Tag Archives: killer

1976 Nevada murder linked to California serial killer

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA (BNO NEWS) — Investigators have linked the 1976 murder of a Nevada nursing student to a serial killer believed to be responsible for the so-called ‘Gypsy Hill Murders’ in the San Francisco area, the FBI said on Thursday as they formed a new task force to find the person responsible.

The serial killer, who has also been referred to as the ‘San Mateo Slasher,’ is believed to be responsible for the murders of five young women in the San Francisco area between January and April 1976. A sixth murder, the killing of 19-year-old nursing student Michelle Mitchell in Reno, Nevada, in February 1976 has now also been linked to the cases.

“The Reno murder occurred in between the time-frame of our five murders and recent evidence that’s been uncovered leads us to believe that the Reno murder is linked to several of our murders,” said FBI Special Agent-in-Charge Gerald Bessette, adding that the crimes and methods used by the killer were “all very similar.”

According to prosecutors, Mitchell had called her mother to ask for a ride home on the evening of February 24, 1976, after her car broke down near the Reno campus of the University of Nevada. Mitchell’s mother immediately went to pick up her daughter but was unable to find her, until a few hours later when the girl’s body – with her hands bound with twine and her throat slashed – was found in the garage of a nearby house.

But the case had been deemed closed after Cathy Woods, a mental health patient at the Louisiana State University Medical Center in Shreveport, Louisiana, told a hospital worker in 1978 that she had killed a girl named Michelle several years earlier. She later told an investigator from Reno that she had offered to help the girl fix her car, took her to a garage on the pretext of getting some tools, and cut her throat after Mitchell rejected a sexual proposal.

Woods, who recanted her confession before trial, was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole, and she remains behind bars in Las Vegas. Her request to re-examine some of the evidence in her case led to the new findings, though investigators emphasized it does not rule out that Woods was involved and that she may have had an accomplice.

The other five murders were all committed in San Mateo County in California over the span of just three months in 1976.

“Beginning next week, members of the newly-formed Gypsy Hill Task Force will be canvassing neighborhoods, asking the public for information concerning any of the individual unsolved cases, including any recollections or connections between the California and Reno cases,” Bessette said. “We ask that all members of the public take a moment to reflect back on your memories of that time in 1976, and if anything comes to mind that you please notify us.”

During Thursday’s press conference, Bessette added: “No tips or observations are too small for us, every piece of information helps. The pursuit of justice is not always instantaneous, it can be a lengthy process, but a process that gathered us here today and [we] take seriously, and we refuse to give up on.”

Bessette said potential tips could be “anything unusual” about a neighbor or individual who was seen in the areas of the murders. “Potentially an individual that lived in this area that traveled to Reno back and forth, had business there, mentioned to you that he or she was going there,” he said. “We are just trying to jog people’s memories and potentially get some information from the public that may have seemed obnoxious at the time but could be important to us in this investigation.”

The first victim was the murder of 18-year-old Veronica “Ronnie” Cascio, who went missing on January 7, 1976, while walking from her home in the Fairway neighborhood of Pacifica to a nearby bus stop to go to a birthday party. Her partially nude body was found the next day, lying face down in a creek at a golf course along the road where she went missing. She was raped and suffered some 30 stab wounds in the throat and abdomen.

The next murder took place about 2.5 weeks later after 14-year-old Tanya Blackwell left her home in Pacifica at around 10 p.m. on January 24, 1976, reportedly walking to a store in nearby South San Francisco for her mother. She was not found until June 6, 1976, when her decomposed body was found by two young boys in a grove of trees off a little-used dirt access road in the Gypsy Hills section of the city. An autopsy found she died of multiple stab wounds.

The third murder happened on February 4, 1976, after 17-year-old Paula Baxter left a play rehearsal at Capuchino High School in Millbrae, east of Pacifica. Early next morning, her station wagon was found parked on a nearby residential street with its wheels, undercarriage and the floor at the driver’s seat spattered with mud. Millbrae’s nude body was located the next day in the brush behind a church, having been raped, stabbed, strangled and hit on the head with a rock.

