Dec 31, 2007

Somewhere, a man with a limp in his left leg is missing

There is a skull in a box in the basement of the Clayton County Police Department headquarters, and it's been there a long time.

Unidentified. The dead man's bones are evidence in a murder that has remained unsolved for almost a decade. The case file, a fat brown folder, is marked "I 675//REMAINS." A note attached to the inside of the front cover shows the file was opened on 5-15-98, marked as having no leads on 10-28-99, and closed, still unsolved, on 11-1-99.

Today, the case file sits in a box of "cold cases," another one of the county's unsolved murder mysteries.

In May 1998, on a clear and comfortably warm day, a surveyor named Wesley Bell was walking through the woods on the back of 6824 Dale Road in Rex. The owner wanted to sell the land and the surveyor was measuring it, walking about 40 yards off the southbound lanes of Interstate 675, between Ga. Highways 42 and 138. Bell was walking along the inside of a Department of Transportation fence, coming up on an old barb wire fence when he saw it: a skull in the leaves.

He thought it was an animal skull, he later told police. It was buried down in the leaves, by some weeds, upside down. He pulled it up, turned it around, and realized he was looking into the face of a human skull.

The back of the head was dirty brown, with a crack on the right side. The front was white, with black gaps for eyes, a nose, a mouth.

Read the full story @ the Clayton News Daily:
Cold case: Dead man's remains unidentified for almost a decade

Dec 28, 2007

Doctors disagreed

Five-week-old Joshua Moore could not have accidentally inhaled the baby wipes found wadded deep in his throat when he died, medical experts told detectives.

The boy's mother, 24-year-old Quantavia Nicole Moore, said it was an accident. She said she was cleaning the baby's mouth while staying at her mother's house in Forest Park, and then Joshua inhaled and started choking and she went "bazooka."

Doctors disagreed.

The baby wipes were folded up into a large, square wad, when recovered from Joshua's throat, and his lungs weren't strong enough to inhale that wet wad, Dr. Joran Greenbaum, at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston, wrote to Detective Kelvin Jackson.

"I do not believe the incident [occurred accidentally], as described," the doctor wrote, "but required externally applied forces to lodge the relatively large object in the small, relatively depressed airway."

Read the full story @ the Clayton News Daily:
Mother indicted on charges she murdered newborn

Dec 27, 2007

Christmas morning shoot-out

A Christmas morning shoot-out left a child asking police to put his father in jail “forever.”
When Clayton County Police arrived at 676 Sinclair Way, in Jonesboro, at about 7 a.m., on Dec. 25, they found 27-year-old Marquise Marcel Givens sitting in the front yard, holding a handgun and “bleeding from several gunshot wounds,” Officer Tracy McKay reported. A second 27-year-old man, Zadorsey Undrell Blasingame, was lying on the sidewalk, outside the home, bleeding from a bullet hole in his left leg.
Deanna Venee Pugh, the 27-year-old resident of the Jonesboro home and Given’s former girlfriend, was kneeling on the sidewalk next to Blasingame.
Pugh told police that Givens, the father of her child, came to the home that morning and came inside, but then discovered Blasingame sleeping in the house, McKay wrote in his report. Givens then went back outside, got a gun and returned, Pugh said.
Blasingame, of Riverdale, said he was sleeping, when the armed man came into the living room. He tried to sit up, he said, but Givens pushed him down, pointed the pistol at him, and said, “You need to leave.”
Blasingame had a .45-caliber Glock in his boot on the floor, next to where he was sleeping, and he grabbed it, he told police.
Pugh said she didn’t know who started shooting first, and she “hid behind the sofa when the shots started.”
The two 27-year-olds’ fired at each other across the living room. Blasingame was hit in the leg. Givens was hit twice in the shoulder, with one .45-caliber bullet lodging near his spinal cord. Bullets grazed Given’s buttocks and left calf, and struck his lower abdomen and left hand, McKay wrote in his police report.
The child, who is not being named because of his age, was upstairs during the Christmas morning shoot-out. When police spoke to Given’s and Pugh’s child, the child asked if Blasingame would be OK, and said, “My daddy hurt Dorsey and I want him to go to jail forever.”
Givens and Blasingame were taken to Atlanta Medical Center for treatment. Givens could not give officers a statement, because he was heavily medicated.
He is being charged with aggravated assault, criminal damage to property, possession of marijuana with the intent to distribute, cruelty to children, and a weapons charge.
Blasingame has not been charged.

COPS BRIEFS, from the Clayton News Daily

Dec 24, 2007

Merry Christmas
jesus, tagger

And when they had seen it,
they made known abroad the saying which was told them
concerning this child.
Emory Sekaquaptewa, who wrote the Hopi dictionary, who integrated the difficult-to-learn language with school curriculum to preserve the once-dying language and the culture, who was the first native American to attent West Point and who settled a Hopi-Navajo land dispute, died on Dec. 14 at the age of 80.

May he rest in peace.

Dec 21, 2007

Justifying justifiable homicide

After 10 months of investigation, an expanded investigation, a re-investigation and a supplemental investigation, the verdict in the shooting death of a 19-year-old is the same as it was when police first walked through the door: justifiable homicide.

A Clayton County grand jury returned the findings Wednesday in the shooting death of Marques McGhee.

McGhee was shot to death while apparently breaking into a 16-year-old friend's home on Camp Road. The grand jury returned a "No Bill," meaning the 16-year-old boy, who is not being named because he is a juvenile, will not be charged.

Clayton County Police initially investigated the 6388 Camp Road homicide. Officers at the scene when it happened Feb. 20, said it looked like an open-and-shut case. McGhee was killed inside a broken window and was wearing black clothes and a black mask.

The 16-year-old under scrutiny told police he was alone at home at about 11:30 a.m. the day of shooting because of spring break. He said he was eating cereal and heard glass breaking. The teen said he got his father's handgun, a 9 mm, and walked into the garage, finding a man dressed in black with a black mask covering his face.

He fired, he told police. He fired and fired until the gun was empty.

When officers arrived, they found McGhee had been shot eight times, in the legs, chest, back and head. When they pulled back the man's mask, the teen saw McGhee, a 19-year-old, who once had been his friend.

What looked like a simple investigation became more complicated.

Read the full story @ the Clayton News Daily:
Teen who killed friend will not face charges

Dec 19, 2007

Starved twins

The first time the detective saw the allegedly starved twins, the 13-month-old boys were attached to feeding tubes at a children's hospital, but still looked emaciated.

"The two children looked like little skeletons," said Joanne Southerland, a child abuse and sexual exploitation detective with the Clayton County Police Department.

"Just little skeletons, that's the best way I can describe it," she said. "The doctors told me it was the worst case of child neglect any of the experts had ever seen. [Children's Health Care of Atlanta at] Egleston has never seen a case as severe as this."

The twins' parents, 23-year-olds who lived in a trailer at 31 La Costa Drive in Lovejoy, are charged with child neglect and forging prescriptions for opiate-based drugs. Tessa Noel Zelek and James Alvin McCart III walked into their probable cause hearing in the Clayton County Magistrate Court together, Tuesday evening. Zelek wore a green jump suit, McCart orange, and the couple walked in and slouched into the big black chairs next to their respective attorneys.

Southerland testified that the parents accused each other of failing to feed the baby boys.

"As best you can determine," Joe Roberto, Zelek's attorney, asked, "who was the last person to feed the children?"

"We have no idea," Southerland said.

Read the full story @ the Clayton News Daily:
'The two children looked like little skeletons'

Dec 18, 2007

Way out of here

"Pseudocide," faking one's own death, has an enduring place in popular culture, regularly revived by stories about our favorite celebrities who may, or may not, have committed pseudocide. We talk about Elvis. We talk about Andy Kaufman. We talk about D.B. Cooper. Rather than being disturbed by the idea they wandered off in a faux-amenesia, a self-imposed exile, of sorts, we hope they made it.

We live a modern society where everyone's tracked, where everyone's classified according to Capitalism, where debt and credit and Google, taxes and utility bills and pay stubs all quantify and, maybe even, qualify our lives.

