metesky who had been injured on the job. He had been fired after getting paid for 26 weeks of sick pay. When he tried to apply for more compensation because he got sick from his injury, he was denied because Con Edison claimed he filed too late.

In the file, Metesky had written words and phrases that were very similar to the published letters. The clerk told her supervisor, who in turn told the police. The police went to question Metesky before coming back with a search warrant. Once in custody, he confessed to the crimes.

After he gripped the city in fear, photographers were allowed to take pictures of the Mad Bomber in his jail cell in Waterby. The most famous picture—as seen above—was taken by New York Daily News photographer Judd Mehlman.

To the public, these pictures only solidified that Metesky was a crazy man who did crazy things. Metesky was deemed not capable of standing trial, and he lived to the age of 90 in a state hospital.

9Ricky Kasso, Teenage Satanist

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This famous picture of a young man with wild eyes and a heavy metal T-shirt was published at a time when the fear of Satanism among the young was at a fever pitch. Teenage boys and girls were becoming drug-addled Satanists all because of heavy metal. The picture of 17-year-old Ricky Kasso from Northport, Long Island, seemed to embody the evil teenager who could easily be part of your family.

The picture was taken when he was arrested for the murder of 17-year-old Gary Lauwers on July 5, 1984. Kasso was a high school dropout and spent most of his time doing drugs and partying. At one point, Lauwers and Kasso were friends, but things soured when Lauwers stole drugs from Kasso. After a few run-ins, Kasso said that he was ready to forgive him and asked Lauwers to come party with two other friends out in the woods.

While out there, they did what they claimed was mescaline. After a while, Kasso heard a crow caw, and he thought that was Satan’s way of telling him to kill Lauwers. The two started fighting, and Kasso stabbed Lauwers who then fled into the woods. Lauwers was dragged back and Kasso got him on his knees and ordered, “Say you love Satan.” Lauwers said he loved his mother, so Kasso stabbed him between 17 and 36 times in the chest, neck, and face. He even gouged Lauwers’ eyes out. Afterward, he left the body to rot in the woods.

For weeks, Kasso bragged about the murder and even took other people to see the body. Finally, someone tipped off the police. Kasso was arrested which led to the infamous photograph that only worsened the fear of murderous teenage Satanic metalhead junkies living in the suburbs. Two days after this picture was taken, Kasso hung himself in his jail cell.

8Drooling Andre Rand

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Andre Rand was a custodian at Willowbrook State School during the mid-1960s. The school became infamous because Geraldo Rivera made a documentary condemning the barbaric practices and treatment of nearly 6,000 children with mental disabilities. Rand worked there for a few years until being arrested for various crimes against children like sexual assault and kidnapping. After his initial arrest, he was in and out of prison for the next couple of years.

By 1987, due to public demand, the Willowbrook State School was shut down and the building was abandoned. Around the same time, urban legends started to emerge of Cropsey, an ax-wielding serial killer and escaped mental patient who lived in the tunnels in the basement.

The terrifying thing was that Cropsey turned out to be real. Well, sort of. On June 9, 1987, 12-year-old Jennifer Schweiger—who was born with Down syndrome—went missing. Thirty-five days later, her body was found buried on the school property near Rand’s camp.

He was arrested and charged using largely circumstantial evidence. One of the most damning things against Rand was the crazed look on his face and his constant drooling as he was being led away by police in handcuffs. The picture—taken by Tony Carannante—made Rand look like a monster who was absolutely capable of committing the horrible crime.

After his arrest, four other murders—including those of two five-year-olds—were also attributed to Rand. However, he was only convicted of murdering Schweiger and a girl named Holly Ann Hughes who went missing in 1981. Her body, like the three other alleged victims, was never found. In fact, there are some people who believe that Rand is innocent of the murders, as he was only convicted on circumstantial evidence.

7Karla Homolka’s Black Eyes

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Paul Bernardo and Karla Homolka are two of the most infamous killers in the history of Canada. Bernardo started off his brutal trail of terror by raping at least a dozen women. He eventually married Karla Homolka, who ended up being his accomplice in three brutal rapes and murders including Homolka’s own younger sister Tammy.

The shocking crimes made headlines across the world. However, one picture that resonated with many people—both then and now—is the picture of Homolka with shockingly black eyes. The pictures were taken as evidence when she pressed charges against Bernardo for assault. The result was that both police and public believed that Homolka was a victim of Bernardo. The pictures eventually led to her being given a plea deal where she would only receive 12 years in prison.

The pictures were a result of an incident that happened on December 27, 1992. An unhinged Bernardo beat Homolka so badly with a flashlight that she told people she was in a car accident. Her family came to rescue her and they eventually got her away from Bernardo, which was a key in his downfall and conviction.

Sadly, it was revealed after the trial that Homolka was actually much more involved in the killings than she let on. She was released in 2005 and is living in the French Caribbean with her husband and three children.

6Ted Bundy Exposes The Monster Within

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Ted Bundy is one of the most famous and prolific serial killers of all time. He is well known for being a smart and good-looking man who was hiding a terrifying monster just below the surface. At the time of his trials, a lot of people had a hard time wrapping their head around how someone who looked and acted like Bundy could commit such horrible crimes. Even the judge who sentenced Bundy thought he was a bright young man who, at some point in his life, went completely off the tracks.