After the Reno murder of Michelle Mitchell on February 24, 1976, which is now believed to have been the fourth murder, 26-year-old Carol Lee Booth went missing on the evening of March 15, 1976, while walking home from a bus stop in South San Francisco. She was known to take a popular short cut that took people through a heavily wooded area on a quiet dirt path, where she was apparently dragged into the bushes and killed before being buried in a shallow grave.

The last known murder was that of 19-year-old Denise Lampe on the evening of April 1, 1976. The young woman was last seen leaving the Serramonte Shopping Mall in Daly City and was supposed to meet a friend at her house, but her body was discovered at around 10 p.m. that evening, slumped on the front seat of her car in the mall’s parking lot.

An autopsy found Lampe was stabbed 20 times in the chest and arms, but unlike other victims, there was no evidence that she was sexually assaulted. It is believed the woman was killed at the location, despite the presence of hundreds of people nearby. Investigators, who noted that Lampe had also not been stabbed in the throat like the other victims, released a composite sketch of two persons of interest within days of the murder but stopped short of calling them suspects.

U.S. serial killer Dale Hausner found dead in cell

ANTHEM, ARIZONA (BNO NEWS) — American serial killer Dale Hausner, who terrorized the Phoenix-area for months as he and an accomplice carried out a series of deadly shootings that claimed at least eight lives, died in Arizona on Wednesday after he was found unresponsive in his prison cell.

Hausner, 40, was found unresponsive in his cell just after 12 p.m. local time at Arizona State Prison Complex – Eyman in Florence, about 45 miles (72 kilometers) southeast of Phoenix. Prison staff and medical responders administered CPR before he was transported to Florence Hospital at Anthem, where he was pronounced dead at 1:15 p.m.

Bill Lamoreaux, a spokesman for the Arizona Department of Corrections (ADC), said Hausner’s cause of death was not immediately known. “An investigation is being led by the Department’s Criminal Investigation Unit in consultation with the county medical examiner’s office,” he said.

Known in Arizona as the “Serial Shooter,” Hausner was convicted in March 2009 of 80 crimes, including six counts of first-degree murder, attempted murder, aggravated assault, drive-by shooting, firearms charges, cruelty to animals and arson. He received six death sentences for the killings.

Hausner and his accomplice Samuel Dieteman were both convicted for carrying out their series of nighttime shootings that randomly targeted pedestrians, bicyclists and animals in the Phoenix-area in 2005 and 2006. Hausner was convicted of killing six people and wounding 18 while Dieteman pleaded guilty to two murders.

Phoenix police attributed at least 36 shooting incidents to Hausner and Dieteman, but some believe the duo may have been responsible for other incidents as well during their crime spree that spanned more than a year. Dieteman testified against Hausner at trial and was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole.

‘Killer bees’ attack special needs school in South Africa, injuring 64

CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA (BNO NEWS) — More than 60 young children were injured Wednesday when a swarm of Africanized honey bees, better known as killer bees, invaded a school near the South African city of Cape Town, paramedics said. Four children were critically injured.

The freak incident happened at around 10 a.m. local time on Wednesday when a swarm of bees appeared at a school for children with special needs in Bellville, a city which is part of the greater Cape Town metropolitan area in the southwestern region of South Africa. All of the children are between the ages of 5 and 10.

“Reports indicate that the children were at a school for special needs when the swarm of bees went on a rampage, stinging everything in their way,” said Chris Botha, a spokesman for ambulance service Netcare 911. Paramedics and provincial emergency services were quick to arrive at the scene.

Botha said a total of 61 children and three teachers were stung by the bees. “Thirty-five people were treated on scene by nursing staff while twenty-six children were treated by paramedics before they were transported to nearby hospitals for the care that they required,” the spokesman said, adding that four of the children were in a critical condition.

It was not immediately clear what may have provoked the swarm to attack the school. Botha, who is also a part-time beekeeper, said the incident involved Africanized honey bees, known for relentlessly attacking and chasing perceived threats in large numbers. This has earned them the nickname “killer bees” even though their venom is no more potent than that of other bees.

