The author’s mother was a key witness in serial killer John Wayne Gacy’s trail, and Gacy’s presence in her childhood has haunted her into adulthood. To honor his 33 victims and exorcise herself, she spoke with her mom about Gacy.
Everyone in Canadian high society knew the Shermans, who owned a lucrative generic drug company and were some of the country’s most active philanthropists. But Barry Sherman also sued a lot of people, battled his cousins, made questionable business relationships, didn’t use a bodyguard, and kept their one home security camera off.
Tori Telfer | Longreads | June 2018 | 14 minutes (3,622 words)
Issac Bailey was nine when he watched his hero get taken away in handcuffs. It felt like a bad dream: the police were closing those handcuffs around the wrists of his older brother Moochie, the charming, athletic, charismatic father-figure who’d protected their mother from their dad’s beatings, whose checks from a stint in the army kept their large family afloat, and who was “like a god” to his little brothers. All that changed in the blink of an eye when he murdered a white man and was fed into the maw of the criminal justice system.
Moochie was a murderer. But he was also a person, a big brother, a black man who’d absorbed a thousand and one shocks for his little siblings, a kid born into the sort of soul-crushing racial environment that made it a sin to wear dark skin, as Bailey notes below. Had his worst act put him beyond the possibility of redemption? This is the question Bailey sets out to ask in his latest book, My Brother Moochie: Regaining Dignity in the Face of Crime, Poverty, and Racism in the American South (Other Press, May 2018).
Through a childhood and young adulthood spent with his beloved older brother behind bars, Bailey experienced firsthand how callously the families of perpetrators are ignored by the criminal justice system, and how little nuance is afforded both black men who’ve offended and the families who love them. “The more hideous, the more one-dimensional black men who kill…are portrayed, the better,” he writes. “It’s easier to hate them that way…and if they are monsters, they likely come from monstrous stock, meaning the broken families from which they hail aren’t worthy of the resources needed to repair them.” After thirty-two years behind bars, Moochie was unexpectedly released. By then, Issac had grown into a successful journalist who’d grappled with his brother’s crime for his entire adult life—a crime that had left Bailey himself with a stutter, and a bad case of PTSD, both remnants of the trauma that had radiated throughout his family for decades. Read more…
Federal Prison in Florence, Colorado. (AP Photo/Pueblo Chieftain, Chris McLean)
A rookie FBI agent spent a decade investigating the conspiracy around the murder of Manuel “Tati” Torrez, a high-ranking member of the notorious Mexican Mafia gang, la Eme. At The Atavist, Chris Outcalt reports on Torrez as “one of the graying old guard” of the gang at ADX Florence. Despite the fact that the federal maximum security prison was specially designed to keep its population of extremely violent inmates in “near total isolation,” Torrez was brutally murdered in the prison yard while the cameras were rolling. But who did it and why?
What came next was uncharted territory: an investigation of the first homicide in a place specifically designed to prevent violence of any kind. Instead of a shank or some other crude weapon, the killer had used fists and feet to pummel a fellow prisoner to a pulp. He’d committed murder in broad daylight, with cameras everywhere, yet avoided being caught in the act. Who had done it? And, more importantly, why?
Not yet 48 hours into his inaugural FBI assignment, Jon learned that he’d be investigating the first murder at the ADX, which had badly shaken the facility’s staff. A colleague explained that, as far as he could tell, the killing had everything to do with the Mexican Mafia.
“What’s that?” Jon asked. “Like a street gang?”
“No, it’s not a street gang,” his colleague replied. “It’s the mother of all street gangs. It’s like the Navy SEALs.”
Toronto, ON - JANUARY 31, 2014. Murder suspect Christopher Fattore is being escorted by Peel Regional Police to Peel Police airport division after his flight from Halifax arrived at Pearson shortly after 5 p.m. The flight was about an hour later than co-accused Melissa Merritt. (Chris So/Toronto Star via Getty Images)
CALEB HARRISON was not the first person in his family to die at 3635 Pitch Pine Cres. He was not even the second. In April 2010, his 63-year-old mother, Bridget Harrison, was found dead at the bottom of the stairs leading to the second floor. Her body lay steps away from the powder room where one year earlier she had discovered her husband, Bill Harrison, cold and lifeless. His death at 64 was classified as natural until Bridget died under suspicious circumstances and a coroner updated his file, placing the deaths of husband and wife in the same category. “Undetermined.”
