31
Aug
14

this day in crime history: august 31, 1985

Stalker

On this date in 1985, police in Los Angeles, CA broke up a mob that was beating a man they had detained. The man was Richard Ramirez, better known as the Night Stalker. The crowd had recognized him from a mugshot that had recently been shown on TV. The LAPD had identified Ramirez as the prime suspect in over a dozen murders, as well as attempted murders, sexual assaults, and burglaries.

Ramirez was tried and convicted of 13 murders, 5 attempted murders, 11 sexual assaults, and 14 burglaries. He was sentenced to death. Richard Ramirez died of cancer while awaiting execution. He was 53 years old and had been on death row for 23 years.

In a strange twist, Ramirez was captured on the 97th anniversary of the murder of Mary Ann Nichols, the first of the canonical five victim’s of  Jack the Ripper’s.

Further reading:

Wikipedia – Richard Ramirez

truTV – Night Stalker: Serial Killer Richard Ramirez

About.com – The Night Stalker – Richard Ramirez

29
Aug
14

friday movie quote

mideastpeace

” I was sayin’ just this morning at the weekly prayer breakfast, in this historic capital, that it behooves both the Jews and the Arabs to settle their differences in a Christian manner!”

-The Governor (Charles Durning), The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas (1982)

28
Aug
14

ray donovan – another tv addiction

RD

The last thing I needed was another must-see TV show to distract me from other things that I ought to be doing. But that’s just what I have in Ray Donovan, a Showtime original series. Liev Schreiber stars as a “fixer” for the rich and famous. Being blackmailed? Run over a homeless guy while driving drunk? Wake up next to a naked dead girl? Ray Donovan can fix those things for you. But it won’t be easy. And it won’t be cheap. As interesting as Ray’s work life is, his personal life is just as tumultuous.

Schreiber is excellent in the lead role, but the show’s supporting cast is every bit as good. The cast includes Paula Malcomson (Deadwood),  Eddie Marsan (Sherlock Holmes, The World’s End), Steven Bauer, Elliot Gould, Denise Crosby (Star Trek: The Next Generation) and Jon Voigt. Voight, who plays Ray’s loose cannon father, Mickey, almost steals the show.

I started watching this a month ago, binge-watching season 1. I’m now into season 2 and, as of Monday night, caught up to the most recent episode. Now I have to wait a week to get my next fix. Damn you, Showtime! Why can’t you just drop a whole season at once, like Netflix? Oh well, just another first-world problem I have to suffer with.

Here’s the trailer for season 1.

26
Aug
14

this day in crime history: august 26, 1980

On this date in 1980, two men made an early morning delivery of what appeared to be computer equipment to the Harvey’s Resort and Casino in Stateline, NV. Harvey’s employees soon discovered the “computer equipment” and the note attached to it. The note informed them that the large package was a bomb, and that it would go off unless the bombers were paid $3 million by the casino.

Police, the FBI, and the ATF were called in. Bomb squad personnel examined the object and confirmed that it was a bomb. The device, which was very sophisticated, contained a large amount of dynamite.

The decision was made to pay the ransom, then concentrate on tracking down the extortionists later. Unfortunately, the delivery of the ransom money – which was to be done by police helicopter – didn’t go off as planned. This left the bomb squad with the task of figuring out how to disarm the largest dynamite bomb anyone in law enforcement had ever seen.

After x-raying the equipment and carefully examining it, the explosive ordnance disposal experts decided that the best was to disarm it way to quickly disconnect the detonators before they could set off the dynamite. To do this, they rigged shaped charges of C-4 and positioned them so they would blow the detonators off. Sand bags were stacked around the bomb to minimize the damage in case the plan didn’t work. This was a good idea, as the plan didn’t work. The shaped charges set the bomb off, destroying most of the casino and causing some damage to the neighboring hotel. Thankfully, there were no injuries from the explosion.

As the ensuing investigation unfolded, a suspect soon emerged: a Hungarian immigrant from Clovis, CA named John Birges. Birges, as it turned out, lost thousands of dollars gambling at Harvey’s. (note to all you high rollers out there: You can lose. That’s why they call it “gambling.”) In the summer of 1981, investigators received a tip that Birges had stolen dynamite from a construction site. Forensic examination matched the dynamite used at the site with that used in the Harvey’s Casino bomb. John Birges was arrested in August 1981, almost a year after the bombing. His three accomplices were soon arrested as well. It wasn’t long before they flipped and agreed to testify against Birges in exchange for lighter sentences. John Birges was convicted of multiple state and federal crimes. He died in prison of liver cancer in 1996.

Further reading:

FBI – Harvey’s Casino Bomb

Wikipedia – Harvey’s Resort Hotel bombing

25
Aug
14

this day in crime history: august 25, 1967

A Mauser C96 pistol similar to the one used to kill George Lincoln Rockwell in 1967.

A Mauser C96 pistol similar to the one used to kill George Lincoln Rockwell in 1967.

On this date in 1967, George Lincoln Rockwell, founder and head of the American Nazi Party, was shot and killed while leaving a shopping center parking lot in Arlington, VA. John Patler, 29, a former member of Rockwell’s organization was arrested at a bus stop half a mile from the scene of the crime. He had discarded the gun in a nearby creek. Patler had been expelled by the Nazis several months earlier. He was tried and convicted of the murder and sentenced to 20 years in prison. He was paroled in 1975.

Further reading:

BBC – ‘American Hitler’ shot dead

Wikipedia – George Lincoln Rockwell

The Free Lance Star: December 16, 1967 – Patler Convicted, Faces 20 Years

23
Aug
14

this day in crime history: august 23, 1927

On this date in 1927, Ferdinando Nicola Sacco (above right) and Bartolomeo Vanzetti (above left) were executed in the Massachusetts electric chair for an armed robbery that resulted in the deaths of a paymaster and a security guard. Controversy still rages to this day as to the guilt of the men, but their convictions have yet to be overturned.

Further reading:

The Sacco-Vanzetti Case

Wikipedia – Sacco and Vanzetti

22
Aug
14

friday movie quote

Once

“You shouldn’t hang me on a hook, Johnny. My father hung me on a hook once. Once!

-Danny Vermin (Joe Piscopo), Johnny Dangerously (1984)




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