One picture that managed to capture the essence of the rage of Bundy is the picture above, taken by photographer Bill Frakes of the Miami Herald. It was in Orlando during the murder trial of 12-year-old Kimberley Leach who was Bundy’s last victim. Bundy kidnapped her from her school in Lake City, Florida, and her body was found weeks later.

This was Bundy’s second trial, and he had already received a death sentence for the murder of two sorority girls. During this trial—unlike before—Bundy chose not to be his own attorney. By that point, he was having problems keeping up his cool and calm demeanor. The picture was taken when Bundy was trying to leave the courtroom but was stopped by court officials. It was one of the few times that the outwardly charming Bundy publicly lost his temper. It gave a small yet terrifying glimpse into what Bundy’s 30-plus victims saw.

5The Shooting Of William Jay Gaynor

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Photographer William Warnecke from the New York World was running late on August 9, 1910. He was supposed to take pictures of Mayor William Jay Gaynor as he boarded a ship for a month-long vacation in Europe. A reporter from the World had already interviewed Gaynor and by the time Warnecke made it to the port, all the other photographers had left. Nevertheless, Warnecke set up his camera and began taking pictures of the mayor as he talked to a few of his aides before boarding the ship.

Suddenly, Mayor Gaynor was approached by John J. Gallagher who yelled, “You took the bread and meat out of my mouth!” He then fired his revolver several times, striking the mayor in the throat. William H. Edwards, the city’s sanitation commissioner, was also struck in the arm.

Gallagher had recently been fired from his job as a night watchman. He had written to the mayor many times about this and tried to approach him as well, but his attempts were fruitless. Gaynor miraculously survived the shooting and even planned to run for reelection three years later. On September 10, 1913, he boarded another ship—again heading for Europe—when he had a heart attack on the sixth day into the trip. Gallagher, his would-be murderer, died in a state mental hospital the same year.

4The Lynching Of Thomas Shipp & Abram Smith

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Few pictures encapsulated the feeling of terror many African Americans had living in the American South more than the above picture of a public lynching. The picture was taken by Lawrence Beitler, a commercial photographer whose studio was a block away from the Grant County Square in Marion, Indiana, where the lynching occurred.

The two dead men are 18-year-old Thomas Shipp and 19-year-old Abram Smith. They had been arrested the night before, along with 16-year-old James Cameron. The trio had been driving along the river when they came upon 24-year-old Claude Deeter and 18-year-old Mary Bell. Cameron says that Shipp and Smith wanted him to rob the couple and handed him a gun. When Cameron realized he knew the couple, he walked away from the scene. He then claimed he heard gunshots a short time later. The trio was arrested that night for the murder of Deeter and the rape of Bell.

The day after the murders and arrests, a group of thousands surrounded the jail. Things escalated by the time the evening rolled around, and they were ready to lynch the three men. Using sledgehammers, groups of people broke into the prison and dragged out Smith and Shipp first. They were beaten and strung up—when Smith tried to climb up the rope, members of the lynch mob broke his arms.

Amazingly, as Cameron was about to be strung up as well, someone in the crowd yelled that he was innocent. Miraculously, the crowd let him go. This made Cameron the only known person to survive a lynching. He would go on to open three chapters of the NAACP as well as the Black Holocaust Museum.

After taking the picture of the lynching, Beitler printed postcard versions of the photo for days and nights afterward. Within days, he had sold thousands. There were two versions of the picture that were printed. One was cropped and didn’t show much of the crowd, while the second showed a large group of people actually smiling while standing in front of the gory scene.

While it was used as a source of pride for people in the South, it shocked people outside the culture. It was the first time many people actually witnessed the terrible racial violence that was happening in their own country.

3Etan Patz’s Milk Carton Photo

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One of the most famous pictures attached to any crime is that of six-year-old Etan Patz. The young boy went missing on May 25, 1979. This was the first day he was allowed to walk to the bus alone to get to school. Sadly, his body has never been found.

Besides being a victim of a tragic crime, Etan was also famous for being one of the first people to be featured on the side of a milk carton in a national campaign. The idea of using milk cartons for pictures of missing children came from Anderson Erickson Dairy in Iowa, after two local delivery boys went missing. The idea was picked up by a major milk carton manufacturer who pitched the idea to different dairies. The campaign was immediately popular despite only one American child being returned alive out of the 70 featured on various cartons.

Finally, in 2012, a man named Pedro Hernandez was charged with the murder of Etan Patz. Hernandez was working in a family-owned bodega near the area where Etan went missing. Over the years, he apparently confessed to some relatives who in turn told the police. When the police questioned Hernandez, he said that he lured the young boy by promising a can of pop if he followed him to his store. Once in the basement, Hernandez strangled Patz to death, put his backpack behind a freezer, and placed his body in a box before throwing him out in the trash.

Hernandez’s lawyer says that his client is innocent, mentally ill, and was forced into a confession. His trial is set to start January 5, 2015.

2Bonnie & Clyde Acting Silly

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The most romanticized criminals in the history of the United States might well be the Barrow gang led by Clyde Barrow and his girlfriend Bonnie Parker. The pair’s crime spree is often glamorized as two rebels fighting against the system. In reality, their gang often stole from small stores and gas stations—in other words, they were stealing from poor people. On top of that, their gang murdered at least 13 people in cold blood.