I understand why we sometimes want to quit everything. I look at my cell phone bill, and I can feel why Darwin would want it all behind him. We have all felt the crush of the system, have all felt trapped by our belongings, tethered by our responsibilities.

I write stories regularly about criminals who've fled and been tracked down by the U.S. Marshals. Every time they're caught because they kept their cell phone, went to their mother's house, or, in some way, couldn't make the break from the life they knew. We're all glad they've been caught, but part of me always wonders when it became so impossible to leave.

Is there no way out?

Checking the exits: The hope of pseudocide

Dec 14, 2007

urban flag

I urge you to please notice when you are happy, and exclaim or murmur or think at some point, "If this isn't nice, I don't know what is."
            -- Kurt Vonnegut

Dec 12, 2007

How these things work

After two months on the run from homicide detectives in Philadelphia, a 21-year-old man was arrested in Riverdale while "attempting to urinate" behind a gas station.

Tyree Bohannon was nabbed by Clayton County Sheriff's Deputy Steve Orn behind a Racetrack gas station around 6:30 p.m., at 5905 Highway 85, and arrested him on charges of public indecency, according to affidavits filed in court.

Bohannon's arrest comes about two months after he allegedly shot 24-year-old Daren Dieter in the neck and chest, and Elina Henry in the arm, while the couple sat in a car outside a bar in Philadelphia, according to Detective John Galiabter of Philadelphia.

The shooting has left Dieter paralyzed and communicating through eye-blinks, police said.

Deputy Orn caught Bohannon on Nov. 21, according to court records, and when the man was searched, more than a gram of suspected crack and cocaine were found. Orn then ran the man's name through a national data base of wanted people and found that he was wanted on charges of attempted murder, aggravated assault and numerous weapons-related violations.

Detective Galiabter said catching Bohannon on a minor infraction was a break in the case, but not entirely surprising.

"That happens a lot of times, where people who are wanted will get picked up for the littlest things," the detective said by phone Thursday. "Traffic violations. You never know. Sometimes, that's how these things work."

Read the full story @ the Clayton News Daily:
Philadelphia assault suspect caught behind Riverdale gas station
Similar transactions

The trial started late, but the prosecution scored an early victory when the judge granted a "motion for similar transaction." That will allow John Turner, executive assistant district attorney, and Bill Dixon, assistant district attorney, to bring up Leon Phillips' previous felony convictions, because of the similarity between the way the 37-year-old allegedly killed Rhonda Rucker in Riverdale last year, and the way he attacked a woman in 1988 in Fulton County.

According to Turner, the granted motion is usually the "kiss of death," in a case that is built substantially out of circumstantial evidence. Dixon said that while prosecutors are not allowed to raise the issue of a defendant's previous convictions in order to question and challenge character, they will, in this case, be allowed to bring up a previous guilty plea as relevant to motive, mode of operation and "bent of mind."

In 1988, Phillips attacked a woman with a knife in her hotel room, Turner said. He attempted to rob and rape her, later pleading guilty to aggravated assault with intent to rape.

Last year, on Sept. 15, Phillips allegedly entered Rucker's Riverdale home with a .45-caliber gun, pulled off her pants, put a plastic bag over her head, bound her with telephone cords and fatally shot her in the head, according to police and prosecutors. He allegedly took a motorcycle, sports utility vehicle, DVDs and other items from the home, after killing the 34-year-old mother of three.

Prosecutors are expected to try to convict Phillips on 25 counts, ranging from malice murder to driving without a license. They intend to show he was in the Rucker's home before the murder to repair a washing machine and was arrested -- a few miles away from the home, a few hours after the murder -- carrying the murder weapon, riding a stolen motorcycle and carrying a number of items stolen from the home.

Turner has admitted the evidence is circumstantial, but said it is strong evidence and he expects jurors to be able to "connect the dots."

Read the rest of the story @ the Clayton News Daily:
Delayed by bomb threat, murder trial begins

Dec 6, 2007

Positively matched evidence

A 41-year-old man has been arrested on charges of murder and arson, after his DNA was positively matched to evidence found on a dead woman's body at a burning Jonesboro home.

Timothy Alan Booth, a Hampton felon, who has been in and out of prison since 1985, was not a suspect in the murder of 68-year-old Geneva Strickland until a DNA test, last weekend, connected him to the scene, GBI agents said Wednesday.

GBI investigators and Jonesboro Police detectives were attempting to identify two men seen leaving the scene shortly before the Oct. 31 fire was discovered, but an analyst working overtime ran the DNA through the state's Combined Index DNA System (CODIS) and the sample matched the sample taken from Booth when he was incarcerated in 2002.

"Mr. Booth was not known as a suspect to the GBI or the Jonesboro Police until there was a positive match," said Vernon Keenan, GBI lab supervisor. "We still don't know the full story about what happened in the victim's residence."

Strickland was found in an upstairs bedroom in her home, at 614 Fayetteville Road, early on Nov. 1, when firefighters responded to the blaze. It was immediately determined that the fire was intentionally set and the 68-year-old woman, who lived alone, had come into contact with her killer before the fire began.

"Her body was found bound in the house," said GBI Special Agent Sherry Lang. "There was no way she could get out of the house."

Investigators believe the murder was motivated by robbery.

Read the full story @ the Clayton News Daily:
DNA found at murder scene, tied to eight-time felon

Dec 4, 2007

'Evaluate that real strongly'

Almost two weeks after allegedly starved twins were taken to the hospital, the 13-month-old boys are beginning to gain weight, Clayton County Police said.

According to doctors, however, the infants still face serious medical challenges. Weighing about nine pounds -- 18 to 30 pounds less than normal -- when admitted to Egleston's Children's Health Care of Atlanta, the boys have suffered rickets, "significant loss of brain function," brain atrophy, and are only mentally developed to the level of 2- or 3-month-old children, doctors told police.

Describing the condition of the boys to reporters, Police Chief Jeff Turner said, "They were starving, skin and bones," and looked like "something you would see in the Third World."

Read the full story @ the Clayton News Daily:
Twins face serious medical problems
Between a beatific vision & a crystal meth rush

I don't know why I'm doing this, but I'm watching and I'm weirdly fascinated. There's something amazing about this: These men are trying to turn the country and conservatism toward their own ends, by force of rhetoric and political machinery.

It's like watching a little boy try to hoist up a piano with a jump rope run over a curtain rod pulley. It's like watching a teenager try to turn a broken-down car by grabbing the wheels and pulling. It's like watching someone try to build a space ship without a diagram. There's something vaguely mechanical and scientific, about the effort, and something overwhelmingly, ridiculously, hubristic.

The mechanics of politics are odd. They're dirty and idealistic at the same time, somehow operating under both the highest and lowest opinions of human nature. While the presidential contender is divided between egomania and real concern, and splits time between folksy-looking stunts and rhetorical punches, the team scurries around behind the candidate in another set of weird self-divisions.

The team is always divided between paid hacks, who love the process and think of the candidate as a product, and the newbies, high schoolers and college kids, who love the candidate and dream about making better days happen. They work -- jangling through phone lists, stuffing mailers, pounding doors -- in an emotional state that combines a beatific vision with a crystal meth rush.

I swore all that off, a long time ago.

Read the full story @ the Clayton News Daily:
Unofficially, I'm still jacked up on politics

Nov 30, 2007

Evel Knieval, who was an iconic stuntman, pop culture phenomenon, and American motorcycle daredevil, who broke more than 40 bones in 15 years of stunts, whose early life was marked by hellrasing and last days included a religious converstion, died on Friday at the age of 69.

