Plus Ca Change...
Investigators Seek Motive, Suspect In Murder Of Wilson Teen
Family, Friends Want Answers About Brittany Willis' Murder
WILSON, N.C. -- As investigators look for more clues in the field where her body was found, family and friends of Brittany Willis tried to make sense of her death.
"Anyone that would do that to a person like her -- it makes me very mad," said Kathryn Overton, Willis' next-door neighbor and friend.
Overton's twin sister, Malory, planned to be Willis' roommate next year at Peace College.
"She didn't know a stranger. She was the most caring, fun girl I've ever met," Kathryn Overton said.
Willis graduated from Hunt High School in May. She was a soccer player and involved in many clubs. School psychologists and counselors have been talking with her friends, but no one knows why anyone would kill Willis.
"The sooner we get this person off the street, the better and safer all of us will feel," school counselor Nancy Boykin said. "You know she didn't deserve what happened to her."
Police have no suspects at this time, but they believe the key to their investigation lies in the pearl white 2000 Lexus RX-300 SUV Willis was driving.
Police continued to search the woods around the field and interview neighbors. They are waiting on lab results from Willis' SUV, which they recovered in front of an empty townhome, less than a mile from her body. They believe, at some point, the SUV was in the field.
"We don't know that she didn't go with someone that she knew or we don't know that this was something random," said Sgt. D.H. Garris, of the Wilson Police Department.
Overton and other friends are collecting money for a reward, hoping it will bring an arrest.
"We really just want to know what happened," Overton said.
Police want to talk with anyone who may have seen Willis or her SUV on Ward Boulevard late Monday afternoon. The reward for information leading to an arrest is up to $20,000.
Who Killed Theresa?
Ce blogue est une investigation de le meurtre de ma soeur, Theresa Allore. Il y a 30 ans Theresa est mort aux secteurs de Compton, Sherbrooke et Lennoxville, Québec.
Life isn't fair, Justice is blind... and dysfunctional, and some cops aren't smart and dedicated like on tv.
Si vous avez information contact Sue Sutherland: CP 45 Succursale Lennoxville, Sherbrooke J1M 1Z3,Canada:email@example.com Tel: 514-264-7830
Wednesday, June 30, 2004
Plus Ca Change...
Dear Mainstream Media:
The beating of the 17-year-old girl at Zipperz nightclub in downtown Toronto:
This was a gay-bashing. This was a hate-crime.
Why don't you tell it like it is?
A Weary Public
Tuesday, June 29, 2004
Police offer $50,000 reward to find killer of Ardeth Wood
Translation: VINCE BEVAN BLEW IT.
Hey, take a good look at that suspect composite. I know that guy! It's the alien from Whitley Strieber's Communion!
Monday, June 28, 2004
Pickton may not face trial until 2005
You heard it here first; Pickton may walk.
And when that happens, I and many other victims will be ready for it.
Girl, 17, suffers 'vicious' sexual assault
Globe and Mail
Monday, June 28, 2004
A 17-year-old female is recovering from five hours of horror during which she was snatched from a downtown Toronto street, beaten, raped and then tossed into a dumpster.
As a result of the attack, police are warning women who walk in the city's entertainment district after dark to use the buddy system and to stay in well-lit and well-populated places.
The teenager's ordeal began in the early hours yesterday, just after midnight. She had just left the Zipperz nightclub on Carlton Street and was walking toward a parking lot on Mutual Street where she was to meet a friend for a lift home.
Toronto Police said a vehicle pulled up and its two occupants grabbed her, struck her on the head, blindfolded her and dragged her into the car, where she was hit on the head again.
The two men took turns sexually assaulting their victim, who does not know where the attacks took place, police said.
About 5 a.m., the men drove to a schoolyard on Silver Springs Boulevard in the Birchmount Road and Finch Avenue area of Scarborough. They threw the teen into a dumpster and drove off, police said.
She managed to get out and call police. She was taken to hospital, where she required stitches to close a gash on her head.
Detective David Needham of the sex-crimes unit told a news conference yesterday that the assault was "vicious and degrading."
