DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Strict//EN" ""> Who Killed Theresa?: 08/01/2005 - 09/01/2005

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Open Thread...

Folks, I'm uninspired. Give me your thoughts... What do you want to talk about (crime, et al).

Better yet, give me some good news from your home town, or some bad news even?



CRIME AND PUNISHMENT: Slain man's dad takes matters in own hands

WINNIPEG -- Jack McLaughlin's goal is to reform the country's judicial system.
Frustrated with the justice he's seen since his 20-year-old son was beaten to death outside a popular south Winnipeg bar last spring, McLaughlin has taken matters into his own hands.

A businessperson by trade, McLaughlin has incorporated a volunteer group called People for Justice and is already planning a mass demonstration in September that he hopes will draw 20,000 people.

"I've got a gut feeling this could turn into the biggest revolt against the government in Canadian history because they've underestimated the feelings of people towards the justice system," McLaughlin said. "If it took my son's death to get me off my derriere, so be it. But once I'm standing, I stay standing."

But University of Winnipeg criminologist Doug Skoog said it's a misconception among Canadians the justice system isn't tough on criminals.

"We give out pretty harsh penalties in relation to other countries," Skoog said.

Anthony McLaughlin's death rocked the city last May. It was one of three murders on one of the bloodiest long weekends in Winnipeg's history.

The University of Manitoba management student was in a bar fight at the Pembina Hotel that ended up outside the neighbouring Original Pancake House. Badly beaten, Anthony was taken to hospital where he died the next day.

Originally charged with second-degree murder for the attack, Tyler Cascisa pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of manslaughter during his preliminary hearing two months ago. Cascisa has been under a form of house arrest for more than a year but is permitted to go to work.

He will be sentenced this month.

McLaughlin -- who says his life has been turned upside-down since his son's death -- wants to see courts get tougher on criminals. That includes judges imposing harsher sentences and the federal government tightening up the Young Offenders Act.

"The only good I can see of what happened to our family is changes in the justice system," said McLaughlin, who wants People For Justice to expand across the country. The group even has a Web site.

Study after study shows Canadians feel criminals are walking away from courts without being adequately punished when in fact 90 per cent of people charged with a crime are convicted, Skoog said.

It's often the media that creates an impression the courts aren't tough enough by focusing on cases in which sentences are seen as lenient, he said.

But don't tell that to Darlene Rempel, whose 23-year-old son, Paul Rempel, was killed in downtown Winnipeg 17 years ago while walking home from a bar. The longest sentence any of the 10 thugs who attacked the man received was four years behind bars.

"It was great anger with the justice system that got me into this. At that time, there a great lack of communication between us and the system," said Rempel, a founding member and executive director of the Manitoba Organization of Victim Advocates.


Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Oh how the mind wonders...

So I'm sitting in my three hour statistics class when it suddenly occurs to me that I dreamed about Theresa last night (a rare event - and can you blame me for daydreaming?).

Get this... I'm in Montreal visiting my brother and suddenly she just shows up. No explanation of where she's been for 27 years. She won't tell us where she's living. Only that she has a job as a secretary, but her boss is threatening to fire her unless she learns to master Microsoft Excel. I offer to tutor her, and run to find my laptop (anything to keep her from disappearing again). I come back and she let's it slip that she's been living in Philadelphia. "Philadelphia," I say "that's great! I can give you a ride home when I go back to North Carolina."

Then I wake up.

Go figure.

Still, it was nice to see her again.


Monday, August 22, 2005

Here's a little chestnut...

I've been in a slow, simmering rage ever since last week. It started when I learned that CTV was rebroadcasting the show on Theresa. I don't know why that got me so angry? I feel embarrassed about it.

Plainly: every time I think I've got this thing under control, it will boil over and surprize me. And I feel so much shame for not being able to be rational about something that happened close to 30 years ago.

I don't want sympathy. I only offer that up in case someone else out there feels the same way.

Baby steps.


A busy week...

Both my classes are now in session at NC State, so things are picking up.

Also, we are opening our fifth season at the theater on Thursday; but more important, on that day the kids are back in school (bless their little hearts)...

After the broadcast on W-FIVE on Sunday, I got a credible tip from someone about a suspect.

It is a strange thing to have someone contact you saying they think they know who killed your sister.


Sunday, August 21, 2005

Things that should not be heard, but must be heard

Posted on Thu, Aug. 18, 2005
Litany of horror

Investigators tell of grisly crimes, Rader's delight
The Wichita Eagle

Editor's Note: This story contains graphic material and may not be suitable for all readers.

Dennis Rader used just about everything good in his life as tools for evil. Rader, 60, used his wife and baby son, his position as a Scout volunteer and leader of his church, and his college education to plan and carry out 10 murders as the BTK serial killer.

Years later, after being caught, Rader would brag to police that he fancied his actions were in the mold of John Wayne and James Bond, in the way he drew his gun to shoot a teenage boy and the way he dressed during a home invasion.

In a Sedgwick County courtroom Wednesday, Rader licked his lips, pressed his hands between his thighs and intently watched the display of photos from crime scenes and autopsies. Most of the images shown to Judge Greg Waller were considered too shocking for the live television audience.

District Attorney Nola Foulston and assistants Kevin O'Connor, Kim Parker and Aaron Smith glanced at Rader from time to time as they presented horrific details of the killings that the 60-year-old former dog catcher from Park City had left out of his own story during his guilty plea back in June.

