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2. How Social Media Shapes Our Identity – The New Yorker
New technology—especially the smartphone—allows us to produce a narrative of our lives, to choose what to remember and what to contribute to our own mythos. For Eichhorn, this is the latest instance of a long-held, if mysterious, practice. “Long before children were able to create, edit, and curate images of their lives,” she writes, “they were already doing so on a psychic level.” Freud called these images “screen memories”—no pun intended—and he thought that we used them to soften or obscure painful experiences. Humans have always tried to cope with the difficulty of memory, to turn it “from an intolerable horror to something which is reassuringly innocuous and familiar.” Social media just makes us more adept at it.
On the other hand, Eichhorn writes, such media can prevent those who wish to break with their past from doing so cleanly.
Two early works by Dutch painter Vincent Van Gogh were auctioned in the Belgian city of Ghent on Sept. 22, fetching near estimate prices that the organizer said were bargains.
The first work, a watercolour of flowers, was snapped up for 220,000 euros ($240,000), slightly more than expected, auctioneer Johan Kiggen told AFP. The second piece, a charcoal drawing of a jug, went for 140,000 euros, just below the estimated price. “Everyone is happy,” Kiggen said, who added that buyers could only bid in person.
“The two works went for a very good price for the buyers,” he said. The two buyers, who wished to remain anonymous, were both Belgians and pledged to keep the works in the country, which was a request of the seller. Kiggen said the works have been certified as authentic on several occasions, and are featured in Van Gogh catalogues.
Dated to 1883, the works bear little resemblance to Van Gogh’s iconic works. They were made before the troubled master was inspired by the Impressionists and Post-Impressionists in Paris. Van Gogh is one of the most expensive Impressionist and modern artists, with 12 of his works having gone for more than $30 million at auction.
His output of about 2,000 pieces, of which 900 are paintings, are mainly held in museum collections, which means they are a rarity on the art market.
September 20th, 2019
1. Debunking Gladwell’s Analysis of Amanda Knox: #1
#September11th has still not been satisfactorily explained. Why did buildings not collapse the way science predicts they should? Why did vehicles spontaneously combust miles from the scene? Why did fires burn until after Xmas? How did steel turn into streams of molten metal? pic.twitter.com/tuARY6aOCY
#September11th has still not been satisfactorily explained. Why did buildings not collapse the way science predicts they should? Why did vehicles spontaneously combust miles from the scene? Why did fires burn until after Xmas? How did steel turn into streams of molten metal? pic.twitter.com/tuARY6aOCY
Based on real-life events and taped confessions, The Chris Watts Story, a working title, will chronicle the months that led up to the horrific crime, piecing together the Colorado dad’s possible motives.
Sean Kleier (Odd Mom Out) has been cast as Chris, Ashley Williams (How I Met Your Mother), as Shanann and Brooke Smith (Bates Motel, Ray Donovan) as FBI agent Tammy Lee. Sony Pictures Television is producing the film for Lifetime.
5. INCEL – a True Crime Rocket Science title has just been published. INCEL profiles some of the most infamous “involuntary celibate” mass shooters, including Elliot Rodger, Nikolas Cruz, Alek Minassian, Scott Beierle and Brandon Clark.
Bruises or damage to the hyoid bone are associated with manual strangulation. A ligature tends to slide over the floating hyoid bone, or the bone shifts under it. Manual strangulation leaves it nowhere to go, causing it to bend, crack or break. #EpsteinSuicidepic.twitter.com/WkeWThEmsJ
— Nick van der Leek – True Crime Rocket Science (@CrimeRocket) August 15, 2019
Well I think this puts into painful perspective just how damaging & unnecessary the abduction narrative has been, sticky taped onto this case. Had the search efforts been concentrated on searching just around the resort, she COULD have been found. Thanks #McCann#NoraQuoirin
— Nick van der Leek – True Crime Rocket Science (@CrimeRocket) August 15, 2019
So how come the sniffer dogs couldn't track her? Why no footprints from days of walking around?>>>Nora Quoirin died from prolonged hunger and stress, police confirm https://t.co/kSKtGFFig1#NoraQuoirin
— Nick van der Leek – True Crime Rocket Science (@CrimeRocket) August 15, 2019
The shooter, who was wearing a bullet-proof vest, was probably shot at least 24 times as police tried to stop him, Harshbarger said. Betts had 52 gunshot wounds in his upper and lower torso, but some of them could be exit wounds, the coroner said.
