My Name is Carmen: I Murdered Two Children

The following story is a work of fiction based on a true-life trial and murder.  This story follows a somewhat different history from the real-life story but will certainly be recognized by many as related to the story of Yoselyn Ortega and the Krim’s family.  The story occupied a major place in most newspapers for many months.  For any parent, it is a horror story.  No one can imagine the despair and misery that the Krim’s have gone through.

As I followed the trial, I was struck by the fact that so many of the newspaper articles about the murders were looking for a motive or reason for Ortega’s actions.  Ms. Ortega never testified at the trial and I suspect that many people thought it was simply a matter of allowing or encouraging her to “tell the truth.”  If only we could ask Ortega “why” she did it, we could find her motive and reason.   I have followed many related stories of murders and I have been struck by the lack of “truth” that is ever found.  Not just because suicide seems to be a way out for many murderers but even when the murderer is alive to tell their story.

two children

My name is Maria Carmen Fernanda Lopez.  I am a Columbian citizen.  I want to tell my story so that everyone will understand.  I am now in jail for the murder of two children that I was responsible for taking care of.  I was their nanny.  They say that both children loved me and in truth, I often loved them back.  The entire world wants to know why I murdered these children.

The prosecutors told a lie.  What they said about me was not true.  They wanted me to look very evil so that I could be convicted.  My defense attorneys also did not tell the truth.  They did not know me.  They only wanted to save me from receiving a death sentence.  It did not matter if the truth was told or not.  The psychiatrists who found many reasons for what I did do not know the reason why I murdered the young girl and young boy.  Each of the psychiatrists had a different theory.  I do not like to argue with anyone, so I simply agreed with each of them.  Nine different psychiatrists and nine different theories.

I never had the opportunity to testify.  My attorneys said it would be better if I did not.  I was convicted anyway of first degree murder.  I would like for you to hear my story.  Maybe, you can understand.  I do not deny killing my two young charges.  It was like killing my own children.  The children were very kind to me although sometimes they could be spoiled brats.  But what would you expect with a rich mother and a rich father both of whom could lavish much time and money on their children.  Most of the time they were fun to be around.

I was born in Cali Columbia in 1961.  I was one of twelve children.  My family was very poor.  My father sewed and fixed shoes for a living.  My mother tried to find enough food each day to feed us all.  I was the fifth oldest child and my job was to take care of all my siblings who were younger than I was.   I guess you could say I received nanny training when I was growing up.  I only went to school through the eighth grade.  No one in our family went any further.

I had a cousin Luisa who in 2001 emigrated to the United States.  She had a father who had received a degree in engineering from the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana.   He wanted to move up in the world and he was able to get a visa and a position with an electronics firm in New York City.  Luisa, her mom and her dad all moved to the USA.

My cousin Luisa and I were very close when we were growing up.  Luisa always had nicer clothes and was much prettier than I was.  Even though her family had much more money than mine, we were like sisters.  She had lots of boyfriends and we would sometimes sneak out at night to share time together.  She would introduce me to many young men, but I was very shy and not very good looking.  My first child was with one of these young men.  We did not marry, and I named my young boy Mateo.  Mateo’s father disappeared a few years after Mateo was born and I never saw him again.  My father was not very happy with me, but unwed pregnancies are the norm in Columbia.  My mother was actually very happy to have a new addition to the family.

A few years after Luisa moved to the USA, she wrote me a letter and asked if I would like to live with her in NYC.  I wrote back and replied that I would love to if I could bring Mateo along as well.  She wrote back that “Of course, you can bring Mateo.  Furthermore, I think I might be able to arrange a job that you would be very good at.”  She did not say anymore, and I was very curious.

I discussed going to the USA with my Mom.  She thought it would be a good opportunity for me but where would we get the money.  We did not have enough money for a bus trip to Bogota, never mind NYC.  My dad was also agreeable since it would be two less mouths to feed.  However, he did not have an extra peso to spare.  Sadly, I wrote back to my cousin to explain that it might be years before I could save enough money to come to the USA.

In a very short time, I received a letter from Luisa.  In the letter was a voucher for a one-way ticket to NYC.  Luisa said I should let her know when we would arrive, and she would meet us at the airport.  I immediately told my mom and dad.  My mother seemed sad to see me go but my father did not seem to care.  I packed my bags and purchased a ticket on Avianca S.A. for two weeks later.  I wrote Luisa and gave her our flight number and arrival time.

We arrived in NYC without any problems.  Luisa met us at the airport and we took a taxi to her apartment in Queens.  She was now living in her own apartment and had a very good job with Verizon company as a translator.  Her Spanish skills and good people skills had allowed her to work up from a customer service representative to a position as manager in one of their bi-lingual call centers.   Luisa had an extra bedroom which I was placed in.  My young son Mateo had a couch to sleep on.  We all hoped that I might find good employment and be able to rent my own apartment someday.

