Man charged in long-running Hollywood murder mystery

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Grieving Dad’s Words of Love After Son Was ‘Lured’ Into Woods in Rape and Murder: ‘I Will Always Honor Him’

In the wake of what authorities described as his 16-year-old son’s brutal rape and murder at the hands of a longtime friend, Washington dad Benjamin Eastman Jr.’s repeated message has been one of “love and togetherness.”

“I want thank the community and friends for all they have done for my family,” Eastman, who goes by “B.J.,” posted Thursday on Facebook, adding that words could not “explain the love feel right now.”

“There’s no way could ever get through this without it,” he wrote. “I would like everyone to remember my son how they want to but most of all how he has made our community and other communities far and wide stop and forget about judgment and hate.”

“Our community is full of love and togetherness right now,” he concluded his post. “My son made the world a better place. He continues to do so and I will always honor him for that. I ask that we all focus on that.”

Prosecutors say it’s too early in the case to discuss a possible motive in the beating death of Benjamin “Ben” Eastman III a week after his birthday — but the details released so far have attracted international attention.

Meanwhile, his community in southwestern Washington has drawn closer together in the shadow of such a vicious crime.

“When you have a county as close-knit and tight as Lewis and a town like Randle, which is even smaller, a tragic incident like this is going to impact everybody,” Lewis County Prosecuting Attorney Jonathan Meyer tells PEOPLE.

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Charging documents previously obtained by PEOPLE show how, according to investigators, Ben was tricked into going in the woods sometime after texting early on June 24 with another 16-year-old boy, Benito Marquez, a friend and classmate who had known Ben for years.

Marquez and his older brother, 21-year-old Jonathon Adamson, “lured” Ben “under the guise of a camping trip,” prosecutors said in a probable cause affidavit.

There the pair allegedly carried out an assault they had planned together: striking Ben for some “20 to 45 minutes” and kicking him more than 100 times. During the attack, Ben was sexually assaulted with a stick, according to the affidavit.

Adamson and Marquez beat him in the head with a large rock, just to make sure he was dead, authorities believe.

Finally, they allegedly buried his body on the property of a relative where it was discovered three days later, after Ben was reported missing by his father. His shallow grave was marked with a homemade cross of sticks.

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Marquez, who had seemingly posted on Facebook asking for help finding Ben before his body was discovered, was an early subject of the investigation, according to authorities. But he and Adamson then allegedly fled the county, traveling some 200 miles east, before being found by the state patrol on June 29, the probable cause affidavit states.

They were each interviewed by police and subsequently charged with first-degree rape and murder as well as tampering with physical evidence and unlawful disposal of remains, the affidavit states.

Detention records confirm they remain in custody in Lewis County in lieu of $ 10 million bond.

They have not entered pleas and an attorney representing them declined to comment to PEOPLE. They are scheduled to return to court on Thursday.

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While B.J., Ben’s dad, has spoken out about the suspects and sat front row in court at their first hearing, on Monday, he has largely kept the focus on his boy.

“I want everyone to remember the love we feel for each other,” he posted on Facebook Friday, following a vigil for Ben. “My son will live in our hearts.”

He also offered this: “Remember to smile or say hi to a stranger.”

Speaking to local TV station KOMO earlier this week, B.J. said, “It’s easy to get caught up in the negative aspect of this, but I remember my son and his smile.”

“There is evil people out there,” B.J. said then. “I don’t know what makes them tick. I don’t want to know. I’m loved and my son was loved and that’s all I’m about.”

Prosecutor Meyer tells PEOPLE Ben’s death — the violence and intimacy of it — is “hard to put into words.”

“Ben was a nice kid from a good family,” he says.

Others who knew the teen have also paid tribute to his love of the outdoors and sports, especially the Miami Dolphins, and his loyalty and light spirt.

“You’d be in a bad mood and he’d just walk in — you’d just be mad as mad as you could be and he’d just crack a smile and make you giggle just over anything, always,” Ben’s brother Derek Dunaway told KOMO.

“He really liked to stand up for his friends,” Principal Chris Schumaker told the Daily Chronicle after a vigil Tuesday night at Ben’s school, where he was a rising junior.

“A lot of the time, his friends would get in trouble because of his shenanigans and somehow he was able to kind of sidestep getting caught. So then towards the end he would kind of say, ‘Mr. Schumaker, it was kind of me, I deserve the detention,’ ” the principal recalled. “And I would say, ‘No, you know they did the crime, they get the time.’ He tried really hard to plea-deal consequences his friends earned. But in the end, I would just say ‘Ben, go back to class it’s okay. They’ll get through it, you’ll get through it. There’s always tomorrow.’ ”


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Man arrested over rapper XXXTentacion murder

A man has been charged with the murder of rapper XXXTentacion.
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Jerry Springer producer held over sister murder

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Minn. Officer Who Fatally Shot Bride-to-Be Who Called 911 to Report Possible Assault Charged With Murder

The Minneapolis police officer who fatally shot an Australian bride-to-be in 2017 after she called 911 to report a possible assault has turned himself over to authorities after learning a warrant had been issued for his arrest.

Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman detailed the third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter charges against Officer Mohamed Noor, a member of the Minneapolis police force for 29 months, in the death of Justine Damond, who was just weeks away from her wedding date.

Damond, a 40-year-old meditation teacher and personal health and life coach, was fatally shot on July 15, 2017, when Officers Matthew Harrity and Noor responded to a 911 call she’d made.

An investigation revealed Damond (who was reportedly wearing her pajamas) approached the driver’s side window of the responding patrol car moments after a loud noise startled Harrity.

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Noor, who was sitting in the passenger seat, shot Damond through the open driver’s side window, Freeman said, and told investigators he felt his life was in danger at the time of the shooting.

Freeman said the two officers turned their body cameras on after exiting the vehicle after the shooting. They did not start trying to resuscitate her until “one minute and 10 seconds after” exiting the vehicle, he said.

Freeman said that the first conversations captured on the body cams suggest both officers were apparently “spooked” by something.

But Freeman said that “Justine was approaching the car unarmed” and that both officers “couldn’t tell if she was a male or female, an adult or a child.” Therefore Freeman said “Officer Noor did not act reasonably and abused his authority to use deadly force.”

According to Freeman, Damond told the officers “‘I’m dying’ or ‘I’m dead’” as they approached her.

“In the short time between when Ms. Damond … approached the squad car and the time that he fired the fatal shot, there is no evidence that Officer Noor encountered a threat, appreciated a threat, investigated a threat, or confirmed a threat that justified the decision to use deadly force,” Freeman told reporters, noting Noor “recklessly and intentionally fired his gun.”

She was set to marry her fiancé, Don Damond, in Hawaii in early August; she had already publicly taken his last name.

The medical examiner concluded Damond died from a gunshot wound to the abdomen.

Noor’s lawyer, Thomas Plunkett, could not be reached for comment Tuesday but previously told PEOPLE in a statement that the officer “extends his condolences to and anyone else who has been touched by this event.”

