Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Spector Defense Is Out Of Gas

The defense is winding down and famed forensic expert Henry Lee is in China and beyond the reach of a court subpoena. The defense requested to have Dr. Lee’s earlier testimony given out of presence of the jury to be read to the jury. Judge Fidler ruled against the defense request simply because the defense did not bother to serve their witness with the subpona. I somehow suspect we’ve heard the last of Dr. Lee’s testimony.

We still may see the jury’s possible field visit to Spector’s castle. There will be some testimony about Lana Clarkson’s computer data. I suspect that Arizona firearms examiner, Lucian c. “Luke Haag will be not now be called.

No defense lawyer in his right mind will put Phil Spector on the witness stand. There is no reason for Spector to say anything at all.

Was this a tactical defense plan to derail the prosecution’s rebuttal case? It looks like there will be no additional witness baring something after the prosecution’s rebuttal that’s expected to take three days.

Will the defense team pull a rabbit out of their hat to make a splash? That remains to be seen. At the rate Judge Fidler moves, this the end of this trial will see be weeks away.

Don’t be surprised if Brue Cuttler does not deliver any portion of the closing argument.

The reality is the prosecution has not presented more than theories that Phil Spector killed Lana Clarkson.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Chicago’s Lipstick Killer Up For Parole

He was dubbed the, “Lipstick Killer” who was apprehended while armed with a .25 automatic as he allegedly tried to kill a Chicago cop responding to a routine burglary call. 1946 was not a good year for prisoner’s civil rights in the Windy City. Interrogation rooms were simply confessionals. Police tactics were legendary and make brutality claims of the last three decades pale by comparison.

He was an exceptionally bright 17 year-old student and part-time burglar from the prestigious University of Chicago. The crimes committed were in the Rogers Park neighborhood. A lot of burglaries and three brutal murders were pinned on the young suspect. The most notorious of the murders was that of six-year old Suzanne Degnan who’s dismembered body parts were retrieved from various catch basins.

Lipstick was used by the killer to scrawl the ominous message on one victim, Frances Brown's living room wall, "For heavens sake, catch me before I kill more I cannot control myself."

William Heirens became Chicago’s Boogieman feared by every young mother. Heirens was soon paraded around like a wild animal in a traveling zoo exhibit. Sensational news stories and bizarre photos were the rule for this sordid saga..

Along with the beatings, in two lawless exercises of Voodoo Science of the day cops and prosecutors forced Heirens to undergo a spinal tap and injected him with the drug sodium pentathol. For a while that drug was wrongly thought to be some kind of a truth serum. Curiously Heirens easily passed the heralded, Keeler polygraph test. I can’t imagine what the courts would say today about the experiments and torture used by Chicago’s crime busters on William Heirens.

Was this lad the killer or a scapegoat? In the mid-1990s I was asked by ABC news to find a Chicago man, Richard Russell Thomas who confessed to killing the Degnan girl while he was in the Maricopa County Jail in Arizona but was quickly dismissed as a suspect by Chicago police. Police had already made their investment in Heirens and lost interest in the second confessor who was a convicted child molester.

Richard Russell Thomas died decades before my search but his family members in Austin Texas verified the confession as well as telling me about his writing of at least one song made popular by Les Paul and Mary Ford. lots of additional evidence connecting Thomas to the Degnam murder surfaced over the years. Heirens’ Lawyer Jed Stone knows this story well and was not able to develop this as a basis for a new trial.

God only knows what really happened or who the killer was or if the three murders were somehow connected. There was no security video or DNA in 1946. I don’t have much faith that justice really happened in this case.

In the end William Heirens had two choices. Plead guilty to the crimes or be convicted and quickly fried in the electric chair. Unlike today, that process could be completed with all appeals within months in 1946. The Guilty plea was accepted and Heirens has since served more time than any Illinois prisoner.