May he rest in peace.

by Cathy

Where boys grow up to be jihadis
Executed today
Anti-crusader fights evanglicals' evangalism in military
Fairy tale generator
Discipline & design. Architecture & authority.
Altered photos v. altered reality (or, there is no 'objective view')
How to move a 100-year-old church (youtube)
Signs of life in TV
The legacy of Henry Hyde & the GOP
Oswald's Ghost
Blake's Bible: reimagining the face of faith
Is modern art a left-wing conspiracy?
'Compleat,' defined as 'Ron Silliman'
We used to build cathedrals. Now we build warehouses: Are libraries still possible?
Nostalgia loses for the Lost Gernation, decade
Germany's book market flooded with great dead males
Rudy 08 = the end of a pro-life party
Interview w/ Tiabbi, Rolling Stone political reporter, 1 and 2
Kissinger: foil for neo-cons?
Obama at the Apollo
Robertson: A prophetic highway and homosexuality (youtube)
Is Libertarianism a religion?
Why the world went hippie-dayglow in '68
Building a 'global intelligence paradigm'
Google, evil & govt.
What sci-fi says about truth and lies
Writers don't make up myths, they make them up again
Reaffirming American Liberalism
'Good morning and please listen to me: Denis Johnson is a true American artist'

"She had nothing in this world but her two hands and her crazy love for Jesus, who seemed, for his part, never to have heard of her."
        - Denis Johnson, Tree of Smoke

Nov 29, 2007

Second trip

When the hazel-eyed man got out of the police car, it was the second time he had made the 2,120 mile round trip, a trip spanning the East Coast and connected by two murders.

Jerry W. Still, a 62-year-old Jonesboro felon, stood up, supported by a cane, and pointed to an abandoned well, near some woods on the west side of Coweta County. He pointed to a concrete slab, according to sheriff's deputies. He said the body was buried about 30 feet back in the woods.

The first time he was here, almost two decades ago, the body was in the trunk of a Cadillac Coup DeVille, wrapped in a motel blanket, riddled with 9 mm bullets, four days dead, and stinking.

Read the full story @ the Clayton News Daily:
19 years after murder, Jonesboro felon leads authorities to shallow grave

Nov 28, 2007

Still sleeping

They left their two sons -- ages 5 and 9 -- sleeping in the back of the 2005, black, GMC Yukon. The car was running, and the 39-year-old father and 37-year-old mother were inside the home "for about two minutes," Sturgiss Burns told police.

When the adults came outside, carrying suitcases, the GMC was gone.

Read the full story, Two boys sleep through kidnapping, @ the Clayton News Daily

Nov 26, 2007

The gave of Donald Ray Skinner

The solar-powered cross is supposed to light up over the grave, at night. But it doesn't.

Donald Ray Skinner's grave is shadowed, all day, and the small solar panel doesn't get the sunlight needed to light the cross. The dead man's mother and sister visit him every day, and they move the cross to a lighted patch of yard, and return again, in the evening, to replace the grave ornament for the night.

The two women visit the grave every day, and every day Donald Skinner's mother cries, sobbing like a child.

"That was her only son," said Robin McPherson, Donald Skinner's sister. "He was like the pick of the litter. I'm his baby sister, and me and him look alike, and I used to be his sidekick when I was little. He's just really going to be missed."

There is a stone bench over Donald Skinner's grave in Douglasville. There is a picture of a tractor trailer on one side, and a picture of a man fishing on the other, because those are things he loved.

It says "In Loving Memory," on the bench and it has his nicknames inscribed: "Bubba," and "Donnie Ray Skinner." It doesn't have his real, full name. His mother, Carol C. Skinner, is trying to get that changed. It's hard, though, because the burial arrangements are legally controlled by Donald Skinner's wife, who is in jail on charges she conspired to murder him.

Read the full story, Family struggles with knowledge of murder, @ the Clayton News Daily

Nov 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving: 2007

Nov 21, 2007

Parking lot transaction

The woman leans on the door of the truck. Letting her long hair fall over her bare shoulder, she talks to the driver through the window.

The woman steps back, standing in the motel parking lot, letting him see her tight, pink pants and the low-cut top, showing off her cleavage. She turns around, slowly, in a circle, and returns to the window.

The man -- small and scruffy in a large white truck -- is unsure. He asks about the room. He bickers about her price. He wonders if she's a for-real prostitute. He apparently decides sex is worth the risk. He offers the woman $20.

Across the street from the Hotel Magnolia parking lot, three police officers sit in a green, unmarked car. Their tinted windows are rolled up and the engine idles. The nose of the car is pointed at the 6326 Old Dixie Highway parking lot transaction. They watch the woman work, and listen to the man's $20 offer through a microphone hidden in her skimpy clothes.

The woman, an undercover officer posing as a street-walking prostitute during the Clayton County Police Department's sting operation, on Tuesday, walks off toward an imaginary room.

She raises both her hands, as a signal, and the police rev the car across the road, screeching up to the would-be "John," arresting him on charges of soliciting a prostitute.

Read the full story, Police posing as prostitutes sting would-be 'Johns,' @ the Clayton News Daily.
Ghosts watching the machine

You use the word “Satan” to describe the structural principle of human existence in which both disorder and order are built upon untruth and violence: disorder created by mimetic conflict and order restored and established by persecution and destruction of scapegoats.
          -- Brian McDonald, in an interview with Rene Girard

Contemporary television drama could be graphed on an axis of outrage. Perhaps usefully.

On one end, we would have the original Law & Order, where the assistant district attorney Jack McCoy keeps up an impossibly heightened and blustery sense of outrage which seems totally oblivious to the normal compromises required by the job. At the same emotional range, we have Jack Bauer, in 24, who takes on terrorism with an emotion so angry that it can only be translated, in the plot, as torture.

On the other end of the scale is House's Dr. House, where what would usually be a quirky secondary character who totally lacks concern (cf: Dr. Cox, in Scrubs) is moved to the center, so the core is total acceptance of the compromises required by the job, and the dissonance that lack of outrage causes with the surrounding world. In that direction, but not to that extreme, attempt to sort of self-couter its own emotion, we have CSI: Las Vegas, where some character (taking his or her turn) is always shocked and appalled, during an episode, and all the other characters repeat that they are bound, by science, to be unshockable.

At both ends, there's an internal tension -- sensed in bad acting & too-easy plot solutions -- between the shows and their material. The shows seem to be imagining radically polarized viewers, in the sense that they endorse a certain sort of viewing by arguing against another sort of viewing, arguing that it's impossible, unthinkable, and unimaginable to view the material that other way. In doing this, they elevate those who disagree to a sort of specialized status,* while denying those viewers exist. Thus, the shows with the strongest emotional content are actually those designed around nonexistent "ghost viewers," who are simultaneously hypothesized and denied.

Cf: Rush Limbaugh's continued references to listeners in "Rio Linda" and "seminar callers," or, in a very different case, the fake, rabid groundswell of aggressive and applauding conservative youth watching The Colbert Report,** or the so-called backlash against Janet Jackson's exposed breast during the half time of a Superbowl game. It's not that the cultural wars are actually faked, but that both sides have to constantly act like the opposition is faked, in order to maintain their own certain rightness, i.e., their emotional content.

This is also the basic method of political argument, in contemporary political entertainment. So that global warming could only be rejected by cave dwellers (who couldn't exist), and opposition to the American detainment camps could only be held by one who wants to be terrorized (which would insane).

Interestingly, maybe, American politics in the late 20th and early 21st century can be construed along the lines of emotional content. The public discourse seems to be such that "liberal" equals "concern," especially "excessive and whiney concern," and "conservative" equals "outrage," especially "loud and paranoid outrage." (Concern, of course, is understood as "motherly," while outrage is thought to be "fatherly," as if we were all raised by thoughtful but over-worried mothers and morally upright but sometimes violent fathers.) For this reason, the good-natured, weight-loss poster boy, Mike Huckabee, and the young, big-eared Hawaiian, Barak Obama, seem starkly out of sorts with the 2008 presidential race.

*There's probably an insightful point to be made here about the way this explains the great social orders, ideologies and massacres of the 20th century.

**Fantastically, the rabidness of Colbert's character is taken to the next logical step when the fake news show host is referred to, in the captioning for the deaf, as "Col. Bert," printing the man's name like he's some sort of rouge military colonel. He's like Mr. Kurtz in Heart of Darkness, except that, where Mr. Kurtz was dead, Col. Bert doesn't exist.