One former classmate said Betts had been ostracized in their small school district, once escorted off the bus by police. He said students worried Betts might do something terrible.
Others scoffed at the idea Betts had ever been targeted. A drama club student during his time at Bellbrook High School, another former acquaintance said he was shocked by the emotionless way Betts once choked a girl he had dated….“I discouraged all my friends from having relationships with him because I thought he was very dangerous,” Ford said….Superintendent Douglas Cozad declined to release school records relating to Betts, citing student privacy laws.
Theo Gainey lived in Betts’ neighborhood until 2017. He spoke to reporters outside his parents’ home on Monday and said his graduating class of 205 people never forgot the allegations he had a hit list.
“Ostracization is a form of bullying,” Gainey said.
Not everyone who went to school with Betts had bad things to say. Brad Howard told reporters in Bellbrook on Sunday he was friends with Betts from preschool through their high school graduation. “Connor Betts that I knew was a nice kid. The Connor Betts that I talked to, I always got along with well,” Howard said.
It’s very early to be speculating, but with that being said, there are superficially a few signs and symptoms that Connor Betts was an INCEL and/or identified with the INCEL cause.
Below left is a screengrab from his Twitter feed. As can be seen on the right, the “normie” term is associated with INCEL jargon and subculture, although it should be emphasized it’s not only associated with the INCEL groupology.
A cursory glance at Betts’ social media seems to confirm a sad sack single dude who is only with a girl when his mother photographs him with his sister.
Although the INCEL aspect may be part of Betts’ social psychology, perhaps even a significant part, he also demonstrated group affiliations with socialists, atheists, satanists and some Democratic Party politicians.
His Twitter feed [which has recently been scrubbed] overall is so all over the place as to be virtually incoherent. The TCRS assessment at this point is that the INCEL aspect is a significant part of the pathopsychology. The nature of the shooting, specifically the location [the outside of a bar on Dayton, Ohio, early Sunday morning] and the targeting of his own younger sister and her boyfriend, also fits the profile.
Interesting that one of the witnesses says that the shooter was wearing glasses, so she couldn't tell if he made eye contact. Another claimed the shooter looked right at her. The randomness is a big giveaway as to the motive here. https://t.co/6zHeTDaLMW
It's interesting that the Van Gogh Museum's official stance is still that Van Gogh committed suicide. In this tweet they link his "illness" to his death. Really? Was he depressed?Mentally ill? Then how come he was painting a picture a day at the end of his life? https://t.co/HNDhnOAT8i
I watched this race just now on TV. It was her 30th victory in a row, and even though this was a record [she broke her own record], she didn't celebrate, and no one on the track congratulated her. Odd that. https://t.co/tiJoFp0vJH
2. Scott Nelson takes the stand AGAIN and declares “I am a homicidal maniac”.
BREAKING: #ScottNelson takes the stand AGAIN and declares "I am a homicidal maniac," and tells the state that he wants to be sentenced to death. — Tune in to #CourtTV NOW for LIVE coverage of FL v. Nelson. pic.twitter.com/IgxvQ7jEez
At a news conference Monday, prosecutor Berman and FBI Assistant Director in Charge William F. Sweeney Jr. cited the Miami Herald’s reporting last November in helping to make the case.
“I will say that we were assisted by some excellent investigative journalism,” Berman said. “When the facts presented themselves — as Mr. Berman hinted at — through investigative journalist work, we moved on it,” Sweeney said.
Icahn, one of industry’s most powerful activist investors, cast himself as one of the deal’s most fervent critics by charging that Occidental’s $38 billion bid for Anadarko was too expensive and could endanger Occidental’s future if oil prices sink.
The deal has been approved by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission and is expected to close in the second half of the year.
“It is important to add new directors to Occidental’s Board of Directors to oversee future extraordinary transactions like the Anadarko transaction and to ensure that they are not consummated without stockholder approval when appropriate,” Icahn said in a statement to shareholders on Wednesday.
