Celebrate the mystery of D.B. Cooper at this weekend's DBCooperCon in Portland!

In 1971, "DB Cooper" hijacked a plane from Portland, Oregon and eventually parachuted into the Pacific Northwest wilderness with $200,000 strapped to his body. He was never seen again. The D.B. Cooper tale continues to thrive in popular culture while sparking a seemingly endless stream of theories about the mystery man's identity. In fact, a new suspect was put forward just this week!

You can celebrate Saturday's anniversary of this captivating crime at the free DBCooperCon in Portland:

Please join us at the 2018 DB Cooper Conference and hear experts discuss all aspects of America's only unsolved hijacking. In addition, see a real Cooper $20 bill from the ransom money found, a parachute just like the one Cooper used, a tie clip just like the one Cooper left behind on the jet, and much more.

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Man arrested while attempting to destroy the Magna Carta

The Salisbury Journal's Rebecca Hudson reports that a 45-year-old man was arrested today after "smashing the case of the Magna Carta with a hammer and trying to destroy it."

A spokesman for Salisbury Cathedral said: "We can confirm that at the end of the afternoon yesterday, a man attempted to break into the case which houses Magna Carta in the Cathedral’s Chapter House. He was arrested by police shortly afterwards and taken into custody. We are very relieved that no one was hurt during the incident and that the Magna Carta itself is undamaged."

Magna Carta 1215 is the best surviving copy of one of Britain's most influential legal documents, and is on permanent display at Salisbury Cathedral. It is regarded by historians as the foundation of constitutional liberty in the English-speaking world.

Raging at limits on a monarch's absolute authority over other agents of the feudal state? Now that's dark enlightenment. The Forest Charter was the good one anyway, as far as the rest of us are concerned.

Photo: Wiltshire Police. Read the rest

London food couriers targeted by motorcycle thieves

London is increasingly a city on two wheels: it's huge, it's congested, and gasoline is comically expensive. Thieves are targeting bike couriers, taking their mopeds and scooters for single-time use in subsequent crimes (such as robberies), and this BBC investigation shows how violent they're getting with victims.

We’ve all got used to having food delivered to our doorsteps at all hours of the day and night. But spare a thought for the delivery riders, because they’re frequently finding themselves the target of armed bike and moped gangs, who attempt to steal their delivery vehicles to use to commit further crimes. To reveal just how dangerous it can be out there, we armed some of these drivers with cameras. Chris Rogers has the story.

As a former Londoner now living in America, I have to admit that I can't imagine this sort of casual, push-you-off-your-bike theft here. Americans call it a "polite society" but that's just their way of describing an "I will blow your head off if you come within 10 feet of my bike" society. The result is an insane yet normalized pandemic of gun violence, but hey, at least no-one is going to try and nick your motorcycle at the lights.

Some of the scenes are so amazing it seems like fiction. The police are so useless that couriers themselves are forming gangs to retaliate against thieves. It's like the first scene of Akira, but on little scooters going "iiiiiiiiiiiiiii!" and all they want to do is deliver lunch. Read the rest

Car thief photographed by victim

Who is this man? Dorset Police hope he can help them with their enquiries.

A woman confronted a suspected thief and took his photo as he was sitting in her stolen car. She spotted two men parked in her silver Ford Fiesta just two streets from where it was stolen in Lowther Road, Bournemouth, following a house burglary the night before.

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Ghostbuster arrested for firing gun at an apparition

Paranormal investigator Christian J. Devaux of Tolland, Connecticut called 911 to report an intruder in his home. While on the phone with the 911 operator, Devaux fired two shots at the intruder. Police finally arrived but found no evidence of a home invader. Devaux claimed it could have been a ghost. From the Journal Inquirer:

Troopers also found problems with Devaux’s sworn statement, where he described firing the two bullets as warning shots that he intentionally aimed over the intruder’s head. Investigators found that scenario unlikely, however, after a ballistic analysis showed that the two bullets had punctured a wall in Devaux’s home less than three feet off the floor.

After state police uncovered even more inconsistencies — including shell casings discovered in front of Devaux’s supposed firing location — Devaux told troopers that “there are some things he just can’t explain, like seeing ghosts.”

Devaux then told state police that he has been a paranormal investigator for five or six years and most recently encountered an apparition at the former Mansfield Training School and Hospital, investigators said. Devaux said that while he did not want to be considered “insane,” he had to allow for the possibility that the intruder was of supernatural origin.

Devaux was "charged with illegal discharge of a firearm, making a false statement to police, second-degree reckless endangerment, misusing an emergency call, and disorderly conduct." Apparently he had made a similar call in 2011 and police turned up no sign of an intruder then either.