“He takes these events very seriously because, for him, being a police officer is a calling,” Plunkett said.

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Both Harrity, who joined the force in 2016, and Noor, were placed on paid leave immediately after the shooting. Their employment status was unclear Tuesday.

PEOPLE was unable to determine if Noor had entered a plea.

He is being held on $ 500,000 bail.


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Second Man Will Face Prison in 2011 Murder of Tennessee Nursing Student Holly Bobo

A second man will face prison time in the 2011 abduction and murder of Tennessee nursing student Holly Bobo.

John Dylan Adams was one of three men charged in the death of Bobo, 20, whose remains were found in the woods in 2014 not far from her family’s semi-rural Decatur County home, from which she had been taken more than three years earlier as she stepped outside to leave for school on the morning of April 13, 2011.

On Monday, Adams accepted a plea agreement charging him with facilitating Bobo’s murder, a charge that will place him behind bars for 35 years when sentenced, TV station WKRN reports.

The so-called Alford plea arranged by his defense attorneys and prosecutors — which does not admit guilt but carries the same weight, and cannot be appealed — would assess 15 years for facilitation of first-degree murder, and 35 years for aggravated kidnapping, to be served concurrently, The Jackson Sun reports.

Adams’ brother, Zach Adams, 33, was found guilty in September 2017 of eight charges related to the crime. Zach Adams accepted a plea deal arranged by his defense and state prosecutors that allowed him to avoid the death penalty — an outcome that was supported by Bobo’s parents — and was sentenced to life in prison without parole.

• Want to keep up with the latest crime coverage? Click here to get breaking crime news, ongoing trial coverage and details of intriguing unsolved cases in the True Crime Newsletter.

The third man facing charges in the case, Jason Autry, has pleaded not guilty, and prosecutors have said they wanted to delay resolution of his case while they dealt with John Dylan Adams, according to TV station WBBJ. Autry was a key witness at the trial of Zach Adams.

John Dylan Adams was scheduled to go to trial in May, and had faced a sentence of up to 51 years in prison if convicted at trial.

Bobo Was Raped and Drugged, Third Suspect Testified

During Zach Adams’ September trial, Autry — who has been offered the possibility of reduced charges and federal immunity in exchange for his testimony, according to the Sun — described in detail the alleged events leading to the murder and its aftermath.

Bobo’s brother, Clint, had testified that he heard voices outside of the family’s house on the morning his sister went missing, and then glimpsed a man dressed in camouflage walking Holly to the edge of the woods.

Autry, who acknowledged his addiction to methamphetamine and morphine, testified that on the day Bobo disappeared, he’d called his friend Zach Adams to buy a morphine pill. Autry, who went by the nickname “Train,” later met up with Adams.

“He said, ‘I need you to help me bury this body,’” Autry said.

• For more compelling true crime coverage, follow our Crime magazine on Flipboard.

Autry first thought the body might be that of someone who owed money to Adams and another man from a drug deal. “He said, ‘Train, that’s Holly Bobo,’” Autry testified.

Autry alleged that Adams eventually told him that he, John Dylan Adams, and a third man all had raped Bobo, who allegedly had been drugged.

A pathologist testified at Zach Adams’ trial that Bobo had been shot in the head, which Autry said occurred during an aborted attempt to throw her listless body into a river after Bobo appeared to stir.

Autry testified that two days after that incident, he asked Zach Adams what he’d done with “the ol’ girl.”

“We threw her out,” Zach Adams allegedly replied, according to Autry.


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Scandal & How to Get Away With Murder Crossover Confirmed: Olivia Pope Will Meet Annalise Keating

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Bibhu Mohapatra Teams Up With HSN for ‘Murder on the Orient Express’

HSN and 20th Century Fox tapped designer Bibhu Mohapatra to create a capsule collection tied to the release of “Murder on the Orient Express,” the remake of the classic Agatha Christie novel premiering this week with a star-studded cast, including the film’s director Kenneth Branagh, Penélope Cruz, Johnny Depp, Michelle Pfeiffer and Daisy Ridley. Mohapatra will make his debut on a smaller screen tonight, to sell the capsule called Celeste by Bibhu he designed for the film tie-up at 9 p.m. on HSN.
Mohapatra was contacted several months ago about the project. “They came with a whole research package and said, ‘This is your project, and we want you to do it,’ because they followed my work,” said Mohapatra, who is based in New York but was born in India, and launched his eveningwear-based collection in 2009. “They thought that, given the story and the time it’s set in, I would be a good person to come up with the capsule collection inspired by the movie and its characters. It’s beautifully cast and beautifully done. And the best part is they shared their entire research for the film and costume and art direction.”
The limited-edition collection includes a faux-fur cape and stoles,

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Books of The Times: In ‘Righteous,’ a Stand-Up Sleuth Investigates His Brother’s Murder

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Murder on the Orient Express (2017)

Murder on the Orient Express (2017) Opens Friday, Nov 10, 2017

A lavish train ride unfolds into a stylish & suspenseful mystery. From the novel by Agatha Christie, Murder on the Orient Express tells of thirteen stranded strangers & one man’s race to solve the puzzle before the murderer strikes again.

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Agatha Christie’s Murder Mysteries Are Coming To Amazon As TV Shows

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Twin Peaks actor arrested for attempted murder

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Arrested Development Season 5 to Have Murder Mystery

The fifth season of Arrested Development will involve a murder mystery, according to series star Jason Bateman.

Warning: Arrested Development Season 4 spoilers below.

Speaking to EW Radio, Bateman said the mystery behind the death of Lucille Austero (Liza Minnelli) in Season 4 will serve as “sort of a central thread” in the show’s next season. “The central spine of that story of is the death of Liza Minnelli’s character, and a bit of whodunit, who may have done it, who had something to do with it,” he explained.

The actor also discussed the show’s overall structure, revealing that series’ creator Mitchell Hurwitz has a “three-act story” planned for Arrested Development after it’s first three seasons. “The first act was done on the first batch of Netflix episodes, and we’re about to do now the second act of that story, and then the act third act presumably will be done if we can all get it together at a later date, maybe in another few years,” Bateman said.

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Agatha Christie’s Murder Mysteries Are Coming To Amazon As TV Shows

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How to Get Away With Murder Co-Stars Charlie Weber and Liza Weil Are Dating

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Casting JonBenét Doesn’t Solve the Murder of JonBenét Ramsey, But It May Tell You Something About Yourself

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Father Stunned by Son’s Arrest in Murder of Queens Jogger: ‘He’s Never Had a Fight in His 20 years’

The father of Chanel Lewis, the 20-year-old man who was arrested this weekend for the August 2016 murder of Queens, New York, jogger Karina Vetrano, told reporters that he was “extremely surprised” by the charges.

According to the New York Post, Richard Lewis, a 70-year-old former school principal, called his son a good student and “a very humble kid” when he met with reporters on Sunday.

“Chanel would never have gone to do what they say he has done,” the father said. “He’s never had a fight in his 20 years.”