Nov 20, 2007

It was cold that year

It seemed like an awful lot of people were lost that Thanksgiving. I looked up the home addresses of mothers and grandmothers, aunts and other relatives. I let one kid use the phone to say he was late, but would be there.

I sold a woman a winning, $100 lottery ticket and she promised to bring me some turkey and cranberry sauce. She asked me if I wanted white meat, or dark. She didn't come back, though.

It seemed like a lot of people were lost. Maybe, though, they just felt that way, because there's nothing like visions of stuffing and green bean casserole, while you're doing 80 on the interstate, to make you feel like you don't know the way home.

Read the rest of Lost, found, and Thanksgiving dinner @ the Clayton News Daily

Nov 16, 2007

Cockroach robot

Nov 14, 2007

Christmas Day molestation trial

A jury member stood up to see the 17-month-old girl in the wheelchair. A few jurors smiled.

Eligio Chia-Duran, the Mexican man accused of assaulting, battering and molesting the child last Christmas Day, made no sign that he saw the baby. Sitting next to his defense attorney with his black hair slicked back, Chia-Duran's face remained impassive throughout the trial, Tuesday. The illegal immigrant speaks only broken English. An older man whispered translations to him as the trial proceeded.

The prosecutions' final witness, on the second day of trial, Tuesday, was the girl's foster mother. The woman told the jury the girl, who is not being named, is paralyzed from the abdomen down, and will have to use specialized wheelchairs her entire life.

"She feels from the belly button up," said the woman, who is adopting the girl, and asked not to be named because it is a closed adoption. "From the belly down, [the girl] feels nothing," the adoptive mother said. "Right now, she's little and she doesn't know that she's disabled. She's happy. When she's older, it will be a lot harder."

When the 17-month-old girl wheeled out of the courtroom, she looked at the jury and said, "Bye bye."

Read the full story @ the Clayton News Daily

Nov 13, 2007

Reasons I haven't read and don't plan on reading Norman Mailer:

1) I don't think authorial lifestyle is more important than writing.
2) If I did think authorial lifestyle was more important than writing, I would ignore Norman Mailer as an ass.
3) Mailer's sbujects seem to be:
            a) himself
            b) his ego
            c) how other writers aren't that great
            d) the type of over-done, boomer-loved recent history that comes with
            exclamation marks, like Marilyn Monroe!, Vietnam! the Death Penalty!,
            Hitler!, CIA!
4) People who proclaim themselves the "concious of the nation" are bores.
5) People who hate women, stab women, worship sex, philander and shout, "look at me, I'm a tough guy," are bores.
6) Every part of his author-character seems over done. When Norman Mailer's writing is described, he always, to me, sounds just like someone else. Like everything he has done was done by someone else.
7) His fans describe him in ways that make him sound like a politician, or an east coast Hugh Hefner, or a boxer, or a clebrity, but not like a writer. (cf:
            - "He was anticipating attacks like an aging boxer who could sense a punch before it's thrown."
            -The mouth always looked to be in mid-twist, ready to snarl a profanity. Other people keep fire extinguishers handy; Mailer, you figured, kept a cold beefsteak within reach: In Case of Pummeling, Break Glass."
            - Probably more than anything, Mailer was a libertarian and a foe of any system or mind-set that involved the censorious (feminism) or the overweening and the grandiose (imperialism/communism).
8) I read The White Negro, and, honestly?, it left me cold.
9) Fundamentally, I don't think writing makes you cool, and I distrust writers who seem to write to make themselves cool. It's crap. It's fake. It's bad writing.
10) His fans say that, personality aside, his writing will remain. That's pretty unconvincing.

It's quite possible that I'm completly wrong. Maybe he really is the great American writer. Or maybe he's a tragic, overblown, self-exaggerated and over-compensating figure who's going to fade, fade, fade and is only really worthwhile as a warning. The thing is, I'll probably never know, and I'm okay with that.

Nevertheless, Norman Mailer's dead. He was 84. May he rest in peace.

Nov 12, 2007

Standing outside the bar, smoking a cigarette, Eduardo Diaz Gutierrez made a decision.

He had been at Coronas Bar & Billiards, 6640 Tara Blvd., for more than four hours, drinking beer and watching the bikini competition.

He had grabbed a waitress and asked her if she was a prostitute, had fought with a man who found him offensive, and had walked outside to smoke and think.

Gutierrez made a decision, at 11 p.m., that Saturday, and he untucked his shirt. He put out his cigarette. He took a 9 mm pistol and put it in his waistband. The matte-black Hi-Point Ruger cost him $250. He had owned if for four days, and now, he decided, he was going to use it.

"He was good and drunk and he was ready to fight," said Holly Veal, a Clayton County prosecutor. "Apparently, that was the kind of guy he was."

The 29-year-old would later tell detectives, "It was a pride thing."

Read the full story @ the Clayton News Daily

Nov 8, 2007

Rough sketch

One day after a 68-year-old Jonesboro murder victim was buried, investigators released sketches of two men wanted for questioning in her death.

The Jonesboro Police Department and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation released the witness-based sketches, Wednesday, and asked for help identifying the two men seen leaving Geneva Strickland's home, before it was found in flames and she was found murdered.

The two were reportedly seen together, leaving 614 Fayetteville Road, a little before the Oct. 31 fire was reported at 11 p.m.

"Right now, we're taking the sketches back into the neighborhood," said GBI Spokesman John Bankhead, "to see if anybody recognizes them or knows them."

Sketch 1
Sketch 2

Nov 7, 2007

The sirens coming

Jhony Orralleana lay down behind the pool table, thinking he would be safe there. People were screaming in the Jonesboro bar as they ran away from the gunfire.

Shot once in the side, with a 9 mm bullet, Orralleana was losing blood and his vision was going blurry, he testified, through a court-approved translator, in Clayton County Superior Court on Tuesday morning.

All he could hear was the sirens coming, he said, and the song, "The Last Goodbye," playing on the juke box.

He didn't see that Jorge Ochoa-Alvaraz was lying next to him, bleeding to death on the barroom floor.

Read the full story @ the Clayton News Daily

Nov 5, 2007

Broken ends

Warned by the blinking emergency flashers on the parked truck, motorists slowed to look at the burned-out house, the scene of a murder, and the people quietly moving out.

A second truck was backed into the driveway of 614 Fayetteville Road, Friday afternoon. The yellow crime scene tape was still wrapped around the trees, but a section was torn down to allow family members to pick up the remaining belongings.

Two days after 68-year-old Geneva Strickland was murdered in her home, and it was burned down around her, the broken ends of the police tape lay in the grass with a few fallen leaves.

"She was murdered," said Jack William Ivey, Strickland's 51-year-old son. "She worked all her life and then, in the end, she was robbed and killed."

Jack Wade Ivey, Strickland's first husband, said the family was waiting to hear the autopsy results from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. They had been told by police to pick up what hadn't been stolen, or destroyed by the fire, before the little that remained was ruined by vandals and weather.

Read the full story, Family picks up what's left after murder, arson, @ the Clayton News Daily

Nov 2, 2007

Sold sepearately

Nancy Morris got a fresh pack of white, circle stickers. She peeled a new one off, held it on her thumb, and stuck it on the corner of a brown, hardback book.

"Should these be sold separately, or as a set?" she asked.

Grant Wainscott, the book expert in the rare-book room of the annual Friends of the Georgia Archive's book sale, was flipping through a children's book about gnomes.

"Uhhhhhhh," he said. "I'm thinking separately. I don't think it's a complete set, so ... let's mark them separately."

Morris shook her ball point pen, like maybe it was running out of ink, and wrote "$25" on the sticker.

Read the full story @ the Clayton News Daily
Brig. Gen. Paul W. Tibbets Jr., who flew the plane dropping the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, whose father wanted him to be a doctor, who asked that his grave be kept secret for fear of protestors, died on Thursday, at the age of 92.

May he rest in peace.