"Man charged with firing gun at ‘ghost’" (Journal Inquirer) Read the rest

Three dead in shooting spree at video game tournament

Someone opened fire at a Madden tournament in Jacksonville, Fla., killing two other attendees and hurting 10 more more. The shooter is also dead, said police, naming a 24-year-old Baltimore man as the only suspect. Horrific audio of the shooting (WARNING: it may autoplay at link) was captured on an internet stream of the tournament. At least twelve shots can be heard as panic spreads and victims shout for help. The video switches to gameplay footage before shots are fired, but a laser dot can clearly be seen moving across one of the two players moments beforehand.

The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office said authorities are responding to the Jacksonville Landing marketplace in the city's downtown area, where an esports video game tournament was being held. Officials are warning residents to avoid the area. "We can't stress enough to stay away. Many blocks away," the sheriff's office tweeted.

GLHF Game Bar in the Jacksonville Landing was hosting a regional esports tournament for players of EA's Madden 19 on Sunday, according to a schedule posted two days ago on the EA Sports website.

One of the competitors, Drini Gjoka, wrote on Twitter that they received a minor injury.

UPDATE (6 p.m.): Citing another survivor, Steven Javarusky, the Los Angeles Times reports that the shooter was "a gamer who was competing in the tournament and lost", killing themselves after killing "two or three" others.

UPDATE (8 p.m.): Police identified the shooter and said two victims were dead. Earlier revisions of this post reflected reports with a higher death toll. Read the rest

John Lennon's murderer denied parole

Mark David Chapman who murdered John Lennon outside Manhattan's Dakota Hotel on December 8, 1980 was denied parol for the 10th time. Good.

From the New York Department of Corrections and Community Supervision's letter responding to Chapman's parole application:

The panel has determined that your release would be incompatible with the welfare and safety of society...

You admittedly carefully planned and executed the murder of a world-famous person for no reason other than to gain notoriety. While no one person's life is any more valuable than another's life, the fact that you chose someone who was not only a world-renown person and beloved by millions, regardless of pain and suffering you would cause to his family, friends, and so many others, you demonstrated a callous disregard for the sanctity of human life and the pain and suffering of others.

Chapman can't apply for parole again for two years.

Read the rest

On the illegality of saying "I want to kill the President of the United States of America"

The ultimate crime, courtesy of the Whitest Kids U Know. Read the rest

RFK Jr. calls for a new investigation into his father's assassination

Robert F Kennedy Jr. is calling for a new investigation into the 1968 assassination of his presidential candidate father.

"I didn't feel it was something I could dismiss," said RFK Jr. who recently met with Sirhan and looked over his father's autopsy report. "I was disturbed that the wrong person might have been convicted of killing my father."

Sirhan Sirhan is serving a life sentence for the murder that he confessed to but claims to not remember.

From CBS News:

On the night of June 5, 1968, Kennedy was celebrating his victory in California's Democratic presidential primary. As he was leaving, he was shot three times...

Sirhan was standing in front of Kennedy at the time of the shooting, but an autopsy report found Kennedy was shot at point blank range from behind. Over the years new evidence reportedly shows as many as 13 shots were fired that night.

But Sirhan's gun held only eight bullets. That's one reason why many now question Sirhan's guilt – including Robert Kennedy Jr.

"There were too many bullets. You can't fire 13 shots out of an eight-shot gun," RFK Jr told the Post.

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Man rams car into restaurant, killing own daughter

(Photo: WSOC-TV 9)

Bessemer City Police report that Roger Self, 62, deliberately rammed his vehicle into a Surf and Turf Lodge packed with diners, killing his 26-year-old daughter and another victim.

Police said Roger Self was arrested after the vehicle had fully slammed its way inside the steak and seafood restaurant in Bessemer City, about 30 miles (50 kilometers) west of Charlotte. Jail records show he’s been charged with two counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of his daughter and his daughter-in-law, Amanda Self, a nurse. The Gaston Gazette reports Amanda Self was the wife of Gaston County Police Officer Josh Self, who also was seriously injured, along with Roger Self’s wife, Diane, and the 13-year-old daughter of Josh and Amanda Self.

There's no count of the injured. I don't think it says whether the daughter was inside the vehicle.

UPDATE:

Wait staff told Channel 9's partners at the Gaston Gazette that Self took his family into the restaurant and had them seated. He then excused himself, went out to his vehicle and drove it at a high rate of speed into the area where they were sitting.

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Watch man trip gunman running from police

Columbus, Ohio police where chasing an armed suspect in front of a public library when a bystander named Bill casually stuck his foot out and tripped the fleeing fellow. From Cincinnati.com:

“(The suspect) was coming my way so I got in his way,” Bill said in the video. “I heard him hit (the ground) and the gun went sliding out. He went one way and the gun went another.”

Bill was alerted by police sirens that day while waiting for his granddaughter outside the library.

Police say Bill's intervention may have saved the suspect's life, allowing officers to catch up and arrest him without shots being fired.

