Thirty-four Agonizing Years Until a Killer is Brought to Justice

In Richmond Beach, WA, N.W. 192 Street , a close-knit community, in 1975, Dinah Peterson was a pretty, 16-year-old girl who met a dreadful end on, of all days, Valentine’s Day. Someone literally stabbed her in the heart in her own backyard and left her there to bleed to death. It was her father who found her on the side of the house, lying on her back, staring lifelessly at the sky above. Policemen arrived quickly to find a devastated family. Dinah’s mother, Leanne, had locked her out of the house the night she died. She was tired of Dinah sneaking out of the house to see Diner, her boyfriend. Dinah had even snuck out to see Diner when she was at home babysitting her younger siblings, leaving them alone. Like little Leslie Mahaffey, the murder victim of Paul Bernardo and Karla Homolka, it was a Tough Love-type approach to establishing discipline.

The coroner took his time arriving at the scene. The police didn’t pay much attention to the blood around Peterson’s body. Stupidly, the coroner thought Peterson had fallen off the balcony above her. Now does a fall from a balcony onto grass and autumn leaves end up in a bloody mess on the lawn (scratch head)? Already the investigation wasn’t shaping up to be very successful. Tim Diner lived next door to the Petersons. Two doors down Jim Groth lived. Diner and Groth were immediate suspects in the case.

Diner was the neighbourhood partier. His door was always open and people came and went, drinking and having a good time. Groth on the other hand, wasn’t well-liked. He was described as “quirky”. He was a “kid who showed up and you just couldn’t get rid of him.” On Valentine’s Day, in the evening, Groth simply showed up to see Dinah and her friend Tricia. The two girls quickly tired of his unwanted company and left the house without him to get a pizza. Leanne ventured downstairs to find Groth still seated on the couch, waiting for Dinah to return. Leanne told Groth to leave which he did  As Dinah and her friend walked home from the pidinahzza restaurant, a friend, Kathy Strunk, offered the girls a ride home. It was late in the evening when Dinah arrived home. As she lay in bed reading, Leanne heard what she thought were “playful screams,” coming from the yard. Looking out the window, she saw shadows and went outside to find her daughter. The door was open. Leanne called for Dinah but Dinah didn’t answer. Leanne let Dinah’s dog out then locked the sliding glass doors to the basement. Naturally, Dinah wasn’t able to walk around to the front door and ring the bell. She was dying in the backyard.

When police removed Peterson’s body they discovered a large hunting knife in her back. So much for falling off the balcony. They conducted an extensive investigation into Dinah’s death, taking casts of shoe prints near Dinah’s body, samples of skin beneath her fingernails, and several photographs of the crime scene. Police investigated Dinah’s father, who had a hunting knife in his workshop. Naturally he fell under suspicion but there was no further investigation involving Dinah’s father. That morning, Groth and Diner were interviewed about their whereabouts the night of the murder. Groth informed police that after Leanne told him to leave he went to a bowling alley, then went home to bed. Diner stated he had visited a friend, got home at 11 p.m. and heard a dog barking, but he hadn’t connected it with Dinah’s dog. Without a warrant, police searched Diner’s house and found a pair of pants with blood on them. Rumours had run around the neighbourhood that Diner liked to go out and “kill animals,” and that “he and his friends would beat people up when they would have parties [at Diner's house].” The knife used to kill Dinah belonged to Diner. Major break in the case, no?

After Diner’s arrest, he got a lawyer and stopped talking to police. Investigators didn’t have enough evidence to make an arrest and Diner was free to walk. Once when she saw Diner 090724_jim_grothoutside working on his car Leanne admitted “I wanted to go out and cut his heart out.” Groth and Diner took polygraph exams. Both failed. Groth changed his story about having been at the blowing alley when Dinah was murdered. He admitted on his way home, he crossed through the Peterson’s yard and saw Dinah lying face-down on the grass. Police had found the body lying face-up. Uh-oh. Bit of a Freudian slip. Investigators took a closer look at Groth. He’d always had a strong crush on Dinah, who didn’t return the interest. Police now had two potential suspects. Investigators spoke to friends of Dinah’s and Diner’s. One girl informed police that after Dinah’s murder, Groth had held a hunting knife at her, hitting her side with it and declaring “gotcha!Eric Hansen, a classmate of Groth’s claimed Groth assaulted him at his father’s business. On his way out of the store Groth commented, “If you tell anyone about this I’ve killed one girl, I can kill again.” Now if that doesn’t stir the pot on the stove.