In fact, Richard said his son, who lived with his mother and siblings in East New York, was previously the victim of crimes. He said Chanel was hospitalized last year after being mugged and hit in the head with a piece of wood by three people. Chanel was later mugged again by the assailants.

The dad said he would tell Vetrano’s family, “I’m sorry to hear about , but I’m sure that would not be a part of that.”

Vetrano’s parents, Phil and Cathy Vetrano, expressed mixed feelings to reporters outside their home.

“I’m not going to say it is a good day but we can move forward now,” Phil said after praising police for their investigative work, according to the New York Daily News. “We know who did this.”

“The demon must get his justice,” Cathy said. “We will see to it.”

 

At an NYPD press conference on Sunday, police said that they do not believe that Lewis knew Vetrano prior to her disappearance. They said he had no prior criminal history aside from some summonses. According to police, Lewis gave a DNA swab to authorities after an interview on Feb. 2. His DNA allegedly matched with DNA found on Vetrano. He has been booked on murder and sexual assault charges, according to police. It is not known how he pleads against the charges or if he has retained an attorney.

On Sunday he was seen leaving a police station in handcuffs while reporters and bystanders shouted at him. In a video from AM New York, Lewis looked around while he was led to a cop car, appearing stunned and confused, as people could be heard yelling “why’d you kill her?”

After six-month long search, the arrest took place Saturday afternoon in Brooklyn, New York, according to the New York Daily News.

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Vetrano’s body was found in Spring Creek Park around 11 p.m. on Aug. 2, about a dozen feet from a jogging trail she used daily, according to police.

The 30-year-old was sexually assaulted and strangled after putting up a “ferocious fight,” investigators previously revealed. They further believe Vetrano bit her attacker, because her teeth showed signs of cracking and found DNA under her fingernails.


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How to Get Away With Murder Boss Previews Annalise Keating Behind Bars & Like You’ve Never Seen Her Before

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Murder Conviction Reinstated for Kennedy Cousin Michael Skakel in Slaying of 15-Year-Old Girl

Connecticut’s Supreme Court has reinstated Kennedy cousin Michael Skakel’s conviction for the 1975 murder of 15-year-old Martha Moxley, according to the Associated Press.

The ruling, announced in a decision released Friday afternoon, sets the stage for Skakel to return to prison after three years of freedom, the Hartford Courant reports.

Skakel is the nephew of Robert F. Kennedy’s widow, Ethel, and was Moxley’s neighbor in Greenwich, Connecticut, when the 15-year-old girl was bludgeoned to death with the shaft of a broken golf club.

The 55-year-old was convicted of the murder during a 2002 trial. He was sentenced to 20 years to life in prison.

Want to keep up with the latest crime coverage? Click here to get breaking crime news, ongoing trial coverage and details of intriguing unsolved cases in the True Crime Newsletter.

This conviction was overturned in 2013 when a Superior Court judge declared that Skakel’s trial lawyer failed to adequately represent him during the 2002. One month later, Skakel was freed after posting a $ 1.2 million bond.

Prosecutors appealed the decision and on Friday, the Connecticut Supreme Court rejected the 2013 decision that Skakel’s trial was tainted by inadequate representation, according to CBS News.

Skakel’s lawyer did not immediately return request for comment.

 


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Discussing Anime Murder Mysteries and 2D vs 3D Anime

Miranda, Kallie, Mike, and Meghan reunite to give Kallie a fun send-off in her final episode as a host of IGN Anime Club. They discuss a few of Kallie’s chosen topics, including anime murder mysteries, 2D versus 3D animation, and Pokemon.

In this week’s Watch Party, the club discusses Kids on the Slope episodes 3 and 42 (available on Blu-ray, Crunchyroll, The Anime Network and Hulu). We’ll be back in the first week of January to discuss episodes 5 and 8. To join in the discussion, tweet or post a message on Facebook with your thoughts on the episodes and use the hashtag #IGNime or email IGN Anime Club at ign_animeclub@ign.com.

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15-Year-Old Allegedly Decapitated Missing Classmate in ‘Horrific, Horrific Murder’

Lee Manuel Viloria-Paulino walked out the door of his house on the night of Nov. 18 – and was never seen alive again.

On Saturday, weeks after his disappearance, one of Lee’s classmates at Lawrence High School in Lawrence, Massachusetts, was arrested and charged with allegedly murdering and decapitating the 16-year-old, PEOPLE confirms.

But a motive in the brutal slaying and the exact nature of the relationship between Lee and the 15-year-old suspect, Mathew Borges, remain unclear.

“This was a horrific, horrific murder,” Essex District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett said at a news conference on Saturday. “While it shook the community, we were completely and totally resolved to bring this matter to justice.”

Mathew allegedly stabbed and mutilated Lee’s body so severely that his autopsy took 11 hours, Blodgett told reporters.

Authorities have not said why Mathew allegedly killed and then decapitated the teen, though police claim Mathew confessed afterward. “A witness told investigators that Mathew told them he did something bad,’’ according to a police report obtained by the Boston Globe. “Mathew then told him that he stabbed a kid and cut his head off.’’

A woman walking her dog on Thursday discovered Lee’s body on a street near the Merrimack River, according to authorities. His head was found about 50 feet from his body, The Eagle Tribune reports.

On Monday, Mathew pleaded not guilty at his arraignment in Lawrence District Court, Carrie Kimball Monahan, a spokeswoman for the district attorney, tells PEOPLE. His attorney could not immediately be reached for comment.

“ was ordered held without bail,” Monahan says. He is scheduled to appear in court on Jan. 10 for a probable cause hearing.

• Want to keep up with the latest crime coverage? Click here to get breaking crime news, ongoing trial coverage and details of intriguing unsolved cases in the True Crime Newsletter.

Mathew’s age and murder charge “automatically” mean he will be tried as an adult, Monahan says.

Authorities are unclear about how the two teens knew each other, she says. “We don’t know what type of relationship they had,” she says. “We don’t know if they were friends. We just know that they went to the same school.”

Lee’s family, whom PEOPLE could not immediately reach, reportedly said Mathew had only come to their house once.

On Nov. 18 — the day of Lee’s disappearance — the two teens left Lee’s home at about 5:40 p.m. and headed to the nearby Merrimack River, according to authorities.

• Pick up PEOPLE’s special edition True Crime Stories: Cases That Shocked America,on sale now, for the latest on Casey Anthony, JonBenét Ramsey and more.

Lee’s family later reported him missing when he failed to return home. They told reporters they’re upset because they feel police considered this a runaway case and failed to do everything they could to find him, The Boston Herald reports.

“I do want to ask a question, with all due respect, to the mayor, to the chief of police, to every police officer, detective, in our police department,’’ one relative told reporters, according to the Globe. “If it was their kid, would they have … waited two weeks to look for him?”

The family’s criticism was echoed by similar statements made recently by a Lawrence police officer to the Globe.

The Lawrence Police Department has not responded to these complaints, and it could not immediately be reached for comment.