As police witnesses testified to what Rader told them during a lengthy and detailed confession following his Feb. 25 arrest, they talked of how he liked acronyms and abbreviations. Indeed, he'd given himself one in the nickname BTK, for "bind, torture and kill."

Rader had a term for his killings: projects, "PJs" for short. He had his "after-life concepts of victims," or "AFLV," where he fantasized how he would continue to torture and enslave the people he killed throughout eternity.

The Oteros

Rader liked the way Latina women looked, their dark hair and eyes. That's what he saw in Julie Otero and her 11-year-old daughter, Josie.

"I guess they just turn me on," Rader told Ray Lundin, senior special agent for the Kansas Bureau of Investigation.

Rader got a surprise, however, when he entered the house at 803 N. Edgemoor in 1974. Joseph Otero was home, and so was his son Joey, 9. Rader had packed the pocket of his Air Force parka with binding material and weapons. He drew a gun and began ordering the family around.

Spurred by sexual dreams of bondage, Rader had been prepared to tie up the mother and her preteen child for a thrill. He ended up tying up the father and son, too.

But Joseph Otero, an airman himself and former boxer, tried to chew through the plastic bag meant to suffocate him. Rader would make sure the boy couldn't fight back. Rader put a T-shirt over the plastic bag to keep the boy's teeth from gnashing through the plastic.

That was the "coop de grayce," Rader told Lundin, mispronouncing "coup de grace." Rader brought in a chair for another room so he could watch Joey writhe on the floor as he suffocated.

"You killed my boy! You killed my boy!" Julie Otero yelled.

Rader had strangled her to unconsciousness once already. But she was still alive. He strangled her again.
"You know, I strangled dogs and cats, but I never strangled a person before, so they were the first," Rader said in his confession.

Josie Otero woke up, too.

"What did you do to my momma?" the little girl shrieked. "Momma! Momma! Momma!"

Lundin said that as Rader described it, he imitated the little girl's voice in mocking fashion.

The 10 victims' family members, who were seated in an overflow room outside the courtroom, mocked Rader in turn. They imitated Rader's mispronunciations and laughed at the stupidity he showed through some of his statements.

But brothers Danny and Charlie Otero and their sister, Carmen Montoya, sat in the courtroom wiping back tears as they heard police recount what had happened while they were at school.

Rader led Josie down to the basement.

"So my encore was to just take her down there and hang her," Rader told police. "If she had been dead, I would have still hung her, just to hang her."

Hanging was a major part of Rader's fantasies

Earlier in his life, Rader had dressed up in women's underwear, tied a rope around his neck and took pictures of himself, as if he were hanging, in his parents' basement. He felt that basements were a good place to hang people.

"It's symbolic, like a dungeon," Rader told police.

Rader told Josie: "Well, honey, you're going to be in heaven tonight with the rest of your family."

Rader strategically tied Josie so she would hang by her neck, with the tips of her toes touching the ground. That way, the little girl would struggle to support herself, until her strength finally gave out and the noose choked the life out of her. Rader had pulled down the girl's panties around her ankles. Watching her was "a sexual release," Rader would say.

Rader told KBI Deputy Director Larry Thomas that he knew police must have found the droplets of semen he left by the dangling corpse.

They did, and 30 years later, advances in forensic sciences would match his DNA and positively identify Rader, leaving him no choice but to plead guilty.

Rader, the former president of Christ Lutheran Church in Park City, then described his own version of heaven. Thomas said Rader imagined the people he killed would serve him after he died in some strange sado-sexual palace of the afterlife.

Joseph, Rader said, would be his bodyguard. Julie would bathe him. Joey would become a young sex valet. And Josie would be his "star young maiden."

Pastor Michael Clark of Christ Lutheran Church, who has visited Rader in jail several times and was sitting in the court gallery, grimaced when he heard this testimony.

Kathryn Bright

"Sweet kid," Rader said of Kathryn Bright to Wichita police Detective Clint Snyder.

Except Rader couldn't remember her name. He kept calling her "Kathleen."

When police arrived at the Bright house in April 1974, the 21-year-old was still alive. Her brother, Kevin, had been shot twice in the head and escaped to call for help. Kathryn was

Kathryn Bright wasn't about to surrender to the sex whims of someone like Dennis Rader.

Rader told police he'd "troll" for victims and pick out cute young women who seemed vulnerable and alone. Despite taking copious notes and stalking his victims, he really didn't know them at all.

And he was wrong about Kathryn Bright.

"I didn't have any idea she had a brother," Rader told Snyder.

But there was Kevin Bright when Rader punched through the screen and broke into the house at 3217 E. 13th St.

Rader knew he'd have to get the 19-year-old man out of the way if he wanted to tie up the woman and have sexual fantasies about her. He tied Kathryn to a chair, but Kevin kept escaping.

"I just did one of those John Wayne things," Rader told police, saying he drew his gun and shot Kevin.
But 5-foot-6, 115-pound Kevin kept coming. Rader, although a good four inches taller and 50 pounds heavier, was losing the fight with both Kevin and Kathryn.

"She fought like a hellcat," Rader told police.

Kevin ran out the door, wounded in the lip and forehead, and Rader began stabbing Kathryn.
Then Rader ran scared.

Kathryn, bleeding profusely, crawled from her bedroom to the living room and reached for the phone. She was holding the receiver when police found her. With her last breath, Bright said she didn't know the man who did this to her.

