Holiday Hiatus

Well the to-do list has become unmanageable again, and as usual that means I'll have to stop recreational activities like blogging for a couple of weeks.

My plan is to return to posting the first week of March as I have a couple of crime cases that I was asked to write about.

In the meantime, I hope to continue reading the blogs of others--so keep up the good work.

Happy Presidents Day.

Messin with Doughnuts

What is a guaranteed way to get the attention of police officers?

Mess with the doughnuts.
...Gwinnett authorities said a Lawrenceville man boosted a Krispy Kreme truck from a Dacula gas station last week, making off with untold quantities of glazed goodness and leading a sheriff's deputy on a high-speed chase across the county.

Police said a Krispy Kreme delivery man was dropping off his wares at an Exxon gas station in Dacula at about 10:45 p.m. Thursday. That's when James Freddy Major, 45-year-old alleged doughnut fiend, showed up and fled in the box truck...

Within about five minutes, a sheriff's office K9 unit (and later a few police officers) had located the truck headed toward Interstate 85 on Ga. Highway 316. They tried to pull Major over, but he wasn't having it.

"The vehicle then sped up on the interstate and failed to yield to our visual and audibles signals to pull over," one responding officer wrote. "The suspect vehicle then exited the interstate on the Beaver Ruin Road exit and made a left turn, while running the red light on the top of the exit."

...Driving erratically and leaving the roadway several times, the Krispy Kreme truck eventually made it to Ferrite Loop, a dead-end cul-de-sac near Cruse Road in Lawrenceville.

Major hit a mailbox before trying to flee on foot.

"The suspect ... was apprehended by K9 dog bite and officers on scene placed the suspect under arrest," the incident report said...

I picture the conclusion of this crime scene featuring a dozen uniformed officers volunteering to "inventory" the sugary contents of the doughnut truck--you know just to make certain that none were damaged.

I bet no one even noticed the Starbucks delivery vehicle that had to be sent to the crash scene to offer respite to those poor thirsty officers engaged in doughnut consumption counting.

________________________

Snow days, early school dismissals, sick kids, injured kids, after-school activities, lots of work, etc.--it has been a full week.

Life of a parent, huh?

I hope to get back on track next week with blogging.

I mean after Monday since the kids have that day off from school as well.

Yeehaw!

Have a super weekend everyone.

Kid Revenge

So you say your father has made you pick-up the toys one too many times from the play room?

Or, has dad refused your persistent requests of "just five more minutes" on the computer before having to go to bed?

Maybe, he demands that you eat all most of the vegetables on your plate; even the green-leafy ones.

Well, long-suffering kids of the world, do I have a suggestion for you.

A can't-miss strategy that will take a father's mind off messy rooms and/or Vitamin A consumption.

Simply find your dad's car keys and drop them in the basket of crayons alongside the art supplies.

We guarantee that after an hour of intensive searching, his frustration level will be so high that kids will have free reign of the household; a perfect opportunity for large doses of video games or scoops of ice cream for anyone around.

Well except for the father, he will be sweating profusely and in no mood for tasty snacks.
____________________________

Ok I confess, those kids here got me good with the inadvertent key relocation.  

Imprisoning Ryan Ferguson

Thank you to Kay over at Georgia Girl with an English Heart (you'll enjoy her travel and photography posts) for sending me information on the following case. 
________________________________________________

In 2005, a Missouri jury convicted then college-aged Ryan Ferguson for his role in the death of the sports editor for the Columbia Daily Tribune, Keith Heitholt.



Ferguson was sentenced to 40 years.

An alleged co-conspirator, Chuck Erickson, had gone to authorities, struck a deal, and testified against Ferguson.

Erickson stated that Heithold's murder was a the result of a robbery gone bad, and that Ferguson had delivered the fatal blows.

The jury also heard testimony from one of the Tribune's custodians, Jerry Trump,  who positively identified Ferguson as one of the men he saw in the newspaper's parking lot when the murder took place.

The case may have ended there with the two young men serving long prison sentences.

But Bill and Leslie Ferguson have never given-up the fight to prove their son's innocence.

After years of failed attempts, the family finally caught a break.

Chuck Erickson (the alleged other robber) contacted authorities and admitted to lying under oath about Ryan Ferguson.

He said that Ryan did not kill the victim.

What is his current story about how Keith Heitholt died?

He says that he had been drinking heavily and doesn't remember much about the night or morning.

Ok, so the prosecution's star witness admits to deceiving the jury.

He likely has mentally problems, right?

Why should anyone believe this inmate?

After hearing Erickson testify again at a special judicial hearing, something strange then happened.

The prosecution's second witness, Jerry Trump (the janitor), recanted his testimony as well.

