Archive for the ‘ Unsolved Murder ’ Category

Derrick Todd Lee denied request for new trial

 

By Quincy Hodges, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

A Baton Rouge judge has denied convicted killer Derrick Todd Lee’s appeal for a new trial in the killing of former LSU graduate 22-year-old Charlotte Murray Pace. Lee was sentenced to death in 2004.

Lee’s case automatically goes to the Louisiana Supreme Court, and if his claims are rejected, the case would go to the federal post-conviction relief stage. Lee made 28 claims, arguing the state has improper death penalty laws, East Baton Rouge Parish systemically discriminates against people of color, misconduct of trial counsel and he had ineffective defense counsel. All his claims were denied by District Judge Richard Anderson Tuesday afternoon.

Lee, 45, of St. Francisville, was also convicted of second-degree murder in the killing of Geralyn Barr DeSoto, 21, of Addis in 2002.

Lee is also suspected of killing seven women between in 1998 and 2003 in south Louisiana.

Article

I do not understand why he is still being allowed to torment people, the families and communities that these ladies lived in. It is not right that he is allowed to keep inflicting pain and fear.

 

Victims on about.com

Of course that does not include everyone he has hurt.

Wikipedia article

Crime Library article

Tommy Lynn Sells is finally dead.

I know, I am a bit late to the party but…..

Tommy Lynn Sells was executed by the state of Texas on April 3, 2014.

No tears were shed here, trust me, He was a rapist and a killer who did not care about the age of his victims. He is known to have killed at least 1 four year old boy, a thirteen year old girl and he attempted to kill another young girl, ten years old, but she survived.
He is also suspected to have murdered at least 19 others and he has bragged that he has killed more than 70.

Rot in Hell Tommy.

Wikipedia on Sells

48 Hours update on the Long Island unidentified serial killer

I am glad that there is new information and that the case has not been just let lie. I was worried that since Hurricane Sandy it was just going to lay unsolved.

Sadly there does not seem to be any new leads or information on the 4 girls found murdered in New Jersey. So close to this case.

Now She Has a Name; Heidi Balch

Now She Has a Name: When a Serial Killer Visited My Small Town

Until the day the golfer spotted a dismembered head in the cool waters of Stony Brook, the scariest beast in Hopewell was the New Jersey Devil. As elementary school students, we were shown videos of the Devil rampaging flocks of sheep and terrorizing farmers in the Pine Barrens. This was frightening, to be sure, but the Pine Barrens were several hours by car southeast of Hopewell (pop. 2200) and the videos never showed the Devil’s face owing to budgeting constraints, as the filmmakers could not afford any special effects. Plus we had a professional hockey team named after him — the Devils — and they were an inspiration to young children, not a menace.

I remember receiving the news about the head late one night in a house in the Sourland Mountains in 1989. My friend George and I were locked in a fierce battle of Nintendo Ice Hockey, the chief variables of the game being to decide whether to choose a slow, plump player, who could shoot the puck hard and check anything in his path; a skinny player who was extremely lithe but who had a weak shot and could be easily bumped off his skates; or a medium-sized player who was a compromise between the other two body types. It was an addictive formula, and one that Nintendo continues to exploit in its games today. Anyway, we were engrossed in this battle when George’s parents mounted the stairs and solemnly told us that a severed head had been found in a creek by the Hopewell Valley Golf Club, and added that they had locked the doors and we’d been up late enough playing-your-games-and-you-should-get-some-sleep.

We did not sleep that night, of course. The thought of a head without its body was something that had never occurred to us, and we were old enough, about 10, to know that someone had killed this body before lopping off its head. We consoled ourselves, as our world views splintered and cracked, by watching The Ultimate Warrior thrash his opponents on the World Wrestling Federation until the sun pried open our dreary eyelids.

The local news followed the story of the severed head closely, and blood tests eventually revealed that it contained the AIDS virus. In 1989, AIDS was associated with two things, gays and blacks, and we believed you could contract it by cutting your head on metal and that the symptom was a long white hair on your tongue and throat. This only compounded our sense of terror: a dismembered head with a misunderstood virus.