After catching up on family, friends and Luisa’s life in NYC, I was anxious to ask Luisa about this job she thought I might be good at.  Luisa explained that in NYC there were many wealthy families who wanted dependable mature women to work as caretakers or nannies for their children.  Such families were not hard to find, and she knew several families who were currently looking for a good reliable nanny.  With her recommendation, she was sure I would have no trouble finding a job.  My one concern was how I would take care of Mateo who was now eight and take care of someone else’s children.  Luisa said that I should not worry as she could help me with Mateo and most nanny jobs had some degree of flexibility.

Two weeks later after several interviews I was placed with Eric and Sarah Clarke as a nanny for their children.  They were a young couple with two children.  One child, Noah was six and in kindergarten.  The other child Emma was eight and going into the third grade.

Eric was an executive with an aerospace firm and travelled a great deal.  Sarah worked as a Public Relations specialist with the Magrino Company in Manhattan.  The Clarke’s lived in an area known as Tribeca in Manhattan.  It was a very wealthy neighborhood but very convenient in terms of Sarah’s job and Eric’s need to travel frequently.  From Tribeca to the Magrino company was less than twenty minutes by the metro or by car.  Both Sarah and Eric had a great deal of job flexibility and could often work at home.   This last point was what made me accept the position since I felt that I would not be needed twenty-four seven and I would be able to find more time to spend with my own son.  I was going to be a “live-out nanny.”

My starting pay rate would be $18. 00 per hour and I would work ten-hour days except for Wednesday and Thursdays when I would only work five-hour days.  I would work five days a week unless special occasions arose.  In the event of weekend work, my hourly wage would be $26.00 dollars per hour.  My gross salary would be $720 dollars per week.  I would take home about $600 dollars per week.

My expected job duties were as follows:

  • Meeting the children’s physical, social, emotional and intellectual needs.
  • Undertaking all tasks related to childcare, including doing the children’s laundry and preparing the children’s meals and cleaning up afterwards.
  • Caring for the family pet.
  • Meals for the children when parents were not home.

griefI worked for the Clarke’s for about two years.  During that time, I got along quite well with the children.  They were mostly well-behaved and pleasant to be around.  We would go on outings after school and take many walks.  I would buy them ice cream cones and take them to see the animals in the zoo and on library trips and museum trips.

I also got along very well with Eric Clarke.  He was not around as much but he was always polite and treated me as one of the family.  Sarah was a little more difficult and controlled the purse strings.  I had thought that after two years, I should get a raise, but she refused to increase my hourly rate.  She would sometimes ask me to do other jobs which I did not think were in my job description.  I generally acquiesced to her requests.

Now it has been said at my trail by the prosecution that I was angry at Sarah for pushing more work on me and for not paying me enough.  It is true that I thought she could be unfair at times, but I also appreciated the many times she helped me out when I needed help.  She was often very generous and was by no means a skinflint or cheapskate.  I harbored no ill will to either Eric or Sarah.  Then you might ask: “Why?”  Why murder two innocent children?

I have heard all the explanations.  I suffered from mental illness.  I was crazy.  I was overworked.  I was stressed.  I was angry.  I was feeling humiliated.  I was insulted by Sarah.  I was told to by voices in my head.  I did not have enough time with my own son.  I was jealous of the money and status the Clarkes had.  I was going to lose my job.  I was just plain evil.  EVIL, EVIL, EVIL.

Evil or Good

I am glad that I was not asked to testify.  I would not have known what to say.  I would have been asked “Why?” and no one would believe my answer.  You will not believe it.

We seem to think that whenever there is a killing, murder, suicide or mass atrocity that if only the victim lived we could find out “why?”  Humans have an insatiable desire to know the answer to the question: “Why, did they do it?”  The truth is that there is often no reason.

Theodore Bundy, Charles Whitman, James Huberty, George Hennard, Devin, Patrick Kelley, Adam Lanza, Seung-Hu Cho, Omar, Saddiqui Mateen, Stephen Paddock and the list goes on and on.  Why?  Why?  Why?  The public wants a logical reasonable answer.  The police want a motive.  The prosecution wants a reason to convict.  The defense wants a reason to acquit.  Our mental institutions want another reason to try out different therapies.

insanity

Why? Why? Why?

Don’t you think I owe the public an answer?  Don’t you think I owe the Clarkes an answer?  Don’t you think I owe my family an answer?

parental grief

What explanation or reason could possibly make any sense for such a vicious, depraved and wanton act of destruction?  Would any explanation make sense to Noah and Emma?  Would any explanation expiate my guilt and remorse?  What explanation would you believe?

I am certain that I have no explanation you would be satisfied with.  Maybe that is the real definition of craziness.  To do something with no reason, logic or explanation that can possibly make any sense.  I wish I could live my life over again, but I am not sure it would make any difference.  I have explored alternative realities and they all lead right back to this cell that I sit in today.  The ultimate tragedy of my life is inexplicably bound up with murder and chaos.

mother and dead child

They say I expressed no remorse or regrets during the trial.  I appeared to be a selfish and narcissistic person who was only concerned with herself.  I shed no tears.  But what good would regret do?  It would not bring back Noah or Emma.  What good would regret do for the Clarkes?  It would not bring their children back.  It would never help Sarah to forget the horror she saw.