Wednesday’s incident follows another bee attack in South Africa earlier this month. Forty-four children between the ages of 2 and 6 were injured on March 8 when they were attacked by a swarm of bees while waiting for their bus after visiting a bunny park in Benoni, a city on the East Rand in Gauteng province. That incident did not involve killer bees.

Public hearing postponed for British serial killer Ian Brady

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND (BNO NEWS) — A British judge on Friday postponed a mental health review tribunal for convicted serial killer Ian Brady, who was hospitalized earlier this week and is seeking permission to be transferred to a Scottish prison and be allowed to kill himself.

Judge Robert K. Atherton said in his ruling that Brady’s public hearing cannot take place on Monday due to his medical condition, which is not believed to be life-threatening. A significant factor in the decision to postpone the hearing was the fact that the court had previously considered it of importance that Brady would participate in person.

“The Tribunal accepted that Mr Brady’s medical condition, though not life-threatening, is such as to preclude his attendance and proper participation in the hearing in public,” Atherton said. “The Tribunal considered that it would not be proper to continue in his absence as it had been a significant factor in the decision to grant a hearing in public that he would participate in such a hearing.”

The judge said the medical condition of Brady does not allow for a short postponement, but gave no indication when a new date could be set. “In the circumstances the Tribunal had to conclude that the forthcoming hearing must be adjourned to a date to be fixed when the commitments of those involved have been ascertained because of Mr Brady’s present physical condition,” he said.

Brady, 74, was admitted to Fazakerley Hospital in Merseyside on Monday after becoming acutely physically unwell on his ward at Ashworth Hospital. He underwent a series of tests and was kept under observation while he remained at the general hospital for two nights, but was returned to Ashworth Hospital on Wednesday despite remaining physically unwell.

Brady and his girlfriend, Myra Hindley, were responsible for the murders of at least five children in the Greater Manchester area in 1960s. Brady, sentenced to life imprisonment for three murders, has been detained at Ashworth Hospital under the Mental Health Act since 1985 and is being tube fed ever since he launched successive hunger strike which began in 1999.

Brady requested the mental health review tribunal in August 2010 and wants to be transferred to a Scottish prison and be allowed to die. It would have been his first public appearance since being imprisoned in 1966, as the mental health review tribunal was to be shown to the press and public through videolink.

Canadian killer warned British tabloid in email sent from Holland

OTTAWA, ONTARIO (BNO NEWS) — A Canadian man suspected of killing a man and mailing parts of his victim’s body to the headquarters of political parties in Ottawa is believed to have sent an email warning to a British tabloid in December 2011, the publication reported on Friday.

After The Sun published a story about 29-year-old Luka Rocco Magnotta in December last year, he showed up unannounced at the tabloid’s office in London to deny he was responsible for a video which showed kittens being suffocated inside a vacuum seal bag and a more recent video showing a kitten being fed to a python.

However, just days after Magnotta’s visit, The Sun newspaper received a mysterious e-mail on December 10. The email was written under the name John Kilbride, a possible reference to a 12-year-old British boy who was brutally murdered by serial killer Ian Brady in November 1963.

“Well, I have to say goodbye for now, but dont worry, in the near future you will be hearing from me again,” the email, riddled with typos, said. “This time, however, the victims wont be small animals. I will however, send you a copy of the new video im going to be making. You see, killing is different than smoking … with smoking you can actually quit.”

The writer, who is believed to be Magnotta, goes on and further hints at taking his killings to a new level. “Once you kill, and taste blood, its impossible to stop. The urge is just too strong not to continue,” the email said. “Next time you hear from me it will be in a movie I am producing, that will have some humans in it, not just pussys. :) The things I have seen and the things I have done, you can only imagine.”

The writer of the email also indicates his interest in one of the tabloid’s male journalists. “You have some very sexy journilists (sic) at your paper :) I have one im very keen on now. He was very sexy,” the writer says. Magnotta, who is bisexual, previously worked as a low-budget pornographic actor.