Are the best columnists the least exciting?
Interview of A. Conan Doyle's daughter
Modern art is shit 1: TP wedding dress
Killing sections of used bookstores
American manners and anonymity
Modern art is shit 2: TP oragami
Historic murder map of NYC
Modern murder map of Philly
Harper Lee awarded and honored
Expret witness - misleading
Hand-drawing news graphics
Commune documentary
Commuinists and design
NC sheriff documentary
Short history of sphere
It's name was Lego
Persistance of paper

Oct 31, 2007

Hitler's great-nephews and halloween
Column: I might be a monster

I heard there are three brothers left. There were four, but one died, and now the remaining three live in New Jersey, or Connecticut -- one of those odd-shaped Eastern states -- where they have vowed to never have children.

So, that's how the Hitler family will end.

The mass murderer's great-nephews have taken the vow and, apparently, kept to it, so that no one, ever again, will grow up knowing they're related to the man who murdered millions in the name of a racist ideology.

Oct 29, 2007

Investigative journalism

Special report 1:
School officials hired a man being investigated on child molestation charges

In her first days as Interim Superintendent of the Clayton County School System, Gloria Duncan had the services of a driver and bodyguard paid for by her bosses. The bodyguard, 45-year-old Kenneth Jerome Alexander, of Hampton, was at the time -- and is still -- under investigation on charges of child molestation.

During the first seven days of Duncan's tenure, after former superintendent, Barbara Pulliam, resigned abruptly, Alexander worked 48.5 hours as Duncan's driver and bodyguard and was paid $35 per hour, according to school system documents.

Duncan spent the time visiting schools and community events "in an effort to reassure the public that the leadership of the school district was stable," spokesman Charles White said. Shadowing Duncan brought Alexander into situations where he could have been in contact with children, which raises legitimate concerns, given the serious charges against him.

Read the full story @ the Clayton News Daily

Special report 2:
Bakclog of pending cases clogs up justice system

Kenneth Jerome Alexander has been under investigation on child molestation charges for more than three years -- technically.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation finished investigating the 45-year-old former police officer in 2004. Warrants were applied for and received, the preliminary case was presented to a magistrate judge and accepted, and the case was sent to the Clayton County District Attorney's office in March of that year.

But it hasn't moved since then.

More than three years later, the file is still there. The district attorney's office has not dismissed the charges against Alexander, and it hasn't brought them to a grand jury for indictment.

According to the GBI, the case is considered "under open investigation" until the district attorney moves on it.

District Attorney Jewel Scott said the case is "peculiar," but, according to records obtained by the Clayton News Daily, Alexander's case is not all that unusual. It is one of more than 750.

Read the full story @ the Clayton News Daily

Oct 26, 2007

Speech is a mouth

love you


then what
is emptiness
for. To

fill, fill.
I heard words
and words full

of holes

        -- Bob Creeley

Oct 25, 2007

When the worry began

At first, no one was worried when the 36-year-old defense attorney connected with a colleague's 16-year-old daughter in an online social networking site.

Robin Meredith "Robbie" Levin, who worked with the Clayton County Indigent Defense Office, showed his co-worker her daughter's Facebook site, where the girl had posted pictures and her friends had posted comments.

No one was worried, either, when Levin began to chat with the girl through an instant messaging system.

The girl's mother, an employee of the Indigent Defense Office, who is not being named, told police she, "was not concerned Levin was chatting with her daughter, because she knew him personally," Clayton County Police Detective Joanne Southerland wrote in an arrest warrant application.

However, as the conversations developed, the 16-year-old became "freaked out," and told her mother Levin had begun making sexual comments.

Read the full story @ the Clayton News Daily

Oct 24, 2007

Reluctant witness and the .32

A last-minute interview with a witness in the murder trial of Laron Deale Davis sent lawyers into plea negotiations, and may have bolstered the 23-year-old's self-defense argument.

After a jury was vetted, seated and sworn in, Tuesday afternoon, Clayton County Superior Court Judge Deborah Benefield let everyone take an hour and a half lunch. During that time, Assistant District Attorney Anece Baxter White re-interviewed Kenny Robertson, a reluctant witness in the prosecution's case against Davis.

Robertson gave White new information about a .32-caliber pistol that was found near the body of 32-year-old Corvette Gardener, after Davis allegedly shot her six times.

According to Robertson, Gardener was probably holding the gun when Davis shot her.

Defense Attorney Bruce Harvey said the information made Robertson "a very critical witness to the defense." After interviewing Robertson, Harvey turned to the defendant and said, "He's our witness now."

Read the full story, Presence of pistol key, @ the Clayton News Daily.

Oct 22, 2007

Shoes. Glasses.

Police found Jeanette Henderson, of College Park, lying face down on the northbound side of Riverdale Road. There were tire tracks over her legs and massive damage to her head, Traffic Investigator Tommy Cash reported.

Her shoes and a pair of pink-colored glasses lay next to her, police said.

She was pronounced dead on the street, at about 1:23 a.m.

Read the full story @ the Clayton News Daily

Oct 19, 2007

In this God

Three ministers from The Movement of God, a church in Atlanta, climbed the steps of building M. Around them and below them, more than 60 people lit small, white candles. Brother Mike Pope began to sing, "Oh Dear Lord, I need thee. Oh Dear Lord, I need thee."

Pastor Gloria Still said, "Oh yes, Lord. Hallelujah, Jesus. Hallelujah. Oh yes, Jesus."

The song drifted into a prayer, and Still told the gathered mourners that Edward "Booman" Mills was their brother, their friend. "In this God," Still prayed, "we know that there's deliverance. In this God, we know that there's someone you're trying to set free. In this God, we know that you are trying to break the shackles."

The prayers drifted to tongues, as Prophetess Mary Melco prayed in what Pentecostals believe is a God-given language.

Across the parking lot, two Clayton County Police detectives stood, badges hanging around their necks, making themselves available to anyone who wanted to talk.

Read the full story of the candle-light vigil for "Booman" @ the Clayton News Daily.

Oct 17, 2007

Morning after all-night game

An 18-year-old got up from the card game, and a 20-year-old, sitting there, said, "No."

A few minutes later, the teen was shot in the forehead and the older man walked out of the room holding a gun, Clayton County Police Department Detective Michael Medious testified in court Tuesday.

Read the full story, 'Slight altercation' preceded card-game killing, @ the Clayton News Daily

Oct 12, 2007

Shakespeare's spooks and specters

    Photo by Jeff Leo

Wearing brand new costumes, with price tags still dangling from their sleeves and size stickers still stuck to their chests, two student-actors practice making faces.

An actress, dressed in brown, sticks her tongue out, curls it up, and tries to touch her nose. An actor, wearing dark blue, lets his eyes roll back, showing the whites, while his pupils flicker, trying to focus on the inside of his forehead.

He grins.

"I have an emergency," someone says, and Clayton State University Theater Director Phillip DePoy turns around and raises his eyebrows.

"Hamlet's locked in the closet," the student says.

His eyebrows go higher.

"I accidentally shut the door to the costume closet door and it locked and Hamlet's locked inside."

"She's inside?" he says.

"Yeah," she says. "Do we have a key?"

"She can open it from the inside," he says.

"Oh. She can?"

"Yeah," he says, and he smiles. "Tell her to tuuuuurn the handle."

The student rushes off and DePoy starts to chuckle.

"That's good," he says. "I got to remember that: Hamlet's locked in the closet."

Read the full story @ the Clayton News Daily

Oct 11, 2007

The language is always there

"Hammett wrote the man he feared he might be - tenuous and sceptical in all human dealings, corruptible and addicted to violent intrigue. He stayed on the job. The job defined him."