The place where the head had been found was more bizarre, the seventh hole of an idyllic golf club. My family didn’t belong to the club, but I had been there with friends to swim in the pool, which had a deep-end colored a malevolent blue, so bottomless were its waters, and lifeguards that sneered as they twirled their whistles around their fingers. In my memories, the swimming pool is always sun-dappled and solar flared — enough to please J.J. Abrams — because we only went swimming on sunny days. Hopewell was a small town, and safe and complacent with its five churches, its family-owned deli, sport hunting shop, and pharmacy. It had once been a hotbed of the Ku Klux Klan, and before that a scene of fierce resistance during the Revolutionary War. Charles Lindbergh’s baby had been kidnapped from a second story window, and then discarded in the woods just outside town, but by the late 1980s Hopewell had become a desirable backwater with its ample green spaces, acres of woods, pristine creeks, Harvest Festival, and Memorial Day parade, where kids of all colors could roam freely without fear. We would ride our Huffies and Schwinns by the golf course, right over the spot where Stony Brook, the stream in which the head had been found, dipped beneath the road.

As time went on, and the head was never claimed, rumors began to circulate, and always seemed to end in one of two possibilities: the Mafia or a serial killer had done it. Serial killers were, of course, far scarier to a 10 year old than the Mafia. Unlike the Mafia, which (television had us believe) followed a moral code, serial killers were imbued with their own unique compass. As a kid, my main concern was to find out how many other killers were out there, because that would promote my survival. My parents reassured me that we were safe — what else could you say to a child about such a thing? — and I would believe them until the sun went down and our home filled with shadows. But there were deeper questions, too: Why hadn’t anyone noticed that a head was missing? Wasn’t the family looking for the head? The thought that no family member cared enough about this person’s head to claim it back was even more terrifying. If your family can’t search for your missing head, then what good are they, in the end?

Most of my questions about the head were fed by what my parents called “an active imagination,” but in hindsight the threats were never were too far away. While vacationing at my grandparents’ cabin in Wisconsin, my mom hid an ax under the bed because the bodies of slaughtered children had been turning up in the woods, before Jeffrey Dahmer had been caught; my best friend in Hopewell had once lived in Arkansas down the street from the mother of John Wayne Gacy, a serial killer who had apparently visited her regularly as my friend rode his bigwheel tricycle down the street.

Much later, working with asylum seekers in South Africa, I regularly met men and women from the Democratic Republic of Congo who fled war-torn areas where roving militias dismembered the bodies of civilian victims. The difference was that the practice was fed by a heady mix of psychotropic drugs, psychological warfare, and perverted interpretations of animist traditions. The scale of such murders was terrifying, but there were reasons in place. It was war and the militias feared the spirits of their victims. There was a certain logic.

As a Nigerian-American, I’ve also become accustomed to a few stereotypes, most of which revolve around Nigerian email scams, but also the selling of body parts. Not just internal organs, but arms, legs, feet, little fingers. (Just watch the South African film District 9, and you’ll see Nigerians who get off on dismembering people and also having sex with aliens from outerspace.) But again, there is a sort of reasoning to that illicit traffic. The bodies for these occult rituals are sliced apart for spiritual purposes, not as ends unto themselves.

Last week, after a 24-year search for more information about the head, the New Jersey State Police finally discovered the identity of the victim. She was a prostitute who had changed her name no less than 15 times, and she was identified by DNA tests that matched her with her aunt, who had filed a missing persons report with the police in 2001. Her name was Heidi Balch. She is believed to have been the first victim killed by Joel Rifkin, who confessed to murdering someone with the name of one of her aliases in 1993, and who had been sentenced to 200 years in prison after killing 17 prostitutes on a rampage. Rifkin claimed to have begun murdering prostitutes because he had contracted AIDS from one.

The HIV virus was the main character of South African author Kgebetli Moele’s 2009 novel The Book of the Dead, and the protagonist moved from victim to victim boasting of its conquests. It was not Moele’s best book — that would be Room 207, a must read — but it was chilling to read how the virus thrived on intimacy and broken relationships. Revenge was never the point of the virus in that story: it lived only for the sake of living. Rifkin, by contrast, claimed to be butchering for revenge and not for pleasure. In this, the fictional virus holds the moral upperhand, for it doesn’t pretend to be serving some larger purpose.