He said one of the rapists has scratch marks on his neck and possibly his face.
One of the assailants is described as brown-skinned, 20 to 25 years old and about 5 foot 10. His head is shaved. He wore a beige plaid dress shirt and black pants. He has an athletic build and a deep voice.
Police have few details about the other man.
They are looking for a two-door Ford Explorer, possibly black or dark blue, with tinted windows, black leather seats and silver hubcap rims.
"Someone knows this vehicle," said Det. Needham as he asked anyone with information to call police.
Sunday, June 27, 2004
Who are the people in your neighborhood...
Carrboro Police Investigate Attempted Sexual Assault
Man Reportedly Entered Woman's Home While She Slept
CARRBORO, N.C. -- Carrboro police are looking for a man who tried to sexually assault a woman in her own home.
One of the victims in the February attacks gave this composite of the suspect.
Investigators said the suspect was wearing running clothes and an Ace bandage on his knee.
The victim told police she was asleep in her home on North Greensboro Street when the man came in about 5 a.m. Saturday and started to asssault her. She said she woke up and began yelling at him, at which point he fled the residence.
The suspect was described as a noticeably dark-skinned Latino male, possibly in his late teens to mid 20's, 5 feet 7 inches tall, with a slender, lean build and thick short dark hair that unevenly covered his forehead. He had no facial hair and spoke English in a soft, quiet voice with no discernible accent.
Carrboro police still are investigating two reported rapes and a sexual assault in women's homes in February. In two of the cases, the suspect was described as Hispanic.
Police do not know if all four cases are related. But they said there was a possibility the first three were.
And if that weren't bad enough, I've got a maniac over where I work...
Police Make Arrest Following 2 Attacks In Duke Forest
Two Assaults About 20 Minutes Apart Saturday
DURHAM, N.C. -- Duke police have arrested a man in connection with the attack of a female jogger in Duke Forest Saturday afternoon.
The man also is being questioned about a separate attack that happened 20 minutes later, when another female jogger was stabbed in the abdomen.
Lorenzo Espinosa Mondragon, 28, of 412 E. Pilot St., Apt L-7, Durham, was charged with assault with a deadly weapon for the first incident, said Duke police Maj. Phyllis Cooper.
Cooper said Mondragon was stopped by Duke police as he left Duke Forest about 8 p.m. Saturday, not far from where the second attack occurred.
The charge against Mondragon is related to an attack on a woman who was jogging in Duke Forest, off N.C. 751 near Kerley Road, about 5:10 p.m. Saturday.
The woman was confronted by a man holding a knife who jumped out of the bushes and stood in her path, Cooper said.
The woman managed to run away and call police from a nearby food market.
About 20 minutes later, Cooper said, another woman was stabbed as she jogged near N.C. 751, west of Old Erwin Road.
The woman was found lying on the path by a man who notified Duke police. She was taken to Duke University Hospital, but her condition was not available Saturday evening.
Duke police also plan to question Mondragon about a similar incident that occurred a week ago, Cooper said. In that June 19 incident, a woman told police she was jogging in the forest near the intersection of N.C. 751 and U.S. 70 around 5:35 p.m. when a man holding a pair of kitchen shears stopped her and demanded she go into the woods with him.
The woman managed to escape unharmed.
That suspect was described as a Hispanic male, about 30 years old, 5 feet 5 inches to 5 feet 7 inches tall, 155 to 175 pounds, stocky in build with black hair.
Cooper said Duke police posted flyers in the forest after the June 19 incident, warning people of the attempted attack and asking for anyone with information to contact police. She said Saturday night that additional flyers will be posted, and Duke police will step up patrols in the forest.
Anyone with information on any of the incidents is asked to call Duke police at 684-2444 or First Sgt. Gary Smith at 684-6424.
Wednesday, June 23, 2004
R.I.P. Julie Boisvenu
Julie Boisvenu was murdered two years ago today. I'm going to tell Julie's story again, because I believe there are lessons here that should never be forgotten.