Idiotically, the Juvenile Department at the police station handled the report and neglected to hand it onto the homicide division. Seriously. Nothing came of Hansen’s Ted_Bundy_headshotcomplaint. For whatever reason, police had Groth take another polygraph test and this time he passed. Groth was now excluded as a suspect based only on a polygraph test. Apparently, it didn’t occur to police to ask Groth why it was that he left a good friend on a lawn with a knife in her back, and simply strode home (scratch head). Then two weeks after Dinah’s murder the main investigator was removed from the case and re-assigned to a task force that was hunting for the notorious serial killer Ted Bundy. If that don’t beat all. The focus on the Bundy case meant Dinah’s murder fell off the radar. The murder wasn’t “newsworthy” and investigators turned their interest elsewhere. Within months of Dinah’s murder, the Petersons moved out of the neighbourhood, unable to bear the painful memories of their child’s gruesome death. Now and then police placed Diner under investigation, finally driving him out of the neighbourhood. Groth followed soon after. Months passed, until in 1985 the Petersons threw in the towel, believing police would never solve the case. When the Petersons contacted police to retrieve their daughter’s clothing and belongings, they were told a sergeant had thrown it away in a bid to clean out the murder case storage room. All of the evidence that could have been used for DNA testing was permanently lost.(grit teeth)

In 2006 King County detective Jim Allen stumbled across the Peterson case. Intrigued, he re-opened the case. The file was filled with inconsistencies. Returning to the crime scene, Allen began his investigation. Allen believed the investigators were going after the wrong suspect. Diner had been at a friend’s house when Dinah was murdered. He had never changed his story. It was an airtight alibi. Groth, on the other hand, had no witnesses to verify he had been at a bowling alley. He had changed his story on one occasion and especially the position in which the body had been found. A neighbourhood boy had also offered a statement, stating that Groth had run up to him and told the child Dinah had been stabbed. But it wasn’t until 2:30 pm that police knew Dinah had been stabbed. Clearly, Groth was the guilty party. The murder weapon was the clincher. It was the one original piece of evidence that hadn’t been thrown out. Groth could have taken the hunting knife from Diner’s house without telling him. Diner was informed he was no longer a suspect but Diner, who had been a suspect his entire life, wouldn’t cooperate with them. His life had been ruined.

Police found Groth who now lived in Alaska and worked as a fisherman. He was still a violent man, having assaulted many women in his life. Groth was questioned again and he jimstuck with his story that Dinah had been face-down when he found the body. This time, Groth failed a polygraph test.  Allen took another look at the photographs of shoe prints in the Peterson’s yard. Both Groth’s foot prints and Dinah’s interacted in such a manner that it was plausible he had killed her. 30 years after the murder, 59-year-old Jim Groth was arrested for Dinah Peterson’s murder. Groth’s comment was “what will I tell my girlfriend? It’s Chistmas.” At long last, Groth was put on trial for Dinah’s murder. The Petersons were forced to relive their daughter’s last moments alive. No DNA and no confession made the case a tough one. The footprint photographs however were significant and had not been discarded along with other evidence. Somehow, police hadn’t taken photographs or examined the footwear of any suspects or Dinah herself in 1975. That was another major blow to the trial.

The DA’s argument was that Groth’s affection toward Dinah was the catalyst that drove him to kill her. Frequently, he groped her and she would constantly fight him off. Finally the rejection was too much for Groth and in a fit of rage he planned her murder. Waiting for her to return home, Groth emerged from the bushes in the Peterson’s backyard and stabbed Dinah in the back. The first decision the jury reached was 8-4 for acquittal (sense of outrage). Seriously. Juries are a mystery. 3 days later, the jury returned a verdict of  first degree murder of “not guilty.” However, on the charge of second degree murder, Groth was found “guilty.” He received a prison sentence of 16 years to life. 34 years had passed. The Petersons could heal. Dinah could rest in peace.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Twists and Turns Tell a Torrid Tale of Murder

Bill and Kathleen Lipscomb lived in San Antonio, Texas. They were attractive, young and hard-working. of course, that always means they held dark, nasty secrets they kept completely hidden. They would stop at nothing to keep their secrets a secret – including murder. Kathleen, 29, was a respected nurse at a local hospital. Bill, 33, was a hard-working military man, a Master Sergeant **this link has a spoiler alert** to be precise, and the General’s Flag-bearer, in the U.S. Air Force. Bill worked hard and fsg-crime-scene-response-unit-01made considerable demands of himself. He was constantly seeking a promotion to earn better money and take care of his family. Add to this Bill was a rising star in the military, being one of the youngest men to receive a promotion to Master Sergeant. Nothing wrong with that. Beneath the surface however, Bill wasn’t all that he seemed. At home he was overbearing with his family and he had a problem with Kathleen’s independence. What a surprise. Eventually Kathleen became drawn to a doctor on the hospital staff and they began an affair. Well you can’t really blame her. Overbearing husbands always seem to push their wives into someone else’s arms. Finally Kathleen demanded a divorce but Bill refused to sign divorce papers. Even their divorce was a big argument. Bill’s main concern was his access to the children. Ah, kids. They’re always in the way, aren’t they?

On June 9 1986, a dead, nude woman lay on a country road. She lay lifeless and cold in a “displayed manner.” Clearly, the sicko who did away with her wanted her found. The poor woman had been sexually assaulted and strangled. She was also washed. Shades of the Black Dahlia killer. Obviously, this woman knew her killer. within hours her co-worker Dahlia-Curlsidentified the corpse. Naturally it was Kathleen Lipscomb. Right away, Bill was the number one suspect and why not? His wife was having an affair  **spoiler alert** and wanted a divorce. Ouch. That wouldn’t look too good at work. However, it wasn’t long before the good doctor also came under suspicion. Kathleen was the doctor’s subordinate. He had exposed himself to be accused of sexual harassment. If Kathleen was pushing him to get a divorce and marry her the doctor could be ruined professionally. It seemed this could be the case: Kathleen wanted a divorce. It was possible she believed her lover would do the same so they could be together. The doctor of course, didn’t see the situation the same way as his lover.