Ever since Heirens arrived at the Illinois prison system he’s never been a discipline problem and was the first inmate to get a college degree while incarcerated. 61 years later Heirens is a feeble and wheelchair bound old man. Heirens is far from a threat to anyone and his prison cell needs to be filled by a much younger convict who is really dangerous.

There were several books published about this case. The Court TV crime library has a great article on this murder investigation that can be found here.

Lots of pictures gathered from Chicago's newspapers with information about the crimes assembled by S. Sherman can be found here.

These has been loads of misinformation published that tainted this case.

There there is this from author Dolores Kennedy.

The board ruled and you can read about it here.

An update: Hereins had a parole hearing in July 2009. In late late August he was denied parole, having received two votes when eight are needed. There was concerns that he is costing the state $70,000.00 per year in care. If he was released they could hire two prison guards for younger and more dangerous prisoners.

Friday, July 27, 2007

I Lost Another Friend Today

Left to Right: Jim Cox, Scott Bowerbank, Craig Smith and Rick Krolak
When you work with fine people you are never prepared to see any of them vanish from your life in an instant. That’s exactly what happened today in Phoenix, Arizona. My friend, Jim Cox of more than 15 years was killed covering a car chase in Central Phoenix as a video-journalist for KTVK-TV.

Cox along with pilot Scott Bowerbank were killed as was KNXV-TV's Craig Smith and Rick Krolak when their two news choppers collided in mid air. All of these fine men had one thing in common, they chose to be where the action was and died doing what they loved best. Their names are now added to a long list of people killed bringing their fellow Americans the news.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

We Have Lost Another Hero

I’m very sad to report that retired Chicago Police Sergeant and Rangemaster Roy “Swanny” Swanson has passed away at 85 years of age.

Swanny was a Chicago Park District patrolman before that agency merged with the Chicago Police Department. One night while on patrol Swanny had a terrible accident when he ran over a vagrant sleeping in the park. There was an inquiry and Swanny who had superior shooting skills was temporarily assigned to non-driving duties.

So it was by accident Swamny was sent to the firing range where the department soon learned that Swanny had a gift for teaching firearm skills to both recruits and veteran cops alike. For the rest of his career with the Chicago Police Department Swanny was exposed to the foul target range air and lead poisoning as he saved lives of cops and the civilians they protect.

The thousands of officers he trained and helped bring home safe every night will remember Rangemaster Roy Swanson. Swanny will also be remembered for his gruff voice and Rangemaster’s demeanor when the truth was that this fellow was as gentle as a teddy bear.

I wrote the screenplay, Come Friday about the heroic policewoman, Ann Leybourne. Swanny holds a prominent place in that compelling story. It was Swanny who got this great lady to overcome her fear and dislike for firearms enough to survive a deadly encounter with an armed serial rapist and successfully complete her training. That film is still under development.

Long ago when I was attacked one night by a drunken man with a .45 Colt Gold Cup my response to the threat was bolstered as I could plainly hear Swanny’s instructions. Swanny was guiding me as I engaged my would be killer and critically wounded him. Swanny will always have a special place in my heart.

Rest in peace Swanny, you did make a difference.

From The Chicago tribune:

Roy C. Swanson
Roy C. Swanson, retired Chicago Police Sgt., age 85, beloved father of Gail D. Gavin; dear husband of the late Mary E. and former husband of Gloria A.; fond brother of Martha (Edward) Guth and Donald (Shirley) Swanson; dearest uncle of Barbara, Beverly, Linda, Carolyn, Susan, Sharon and Donald. Member of Chicago Police Department for over 35 years. Member of F.O.P. WWII Naval Veteran. American Legion Post #854. Resting at the Schmaedeke Funeral Home, 10701 S. Harlem Ave., Worth, where service will be held at 10 a.m. Tuesday, July 24, 2007. Visitation Monday, 3 to 9 p.m. Interment Evergreen Cemetery. 708-448-6000.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

NBC Datline’s, "To Catch a Predator" IS A TV Ratings Sleaze Milestone

Few people in the world like pedophiles. These perverted folks steal the innocence of children whenever and wherever they can. Crimes against children are serious and those offenders need to be identified and prosecuted.