Like science fiction, serial killers twist our values on their head and allow us to reflect back on ourselves — What would happen if our planet had two suns instead of one? Or if we communicated through telepathy? — and, in the case of serial killers — what if you didn’t care if you killed someone? Or took pleasure in the killing? Serial killers are big business. Their psychological profiles and crafty, nefarious plotting can be patiently examined in a television series like Dexter or Bates Motel and people will watch them.

Only after I read the news about the discovery did I realize how long I had suppressed even thinking about the murder. For two decades, I now realized, I had been holding my breath as we drove along the road past the golf course; and all that time the head loomed spectral and ghoulish in the crenellations of my mind.

The New Jersey State Police managed to trace Heidi Balch’s identity by searching records of prostitution offenses at the time. If my consciousness was first shattered in 1989 when they found the head, it was this fact that shattered it again. Heidi Balch was killed because she had been pushed, by will or by circumstance, to the margins of our society to the extent that her very livelihood was a criminal act. Rifkin, Dahmer, and Gacy preyed on the weak and marginalized. It’s hard to imagine a sober conversation about legalizing prostitution in America today or empowering sex workers with rights, especially when abortion laws are becoming still more restrictive. Heidi Balch was unclaimed and nameless for 24 years. Now we know her name, but if she were alive today what would prevent us from forgetting her again?

Again we see how far the ripples of a killer reach into society. How it touches kids and parents and how and what they do.

The Dead Man Talking Project

Hunting for Long-Gone Serial Killers: Inside the Dead Man Talking Project

 

Two California prosecutors are teaming to up to gather the DNA of deceased murderers and use it to close unsolved murders. But tracking down the saliva of a dead man isn’t always easy. Christine Pelisek reports.

By day, she runs the sex-crimes division of the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office. In her spare time, she tracks down the DNA of dead rapists, murderers, and serial killers.

Carol Burke is on a mission to cross off as many cold cases as she can by matching swabs of known felons with evidence from unsolved-crime scenes. With Anne Marie Schubert, who is in charge of child-abuse cases upstate in the Sacramento D.A.’s office, Burke helps to run a project called Dead Man Talking, which has brought the pair closer than ever to bringing justice to the cases of some of the most sadistic serial killers in California history—even if the culprits themselves are long gone.

“It’s really rewarding,” Burke says of the project. “There is a lot of value to it, even though we can’t prosecute the offenders because they are dead. Families can at least have some closure. They finally know what happened to their loved ones.”

California has a DNA data bank that stores close to 2 million felon profiles. It also contains some 25,000 pieces of crime-scene evidence from murders, rapes, robberies, and burglaries—semen from a bed sheet, or a cigarette butt—that have never been linked to an offender.

Burke and Schubert believe that adding to the list of felon profiles could close countless unsolved cases. But a surprising number of known offenders are missing from the database. Schubert says that since 1984, close to 25,000 inmates have died in a California prison or on parole. Of those, nearly 19,000 were not swabbed for DNA before they died. Over 40 of them were death-row inmates.

Finding traces of these men can be extremely difficult, especially for two women with full-time jobs and no staff. Burke and Schubert are focusing first on death-row inmates and then widening their net to offenders who were sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Each has their own white whale. Burke is devoted to tracking down the DNA of notorious “Freeway Killer” William Bonin, so called because many of his victims were left by the side of freeways in Southern California. “He’s my No. 1 target,” Burke says. “He was a really bad guy. He was so prolific.”

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Bonin was convicted of kidnapping, robbing, sexually assaulting, and killing 13 boys and young men in Los Angeles and Orange counties between 1979 and 1980. After he was arrested, Bonin, who had worked alongside various accomplices, including a factory worker named Vernon Butts, confessed to killing 21 young boys and young men, some of them he had picked up hitchhiking. Police believe his body count is closer to 30.

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However, when Bonin was executed in San Quentin State Prison in 1996 before submitting a DNA sample, any hope of linking him to more killings died with him.

“I originally assumed they autopsied people in San Quentin,” says Burke. “That’s not the case. They were only autopsying people who committed suicide or were killed in prison. So someone who died of natural causes or was executed like Bonin was not autopsied.”

Burke says Bonin’s court files and trial exhibits have been destroyed. Nor has she had any luck finding his blood, semen, or saliva with the Los Angeles or Orange County police departments or with the coroner’s office. An attempt to track down the DNA of Butts, who Bonin said was an active participant in many of the murders, almost came to fruition when she discovered that he had committed suicide in a Los Angeles County jail and was autopsied. But, she said, law-enforcement personnel destroyed the forensic evidence in 2010.  