And now a third mysterious death. An entire family wiped out. How could this happen?
Peel Regional Police would come to believe that the same perpetrators were responsible for all three deaths — a theory that, if proven, meant that someone had gotten away with murder twice before, and that authorities had missed two homicides.
A criminal trial led to murder convictions in two of the three deaths, but it did not expose the series of missteps that led to this extraordinary investigative failure. Pieced together, records disclosed over four years of criminal proceedings tell a story of mistakes made at every juncture — by police, coroners and pathologists.
By protecting a third of its landbase, Costa Rica built itself into a leader in ecotourism and resource conservation. Offshore, the government gave too much of the country’s fisheries away to foreign fleets, and things have gone haywire.
To find belonging, teen girls sometimes form obsessive friendships to fend off the isolation that puberty brings at the twilight of their childhood. In this exceptionally well-researched piece at VQR, Alex Mar recalls two real-life events in which teen-girl duos became murderous and why these obsessive friendships devolved into a pact to do evil.
What is occult is synonymous with what is hidden, orphic, veiled—but girls are familiar with that realm. We have the instinct. Girls create their own occult language; it may be one of the first signs of adolescence. This is a language of fantasy, of the desire for things we can’t yet have (we’re too young), of forces we can’t control (loneliness, an unrequited crush, the actions of our family). This invention of a private language, both visual and verbal, shared with only a chosen few, gives shape to our first allegiances; it grants entry into a universe with its own rationale—the warped rationale of fairy tales. Its rules do not bleed over into the realm of the mundane, of parents and teachers and adult consequences.
But in May 2014, the occult universe of two young girls did spill over into the real. And within days of her twelfth birthday, all of Morgan Geyser’s drawings and scribblings—evidence of the world she had built with her new best friend—were confiscated. More than three years later, they are counted among the state’s exhibits in a case of first-degree intentional homicide.
After some time on the swings, Anissa suggests they play hide-and-seek in the suburban woods at the park’s edge. There, just a few feet beyond the tree line, Morgan, on Anissa’s cue, stabs Bella in the chest.
Then she stabs her again, and again, and again—in her arms, in her leg, near her heart. By the time Morgan stops, she has stabbed her nineteen times.
Though they were both a very young, Midwestern twelve, they had been chosen for a dark and unique destiny which none of their junior-high classmates could possibly understand, drawn into the forest in the service of a force much greater and more mysterious than anything in their suburban-American lives. What drew them out there has a name: Slender Man, faceless and pale and impossibly tall. His symbol is the letter X.
From the evening of October 9, 2014 to the early morning of October 10, 35-year-old Cecilia Lam called the police eight times to report that an ex-boyfriend named Cedric Young, Jr. was harassing her. Officers showed up at Lam’s apartment multiple times but ultimately were unable to stop Young from killing Lam and turning the gun on himself. Why? In the San Francisco Chronicle, Vivian Ho investigates what happened during the nine hours that led to Lam’s senseless death:
At 8:37 p.m., Cecilia made her first call to 911.
“My boyfriend and I, we’re pretty much fighting right now and I’m asking him to leave my home,” she told the dispatcher. “And he will not leave. … It’s starting to escalate.”
Young had been drinking all day, she said, then quickly added, “He’s actually leaving now.”
“Do you want me to send the police?” the dispatcher asked.
“No,” Cecilia responded. “I think we’re OK.”
But by 9:14, she was on the phone to 911 again, and then again at 9:33 p.m., describing an “escalating domestic violence issue.” Young was back and ringing the doorbell, over and over again.
“I’m getting more scared,” Cecilia said in the third call. “I don’t know if he’s going to break in.”
Ramirez dialed 911 around the same time. “I’m calling to straight up say this guy is insane and he’s trying to get inside,” he reported.
Dispatchers flagged the incident as a “418 DV,” a domestic violence dispute. As Lam made her third call to 911, Officers Adam Lobsinger and Chhungmeng Tov from Southern Station pulled up to the building. They began talking with Young, who had halted his frenzied attempts to get into the apartment.
Lobsinger would write in his report that Young seemed calm and “in good spirits.” Young told him “it was nothing more than couples arguing.”