In the early morning hours of June 23rd 2002 Julie was out celebrating with friends in downtown Sherbrooke, Quebec. The previous day she had received a promotion from her employer. At about 4:00 am Julie left the bar and was never seen alive again. Police found her Kia 4x4 a few blocks away. It had apparently knocked over a fire hydrant and been abandoned.
One week later Julie's decomposing body was found in a ditch near Bromptonville, just north of Sherbrooke. She was lying face down, partially nude in a drainage ditch. She had been raped, beaten and strangled to death.
Police spent the better part of the summer tracking down Julie's killer. The scope and dedication of the investigation was vast - in part due to the press my sister's case was receiving at the same time across Canada. Police didn't want to be embarrassed again.
In September 2002 Police arrested Hugo Bernier for the murder of Julie Boisvenu. What are known of Bernier's actions on the night of June 23 are enough to make you wonder why we have law enforcement in the first place, if they are so willing to give offenders the tools to practice their trade.
Prior to murdering Boisvenu, Bernier had been stopped twice that night in Sherbrooke by two different police squads. At 2:00 am, the 27-year-old Bernier was detained in downtown Sherbrooke for loitering. When officers approached him, Bernier ran. Police eventually caught him and Bernier produced a false ID. Then they let him go.
One hour later at 3:00 am Bernier was again stopped by a different squad, this time for loitering in a parking garage. Again they let him go.
Within an hour, Bernier would rape, beat senseless, and strangle the life out of Julie Boisvenu.
Bernier was no stranger to law enforcement; in fact, when he took Julie's life he should have been sequestered in a parole house. On August 18th 2000 Bernier was convicted and sentenced to 18 months in prison for confining and sexually aggressing a young woman for over 4 hours. Benier should have served out that sentence, along with three years of parole.
When Boisvenu's body was found another prominent victim from the Townships threatened to take up the cause of the National Parole Board releasing dangerous offenders prematurely, should Boisvenu's case prove to involve parole issues. It did, and since then, Marcel Bolduc - the father of Isabelle Bolduc, a 22-year-old music student who was kidnapped, raped and fatally beaten with an iron pipe in 1996 by two parolees - has done just that. Currently myself, Marcel Bolduc, Julie's father, Pierre Boisvenu, and other prominent Canadian victims have been working together to form a National organization dedicated to victims rights. When the political dust settles after June 28th, I will be able to speak more on that. Until then, pray for a minority government so we can get some work done for victims in Canada.
Hugo Bernier is set to go to trail this September. The case will not be heard in Sherbrooke, but 100 miles away in Montreal. In the aftermath of the Bernier's arrest, police blundered again. In their enthusiasm over the investigation, police held a press conference in which they accidentally released information about the investigation that the judge thought could be construed as prejudicial to a jury pool. He then ruled to move proceedings to Montreal, the home turf of Bernier's legal team. Now the victims - the Boisvenus - must commute everyday to Montreal if they hope to be part of the proceedings. Pierre Boisvenu has appealed to IVAC for victim compensation to provide financial assistance to attend the trial, but IVAC turned him down. So far Mr. Boisvenu has been reimbursed exactly $600 to cover the cost of funeral expenses.
It goes without saying that I am a great admirer of Pierre Boisvenu. Always poised and charming, never self-pitying, he is a great public face and voice for victim advocacy.
Tuesday, June 22, 2004
More songs from the past
I've been avoiding you lately. Chiefly because I've found a new toy. Over the weekend I bought a drum set (Ludwig, 5 piece, inky-black). This is my mid-life crisis. To re-discover past glory playing in a garage band. It's frustrating... it's been over 15 years since I played. I have to re-learn everything again. Frustrating, but totally engrossing, I've never felt happier. The neighbors are thrilled. To my children, I'm a hero.
My parents came back from an endless trip through Europe last night. Realize that touring through Europe is totally not-them; they're more inclined to seclude themselves in the house and wait for death to come knocking. I hadn't talked to them in months. They said they had a fantastic time; enough time away to even forget that they ever had children, which, in their case, is a good thing.