NBC has brought their own agenda to the table and that is bringing in the cash to keep failing TV news afloat and investor’s pockets full. The Internet based pedophile sting was discovered by TV as a cheap way to attract the voyeuristic viewers that like watching incredibly stupid men destroy themselves and their families. Dateline Correspondent Chris Hansen expertly draws the hapless fools into the most embarrassing and incriminating conversations they will ever have in their twisted lives.

Of course the stings are contrived and no children are involved, but for an illusion in the minds of those men finding themselves curious about or attracted to sex with kids. Dateline uses adults surfing sexually charged chatrooms pretending to be young teenagers who lure these men. The imposters quickly consent in wtiting to meeting and have sex with their targets. Entrapment is an ugly part of this sex-sting business that can’t be ignored.

Dateline has even surpassed Jerry Springer by dragging this sickening franchise far beyond the saturation point of sane and sober TV viewers. I guess some of us have a need to feel superior to others and enjoy watching these warped men suffer. It’s time for Dateline move on to something newsworthy or to stop pretending this never ending garbage is somehow news.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Sour Grapes For D.C. Gun-Rights Grabbers As They Appeal Loss of Gun Ban

You can see it in the happy faces of D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty and the head of his Gun Gestapo, Chief Cathy Lanier. They lost their ability to ban the law-abiding folks in Washington D.C. from owning handguns. The days of cops kicking down doors because someone dare keep a handgun for self-defense in this city are over.

Last March, a three judge federal appeals court panel overturned the D.C. handgun ban holding that the 30 year-old prohibition was unconstitutional. Efforts to get the entire appellate court to hear the case en banc failed.

Now time is running out on the stay granted pending appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. Rather than roll over, these gun-rights haters have asked the nation’s highest court to declare the Second Amendment as only a right for various government forces to keep and bear arms and not the people. Government always had the right to keep arms without the Second Amendment making that argument absurd.

The last time the Supreme Court spoke about the Second Amendment was in the flawed Miller Case wherein the court held some 70 years ago, that a sawed off shotgun was not a suitable military weapon and not Constitutionaly protected. The justices just did not know that such shotguns were used in trench warfare in virtually every war. Miller disappeared and no lawyer representing him argued on behalf of the defendant before the court in that one-sided case.

The opinion of the D.C. Court of Appeals is well researched and bulletproof. If the Court refuses to hear the case or hears it and rules that the Second Amendment is a right of the people gun laws will fall everywhere they have bans or demand payment for permits and registration involving firearms.

The only gun laws unaffected if the D.C. ruling is upheld will be gun bans for convicted felons, lunatics and incompetents. Let’s win one for Freedom and Liberty!

Prosecutor Alan Jackson Is A Jackass

Irene Elizabeth Laughlin has the unusual alias of “Punkin Pie” She was Lana Clarkson’s very best Friend until her tragic apparent suicide at record producer Phil Spector’s home four years ago.

Laughlin was called to testify as a defense witness to shed light on Clarkson’s state of mind before her death. Clarkson confided her hopes, dreams and failures, for years along with suicidal thoughts to Laughlin during the period just before her life ended.

Laughlin has a heavy burden to deal with, and that's the guilt of perhaps not having done enough to see that Clarkson got help from mental health professionals and instead tried to cheer up her profoundly depressed friend herself. That obviously did not work and Clarkson died.

Laughlin’s testimony also revealed that the Clarkson family lawyer and others essentially tampered with a witness (Laughlin) in a criminal investigation by telling Laughlin to withhold information about Clarkson’s suicidal thoughts. That may have been what caused the cops to go after Spector since everyone close to Clarkson tried to paint a Clarkson as a happy and hopeful women who’d never kill herself. That effort nearly worked until Laughlin could no longer live with that deception and came clean with Spector’s defense tem after they contacted and interviewed her.