Three decades later, police would find the knife Rader used to kill Kathryn Bright -- a Boy Scout knife he kept in his kitchen pantry.

Still, Rader dreamed on -- in his version of paradise, she'd be a "sex bondage girl."

Shirley Vian Relford
Rader posed as a private detective looking for someone, showing a picture of his own wife and toddler son to gain entrance into Shirley Vian Relford's house in March 1977.

It was a "russ," Rader said.

A what? Detective Dana Gouge and others couldn't tell what Rader was talking about sometimes.
"A russ," Rader kept insisting.

After a while, they figured out he meant "ruse."

Rader thought he looked like James Bond in a tweed jacket, dressed like a private eye.

"He said he looked 'spiffy,' " said Gouge, a veteran of the Wichita police homicide squad.

Once inside Relford's house, however, her young children gave him problems. Rader locked them in the bathroom, and the oldest, age 8, threatened to escape.

"I'll shoot you, blow your head off," Rader said. The 8-year-old eventually escaped out the window anyway and went for help.

Rader didn't have time to carry out his sex play there. But he had time to put Vian on her bed, tape her feet and ankles, and tie her up with her arms crossed under the small of her back.

"In the bondage world, that's really high stuff," Rader would tell Gouge.

Rader put a plastic bag over Relford's head and tied it with a pink nightgown.

On his way out, Rader stole panties. He did that at several killings, telling police he would bring them out years later and put them on himself.

"I'm a nice guy. I'm a nice guy," Rader insisted to Gouge.

In Rader's version of paradise, Vian would clean his house.

Back in 1977, young Steven Relford had such a good memory, he gave a description of the attacker. At the time, police were unsure whether a 6-year-old was a reliable witness.

After Rader's arrest, Gouge went back and looked at the old police report.

"What Steven reported to police in 1977 was very accurate," Gouge said, as a grown-up Relford sat in the courtroom. "He has a good memory."

Nancy Fox

Rader wrote poetry about Shirley Vian Relford, titled "Shirley Locks." He also wrote two poems about Nancy Fox.

Rader was most proud of the Nancy Fox murder.

"Fox went the way I wanted it," Rader told Detective Tim Relph.

Rader didn't have interruptions from nosy kids or men at Fox's house. He tied her up. He strangled her to unconsciousness. He let her regain consciousness and he strangled her again.

"I told her I was BTK," Rader told Relph. He whispered it in her ear as she died.

Fox, 25, didn't go quietly. She called his sexual bondage fantasies "ridiculous" and clawed at his testicles, trying to hurt him.

It only aroused him.

"I was on a high," Rader told Relph.

After Wednesday's hearing, Foulston told reporters she was certain Rader was getting "sexually charged" by the court testimony.

"This guy eats, lives, breathes sexual gratification," Foulston said.

Rader told Relph that in the afterlife Nancy Fox would be his primary mistress.

Said prosecutor O'Connor: "This guy is no Christian."

Marine Hedge

Marine Hedge, 53, lived six houses away from where Rader lived all of his 33 years of marriage and where he raised two children.

Rader would give a neighborly wave to the woman he mistakenly called "Marie." But Rader thought killing someone so close would be a triumph.

"Oh, this will be big if I can pull it off," Rader told Sedgwick County sheriff's Sgt. Thomas E. Lee.

Rader helped with Cub Scouts and liked camp-outs, for the alibi it gave him in April 1985.

"It's a good cover for a guy like me to go camp out and slip away," Rader told Lee.

Rader broke into Hedge's house and hid in the closet. Hedge came home with a man, and Rader waited until he left and she went to sleep.

Unlike the others, Rader decided to choke Hedge with his bare hands --"throttle her," he called it.

Rader wanted to take her dead body to a barn. He liked barns. As a child, he told police, he'd kill stray cats and dogs and bind them with baling wire and hang them in a barn.

But he didn't take Hedge's body to a barn. Rader took her to Christ Lutheran Church. He planned it out. He hid plastic there so he could tape it over the windows, then he laid Hedge on the altar and took pictures of her corpse, tied up and in sexually graphic positions.

"Alive or dead, she was going to that church," Rader told Lee.

Rader then dumped Hedge's body in a culvert by the side of a road, a place he said was a dumping site for dog carcasses.

Vicki Wegerle

Vicki Wegerle loved to play the piano, and Rader heard the music when he would stalk her. Rader heard her playing the day he put on a hard hat with a Southwestern Bell insignia, posed as a telephone repairman and talked Wegerle into letting him into her house.

"I still have the emblem in my lair," Rader told Detective Kelly Otis.

The BTK lair, or the "mother lode," as he called it, was a drawer filled with memorabilia of death, souvenirs collected from all of his killings and stories he'd written of the gruesome deeds.

Rader kept it all in his office in Park City's City Hall, where he worked as a compliance officer for more than 10 years.

Wegerle's 2-year-old son was home when Rader pulled his gun.

"How about my kid?" Wegerle said.

"I don't know about your kid," Rader remembered responding.
Otis remembered Rader talked calmly about this killing.

"It was as if he was telling a fishing story, talking over coffee," Otis testified.

Wegerle also fought back. Rader told Otis that Wegerle fought more fiercely than Bright had. Wegerle scratched him. Rader still thinks he carries a scar, but Otis didn't see anything.