So we're all trying to get away from things. Life is good, the kids are good, I'm enjoying my wife.
But these things come back to nag at you. This morning in bed my wife turned to me and said,
Was there ever a theory that your sister was murdered by a police officer?
Yes, I've heard that before, several people have suggested it. Why, did you have a dream?
Yeah, I saw her floating in this water with handcuffs on.
And off we go again...
Thursday, June 17, 2004
Swift Justice for Michael Briere
Holly Jones: it's a name that trips so easily off the tongue, yet it's so forgettable. Poor Holly. I'm glad Briere pleaded guilty.
Wednesday, June 16, 2004
I will get to the Alberta serial killer story and the Sandra Darlene Bowman case tomorrow. Until then, I must confess I love stuff like this...
Un dossier vieux de 35 ans réactivé
À la suite de nouvelles informations transmises au Service de police de Sherbrooke en septembre 2003, les enquêteurs ont réactivé un dossier de meurtre vieux de 35 ans!
Roland Giguère, qui était alors âgé de 35 ans, était gérant des restaurants Pat's Kentucky de Sherbrooke. Dans la nuit du 1er novembre 1968 vers 2h30, après avoir fait la fermeture des restaurants, il a été attaqué au moment où il arrivait chez lui avec son véhicule.
M. Giguère a été atteint d'un projectile de calibre .22 au cours de la bousculade avec ses agresseurs. Monsieur Giguère est décédé le 7 novembre suite à des complications.
L'enquête de l'époque étalée sur plusieurs années n'avait pas permis d'élucider ce dossier, indique un communiqué du SPS.
Le sergent détective Michel L'Italien et le détective Daniel Breton ont communiqué au cours des derniers mois avec plusieurs témoins dans la région, ainsi que dans d'autres provinces canadiennes et aux États-Unis afin de corroborer ces informations.
Plus de détails dans La Tribune de jeudi.
Tuesday, June 15, 2004
Since attending the police victim services conference in British Columbia I've been thinking a lot about a presentation I attended given by Katy Hutchison. In 1997, Katy's husband, Bob McIntosh died following an alcohol-fuelled attack by two young men after he went to check on a rowdy New Year's Eve party at the home of a friend who was on vacation. McIntosh was kicked in the head four times by 25-year-old Ryan Aldridge . One of the blows severed an artery in the back of the 40-year-old lawyer's head. McIntosh was rushed to hospital, but pronounced dead almost immediately. Aldridge eventually pleaded guilty to manslaughter and is currently serving a five-year sentence.
Katy Hutchison has turned her husband's death into a story of hope and inspiration. The Story of Bob, is an-hour-and-a-half presentation given by Katy, primarily to elementary and secondary school students across Canada. Delivered as a rapid-fire slide presentation, The Story of Bob is part tribute to Katy's former husband and part cautionary tale to young adults about the dangers of drugs and alcohol.
Most interesting is the sub-plot concerning the relationship that has developed between Katy and Ryan Aldridge, the man responsible for Bob's death. Katy has since forgiven her husband's killer. The two have met on several occasions, and Ryan Aldridge has expressed deep remorse for his actions. It is Katy's hope that when Ryan is release from prison, the two may present The Story Of Bob together.
I find the story of Bob, Katy and Ryan deeply moving. I also find it confusing and troubling. At times it gives me great comfort and hope. Other times I am intensely mistrustful and suspicious of this story of reconciliation. Coming home on the plane from Vancouver I thought about this idea of forgiving the offender a lot. Then the passenger seated next to me handed me his copy of Rolling Stone, and there the idea was again,
Forgiving the Murderer
Walter Everett looked his son's killer in the eye and tried to understand him
Walter Everett, a Methodist minister from Hartford, Connecticut, eventually came face-to-face with Mike Carlucci, the man responsible for the murder of his 19-year-old son, and forgave him.
So I wonder if I would have the same ability. Could I forgive the person that murdered my sister? I would like to think I could, but I don't know yet. There are too many unknowns; I don't know the person, I don't know the circumstances. At best, I can say that the prospect of restorative justice is an intriguing option for rehabilitation, but it is also a deeply personal choice that should always be left to each individual victim - I am weary of attempts to institutionalize the process.