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Savage #1: Murder in Macao

Savage #1: Murder in Macao


A NEW AMERICAN HERO IS BORN! The time is September 1935. The place is Macao (a Portuguese possession) near Hong Kong on the South China Sea. When adventurer Edgar Savage’s ship The Black Poppy is attacked by pirates, his quick thinking saves his boat and crew when he tosses a gasoline barrel overboard and explodes it with a bullet from a high- powered rifle. Later he examines a shipment he is carrying for a Dutch cannery owner named Kappie, and discovers false bottoms containing heroin. Determined to smoke the drug-runner out, Savage sets fire to the warehouse where the heroin is stored. Almost immediately, Kappie pressures Savage to pick up another shipment for him. When Savage refuses, he is shot twice by an unknown assassin. Soon Savage and his girlfriend, Amelia De Gama, have devised a plan to take Kappie down – then Amelia is kidnapped. The drug-runner doesn’t realize it – but he is about to discover that Savage isn’t just a name! The first of a thrilling new series in the blazing tradition of the pulp adventure magazines! ABOUT THE AUTHOR Peter Ruber has written and edited 30 published books. The most recent is “King of the Pulps,” a bio-bibliography of H. Bedford-Jones (1887-1949), quite possibly the most prolific writer of his era. He has been a freelance technology journalist since 1980. He is a leading authority on the adventure fiction of the pulp magazine era.

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The Murder Creek Chronicles

The Murder Creek Chronicles


The Murder Creek Chronicles gives an entertaining account of how the author dealt with and endured a difficult divorce while struggling to make a 25-year old travel trailer, in the middle of the wilderness, marginally habitable. The author’s tenacity and determination finally conquer leaky roofs, lack of heat, no water or sanitary facilities, no working kitchen, no suitable sleeping arrangements, problem bugs, and nuisance outdoor critters. After two years of hand-to-mouth finances, near starvation conditions, and numerous road blocks and dead-ends on every major repair project to improve his “home,” the author finds that focusing so hard on survival has helped him deal with the day-to-day disappointments of a deteriorating relationship. Share the trials and triumphs of the author as he slowly overcomes numerous hardships and transitions to a new perspective on what’s important in life.

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The Islamic State’s Murder of a Modern Day Monuments Man

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Photo Credit: Anna Bottinelli Edsel

Khaled al-Asaad, 83-year-old retired Syrian archaeologist known admiringly as “Mr. Palmyra” for his extraordinary knowledge of that revered 2,000 year-old Roman era city, has been killed.

Jihadists of the Islamic State publicly beheaded al-Asaad, and then hung his body by his wrists from a traffic light positioning his head on the ground below. Attached to his waist was a sign listing his alleged crimes: attending “infidel conferences,” and acting as “the director of idolatry” for his lifelong passion in documenting and sharing with the public the artistic and cultural history of Palmyra, his birthplace. Syria’s Director of Antiquities provided a more rational explanation: despite repeated questioning, al-Asaad refused to divulge the location of statues and other works of art that had been removed from the city for safekeeping prior to the arrival of Islamic State militants.

The death of Khaled al-Asaad is not the first in the service to the arts during times of war. In March 1945, British Monuments Man Major Ronald Balfour, was killed by shrapnel relocating treasures from Christ the King Church in Cleve, Germany. The following month, machine-gun fire claimed the life of American Monuments Man Captain Walter Huchthausen while checking on a report of stolen art. Although scholar-soldiers, Balfour and Huchthausen wore military uniforms; al-Asaad was a civilian more than twice their age, armed with little more than his extensive knowledge of Palmyra’s once great civilization.

Khaled al-Asaad’s determination to protect Palmyra and its treasures parallels the service of the great French heroine, Rose Valland. From 1940-1944, this unassuming woman worked as a custodian of small Paris museum that the Nazis had commandeered for their looting operation, all the while spying on their activities. Twice accused and threatened with summary execution, Valland persisted, and fortuitously so. Her secret notes recording the arrival of stolen art and its subsequent shipment to Germany proved instrumental to the Monuments Men’s discovery of more than twenty thousand works of art. Valland would later join the Monuments Men and continue the search for missing works of art until her death in 1980.

The horrific death of Khaled al-Asaad, like those of Balfour and Huchthausen, underscores the high cost of protecting works of art and other cultural treasures during war. Balfour and Huchthausen knew this before volunteering; still, they wanted to serve. According to his son, Walid al-Asaad, al-Asaad knew it too, choosing to remain in his hometown despite ample opportunity to flee prior to ISIL’s encirclement of Palmyra.

Is art worth a life? It is a question that goes to the very soul of the work of the Monuments Men during World War II, and that of hundreds of volunteers, then and now, who have risked their lives to save our shared cultural heritage. Supreme Allied Commander General Dwight D. Eisenhower believed that the answer must be “no,” stating clearly that a human life counts “infinitely” more. Monuments Man Captain Deane Keller, a 42 year-old professor of art at Yale University and an artist himself, agreed. Keller, whose three-year long military service in Italy included a year and a half in or near combat, once wrote, “no work of art is worth the life of a single American boy.”

But Keller made a critical distinction between risking one’s life to save a work of art versus risking one’s life fighting for a cause. Like his fellow Monuments Men, Keller considered it a privilege to represent his country to preserve the freedom of creative expression by artists just as he did preserving the greatest examples of what artists before him had created. General Eisenhower spoke of this during a 1946 speech stating, “That, for democracy at least, there always stands beyond the materialism and destructiveness of war the ideals for which it is fought.”

In making his case for cultural preservation to President Roosevelt in 1943, Monuments Man Lt. Commander George Stout said it clearly and dispassionately:

To safeguard these things will show respect for the beliefs and customs of all men and will bear witness that these things belong not only to a particular people but also to the heritage of mankind. To safeguard these things is part of the responsibility that lies on the governments of the United Nations.

Roosevelt agreed. Balfour, Huchthausen and now Khalid al-Asaad, honored those lofty ideals; the United Nations has not.

In a speech his death precluded delivering, Monuments Man Ronald Balfour made an eloquent and enduring case for the preservation of cultural treasures. Its timeless warning would have resonated with Khalid al-Asaad, who knew that few places in our world offer a richer window to the past than Palmyra.

“No age lives entirely alone; every civilization is formed not merely by its own achievements but by what it has inherited from the past. If these things are destroyed, we have lost a part of our past, and we shall be the poorer for it.”

We ignore Balfour’s wisdom at our own peril.

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Photo Credit: Anna Bottinelli Edsel

Robert M. Edsel is the #1 New York Times Bestselling author of three non-fiction books, Rescuing Da Vinci; The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History and Saving Italy: the Race to Rescue a Nation’s Treasures from the Nazis. He is the co-producer of the Emmy-nominated documentary film, The Rape of Europa, and Founder and Chairman of the Monuments Men Foundation for the Preservation of Art, a recipient of the National Humanities Medal. A film based on Mr. Edsel’s book, The Monuments Men, directed by and starring Academy Award winner George Clooney, was released in February 2014.

Follow Robert M. Edsel on Twitter: www.twitter.com/robertedsel

For more information about the Monuments Men Foundation: www.monumentsmenfoundation.org

— This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.