Wegerle clenched Rader's DNA under her fingernails. In 1986, DNA tests weren't perfected. But in 2004, lab experts would link Rader's DNA to the Wegerle, Fox and Otero slayings.

Wegerle had begged Rader to stop. He told investigators she said a prayer as he killed her.
Husband Bill Wegerle came home to find his wife brutally killed.

Rader said he'd see Vicki Wegerle after he dies "as one of the bondage slave women."
Dolores 'Dee' Davis

Capt. Sam Houston of the Sedgwick County sheriff's office said Rader once again used Scouting to cover his murder of Dolores "Dee" Davis, 63,in 1991.

Rader was going to help set up a January camp at Harvey County Park West.
Afterward, he parked his car at the Baptist church at 61st Street North near his Park City home.

"I had a key to that, because that's where the Scouts hung out," Rader confessed to Lee.
Inside the Baptist church, Rader dressed in a dark outfit and put together his "hit kit" -- the bag of tape and cords.

Rader walked nearly two miles across a field and a cemetery to get to Davis' house. She lived in a secluded place, so he heaved a brick through the window of her door after she went to bed.

"I've got kids," Rader remembered Davis pleading. "Don't hurt me. Don't hurt me."
Testimony continues this morning with the Davis case.

Jeff Davis, her son, said Wednesday that he is looking forward to addressing Rader, whom he called "a human covering" of a "black, cancerous hole."

"I've waited 14 years," Jeff Davis said. "I want him to hear what I have to say."


Saturday, August 20, 2005


Since they are rebroadcasting the show on Theresa tonight and tomorrow, and since I saw it previously in March, I thought I'd offer up some observations on the program:

- The home movies of Theresa really hit deep. Yes, I have the tape, but I rarely look at it.

- The show makes it look like my brother and I have been on a twenty-five year voyage of discovery. It's not true. For twenty-some years this matter was dead to us, we moved on. It was not until much later (when we had children of our own), that Theresa came back into our lives.

- The program leaves out the very important contributions of then journalist - and now best-selling author - Patricia Pearson. Patricia was my former girlfriend who I called on for assistance. She wrote the original piece, Who Killed Theresa for the National Post.

I did not seek out Kim Rossmo. Rossmo came into the mix because he and Patricia were colleagues. Patricia was also the first person to suggest that my sister's death was the work of a serial sexual predator. We remain friends, in fact she called me on Friday (P, sorry I did not get back to you).

- I am grateful for the contributions of Suzanne Derome, Leo Hamel, Michael Benazon and Kim Rossmo to this program.

- I think I come of as a lunatic in this broadcast, thank god for the balance my brother Andre provided.

- This is one of the rare occasions where you will observe my mother's eyes. For the last number of years she has worn dark sunglasses. She says it's because her eyes have become sensitive, but I know it goes beyond that. When we hugged goodbye after a recent visit in Montreal, I saw the tears streaming down her cheek.

- Theresa would never want anyone to mourn her memory: Learn from it and move on.


Reading for this Week

Cost Benefit Analysis for Public Sector Decision Makers, Fuguitt & Wilcox

Costs and Benefits of Preventing Crime, Welsh, Farrington & Sherman

Statistical Methods for the Social Sciences, Agresti & Finlay

Tout Le Monde Dehors!, Yves Theriault

The July Parole Decison for Gilles Pimpare

Almanac du Crime au Quebec, Edition 1980

The Instruction Manual for my new TI-84 Plus

The Pillowman, Martin McDonagh

Kitten Games (for Ava)


Thursday, August 18, 2005

I usually don't like these things...

...but this passage about homicide grief which comes via Dan Levey in Arizona really speaks to me (especially the passage about symbols replacing words).

I post it here in consideration of Doreen Drummond who I know is still struggling with the death of her daughter Kelly Anne who was murdered just under a year ago in Montreal (and for Chantel Dupont and Maurice Marcil; long taken from us, but not forgotten).


The aftermath of murder takes us straight through hell where we stand eye to eye with the evil that hides behind human faces, and what we do in the face of that evil--- defines for us what lies behind our own face.

Homicide Grief

Homicide Grief is the yearing to say one last good-bye. Grief is clenching your teeth until you have a headache that won’t go away. Grief is a field of fog and distance where we wander lost and aimless. Grief is dreaming about our loved one and not being able to think of anything else. Grief is wondering why fate chose them and not me. Grief is the fear of living with the loss, and fear of losing more. Grief is the identify crisis that ensues when we lose those who help define who we are, how we live, and how we relate to one another. Grief is panning through memories over and over searching for jewels. It is looking at old family pictures and yearning for that day so long ago in the past.

Grief is wondering where your loved one really is, and if they can see you, hear you, or read your mind. Grief is waving or calling to them just in case. Grief is forging signs and symbols to replace the words you can no longer share. Grief is knowing the rainbow that shouldn’t scientifically exist on a cloudy day is a message to you saying “I DO EXIST”.

Grief is hearing that special song on the radio and knowing your loved one is with you. Grief is having to look into your nine-year old nieces eyes and try to explain why her daddy is never coming home. Grief is sitting in bed crying in the middle of the night saying “God I miss you.” Grief is discovering pieces of what was lost, in places you don’t expect. Grief is grasping opportunities to connect, to share, to care that you might have otherwise left for tomorrow, because you are ever mindful now that there may be no tomorrow. Grief is being able to better disitinguish what is really important and meaningful after all is said and done, and chossing to do more of it. Grief is the yearing, the reaching, the unrequited love that hides behind our loses. Grief truly is a tribute to the depth of your love.