 The dead ends can be frustrating. “Bonin is the most notorious and the one who most likely left unsolved murders in his wake,” Burke says. “It sure would be great to get his sample so we could solve some of the unsolveds out there.”

Recently she found better luck in the case of Roland Comtois, who abducted two teenaged girls in 1987, killed one, and sexually assaulted the other. The 65-year-old inmate died in a prison hospital from an infection in 1994, but was never autopsied. But Burke’s sleuthing uncovered a bloody shirt that had belonged to the killer—left when police shot him trying to escape arrest and stored as evidence. So far, his DNA has not been linked to any new murders.

Schubert, who created Dead Man Talking in 2008, started the project in part to solve some of Sacramento County’s most notorious serial-killer cold cases that date back to the ’70s.

“It was a killing field, and not just here,” she says. “The number of body dumps across the state was enormous.”

One of the killers high on her list is the “Original Night Stalker,” who is believed to be responsible for over 50 rapes that began in Northern California and ended with multiple murders in 1986 in Santa Barbara, Orange, and Ventura counties.
 
“It terrified Sacramento and the region,” says Schuster, who was a child when the attacks began. “We still haven’t solved it. It’s highly likely that he has died in prison.”

 Schubert spent over a year searching for the DNA of serial killer Gerald Gallego, who along with his wife was responsible for the sex-slave murders of 10 young women in California and Nevada in the late ’70s. Gallego, who was sentenced to death in both states, died in 2002 of rectal cancer in Nevada and was never swabbed.
 
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Eventually, Schubert says, she found a saliva sample buried inside 14 boxes at a clerk’s office.  

“I can say he was suspected in multiple murders and not just the ones he was convicted of,” she says.

Last year the pair had their first major success when they linked L.A. serial killer Juan Chavez to the unsolved murder of 60-year-old Lynn Penn. Penn was found strangled in his apartment in July 1990.

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Chavez committed suicide three months after he was convicted of killing five gay men. Schubert discovered that Chavez had been autopsied, and a sample of his blood was still in evidence. His DNA was uploaded into the DNA data bank  and last February it was linked to saliva found on a cigarette butt discovered inside Penn’s apartment.

 “I think I screamed,” said Schubert when she learned of the DNA hit. “I remember where I was. It’s like how everyone remembers where they were when Elvis died.”

Schubert is hoping to expand the project statewide and hire a full-time investigator. However, cold-case grants are hard to come by. Last year they were turned down for funding for the project.

“There are probably some people out there that are like, these guys are dead; it doesn’t matter. I don’t think that at all,” she says. “It does matter. It’s about seeking justice for those who were harmed by these people.”

 

I think it matters and I think it is very important to give the families closure. I applaud these two ladies and hope that the criminal justice system gets behind them.

What was serial killer doing while in North Texas? | wfaa.com Dallas – Fort Worth

2932-israel-keyes

Isrealkeyes

What was serial killer doing while in North Texas? | wfaa.com Dallas – Fort Worth.

While supposed serial killer Israel Keyes did kill himself in his Anchorage jail cell last month, the FBI still needs the public’s help to build a narrative of his crimes.
Investigators believe Keyes killed at least eight people across the U.S., zig-zagging the country kidnapping victims, robbing them and killing some. TIME Magazine reported in December that investigators didn’t know about the string of crimes until Keyes told them.
His spree lasted from 2001 until February 2012.
As TIME writer Madison Gray detailed, Keyes kidnapped 18-year-old Samantha Koenig from a coffee shop in Anchorage on February 1 of last year. The FBI says he took her debit card and sent out a flurry of text messages with her phone so acquaintances wouldn’t think she was missing. He got her PIN number. The next day, he killed her.
Keyes flew to Houston and back to Anchorage, eventually finagling the deposit of ransom money into Koenig’s account, which he withdrew from banks in Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico and Texas, as TIME reported.
In March of last year, a Lufkin highway patrolman spotted Keyes driving his Ford Focus and pulled it over, recognizing it from a security video. Keyes was arrested and extradited. He confessed –– then confessed to at least eight murders. There may be more: Staring down at a possible death sentence, Keyes cut his wrists and hanged himself in his jail cell.
FBI investigators have pieced together Keyes’ travels since. And between February 12 and February 16, Special Agent Diego Rodriguez says he was in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
He told police that he was in Azle, Aledo and Cleburne. And, at some point, his car got stuck in a “muddy, rural area.” Rodriguez wants to speak to anyone who may have helped Keyes with his car.
Johnson County Sheriff’s deputies are also helping the FBI. They will be posting flyers Thursday at gas stations and restaurants in Godley and Cresson. Johnson County is also hoping new leads might help them solve a murder that happened in their jurisdiction last February.
“You start wondering if they are tied to it, in any way or not,” said Lt. Tim Jones from the Johnson County Sheriff’s Department. “If they are to give closure to the family or not, eliminate them so we keep looking for the right person”.
During that same time period, Keyes may have also visited the Post Oak Cemetery in Glen Rose.