When the doctor was brought in for questioning he refused to speak until his lawyer arrived. He stayed silent for 40 minutes, as was his legal right. However, a lack of willingness to help solve the murder of his lover came across as a little problematic to police. The autopsy showed Kathleen had sperm in her vaginal vault. her husband had a vasectomy. There was a problem with the semen sample however: it was contaminated (how I don’t know) and wasn’t usable. The doctor couldn’t be identified by contaminated DNA. Darn.

However, police dug a little deeper and discovered Kathleen had another little secret **spoiler alert** she had been keeping from Bill. Uh-oh. But wait. The doctor isn’t off the hook yet. Kathleen may well have threatened the good doctor with exposure if he didn’t leave his wife for her. Public humiliation would have been very nasty. Of course, the doctor’s wife would have suffered great humiliation too. The heck with that. Police now focused on Mrs. Doctor, a woman with a considerable status in the community. Naturally, the woman was enraged and jealous. Who wouldn’t be? There was no evidence whatsoever that could tie either spouse to the crime. Darnit. Why do criminals have to be so cagey?

Suddenly, a neighbour of the Lipscomb’s received a nasty telephone call: “you’re next.” Say what? Was the killer a weirdo on the street who simply targeted random women? Or kathleenwas the neighbour aware of Kathleen’s affair? Mind you, all of the women on the block could have been targets; just some sick serial killer fantasy. Police began to dig a little deeper in to Kathleen’s life. An hispanic male nurse who had been a colleague of Kathleen’s, suddenly disappeared from the staff after Kathleen’s murder. This particular man had a shady character. He couldn’t hold down a job and he was also a drifter. How he got hired as a nurse in an institution that is meant to care for people and keep them safe from harm, I cannot say. Sort of gives one chills, doesn’t it? Anyhoo. No one on the staff had ever trusted the Hispanic male nurse. Now things were heating up. Of course, the nurse was on the lam and police had no idea where he’d gone.

Now what to do? Three suspects, no physical evidence. The Sheriff suspected this would be a murder case that would go cold. It might never be solved. But wait. This one’s a real cliffhanger. One more person waited in the shadows and would soon be forced into the spotlight. Naturally she was directly linked to Kathleen’s marriage. Bill had been involved with an attractive, red-haired woman and it was likely Kathleen knew about it. These things always get discovered sooner or later. Bill had once confided in a friend that the sex with his wife was over. He made the ludicrous statement that Kathleen might have been a “lesbian.” Red-head raised a red flag (pun). Kathleen’s body had been covered in them. Could it be that Kathleen was indeed a lesbian? But wait. There’s even more. Bill’s big mouth couldn’t stop flapping. He casually dropped the bomb that he wanted the life insurance he was due from Kathleen’s death. Say what? She wasn’t warm yet and he was already sniffing out compensation to the tune of $315,000.00 Sweet.

Bill’s alibi, that he had been with his two children on the night of his wife’s murder suddenly disintegrated. His daughter finally stepped up and stated her father wasn’t home on the night her mother died and that “daddy lied.” During the night, she and her brother had walked through the house looking for him and he wasn’t anywhere to be found. There was a good reason for the little girl to keep her story quiet. Daddy had threatened to “spank her very hard” if she told anyone “their” secret. Poor little soul. It was bad enough that Bill had savagely murdered his own wife but the emotional torture he’d put his children through was simply heinous. Sadly, police couldn’t take the little girl’s statement as fact: the family had already spoken to her at length and they feared she had been coached. Well, that’s understandable. A defense attorney could get that statement quashed in a San Antonio minute.

Two years passed. Kathleen’s death indeed was shaping up to be a cold case but Kathleen’s family (bless them) hired a private investigator, Tom Bevans, to investigate their child’s pideath. The P.I. tread lightly with police. He didn’t want to act as though he doubted their abilities or cooperation wouldn’t be forthcoming. Clearly, Bevans did a good job. Police handed him a file with all listed suspects. Starting at the beginning, Bevans took a close look at the doctor and his wife first. Nope. They were clean. Bevans tracked down the male nurse. No new information there. He was just a drifter and had moved on as was usual for his lifestyle. Bevans looked closely at the red hairs that might have been placed on Kathleen’s body. After all, police only had Bill’s word that Kathleen was a lesbian. Bevans re-examined Bill more closely. Yes she was having an affair. Nasty. But would that really cause him to murder Kathleen? Nonsense. His ego would be bruised of course, but he still had his professional status and career to soothe him. Bevans felt it was something much deeper.