Was there a motive to place the blame on the wealthy Phil Spector to collect money from him by those trying to cover up Clarkson’s alcoholism, drug use, depression and suicidal remarks? One could also argue that the cover-up was done to protect Clarkson's public persona and memory.

Now comes prosecutor Alan Jackson, angry that his case for murder is flushing down the toilet as the truth surfaces during the trial. Jackson spent the day degrading Laughlin and accusing her of making her testimony up for a book deal that never existed. Jackson continually tortured the witness by rubbing her face into her failure to make an effort to notify authorities about Clarkson’s mental state to gain some sort of professional intervention.

It was laughable when Jackson tried to suggest that a crappy $9.00 an hour job at the House of Blues was somehow a wonderful and uplifting professional move for the 40 year-old Clarkson who spent her entire adult life trying to get her entertainment career of the ground.

Jackson came off as the Jackass of the trial by his behavior against this grieving witness.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Chicago Cop Is Victim Of Outrageous Injustice

I have always hated injustice and have railed that reasonable doubt must rule in every criminal case.

I’ve been abused by my own friends for accepting the O.J. Simpson verdict and often demanding that we error on the side of letting the guilty go free rather than convict the innocent. Our criminal justice system must be fair or we will have a police state rather than a free country in which to live and raise our families. Remember Adolph Hitler had his own judges too.

People become instant converts to my way of thinking when the unthinkable happens, and they get accused of a crime when they’ve done nothing wrong.

On October 8th 2005, Chicago police officer Michael Mette of the Fillmore District was attacked by a Dubuque college student, 20-year-old Jake Gothard while attending a birthday celebration at his brother’s home. Before it was over this week, officer Mette was arrested, prosecuted, convicted and now faces a mandatory five-year Iowa prison term.

Iowa justice is beyond strange because at a Dubuque County Court bench trial the judge, Judge Monica Ackley found that Chicago Police Officer Mette "was not the initial aggressor of this incident," Jake Gothard was. Astonishingly, Judge Ackley ruled that Mette was guilty, because even after Gothard struck him three times, Mette should have just ignored it and retreated.

Officer Mette's infamous felony crime was to punch the 6 foot, 2 inch tall Gothard once in self-defense knocking him out.

I don’t care how much anyone screams or demonstrates it will take years to right this wrong and it will bankrupt Mette in the process.

As for our young intoxicated thug, he has a Facebook page filled with a photo celebration to his own alcoholism. A year later (on September 8, 2006) and after his assault on officer mette, Jake Lee Gothard was arrested and later convicted of a liquor violation and had his license revoked. He was again arrested and convicted, this time for driving under the influence. His plans now are to sue officer Mette in yet another Iowa courtroom.

In the United Kingdom there is no right to use any force to defend one’s life or virtue. In America with the help of the National Rifle Association there has been a state-by-state effort to beef up the self-defense laws so that thugs like Jake Gothard assault or otherwise victimize people at their own peril. Iowa and the U.K. have it wrong. Our creator gave us the gifts of fear and the fight or flight instinct so we may simply survive.

This should also cause anyone who is accused of or uses any force in self-defense to not cooperate in anyway with police without having a lawyer present. Giving police more than your name may bring you many years in prison. You may find your own words read back to you in a courtroom. But you will find those words to have been rewritten to something entirely different and considerably more incriminating.

Please remind me to stay far away from Iowa and to never use or buy products made there.

Note: The minute entry made by the judge reflects that date of the incident being October 8, 2006 but the actual date was exactly one year earlier. The court docket and judge's order are in conflict.

Read the Judge Monica Ackley's minute entry supporting her finding Officer Michael Mette Guilty HERE.

I’m sure we’ve not heard the last of this nightmare.

