Cop who unplugged his cam before killing a 19-year-old girl is rehired

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Albuquerque police officer Jeremy Dear was ordered to wear a body-camera after many of the city's residents complained about their encounters with him. Afterward, he routinely failed to plug in the camera. His camera was not running when he shot and killed a 19-year-old girl in 2014. Read the rest

Two rampage killer attacks today in California. Great job, America.


One attack took place at the University of California Merced campus: 5 stabbed, suspect commits suicide by cop. Another attack in San Diego, in a mixed residential and business area north of the city core known as Banker's Hill. The San Diego shooting is an "active situation" at the time of this blog post. Read the rest

In Mexico, police find 4 severed heads in coolers with “Happy Day of the Dead” note


In the Mexican state of Zacatecas, authorities announced today they have found the severed heads of four men. The heads were left in Styrofoam coolers, along with gang messages that appear to have been written by members of one drug cartel, directed at a rival cartel.

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This cyberpunk murder mystery looks lovely, but feels incomplete


I was ready to love Murder from the moment the game opened on a female police lieutenant waking from a rain-soaked cyberpunk nightmare about murderous robots, and walking out on her balcony to smoke a cigarette over the light-spattered skyscrapers of Future Tokyo. "Yes," I thought, "I'm in." Sadly, I spoke a little too soon.

Developed by Peter Moorhead, the creator behind the abandoned astronaut game Stranded, Murder is another brief, point-and-click adventure illustrated with beautiful pixel art. This time around, Moorehead promises players a "short story" that delves into some pretty lofty ideas: "the intersection of morality and sentience, in a future where both are commodities."

The moral crux of the story revolves around the sentient service robots of Murder's near-future world, and whether humans can ethically use them for unpaid labor. If that sounds familiar, it should. It's an idea that has been explored rather extensively by some very talented science fiction writers, and even trickled far enough into the mainstream to inspire a Will Smith movie. That doesn't meant there isn't anything left to say about it, only that the notion of robot sentience and the civil rights implications around it aren't exactly fresh ideas, and the mere mention of them is not enough to carry a story, even a short one.

Ostensibly, the game is a murder mystery; as Lieutenant Motomeru Minori, you're tasked with investigating a brutal killing, the latest in a string of mysterious deaths. But "investigate" might be a strong word—you visit one crime scene, exchange a few one-liners with some other cops, and that's about it. Read the rest

Boy, 11, asks girl, 8, to see her puppies. She declines. He shoots and kills her.

McKayla Dyer [family photo]

Authorities in Tennessee say an 11-year-old boy has been detained on first-degree murder charges after shooting and killing an 8-year-old neighbor with a shotgun because she would not show him her pet puppies.

The gun belonged to the boy's father. The two kids went to the same school.

Neighbors interviewed by local news reporters identified the victim as Maykayla Dyer.

"Wanting to see a puppy, the little girl laughed and told him no... and that was it," said neighbor Chasity Arwood.

"Watching the Tennessee football game, heard the bang," Arwood said. "And then everybody screaming that he shot her baby girl."

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Another day, another movie theater shooter in America: Nashville Edition. Open Thread.

The shooter is reported to have died at the scene. America: What the fuck?

Homeland Security worker's triple homicide was blue moon ritual killing, says Florida Sheriff

The suspect worked at a local Naval base, but there's no talk of terrorism because he was also white.

Perfect sorry-not-sorry from woman who killed her husband

Florence Pinkney, 48, facing a judge in 1955 after being convicted of manslaughter for shooting her husband: "I'm sorry. It won't happen again." Read the rest

Utah cop executes unarmed man who was listening to headphones, gets away with it

WARNING: The video above graphically depicts a murder, including scenes of a man bleeding to death after being shot by a police officer. Read the rest

Murderer Patricia Krenwinkel's "Life After Manson"

"My Life After Manson": Patricia Krenwinkel talks from prison about her experience in the Manson Family on the 45th anniversary of the Tate-Labianca Murders. Read the rest

Could the Game of Thrones poisoning happen in real life?

Cyanide, deadly nightshade and pesticides have disturbingly similar symptoms to the toxin that took a powerful character's life, writes Rachel Nuwer. Warning: this post is laced with potent spoilers.