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Sex, Love, Music, Murder

Sex, Love, Music, Murder


This is an erotic fantasy about a concert where a shooting takes place backstage. There is also a murder mystery and a romantic love scene.

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Which True Detective Star Was Questioned in a Real-Life Attempted Murder? Find Out in “True Confessions” With Jimmy Fallon

By now, we've watched every single True Detective teaser, trailer, and clip in anticipation of season two's arrival on Sunday night. But further confirming that the Colin Farrell-Vince Vaughn duo is going to please (among…




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Do Certain Medicines Raise Murder Risk?

European study of homicides finds antidepressants not strongly linked to violence, but painkillers may be
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Viola Davis Refused To Do ‘How To Get Away With Murder’ Unless Annalise Took Off Her Wig

In one of the most memorable scenes of this year’s television season, Viola Davis’ “How to Get Away with Murder” character Annalise Keating removed her wig, jewelry and makeup on screen.

As it turns out, that scene was integral to Davis’ decision to take on the role, according to comments the actress made at the show’s recent For Your Consideration panel (via Vulture):

There was something for me that I didn’t buy about Annalise in private. It felt like who she was in private had to be diametrically opposed to who she was in public. And so in order to do that, I felt like I had to physically take the wig off. I mean, I have no eyebrows. I have eyelashes that I put on, and there was something extremely vulnerable about that act — and I know it seems like a very simple act at the end of the day — but for me, that simple act really surmounted to something very powerful in the end, because what it was was someone being very, very private in public, which is absolutely the cornerstone of what we do as artists.

The scene was but one of many that broke network TV barriers in the first season of “How to Get Away with Murder,” which garnered praise for its depiction of gay sex and nuanced exploration of sexual violence.

For more of Davis’ comments from the panel, head over to Vulture.

— This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

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B.B. King coroner: There is no sign of murder

Following allegations from two of the daughters of B.B. King, the Las Vegas coroner has confirmed said that preliminary evidence showed
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Game of Murder

Game of Murder


Used – Set in London, A Game of Murder features a young Scotland Yard CIT officer who is on leave when his father dies in a golfing accident. But Harry Dawson won’t let the mystery go, for mystery it is. Who is the young man seen on the golf links? Why is everyone so interested in a dog collar? What is the connection with the man in the pet shop? Is it really possible that the housekeeper’s nephew can be inept as he seems? And where is the housekeeper? Francis Durbridge’s twisting, turning plot

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Murder in Havana

Murder in Havana


New – In the 18th installment of Truman’s Capital Crimes series, now available in paperback, former CIA agent Max Pauling faces an uneventful early retirement. He is soon asked to secretly fly some medical supplies into Havana that lands him in the thick of political intrigue–and murder–that makes Washington, D.C., look innocent.

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Drug Dealer Pleads Not Guilty To Hollywood Executive’s Murder

By Dan Whitcomb

LOS ANGELES, Feb 26 (Reuters) – A convicted drug dealer pleaded not guilty on Thursday to murdering a Hollywood studio executive whose remains were found buried in the California desert last year, and a defense lawyer said he would prove the case was “mutual combat,” not homicide.

John Lenzie Creech, who is already serving an eight-year prison term for sale of a controlled substance, was ordered back to court on March 26 for further proceedings in the high-profile case surrounding the murder of Gavin Smith.

“Ultimately the defense will show that this was not a murder, that it was mutual combat between two men,” attorney Alex Kessel told reporters outside court following the brief hearing.

“It did not arrive at any type of intent to kill, any premeditation,” Kessel said.

Prosecutors, who have publicly revealed little of their evidence against Creech, 42, declined to respond to Kessel’s assertions following the hearing.

But family members of the murdered man released a statement saying Smith’s death had caused them “incomprehensible” pain, adding: “And have no doubt, the evidence will clearly show this was a cold-blooded, premeditated act of murder.”

Smith, a film distribution executive at 20th Century Fox, was 57 years old when he was last seen on the night of May 1, 2012, driving his black Mercedes away from a friend’s house in suburban Oak Park, north of Los Angeles.

Law-enforcement officials issued a missing person bulletin for Smith, also known for playing on UCLA’s 1975 national championship basketball team. His family posted a $ 20,000 reward, saying the 6-foot, 6-inch (1.98-meter) ex-athlete with “movie star” looks should be easy to spot.

Detectives got a break in February 2013 when Smith’s car was found in a storage facility in the Los Angeles suburb of Simi Valley, but his disappearance remained unsolved.

In November, police said a skull and other bones found by hikers in a shallow grave in the desert east of Los Angeles had been identified as belonging to the missing studio executive.

Prosecutors have not said how Smith was killed or what they believe could have motivated the crime. Smith had met Creech’s wife, Chandrika Creech, in rehab in 2009, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. (Reporting by Dan Whitcomb; Editing by Mohammad Zargham)

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Going Down: An Erotic Tale of Murder

Going Down: An Erotic Tale of Murder


On the surface, Tyhedra Crawford seems to have it all. She is beautiful; the owner of a very successful business consulting firm, so to her money, expensive cars, the finest clothes, and worldwide travel are a part everyday life. But Tyhedra has a very dark secret; she is a sexual predator and a serial killer. At night she cruises bars in search of her prey for the evening. Tyhedra lures unsuspecting men for a night of no-strings-attached sex, and once she’s had her fill, she kills them.

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Stone Men: A Charles Bloom Murder Mystery

Stone Men: A Charles Bloom Murder Mystery


In the fourth book in the Charles Bloom Murder Mystery series…Gallup, New Mexico, near the Navajo Reservation, is home base for an exclusive group of turquoise dealers known as stone men. When the most successful among them, “the President,” stumbles onto the greatest turquoise find in decades, unfortunately for him it’s on Navajoland and he’s not the only one who wants a piece of the claim. The President will do anything to protect his newfound turquoise mine, but there are international forces at play and they have no intention of letting a stone man from Gallup dictate the terms for valuable mineral rights. Simultaneously, Santa Fe’s Indian arts dealers are facing the bleak prospect of their sales being undercut by fake Navajo jewelry threatening to overrun the market. Gallery owner Charles Bloom is targeted by the FBI to become an undercover informant, his recent marriage to Rachael Yellowhorse making him the perfect patsy for the job. Little does Bloom know that his coerced involvement to help crack this case may wreck his marriage and inadvertently put his entire family in danger. A trained assassin now has Bloom’s family in his crosshairs. It’s a race to see who can stake the strongest claim to the secrets hidden on the desert floor of the Navajo Reservation. The losers will pay with their lives and the winner.

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These Images From ‘Serial’ Bring The 15-Year-Old Murder Case To Life

“Serial,” the world’s most popular podcast, is coming to an end next week after just 12 episodes. The real-life mystery show about a 1999 murder has become a smash hit — for a podcast, anyway — and cultivated a strong community of fans.