In truth, I have no regrets.  I am a victim just as much as anyone else in this tragedy.  There is no escaping our destiny.

Time for Questions:

Is it possible that people do not know “WHY?”  Why do you think that people do evil things?  Are all of us evil at some point in our lives?  How do we overcome evil?  Is there really a devil who “makes us do it.”

Life is just beginning.

“One might expect that the families of murder victims would be showered with sympathy and support, embraced by their communities. But in reality they are far more likely to feel isolated, fearful, and ashamed, overwhelmed by grief and guilt, angry at the criminal-justice system, and shunned by their old friends.” — Eric Schlosser

 

 

 

 

Autobiographies from the Dead – Abdullah the Terrorist

For the next several weeks, my blogs are going to consist of “autobiographies” written by some very special people.  They have one thing in common.  They are all dead.  Some have a burial place and some were simply discarded like pieces of trash.  Their stories will be told by the deceased themselves.  They cry out from the fields, rivers and graveyards to speak.  I have heard their cries.  They want me to tell their stories to you.  They want you to know what their living and dying was for.  This week, Abdullah will tell you the story of his life and death.

Abdullah the Terrorist

AbdullahMy name is Abdullah.  My name means “One who serves Allah.”  They will call me Abdullah the Terrorist.  I have killed twenty-five Jews, five Christians and of course myself.  They will call me a suicide bomber.  Calling it suicide is ironic since I did not want to die and neither did any of the thirty people I killed.

I am twenty-four years old and have recently graduated from Al-Azhar University in Gaza with a degree in Pharmacy.   My parents said that people will always need medicine and I could help many of my people with such a degree.  I had always wanted to help people and I thought of being a doctor but I did not like seeing blood.  Another irony, since I probably have not helped any of the thirty people I just murdered and now I am covered with their blood and my blood.  The blood of an Arab mixed with the blood of infidels.

I am not a fanatic.  I did not choose to do this act.  Never in my wildest fantasies did I think I would become a terrorist.  I am not the type of person who wanted to sacrifice themselves for a cause.  I certainly did not need thirty or forty virgins.  I had all the virgins I could want while I was in college.  How did I get to this place?  I should not be dead.  I should be enjoying a good career, a happy family and a long and prosperous life.

Father PrayingMuslim FamilyI was taught by my father and mother not to hate people.  I was the eldest son in a family of six.  I have two younger sisters and one younger brother.  My father was a well-respected business man with a small appliance store.  He had gone to college for two years but dropped out to help his father run a family business.   My mother is a stay at home mom who loves to read, sew, cook and take care of the family finances.  Both my mother and father are very devout Muslims.  My father always told me, “If you hate people, you are no better than the people you hate.”   So how did I become a “Terrorist?”

It began about a year after I graduated from college and after I had started working as a pharmacy assistant at a small pharmacy in Ramla.  The pharmacy was about an hour commute from my home in Gaza.  I had no problem getting a position there as I had never been linked to any anti-Israel activities.  One day, my father was visited by three men in masks shortly after my family had eaten dinner.  We were all told to “get lost.”   My father was given the following message.

“Allah has been good to you. You have a thriving business.  You prosper and your family prospers.  Over the years, nothing has ever been asked of you for your people and nothing has ever been given.  You take but you contribute little to the freedom of our country.  You are a Palestinian but you ignore the sufferings of your neighbors who are oppressed by the Jews.”

“What do you want of me” said my father.

“All we ask is that you speak to your son.  We want him to join us and help his people.”

“My son has his own free will” replied my father.

“Yes, but your son is also a Palestinian and all good Palestinians are expected to help overcome our oppression.  This is not a request.  It could go very badly for your family if you are on the wrong side here.  You are either with us are against us.  There is no in-between.  Speak to your son and explain this to him.”

“Are you threatening me?” said my father.

“We do not threaten.  We speak for the good of our people.  You have been asked nicely.  Please talk to your son and explain how it is to him.”

They left my father with the address of a meeting place for me to go to.

Later that week, my father came to talk to me about his conversation with the freedom fighters.  He told me what they had said.  He told me that he would not force a decision on me and that it was my choice whether to join them or not.  He said that regardless of my decision, he would stand by me and respect me.

Hamas visits AbdullahI would not dishonor my father and mother and family.  I decided to meet with the men whom he had talked to.  At our meeting, it was emphasized that I had a responsibility to my country as well as my family. Terrorist I was told that many of my friends were also freedom fighters and that I would bring great honor to my family by joining them.  I did not really have a choice.  There were no other options.  Thus, I became a freedom fighter for my country or in the West, I became a Terrorist.

terrorist meetingA few months went by and nothing really terrible occurred.  I continued working at the pharmacy by day.  At night, I ran messages around the town and other minor errands.  My family and friends continued on as before and to all appearances nothing really changed in my life.  Then one day, I was called to a special meeting.  Many of the upper level officers were there.  I had seen some of these men before but as a low level soldier I had never talked to them.  One older and very important looking man stood up and said:

“Abdullah, your time has come.”  Your country has need of your services.  You are the only one who can carry out this assignment.  It will require great bravery and great dedication to our mission.  Your actions will bring great glory and honor to your family.  You will be remembered by all of our people and the name of Abdullah will go down in history for your heroic deeds.”