Restorative justice is a system of rehabilitation whereby victims, offenders and communities are brought together in an attempt to "restore" the wounds brought about by criminal behavior. It's easy to see why this movement has greater clout in Canada than the U.S. - in the States an offender can be handed a very real life sentence, they may even have their lives terminated, in Canada there is always the reality that the offender, eventually, is coming back into society, so communities better get used to that idea and deal with it. Many restorative justice programs involve victim / offender mediation, where the two sides get together and work out their differences, or express their mutual grief. It all sounds like real bleeding-heart stuff, and many critics voice concerns that restorative justice is soft on criminals and their actions.
Yet, if I am one of those critics, I must confess I am also an idealist at heart and want to believe so much that a program like this could work. But I am left with so many questions. Ryan Aldridge and Mike Carlucci were one time offenders; they murdered, felt great remorse for their actions, and - as of yet - have not offended again. But what of a serial rapist or multiple murderer? Does restorative justice work in those instances? What about a terrorist, where their motives are political? If I discovered that my sister was murdered by a serial offender, there is the possibility that I might forgive them for that action, but I doubt my meeting them might have a positive effect toward their rehabilitation.
I'm still tossing this one around folks. As such, I'd be interested in your comments and experiences.
I only learned recently that Robert Beullac died a year ago today of acute myelogenous leukemia. Bob was a private investigator hired by my father after my sister went missing, when my parents stopped getting sufficient answers about Theresa's disappearance from police and school officials. Bob was a giant of a man; he stood 6'5" and carried this huge gun harnessed under his armpit. He was trained as a lawyer and was often used by defense attorneys on cases involving ordinary citizens who had fallen to the wayside of the law - is it any wonder that Bob and the Surete du Quebec never got along.
After twenty-five years, my parents are still left with an understandable bitterness about the events and people that surrounded the disappearance and death of their daughter. But they always had a kind word for Bob. For years they would exchange Christmas cards. Bob would send newspaper clippings about crime in the Eastern Townships to my father. In turn my father would send back some article of interest that he had found, the words, "for your file" written in the upper corner. In time, this correspondence slowly faded.
In 2001, when I began my own investigation, Bob Beullac was one of the first people I called. It had been close to twenty-five years. Where the Quebec authorities struggled for weeks trying to locate my sister's police file, Bob found his file instantly. It was on the upper right corner of his desk. He told me he had never removed it from that place.
Bob was generous with his time. He would go over the old case in phone conversations and emails. We discussed the old theories, and new ones. Soon, the exchanges began, just like with my father. We would send articles back and forth to each other: "FYI", or "Did you see this about Julie Boisvenu?". One day Bob wrote to tell me he was very sick and probably would not be able to write anymore; would I like all his old papers? Soon after a brown package arrived in the mail. In it, Bob's personal file on my sister's case, and a couple of crime almanacs from the '70s published by Allo Police. I never heard from him again.
Bob once told me that my sister, Theresa was killed three times. There was her physical death, then there was her second death when authorities disgraced her memory by providing such a poor investigation, and then her third death; when in 2002, the Surete du Quebec refused to acknowledge their past mistakes (an apology did eventually come - but much later).
I will miss Bob Beullac. His presence was electric, his enthusiasm inspiring. He never condescended to me and my efforts, and with 40 years of investigative experience he had every right to. He was a good man.
Friday, June 11, 2004
Oh great, Wendell goes AWOL...
Williamson's Brief Disappearance Sparks Concerns About Community Safety
Chapel Hill Killer Left Mental Facility For 13 Hours Before Returning
RALEIGH, N.C. -- The man who went on a deadly shooting spree in Chapel Hill nine years ago was back at Dorothea Dix Hospital Friday night.
Wendell Williamson slipped away from the Wake County mental institution Thursday night. Orange County District Attorney Carl Fox said he was not surprised.