Seriously, don’t doubt the loyalty of the “Serial” fan base. They’ve produced an active subreddit, combed the Best Buy that features prominently in the show for clues and come up with elaborate conspiracy theories. All in an effort to figure out who killed Woodlawn, Maryland, teenager Hae Min Lee.

According to the state of Maryland, it was Adnan Syed, Hae’s ex-boyfriend and her classmate at Woodlawn High. The state’s case rested primarily on the testimony of one man, known in the podcast only as Jay, whose story changes noticeably over the course of his several taped interviews with detectives. According to Jay, Adnan strangled Hae in a 21-minute window of time between leaving school at 2:15 p.m. and calling Jay to come pick him up at 2:36 p.m. on Jan. 13, 1999. Adnan has always maintained his innocence, but it didn’t matter to the jury: He was convicted of murder at age 19.

“Serial” host Sarah Koenig gives listeners some great descriptions — Adnan’s eyes are big and brown, “like a dairy cow,” while his classmate Nisha sounds “like a chipmunk” — but without visuals, we thought listeners may still have been left without a full picture of the case. Below are maps and photos we’ve rounded up from around the Internet.

Hae Min Lee, victim

Nearly one month after disappearing on Jan. 13, 1999, Hae’s body was discovered in Maryland’s Leakin Park. Described as popular and “always happy” by teachers, Hae played lacrosse and field hockey at her school. She had previously dated and broken up with Adnan — giving him the only clear motive for murder, according to the state — but had recently started dating a guy named Don, whom she worked with at a LensCrafters. A local news station once interviewed her, shown below.

Lee’s family is likely familiar with the podcast, but not pleased. “I pray that you don’t have to go through what we went through and have your story blasted to 5 [million] listeners,” a man claiming to be Lee’s brother wrote on Reddit. He posted an email purportedly from Koenig to verify his authenticity.

Adnan Syed, convicted of first-degree murder

adnan syed serial

Described by many as a kind, social, athletic “golden child” — or a “psychopath” — Adnan, now 34, was given a life sentence in 2000. Since then, he’s been in jail, where he’s maintained his innocence and — as he explained on the podcast — tried to become a better Muslim.

Jay, key witness for the state

courtroom

The Daily Mail claims to have one photo of Jay, but we can’t confirm its authenticity. Jay was a small-time drug dealer who accused Adnan of murdering Hae and led detectives to her car, which had still been missing even after her body was found. Because parts of Jay’s story don’t line up with the cell phone records the state used in its argument, Koenig all but suggests he may have worked with the prosecutors to craft a timeline implicating Adnan, regardless of what really happened that day.

Cristina Gutierrez, defense attorney

cristina gutierrez

Put a face to that, um, very distinctive voice — Reddit user nomickti unearthed this video of Gutierrez, pictured in the screenshot above. One of Baltimore’s “best-known criminal defense lawyers,” she was disbarred a couple years after Adnan’s case for mismanaging client money. As Koenig explains, Gutierrez was possibly suffering symptoms of multiple sclerosis toward the end of her law career, and in 2004, she died of a heart attack.

(Fig. A) Woodlawn, Maryland

google map woodlawn serial

Reddit user jakeprops created this awesome map of noteworthy locations around Woodlawn, Maryland, where the murder allegedly took place. If Jay’s story is true, he sure did have a busy day of driving around town.

(Fig. B) Woodlawn High

Yep, looks like any other normal American high school. Adnan and Hae were both part of the school’s magnet program, while Jay was part of the regular student body. Below, you can make out two parking lots and a loop in the front of the school.

woodlawn high

(Fig. C) Woodlawn Public Library

Woodlawn Library, seriously pretty much on the high school campus. #serialtour

A photo posted by leggyshines (@leggyshines) on


Asia McClain claimed she had a conversation with Adnan at this library the afternoon of Jan. 13, 1999, but Asia was never called to testify in either of Adnan’s trials. Adnan stated he was on the school campus the entire afternoon, and while the library is technically off-campus, it is directly adjacent to the school.

(Fig. D) Best Buy

best buy woodlawn

Many listeners may have had a hard time envisioning a murder taking place in the Best Buy parking lot due to its public nature. But if you’ve seen the location, it becomes less difficult to imagine — there’s a side part that’s shielded from the front of the store.

The state alleged that Adnan, after committing the murder, called Jay from a pay phone at Best Buy. There is not, however, a pay phone there today, and Koenig expressed strong doubt that it ever existed. But people on Reddit say there was a pair of them at one point — in the lobby. To prove it, they photographed two electrical plates and a mismatched patch of carpet inside the front of the store. We can’t confirm the validity of these photos as evidence.

Other devoted fans also recreated the drive from Woodlawn High School to the Best Buy parking lot that Koenig herself recreated in episode five. According to the state’s timeline, Hae Min Lee would have had to make that trip — and Adnan would have had to strangle her and run to the pay phone to call Jay — in 21 minutes, right as post-school bell traffic was in full force. Koenig recreated the timeline, just barely making the 21-minute limit. She stated it was technically possible that Hae could have made that drive and been strangled in that timeframe.

In the fan-made video, the driver makes it in under eight minutes — but without the after-school traffic. He also deems the parking lot to be sufficiently secluded for a murder to take place unseen.

(Fig. E) The I-70 Park and Ride

According to Jay’s version of events, this is where he and Adnan left Hae’s car on the afternoon of Jan. 13, with Hae’s body in the trunk, while the pair took Adnan’s car in search of weed. Later that evening, they returned for Hae’s car, drove it to Leakin Park, and eventually left it in a residential lot.

(Fig. F) Leakin Park

The above photo was taken by Reddit user cat_morgue, who has an album of places of interest in the case. According to the podcast, the park has a local reputation as a dumping ground for bodies. Indeed, this is where Mr. S — the streaker who discovered Hae’s body when he pulled off the road to take a leak — led police.

A photo posted by Saalawon Abd (@salutations24) on


We noticed that quite a few Serial fans have posted evidence of their own Woodlawn tours on social media. In broad daylight, the park looks fairly innocuous.

(Fig. G) Adnan’s cell phone

serial cell phone

Adnan’s cell phone — the records from which were used by the state in court — was this old-school Nokia, according to longtime family friend and #TeamAdnan advocate Rabia Chaudry. She was the one who contacted Koenig initially with details of Adnan’s case, and thus “Serial” was born. Chaundry has also kept a blog about the case and the podcast.