Trump admitted that he was not sure that Ryan Ferguson was the young man he saw in the parking lot that morning.

From the courtroom stand, Trump fought back tears as he apologized to Ryan--saying that he felt pressured by prosecutors to positively identify him and has been fighting a guilty conscience for years.

Without the two witnesses, what was left of the prosecution's case against Ferguson?

Nothing.

The physical evidence recovered from the parking lot (fingerprints, etc.) could not be linked to either men.

There were no other witnesses placing Ferguson at the scene.

Actually, there were several other witnesses who placed Ferguson away from where the murder happened.

Ryan had no previous criminal record, and seemed to have a bright future ahead.

Prosecutors were left with nothing.

But, judges are very cautious in over-turning jury decisions, so Ferguson's review did not go in his favor. The judge felt that Erickson was lying with his current version and that Trump's original testimony was only a minor factor in conviction.

Kathleen Zellner is Ryan's current attorney and she has not given up hope.

Zellner is a respected attorney; known for her work with serial killer Larry Eyler (also known as the Highway Killer) in which she convinced him to confess to 21 murders prior to his death.

So, Ryan Ferguson sits in prison while his legal team tries to get him a new trial.
____________________________

As the justice effort for the young man continues, Ryan's father, Bill, is asking people to consider signing an online petition--the goal being to persuade officials to grant his son a new trial and show that Ryan is not-guilty.

If you are interested, you can go here to review Bill's petition or you can go here and watch Dateline's video story on this case.

On Christopher Dorner

I read a few articles about "California's Most Wanted" Christopher Dorner, a former Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) officer who is suspected of three murders in apparent retaliation for his 2008 termination from the LAPD.



He is described as having "declared war" on the police department for allegedly ruining his reputation--relating back to 2007 when Dorner reported an incident accusing a fellow officer of abuse.

From the transcript posted online about his departmental hearing (sorry no link--I read it yesterday, but it has since been buried on search engines by 1,000s of other stories on Dorner) to his "manifesto," I have to question how long agency supervisors believed that the guy had serious mental problems before he was dismissed.

You wonder how he slipped through with passing scores on all of the psychological evaluations and tests that are required of anyone hired as a police officer.

Unfortunately, I don't see this situation ending without further violence.

Anyway, this was reported by several news outlets and bothers me as well:
...A shuttle bus driver turns in a wallet with an LAPD badge and a picture ID of Dorner to San Diego police. The wallet is found less than five miles from the boat, near San Diego International Airport...

When an individual leaves policing (as I did), you are mandated to turn-in all of your departmental issued equipment. Obviously, your firearm, badge(s), and police identification cards would be at the top of the list.

Dorner was dismissed in 2008.

It is now 2013.

Why is he still running around sunny Cali with a badge and police ID card?

If accurate, that should never happen.

There were multiple "balls dropped" in Dorner's case, and I hope when this over, LAPD's long after-action report includes recommendations for improvement--including assurances that fired police officers never slip through the cracks in keeping what identifies one as a sworn officer.
___________________________________________________

I hope everyone has a good weekend.

Guest Posting and Thanks

Me, Mr. Anonymous, being interviewed by Christian blogger Diane Estrella today (2/6/2013) over at her place?

I wonder if I said anything worth reading?

I better go check it out.

Oh yes, I remember telling her about an interesting entry that I read from the blog of recent Philadelphia murder victim Dr. Melissa Ketunuti.

If you are interested, you can go here and read about our conversation.
___________________

Also, I wanted to thank the bloggers who participated with my crew of regulars/irregulars in the SlamDunk fantasy football league this season: Chuck at Chuck Mullis, Lisa at MommysNest, and Rachel at Rachelsjunkinthetrunk.

Congrats to Lisa for winning the regular season title, and to my older son for winning the overall league via the playoffs and our Super Bowl.

Now I have an entire off-season to hear my brother describe in detail how his team stomped mine, and listen to accusations from my old friend the Police Commander who believes I cheated to help older boy win the competition.

Hehe.

Friends and family: you can't live with 'em, you can' live without 'em.


Deceased: Part III

This is my third post in the series on deceased career criminal Victor Wonyetye Jr. and his ties to several missing persons cases.
_____________________________________________

About 6 months before Tammy Belanger disappeared in Exeter, New Hampshire, police in Greenacres, Florida were also investigating a missing child.

On May 27, 1984,  eight-year-old Majorie "Christy" Luna walked from her residence to the Greenacres Grocery to buy her family's cats, Boo-Boo and Skeeter, some food.

She made her purchase around 3 pm and left the store.

She has not been seen since.