It's not known why police were chasing the man, what he is suspected of doing, or why he was carrying the gun in his waistband.

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Yale rescinds Bill Cosby's honorary degree

Actor, comedian and rapist Bill Cosby lost the honorary degree Yale University bestowed upon him after a vote Tuesday by its Board of Trustees.

From its statement:

"Today the Yale University board of trustees voted to rescind the honorary degree awarded to William H. Cosby, Jr. in 2003. The decision is based on a court record providing clear and convincing evidence of conduct that violates fundamental standards of decency shared by all members of the Yale community, conduct that was unknown to the board at the time the degree was awarded. The board took this decision following Mr. Cosby’s criminal conviction after he was afforded due process. Yale is committed to both the elimination of sexual misconduct and the adherence to due process. We reaffirm that commitment with our action today."

The University of Connecticut did likewise in 2016; Wesleyan is expected to follow suit in May.

Cosby drugged and raped Andrea Constand in 2004 and was convicted on three counts of aggravated assault last week. He is yet to be sentenced, but effectively faces life in prison. Read the rest

Bill Cosby explains why people go to prison

"Somewhere along the way, they did something wrong, something dumb... Maybe they even got away with it first and thought they'd never get caught."

Hey, hey, hey? Read the rest

Man uses GPS trackers to catch air conditioner thief

Cincinnati landlord Courtland Gundlind had enough of the thief who had recently stolen two air conditioning units from his properties. So he hid a GPS tracker inside a new unit, installed it, and waited for the culprit to strike again. Two weeks later, the air conditioner texted him that it was "on the move." From Cincinnati.com:

The Okeana landlord called a friend and followed the trail. The GPS updated every 60 seconds, so they remained about a minute behind. He called police who eventually caught up with the unit and a suspect at the McDonald's on Reading Road.

Cincinnati Police arrested David Lester Walls, 50, of Linden Street, and charged him with theft and criminal damaging. He was arraigned April 11, pleaded not guilty, and is set to return to court May 15....

(Gundling) said police were surprised the GPS in the AC worked.

(Thanks, Charles Pescovitz!) Read the rest

Police seeking woman who stole butterfly from exhibit

Cincinnati police are looking for a woman caught on video stealing a live Menelaus blue morpho butterfly from a special exhibit at Krohn Conservatory. From WCPO:

(University of Cincinnati biologist Stephen) Matter and colleague Patrick Guerra said the butterfly was likely dead by Wednesday, given its biological need for a warmer climate than the one Cincinnati has experienced since Sunday.

(Thanks, Charles Pescovitz!)

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Pope won't apologize for brutal treatment of Indigenous Canadians

For more than a century, the Canadian government was responsible for perpetuating horrendous abuses against native peoples who were unfortunate enough to be living in an area where a imperial colonialist power decided to set up shop. It was government policy for Indigenous children to be separated from their families, the without the permission of their parents or tribal elders, and them into what were known as residential schools: institutions predominantly run by the Catholic Church, along with a small handful of schools that were handled by Anglican, Presbyterian and United Church interests.

Once the kids were secured into these boarding schools, they were taught the 'right' way to live--right being in accordance to western culture. Were the incarcerated children to dare to speak their own language or act according to cultural norms outside of what their white caretakers felt was 'civilized,' they were met with severe corporal punishment. Mortality rates at the schools were high. So were instances of physical and emotional abuse. Children were often buried in unmarked graves or simply disappeared. Even after the last residential school closed in 1998, its legacy of hate and abuse remains.

In 2015, Canada finally confessed to its part in this long-running crime. The nation's Truth and Reconciliation Commission looked to the crimes of the residential school system, saying that they amounted to cultural genocide. The commission made 94 recommendations that it felt would go along ways towards righting the wrongs of the past. One those recommendations was that the Pope step forward and apologize for his church's role in the residential school system. Read the rest

Adnan Sayed of the Serial podcast wins right to a new trial

As listeners of the Serial podcast know, Adnan Syed was a Baltimore, Maryland high school student sentenced to life in prison for the 1999 murder of his ex-girlfriend, Hae Min Lee. Now, he's getting a new trial. From Rolling Stone:

Syed's conviction was overturned in June 2016 by retired Circuit Court judge Martin Welch, but the Attorney General's Office quickly appealed the ruling. Today's decision affirms Syed's right to a new trial, but based on an issue that the Circuit Court had considered and ultimately rejected – that Syed's trial attorney had demonstrated "deficient performance" and "prejudiced Syed's defense" by failing to pursue alibi witness Asia McClain...

(The Maryland Court of Special Appeals') decision comes down to this: "Syed's murder conviction must be vacated, and because Syed's convictions for kidnapping, robbery, and false imprisonment are predicated on his commission of Hae's murder, these convictions must be vacated as well. The instant case will be remanded for a new trial on all charges against Syed."

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