(Fig. H) Crab Crib, home of the shrimp sale

Shrimp sale still on #crabcrib #serial #sarahkoenig #serialdrivingtour

A photo posted by Kata Solow (@katasolow) on


Still going on, apparently.
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Programed For Murder

Programed For Murder


Brian Childs has figured out how to connect DNA to silicone computers to create true artificial intelligence. Once perfected this discovery could change the world, not to mention create mind-staggering profits for the Electrobotics Company. Unfortunately, Childs is found dead in the local garbage dump.Former cop and private detective, Tommy Case, wants nothing more out of life than to sail off into the sunset on his boat, NOMORR. But a visit from his ex-secretary, Childs’ fiancée, drastically changes his plans. She asks him to look into Childs’ death. Reluctantly, he agrees to take on “one last case.”Case discovers several computer hard and flash drives near where the body was found. He takes them to his friend, Fumio, a computer whiz, to see if he can determine where they came from. Case’s best friends, Steve and Suzanne Langdon, recognize Childs’ name and introduce him to the owners of Electrobotics – which Fumio confirms as the source of the found drives. And there case meets DEX4 a prototype robot and undoubtedly Childs’ killer.But who manipulated the robot? Child’s beautiful partner, Dr. Caroline Jackson? Electrobotics secretive owner, Dr. Niles Von Joss, or his wife, a computer scientist who was Von Joss’ assistant before he hired Childs. Or Dr. Nicholas Madding who was in love with Caroline and ragingly jealous of Childs. As the suspect list grows and Case intensifies his search, it all turns personal when Jessie is murdered by a bomb that blows NOMORR out of the water.Now Tommy Case can’t rest until he gets his revenge and reveals who made DEX4 a murderer.

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Game of Murder

Game of Murder


Used – Set in London, A Game of Murder features a young Scotland Yard CIT officer who is on leave when his father dies in a golfing accident. But Harry Dawson won’t let the mystery go, for mystery it is. Who is the young man seen on the golf links? Why is everyone so interested in a dog collar? What is the connection with the man in the pet shop? Is it really possible that the housekeeper’s nephew can be inept as he seems? And where is the housekeeper? Francis Durbridge’s twisting, turning plot

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Brac Pack Halloween Murder Mystery

Brac Pack Halloween Murder Mystery


[Siren Everlasting Classic ManLove: Erotic Alternative Paranormal Romance, M/M, vampires, werewolves, HEA] Maverick, Christian, Zeus, and Panahasi decide to bring all four families together to throw the biggest Halloween bash of the century. There are costumes, ghoulish music, candied apples…and murder? When Gabby stumbles across a body in the foyer, the heat is on. It’s up to Johnny, Keata, Gabby, and Nero to find out who committed murder, in what room, and with what weapon…and none of them have a clue–literally. But some are determined to keep the Scooby Doo team quiet. When Keata disappears, the investigative team must quickly find the culprit before he or she strikes again. Ah, but the added mystery is why Remus keeps losing his newly found mate. Warning: Book contains bad investigative skills, outrageous costumes, off-the-wall dialogue, and moments that make anyone question who put the four mates in charge of the investigation in the first place. ** A Siren Erotic Romance

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Rashad Charjuan Owens, Suspect In Deadly South By Southwest Crash, Charged With Murder

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — The drunken-driving suspect who police say killed two people after he smashed his car through a street barricade at the South By Southwest festival did not use his brakes and even accelerated as he approached crowds, according to an arrest warrant released Friday.

Rashad Charjuan Owens was charged with one count of capital murder, though additional charges can be added later. Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo has said Owens intentionally steered toward pedestrians early Thursday in hopes of escaping an officer who was trying to pull him over. Acevedo has suggested Owens could face two capital murder charges and as many as 23 counts of aggravated assault with a vehicle. The 21-year-old from Killeen, about 70 miles north of Austin, remains in police custody after a district court judge set his bail at $ 3 million. Jail records did not list an attorney for him.

According to the arrest warrant, Owens told police that he “got scared” when he saw police lights behind him around 12:30 a.m. Thursday because outstanding warrants meant he could go to prison for five years. Owens told police he’s facing old kidnapping warrants issued as part of a custody battle over his daughter.

A breath test indicated Owens’ blood-alcohol content was .114, exceeding the legal limit of .08, the arrest warrant released Friday says.

The officer who tried to stop Owens was looking for suspected drunken drivers when he spotted a 2012 gray Honda Civic that didn’t have its headlights turned on, the arrest warrant says. Owens then made a turn from a middle lane and “would have caused a crash” with the police cruiser had the officer not turned to avoid it, according to the warrant.

Investigators say Owens then cut through a gas station and sped the wrong way down a one-way street before crashing through police barriers blocking a street closed for South By Southwest festivities — forcing another police officer manning the roadblock on foot to dive out of the way.

Police say Owens then plowed into a crowd of concertgoers, hitting and killing a man from the Netherlands on a bicycle and an Austin woman on a moped. Investigators say he eventually crashed into a taxi and parked van and tried to run before police subdued him with a stun gun.

The warrant says a video from the police unit giving chase “shows the Honda accelerating into crowds, not simply crowded areas but crowds of people who are hit by the car and flung into the air.” It adds that Owens drove “for almost three city blocks, accelerating into crowds and does not use his brakes, as in the video there are no brake lights visible from the rear of the Honda.”

Court records indicate that Owens pleaded guilty to driving under the influence in Fairbanks, Alaska, in October 2011, when he was 19. He also was charged with leaving the scene of an accident, but that was later dismissed.

Owens also faced 2012 charges in Alaska of criminal mischief, and a warrant was issued for him after he failed to appear in court. In 2010, meanwhile, he was arrested in Texas by Killeen Independent School District police for criminal trespassing and pleaded guilty.
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Musical Theater Composer Joe Kinosian and Murder for Two at New World Stages in New York

2014-02-10-MFT_Approved_06.jpg

Having just turned 30 last fall and about the same time hit his 10th anniversary as New Yorker, the busy musical theater composer, writer and actor Joe Kinosian should feel a satisfying sense of arrival. All those years of hard work and bright dreams this past year culminated in his and his writing partner Kellen Blair’s show, Murder For Two (the CD of which is available on iTunes and in stores), arriving to great acclaim here in New York following its wildly successful premiere at the Chicago Shakespeare Theater.

Murder For Two is a deeply silly and entertaining evening, with smart, fast, funny songs and a story that follows an ambitious young police officer as he attempts to unravel the Agatha Christie-style murder of a famous, if also famously reviled, New England mystery novelist. It seems like everyone at his birthday party on the night in question had reason to want him face down in the onion dip, including the nine member boys choir bizarrely brought in as the entertainment for the evening. But perhaps that turned out to be of a piece as six of the wee choristers themselves had earlier met a comically tragic end, eulogized by the three survivors in their number “A Lot Woise,” a delightfully specific “list song” explanation of why though of tender years, they don’t bat an eye at merely one fresh corpse, even though:


Stuff like this could be depraving us, it’s a little late for saving us,
Cause we’ve seen a lot woise.

We seen a chump who held his breath for longer than an hour once,
Saw my granny in the shower once, and we’ve seen a lot woise!

We seen a baby being born one day, we seen a fat guy eating corn one day,
We saw a boat while watching porn one day, we’ve seen a lot woise.

Did I mentioned that all the suspects are portrayed by just one actor? A role, or should I say a baker’s dozen of roles, that Joe created for the Chicago run, and whose many imaginary shoes he has recently stepped into again at New York City’s New World Stages replacing Jeff Blumenkrantz, himself an actor-pianist-composer, who embodied The Suspects starting when the show arrived for its Off-Broadway run presented by Second Stage uptown. Oh yeah, and both actors play all the piano accompaniment during the entire show, not infrequently seeming to leap into the air to replace their counterpart at the keyboard and seamlessly, jauntily play right on without missing a beat.