Here is s preliminary ABC-7 report with video

Friday, July 13, 2007

Ace TV Reporter Fired For Trying To Splash The Big Story

Chicago’s WMAQ-TV fired an enterprising investigative reporter for crossing those vague and ambiguous journalist's lines in pursuit of a story. TV stations want the ratings for their very survival and sometimes put incredible pressure on reporters to come back with real news.

A salacious and big story in the Chicago area is that of missing Plainfield women, Lisa Stebic, a mother of two. Plainfield police zeroed in on the “usual suspect”, Craig Stebic the estranged soon to be divorced husband of the woman. Police just don’t have either probable cause to arrest anyone or the body of the missing woman, yet. There’s little doubt that this is a sensational tale of domestic intrigue and murder.

These cases are broken through the words and behavior of the suspects. Keeping your target nervous and talking nearly always does the trick. Sooner or later they get caught in lies or simply spill their guts. Apparently Jacobson knew this and wanted to break the case herself and also slaughter her competition along the way.

One thing for sure is reporters are not to become surrogate cops or police informers. Yesterday, Plainfield Police Chief Don Bennett told reporters "Jacobson has in the past informed the Plainfield Police Department of her prior conversations with Mr. Stebic."

Smart cops will take help wherever and whenever they can get it. Of course police hope that their helpers don’t endanger themselves or interfere in the investigation.

You don’t become an award winning, top three-market TV reporter without taking risks. TV news has lost its audience and a large percentage of their financial resources because of the Internet and the cable TV explosion. Most TV reporters I know are trying to figure out how they can put their kids through college and retire in light of shrinking paychecks and dismal future.

Jacobson was clearly out to get the story at too high a personal cost. Instead, Jacobson became the top news story in Chicago. Her journalistic crime was simply getting caught. That was aggravated by WBBM-TV making Jacobson’s investigation their own top story.

Had Jacobson not been discovered by the competition and had she succeeded in helping police solve the mystery she’d have been paraded around like a ratings show pony rather than a disgraced former reporter.

Somehow I don’t think this will be the end for Jacobson. I fully expect her to pull a rabbit out of her hat and somehow capitalize on her current misfortune.

Here’s what the Chicago tribune had to say

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Spector Missing Murder Evidence Evaporated Today

Former Spector defense lawyer Sara Caplan failed to give prosecutors their phantom fingernail fragment evidence they’d counted heavily on to make their case. Prosecutors, Pat Dixon and Alan Jackson somehow invented a theory that Lana Clarkson put up a fight with Phil Spector and had a small portion of her acrylic fingernail shot off during the shooting.

Sara Caplan revealed that Dr. Henry Lee, a forensics expert picked up a unknown white object off the floor hours after the cops turned over Spector’s home to his legal defense team. Had Dr. Lee found any items of relevant physical evidence he’d have been required to turn it over to police or prosecutors.

Dixon and Jackson claimed that any fingernail fragment somehow contained bullet wipe. Prosecutors claimed that this would prove Spector murdered Clarkson. Today that theory was more like butt wipe than bullet wipe. Sara Caplan was asked for the first time for the size of that item and she said it was about the size of her fingernail and made a diagram. Further testimony revealed that the item was in fact too large to be the fragment from Clarkson’s broken nail.

The prosecutors should have asked just a few more questions and they could have avoided the quicksand they fell into. Remember it was Judge Fidler who vouched for Caplan’s credibility over that of Dr. Lee in earlier proceedings. I have one word, OUCH!

Sara Caplan didn't lie she just was not asked enough questions in the earlier proceedings.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Spector Trial Is In A Legal Quagmire

The murder trial of record producer, Phil Spector has turned into a predictable mess that has little to do about the death of Lana Clarkson or actual evidence that she was murdered or that Phil Spector is a killer.