Bevans dug through Kathleen’s belongings, the same items police had already confiscated. Lo and behold, Bevans found Kathleen’s date book and flipped through it. In it she had written, “Theresa attended one of Bill’s softball games.” Theresa? No one had noticed that clue before. Theresa, Bill’s attractive work colleague, voluntarily walked into the police Couple-huggingstation and stated quite grandly, “if this is about Bill Lipscomb I need an attorney.” A light bulb went on in everyone’s head at the same time. The room even got brighter. Meanwhile, Bevans asked Kathleen’s sister Darlene who Theresa might be. “Bill’s girlfriend,” came the easy reply. Darlene hadn’t made a connection between Bill’s girlfriend and Kathleen’s murder. Let’s give poor Darlene a break. When you think about it, who would make that connection? Suppose your loved one was murdered (heaven forbid) and you knew her husband had a girlfriend. Would this really send up an alarm that maybe the girlfriend did her in? Very few women commit violent crimes and this one was a sexually sadistic murder. In retrospect, it seems obvious that Theresa should have been brought in for questioning, but during the actual investigation I don’t believe most people would have thought that one through. Anyhoo. Interestingly, Darlene stated it would “have surprised her if [Bill] didn’t have a girlfriend….he was very handsome and manipulative.”

Theresa interviewed with police, explaining Bill was her superior at the air force. Bill and Theresa soon became lovers and Bill spilled the beans about his intention to kill Kathleen. Of course, Teresa didn’t believe him. Theresa had more to tell investigators. Kathleen was committing blackmail against Bill. Say what? Police re-examined Kathleen’s notebook. Bill has all questions to the WAPS. Now what did that cryptic message mean? Theresa informed police that in Bill’s words “she has everything on me, she can do whatever she wants right now.” What were WAPS? As it turned out the acronym stood for “Weighted Airman Promotion System.”  It’s a standardized test that an airman must take to climb up the rungs on the promotional ladder. Our sneaky Bill had been trading or selling answers to people who were taking the WAPS. Holy cheat system, Batman! He had helped to falsely promote numerous airmen. Not only was this a local cheat, it was worldwide. Who needs the internet to pull off a major scam?

Bill hired his air force friend Nicholas Richards to assist him. Airmen worldwide would air-force-logocontact Bill with questions. The two men then looked up the answers and passed them back to the airmen with Bill eventually making a bundle. Who needs a Ponzi scheme? Of course in her bid to maintain full access to the children, Kathleen threatened to expose Bill. Sign the papers or else, was the general idea. Kathleen threatened the wrong man. Bill wasn’t going to let his wife ruin him. Not only would he have been fired, there would have been jail time and a criminal record. Bill’s life would be over. The heck with that. He decided Kathleen’s life would be over. It didn’t matter she was the mother of his children and had been his wife for several years. His reputation meant much more to him. Besides, he would be free of blackmail, gain access of the children. receive a huge insurance payout and continue as the rising star in the air force that he seemed to be. If that isn’t motive, what is?

Police went straight to Richards. Theresa was certain that if Bill had murdered Kathleen, Richards had helped. Good old Richards. Nothing like a true friend to rely on. Naturally Richards had a rather passive, controllable personality. Bill had a knack for recognizing and selecting weaklings. Richards was more than happy to help police. His conscience had been tormenting him for three years. Richards however, didn’t help to murder Kathleen but he did offer Bill an alibi. Richards had picked up Bill’s children from school, taken them to McDonald’s then brought them home to Bill, That way, the innocence children would believe their father had indeed been home the night of the murder.

During that same evening, Katheen went to Bill’s house and sat on a couch looking through family photographs. The couple was even going to separate the pictures. As soon as she was distracted, Bill approached his wife from behind and wrapped a cable around her neck. He girl_rape1-300x210strangled the poor woman to death. Bill hid Kathleen in a cedar chest, crossing her legs to make her fit. Richards, wanting nothing else to do with the crime, left the house. Investigators worked out a deal with Richards: wear a wire and gain immunity from criminal charges. It led nowhere. Bill wasn’t going to discuss the case. It was three years ago and as far as he was concerned, it was done. Bill suspected Richards was wearing a wire, but he didn’t become angry. Richards then revealed that he’d kept the cedar chest that had held Kathleen’s body. Bill simply told him to “get rid of it. Richards wasn’t only passive he was downright stupid. Police had been searching for a piece of evidence that might have held Kathleen’s body. It hadn’t occurred to Richards that the cedar chest was an important piece of evidence. Duh.

Faced with the overwhelming evidence, a shocked and unsuspecting Bill buckled and confessed to the crime. So much for his weakling friend Richards. He was stronger than Bill had thought. He was given a prison sentence of 60 years. The air force scam was dismantled and an investigation was begun into the contacts Bill had made during the fraudulent operation. If it hadn’t been for Kathleen’s family, Bevans, and Kathleen’s own handwritten notes about the WAPS, the case might have remained unsolved to this day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Nasty Nazi Nailed by His Nervy Wife

James and Amber Cummings were attractive, young and wealthy. They lived in beautiful Belfast, Maine. James had inherited millions from his father and it kept he and Amber very comfortable during their 12-year marriage. On the surface, they had the world by the short and curlies. In reality Amber wasn’t a happy person and neither was James. James was a white supremacist and a paranoid schizophrenic. He physically, sexually and emotionally abused Amber on a regular basis. James used his wealth to purchase authentic Nazi paraphernalia. Delusional and agitated, James went through each day believing others were out to get him. He didn’t want Amber to leave the house. He believed she was out plotting with other people against him. He couldn’t tolerate anyone else in her life, not even family. Amber’s mother and sister had to sneak to the Cummings’ house to watch Clara riding her tricycle.