"At first, I was stunned," Fox said. "But I can't say that I was surprised. Dorothea Dix is not a secured campus."
Police searched all night for Williamson after he slipped away from the hospital sometime after 8 p.m. Thursday.
Williamson called Dix police Friday morning from a boat ramp at Lake Wheeler seven miles away. He was returned to the hospital 13 hours after he slipped away.
Later Friday, the hospital was answering questions about how Williamson got away in the first place.
"It's very regrettable," Dix spokesperson Mark Van Sciver said. "We wanted to get him back as soon as possible."
Many people remember Williamson's case. Two people were killed and a police officer injured in his 1994 rampage. He stood trial for first-degree murder, but a jury found him not guilty by reason of insanity.
The disappearance actually may have been a side effect of Williamson's court-appointed treatment program. Van Sciver said Williamson -- a diagnosed paranoid schizophrenic -- was allowed up to an hour of unsupervised time a day.
"Part of the treatment is getting them used to being responsible for themselves," Van Sciver said.
Nevertheless, Raleigh City Council member Phillip Isley said the community deserves an explanation and reassurance that supervision at Dorothea Dix is adequate.
Isley said he planned to address the case at Tuesday's council meeting.
"My hope is that the state will take our request seriously," Isley said. "This impacts the people of Raleigh more than anything."
Every time Williamson's name makes headlines, the memories come rushing back for his victims. Friday was no different.
"He shot right through my car window," said Demetrise Stephenson, the police officer who was shot in the hand during Williamson's shooting spree. "He shot at me 28 times. I later found out that 28 bullets came through my car."
Stephenson said she realizes Williamson is sick but added that he does not belong in the real world.
The fact that Williamson called the hospital and was returned 13 hours later was little comfort to Stephenson.
"Although he does have an illness, I don't think . . . he should be a part of the community without assistance or supervision," Stephenson said. "Something needs to be done. That's the bottom line."
Thursday, June 10, 2004
The Glass Half Empty
In case you worried that I'd gone all warm-and-fuzzy after my love-fest in B.C.; some reasons to be afraid...
Be Very Afraid:
- Conference scuttle-butt... Toronto Peel Police may have severely compromised their investigation into the murder of Cecilia Zhang over turf wars. Police would not allow a forensic team from another jurisdiction to examine the remains, even though they didn't have anyone on their own staff to do the job, so the body was never properly recovered.
- The trial is not set to begin until the fall, and their are already fears that Robert Pickton - suspected of murdering over 60 women in Port Coquitlam, British Columbia - may walk. The reason? Once again, law enforcement turf wars and jurisdictional pissing matches that may have compromised the case.
- Justice Canada's Policy Centre for Victim Issues has entered their final year of funding. With an election in less than a month, there is the real possibility that the Centre may go defuncto sometime in early '05.
- British Columbia's Police Victim Services program - in my opinion the model and envy of the nation in victim service provision - is also under seige due to changes in the political wind.
- Ditto, Ontario's Office for Victims of Crime.
Ok, people... we've got some work to do. Bang the war-drums. Start writing your MLAs.
Tuesday, June 08, 2004
Hello? Security On Campus? Is Anybody Home?
UNCW Announces Plans For Taskforce After Two High-Profile Homicides
Officials Look At Possibility Of Background Checks For Applicants
WILMINGTON, N.C. -- Officials are taking action after two high-profile incidents involving students at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington.
Police say UNCW student Christen Naujoks was shot to death by her ex-boyfriend.
Student Christen Naujoks was shot to death at her apartment complex Friday night. Investigators said her ex-boyfriend John Peck, a former student at the university, was to blame. He was found dead in a creek after a shootout with authorities in western North Carolina Tuesday night.
The cause of Peck's death has not been determined.
Naujoks had a restraining order against Peck and had filed charges against him. Investigators said they found an audiotape on which he talked about people he planned to kill, including Naujoks and her mother.
"Her death has devastated us. We don't know how we are going to go on," said Holly Naujoks, Christen's mother.
In another incident, Jessica Faulkner was raped and killed last month in a dorm room. Curtis Dixon, another student at the university, is charged with her murder.