2014-02-10-yJZMNAhYE3rWJQxb49J65_cvlMVu73_XPHtRU0gvY.jpg

COMPOSER JOE KINOSIAN, in front, at the piano with his castmate, BRETT RYBACK, in MURDER FOR TWO at NEW WORLD STAGES — Photo by Joan Marcus

Kinosian and Blair clearly must have sent each other into similarly balletic paroxysms as they developed the broad outlines of the show, including whodunit, one fateful day at a series of coffeehouse work sessions. When asked about his inspirations as he developed the musical tone and styles of Murder For Two — especially, notes Kinosian, the “four-handed” parts where both performers are playing the keyboard at the same — he doesn’t miss a beat: “Oh, the Marx Brothers, for sure.” He reverently recounts their musical madness, often of great sophistication or reference actually, in some of their classic films such as 1937’s A Day At The Races where Harpo sits down to give Rachmaninoff’s “C# Minor Prelude” and “plays it so hard that at the end the piano is reduced to rubble.”

It’s obvious that Kinosian’s theatrical and musical sensibilities owe much to a quirkily broad range of beloved influences. He mentions four blissfully creative and formative years at Milwaukee’s High School of the Arts, but also musicians like the Argentine tango composer Astor Piazzolla and the king of the “Novelty Rag,” Zez Confrey, who memorably composed the Scott-Joplin-on-laughing-gas favorite “Kitten on the Keys.”

But, he says, “You gotta talk about my grandma,” who was “an unbelievably brilliant pianist who could play by ear in an incredibly complex way, making things sound like a million bucks.” He describes himself at the tender age of 6 being besotted with the Howard Ashman and Alan Menken musical Little Shop of Horrors and playing the opening doo-wop/Supremes-type musical number for his grandmother on the record player. She immediately played it back at the piano, but in an impromptu Glenn Miller-esque arrangement of her own invention, “filtered through her 1940s sensibility.”

His admiration and love for this woman whose own creative opportunities might in some ways have been foreshortened by circumstance and the times she lived in, only deepens his appreciation for what was so lovingly inculcated in him by her example that “was inspiring and made me really want to do well.”

Kinosian, tall, lean, at ease even on an appallingly bright green sofa in the lobby outside Murder For Two’s theater one evening before his performance, has a quick, appreciative laugh and a devilish schoolboy twinkle in his eye. Murder For Two, for which he shares book-writing credit with Blair, who penned the lyrics, provides ample opportunity for naughty wit, particularly in that in his role as “The Suspects,” he actually plays more females than males.

But his sensibility is not merely all broad strokes and gag lines as each character is delineated with razor-sharp precision and idiosyncratic gusto. This makes keeping track transparently easy and fun for the audience as he switches roles often mid-sentence, if not mid-air on the way back for another turn at the keyboard. All the thousand tics and tacts of each of his characterizations also reveal some of the care and concern Blair and he have taken in the writing process to keep the kooky characters tethered to realities of human character and foible.

During our conversation, he mentioned offhand having just finished reading psychologist Alan Downs’ 2005 primer on internalized homophobia, The Velvet Rage, and wanting to speak with all due care about issues of gender and identity that, he said gently, we sometimes rush through. When asked what about gay culture he might like to change if he could, he says that we should all “go after the people we’re attracted to” in our pursuit of romance, “but try not to be so judgmental” toward each other as gay men.

With no needful contradiction, he embraces as well the special gay perspective of “hilarious honesty,” as he puts it. Those witty barbs so casually tossed off from barstools in tacky Midwestern gay bars, for example, can curdle into mere bitchiness in a flash. But in Kinosian’s understanding, such protective bristlings are at least partially outgrowths of the coping skills of awkward, klutzy boys who would grow up to become creative gay men, but who were reared in well-meaning communities of regretfully incomplete complete understanding of difference and the niceties of original cast recordings.

Kinosian sips his mug of tea and the production stage manager walks by giving him a subtle but unmistakable look which he knows means “it’s now half an hour before curtain, so please wind this interview up and get backstage and into costume.”

Given our conversation about art and identity, mentors and mannerisms, it occurs to me to ask Kinosian who one of his gay heroes is. I wonder will it be sophisticated Sondheim or sad Richard Rodgers, maybe someone of kaleidoscopic aspects like Leonard Bernstein.

“Well,” he says, holding back a smile, “I don’t know if I love all of Paul Lynde’s oeuvre, but I do love him in Bye, Bye, Birdie.” Kinosian is a particularly vocal and warm partisan of the genius of Charles Strouse, the composer of the musical and then film, in which Lynde, somewhat incredulously in retrospect, reprised his Broadway turn as a parent who tries mightily to insist that his children adhere to safely traditional values and customs. “I’m a peace-loving man, Doris!” Kinosian has Lynde’s strangled bark of a laugh, which he calls “lethal,” down pat.

Lucky for theatregoers this year with Murder For Two and hopefully for many years to come, Kinosian’s grandmother taught her talented offspring a more expansive and embracing tune.
Arts – The Huffington Post
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The Corporal Works of Murder

The Corporal Works of Murder


Used – Who was the mystery victim? Sister Mary Helen is once more in the middle of a murder case. Not that she wants to be. No one would envy the old nun, who finds herself holding a dying young woman, shot in the street almost directly outside the Refuge for homeless women where Mary volunteers. And even while she grieves over the loss of life, Mary Helen spots something odd about the victim. Although she is wearing ragged clothing, her skin is unblemished and healthy looking. Her perfect teeth

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Murder by the Grace of God: The CIA and Pope John Paul I

Murder by the Grace of God: The CIA and Pope John Paul I


In 1978, driven by Paul VI’s encyclicals Populorum Progressio and Liberation Theology, there were two fronts on which the CIA was confronted by communism as a free democratic society, Italy and Central America. If Italy fell to communism, all of Europe would surely follow. If Central America fell to communism, all of Latin America would surely follow. It was in these parts of the world communism was raising its ugly head as the will of the people that was so very dangerous to the United States and its capitalistic allies. Henry Kissinger sounded the alarm, “Domination by Moscow is not the issue. Communist control of Italy and Central America is the issue. It would have terrible consequences for the United States and is the number one threat to its national security.” ……. On the afternoon of March 13, 1978, fourteen men sat around a table in a sidewalk cafe in a mountain village in northern Italy. In casual clothes they went unnoticed though one was the reigning Pontiff and another Aldo Moro. Included were Italian cardinals who had been behind the rise of the Communist Party in the polls in Italy. The others were cardinals of impoverished parts of the world. Together they comprised the core of the Marxist movement in the Church. They left at four o’clock and Aldo reserved the table for next year….. On March 13, 1979, Cardinals Benelli and Felici decided not to travel to Vittorio Veneto that day. After all, all the others were dead. They, themselves-unaware of their impending doom-were, too, as good as dead.

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