James moved his family several times in a bid to separate Amber from her family. He managed to keep her isolated for a long time. James was no kinder to his daughter, Clara. cummings4.jpgHe often tried to beat Clara but Amber stepped in and took the abuse herself.  Good for Amber. At least she didn’t let James the Jerk abuse their child. Amber suffered terribly at James’ hands. He regularly raped, beat, kicked and punched her. One horrible day, James managed to lock himself into Clara’s room where he beat her mercilessly. Amber tried several times to escape her mentally ill husband but he always found her and brought her home. She was utterly under his control.

James became sicker. He became obsessed with child pornography and downloaded hundreds of images onto his computer. He forced Amber to select the “best ones”. Amber Belfast Killingknew it was only a matter of time before her horrible husband began sexually abusing little Clara. James ran his household rather similarly to Hitler and his government of Germany. Eventually Amber couldn’t tolerate James any longer. December 2008 started like any other day. Amber prepared Clara for the new day and sent her downstairs to play. Then she walked into her bedroom and pulled out a .45 shotgun from under her pillow. Her intention was to kill herself. Uh-oh. That would leave Clara with James. What was a woman to do? Of course! Amber would shoot James instead. Walking into his bedroom she shot him in the head twice as he slept. You go, girl.

Amber had been beaten and cornered. It was either fight or flight and flight hadn’t helped her in the past. Chief Jeffrey Trafton stated “it’s hard for us to justify shooting somebody who’s asleep in a bed.” But to his credit he did state “she looked more Cummings 1 KB.jpglike a victim than a killer.” Trafton was astounded by the Nazi paraphernalia in the house and concluded that James Cummings was a danger to the community. Amber claimed she killed to protect Clara. The FBI arrived at the Cummings house and what did they find but the ingredients for a “dirty bomb” a device that kills with toxins rather than an explosion. Seriously. Guess who the ingredients belonged to? James had decided Barack Obama should never have been elected President. He intended to attend the Presidential Inauguration to kill thousands of people with the bomb. Amber saved people at the inauguration within one month of the inauguration date. However vigilante justice cannot prevail in the community. Amber was brought to trial where she pled guilty. 100 people arrived at the courthouse supporting her by wearing t-shirts that read “Free Amber.Justice Jeffrey Hjelm gave her an 8-year suspended sentence, meaning she walked out a free woman. She was diagnosed with a condition called “shared psychotic disorder,”  meaning that she absorbed some of James’ madness. Justice, as far as I’m concerned, was served.

**Update** Amber and Clara moved to Maine, near the Pacific coastline. Although Amber stated,“there was a lot of support, an unbelievable amount of support, in Belfast. People came out and took care of us and made sure we had everything we need,” she chose to relocate. Amber and Clara are living their lives …. without fear.

 

 

 

 

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Fatal Attraction Killer

Sondra London has nothing on this woman. Loving a man who murders is weird enough. In Colorado SpringsJennifer Reali didn’t fall for a man quite like that; instead she murdered for him. Her husband Ben, was an army captain and a strict, controlling man who continually abused her emotionally and verbally in front of their two children. Added to this, Reali felt trapped in her marriage and believed she’d wasted her life potential on her cruel military husband. With the right influence, Reali could become a ticking time bomb. That influence entered Reali’s life in the form of Brian Hood. Reali met Brian Hood, a handsome 30-something insurance salesman, during her hoodabusive marriage.  When Hood entered her life, Reali was starved for love. Hood was unhappy in his own marriage. His wife Diane had lupus, a disease of the immune system. Diane wasn’t the same woman he’d married. Early in the marriage Dianne had stayed home to raise Hood’s three children, Jarrod, now 10, Lesley, 8, and Joshua, 3. Now she required constant care and was literally withering away in front of him, or so he said.

The affair began when Hood and Reali had sex in Reali’s home on top of the laundry machine. For Reali, there was no turning back at this point. In the weeks that followed, she and Hood had sex in her Jeep Cherokee. Hood proved to be a loving man who lavished her with compliments about everything and anything. Hood also insulted her husband, telling Reali he didn’t deserve her. I do agree with that. Hood however was equally dominating as Reali’s husband but so smitten was Reali, she wasn’t aware of it.