Icahn owned a $1.6 billion stake in Occidental as of May 30. “The recent Occidental Petroleum fiasco is a great example of how CEOs and boards will go to great lengths, including ‘betting the company’ to serve their own agendas,”Icahn said in a statement about the Caesars-Eldorado merger. “If their bet is successful, they and possibly their shareholders win, but if it is unsuccessful, only the shareholders lose.”
While Icahn has said publicly that the Occidental-Anadarko deal likely would not be derailed, his filing illustrates how he wants to make sure that nothing similar happens again. He said Occidental lacks effective corporate governance and that its directors made mistakes in how and at what cost they pursued the acquisition of Anadarko, according to the filing.
Occidental Petroleum, ranked 167 in Fortune 500, recently snatched victory from Chevron with a winning bid of $38 billion for one of the largest U.S. Independent oil and gas companies; Anadarko ranked just 237, making this the largest American oil and gas merger in more than a decade and the 11th biggest ever, for an energy and power company, according to business data provider Refinitiv.
Occidental plans to sell assets in the U.S. and Africa. Proposed disposals include Anadarko’s pipeline business in the U.S. worth an estimated $7.5 billion, as well as its wells in the Gulf of Mexico said to be worth around US$6 billion. Potential buyers could include BP, Exxon or Shell. The sale of Anadarko’s assets in Africa, worth perhaps $8.8bn to French oil major Total has been agreed, according to recent media reports. However, this deal needs the full approval of Algeria’s government before it can be completed.
Having outbid Chevron and perhaps before any asset sales take place, Occidental must reduce its debt and pay an 8 percent dividend on the $10 billion of preference shares it sold to Berkshire Hathaway. The Anadarko purchase doubles the size of Occidental and will saddle the company with debts of around $50bn, in return for a business that has been failing to cover its capital spending from its operating cash flows.
Another oil price crash bringing oil below $40 a barrel could jeopardize Occidental’s financial position. In addition, there is growing public concern, backed up by recent studies by the Universities of Texas and Dallas, that the re-injection of waste water into the ground produced from fracking, could be triggering increased seismic activity in previously dormant areas. Unless the industry can reassure the public by finding a solution to prevent such “earthquakes,” public opinion could constrict further growth in fracking activity.
The real prize
Vicki Hollub has made it clear that Occidental’s real interest lies in Anadarko’s 10,000 drilling sites in the Permian Basin, which is currently one of the world’s most productive, producing 3.8 million barrels a day at the end of 2018, according to reasearch firm Rystad Energy. In addition, the Permian is one of the cheapest places for oil drilling in the world. Some Permian drillers can make money at $40 per barrel.
Before the takeover, Occidental was already the largest owner of drilling rights in the Permian and has developed an in-depth knowledge of the Permian plays, especially the Delaware Basin. On average, Occidental’s shale wells in the region have produced 74 percent more oil in their first six months than Anadarko’s. Also Occidental expects that, with economies of scale and its scientific and logistical capabilities, to boost recovery rates of 6 percent today to at least 14 percent by employing the “huff-and-puff” method: pumping carbon dioxide into a well, waiting for a while, and then allowing the oil to start flowing out mixed with the gas.
Hopefully, things will go well for Occidental following its successful bid. Nevertheless, some investors remain skeptical of the promised productivity gains and are concerned by the possibility that policies to mitigate the effect of climate change could leave Occidental with stranded assets sooner rather than later.
The documents recount the whirlwind bidding war that followed as Occidental executives jetted from Houston to Paris to Omaha, Neb. to make the deals that would allow Oxy to up its cash offer to nearly 80 percent of the purchase price and gain the consent of Anadarko’s board. As Oxy CEO Vicki Hollub said the company’s annual meeting last month, “We were not going to let it be taken away.”
The filing also disclosed that Anadarko CEO Al Walker, who has led the company since 2012, will walk away with severance package of $98 million when the merger is completed, part of $300 million to be shared among Anadarko’s six senior executives. Here is how it all unfolded:
The summer of ’17
Hollub first contacted Walker about a potential sale in July 2017. They met in August and continued the talks into September 2017, when Oxy offered close to $31 billion in an all-stock deal. In October, Walker told Hollub he questioned the logic of a deal. Hollub responded by offering a mix of cash and stock.