If you saw a blue 2011 Kia Soul with a TX license plate of CN8-M857, you’re asked to call 1.800.CALL.FBI.
The Johnson County Sheriff’s Department is also seeking information, (817) 556-6058.

Video at link as well.

Authorities on Monday said they have arrested a 72-year-old man in connection with the slayings of three women in the late 1980s, alleging he is a serial killer who operated in Los Angeles as well as in Florida and the Gulf Coast region.

Samuel Little, 72, has been extradited to California from Kentucky, where he was taken into custody by the U.S. Marshals Service in early September on an unrelated criminal warrant, the Los Angeles Police Department said.

Little was charged Monday by the L.A. County district attorney’s office with three murder counts and special circumstances for multiple murder. No immediate decision has been made whether to pursue the death penalty against Little.

DOCUMENT: Read the criminal complaint

LAPD Detectives Mitzi Roberts and Rick Jackson, who investigated the case, said there is DNA evidence linking Little to the Los Angeles slayings but would not elaborate, citing the ongoing investigation. The crimes are all sexually motivated strangulations, they said.

Police identified the Los Angeles victims as Carol Alford, 41, found dead on July 13, 1987; Audrey Nelson, 35, whose body was discovered Aug. 14, 1989; and Guadalupe Apodaca, 46, from Sept. 2, 1989. Their bodies were discovered in the Central Avenue-Alameda Street corridor, just south of downtown.

The bulk of Little’s arrests — which numbered in the dozens — were for crimes such as drunk driving, shoplifting and burglary; but detectives said he had a far more sinister side that included bursts of violence such as murders, robberies and assaults directed at those with “high-risk lifestyles” including prostitutes and substance abusers.

“It was theft by day and murder by night,” Jackson said of Little.

Little, also known as Samuel McDowell,” committed crimes in 24 states but served relatively little time in state prison or county jail, the detectives said. In the early 1980s, Little was accused of a two murders and two attempted murders in the Gainsesville, Fla., and Pascagoula, Miss., areas.

Little, at the time identified in press accounts as Samuel McDowell, was acquitted by a Florida jury in the strangulation murder of 26-year-old Patricia Ann Mount, whose body was discovered Sept. 12, 1982.

He was never brought to trial in the three Mississippi cases, which include the strangulation death of Melinda LaPree, 24, on Sept., 14 1982. That case has been reopened by the Pascagoula Police Department in light of new evidence, authorities said.

Little served limited prison time relative to his crimes and kept a step ahead of authorities by constantly moving among states. According to LAPD detectives, he had an arrest record in nearly every region of the continental U.S. except the north central states.

After avoiding convictions in the South, Little headed to California, where he lived in the mid- to late 1980s in the San Diego and Los Angeles areas.

He served more than two years in state prison after being convicted of assault and false imprisonment of two San Diego women in separate cases, police said. Shortly after being paroled, detectives say, he killed the three Los Angeles women.

His exact movements after leaving Southern California are not entirely clear, but detectives say they believe Little is responsible for further violent crimes, including murders.

“We believe he is good for many more crimes — including murders — throughout the United States,” Roberts said. “If any law enforcement agencies have similar killings that occurred between 1960 and the present, they should contact LAPD Cold Case Detectives.”

Full article <a

href=”http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2013/01/suspect-1980s-slayings-arrested.html&#8221; target=”_blank”>here

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