Reali cloaked their relationship in religious teachings. He insisted their affair was DP_UPLOADordained by God. Reali actually believed him. As the months went by, Hood got weirder and weirder. He informed Reali that his sick wife needed to die. It was God’s will after all. He wanted Reali to pull the trigger of course. He simply wasn’t up to it. Reali actually believed Hood, that killing his poor wife was the right thing to do. She actually believed murdering Diane would be a mercy killing and that she would be helping her. Hood conveniently overlooked the fifth commandment of the Bible: Thou shalt not kill. So did Reali. It didn ‘t occur to Reali that if it was God’s will for Diane to die, He probably would have done the deed Himself. On the one hand, it’s understandable that Reali fell for Hood’s bull. She was already an abused woman, her self-esteem all but obliterated. Now she had Hood’s so-called love and Reali was desperate to keep it. Reali would anything, even murder to keep her lover.

On September 10, 1990, Reali followed Diane Hood to a lupus support group meeting. Wearing a ski mask and her husband’s army fatigues, Reali waited for her in the bushes. When Diane and a jennifer realifriend reached her, Reali shot her once. Diane fell to the ground, pleading for her life. While she writhed in fear and agony, Reali shot her again then ran off. The following morning, Reali realized the full extent of what she had done and she went to police to confess to the crime. She was horrified with herself. Reali tried to explain her actions but couldn’t. She was still under Hood’s control. Later, relatives and police discovered her involvement with Hood and it made sense. Hood of course claimed innocence, stating it was Reali’s idea. During the trial, Reali’s former mother-in-law, Renata Reali scoffed at the idea that Reali was brainwashed into committing murder. Renata testified that her daughter-in-law was “domineering” and her friends called her “the General,” Renata also insisted Reali could “fake her way through anything.” Ben, always the loyal husband, testified Reali was prone to violence and threw a steak knife at him.

Incredibly, Dianne’s brother, David Moore, support Hood during the trial, stating “I don’t believe Brian is guilty. This woman took my sister from me. Now she’s trying to take Brian away from me. She’s ruined our family.” Has everyone somehow involved in this crime completely lost their mind? Despite Moore’s impassioned plea, Hood was found guilty of criminal solicitation and murder conspiracy. He received 37 years in prison. He would be eligible for release in 12 years. Today, he is still incarcerated after he tried to escape from prison in 1997. Let him rot there, I say. Reali was convicted of first degree murder and received life in prison. Later the sentence was commuted to 20 years. Her family never recovered from Reali’s actions. They never understood how this crime could have happened. Coercive persuasion is a tactic used by many salesmen. It appears that this technique also applied to this case.

Dianne Hood’s murder was dubbed The Fatal Attraction Murder. It appeared in People magazine and several newspapers around the country. Hood was denied parole in 1990. Reali was denied parole in 1990 and her next parole date is 2030.

 

 

 

 

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A Quick Comment

I’ve experienced many responses to the blogs I post.  Many have been intelligent, decent responses, and this includes those that disagree with my blog and my facts. I have no problem with readers disagreeing with me or directing me to another informational resource. The problem I have is with incredibly rude people who write obscenities to me degrading my character (which makes no sense at all as no one who reads this blog knows me). I will not print that garbage. There was a time I permitted it because I believe everyone has the right to an opinion. However that opinion should not be littered with obscenities and be presented to me in a hostile manner. If that’s going to be your approach I simply won’t post your comment, let alone waste my time responding to it. Read someone else’s blog.

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Closer My God to Thee

Women murderers fall into two groups: those who kill people who are close to them and those who don’t. Close might refer to an emotional bond with family, or an acquaintance with friends, or even a servant or employee. Their pathology is frightening and unpredictable. Mothers, wives, sisters, and friends are supposed to be people who would take a bullet for you, rather than put one into you. Pamela Gourlay was a prime example of someone you wouldn’t want to have close to you, physically or emotionally, for even a minute.

Melanie-SturtonIn the late 1980s, Aberdeenshire, (that must be Scotland), a little girl named Melanie Sturton was a child who suffered from physical defects, along with a tough childhood. At only 4 feet 10 inches tall, Sturton was born with facial paralysis and a “club foot”or congenital talipes equinovarus (CTEV).  The foot looked as though it had rotated internally at the ankle and Sturton seemed to walk on her ankle. Personally I find Sturton to be very pretty. Children bullied her but Sturton wasn’t one to give up without a fight. Resilient kid that she was, Sturton managed to make friends with the bullies. This didn’t mean the bullying stopped of course. Children are a mystery.

By the age of 22, Sturton decided to become a nurse so she could take care of others. She moved out of the house into her own home and began her studies. 19-year-old Pamela Gourlay lived in her building. Her upbringing had also been difficult. Gourlay had also been brought up in a tough neighbourhood and began smoking weed as a teenager. Gourlay however had a good job: she worked as a chef in a local restaurant. She seemed like a nice Susan-Patrickgirl to Sturton although the two women didn’t become close friends. They were pleasant acquaintances. Maybe it was Sturton’s instinct not to become too friendly with Gourlay, since there was more to Gourlay than met the eye. Gourlay had a serious drug habit. She fell in with a druggie crowd and she was heavily in debt. The landlord frequently pounded on the door looking for his rent. Gourlay didn’t have it. She’d spent it on prescription drugs, heroin and weed. Drugs were so necessary to Gourlay that , in spite of having a good job, she was always broke.