Polonium-210: A pretty good way to horribly murder somebody

Last week, a Swiss investigation found evidence to support the idea that Yasser Arafat was poisoned with polonium-210 — a radioactive element that's safe to carry around in a container, but causes unstoppable death if swallowed. NPR sat down with Deborah Blum, a science writer who specializes in the chemistry of poisonings, to talk about what makes polonium-210 a particularly handy way to off somebody and why it's so hard to bring a polonium poisoner to justice. Read the rest

Where the Silk Road ends: Feds arrest 'Dread Pirate Roberts,' alleged founder of largest Bitcoin drug market

What users who attempt to connect to the Silk Road marketplace see now (HT: Adrian Chen)

Looks like the government shutdown didn't stop federal agents from shutting down the most popular "deep web" illegal drug market. In San Francisco, federal prosecutors have indicted Ross William Ulbricht, who is said to be the founder of Silk Road. The internet marketplace allowed users around the world to buy and sell drugs like heroin, cocaine, and meth.

The government announced that it seized about 26,000 Bitcoins worth roughly USD$3.6 million, making this the largest Bitcoin bust in history. There were nearly 13,000 listings for controlled substances on the Silk Road site as of Sept. 23, 2013, according to the FBI, and the marketplace did roughly USD$1.2 billion in sales, yielding some $80 million in commissions.

According to the complaint, the service was also used to negotiate murder-for-hire: "not long ago, I had a clean hit done for $80k," the site's founder is alleged to have messaged an associate.

Ulbricht, 29, is also known as "Dread Pirate Roberts." Read the rest

Solving a nearly 100-year-old cold case

Dan Herbeck of The Buffalo News has a story about how researchers are using historic archives and forensic data to solve (maybe) a nearly 100-year-old string of murders in upstate New York. The killings might have been the work of a previously unidentified serial killer. Read the rest

Intro to Murder Ballads

Murder ballads are the true crime novels of the 16th-19th centuries. Lyrics telling the story of a murder were written, printed on broadsheets, and sold within days of the crime. Paul Slade is a UK journalist with a fascination for the history of murder ballads in the US and Europe. He maintains this great resource on the topic. Above, enjoy classic murder ballad "The Knoxville Girl" as sung by the Wilburn Brothers in 1959. While "The Knoxville Girl" is an Appalachian ballad, its roots can be traced back to 17th century England. Here's Slade on his love for Murder Ballads:

Cheerfully vulgar, reveling in gore, and always with an eye on the main chance, these songs were tabloid newspapers set to music, carrying news of all the latest 'orrible murders to an insatiable public.

People get stabbed, bludgeoned or shot in every verse, but the songs telling their tale never die Then there's the fact that murder ballads never stop mutating, morphing to suit local place names as they cross and re-cross the Atlantic, and changing with the times as they move down the decades to fascinate each generation's biggest musical stars. Victims are bludgeoned, stabbed or shot in every verse and killers are often hanged, but the songs themselves never die.

Murder Ballads Read the rest

Investigating the Gulf Coast dolphin murders

Along the Gulf Coast, people are killing (and sometime gruesomely mutilating) dolphins in record numbers. At National Geographic, Rena Silverman goes in-depth on the killings, which investigators now believe are the work of multiple people who are not connected to one another. Xeni wrote about it last year, when that was apparently less clear. Is it less or more disturbing that this isn't likely to be an isolated dolphin serial killer? Read the rest

Following a chain of unexplained deaths in Thailand

Over the past few years, multiple people have died in Thailand from what appears to be exposure to some kind of poison. Most of these people have been tourists. And most of them have been young women. The deaths have happened in clusters. Five or so on the island vacation hotspot of Kho Phi Phi. Another group of six at Chiang Mai's Downtown Inn.

Lots of possible explanations have been suggested — ranging from serial killers, to hallucinogenic beach drinks, to overuse of banned insecticides in hotel rooms. But, so far, none of the specific poisons proposed as the culprit totally makes sense in relation to the deaths. And, to make things worse, it seems like Thai authorities are doing their best to make it difficult to actually investigate what has happened in individual cases, and figure out whether the cases are linked or not. At this point, it's hard to even know whether all the people who have died exhibited the same symptoms.

Deborah Blum, a Pulitzer-winning journalist who has done a lot of reporting on poisons and true crime has been following this story and just published another piece on the still-unfolding mess.

Your daughter died.

Your daughter died thousands of miles from home. In a hotel where no one came to help. In a hospital where she struggled to keep breathing and just couldn’t. In a room where her heart – and somehow you still don’t really believe this – just stuttered to a stop. In a country, where authorities have failed for months, years even, to tell you how or why your daughter died.

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