My knees were shaking and I was full of fear but I answered “What must I do?”  I was going to become a real Jihadi.

Terrorist with bombThe next few weeks were full of instructions and operational details.   I often went between my pharmacy and a pharmacy in East Jerusalem to exchange products and some medicines.  On one of these trips, I would carry a package strapped to my chest.   I would probably not be inspected too thoroughly at the checkpoints since the guards were very used to seeing me come across.  They would usually just wave me through.  I did not have to use too much imagination to know what I would be carrying.  The entire apparatus that I had strapped to me weighed about twenty pounds.  It had a large cord with a ring on one end.  The other end of the cord was attached to a detonator.

My instructions were to go the pharmacy where I made my purchases and exchanges and simply act as I usually did.  I was to do this on a typical workday so as to appear that I was simply doing my job.  The time of day that I was to make the trip was between one and five in the afternoon.  It was thought that at this time of day, the pharmacy would be the busiest and there would be more Jews and tourists waiting for drugs or prescriptions.   I was to count the number of people in the pharmacy and note whether more or less were coming in.  If there were at least twenty five people shopping, then I was to yell out “Allahu Akbar” and pull the detonator.

The day started out like any other day in my life.  I rose at 7 AM.  My brother and sisters were all getting ready for school.  Mom was making breakfast for all of us and dad was doing some work on the internet.  I knew it was going to be the last time I would see any of them but I tried to act like nothing was different and nothing was going to happen.  We ate breakfast and I said goodbye to each of my siblings as they left.  As I went out the door, mom reminded me to take my lunch and I gave her a hug and told both my mom and dad goodbye.  I did not say farewell as I did not want them to be suspicious.  It was all I could do to leave my home knowing it would be the last time I would ever see it.

On the way to the pharmacy, I stopped at our headquarters.  Two men attached the weapon to my chest under my tunic.  The officer in charge asked me if I wanted to go over operational details one last time.  I said no and he asked me if I wanted to take anything for my nerves.  I again replied no.  I left for the pharmacy.  Once at my place of employment I went about my normal routine until 1 PM.  At that time, as I had planned, I said that I needed to go to Jerusalem to pick up some medicine and supplies.  This was a fairly usual procedure for me, so no one raised any eyebrows.

I passed through the check point with no problem.  I was greeted cordially by the guards who made some funny remark that I did not catch.  I guess I was too nervous to concentrate on any banter. I proceeded on to the bus which took me to the large pharmacy in East Jerusalem where I often purchased supplies.  I entered the revolving front door and was surprised at how many customers were either shopping or waiting to have a prescription filled.  I started to follow my instructions and count the number of people who were in the shop.  I stopped after I counted at least twenty five people who were there.  I knew it was time.  I took a deep breath and said a quick prayer to Allah.  I reached under my jacket.  I took hold of the large round ring.  I pulled it as hard as I could.  That is the last thing I remember doing.

**FILE2004** Paramedics take care of a victim who was wounded in a suicide bombing of an Egged bus no. 19 in Jerusalem. Eleven people were killed and over 50 wounded, 13 of them seriously. Both the Fatah-related Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades and Hamas claimed responsibility for the attack. January 29, 2004. Photo by Flash90 *** Local Caption *** ????? ???????  ???? ??? ???? ???? ?? ??

**FILE2004**
Paramedics take care of a victim who was wounded in a suicide bombing of an Egged bus no. 19 in Jerusalem. Eleven people were killed and over 50 wounded, 13 of them seriously. Both the Fatah-related Al Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades and Hamas claimed responsibility for the attack. January 29, 2004. Photo by Flash90
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I have never seen such mayhem and carnage.  Even in war movies, it is nothing like this.  There are no words that can describe the horror.  People are screaming and crying and pulling their hair out.  Body parts and blood are everywhere.  People are calling out names and looking through the debris.  People are fainting and others are vomiting.  Everywhere, people are weeping.  Ambulances, doctors and nurses are attending to some injured people while others are being carried out on gurneys.  I look for my body but I cannot find it.  People are cursing Allah and many are swearing retribution on my people.  I am wondering if this is Jahannam and I am in it.  Surely, I am not in Jannah.

“Did I do the right thing?”   This is the question that now torments me.  Did I help my people?  Was it worth the cost to other people? What have I now brought down on my country?  I need to find Allah and ask him these questions.  My soul will never rest until they are answered.

Time for Questions:

What is a terrorist?  What is the difference between a terrorist and a freedom fighter?  Do you think terrorism is ever justified?   Do you think terrorists might be just like you or I?  Are terrorists cowards or courageous?  What do you think of the comment that the American Revolutionists were considered terrorists by the British during the American War of Independence?