In another incident, UNCW student Jessica Faulkner was raped and killed last month in a dorm room.
In both incidents, Peck and Dixon had prior criminal records that the university claims it did not know about.
"There are people here that are not stable, that are killing people. That is something very horrible. I think it is the university's responsibility to make sure this is a safe place for everyone," student Faith McPherson said.
"This has been a sad and trying time for the university," said UNCW Chancellor Rosemary DePaolo.
The university is starting a task force which will look at everything from stalking on campus to the feasibility of criminal background checks for applicants.
While many people would like to see more background checks, some argue they are not cost-efficient, are an invasion of privacy and are no guarantee against violence.
"It's terribly sad that we have had four students now in the last month who have been affected by this, but who is to say it is the university's fault or anybody else's fault except for the people who were involved in it?" student Lisa Davis said.
Peck would have been scheduled to appear in court Wednesday on charges that he harassed Naujoks.
Speaking of loss and grief...
My thanks to Eric Muller over at Is That Legal? for showing me this essay by Roger Angell in the current New Yorker. Yes, this paragraph is pretty much pitch-perfect, as is the entire piece a beautiful bit of writing on loss, grief, and the persistence of memory to call up what we cannot bare:
Loss is the common currency of family tales—who doesn’t have a sad ancestor or a stopped child to tell about?—but it isn’t talked about much, out of respect for others, whose news, come to think of it, is probably worse than our own. “Get over it!” is the cry I hear lately in conversations about some mopey pal or once happy couple, by which we mean shut up about it, give us a break. My grandfather Charles Sergeant, a stooped, sweetly polite man, painted oil landscapes in his old age, standing before his easel in tweeds, with an incessant ash hovering on the tip of his Chesterfield. He could not have forgotten his early orphaning or the sudden loss of his young wife, but he never got around to such matters at the dinner table. I am his age now, and find myself wondering what he thought about late at night in his bedroom, or in the unexpected moment when his gaze lifted from the sunlit cove or difficult oak he wished to capture on his little canvas. I could also jump back a good deal farther here and speculate in similar fashion about Captain John Sheple (as the name was then spelled), the murdered James Shepley’s great-great-great-grandfather, who at seventeen was captured by the Abenaki Indians on July 27, 1694, in a raid on Groton, Massachusetts. He was one survivor of a massacre—it was an early skirmish in the French and Indian Wars—that took twenty-two lives, including those of his parents and his two siblings. After a captivity of more than three years, he returned to his native town, where he married, produced five children, and, in the words of a local historian, “held many offices of trust and responsibility, both civil and ecclesiastical.” His memories are not mentioned, and no wonder.
Police Victim Services B.C.
I want you to know what a wonderful experience it was to present at, and observe
the Police Victims Services conference. I had such a fine time, and I thank you
for inviting me to participate.
The sessions I attended were wonderful, in particular Dr. Rick Snyder's piece on Hope (and here I thought this guy was going to be a Tony Robbins huckster!), Katy Hutchison's presentation (I had never had much faith in restorative justice, but after The Story of Bob, I'm beginning to see the sense in forgiveness), and the workshops by Tracey Thompson and Carolyn Sinclair. I'm sure there were others, but I couldn't attend everything.
The people were wonderful; I gained more knowledge and insight just by talking with the participants.
And, my own presentation was a great time. I set a goal not to be weepy and judgemental, one I accomplished. It was important for me to make people laugh; which I did. The workshop was a very positive experience for me.
I left Vancouver with a better understanding of the need for victims, victim service providers, parole, law enforcement and corrections to work together - I am so greatful for that.
Again, thank you. I would come back any time.
Chapel Hill, NC
Saturday, June 05, 2004
Ok, so I'm in Vancouver. So far so good - although I did bristle when Suzanne Dahline (sp)from the Ministry of Public Safety announced that victim service providers were the voice of victims (here we go again!).
Vancouver is incredible. Why didn't I move here? Can I re-locate here? Will my wife let me? (will Calgary win the cup?)