The Anadarko board met in mid-November 2017 to discuss the deal and unanimously rejected it, concluding that it wouldn’t boost shareholder value and the financial risks that Oxy would take on could make it difficult for Oxy to increase or even maintain dividends to investors.
Undeterred, Oxy made another cash-and-stock offer in January 2018, upping its bid to about $38 billion with up to half of the funds in cash. That valued Anadarko at about $76 per share. At the time, Anadarko stock was selling for more than $58 per share with a stock market value of almost $30 billion.
But with oil prices rising and confident in Anadarko’s future as as a standalone company, the board again rejected the offer in February 2018. Walker, however, let Hollub know all was not lost: an all-cash offer might still win over the board.
Throughout the rest of 2018, Hollub conveyed Oxy’s ongoing interest to Walker, but formal negotiations went dormant. All stayed quiet — until February.
Thwarting the Chevron way
Disappointed but undeterred, Oxy quietly let it be known that it had offered more than Chevron, preparing the ground for a bidding war. Oxy plotted behind the scenes, waiting until April 24 to go public with a new $38 billion offer, half cash and half stock.
Knox purchased a 3,650 square-foot, three-bedroom, three-bathroom home on March 13th, 2019 for $718 000. The request for public donations immediately followed her “Innocence Project” trip to Italy, in July 2019, three-and-a-half months later.
Amazon is funny in the way they allow leeway to troll reviewers, and yet are hypervigilant when it comes to blocking any reviews from someone who might be connected to authors. I purposefully use the word connected – if you’ve ever emailed, Tweeted or interacted with an author online, Amazon seems to track this, and this becomes grounds for disqualifying a review and a reviewer. That’s fair, if only Amazon also rooted out the trolls.
They’re easy to spot: they leave multiple reviews on a single day, they’re all 1 star, and all of them have virtually nothing to say about the content.
Although none of these “reviews” make any specific gripes about anything specific, I do want to respond to the grey highlights.
1. “A fondness for conspiracy theories…” If anyone knows my work they know the exact opposite is true. I often say I’m allergic to conspiracies, and tend to avoid them unless they deserve to be debunked. This discussion with Ed Opperman is a good example.
2. “He doesn’t bother with research…” This is one of the most popular criticisms. What malarkey. Each book has hundreds of links to research documents, interviews, videos, photos, news reports,. You’d be hard-pressed to find any true crime writing with more research, sentence by sentence, paragraph for paragraph, page for page, than the Rocket Science books.
3. “He lashes out at his victims…” There is some truth in this. I do interrogate the victims from all perspectives, including the perpetrator’s perspective, but try to maintain a compassionate and sympathetic view. Victims never deserve to die, or suffer, but we can occasional fathom mechanisms and dynamics that lead to criminals acting out in destructive ways. It’s important to understand this aspect to know how or why a situation triggered a particular crime in a particular individual. The notion that this analysis is ever “lashing out” is ludicrous.
A final aspect I want to deal with here is the criticism that I’m not a widely published or prolific photojournalist, and that all my work is self-published.
Before I wrote full-time I worked as a freelance magazine journalist. Over the course of about a decade I published hundreds of articles in over 40 different local and international magazines, and at least a dozen different newspapers. So none of that qualifies as “self-published”. Most of the written work was published “as is” in magazines with virtually no editing and no need for editing. It was this circumstance – a long form magazine article – that led me to publish my first two books. Both books started off as a series of magazine articles.
In terms of pounding the streets and interviewing people in person, I’ve done that and am in the process of negotiating possibly two books – one with a prosecutor and another with the relative of a victim. So at certain times cases are researched remotely, at other times I do venture into the field. The entire Van Breda axe murder series involved travelling hundreds of miles to attend all the trial days, and staying at some expense in hotels and guest houses.
I do have a publishing contract with a US publisher for one of my books. I’ve found it more practical, effective and efficient to self-publish, because in True Crime, time is of the essence.