The great Nobel Prize winning author and holocaust survivor Ellie Weissel said
“We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.”


Who Killed Theresa?

I heard through the grapevine that W-Five is repeating their broadcast on Theresa's death this weekend.

Saturday at 7:00 pm, Sunday at 1:00 pm

(but you can always go to their website and view the show at your leasure)


Wednesday, August 17, 2005

My schedule for the Fall at NC State:

PA 511
Public Policy Analysis

Preq: Graduate standing

Methods and techniques of analyzing, developing and evaluating public policies and programs. Emphasis given to benefit-cost and cost-effectiveness analysis and concepts of economic efficiency, equity and distribution. Methods include problem solving, decision making and case studies. Examples used in human resource, environmental and regulatory policy.

ST 507
Statistics For the Behavioral Sciences

A general introduction to the use of descriptive and inferential statistics in behavioral science research. Methods for describing and summarizing data presented, followed by procedures for estimating population parameters and testing hypotheses concerning summarized data.

Classes begin tonight


Tuesday, August 16, 2005

I'm with Eric on this one...

Out of State Plates is wonderful.


Here's a little piece of nasty history I wasn't aware of...

U.S. state pardoning black woman executed in 1945
Tue Aug 16, 2005 11:13 AM ET

ATLANTA (Reuters) - A black woman executed in 1945 for the murder of a white man she claimed held her as a slave and threatened to kill her if she left will receive a pardon, officials in Georgia said on Tuesday.
Georgia's Board of Pardons and Paroles voted to grant the rare posthumous pardon to Lena Baker, who worked as a maid for Ernest Knight, after reviewing her case, which has been described by some historians as a legal lynching.

She was the only woman to die in the southern state's electric chair.

"This was a case that cried out for mercy," said Garland Hunt, a board member. Hunt said Baker should have been convicted of involuntary manslaughter and that the state made a "grievous error" when it did not commute her sentence.

An all-white jury sentenced Baker for killing Knight in 1944 in rural southwest Georgia, despite hearing testimony from Baker that the 67-year-old had held her against her will and tried to rape her.

Baker, 44, claimed she grabbed Knight's gun and shot him in the head as she resisted his advances. Neighbors, however, had told authorities that the two often drank together and had a consensual sexual relationship.
Baker was put to death in Georgia's electric chair on March 5, 1945, after the then-segregated state's pardons board refused to grant clemency.

The state plans to make her pardon official in a proclamation at a ceremony on August 30 in Atlanta. Some of Baker's descendants, who had requested the pardon, will attend, Hunt said.


Marc Groenhuijsen is a professor of criminology at Tilburg University, The Netherlands, and a chair and advisor for the International Victimology Website. His influence on victims issues is unparalleled having been instrumental in European criminal law reform set forth in the UN Declaration of Basic Principles of Justice for Victims of Crime and Abuse of Power.

In Atlanta, Groenhuijsen was part of a panel on International Perspectives on Victim Justice and Services. He spoke eloquently about the need for continued reform; though he stopped short of endorsing the American initiative for a constitutional amendment for victims, preferring to endorse the more moderate position of criminal code reform. Most enticing was his view on the "next wave" of victim services which would include social rights such as workplace sensitivity, and training for healthcare professionals to recognize symptoms of victimization.

If I were planning a conference, forming an advisory board, or simply trying to develop an informed opinion I would definitely want Marc Groenhuijsen in my corner.


Monday, August 15, 2005

Well... it involves Canada and North Carolina, so I think I better post this one

Investigators Seek To Close 35-Year-Old Cold Case After New Information Surfaces

Relatively Little Known About Victim, Including Identity
POSTED: 7:31 pm EDT August 15, 2005
UPDATED: 8:16 pm EDT August 15, 2005

RALEIGH, N.C. -- More than 35 years after a young woman was burned alive, investigators say they have gotten the break they needed in the case. They say they have a suspect, but it is just one part of the decades-old mystery because they still do not know the identity of the victim.

Wake County investigators say new information has led them to a suspect in a 35-year-old murder case. The case is far from closed, however, because the suspect has died and the victim's identity is still unknown.
On April 27, 1968, a woman in a green and white polka dot dress was seen walking down Ten Ten Road in Southern Wake County.

Jo Ann Hunter says her mother and sister saw her as they drove toward a church up the road. When they came back 15 minutes later, she was gone.

View This Story: Part 1 Part 2

"She (Hunter's mother) says she kept remembering that she would look back," Hunter said. "When they came back, they didn't see the woman. They saw a fire burning in the field."

The women believed a farmer was burning something until the next day when the woman's body was discovered in that spot.

"It was a horrendous crime," said Chief Ronnie Stewart, of the Wake County Sheriff's Office.

Stewart says this case was the department's oldest unsolved murder until a witness came forward with details he calls "significant" and "strong."

"That evidence tended to show with certainty that the victim was killed by Robert Reagan, a resident of the community at the time," Stewart said.

Authorities say a witness came forward with significant details that led them to believe Robert Reagan to be a suspect in the killing. Charges will not be filed, however, because Reagan died in 1992.

Investigators interviewed Reagan in 1968. He admitted that he and a friend named David Baker drove up the road to get a look at the woman, but told detectives she had vanished when they got there.

