How a pharma company made billions off mass murder by faking the science on Oxycontin

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When Purdue Pharma's patent on the MS Contin was close to expiry, the Sackler family who owned the company spent millions trying to find a product that could replace the profits they'd lose from generic competition on MS Contin: the result was Oxycontin, a drug that went on to kill Americans at epidemic scale. Read the rest

A home, a murder, a mystery (or two)

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Up in the manicured hills of Los Feliz, a neighborhood that boasts at least three famous murder houses, the one with the weirdest history may be the Perelson house... where, deep in the night of December 6, 1959, a husband and father of three lost his fragile grip and went terribly, shockingly crazy. But the story only starts there.

Why did Harold Perelson snap? What does it mean when, without warning, the safety of a family home is shattered from within? And how do you explain what's happened to the house since? 

This week on HOME: Stories From L.A., a mystery that's endured for almost 60 years, and the crime that set it in motion. 

Thanks for listening. And if you like what you hear, please subscribeRead the rest

Man gasps dying words into officer's bodycam: "They're killing me right now... I can't breathe."

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In 2013, Ana Biocini called the Oakland police because she'd heard a noise and thought there might be an intruder in the house. When the police arrived, they handcuffed her brother, Hernan Jaramillo, "without any lawful reason or justification," dragged him 20 feet down the sidewalk, threw him facedown into the ground, and three officers knelt on him while he begged for breath. The 51 year old man died at the scene.

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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.

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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

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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

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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.

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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.

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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

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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

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