Sturton was the complete opposite. She did very well for herself and remained close to her family. One October 8, 1999, she went shopping with her mother, Susan Patrick and grandmother, then she insisted on walking home on her own. It was the last time Patrick and Patrick’s mother would see Sturton alive. Gourlay, high on cannabis and prescription drugs, was having a withdrawal as the drugs wore off. She needed cash in a hurry. On October 9, 1999, Gourlay dressed in a chic, black dress and hat, then ventured upstairs to Sturton’s apartment and banged on the door. Sturton let her in and Gourlay raised a large knife, stabbing the girl several times in her chest, face and head until Sturton lay dying on the floor. Sturton, the fighter that she was, was determined to live. She began crawling toward the door and Gourlay, enraged, slit her throat. Gourlay threw a blanket over melanie-sturton (1)Sturton’s body, covering her up so she didn’t have to look at the body. For her efforts, Gourlay stole a few pounds, jewellery, two bank cards, and a gift certificate. Sturton was murdered for a couple of bills.

Imagine that scene, if you will, and put yourself in Sturton’s place. A familiar neighbour knocks on the door and pleasantly identifies him/herself. When you open the door a knife flashes over and over painfully and rapidly into your body. By the time you collect yourself and try to fight back, it’s over. It’s not just the crime itself that is sinful. It’s the emotional and physical torture. Patrick had to fight with the police to be permitted to see her deceased daughter, whose head was swollen from being slammed against a wall. Add to that, in Sturton’s case, her brother was wrongly taken into custody for questioning and you have the full scenario.

Upstairs, Gourlay calmly hid her bloody clothing then, ironically, met her mother and grandmother to go shopping. Oh, happy day. She brought Granny a present with Sturton’s gift voucher. What a sweet granddaughter. She also spent Sturton’s money on melanie-sturton (2)miscellaneous items. Gourlay used Sturton’s bank cards for 10 days, attended a concert and “carried on as if nothing had happened.” There was nothing in her demeanor to suggest she’d just brutally attacked and killed a women. Her behaviour certainly presents like that of a psychopath, as to whether or not she has been assessed as such, I can’t say.

After two days, Patrick contacted police. Her daughter wasn’t answering the phone. This wasn’t like her. Police entered the apartment and discovered the nightmarish scene. The brutal killing made headlines. When police began their investigation, Gourlay cheerfully tried to “help” police. When Gourlay, along with several other tenants in the building offered a DNA sample, police made an immediate arrest. The silly idiot had left evidence everywhere in her search for money in the dead woman’s apartment. Patrick had never imagined it would have been a young woman who slaughtered her precious girl. For her part, Gourlay never apologized or explained herself in court. She simply didn’t care.

Oddly, Gourlay’s’ family background was a good one, or at least that was what investigators uncovered. There are people who argue that a drug addict always has a difficult childhood pamela-gourlay-image-2-899581179but choose to repress it. Who knows? In Gourlay’s case, it was possible that she did have decent parents. Mrs. Gourlay was horrified at her daughter’s crime and even gave evidence against her during the eventual trial. Gourlay began smoking cannabis as a teenager and somehow got hooked. During the trial Gourlay sat still and emotionless, her “white face and dark eyes” betraying nothing. She was found guilty of murder on March 9, 2000 and sentenced to life in prison, with a minimum of 14 years. Patrick wrote a heartfelt plea to the parole board, which clearly had little effect. Gourlay was permitted to participate in an early release program, and was permitted to freely leave prison and work in a charity shop . She applied for and was granted parole in 2013.

At 34, Gourlay left prison and walked into a full-time job, free to begin her life anew even though she’d recently been caught dealing heroin in prison and having a lesbian relationship copswith the notorious House of Blood murderer Edith McAlinden. McAldin, a serial killer, is a former prostitute who murdered 3 male clients with the help of her son and his friend. Insofar as the Sturton family fared, the Victim Notification Scheme also failed them. The Scheme didn’t inform the Sturtons that Gourlay was free until the day after she left the prison, even though the organization had signed a document agreeing to inform the family before Gourlay walked. It shouldn’t be any surprise however that Corton Vale permitted Gourlay to walk at all. Prisoners at Corton Vale are treated to a “pampering session”, where hairdos and manicures are given at the taxpayers’ expense. There are summer barbecues, held in a gorgeous garden designed by the BBC Beechgrove Garden team. The women even have family members join them at the barbecues.

A broken woman, Patrick stated “I feel awful. It’s like something inside twists and oh….it’s just awful. Indeed it is.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Harry Stanley’s Strange Death

Imagine beating a terminal illness, getting a new lease on life as they say, then getting shot in the middle of a road by police for no reason whatsoever? Well, that’s not entirely true. There’s always the other perspective and we don’t get it in the following film, or in the maelstrom of media that emerged afterward. Not that I’m suggesting the police in this case are innocent but we simply do not get the other perspective and it’s always fair to keep that in mind. This “real-life” account of Harry Stanley’s death is re-enacted in the embedded video. Watch it before you read any further.