Stewart says information in the case file indicates that Reagan planted tobacco in Canada. Because this woman was a stranger to neighbors, he thinks it is possible that the woman came down from Canada to meet with Reagan.

Investigators are protecting the new information, but District Attorney Colon Willoughby says it is strong enough to warrant charges. That will not happen, however, because Reagan died in 1992.

Reagan's family does not accept the charges.

"I would like the public to know that there are two sides to this story," said Jewel Madsen, Reagan's daughter. "We've been shown no evidence, no proof. If he was alive today, he would have a trial. All the evidence would be put forward for us to make a rational decision."

Madsen and her sister, Vickie Dement, say their father had a reputation as a womanizer and an abusive husband, which makes him an easy target. They say the Canada theory cannot be true because their father had not been there in nearly 10 years before the woman was found dead.

Personal belongings at the crime scene, as well as some blood and hair samples, are all that is left in the case. Investigators hope that could be enough to help them establish the victim's identity.

Investigators believe that the victim's identity could hold vital clues to officially close the case.

The whereabouts of her remains are unknown, but investigators say they have hair and blood samples from the original investigation. They also have a description.

"I know her hair was dark brown with a small amount of gray," Stewart said. "She had a surgical scar below the left side of her naval. She wore a size 7-1/2 shoe. Her blood type was A-positive."

There are also pictures of a gas can, matches, hair spray and other personal items found at the scene.

"I believe someone's missing this victim. They think she probably left on her own free will to start another life," said Scott Broadwell, of the Wake County Sheriff's Office.

Investigators are asking anyone with information in the case to call the Wake County Sheriff's Office at (919) 856-6800.

| a handbasket

Could the situation get any worse in Toronto?

Man convicted in Taber, Alta., school shooting walks away from halfway house

Canadian Press
August 15, 2005
Todd Cameron Smith, 20, is unlawfully at large.

TORONTO -- The young man convicted in an Alberta school shooting has walked away from a halfway house in Toronto -- five months after being released to the open custody facility amid reports he still posed a risk to the public. Police launched a manhunt Monday for Todd Cameron Smith, saying he was considered dangerous.

"We have concern for the public safety,'' said Det. Sgt. Gord Whealy, who was tight-lipped about details of how Smith managed to leave without escort or permission.

"Mr. Smith's background, by his behaviour in the past, is indicative for the potential for his behaviour in the future and that is where our concern lies.''

In April 1999, the then-14-year-old sawed off his stepfather's rifle and gunned down 17-year-old Jason Lang at W.R. Myers High School east of Lethbridge, Alta. He also injured another student, but had intended to kill everyone at the school.

Smith was convicted of first-degree murder and two counts of attempted murder.

He was transferred to the halfway house in March, even though at the time, an Ontario judge agreed the now 20-year-old was not ready for freedom and the Crown argued he still posed a ``significant risk'' to the public.
At the time, Justice Rhys Morgan said the youth needed a ``very slow and supervised transition'' back into society via open custody.

The decision followed a joint statement from both Crown and defence based on psychiatric and probation reports that said Smith should be allowed to move to an open-custody facility, but under close supervision and intensive treatment. CTV News reported that Smith man left a note at the halfway house, saying "he wouldn't be caged any longer -- and he wouldn't surrender alive.''

Smith was a youth at the time of the shooting and could not be identified, but police have received judicial authorization to name him during the current search or until Saturday.

A warrant has been issued for Smith's arrest for escaping lawful custody.

Smith is described as white, 5’ 9”, 165 lbs., slim build, light complexion, brown eyes, and short brown hair. He wears metal-framed prescription glasses. He was last seen wearing dark shorts and a light coloured T-shirt.
The police require the public’s assistance in locating him. Smith is known to the Durham and Toronto areas.
The Toronto Police Service is concerned for the safety of the community in the Toronto and Durham Region areas as well as anyone who comes in contact with Smith.

Police caution members of the public not to approach Smith if they see him but to contact the police immediately.

Anyone with information regarding his whereabouts is urged to contact 9-1-1, the R.O.P.E. Squad at 416-692-8362, Crime Stoppers at 416-222-TIPS (8477) or online at


Lynda Shaw

Yet another black eye for the National Parole Board.

A half-assed apology from a former OPP officer in the London Free Press...

While Joe Wamback plays it lose with the figures for CTV...

Meanwhile, at the Toronto Sun, Thane Burnett fights a losing battle for equity between the rights of victims and the rights of offenders.


Top criminologist named first research professor at Texas State

I'll tell you a funny anecdote about Kim. When W-Five was shooting the program on Theresa last fall, the crew had to travel to San Marcos to interview him. The crew said Rossmo's home was immaculately clean to the point of obsession: you would be hard pressed to recover any DNA from the place.

What would you expect from a profiler?

Here's the article on his promotion.

Congratulations Kim:

SAN MARCOS - Kim Rossmo, Ph.D., world-renowned criminologist and leading authority on geographic profiling, has joined the Department of Criminal Justice as the first-ever research professor at Texas State University-San Marcos.

As a research professor, Rossmo will have no teaching responsibilities - his primary and singular focus will be on research, explained Department of Criminal Justice Chair Quint Thurman. Major nationally-recognized universities such as the University of Texas, the University of Michigan and others which have a focus on research boast research professors, and the addition of Rossmo shows how Texas State is evolving and placing more emphasis on research.

" His work is cutting edge, unlike anyone else in the field," Thurman said. "That research interest and focus makes him someone we really want to have at this university. He is a great asset for our criminal justice program."