The email also indicates the person derives pleasure from taunting people. “You know, the fun part of all this is watching millions of people get angry and frustrated because they cant catch me. Thats why I love this. I love the risk factor. Its so fun watching people work so hard gathering all the evidence, then not being able to name me or catch me,” the person writes. “You see, I always win, I always hold the trump card, and I will continue to make more movies.”

He concludes the email with: “Well, it was fun f[explicit] around with everyone, so have a merry christmas and a happy new years. I know I will. :) Getting away with all this, now thats genius. Signed, Yours Truly. (Or is it?)”

Believing the chilling message was written by Magnotta, The Sun reported both the e-mail and the kitten videos to Scotland Yard, which briefly investigated the complaint. “An allegation of malicious communication in the form of an email was made by a man to the Metropolitan Police,” a Scotland Yard spokesperson said on Friday.

The spokesperson confirmed it launched an investigation, but it was dropped because both the email and the videos did not originate from the United Kingdom. “An investigation by Islington Police established the origin of the email to be from the Netherlands,” the spokesperson said. “Therefore, no crime could be proven to have been committed within the jurisdiction of the Metropolitan Police.”

But the spokesperson said British police did not liaise with authorities abroad, including police in Canada who may have been interested in knowing about the contents of the email. “It had not been possible to glean information regarding any specific locations within ‘North America’ (US or Canada) or the Netherlands, and as such there was no specific local Force to pass any intelligence to,” the spokesperson added.

In regards to the videos showing kittens being killed, Islington police officers found they were also outside their jurisdiction as they were posted from somewhere in North America. “Therefore, no crime could be proven to have been committed within the jurisdiction of the Metropolitan Police. During the initial stages of the investigation, officers liaised with the RSPCA,” the spokesperson added, referring to the UK’s leading animal welfare charity.

Also on Friday, Montreal police identified the murder victim as 33-year-old Lin Jun, a Chinese student who studied at Concordia University. He was last seen on May 24 but was not reported missing until Tuesday, the day two packages containing body parts were found in Ottawa and a suitcase containing a torso was found in Montreal.

Montreal police spokesman Commander Ian Lafrenière said investigators believe Magnotta knew Lin, although it is unclear if they were friends or romantically involved. He said several body parts remain missing, but declined to say which. A severed foot and hand were found in the packages, and additional parts were recovered at Magnotta’s house.

Meanwhile, Lafrenière said Magnotta is believed to have taken a flight from Montreal’s Trudeau airport to the French capital of Paris on Saturday. However, police are unsure if he remains in Paris or has since fled to another country.

Russian serial killer accused of murdering 8 women

MOSCOW, RUSSIA (BNO NEWS) — A man who was arrested in Russia in 2010 is believed to have murdered at least eight women throughout the country over a span of five years, prosecutors said on Wednesday. He faces life imprisonment if convicted.

The suspect, identified only as Sergey Martynov, is believed to have begun a series of violent crimes in 2005 and moved through more than 10 regions of Russia before he was finally caught by authorities in 2010. He has been charged with intentional infliction of a grave injury, hooliganism, murder of two or more persons, and violent sexual actions.

“The investigators have established circumstances of 8 murders committed by Martynov,” said Vladimir Markin, a spokesman for Russia’s Investigative Committee. “[The] absolute majority of Martynov’s victims were women, as well as two minor girls, against one of which Martynov had committed violent sexual actions and inflicted grave injuries to another.”

Martynov was previously convicted of raping and murdering a woman in 1992 and served nearly 14 years in prison before he was released in 2005. He was placed on a wanted list shortly after his release for attacking a young girl in Kemerovo, a city in Kemerovo Oblast, but was able to evade police for years.

“Acting daringly and cynically, he didn’t try to conceal evidence and even left letters at crime scenes, [and he] expertly hid from law enforcement officials until [he] was caught in 2010,” said Markin. “The investigators have collected enough evidence and the case is forwarded for the bill of particulars to be approved and then will be sent in the court to be considered on merits.”

Russian investigators had not publicly disclosed the serial killings before Wednesday.

U.S. judge sentences serial killer Anthony Sowell to death

CLEVELAND, OHIO (BNO NEWS) — A U.S. judge on Friday sentenced to death serial killer Anthony Sowell who was previously convicted of 11 counts of aggravated murder and more than 70 other charges including rape and kidnapping.