Life is just beginning.

The following deaths are attributed to US military Action during Operation Iraqi Freedom. The toll of Iraq’s war dead covered by the report is limited to the early stages of the war, from March 19 when American tanks crossed the Kuwaiti border, to April 20, when US troops had consolidated their hold on Baghdad.

Researchers drew on hospital records, official US military statistics, news reports, and survey methodology to arrive at their figures.

Total war dead (Iraq) From March 19 to April 20

Between 10,800 and 15,100, with a midpoint of 12,950

Combatants killed (Iraq)

Between 7,600 and 10,800, with a midpoint of 9,200

Noncombatants killed (Iraq)

Between 3,200 and 4,300, with a midpoint of 3,750

Up to 15,000 people killed in invasion, claims thinktank  by Suzanne Goldenberg in Washington

The Twelfth Greatest Mystery of all Time:  Can We Solve All the Mysteries of Existence?

The-Mystery Well, we have come to the end of my Greatest Mysteries of All-Time Series.  So far, I have solved ten of the eleven.  This last one is the easiest of all.  Yes, we will solve all the mysteries of existence except for one.  Why do people do what they do?  I submit we will never satisfactorily solve this question.  Thus, I might as well say that the answer to this last mystery is NO!  We will not solve all the mysteries.  There will always be more mysteries.  As long as people are curious and unpredictable, life will be one long stream of continuous and never-ending mysteries.  Mysteries are like the stars in the universe. They are beyond counting and beyond measure.  They are as infinite as humanity’s quest for answers.  (Click here to listen to the Mystery of Existence Song by Farzin Darabi Far)

Although there are several ‘schools of thought’ relating to why God allows mental, emotional, and physical afflictions, it essentially remains a mystery” — R. Alan Woodslatmosphere_metereologie_populaire_camille_flammarion2

How many times have you picked up the newspaper, read a headline and asked yourself: “Why would anyone do that?”  Why would anyone do that? What were they thinking?  I once listened to a series of interviews with serial killers thinking I might find an answer to this question, instead, all I found were more questions.  The killers themselves did not know why they did what they did.  Yesterday, on one of the CNN vignettes on my IPAD, I found an article that started out as follows:  Inside the mind of a serial killer .  It featured an interview with Forensic psychiatrist Helen Morrison who has interviewed over 135 serial killers.  When asked by interviewer Brooke Burke “Why do serial killers continue to kill over and over?”; Dr. Morrison replied “I wish I knew.  It is still a big mystery of why.”   Here are some recent headlines that were in the news on CNN as I write this blog:

 

If you are like me, you probably look at several of these headlines, shake your head and ask “Why would anyone do that.”  Why?  Why? Why?

As I get older and presumably wiser, I find myself less able to come up with answers to this question:  “Why did he do that?”  “Why did she do that?”  “How could anyone do that?”  “What were they thinking?”  Is it just me?  Karen says she is amazed that I am almost constantly rendered speechless by the things that other people do: “Why would anyone vote Republican?  Why would anyone vote Democrat?

godsshadowHow come people put large ugly tattoos all over their bodies?  Why would anyone pay $300 dollars for faded ripped jeans?  How could anyone marry someone like that? Why would anyone let themselves be treated like that?”

 

“All is mystery; but he is a slave who will not struggle to penetrate the dark veil.” — Benjamin Disraeli

 

Mystery after mystery confronts my daily existence.  My best efforts to solve the mysteries of life are worthless in the face of this continuous barrage of mysteries.  While I may solve one or two great mysteries each day, one hundred others seem to pop up to take their place.  Solving my mysteries, I feel like a rat running on the tread mill and staying in the same place.  I apply genius, innovation, creativity, determination, perseverance, fortitude, patience, discipline and still the mysteries of life continue to multiply and accumulate faster than I can dispose of them.

“The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and all science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead: his eyes are closed.”– –Albert Einstein

Do mysteries have some inestimable place in our daily existence?  Are they like vitamins and minerals a necessary part of our daily diet?  Can we live without all the perplexity and confusion that these numerous mysteries provide us?  Or without them, would we gradually wither away and die of sameness and complacency?

I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me mysteries or give me death! John Persico Jr.

Time for Questions:

What are your greatest mysteries?  What makes a mystery for you?  What do you find most curious or interesting about life?  How do you go about solving your own mysteries?  Do you regard mysteries as fun and entertaining or challenging and provocative?  Do you hate mysteries?  Why?

Life is just beginning.

“Every woman that finally figured out her worth, has picked up her suitcases of pride and boarded a flight to freedom, which landed in the valley of change.”  ― Shannon L. Alder

The Sixth Greatest Mystery of All Time:  Who killed the Lindbergh baby, the Black Dahlia, Nicole Simpson and Jon Ramsey Benet?