Christy lived less than 500 yards from the grocery store, and is described as having a slight speech impediment and is hearing impaired.




Over the years, authorities had been interested in at least three suspects related to the girl's disappearance; one being Victor Wonyetye, Jr.

Why was Wonyetye associated with the case?

As well as being a convicted sex offender, here are some of the reasons:

  • Just Relocated to Area: He was someone with a long criminal history and evidently an interest in children who was new to Florida. The scene of Christy's disappearance is about 6 miles from where Wonyetye was living. 

  • Arrested Weeks Before: Twenty days prior to Christy's disappearance, he was spotted hiding in the bushes near windows of a Lake Worth, FL home by an off-duty police officer. He told the officer he was looking for a lost cat, but that was unconvincing.  Considered a "peeping-tom," Wonyetye was charged with prowling. Unfortunately, local authorities did not realize he was still on parole in New Hampshire at the time of the arrest. As such, they allowed him to post bond and he was released the next day. 

  • Fled the State: Investigators had not identified Wonyetye as a person of interest in the Luna disappearance, and again, not realizing that he was on parole in another state, he was sentenced to 30 days in jail for prowling (time-served was performed weeks after Luna went missing). Not long after his release, Wonyetye would leave Florida and return to New Hampshire. It was then that Tammy Belanger vanished and authorities focused on Wonyetye in relation to both cases. 

  • Unconvincing Alibi: He told authorities that he had gone to church and went bowling with relatives when Luna went missing. Police evidently were able to confirm part of the story.

  • Witness Statements: A man fitting Wonyetye's description was seen at the Greenacre Grocery around the time of the disappearance. Also, authorities learned that after church on the day of the girl's disappearance, he had attended a party;  a party that happened to be in the same neighborhood where Christy Luna went missing. 

  • His Statements: Several years later after Wonyetye had been arrested on more burglary and peeping-related charges, authorities produced tapes of several inmates who gave statements that the man had said he had killed both Christy Luna and Tammy Belanger.  

Regarding the "His Statements" above, I tend to place little credence on "jail house snitches;" as there is just too much self-interest involved (e.g. inmate receives a reduction in punishment for providing vague information on high profile cases).

But the statements supposed to be from Wonyetye included an interesting detail.

One offender said Wonyetye boasted of knowing how chemicals could be used to dispose of a body.

Sounds familiar; like when he confidently told his coworkers in New Hampshire that he could effectively hide a corpse in such a manner that it would never be found.

And the chemicals?

Perhaps he was referring to chemicals like those used by employees to remove paint.

Chemical used in auto body work.

The kind of work that Wonyetye did and knew well.
___________________________________________________________

I'll continue next week with what authorities caught Victor Wonyetye Jr. doing six years after the disappearances of these two young girls. 

You can read my other posts in this series by going here.

Because Life Is Unfair...

I don't usually post on weekends, but I thought Matthew Jeffers' message is inspiring enough to make an exception.

And how could a 21-year-old college student from Towson State University (Maryland) motivate members of the Baltimore Ravens as that professional football team prepares to play in Super Bowl, by far the biggest US sporting event?

Watch and see.

I think it was four minutes of time well spent.



Dream.

Overcome self-doubt and self-pity.

Take risks.

Achieve.

Put others before yourself.

Never stop trying.

Thanks for inspiring us Matthew Jeffers.
____________________________________________________

If the embedded video is not working, you can to here to see it on YouTube.

You can also read more about Matthew and his experience with the team by clicking here

Finish in Ten Days?

I am trying to figure out what I would have done as a college student with all the additional free time if I could have taken courses like this:

ALTUS — Western Oklahoma State College will no longer offer a type of controversial online course reportedly favored by college athletes looking for quick credits, school officials announced Wednesday.

The college's announcement came hours after the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education released a report recommending the college immediately discontinue its 10-day online intersession courses.

The State Regents office released a compliance report Wednesday on those courses. According to the report, the office didn't find sufficient evidence that the so-called quick-credit courses are appropriate for a college-level curriculum... 

According to the report, the college offered 256 course sections via 10-day online courses during the 2011-12 academic year. During the spring, summer and fall semesters, a combined total of 7,501 students enrolled in those courses...students came from across the country.
Learning "higher ed" style in only 10 days?

Really?

Wow.

I am convinced that if I could have knocked out a college course in less than two weeks back in the day, I would have become a much better video game player.

Fast fast forward many years, my traditional education left me a mediocre "gamer" whose older son thrashes him on the X-Box, and whose little daughter whoops him on the Wii.

Looks like I might have a late night tonight, long after the kids have gone to sleep: practicing Wii Bowling with a goal of respectability.

____________________________________

Enjoy your weekend everyone.