On Wednesday, the 12-person jury voted unanimously to recommend a death sentence to be imposed for each of the slayings, but Cuyahoga County Judge Dick Ambrose still had the option to sentence Sowell to life in prison instead. However, Wednesday’s jury recommendation was required before Ambrose could sentence Sowell to death.

Sowell was arrested in October 2009 as a suspect in the murders of eleven women whose bodies were discovered at his Cleveland house. The victims ranged in age from 25 to 52 and had been raped.

Sowell was convicted late last month on the eleven counts of aggravated murder as well as 70 other charges which include rape and kidnapping. During the mitigation phase of the trial, Sowell pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity and said he was “truly sorry” for the crimes he committed.

But Ambrose said during Friday’s sentencing that the court gives no weight to Sowell’s expression of remorse. The death sentence was welcomed by the victims’ relatives who told Sowell he would go to hell. The killer remained silent throughout Friday’s sentencing.

His lawyer previously claimed that Sowell and his crimes were the result of childhood abuse and said the lack of nurturing in his home made him unable to stand physical contact or any signs of affection.

Sowell had previously already served time in prison. In 1989, after a seven year career with the Marines and a failed marriage, Sowell began a 15-year sentence for attempted rape. After his release from jail, Sowell said, his health began to fail. In 2007, he suffered a major heart attack and began hearing voices.

U.S. jury recommends death sentence for serial killer Anthony Sowell

CLEVELAND, OHIO (BNO NEWS) — A U.S. jury on Wednesday recommended a death sentence for serial killer Anthony Sowell who was convicted last month of 11 counts of aggravated murder and more than 70 other charges including rape and kidnapping.

Prosecutors were seeking the death penalty for Sowell and, despite the defense allegations, the 12-person jury voted unanimously to recommend a death sentence to be imposed for each of the slayings. Cuyahoga County Judge Dick Ambrose is scheduled to sentence Sowell at 9 a.m. local time on Friday.

In the case of Sowell the judge would not have been able to impose the death penalty with a recommendation from the jury. But with the recommendation now given, Ambrose can decide to sentence Sowell to death or life in prison.

Sowell was arrested in October 2009 as a suspect in the murders of eleven women whose bodies were discovered at his Cleveland house. The victims ranged in age from 25 to 52 and had been raped.

Sowell was convicted late last month on the eleven counts of aggravated murder as well as 70 other charges which include rape and kidnapping. During the mitigation phase of the trial, Sowell pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity and said he was “truly sorry” for the crimes he committed.

His lawyer has claimed that Sowell and his crimes were the result of childhood abuse and said the lack of nurturing in his home made him unable to stand physical contact or any signs of affection.

Sowell had previously served time in prison. In 1989, after a seven year career with the Marines and a failed marriage, Sowell began a 15-year sentence for attempted rape. After his release from jail, Sowell said, his health began to fail. In 2007, he suffered a major heart attack and began hearing voices.

Iran hangs convicted child killer

WOM, IRAN (BNO NEWS) — A man who was previously convicted of murdering an 8-year-old boy was hung inside a prison in the northern Iranian city of Qom on Saturday, state-run media reported.

The Fars News Agency reported that the murder took place earlier this year when the 8-year-old boy had gone out to buy some food nearby. When he did not return after 20 minutes, his mother got worried and began searching for him. She informed police about two hours later when she was unable to find him.

The suspicion of investigating officers soon fell on a man who lived in the same neighborhood and had been in contact with the boy on previous occasions. The boy’s body was found inside a large plastic bag when police entered the house after obtaining a warrant.

Fars reported that the suspect initially claimed that the boy died when he fell and hit his head. But he later admitted during interrogations that he had killed the boy by hitting him on the head. The man was later convicted of murder and was hung inside a prison in Qom on Saturday.

On May 29, Iran hung two men who were previously convicted of raping young children. It followed the execution of a serial killer and ten other people just several days earlier. Murder, rape, and drugs trafficking are among the crimes which are punishable by death in Iran.

