this day in crime history: april 1, 1984


On this day in 1984, singer Marvin Gaye was shot and killed by his father after an ongoing domestic dispute turned violent. Marvin Gaye, Sr. pleaded no contest to voluntary manslaughter. He was given a six year suspended sentence and five years probation. He died of pneumonia in 1998.

Further reading:

Crime Library – Marvin Gaye’s Death

Find a Death – The Death of Marvin Gaye

Wikipedia – Death of Marvin Gaye


this day in crime history: march 30, 1981

On this date in 1981, a pathetic loser named John Hinckley, Jr. made a play for the attention of actress Jodie Foster by attempting to assassinate President Ronald Reagan. President Reagan and three others were wounded in the attempt. Hinckley, who wound up buried under a mountain of Secret Service agents and cops, was arrested at the scene. He was later found not guilty by reason of insanity. He was confined to St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Washington, DC, and is now allowed out to visit his mommy a dozen times a year. Still no date with Jodie Foster, though. Keep the faith, Johnny, she’ll be stopping by any day now.

Further reading:

The Trial of John Hinckley

Wikipedia – Reagan assassination attempt


Tom Noonan – bringing the awesome


Tonight at 9, I’ll be where I’ve been every Friday night for the last couple months: glued to my TV watching 12 Monkeys on Syfy. Rumor has it that Tom Noonan will be returning tonight as a villain referred to as the Pallid Man. You can’t have a good show without a good villain, and Noonan can really rock the villainous roles. I’ve been a fan of his since he played serial killer Francis Dollarhyde in Michael Mann’s Manhunter.

Fans of Hell on Wheels will recognize Noonan as Nathaniel Cole, the preacher with a dark past. Cole tries to make peace between the local Native American tribes and the railroad workers who are encroaching on their territory. He also tried to steer series protagonist Cullen Bohannon (Anson Mount) away from his quest to avenge the deaths of his wife and son. When Bohannon is finally willing to listen to what the preacher has to say, he’s just a bit too late. You see, the Reverend Cole has been thwarted in his efforts to prevent a war between the whites and Native Americans. Certain elements in the Army have decided it’s going to happen regardless. So Cole reacts the way he would have before he found God: with violence. Enter Cullen Bohannon, seeking guidance only moments after Cole has gone off the rails (see what I did there, a little railroad humor for you) and decapitated one of the Army officers. Check out this scene:

Damn, that scene blows me away every time I see it. Tom Noonan is amazing. And Anson Mount really kicks ass in this scene too. His expression is priceless. Definitely some amazing acting.

If you haven’t been watching 12 Monkeys, there are three episodes left in the season. There’s still time to get caught up by watching the previous episodes on the Syfy website, or Syfy On-Demand. And Hell on Wheels is also worth seeing. The first two seasons are available for streaming on Netflix. As for me, I still have to get caught up on FX’s The Americans, I’m three episodes behind on that. Too much TV, too little time.


friday movie quote


“Look in the mirror. Paper towels, clean cab. Limo company some day. How much you got saved?… Someday? Someday my dream will come? One night you will wake up and discover it never happened. It’s all turned around on you. It never will. Suddenly you are old. Didn’t happen, and it never will, because you were never going to do it anyway. You’ll push it into memory and then zone out in your barco-lounger, being hypnotized by daytime TV for the rest of your life. Don’t you talk to me about murder. All it ever took was a down payment on a Lincoln town car. That girl,you can’t even call that girl. What the fuck are you still doing driving a cab?”

-Vincent (Tom Cruise), Collateral (2004)


this day in crime history: march 25, 1990

happylandfireOn this day in 1990, an argument turned into a mass murder at the Happy Land Social Club in the Bronx, NY.

Earlier in the evening, Cuban immigrant Julio Gonzalez was ejected from the club after arguing with his ex-girlfriend, who worked there as a coat check girl. Gonzalez, who had recently lost his job, was enraged. He screamed threats at the bouncers as they ejected him from the club.

Gonzalez returned to the club armed with a container of gasoline and some matches. He poured the gas on the stairs to the club and ignited it. The fire spread quickly. Due to a lack of working fire exits (they were blocked to prevent people from entering the club without paying), the people inside were trapped. Several managed to escape by breaking through a barrier that blocked one of the fire doors. Eighty-seven people died in the fire.

Among those who survived was Gonzalez’s ex-girlfriend. She told police about the argument and Gonzalez’s threats. They tracked him down and arrested him the following afternoon. Shortly after being arrested, Gonzalez confessed to the crime. He was tried and convicted on 87 counts of arson and 87 counts of murder. He was sentenced to 25 years to life on each count. Since the crimes occurred in a single incident, New York State law required that the sentences be served concurrently, rather than consecutively. Gonzalez is currently incarcerated at Clinton Correction Facility. He will be eligible for parole in 2015.

The owners of the building were sued by the victims and the families of the deceased. The case was settled for $15.8 million, divided between the plaintiffs.

Further reading:

New York TimesRefugee Found Guilty of Killing 87 in Bronx Happy Land Fire

Murderpedia – Julio Gonzalez

Wikipedia – Happy Land Fire


this day in crime history: march 21, 1963

On this date in 1963, the prison they called “The Rock” was closed by the Department of Justice. The federal penitentiary at Alcatraz opened in 1934. At its peak, it held over 200 inmates. Some of its more famous residents include Al Capone, George “Machine Gun” Kelly, and Robert “Birdman” Stroud.

For more info, check out these sites:

National Park Service Alcatraz website

Alcatraz History

Alcatraz Cruises

Ghosts of Alcatraz


friday movie quote

FreeEnterprise” Let it go. Separate the art from the artist. This is LA, nobody’s ever who they appear to be. Other than John Tesh, who’s probably exactly who he appears to be.”

-Mark (Eric McCormack), Free Enterprise (1998)



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