So how did the myth of the two romantic outlaws grow? The infamous pictures of Bonnie and Clyde acting silly and playful probably didn’t hurt. For example, there are pictures of Bonnie smoking a cigar (although she claimed that she didn’t actually smoke), Bonnie pointing a rifle at Clyde’s chest, and Clyde lifting Bonnie off the ground. These are iconic pictures of the couple, but how did they get into circulation?

The story is that the police actually released them. They were found on an undeveloped roll of film in one of the former hideouts. The pictures were developed and released as police typically do with photos of wanted fugitives. Since there weren’t many pictures of the couple to begin with, the police were forced to use these ones.

However, when the pictures were released, they took on a whole new life. Bonnie and Clyde were looked at as wild young rebels in love. During a time when people were living in poverty because they followed the rules, the pictures struck a chord especially with young Americans.

1The St. Valentine’s Day Massacre

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In 1929 Prohibition-era Chicago, there were two main gangs battling for control of the black market. The gangs were led by George “Bugs” Moran who ran the North Side gang, and Al “Scarface” Capone who ran the Chicago outfit. Moran had put a $50,000 contract on Capone, and Capone decided to make the first strike.

While hiding out in Florida for an alibi, Capone ordered the hit. At 10:30 in the morning on February 14, 1929, two men dressed as police officers and two men in suits entered Moran’s hideout at the SMC Cartage Company Garage. They found five members of the North Side gang and two other men in the garage and ordered them up against the wall. Once there, Capone’s men opened fire on the seven men with tommy guns and finished off two of the victims with shotguns. Interestingly, the only gang member who wasn’t killed was Moran, who slept in and wasn’t around the garage at the time.

The crime was shocking, and the pictures only made things worse. They were gruesome, bleak, and looked like photos that the police would have taken for evidence rather than something that would appear on the front page of a newspaper.

The pictures were taken by Tony Berardi, a photographer from the Chicago American. Berardi climbed on the roof of a car in the garage and snapped the infamous pictures. He had followed the police there and, amazingly, the police let him take the pictures. When more photographers showed up though, the police shut down the photo shoot.

The massacre proved to be the downfall for both Moran and Capone. Prominent citizens who were once willing to turn a blind eye to Capone’s activities were shocked at the level of violence depicted in these grisly pictures. Moran simply could not recoup the manpower, while Capone was arrested for tax evasion.

Read more: http://listverse.com/2014/09/16/10-infamous-crime-photos/

10 Attempts To Blame Murder On Music

Music has been blamed for many things over the years. Some feel that certain genres encourage violence, and a few even believe that the artists themselves are demon-possessed or satanic. Specific songs have been blamed for riots, rebellion, and suicide. Murderers have even claimed that music has inspired them to kill.

10New Jersey Man Claimed Metallica Song Drove Him To Murder

In 2002, 29-year-old Ronald Pituch seemingly lost it and killed his mother inside their home by bludgeoning her to death with a barbell before speeding off on his motorcycle. While driving aimlessly, Pituch spotted an 11-year-old boy on his bicycle in the next neighborhood. He got off his motorcycle and pulled the surprised boy off the bike before stabbing him and dumping his body in a nearby pond.

Pituch was apprehended by police shortly after the murders. During the two-year trial, his defense attorneys acknowledged that Ronald Pituch was manic-depressive as well as a paranoid schizophrenic. However, Pituch’s own testimony was completely unexpected. He told the judge that he believed the devil was inside of him and the song “Ronnie” by heavy metal outfit Metallica was written about his life. The lyrics of the song include “lost my way this bloody day” and tell the story of a lonely boy who “never smiled and never laughed.” The court did not take this claim seriously, and Pituch was handed a 50-year jail sentence for the murders in 2004.

9Teenagers Claim Tupac Song Inspired Them To Shoot A Cop

Police were stunned when a sniper took the life of a fellow officer in Milwaukee in 1994. The officer was gunned down inside his police van while patrolling an area near an empty lot. Two 17-year-olds were waiting for him, and one of them fired a shot into the van just as it turned a corner.

The shooter already had a terrible track record with the law, including arrests for drug possession and illegal possession of a firearm. When he was arrested and questioned about the shooting, the young man told police officers that he had been inspired by a Tupac Shakur song about killing a policeman.

Just a week prior to the shooting, Tupac was actually in Milwaukee for a concert. The concert nearly ended in disaster when Tupac insulted some of his fans, after which his bodyguard took out his gun onstage for everyone to see.

8Charles Manson Heard Secret Messages In Beatles Album

It’s been said that when Charles Manson didn’t quote scripture from the Book of Revelation, he quoted lyrics from Beatles songs. He often referred to The Beatles as the four “angels” described in the ninth chapter of Revelation. It is also believed that when The Beatles released their White Album, Manson became even more warped than he already was, as he believed The Beatles were communicating to him through their song lyrics.

Manson was convinced that the song “Helter Skelter” was a prediction of an imminent race war. He also interpreted “Blackbird” as a black power anthem. He warned his followers, telling them that their lives would be spared if they traveled to a specified location in Death Valley. When the war did not materialize, Manson believed he needed to instigate it, yet his efforts repeatedly failed.