MurderMysteryLogoAre you a “Crime Voyeur?”  Do you religiously follow all of the “Crimes of the Century?”  Can you hardly wait for the next tidbit of evidence or the suspect interview?  Do you spin your own theories based on conjecture rather than facts?  Do you get exasperated with the police, relatives, witnesses, prosecutors, defense attorneys, judges and jurors who are all so biased that they would not know the truth if it hit them between their eyes?  Of course, “who done it” is so elementary “My Dear Watson”, that Sherlock Holmes would not waste five minutes on the case.  But even though the case is elementary to all but the blind, you succumb to the newspapers and lurid TV stories with full knowledge that the media is selling RED.  If it’s red, it’s read!  Gore sells more!  When it bleeds, people read!

(Murder Mystery – Scouting For Girls)  Listen to the song as you read my blog.

So okay, I confess, mea culpa, I am a junkie for crime cases.  I too am one of the ones to spin theories and suspects out of thin air and “hardly facts.”  Alas, if only we were forensics specialists or the lead detectives, we could have these cases wrapped up as fast as they do on Glades or Midsomer Murders or Bones.  In less time than it takes to sweat a suspect, we would have the murder weapon, confession, body, motive and a jury screaming for blood.  Hang em high!  If you do the crime, you pay the time!

Why is it that no one else but us (and of course TV detectives) can figure out the obvious?  The clues are staring the police in the face but they don’t see them.  How can they miss the connections that are so apparent to us?  If only they would ask for our help.  We could easily solve the case.  But no, they are the professionals and they don’t want our help.  Thus, the case drags on and on and all the time we sit here knowing full well “who done it.” columbo

So you want to know who killed Nicole Simpson or Jon Ramsey Benet!  Well, you probably already know but either you do not want to believe it or you want Moses to come down with the perps name written on two tablets along with a confession.   If so, you have watched too many TV detective crime solving stories.  Understand that in TV crime solving procedure, everything is black and white.  There are no politics in TV murders or missing bodies.  The suspect only needs a little persuasion done by our intrepid crime fighters and a full confession is forth coming along with the motive and murder weapon.  The body has already been found or you would not have much if any story.  Most TV dramas start off with the discovery of the gruesome remains of a cadaver followed by much flippant analysis between the Medical Examiner and the lead detective or between the lead detective (LD) and the forensic pathologist (FP).

LD – They found the body about 11 PM in the park under the Cypress tree. 

FP – You mean with anyone else but me? (Laughs)

LD – That mean you want to tell me where you were between 10 and 12 PM last night? (Smirk)

FP – If you don’t remember, I’m not telling you. (Giggles)

LD – I suppose we should go over that again tonight, but right now we have a murder mystery and only 60 minutes minus 30 minutes of commercials to solve it.  (Serious)

FP – You bet.  Don’t think our advertisers and sponsor would want us to go over our time slot.

Did you pick up the “subtle” innuendoes about sex between our crime fighting team?  Did you notice how nonchalant they were over the body that was torn limb from limb or left in a reeking vat of sulfuric acid?  It takes a lot of fortitude to be a TV dick.  I am sure that most real life detectives wish they had these abilities.  Of course, if they did, they would be making closer to a million dollars a year and not under a hundred thousand dollars a year.  Real life is not fair.  Not only do TV dicks solve crimes faster they make a whole lot more money doing it.

off_beat_detective_stories_195905It seems like in the “good old days” (Whenever they were), it was much easier to solve crimes.  You did not have to waste as much time on procedure, facts, evidence and suspect rights.  Things started going south when the Miranda decision was rendered and suddenly suspects were entitled to their rights.  It is a lot easier to solve crimes when you can bypass this legal roadblock.  I mean really, why should I need a search warrant to look through your house or car?  Why should I need probable cause to wiretap your phone?  Why can’t I search you without consent or your lawyer being present?  How can anyone expect me to solve the crime if these legalities are tying my hands?  What ever happened to good old country justice?  Back when we knew they were guilty but couldn’t prove it and hung em anyway?  What a waste of time these trivial legalities are.  Real cases take years to solve and on TV they do it in less than 60 minutes and that often includes the trial.  Maybe we should be hiring more TV detectives on the real police force.

TV detectives are able to get warrants in less than five minutes and when they don’t have them, they break in anyway.  Ever notice how good TV dicks are at picking locks?  Real detectives never come out of a suspect interview with a confession whereas TV dicks get full confessions in less time than it takes for their coffee to go cold.

TV Dick:  We know you did it. (Nonchalant)

Suspect:  You can’t prove a thing. (Smug)

TV Dick:  You think you are clever, but you left the coffee pot on right after you stabbed your ex-wife to death. (Smile)

Suspect:  So what? (Perplexed)

TV Dick:  Well the water ran out and the butler had to refill the pot (Serene)

Suspect:  You don’t mean to say? (Worried)

TV Dick:  Right, he found the gun in the bottom of the coffee pot that you stashed there when you heard him coming and it had your finger prints all over it. (Resolute)

Suspect:  Dam – never thought anyone would look in the coffee pot.  (Chagrined)

TV Dick:  Next time you murder your ex, turn the coffee pot off.  (Fading laughter)

Did you notice a disconcerting fact that was overlooked during this repartee?  The wife was stabbed to death but the gun was the murder weapon.  Well, such contradictory facts often come up in TV dramas but you need to suspend belief or least put all logic on hold while you watch these crime stories.  Better to save your logic for the real life crimes.   Let’s look at a few of the most famous cases from the last century.  We will thus put a lie to the idea that there is ever a single solitary “crime of the century.”