Rossmo most recently served as the Director of Research for the Police Foundation in Washington, D.C. The Police Foundation is an important foundation devoted to the pursuit of police research in the U.S. Previously, Rossmo headed the geographic profiling section at the Vancouver Police Department, Vancouver, British Columbia. This section, the first of its kind anywhere in the world, was founded by Rossmo as a result of his doctoral studies at Simon Fraser University in environmental criminology under the direction of internationally known criminologists Paul and Patricia Brantingham.

Rossmo earned his B.A. in sociology from the University of Saskatchewan and his M.A. and Ph.D., both in criminology, from Simon Fraser University.

Combining the disciplinary foci of mathematics, geography and criminology, and to some extent, wildlife biology, Rossmo developed the theory of geographic profiling and Rigel, a statistical software application that continues to be viewed as the apex of existing knowledge on this subject. His textbook on this subject continues to be the sole source for instruction in this very new area of study.

As a consequence of this expertise, he was called to assist the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in the D.C. sniper case, and more recently, a high-profile serial killer case in Louisiana. He also recently completed a research project for the British Home Office on stranger rapists and geo-demographics.


Sunday, August 14, 2005


I'm not sure this is serving any purpose.


Good Fences

I once heard a parole officer explain that the absolute best place for a registered sex offender to be living was in your neighborhood; that way you could be absolutely certain of what they were up to. Indeed, when said parole officer had a sex offender move into her community she baked him some cookies and paid him a visit. Her point was clear; I know who you are and I've got my eye on you.

According to this morning's paper, some residence of Coker Hills in Chapel Hill are rattled that James Michael Walters - convicted in 1993 of the second-degree rape of a 13 year old - has decided to settle in their sub-division. Now if it were me, I'm not sure that I would be baking Mr. Walters some brownies, but I doubt I'd hang his picture on my door with the words "rapist" underneath (as one Coker resident has done).

The rules for sex offenders are that they need to be registered in a state database. If they move, they must give notice of their relocation, and bla, bla, bla... you get the picture. A search of my zip code tells me that there are 17 registered sex offenders living in my community . I suppose that's good information, but I'm not exactly sure what I'm to do with it. Yes, recent events in Ohio and Florida certainly give me pause for the safety of my children, but John Couey was registered and that didn't help Jessica Lunsford.

And then again, we're not talking about a recidivist on the level of Couey. By all accounts James Michael Walters made a stupid mistake 12 years ago in fondling a child, and now wants to integrate back with society. If Coker residents continue to bang the drum in the fashion some are pursuing (banners and rhetoric don't help) they may find themselves looking at harassment charges.


Saturday, August 13, 2005

I'm back in Carolina (and a little fried). School starts next week so I'm getting a little rest.

Many great things from NOVA. The best was gaining a broader awareness of the World Society of Victimology (Canadians Irwin Waller and JoAnne Wemmers are on the executive board, though neither were in Atlanta).

WSV's triennial symposia will take place in Orlando, FL next summer (coinciding with the next NOVA conference).


Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Highs and Lows from Atlanta

Some light blogging from the NOVA conference...

The opening ceremonies were interesting (the highlight being a tribute to Marlene Young who is retiring as Executive Director after thirty years).

The first session offered a panel on international victimology initiatives with speakers from Rwanda, the Netherlands and Mexico. Wonderful, but why wasn't anyone in the room?

Ladies, you can't wait one afternoon before doing your big city shopping?

My presentation was a bit of a bust. Everyone who attended were Canadians (people, you already know this stuff).

The highlight came when Catherine Kane from the Policy Centre corrected me on my statement that said centre was, in fact, a permanent fixture; it was just their budget that was vulnerable to cancellation.

Catherine, how long do you think you'd survive without $$$$?

And while we're on the subject, why was I (an American) the only one representing Canada at the North American Victims Conference? The Policy Centre couldn't shill out the dough to do a presentation?


Friday, August 05, 2005

What victims compensation looks like in Quebec

This is a cheque for $600.00 from Quebec's Commission of Health and Security (IVAC falls under the umbrella of La Commission de la sante et de la securite du travail du Quebec).

It states, "Paiement des frais funeraires" .

$600.00 for funeral expenses.

Though Quebec's victim compensation fund is quite flush - people involved in fender benders have been known to collect thousands for an eternity - murder victims' families typically collect $600.00 to pay for a coffin.

9,580 days later, we finally get compensated for our troubles.


Thursday, August 04, 2005

Andrew Dalzell - Not Over Yet

I had heard from Carrboro officials that Dalzell was going to be faced with further dire consequences,
but Carrboro better rethink their strategy if this is the best they can muster.

Man who had murder charges dropped faces sex charges


jferris@heraldsun.comJul 27, 2005 : 7:20 pm ET

HILLSBOROUGH -- Andrew Dalzell, who had murder charges dropped earlier this year, has been indicted by a grand jury on five counts of sexual exploitation of a minor.

But Orange-Chatham District Attorney Jim Woodall said Wednesday that while the indictment is for felony charges, even if convicted, Dalzell might not spend any time in jail.
"He may actually be eligible for probation," Woodall said. "Even someone with a moderate record can be eligible for probation."

Woodall said the maximum sentence for third-degree sexual exploitation of a minor is 15 months in jail but the judge could sentence Dalzell -- who had faced a potential life sentence for the murder more than seven years ago of Deborah Leigh Key -- to only three months and then suspend the sentence.