By the middle of 1969, Manson had grown irritable. It was then that he ordered four of his disciples to murder everyone they found inside 10050 Cielo Drive in Los Angeles and frame it as a hate crime. Actress Sharon Tate, her unborn child, and four of her friends subsequently lost their lives on August 9, 1969.

7Chigaco Rapper’s Lyrics Connected To The Murder Of An Oklahoma Student

James Edwards and two other teenagers claimed boredom was the reason for their senseless killing of student athlete Christopher Lane in 2013. “We were bored and didn’t have anything to do, so we decided to kill somebody,” Edwards insisted to police. Police officers were not convinced that this was the motive for the murder, though.

Edwards’s Twitter account contained many tweets that seemed to reference an imminent murder. At first, this looked like proof that Lane’s killing was premeditated, rather than the spur-of-the-moment act Edwards suggested. Only later did people realize the tweets were actually song lyrics by Chief Keef, a rapper from Chicago. Keef has been linked to gang activities, which is said to be the inspiration for the violent and disturbing lyrics of many of his songs.

Keef’s genre is known as drill music. Drill artists are relatively unknown and primarily promoted on social media platforms. The police investigating the Lane murder case believe artists like Keef who associate with gangsters are to blame for increased murder statistics.

6Slipknot Blamed For School Murder

In 2008, a masked attacker stalked through the corridors of Nic Diederichs Technical School in Krugersdorp, South Africa. Wielding a samurai sword, he proceeded to stab 16-year-old student Jacques Pretorius to death. The attacker also stabbed and wounded another pupil and two gardeners employed by the school before he was apprehended.

The attacker was identified as another student of the school, 18-year-old Morne Harmse. The mask he wore resembled that of Joey Jordison, the drummer of the band Slipknot. Witnesses later recalled that Harmse wore an outfit that looked very much like something Jordison sometimes wore onstage.

A close friend of Harmse told police and news reporters that he did not recognize him the day of the attack and that he looked as though he were on drugs, though he tested negative for illegal substances during the investigation. The friend also said that Harmse often spoke about demonology and became very interested in the music of Slipknot in the days leading up to the attack. He made masks that resembled those of each member of the band, including the one he wore during the attack. When police searched Harmse’s house, they found pentagrams on the walls, books about spells and witchcraft, and Ouija boards.

Pierre Eksteen, who runs a support system for students in South Africa, told a local newspaper that he believed Slipknot’s music to be satanic in nature and that it had influenced the boy to attack the victims. He was also adamant that children be made aware of the dangers of what he calls “bad music.”

5Marilyn Manson Blamed For Columbine Massacre

Seven years after the tragic events at Columbine High, the controversy connecting the boys who committed the crimes to the music of Marilyn Manson still hadn’t died down. In June 2006, Manson was scheduled to perform in Denver but was met by a mob of angry parents who blamed the rocker for the tragedy at the ill-fated high school.

A resounding echo of speculation, vicious gossip, and hateful sentiments has followed Manson ever since the day Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold killed 12 of their fellow students, one of their teachers, and themselves at their high school in Colorado. It was thought that the boys were fans of Manson’s music and that the lyrics inspired them to act out their violent fantasies in a terrifying manner. News organizations fanned the flames of speculation by suggesting that the gothic rock music that Manson is known for incites violence and could therefore be linked to the Columbine killings.

Manson canceled five of his shows scheduled to take place in the week after the shooting out of respect for the victims but also publicly lashed out at the the newscasters who were blatantly accusing him of being partly to blame for the tragedy. He stated that the media had unfairly turned his kind of music into a scapegoat for acts of violence and that this type of finger-pointing could lead to similar tragedies, since teenagers who were “different” would feel even more sidelined and bullied.

4Eminem Lyrics Connected To Family Murder

In 2009, Michael Miller attacked his wife and children with a knife. Miller’s wife and daughter died from the attack, while his four-year-old son survived 11 stab wounds. Miller told the police that he stabbed his son more because he loved him more.

Miller also confessed to police that he believed he was possessed and that his wife was a demon. He went on to say that before attacking his wife in the early hours of the morning, he started shouting out the lyrics of an Eminem song. According to Miller, he especially focused on the words “Here comes Satan, I’m the antichrist, I’m going to kill you.” He then viciously stabbed his wife and kids, said a prayer, and called 911. He also told this story to the 911 operator who answered his call.

The operator asked Miller if he’d had any murderous thoughts about his family before his incident. He said he hadn’t, although he did have a history of suicide attempts. Many news sites picked up the story, all of whom focused on involvement of Eminem’s lyrics. Strangely, though, those lyrics don’t seem to be from any actual Eminem song.

3Serial Killer Claims He Was Inspired By AC/DC Song

During the summer of 1985, the citizens of San Gabriel Valley, California had a hard time getting a good night’s sleep, and it wasn’t just the heat that kept them up. There was a serial killer on the loose who stalked his victims at night, using a variety of weapons.

Richard Ramirez often gained entry into unsuspecting residents’ homes via sliding doors that were left ajar. His horrific crime spree included the sodomy of an eight-year-old boy after raping the boy’s mother and shooting his father. He also beat a teenage girl with a tire iron and gouged the eyes out of one of his victims.