Who killed Nicole Simpson? 

Well, we know from the facts (Forget the DNA) that he was big, strong, fast and angry.  That rules out just about everybody but O. J. Simpson.  Now if you are a White person you are puzzled by the fact that so many Black people felt O. J. was innocent.  Actually that was not the case.  Every Black person I knew thought O. J. was guilty.  The real question was who was guiltier:  The Police, Nicole or O. J?  Simpson represented a good many things to the Black community.  He was successful, good looking, famous and rich.  He was a Black man who had become respectable and admired in White society.

Oj and GloveThe L.A. Police department was racist, racist and more racist.  Nicole was a White woman taking advantage of her looks to marry a rich Black man and then trying to take him to the cleaners for alimony and child support while screwing as many other guys as she could.  So we have a three way triangle here.  Who is guilty?   Who was in the wrong place at the wrong time?  Who falsified evidence and clearly overlooked any semblance of objective police procedure?  The answers to these questions are as obvious as the lines in your palm.  The MAN who killed Nicole is now doing time for another crime.  Justice will out one way or another.

Who killed the Lindbergh baby?

What wonders about the conflict or confusion in this case?  You are found with the money.  You are spending the money.  You have motive and opportunity and ability.  You have wood from a ladder used in the murder.  You have a witness who recognized your voice.  What is the problem?  Bruno Hauptmann was so guilty it was a crime to even have a trial.  However, did he do it himself or have an accomplice?

The evidence suggests someone else got away scot free.  But I suggest you not worry about it.  Detectives are out to close cases not necessarily find all the guilty parties.  You cannot bring back Baby Charles by finding the other killer.  The parents were satisfied that justice was done.  The courts were satisfied.  The cops were satisfied, so what is the problem?  People seem to hate cases where conspiracies and great complexity do not exist.  Perhaps we are watching too many TV shows where the TV dicks generally have a dozen or more suspects and through mind boggling forensic and analysis techniques gradually narrow it down to the one whom you least suspect.  In real life, the one who you most suspect is probably the guilty party.

Who killed the Black Dahlia?

black_dahliaLong before Fatal Attraction and Basic Instinct, we had the Black Dahlia:  Beautiful aspiring actress trying to break into stardom by spending time in bed with the right people.  Was the killer a jilted boyfriend or simply some sick psycho?  Her body was found cut in half and posed in a manner either to provide ultimate humiliation or ultimate revenge.  There was no shortage of suspects or people who confessed to the murder.

“The Black Dahlia murder investigation was conducted by the LAPD. The Department also enlisted the help of hundreds of officers borrowed from other law enforcement agencies. Owing to the nature of the crime, sensational and sometimes inaccurate press coverage focused intense public attention on the case.

About 60 people confessed to the murder, mostly men. Of those, 25 were considered viable suspects by the Los Angeles District Attorney. In the course of the investigation, some of the original 25 were eliminated, and several new suspects were proposed. Suspects remaining under discussion by various authors and experts include Walter Bayley,[14] Norman Chandler, Leslie Dillon, Joseph A. Dumais, Mark Hansen, George Hill Hodel, George Knowlton, Robert M. “Red” Manley, Patrick S. O’Reilly, Woody Guthrie, Orson Welles, and Jack Anderson Wilson.”   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Dahlia

Which one of her many boyfriends could it have been?  Which one of the many “Avengers” could have done it?  Since she was a gold digging fame seeking femme fatale, each of them probably had plenty of motives.  The evidence suggests that whoever did it had a very sick mind and enjoyed the mutilation more than the murder.  Will we ever know?  Experts say probably not.  But that will not keep us from speculating.

Nothing is more fascinating that a sexy woman, lurid killing, and plenty of suspects.  Once upon a time, we had the antics of the Gods to keep us engrossed.  Greek God stories abound with twisted tales of murder, incest, rape, infanticide, parricide and imaginative revenge.  Today, we have serial killers and an endless series of stories about them.  There are biographies, autobiographies, TV shows, interviews, documentaries, movies and a zillion fictional novels about serial killers.  Type in “serial killers” on Google and you will get over one million hits. Type in “serial killer books” and you will get over two hundred thousand hits.  Who killed the Black Dahlia? Who really cares?  As long as the murders keep coming we can stay glued to the tabloids.  Next please!

Who Killed Jon Ramsey Benet?