According to Amnesty International, the Iranian government acknowledged that at least 252 people were executed in Iran last year, although their reports indicate the actual figure is more than 550. Among those executed were five women and one adult who committed his crime when he was underage.

The vast majority of those executed in Iran last year was for alleged drug trafficking, a crime authorities claim has led to the deaths of more than 4,000 police officers in recent years.

According to human rights groups, trials in Iran do often not meet international standards of fairness. Proceedings, particularly those held outside Tehran, are often summary, lasting only a few minutes. Mass trials also take place on some occasions.

In October 2010, Amnesty International reported, Iran’s Interior Minister stated that the campaign against drug trafficking was being intensified, and the Prosecutor General stated in the same month that new measures had been taken to speed up the judicial processing of drug-trafficking cases, including by referring all such cases to his office, thereby denying them a right to appeal to a higher tribunal, as is required under international law.

Two months later, the amended Anti-Narcotics Law came into force, apparently making it easier to sentence to death those convicted of drug trafficking, according to Amnesty International. The law extended the scope of the death penalty to include additional categories of illegal drugs such as crystal meth, possession of which became punishable by death. Under the Anti-Narcotics Law, some defendants are not granted a right to appeal, as their convictions and sentences are confirmed by the state Prosecutor-General.

Family members of executed persons also faced persecution in some cases last year and were often not given the bodies of their relatives for burial. Others said that they had to pay officials in order to receive their relatives’ bodies, as payment for the rope used to hang them.

Iran uses young boy to execute serial killer

TEHRAN (BNO NEWS) — Iran used a young boy on Thursday to carry out the execution of a convicted serial killer, reports said on Friday. Ten other people were also executed in various parts of the country.

One of the eleven people executed on Thursday was identified by state-run media as 37-year-old Mehdi Faraji, who was previously convicted of murdering five women between May 2009 and March 2010. He was executed in the city of Qazvin, west of the capital of Tehran.

According to human rights group Iran Human Rights, Faraji was publicly hung by a young boy whose precise age was not known. The group published a picture on its website that showed the execution being carried out.

“According to our reports, a young boy was used to draw the chair Mehdi was standing on and carry out the execution,” Iran Human Rights said on its website. “The picture above shows the boy while conducting the execution.”

“These barbaric executions and using ordinary citizens, especially the minors to carry out these executions must be condemned by the world community,” said Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam, a spokesman for Iran Human Rights. “Iranian leaders must be held accountable for promoting a culture of murder and brutality in Iran.”

Four other people were executed in the southern Iranian city of Shiraz on Thursday, while six convicted drug traffickers were hanged in prisons in other regions of the country. Their identities and ages were not released.

According to Amnesty International, the Iranian government acknowledged that at least 252 people were executed in Iran last year, although their reports indicate the actual figure is more than 550. Among those executed were five women and one adult who committed his crime when he was underage.

The vast majority of those executed in Iran last year was for alleged drug trafficking, a crime authorities claim has killed more than 4,000 police officers in recent years.

According to human rights groups, trials in Iran do often not meet international standards of fairness. Proceedings, particularly those held outside Tehran, are often summary, lasting only a few minutes. Mass trials also take place on some occasions.

In October 2010, Amnesty International reported, Iran’s Interior Minister stated that the campaign against drug trafficking was being intensified, and the Prosecutor General stated in the same month that new measures had been taken to speed up the judicial processing of drug-trafficking cases, including by referring all such cases to his office, thereby denying them a right to appeal to a higher tribunal, as is required under international law.

Two months later, the amended Anti-Narcotics Law came into force, apparently making it easier to sentence to death those convicted of drug trafficking, according to Amnesty International. The law extended the scope of the death penalty to include additional categories of illegal drugs such as crystal meth, possession of which became punishable by death. Under the Anti-Narcotics Law, some defendants are not granted a right to appeal, as their convictions and sentences are confirmed by the state Prosecutor-General.

Family members of executed persons also faced persecution in some cases last year and were often not given the bodies of their relatives for burial. Others said that they had to pay officials in order to receive their relatives’ bodies, as payment for the rope used to hang them.