"Detective work was by nature prosaic. File prowls, blown tails, attenuated stakeouts. Crime stories demanded near-continuous action. File prowls must yield revelation. Blown tails must provide climax. Stakeouts must further plot. Hammett knew this going in: crime fiction was preposterous melodrama with a gnat-sized reality base. Never had there been a single case rife with multiple shootouts, homicidal seductresses and wall-to-wall mayhem succinctly resolved at tale's end. Hammett had to fit social realism into a suffocatingly contrived form. He did it with language - densely spare exposition and multilayered dialogue. He gave us a spell-binding male discourse - The Manoeuvre as moral crusade, the job holders' aria and torch song. Hammett's male-speak is the gab of the grift, the scam, the dime hustle. It's the poke, the probe, the veiled query, the grab for advantage. It's the threat, the dim sanction, the offer of friendship cloaked in betrayal. Plot holes pop through Hammett's stories like speed bumps. The body count accretes with no more horror than pratfalls in farce. It doesn't matter. The language is always there."

          - James Ellroy on Dashiell Hammett

Oct 9, 2007

Act of desperation

Wearing handcuffs, a 26-year-old father of two said he was desperate, said he wanted to prove he could provide, and said he was very sorry.

Curtis Bullock was arrested at a dumpsite on Arrowhead Boulevard, early Monday morning, on charges he took $538 from a Waffle House at gun point, Clayton County Police said.

Officer Michael Leggs wrote, in his report, that police chased Bullock, on foot, through the neighborhood and caught up with him at the dumpsite, a little after 4 a.m.

Bullock tried to explain, according to the police report. "Man," he allegedly said, "I was about to be put out of my house. I got two kids. My wife is going to kill me."

Leggs said, "Everybody works hard for their money."

"I just got laid off from work. We are going to be put out," said Bullock, who lives in an apartment at 875 Garden Walk Boulevard, in College Park, and has been unemployed for eight months.

Leggs told Bullock that the 6350 Tara Blvd., Waffle House would want it's money back, according to the police report. Bullock told the officers the money was in his pocket.

Read the full story, Armed robbery begins, ends weekend, @ the Clayton News Daily.

Oct 8, 2007

Family reactions

Two days after her 18-year-old son was shot twice in the chest and dumped in the woods near a north-Clayton baseball field, Sandra Sanchez collapsed.

She had made funeral arrangements, talked to a Forest Park Police detective about her son, Raymond Sanchez, Jr., and was grieving with her family.

She agreed to talk to reporters Friday afternoon, but, then, everything overwhelmed her, and she collapsed in the front of her Morrow home, family members said.

"This is awful," said Brenda Pritchett, Sandra's mother and Raymond's grandmother.

Her voice broke, and she started again. "This is awful. Raymond was one of the best kids you could ask for -- until he turned 17."

Read the full story @ Clayton News Daily.

Oct 6, 2007

There's no kind of way out of here
Why impossible philosophical problems are the only philosophical problems worth thinking about, and how we can come to giving up on philosophy

Incomplete thoughts on philosophy on the weekend

1. Across eras, genres and schools, the attempt at escape persists through philosophy.
2. Escapes are attempted both personally, like Hume and Wittgenstein trying to "give it up," and formally, like Descartes and Aquinas, Augustine and Wittgenstein, trying to methodologically reach a plane where the methodology passes away.
3. There are no accounts of successful escape, except through death.
4. Escape through death, such as Socrates' example of voluntarily drinking the hemlock, serve to enforce, affirm and even actually found the system that allowed dreams of and prohibited the escape. Socrates refused physical escape, because it would undermine and counter his methodological work towards escape, but accepted death because it affirmed, etc., his work. His death, however, also established philosophy as an escape plan, without the actual exit, and reaffirmed the authoritative system refusing escape. Aquinas, likewise, escapes through a revelation that everything leading him towards the escape is "like chaff," but then he is struck silent, disallowing him to construct anything counter to the chaff, and dies. In death he is sainted, ensuring the work proclaimed worthless will endure.
5. The other mode of escape via death is even more futile, self-undermining and self-reestablishing, in that it is death in media res, with the escape plans still in process but the exit never having been accomplished. Example: Descartes died from a cold caught while teaching philosophy.
6. Participation in the creation of the problem through attempts to analyze the problem, contain it and escape it, is a reoccurring fear. "What if the true Evil is not the X dynamic, but the attempts to extricate ourselves from it?" A few recent philosophers on the Continental side of things -- I'm thinking Girard, Derrida, Zizek, and also Neitchze, and Wittgenstein (again again) -- have emphasized that problem, making theory of theory key, and making that contributing-to-the-problem problem central to their thought. It is possible that this fear is characteristic of the school.
7. Some problems, like the mind-body problem, are entirely made up of showing why the problem isn't a problem.
8. The less likely a problem is to be perceivable by untrained people -- e.g. no one has ever expressed having a mind-body problem themselves -- the more likely the trained people are to be attempting to escape. Contrast to ethics. This matches the ivory-tower libel of philosophers and the tendency of philosophers to seek escape through "normal" and "human" activities, such as love, war, work, art and games. Even though philosophy is founded on proclamations that rational analysis is what makes someone human, more than animal, it is practiced with the half-coded idea that rational analysis makes one more than human, e.g. Nietchze’s superman or logical positivist attempts at new, better language.
9. Philosophers fail at "normal" "human" activities -- love, war, work, etc. -- because they perceive the problems-in-need-of-escape in those activities, feel the failure of continued participation in the problem which they want to exit or abolish, and thus move into the philosophical attempts to analyze, contain, escape, etc. Those attempts are also futile, distancing the philosopher from humans, re-strengthening the problem, and continuing the cycle of self-undermining and self-reestablishing.
10. "Escape" may be achievable through the admission that escape is impossible. Acknowledging participation in the problem and the impossibility of rising above it may be the way to "give it up," the way to not do philosophy by doing philosophy. This end leaves us in the squalid and filthy mess of things, able to be ethically human but with a diminished portion of "rational" and an over-size remainder of "animal" in our rational-to-animal distribution.
11. This end is the St. Paul/Martin Luther/John Calvin beginning: An inability to save oneself and revelation through the realization of ones' own full participation in depravity. I am the chief of stinky shitters. If, however, we expect the reception of total depravity to separate us, elevate us, deliver us from the plight of the rest of humankind, we would be dreaming of escape, a dream which means the realization of the inescapableness and our participation in the problem was not adequately realized.
12. Realize ones' participation in the problem and also realize the inescapability of participation and also accept it. Abandon communes and claims to election, elevated elitehoods and visions of ladders leading upward. Give up schools for philosopher kings and secret sanctum conspiracies and with Gnostic imaginings.
13. To lose the attempted escape and accept that loss is to come to rest with humans.

Oct 5, 2007

Changing cop culture

Don't think about John Wayne.

The newly appointed Riverdale Police chief speaks authoritatively, with a bold and booming voice. He shakes hands that way, too, with his short, strong fingers and big, broad palm.

Samuel F. Patterson, a 59-year-old who flew helicopters in Vietnam and worked with the Atlanta Police Department for 18 years, comes off as big, strong, and manly. But in his first week as police chief, Patterson is promising to continue the department's direction toward friendly, courteous and professional policing, distancing his 43 officers from the image of over-aggressive men with billy clubs and badges.

"Obviously, we want to be disciplined, and obviously, we want to enforce the law, but there's a way to do that without being John Wayne," Patterson said, speaking of the late actor who is an icon of rugged individualism.

"We want to enforce the law with a certain level of professionalism," he said, "a certain amount of respect, even for the worst of criminals. I tell my officers, treat that citizen -- and in some cases it may be a criminal -- as you would want another officer to treat your mother. Do that and you can't go wrong."

Patterson, who has been with the department for two and a half years, took the top spot on Tuesday.

Read the full story, Riverdale's new police chief, @ the Clayton News Daily.

Oct 3, 2007


The two men sat slumping on stools in the middle of the pawn shop with their hands cuffed behind their backs.

They watched as Clayton County Police detectives and undercover officers milled around the shop, and as a television crew from a local station walked through the tinted, glass door.

"Well, this is a big production," said the owner of Acme Pawn, Tuesday.

Above his head, an electronic reader board flashed the words: "Everything on Sale! Show Me the Money!!!" In the window, between the security bars and the glass, hung a sign advertising the 7443 Tara Boulevard shop as "THE HOME OF GREAT DEALS."