Jonbenet-ramseyJon Ramsey Benet was a cute little six year old girl; beauty queen pageant winner at the age of five.  She was found strangled and bludgeoned in the basement of her own upper middle class home.  Suspects:  Parents or Kidnapper?  Initial police investigation focused on parents.  Shoddy forensic work, poor crime scene investigation and perhaps two killers smarter than the police all lead up to a tangled web of “who done it.”  Accusations went back and forth and forth and back.  Parents or kidnappers, kidnappers or parents, parents or kidnappers?

Let’s start from the three basics:  Motive, opportunity and ability.  Who had the motive?  Was it the parents or the kidnappers?  Jon’s mother was said to be high strung and pushy.  She had no apparent motive to kill her daughter but if it was an accident she did not seem like the kind of person to just admit it and take the consequences.  Together with her husband, they had plenty of motive to hide the crime and try to make it look like someone else did it.  The ransom note seems like a pretty farfetched piece of logic for any real kidnappers to have written.  It seems highly unlikely to have been written by anyone who did not know the family well.  If it was a kidnapping and they knew the family well, it stretches the imagination to think that they could have believed they could get away with it.  If Jon knew them and they needed to kill her then how could they follow up the ransom demand for the money?  The kidnappers would only have one motive and that was money.  But money was never taken or put on the table and how could they expect to get any money once Jon’s body was found?  If the kidnappers were really killers solely out for revenge, then why the bit with the ransom note?  Not a good way to get revenge. If you are out for revenge, you want the victim to know it.

Let’s move on to opportunity.  Kidnappers would have had far less opportunity for this crime than the family had.  They would have had to burglar the house, find their way around in the dark, make little or no noise and kill Jon silently so they did not wake her parents up.  If they were going to kidnap the child for money and by some unlucky chance they accidently killed her, then why not take the body and at least go through the charade of ransoming the child for money?  They did not take the body and it does not make sense to think that if they were prepared to take a live child away that they could not have taken her dead body.

Finally, who had the ability to kill Jon?  This is an easy question.  A six year old child could easily be killed by either a male or female adult.   Either by intention or accident, small children or killed every day by negligent parents.

Approximately fifteen children under the age of fourteen die every day in this country as a result of unintentional injuries, totaling more than 5600 children per year.  Although surely not all, many of these deaths were undoubtedly caused by parental negligence.  Yet despite the prevalence of these fatalities, almost no research explores the treatment of these cases by the criminal justice system.  Commentators often assert that parents are rarely prosecuted in cases involving deaths due to parental negligence, but they completely fail to cite any authority for that proposition.  In addition, prosecutors are relying on the common perception that a failure to prosecute is the norm when making charging decisions in individual cases. — CRIME AND PARENTHOOD: THE UNEASY CASE FOR PROSECUTING NEGLIGENT PARENTS Copyright 2006 by Northwestern University School of Law, Northwestern University Law Review, Vol.  100, No. 2

According to data from the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System (NCANDS), 49 States reported a total of 1,593 fatalities.  Based on these data, a nationally estimated 1,640 children died from abuse and neglect in 2012.  The disparity in numbers between the two studies is created by the different definitions of negligence.  It would seem the 2006 study includes potentially accident deaths whereas the 2012 study only includes confirmed reports of abuse or neglect.

Given the large number of children either accidently or otherwise killed by parents, it does not seem far afield to think that either Patsy or John might have accidently killed Jon and then together engaged in an elaborate cover up.  This seems a more likely scenario then either of them calling the police and saying that they killed Jon by accidently hitting her in the head.  However, since the coroner ruled the main cause of death to be strangulation and asphyxia, it is harder to believe that any loving parents could resort to such a cold blooded method of murder, particularly when any actual motive by her parents to kill her did not exist.

Finally, complicating the question of “who done it” is the DNA found on two separate pieces of Jon’s clothing.

“The match of Male DNA on two separate items of clothing worn by the victim at the time of the murder makes it clear to us that an unknown male handled these items. There is no innocent explanation for its incriminating presence at three sites on these two different items of clothing that Jon Benét was wearing at the time of her murder.”  —- Mary T. Lacy, District Attorney (2008-07-09). “Letter from DA to John Ramsey”.  District Attorney’s Office, Twentieth Judicial District, Boulder, Colorado.  Retrieved 2008-07-09.

If the DNA rules out family members (seems like this is logical to assume), if the kidnappers did not seem to want the child and if we rule out revenge on Jon as a motive, we are left with no suspects.  No suspects, unless, the DNA evidence, handwriting analysis and medical examiner’s report are wrong.  If any of these are wrong or all are wrong, the logic of the case points right back to the family.  Either brother, father or mother may have had the Motive, ability and opportunity.  If the evidence is incontrovertible, then as Simpson’s attorney said “If the glove don’t fit, you must acquit.”  If the evidence is valid, then Jon’s parents are not guilty and we can assume that another motive which has not been uncovered was the reason.  Perhaps some nutcase parent thought Jon was too much competition for her daughter and decided to take matters in her own hands.  Sounds unlikely, but it has been known to happen.

Time for Questions:

Who do you think did it?  Why?  Can you provide Motive, ability and opportunity or just conjecture?

Life is just beginning.

 

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