Well, I speak this afternoon... I won't drone on either, as the puck drops at 5:00 pm sharp.
Thursday, June 03, 2004
Charges filed in 1980 Duluth death
Sort of gets your mind to thinkin', don't it?
Pat Doyle, Star Tribune
June 3, 2004
More than two decades after a Duluth woman disappeared, her ex-boyfriend was charged Wednesday with her murder. Authorities said Donald L. Bloomer described shooting Julie May Hill in his Duluth house in 1980 and then burying her body outside the city.
Meanwhile, investigators were digging at Bloomer's Duluth property and trying to identify several other women whose pictures were found during a search of his house.
Asked if authorities were considering whether Bloomer had been involved with other missing women, Police Lt. Timothy Hanson said: "We're looking at all of the property we came across in the house and keeping an open mind about anything that may have happened. We're looking into other possibilities.
"Right now he is not a suspect in the disappearance of any other women," Hanson said.
He said it was standard procedure "to wonder what else a person might have been involved in. And in this case we want to make sure we're not missing anything."
Bloomer, 57, was charged with second-degree intentional and third-degree unintentional murder in the death of Hill, who was 21 when she disappeared. St. Louis County District Judge Terry Hallenbeck set bail at $125,000.
Duluth police recently took up the Hill case after some of her relatives approached them with renewed suspicions about Bloomer. Although Hill's family had contacted Duluth police periodically since 1980 to check on developments, "This is the first formal investigation," Mark Rubin, assistant St. Louis County attorney, said Wednesday.
Bloomer, a contract newspaper carrier until he was fired this week, was led into court with his legs shackled. A criminal complaint said he called the shooting an accident.
In the complaint, Hill's family members and a friend said Bloomer abused her during the three years before her disappearance. Duluth police records show reports of three domestic disturbances and an assault in the late 1970s.
Jacqueline Heikkila said Hill, her sister, talked about abuse and tried repeatedly to leave Bloomer.
"On one of these occasions, Jacqueline said Julie was crying and upset and telling her mom that Donald Bloomer was hitting her and she didn't know what to do," the complaint said.
Hill tried leaving Bloomer a couple of times, but told a friend, Kim Leach, "Donald would track me down and force me to come back."
Heikkila told authorities that Bloomer was digging up his yard around the time Hill vanished.
"Jacqueline said she went to Donald Bloomer's house with her mother a few days after Julie disappeared and the hole was filled in and there were no dirt piles in the yard," the complaint said.
After Hill's relatives appealed again this year to police for help, investigators interviewed Bloomer in late May. During the first two interviews, he said Hill had talked about leaving the area "and described her as a wanderer," the complaint said.
He began a third interview by saying he shot Hill on the morning of July 4, 1980.
He said that they had been planning to go camping and that he put a loaded handgun into a backpack. He said he later removed the gun from the pack and was looking at it when Hill walked down the stairs, startling him, and he pulled the trigger. She was shot once in the head, the complaint said.
Bloomer told police he was haunted by what Hill had said to him just before he shot her.
"The defendant said that her expression changed from a smile to perhaps shock and she said to him, 'You're looking at me funny,' " according to the complaint.
Bloomer allegedly told police that he wrapped her body in carpet and drove on Hwy. 2 past Floodwood, about 40 miles from Duluth, where he buried her.
He recently spent two days trying without success to locate the place for investigators.
But investigators continued Wednesday to search the grounds of Bloomer's Duluth house. Authorities obtained a court order to tear down his house and have been using digging equipment to excavate around it.
Before razing the house, investigators searched it and found a plastic bottle with hair similar in color to Hill's, and pictures of Hill and of "several other women still yet to be identified," according to the complaint.
"Right now we're looking for one body," Rubin said. "We're still looking for Julie Hill's body."
Wednesday, June 02, 2004
Ok chillins', I'm off to British Columbia for that victims thingy. I'll try to blog from the road with updates. Meantime, read wonkette.
Tuesday, June 01, 2004
Scott Peterson murder trial finally begins
You mean this thing isn't over by now?