Police said, however, that the great deals and low prices offered included stolen items the two owners had purchased after being told the goods were recently shoplifted or burgled.

Read the full story @ the Clayton News Daily

Privitizing WWII by talking to the grunts instead of the generals.
What does 'green' mean?
Pictures of a crumbling hotel
Last use for books -- as decorative objects.
Catrographical Manhattan island.
Amnesiac abysses and strategies to find edges.
Presidential candidate McCain buys idea of 'Christian Nation'.
Democratic contender Obama likes theologian Reinhold Niebuhr (like Carter).
Pictures of the Iraq War, AKA Whiskey Tango Foxtrot.
Apologizing for Emmett Till murder.
The 16th Street Baptist Church bombing, and a voice saying "bomb."
Question from a dead man in the dream of a seedy Klan underworld.
Headlines that still grab ahold, from the NYT.
Greil Marcus turns to art for America's prophetic voice.
Pictures of the Taliban, taken secretly.
Frank Schaeffer takes it back.
Frank Schaeffer shows a legacy squandered.
Liberals like violence and they need it.
Do you have to love violence to love America?
Marching after Buddha in Myanmar.
Archeology of crack pots and faux arks.
Graham Greene's brithday quiz.
Remembering Bukowski, or trying to anyway.
Media becomes wallpaper, and then what.
Exuberant exhaustion in Denis Johnson's Vietnam novel, Tree of Smoke.

Oct 2, 2007

Two responses

Officers wrote 30 traffic tickets, during the operation, impounded six vehicles, and made 39 arrests, on charges ranging from driving without a license and driving without insurance, to automobile theft and possession of cocaine.

When a clerk locked the BP gas station, on the corner of Kendrick and Flint River Road, Friday night, a police van sat in the parking lot, and three people were locked in the back. One man, pulled out of his vehicle on suspicion he'd been driving while drunk, pounded on the inside of the van. He yelled -- "Awwwwaww. Somebody help me out of here. Awwwww." -- and kept pounding.

The BP clerk walked past the man's car, where it was being loaded onto a tow truck, and waived at the police officer guarding the van.

Read the full story @ the Clayton News Daily

Sep 28, 2007

Three pairs of shoes and a name

A 36-year-old man was arrested in April after walking out of The Sports Authority, 1987 Mt. Zion Road, in Morrow, with three pairs of shoes stuffed in his pants. The man told police his name was Nolan J. Reeves.

He gave them a driver's license and social security number, and was arrested under that name.

He was charged with stealing the shoes, valued at a total of $190, and possessing a three-inch glass pipe, believed to be used for smoking crack cocaine.

The man was booked in the Clayton County Jail as "Reeves," went to court as "Reeves," and pleaded guilty to the two charges under that name.

In July, while out on probation, the 36-year-old man was arrested again. He was charged with selling false identifies.

One of the false identities for sale was the name, license and social security number of "Reeves."

Read the full story, Grand jury: Man pleaded guilty using fake name, at the Clayton News Daily

Sep 27, 2007

Wendell Berry

Most people, one hopes, would not consider themselves improved by having killed someone, though, having done so, they would know more about it than before. There is no culture I know of that has not held that good people must refuse to know some things. -- Wendell Berry, in a debate about space colonies

As digital-storage capacities reach seemingly boundless proportions, however, some thinkers are becoming nervous about the unintended consequences of memory technology... New forms of memory are permanent and accessible from anywhere. As their reach grows, scholars are asking if now - perhaps for the first time in human history - we need to find ways to forget. -- Jessica Winter, in Advantages of Amnesia

To think is to forget a difference, to generalize, to abstract. In the overly replete world of Funes there were nothing but details, almost contiguous details. The equivocal clarity of dawn penetrated along the earthen patio. -- Jorge Luis Borge, in Funes, the Memorious

As a form of parapraxis, forgetting combines partial failure with partial success and must be distinguished from the customary psychological form of forgetting, a successful act of repression. The dreamer who has forgotten his dream tries to reconstruct it, but in doing so, constructs it anew: "It is indeed possible that while trying to retell it, we fill in the blanks created by forgetting using new material arbitrarily chosen." -- on Sigmund Freud and forgetting in psychoanalysis

Sep 26, 2007

Pop, goes the murderer: A Problem. A Question.

"An interest in murder is absolutely central to our pop culture, and it has been from the beginning. It's so obvious and ubiquitous, and we've grown so used to it, that it never even strikes us how much programming on any given page of the TV Guide is devoted in one way or another to violence or homicide."

                - David Schmid
                Natural Born Celebrities: Serial Killers in American Culture

Sep 24, 2007

Attempt to establish remorse

Standing in the courtroom with a heavy mustache drooping over his mouth, and a red, jail jumpsuit sagging around his small body, Martin Flores was visibly disgusted.

The 20-year-old stood there, five-foot, six-inches tall, facing a judge in Clayton County Superior Court and listened to a court interpreter translate in Spanish the possible sentence for his conviction on attempted rape, molestation, kidnapping and aggravated assault.

A Clayton County jury found Flores guilty Tuesday of jumping out of the bushes in a mobile home park, grabbing a 12-year-old girl, pulling her to the ground and trying to rape her.

Judge Matthew Simmons asked Flores if he wanted to say anything before he was sentenced Friday morning.

“No,” he replied, “They just don’t have any evidence against me. What kind of evidence do they have against me? If she was really hurt, why didn’t they take her to the doctor?”

The court-appointed translator, standing next to the now-empty jury box, wearing a tan pant suit and a translators’ headset, repeated the words in English as the prosecutor, defense attorney, judge and court recorders looked at the defiant defendant.

“Judge,” said Lloyd Matthews, Flores’ attorney, “that’s our attempt to establish remorse.”

Read the full story, 20-year-old gets 20 years for attack on pre-teen, @ the Clayton News Daily.

Sep 22, 2007

Gene Savoy, who explored Peru for Incan and pre-Incan ruins, who sought the fountain of youth and the city of gold, who was flamboyant and known for self-promotion, hunch and chuzpah, who founded his own religion based on the Essenes, died on Sept. 11 at the age of 80.

May he rest in peace.

Rex Humbard, who was a pentacostal evangelist, who was the son of an evangelist and started out as an itenerant revivalist, who build the 'Cathedral of Tomorrow' and was, at one point, the most widely syndicated televangelist, whose ministry suffered from financial overreaching, died on Friday at the age of 88.

May he rest in peace.

Sep 21, 2007

He wasn’t known by that name

When Kevin Jean-Jacques was wheeled into the hospital, his skin was cold to the touch, his eyes were dilated and he had a bullet in his side.

The cause of death was homicide, but everything else about the 20-year-old’s death remains a mystery a day after he was pronounced dead at Southern Regional Medical Center.

Police responded to the hospital on Upper Riverdale Road at about 9:30 p.m., Wednesday, to a 911 call reporting a person shot and dead, according to a police report. Jean-Jacques was brought to the hospital by Alfred Wheeler, a 20-year-old who worked with him at Frito Lay.

Wheeler told police that Jean-Jacques was shot outside a convenience store after being mistaken for his brother.

Read the full story, Shooting victim mistaken for his brother, witness says, @ the Clayton News Daily.

Sep 20, 2007

A problem. A question.

"Right-wing order fantasy may be legitimately identified as a constant theme in crime reporting. It appears to generate the everyday predispositions and interpretative conventions of the genre, the tone of shocked indignation and the undertones of vicarious salacity or celebration apparent in so much crime journalism. This is presumably because fantasy, lies at the root of sensationalism. It is a latent presence in routine stories of robbery and rape just as it manifests itself in headline news of crime waves, menace, bombs, and butchery. It links crime reporting firmly to the related genres of thriller and detective fiction. "

                - Steve Chibnall
                Law-and-Order News: An Analysis of Crime Reporting

Sep 19, 2007

Building the victimology

Detectives are considering everyone as a “person of interest,” in the murder of a 17-year-old Jonesboro girl, and are investigating every theory -- from an angry boyfriend to the possibility of a serial killer.