Ramirez was a satanist and apparently obsessed with the band AC/DC, particularly their album Highway to Hell. He frustrated police detectives by leaving lyrics of some of the band’s songs at crime scenes. After one of Ramirez’s hats featuring the band’s name was shown during news bulletins, the media dubbed him “Night Stalker” after the last song on Highway to Hell, “Night Prowler.”

The similarity between some of the lyrics of “Night Prowler” and the crimes committed by Ramirez convinced the public that the song was his main inspiration. Ramirez himself talked about how much he loved the band but never publicly stated that the songs inspired him to commit any of the 13 murders for which he was convicted.

2Horrorcore Songs Blamed For Four Murders

In 2009, tragedy befell a family in Farmville, Virginia when 16-year-old Emma Niederbrock, her parents, and her 18-year-old friend Melanie Wells were brutally murdered. The alleged murderer was Niederbrock’s boyfriend, Richard McCroskey. When McCroskey was arrested, rumors started flying about the motive for the killings. One of the rumors maintained that the horrorcore music that McCroskey loved motivated him to kill these four victims.

Horrorcore is a type of hip-hop music that generally contains bloody, violent, and disturbing lyrics. After failing to take off in the early ’90s, this music had wormed its way onto the Internet. It was particularly popular on MySpace, where young fans could listen to it online and chat about new releases. It was on this platform that McCroskey met Niederbrock.

Shortly before the murders, McCroskey traveled to Farmville to visit Niederbrock. The couple, her friend, and parents all traveled to South Gate in Michigan for a horrorcore concert featuring acts such as Bloodshot and Dismembered Fetus. Serial Killin Records, a horrorcore record label, posted a statement after the murders on behalf of their musicians denying any responsibility for the tragedy.

1Drowning Pool Song Blamed For Shooting Rampage

In 2011, US Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was critically wounded during a shooting spree in Tucson that claimed the lives of six people, including a nine-year-old girl. Giffords’s slow recovery was followed around the world.

Jared Loughner was quickly apprehended following the shooting. The subsequent investigation revealed that Loughner was a fan of the band Drowning Pool, and their song “Bodies” was one of his favorites. This discovery led many people, mostly in the media, to speculate that the song may have inspired the shooting.

This was not the first time this song, with its repeated refrain “Let the bodies hit the floor,” was implicated in such a tragedy. In 2003, 19-year-old Joshua Cooke shot his parents while listening to the song on headphones. Nevertheless, Drowning Pool was said to be devastated by the Giffords shooting. Even so, they posted a statement on their website that the shooters misinterpreted their lyrics, which cannot be blamed for the tragedies.

Read more: http://listverse.com/2014/06/24/10-attempts-to-blame-murder-on-music/

10 Huge And Crazy Ransoms

Criminals can be roughly divided into two camps—the pathological and the opportunistic. The former camp go to extremes beyond the average human’s comprehension, but the latter break the law purely for a profit motive. These types of crimes are best achieved quickly and impersonally, such as through kidnappings and ransom. But these ransoms can still add up to enormous sums, and they may not always go as the kidnappers plan.

10J. Paul Getty

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Having a billionaire for a grandfather sounds pretty awesome at face value, but it didn’t work out too well for J. Paul Getty III. Getty was a rebellious child, and he often joked that he would stage his kidnapping to squeeze some cash out of his frugal grandfather. So when the 16-year-old really was taken in Rome in 1973, no one took it seriously.

The kidnappers demanded $17 million, but oil magnate J. Paul Getty refused to pay. He said he had various grandsons and granddaughters besides J. Paul III, and “If I pay one penny now, I’ll have 14 kidnapped grandchildren.”

To get their point across, the kidnappers sliced off the teenager’s ear and sent it along with a lock of his hair to a Roman newspaper. They sent another newspaper images of the mutilation. Eventually, their demands dwindled to just $3 million, and the old man acquiesced. He paid $2.2 million (the most that would be tax deductible), and fronted his son J. Paul Getty II the remaining $800,000—to be repaid at 4-percent interest.

Getty III was released on December 15, 1973, and nine men were arrested for kidnapping him. Two were convicted, but the other seven were released for lack of evidence.

9Julius Caesar

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Julius Caesar was born into a politically prominent family and became the most powerful man in the Rome. But he was nearly denied this glorious fate in 75 B.C., when he was captured by Cilician pirates.

According to historian Plutarch, the pirates demanded a ransom of 20 talents of gold. The exact measure of a “talent” was somewhat mutable, but it was a tremendous amount—a talent would have probably been worth in excess of $500,000 in modern currency. Julius was a proud man, and he insisted on paying 50 talents instead, sending his men to collect the funds. It took 38 days for them to raise the money.

While captive, Julius became an unofficial member of the gang, talking down to the vicious pirates if they annoyed him. He even claimed that when he was released, he would execute them for their crime. They thought he was joking. He wasn’t.

As soon as the ransom was paid, he took after the pirates, capturing and imprisoning them. He turned to Marcus Junius, governor of Asia, to punish them legally. When Junius dragged his feet on the matter, Caesar took matters into his own hands and crucified every last one of them.

8Charlie Chaplin’s Corpse

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In the 1960s, actor Charlie Chaplin began suffering from a series of strokes. He died on Christmas 1977 and was buried in Corsier-sur-Vevey, Switzerland. On March 1, 1978, a pair of grave robbers—Gantcho Ganev from Bulgaria and Roman Wardas from Poland—dug up the body and held it for ransom.