Judge Larry Paul Fiddler let in everything including the kitchen sink to influence the jury exactly as the evidence starved prosecutors wanted to the absolutely prejudice of the accused. That as prosecutors, Pat Dixon and Alan Jackson spend every waking moment trashing the defendant’s character in every possible way. When prosecutors don’t have a case for murder, they can win by making the jury hate the defendant and pity the dead woman.

Adding to the circus is the defense team headed by the judicially castrated and now absent Bruce Cutler. I can’t help but believe that every single Spector defense lawyer now wishes he or she never went to law school. I suspect they also are praying to see the day they can pee on Larry Fidler’s tombstone.

Now the foremost defense forensic expert Henry Lee has apparently abandoned the job he was hired to do. Fear not, for there are enough qualified experts to show Clarkson died by her own hand.

Today the California Supreme Court dealt a blow to former Spectior defense lawyer, Sarah Caplan. She will be forced to testify or be jailed. I have suspected that Caplan lied in earlier proceedings and her lies will be exposed unless she now takes the Fifth to avoid self-incrimination. Spector may well benefit from whatever Caplan does next.

Today the jury saw and heard the very credible testimony from a long time close friend of Lana Clarkson, Jennifer Hayes-Riedl. Hayes-Riedl painted a sad and desperate picture of Clarkson’s tragic life. Clarkson was despondent because she failed as an entertainer and was forced into taking her humiliating, menial and par-minimum wage job at the House Of Blues.

Clarkson failed as an actress, comic and writer. Clarkson was mixing powerful narcotic painkillers with alcohol, was hopelessly in debt and nearly destitute. Although Clarkson was pretty, her life was not.

Clarkson got some fame that eluded her by ending her own life while a guest in Phil Spector’s home. One does not have to guess too long to figure why the CSI people found Lana Clarkson’s saliva on Phil Spector’s penis and Spector’s saliva was on her breast. Clarkson’s visit to Spector’s home may have been more about commerce than for traditional romance.

Before I hated this prosecution because I was convinced that Spector killed no one. Now I hate the prosecution equally because it forced the heartbreaking and salacious expose’ of Lana Clarkson’s once private life.

This trial is nothing but horrible and slow torture for Phil Spector and anyone who ever loved Lana Clarkson.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

There’s Hope For An American Presidency

Ronald Regan led the country for eight really good years. He was a peacetime president that fought the taxem’ to death and reckless spend mentality that makes slaves out of too many Americans.

Since the great man left office we’ve had a sorry bunch or pathetic pretenders to the throne. Two big government, Texas Liberals wearing Republican clothing, and the commander of the Waco TX Military Assault Team, who governed American with a Whitehouse intern performing sex acts on him under his desk. Twenty-four years of mediocre jerks and an Arkansas criminal running this country was way too long.

The two major political parties have put up their presidential lineup and it was horrendous.

The Democrats put up the mastermind perjurer of Travelgate, and a Black Maverick with a drug history, while they try to raise a former Vice President from the dead.

Republicans have offered their best Left Wing Liberals who pretend to be Republicans. Leading off is a former New York Mayor, Communist North Viet Nam’s most successful mind control experiment, and a dark horse, Liberal Mormon (huh?).

Out of the ashes of these failed campaigns comes a proven somewhat Conservative Republican with rich experience who also happens to be a gifted actor, Fred Thompson.

For the first time in my lifetime I can see the Whitehouse not switching parties after a two-year term.

The referendum on the Left-Wing standard bearers was revealed in the failed Illegal Alien Amnesty Bill (improperly called immigration reform). You can count the 2008 votes in the rating of Conservative talk radio shows against the unsuccessful Bolshevik offering, Air America.

Talk radio and Internet has thankfully ended the stranglehold Liberals held on our mass media.

The narrow victories regaining Control of both houses of Congress will see a short life as Americans have seen the betrayal of America by the Liberal fringe element.

2008 has hope of a new Chapter of the American dream with Fred Thompson leading us out of the Abyss. Yes, Crimefile endorses Fred Thompson for President.