Clayton County Police identified the 17-year-old, who had been killed, badly burned and dumped in a wooded area near Shamrock Lake, as Jennifer Lee Chambers. Her body was found there, partially covered by a multi-colored poncho, on Sept. 5. She was reported missing by her mother nine days later.

Chambers’ mother, Betty Jean May, filed a missing persons report with the Jonesboro Police Department on Sept. 14, saying she had seen the news about the dead girl and was afraid it was her daughter.

Read the full story, Detectives looking at murdered girl's troubled past, @ the Clayton News Daily.

Sep 18, 2007

mugs by angusmcdiarmid
By angus mcdiarmid, based on photos from Least Wanted.

Sep 17, 2007


The evening breeze blew out the 4-year-old boy’s candle.

Avaun Rucker looked down at it, watching the last puff of smoke come off the white, tapered wax as the wick turned from orange to a brittle black.

He looked up at his father, Anthony Rucker Sr., and the boy, saying nothing, raised up his candle for help.

They stood in front of the Rucker house, 920 Canary Court in Riverdale, on Saturday. They stood with about 50 people, in the street by the mailbox, all of them holding candles in a vigil on the one-year anniversary of 34-year-old Rhonda Rucker’s death.

Anthony Rucker Sr. leaned his lit candle down to his son’s extinguished one, placing his other hand firmly on the boy’s shoulder.

“It’s still hard, without their mother being around,” the older Rucker said. “It’s encouraging to know that she’s still remembered and loved by everyone.”

A year ago, on Sept. 15, 2006, Rhonda and Anthony Rucker Sr. played with their youngest son, Avaun, in the early morning. The father prepared to leave for work, and told his wife he loved her.

“Those were the last words we ever said to each other,” he said Saturday. “We both said we loved each other.”

That afternoon, Rhonda Rucker was shot in the back of the head with a .45-caliber bullet and Avaun was locked in an upstairs closet, with a dresser holding the door closed.

Read the story, Friends, family mourn slain women, hope for justice, @ the Clayton News Daily.

Sep 14, 2007

The Medina Drive Break-in
One one of them said, in Spanish, 'Open up'

People told him not to bother. A Hispanic who doesn’t speak English, in this country at this time? They said Dionicio Pelcastre wouldn’t get justice.

But on Wednesday, with a year-old bullet scar on his chest, 35-year-old Pelcastre looked at the teenager who broke into his home, terrorized his family and shot him with a .380-caliber pistol. He saw the 17-year-old convicted by a jury and sentenced by a judge, and he said, in Spanish, “There is justice for everyone.”

Jamal Cymmone Johnson was found guilty of aggravated assault, burglary and a felony weapons charge. He was sentenced to 50 years in prison. Johnson was one of six who kicked down the front door of a Jonesboro house, at 2987 Medina Drive, a little before 11 p.m., on June 12, 2006. Johnson carried the .380, into the home, intending to rob the 10 residents, believing they carried large amounts of cash because they were Hispanic and drove nice cars.

The six, ranging in age from a 12-year-old, who was carrying an unloaded, .45-caliber handgun, to a 20-year-old man, knocked on the door. One one of them said, in Spanish, “Open up.”

Three of the boys are brothers: a 12-year-old, who is not being named because he was charged as a juvenile; Jerrod Terrill Bush, who was 15; and Jarvis Jamal Bush, who was 13. A fourth boy, John Carlos Andrades, who was 14, was a best friend of the Bush brothers. Andrades spoke Spanish and introduced the Bushes to the two older men involved in the home invasion: Jamal Rashaad Brown, who as 20, and Jamal Cymmone Johnson, who was 16 and owned a handgun.

According to the Bush brothers’ stepfather, James Robinson, they had gone from normal boys, doing normal boy things, such as playing PlayStation and talking about girls, to defendants in a felony case in eight months. Robinson said he didn’t know what happened.

Standing outside the Medina Drive house, about four miles from their apartment, Robinson’s youngest stepson held a .45, and another one carried a shotgun. They listened to their friend, Andrades, speaking Spanish and trying to coax the residents into opening the door.

Pelcastre, a stone mason, and the nine others living at the Medina Drive residence didn’t know the voice or the faces outside their door, and called 911. When they heard the kicking, and saw the front door giving way, they armed themselves with what Clayton County Police called “household weapons” — a metal sprinkler head and a small, baseball bat.

Read the full stories about 'The Medina Drive Break-in' @ the Clayton News Daily:
Three wounded in Jonesboro break-in
Stepfather: Teenage suspects got 'with the wrong crowd'
Juvenile pleads guilty in home invasion case
Five indicted on assault, robbery, burglary
Three teens, man plead guilty to home invasion charges
'There is justice for everyone'

Sep 13, 2007

The pressing questions

It’s not the details that are missing. Dr. Rick Snow has a lot of specific details.

At the Georgia Bureau of Investigation’s Forensics lab, Snow is drowning in details about the girl who was found murdered and burned in some woods in Clayton County.

What he doesn’t have is the sum of those details, the answer to the pressing questions: Who is she? What’s her name? Who killed her, dumped her in the woods and set her on fire?

“I can tell you what her weight is, within a gram,” said Snow, a forensic anthropologist. “I can tell you her height. I can give you her DNA, her fingerprints. I can get a retinal scan, if you want it. I can tell you every mark, scar or tattoo on the body. I can tell you the length of hair, the color of hair, if it’s ever been bleached and what style it’s worn in. I can tell you every mole on a body. I can tell you if [she’s] ever worn braces, every filling and cavity and any dental work that’s been done. Essentially, a complete biological profile, everything we need to identify her many times over. The problem comes in the comparison, because you have all this stuff, but if we have nothing to compare it to, it doesn’t do us a bit of good.”

One week after an off-duty Clayton County Police officer smelled and then found a girl’s body decaying in the woods off of Freeman Road, near the intersection of Shamrock Road, the GBI medical examiners have given the police a lot of information about the body, but authorities are still searching for the answer to the questions: Who is she and who killed her?

The girl was found the evening of Sept. 5. Her body was laying on the ground, about 30 feet from the busy road and about four or five feet off of an access road used by utility trucks.

Read the full story, Police, GBI working to identify girl found dead, at the Clayton News Daily.
Brief thoughts on watching

1. In the genre of "Americans Abroad," we have turned the "innocent" into "sweetly retarded," played by Forest Gump, and understood "abroad" to mean influencing the events of history. This has been pointed out before. We see ourselves as well meaning, and as doing good, even if we are fundamentally ignorant of world events and have no clear idea of what we've done in the past, how we got here or who we are. This is what makes the twist ending of the Jason Bourne triology so fascinating. The amnesiac who has been fighting bad guys for three movies, who, as the symbolic, stand-in American, has been fighting the evil, secret-assassin-making-machine that created him, discovers that he, of his own free will, chose this. The "people who did this to you," Jason/America, is you. You weren't Bo(u)rn(e) this way. (Wha, wah).

2. Though Westerns are always about violence, the difference/similarty between Good and Evil, the preservation of peace and the possibility of redemption, 3:10 to Yuma is interesting because the bad guy gets redeemed. It's the bad guy who is religious, and not in the "this-makes-it-extra-creepy" way, but in a way that seems to indicate he takes the book seriously, even if he doesn't know why it's called good. The film is also peculiar in that redemption is linked to confession and admissions of failure, inadequecy, etc., rather than being linked to doing the right thing. In a very "total depravity" mode, the hero says that he can't do the right thing, the manly thing, and has never done the right thing. Die, John Wayne, die. This really is sort of the inverse of High Noon's domino theory and justificaiton for the American-led Iraq war.

3. There's something forehead-slappingly obvious about Dexter, bringing the law enforcer/law violater into a single person. It's brilliant, but more so because it's obvious, both from a psychological stand point - don't the id and the super-ego coexist? - and from the stand point of plot, as per Poe's letter. Add in the over inflated interest in serial killers and scientific ways of solving crime, and you think that Dexter had to exist.