Their demands were steep, requesting $400,000 from Charlie’s widow, Lady Oona Chaplin, for the return of his corpse. Oona refused, and soon the men were threatening to harm Chaplin’s children. However, Ganev and Wardas weren’t exactly criminal masterminds. Police caught them by keeping a close eye on local payphones and tapping Oona Chaplin’s home line.

The pair confessed to their crime and revealed the location of Charlie’s body, hidden in a nearby field. Charlie was returned to Corsier-sur-Vevey, and this time, his grave was reinforced with concrete.

7Ransomware

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One of the most insidious types of computer virus is “ransomware,” a virus that enters your computer and locks it down, restricting access to programs. It instructs the user to pay a ransom, usually a few hundred dollars, to release the hold.

One of the more common strains not only locks down your computer but purports to be from the FBI. It accusers the user of various crimes, including software piracy, child pornography, and bestiality. It looks surprisingly official and even includes a grainy video window which claims to have captured footage from your webcam. There is no telling how many innocent parties have panicked upon seeing this and hurriedly paid the fee, but at least one man went a step further.

Matthew Riley of Virginia, 21, surrendered himself to the police after receiving the FBI virus in July 2013. Riley’s computer, which he’d helpfully brought along with him to the station, revealed nude photos of underage girls and a string of messages between Riley and a 13-year-old.

6Atahualpa’s Ransom

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Emperor of the Incas during the Spanish conquest, Atahualpa was sitting pretty in 1532. He was fresh off a victory against his brother Huascar and was surrounded by thousands of battle-hardened veterans. He certainly wasn’t intimidated by the arrival of Francisco Pizarro and his paltry crew of 160. But the Incan warriors were no match for the heavily armed Spaniards, and Atahualpa was taken captive amid a scene of unimaginable slaughter, in which 5,000 men were killed in an hour.

Desperate to preserve his own life, he offered Pizarro a fortune: He would fill a large room, 240 centimeters (8 ft) high, once with gold and twice with silver. He sent word throughout the empire, and countless treasures arrived. After he melted them down, this fortune included 6,000 kilograms (13,000 lb) of gold (which today would be worth over $250 million), and 12,000 kilograms (26,000 lb) of silver.

This wasn’t enough to convince Pizarro and his men, who feared that the Incas might assemble an army to free their leader. They executed Atahualpa by garrote on July 26, 1533.

5Kidnapping And Ransom Insurance

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Kidnapping and ransom are a huge business around the globe, and legitimate firms have found a way to cash in on the issue. The industry has swelled to such a point that it even has its own periodicals, such as KR Magazine.

Various agencies offer kidnap and ransom insurance, which, like any other policy, gauges the risk of payout. Factors such as the country the insured lives in, their profession, family members, and net worth are all taken into account. These insurance policies can be expansive, covering various contingencies from the ransom payment itself, to extraction, medical costs, wage reimbursement and more. Some criticize such policies for encouraging kidnappings.

Established experts also regularly facilitate the release of hostages, a highly secretive and dangerous business. Former anti-kidnapping expert Felix Batista was taken on December 10, 2008 in Saltilo, Coahuila, Mexico and has not been heard of since.

4America’s First Ransom Note

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On July 1, 1874, four-year-old Charley Ross was abducted, with ransom notes demanding $20,000. Charley’s father Christian couldn’t pay and went to the authorities for help. The abduction appeared to be the first ransom kidnapping in US history. The search for Charley went on for decades, with multiple suspects and people coming forward claiming to be the missing boy. He was never found.

The story has a recent update. In March 2012, while going through a bunch of old family papers, Philadelphia librarian Bridget Flynn and her daughter Rebecca found 22 of the original Charley Ross ransom letters. They were crudely written, containing misspelled passages such as: “You wil have to pay us before you git him from us, and pay us a big cent to if you put the cops hunting for him you is only defeeting yu own end.”

Exactly how the letters came into the Flynn family’s possession is nearly as much of a mystery as what happened to Charley. Flynn inherited them from her grandmother, but exactly what chain of provenance led them from Christian Ross’s hands to the Flynn basement will never be known. The notes were expected to fetch between $3,000 and $5,000 at auction, but they proved a hot ticket item, selling for a staggering $20,000.

3Barbary Pirates

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In the late 1700s, North African Barbary pirates and privateers roamed the Mediterranean Sea in vast numbers. During the Revolutionary War, American ships were protected by France, but when the United States became its own sovereign nation, France dropped their aid and it became open season. Spain advised the US to handle the problem as they had done; by offering tribute. Unfortunately, the demands quickly spiraled out of control. In 1795 alone, America paid the nation of Algiers $1 million, 20 percent of the entire annual budget.

Thomas Jefferson was one of the earliest proponents of going to war to end this issue, writing: “The states must see the rod; perhaps it must be felt by some of them.” Most others believed it was just easier to continue making payments.

When he became President, Jefferson refused to pay a tribute to Tripoli. Congress declared war, and he sent a naval contingent to bombard Tripoli, largely settling the problem. But the Barbary pirates swung back into action when the US was distracted, and the tribute didn’t end until a second Barbary War.