Dalzell could then face 18 months of probation, Woodall said.

But the district attorney acknowledged that because a Superior Court judge found last January that Dalzell's confession in the murder case has been illegally obtained by Carrboro police, the new indictments might be difficult to prove.

"There may be some similar legal issues," Woodall said, noting that Dalzell's attorney might file motions regarding the legality of the gathering of evidence concerning the new charges. He added, though, that he believed the January ruling wouldn't affect the new case.

Dalzell's lawyer, Orange-Chatham Public Defender Susan Seahorn, did not return calls for comment.

After Judge Wade Barber threw out Dalzell's confession in January, the DA's office later dropped the murder charge. However, while searching Dalzell's apartment during the murder investigation, police had found, they said, child pornography on his computer.

The only serious charges that remain for Dalzell are now those of being in possession of pictures of children under the age of 13 engaging in sexual activity.

When police arrested Dalzell on several minor charges last fall, they elicited a confession after convincing him he was being arrested for the 1997 murder of Key, whose body has never been found. They showed him a fake arrest warrant and a fake letter from the district attorney.
Dalzell, who had been the prime suspect in the case, confessed to Key's murder and told officers he put her body in a Dumpster in Wilmington.

Joy Preslar, a longtime friend of Key's, said that after her hopes for a murder conviction were dashed, the best she can hope for is Dalzell's conviction as a sexual offender.

"We'd like to keep tabs on him," Preslar said Wednesday. "If he is a sex offender we can keep track of him and someone will be alerted when he is in their community."

Preslar said that while she and Key's other friends would like to see Dalzell serving jail time, she doesn't expect that it will happen.

"We've learned not to hope for much about this," Preslar said. "Justice is not always served in court."

Dalzell's next court appearance on the new charges is set for Aug. 23. Woodall said a plea of guilty or not guilty may be entered at that time, but it is not required.



(now how about an apology from Serge Losique for making such an idiotic decision in the first place)

Festival pulls Homolka film

Thursday, August 4, 2005

MONTREAL -- Bowing to sponsors such as Air Canada, the Montreal World Film Festival has dropped plans to play host to the premiere of the Hollywood movie about sex killers Karla Homolka and Paul Bernardo.

"Half a dozen sponsors were going to pull their money," said a source who had spoken to festival president Serge Losique.

In a statement released yesterday, organizers cited "the discomfort expressed by clients of its sponsors" as a reason for dropping the film Karla.

As late as four days ago, an Air Canada executive was stating bluntly that the carrier was going to cancel its support.

Duncan Dee, a senior vice-president at Air Canada, was answering a query from Marsha Boulton, the wife of Stephen Williams, author of two books about the Homolka-Bernardo case.
"Air Canada informed the [Montreal World Film Festival] last week that it is cancelling its sponsorship of the event as a result of the festival's decision to screen Karla," Mr. Dee e-mailed Ms. Boulton on July 31.

A copy of the e-mail was made public by Mr. Williams yesterday.

By yesterday, an Air Canada official was saying that the company was looking forward to seeing the festival's eventual lineup.

"We are taking steps to dissociate ourselves from the screening of this movie," spokeswoman Isabelle Arthur said. "We'll see what will be in the [final] program."

Mr. Losique didn't answer when The Globe and Mail called, just hours before the announcement, to ask about the prospect of losing sponsors.

He is expected to unveil the final lineup next Tuesday.

Yesterday, his decision shocked some who saw it as a setback for artistic freedoms.

"I was hoping the people lobbying against the movie would see the folly of their way. This is a very dangerous precedent for the film business," said Peter Simpson, CEO of Norstar Filmed Entertainment Inc., the middleman who put Mr. Losique in touch with the producers of Karla.
"This is appalling. It's outrageous," Mr. Williams said. "[Mr. Losique] went out on a limb and announced this with fanfare but he doesn't have the courage of his convictions."

It was good news, however, for Tim Danson, lawyer for the families of Kristen French and Leslie Mahaffy, the Ontario schoolgirls raped, tortured and murdered by Ms. Homolka and Mr. Bernardo.

"It's nice to see in this day and age that, even in the movie industry, prudence, good judgment and common sense prevail," he said.

"This is the way free speech is supposed to work. Nobody had to legislate. Nobody had to pass a law. It's public opinion coming to bear."

Other sponsors contacted yesterday, such as Visa and Kodak, said they had supported the festival's right to pick its content.

The festival runs from Aug. 26 to Sept. 5.


Gee, I wonder what made them change their minds?


For immediate distribution - Wednesday, August 3rd, 2005

The MWFF decides not to present "Karla" film

The Montreal World Film Festival decides not to present « Karla » film

In light of the reaction to its proposed showing of the film “Karla”, and the discomfort expressed by clients of its sponsors, MWFF organizers have decided against presenting the film at the Festival.

The Management of the Montreal World Film Festival, August 3rd, 2005.


Tuesday, August 02, 2005


Headed back to North Carolina after a wonderful week in Montreal. On Sunday I'm bound for Atlanta and the North American Victims Conference. It's a week long event and I intend to do some live blogging.

Until then...



Monday, August 01, 2005

Spaggio's a Laval

I had a great dinner tonight with my father, Pierre-Hugues, Doreen Drummond, Christine Carretta, Michel Surprenant, Ann Davidson and Catherine Rossi.