If you’ve read any of the Rocket Science books and were moved by them [positively or negatively], please be moved enough to leave a review. More reviews lead to more sales, and more sales lead to more writing, and more books, and more books mean more choice – for you.
“I killed this selfish b**** who tortured me for two years.”
The jury also heard from the victim’s co-worker, who went to the home after she didn’t show up for work. Police discovered Kaur’s body in a bathtub, filled with water. She had been strangled. The defense said Grewal will testify during the trial, in his own defense.
I don't understand the problem? Just use the fund to "Find Madeleine" to pay for it. Isn't that what it's for? #McCann McCanns hit with £29k bill after losing libel case against Portuguese cop https://t.co/pgy4EhDcMA
The Idaho nurse who reached a plea agreement in relation to the case of missing Woodland Park mom Kelsey Berreth has a court date in Teller County at 11 a.m. Monday. However, it’s unclear if she’s will appear for the hearing.
On the finale of Death At The Mansion: #RebeccaZahau, we finalize our theories on Rebecca's mysterious death and the San Diego Sheriff's Department makes a long-awaited announcement. It all starts this Saturday at 6/5c, only on @Oxygen. pic.twitter.com/q84RnKmlpc
Today this 7 mm Lefaucheux will be auctioned as "probably, maybe, believed to be" the weapon used to kill or murder #VincentvanGogh – or what the artist himself used to shoot himself. Found 75 years later it's "very likely" the weapon. We really are a confused society, aren't we? pic.twitter.com/ERCMjG5v7I
Naifeh noted that there was no evidence linking the gun either to Van Gogh or to the manner of his death.
“What forensic evidence is there to tie Vincent van Gogh to this gun? And, even if there were forensic evidence tying Vincent to this gun, what does this say about who pulled the trigger?” he asked: “Those are the two big questions, and I do not see any answers.”
Although Van Gogh is one of the most famous artists in the world — one of his paintings of a farmed field, completed a year before his death, sold for $81 million in 2017 — he sold only one painting during his lifetime, for 400 francs.
The most expensive Van Gogh painting to date was sold for $82 million in 1990, the “Portrait of Dr. Gachet” from 1890. Gachet was the doctor who would ultimately attend his death later that year.
I think we all know why you might wish to avoid interviews with British TV journalists, especially those like me who once worked with Meredith’s father. Mine would start with this question: your lies sent an innocent man Patrick Lumumba to jail, so what else did you lie about? https://t.co/p0zDeXAfHf
The plaintiff’s forensic pathologist was none other than the famed Dr. Cyril Wecht, known for his consultation on other high-profile cases. Dr. Wecht performed a second autopsy on Rebecca on October 28, 2011, three and a half months after her death. Her body was exhumed and shipped to his facility in Pittsburgh. He found the cause of death to be asphyxiation due to hanging, and the manner of death “undetermined.” Revealing his findings on the Dr. Phil show, Dr. Wecht said there was a rush to judgment in the case and this “bizarre situation” demanded further investigation.
Once retained by the plaintiffs for the wrongful death suit, Dr. Wecht did further investigation and came to a…definitive conclusion…At trial, Dr. Wecht testified, “In my opinion Rebecca Zahau’s death was a homicide. She was manually strangled, and it was set up to look like a suicidal hanging.” He found the fractures to her neck were more consistent with strangulation and questioned why her neck was not broken from the nine-foot fall. In attorney Greer’s closing to the jury, he said the drop hanging would have decapitated Rebecca, but since there was no fracture to her vertebra, it was consistent with someone slowly lowering her down. The bed only moved seven and a half inches. If she was falling, the bed would have moved significantly more.
Dr. Jonathan Lucas of the San Diego Medical Examiner’s Officer performed an autopsy on Rebecca on July 14, 2011, the day immediately following her death. He found the cause of death to be asphyxiation from hanging and ruled the manner of death a suicide. Although Dr. Lucas was listed by the defense as a witness for the trial and the defense informed the court he would be testifying, for reasons never disclosed in open court, he was never called. The defense instead called Dr. Gregory Davis, a forensic pathologist from Kentucky. He agreed with Dr. Lucas’ findings.