2Cheung Tze-keung

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Hong Kong gangster Cheung Tze-keung earned the nickname “Big Spender” for the way he threw around his cash, much of which he earned through kidnapping. He chose his victims wisely. The first, abducted in May 1996, was the son of Li Ka-shing, a businessman estimated to be the richest person in Asia. He targeted the man’s son Victor rather than Li himself, as only Li could get his hands on the kind of ransom the Big Spender wanted—HK $1.38 billion.

The following year, he targeted Walter Kwok, the son of Kwok Tak-seng, a billionaire property developer. This time things didn’t run as smoothly. The Kwok family was initially hesitant to pay the ransom, and Walter was kept blindfolded in a wooden container for four days. Eventually, HK $600 million was procured, but his time in captivity left Walter with deep psychological scars.

Cheung was arrested in August 1998, with at least one scheme still up his sleeve. His next plot included kidnapping Macau casino tycoon Stanley Ho. Cheung was an inveterate gambler, and had lost at least $200 million in Ho’s establishments. He confessed to various crimes and was executed in December 1998.

1Soviet Hostages

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In October 1985, four Soviet diplomats were taken hostage by the Islamic Liberation Organization (likely an offshoot of Hezbollah), to force the USSR to comply with a series of political demands. The kidnappers meant business and shot one of the hostages, leaving the corpse in West Beirut. The time for diplomacy was over. The KGB sent its elite Spetsgruppa “A” (Alpha Group) counter-terrorist unit to Lebanon to take care of business.

Precisely what happened next is the subject of legendary speculation—varying stories have emerged explaining how the kidnappers’ families were located. In the most chilling tale, the Alpha Group took a dozen people hostage and brutally mutilated one, sending his remains to Hezbollah. The same fate awaited the other 11 captives if the Soviets were not immediately released, warned Alpha Group.

The hostages were freed, and no Soviet citizen was ever molested in Lebanon afterward.

Read more: http://listverse.com/2014/06/11/10-huge-and-crazy-ransoms/

Top 10 Most Evil Humans

As we approach the new year, I thought it would be appropriate to do a list that combines and ranks entries from a combination of related lists – a summary list. This list looks at the last three years of lists of evil men and women, and combines and ranks the worst of the worst. Children are excluded as the evil children don’t rank anywhere near the evil of adults seen in the past. I have also added one entry who has not appeared on other lists, but is definitely worthy of inclusion. If you disagree with my ranking (as no doubt many will) be sure to tell us in the comments – perhaps include your own ranking, too. Also, tell us if you think someone else should be on the list.

Delphine-Lalaurie-Painting

LaLaurie was a sadistic socialite who lived in New Orleans. Her home was a chamber of horrors. On April 10, 1834, a fire broke out in the mansion’s kitchen, and firefighters found two slaves chained to the stove. They appeared to have started the fire themselves, in order to attract attention. The firefighters were lead by other slaves to the attic, where the real surprise was. Over a dozen disfigured and maimed slaves were manacled to the walls or floors. Several had been the subjects of gruesome medical experiments. One man appeared to be part of some bizarre sex change, a woman was trapped in a small cage with her limbs broken and reset to look like a crab, and another woman with arms and legs removed, and patches of her flesh sliced off in a circular motion to resemble a caterpillar. Some had had their mouths sewn shut, and had subsequently starved to death, whilst others had their hands sewn to different parts of their bodies. Most were found dead, but some were alive and begging to be killed, to release them from the pain. LaLaurie fled before she could be bought to justice – she was never caught. You can read a more indepth article on Delphine LaLaurie here.

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Known as The “Bitch of Buchenwald” because of her sadistic cruelty towards prisoners, Ilse Koch was married to another evil Nazi, who served in the SS, Karl Otto Koch, but outshone him in the depraved, inhumane disregard for life which was her trademark. She used her sexual prowess by wandering around the camps naked, with a whip, and if any man so much as glanced at her she would have them shot on the spot. The most infamous accusation against Ilse Koch was that she had selected inmates with interesting tattoos to be killed, so that their skins could be made into lampshades for her home (though, unfortunately, no evidence of these lampshades has been found). After the war she was arrested and spent time in prison on different charges, eventually hanging herself in her cell in 1967, apparently consumed by guilt.

Shiro Ishii 1

Ishii was a microbiologist and the lieutenant general of Unit 731, a biological warfare unit of the Imperial Japanese Army during the Second Sino-Japanese War. He was born in the former Shibayama Village of Sanbu District in Chiba Prefecture, and studied medicine at Kyoto Imperial University. In 1932, he began his preliminary experiments in biological warfare as a secret project for the Japanese military. In 1936, Unit 731 was formed. Ishii built a huge compound — more than 150 buildings over six square kilometers — outside the city of Harbin, China.

Some of the numerous atrocities committed by Ishii, and others under his command in Unit 731, include: vivisection of living people (including pregnant women who were impregnated by the doctors), prisoners had limbs amputated and reattached to other parts of their body, some prisoners had parts of their bodies frozen and thawed to study the resulting untreated gangrene. Humans were also used as living test cases for grenades and flame throwers. Prisoners were injected with inoculations of disease, disguised as vaccinations, to study their effects. To study the effects of untreated venereal diseases, male and female prisoners were deliberately infected with syphilis and gonorrhea via rape, then studied. A complete list of these horrors can be found here.