I loved the narration – it was the most effective part of the film. I researched Harry Stanley’s horrible end and found out some interesting facts, aside from that which were presented so professionally in the film. Police had a reasonable concern when they approached Stanley in the street. The narrator claimed Stanley didn’t turn around to face police but the narrator didn’t mention that Stanley had a previous criminal record. He was a convicted armed robber and served 4 years in prison for “grievous bodily harm.” To be sure, this was unknown to officers who attended the scene where”an Irishman with a gun wrapped in a bag” was reported leaving a pub. Nonetheless officers didn’t know the identity of the man nor did they know about his previous convictions (obviously, since they didn’t know who he was in the first place).

The Facts
On 22 September 1999, Stanley left the Alexandra Pub in South Hackney carrying a table leg in a plastic bag that his brother had repaired for him earlier in the day. had been repaired by his brother earlier that day. For some reason , a patron at the bar believed the table leg was a gun and he contacted police. At Fremont Street and Victoria Park stanRoad Inspector Neil Sharman and PC Kevin Fagan, members of the Metropolitan Police Armed Response Vehicle shouted at Stanley from behind him. He was just turning to face the officers when they shot him dead at a distance of 15 feet.

Response
The first hearing resulted in an open verdict, meaning although the death happened under suspicious circumstances there wasn’t enough evidence to prosecute.  What a load of bull. Irene Stanley was successful in appealing the verdict. On 7 April 2003 Mr. Justice Sieber ordered a new inquest due to “insufficient inquiry” of the case. Well done, Irene. Dr. Andrew Reid received information that the officers fired the shots after being given wrong information from the anonymous caller. The new jury overturned the open verdict, returning a verdict of unlawful killing. But wait. Don’t get too excited yet. The result was a mere suspension of the officers involved and even more infuriating developments.

In May 2005 the High Court ruled that there was “insufficient evidence” for the verdict of unlawful killing and it reinstated the open verdict. Mr. Justice Leveson decided a third inquest was unnecessary.  The Stanley family discussed their “bitter disappointment”, stating the justice system had failed them.  His sister Janice stated:

“I’m shocked and stunned. You hear about people getting killed by the police, but when they are killed over a table leg—it is unbelievable. The police have been unable to justify their actions. They say they were following up a report that a man had been seen with a gun. No gun was found. He was carrying a Queen Ann table leg, which looks nothing like gun. They shot him from 15 feet. He was a heavily built chap. They say that there is no shoot-to-kill policy in this country, but they didn’t shoot him in his body—they hit him in the head. A shot to the head is a shoot-to-kill policy….They left Harry lying in the street, uncovered, for hours. His wife and daughter went past, but didn’t know it was him. A lady asked them to cover the body up, but they would not do it because they said they were waiting for the forensic experts to arrive. That did not stop them interfering with the bag with the table leg in it, though. They shot him in cold blood and left him there for all to see. They gave him no dignity.”

The Birmingham Six
There was widespread anger in the community but it would appear that the matter is closed and will stay that way. The Stanley family  are involved in a campaign to uncover the truth behind Stanley’s murder. They hope the campaign will “build up” and they are spreading the word about Stanley’s death.

Hugh Callaghan of the Birmingham Six, a group of young men who were falsely convicted of the bombing of a Birmingham pub by the IRA, attended a campaign meeting to offer support to the family. Hugh Callaghan, Patrick Joseph Hill, Gerard Hunter, Richard McIlkenny, William Power and John Walker were travelling to birm6_b4the funeral of a friend who was a member of the IRA, and had accidentally killed himself while planting a bomb in Coventry. Callaghan and his friends were in the area at the time and were wrongly accused of the bombing. They spent 17 years in prison before a court of appeal overturned the guilty verdict on the basis that the verdict was “unsafe and unsatisfactory.”  The West Midlands Police deprived the men of food and sleep, interrogated them for up to 12 hours and made death threats against them. The men were beaten, suffered punches, terrified by snarling police dogs approaching within a foot and they experienced a mock execution. A bit over the top, you might say. Eventually the men were beaten down by the torture and they made a false confession. During court proceedings however a prisoner in the same jail told of the beatings the police had done to the six men. No action was taken against police.

Police fabrication and suppression of evidence the attacks against the men caused the Crown to accept the men’s 1991 appeal leading to the release and exoneration of the Birmingham six. What happened to the police involved in the matter? As usual, nothing. The movie In the Name of the Father starring Daniel Day-Lewis depicted the case of the Birmingham Six although with several fictitious developments, including a female character, Caroline, who was part of the Six in the film but not in “real life”. The film also depicted Callaghan’s father as a member of the Six and the inspiration behind the title, which he was not. The film took the idea from the injustice brought against the Guildford Four, where four men, including a wrongly convicted man and his father, were falsely imprisoned for bombing the Guildford Pub on October 5, 1974. Although the Birmingham Six were finally released and given financial compensation by the government, no criminal or investigative action was taken against the DA or the police in the original trial.

Sometimes there is no justice in this world, not even in the movies.

 

 

 

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