Having been granted immunity by the American Occupation Authorities at the end of the war, Ishii never spent any time in jail for his crimes and died at the age of 67, of throat cancer.

Ivan The Terrible

Ivan IV of Russia, also know as Ivan the Terrible, was the Grand Duke of Muscovy, from 1533 to 1547, and was the first ruler of Russia to assume the title of Tsar. In 1570, Ivan was under the belief that the elite of the city of Novgorod planned to defect to Poland, and led an army to stop them, on January 2. Ivan’s soldiers built walls around the perimeter of the city in order to prevent the people of the city escaping. Between 500 and 1000 people were gathered every day by the troops, then tortured and killed in front of Ivan and his son. In 1581, Ivan beat his pregnant daughter-in-law for wearing immodest clothing, causing a miscarriage. His son, also named Ivan, upon learning of this, engaged in a heated argument with his father, which resulted in Ivan striking his son in the head with his pointed staff, causing his son’s (accidental) death.

Oliver-Cromwell

The Cromwellian conquest of Ireland (1649–53) refers to the re-conquest of Ireland by the forces of the English Parliament, led by Oliver Cromwell, during the Wars of the Three Kingdoms. The consequence of this conquest (in order to displace Catholic authority) was 200,000 civilian deaths from war-related famine and disease, and 50 thousand Irish being taken as slaves. Cromwell considered Catholics to be heretics so the Irish conquest was a modern day Crusade for him. The bitterness caused by the Cromwellian settlement was a powerful source of Irish nationalism from the 17th century onwards. He died in 1658, and was so hated that, in 1661, he was exhumed from the grave and given a posthumous execution – his corpse was hung in chains at Tyburn, and he was later dismembered and his remains thrown into a pit, with his head being displayed on a pole outside Westminster Hall for the next twenty-four years.

Jiangqing

Jiang Qing was the wife of Mao Tse-tung, the Communist dictator of China. Through clever maneuvering, she managed to reach the highest position of power within the communist party (short of being President). It is believed that she was the main driving force behind China’s Cultural Revolution (of which she was the deputy director). During the Cultural Revolution, much economic activity was halted, and countless ancient buildings, artifacts, antiques, books and paintings were destroyed by Red Guards. The 10 years of the Cultural Revolution also brought the education system to a virtual halt, and many intellectuals were sent to prison camps. Millions of people in China, reportedly, had their human rights annulled during the Cultural Revolution. Millions more were also forcibly displaced. Estimates of the death toll – civilians and Red Guards – from various Western and Eastern sources are about 500,000 in the true years of chaos of 1966—1969, but some estimates are as high as 3 million deaths, with 36 million being persecuted.

Polpot

Pol Pot was the leader of the Khmer Rouge and the Prime Minister of Cambodia, from 1976 to 1979, having been de facto leader since mid-1975. During his time in power, Pol Pot imposed an extreme version of agrarian communism where all city dwellers were relocated to the countryside to work in collective farms and forced labour projects. The combined effect of slave labour, malnutrition, poor medical care and executions is estimated to have killed around 2 million Cambodians (approximately one third of the population). His regime achieved special notoriety for singling out all intellectuals and other “bourgeois enemies” for murder. The Khmer Rouge committed mass executions in sites known as the Killing Fields. The executed were buried in mass graves. In order to save ammunition, executions were often carried out using hammers, axe handles, spades or sharpened bamboo sticks.

Himmler-480

Heinrich Himmler, the architect of the holocaust and final solution, and considered to be the biggest mass murderer ever, by some (although it’s really Josef Stalin). The holocaust would not have happened if not for this man. He tried to breed a master race of Nordic appearance, the Aryan race. His plans for racial purity were ended by Hitler’s vanity in making rash military decisions rather than letting his generals make them, thus ending the war prematurely. Himmler was captured after the war. He unsuccessfully tried to negotiate with the west, and was genuinely shocked to be treated as a criminal upon capture. He committed suicide by swallowing a cyanide capsule he had bit upon.

Hitler1

Adolf Hitler was appointed Chancellor of Germany in 1933, becoming “Führer” in 1934 until his suicide in 1945. By the end of the second world war, Hitler’s policies of territorial conquest and racial subjugation had brought death and destruction to tens of millions of people, including the genocide of some six million Jews, in what is now known as the Holocaust. On 30 April, 1945, after intense street-to-street combat, when Soviet troops were spotted within a block or two of the Reich Chancellory, Hitler committed suicide, shooting himself while simultaneously biting into a cyanide capsule. Hitler ranks over Himmler merely for the fact that it was in his power to prevent Himmler’s policies being implemented.

Stalin-2

Stalin was General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union’s Central Committee, from 1922 until his death, in 1953. Under Stalin’s leadership, the Ukraine suffered from a famine (Holodomor) so great it is considered by many to be an act of genocide on the part of Stalin’s government. Estimates of the number of deaths range from 2.5 million to 10 million. The famine was caused by direct political and administrative decisions. In addition to the famine, Stalin ordered purges within the Soviet Union of any person deemed to be an enemy of the state. In total, estimates of the number murdered under Stalins reign, range from 10 million to 60 million.

Read more: http://listverse.com/2010/12/31/top-10-most-evil-humans/