Dr. Lucas found Rebecca sustained neck fractures to her left hyoid bone, left thyroid bone, and the cricoid cartilage. Were these fractures caused from the length of the drop or were they from a manual strangulation, such that Rebecca was dead before being thrown over the balcony? Dr. Lucas found they were consistent with a drop hanging, and Dr. Davis agreed with this conclusion. Dr. Davis further testified with a manual strangulation, one would expect to see bruising and fingerprint marks. None were found on Rebecca’s neck.
The court heard the pathologist concluded Susan committed suicide because there was no “definitive fracture of the hyoid bone or the thyroid cornua” – an injury that usually [occurs] with manual strangulation.
The fact that Shan’ann Watts had no fractured hyoid bone is therefore noteworthy. How was she asphyxiated without injuring her?
Amanda Knox writes a missive on Medium ahead of her speech in Italy accusing the media of a Trial by Media. Was it because of the media that she got convicted, or because of the media that she was exonerated? Or both? Or neither?
"I had prepared myself to grow old in prison. I’d forgotten what it was like to walk on grass…" #AmandaKnox sounding like Damien Echols. Did she also forget how to walk or how to use a fork? https://t.co/fZF0WGwLTk
Packham had inflicted more than one blow on his middle aged wife, who was of “petite stature”. He had broken the strongest bones in her skull, and “attacked her in the sanctity of her home”.
Judge Steyn also referred to the case of former property mogul Jason Rohde, who was also convicted of murdering his wife, and defeating the ends of justice by staging the crime scene to make it look like a suicide.
Reminder. Jon Stewart has had to fight for the lives of 9/11 first responders for nearly a decade.
In 2010, John had 4 responders on his show to fight for the Zadroga Act. When the bill was up for renewal 5 years later, 3 of them could not make the show due to sickness or death pic.twitter.com/p9j0Jem1Zc
Some interesting speculation here from Armchair Detective. Why does the GPS data refer to Watts starting his truck at 5:18 but only backing it up to the garage at 05:27? Watts also refers to this exact time – 05:27 – while standing beside Trinastich’s TV. The Vivint data shows the garage door opened at 05:27.
Van Niekerk added at the same time it renders the State’s narrative, that he managed to attack his entirely family with an axe; engage in a severe struggle with Marli; and dragged Rudi around whilst the latter is lying in a pool of blood without stepping in any blood at all; highly improbable, if not impossible.
“If van Breda’s appeal against his conviction on premeditated murder is upheld but substituted for conviction on murder, it is also submitted that an appeal against the life sentences imposed also has a reasonable prospect of success,” she said.
The National Prosecuting Authority will file its replying affidavit next Friday.
The finale of the 4-part series is by far the best, basically because the presenters finally quit pussyfooting around the main suspect – Adam Shacknai – and finally get to grips with the idea of Rebecca’s death being a homicide, not a suicide. Why it takes these documentaries so long just to get up to speed is just plain sad. If each of the 4 episodes was as solid as the last, it would have been a damn good package.
One aspect touched on in the final few minutes of the finale was the same limiting aspect I discovered writing the first book and second in the Red Rope series. There is a heck of a lot of information that the public and the media simply don’t have access to. This restricts the scope of documentaries and to some extent written narratives too. That being said, episode four provides some useful glimpses at items of evidence from the crime scene that haven’t been seen before. So, without further ado, let’s deal with seven significant evidentiary aspects.
1. Rebecca’s Bed
For some strange reason it’s been very difficult to locate images of the bed besides where the rope is connected to it. It’s obvious from the image that no one lay or say on the bed. This is a weakness in the sexual assault theory. It’s certainly indicative that the sexual assault a) didn’t occur on the bed and thus b) was likely brief.
2. The Orientation of the Room
In a scenario where the suicide is staged, we can imagine Rebecca’s killer standing behind her and lifting her already dead body over the railing, and letting it descend in a relatively controlled motion. The obvious point to clarify is if we impute a killer in the room and on the balcony [or even simply his foot on the balcony], why wouldn’t he be in front of Rebecca? It’s obvious right. The upstairs balcony was very visible through line of sight from very many vantage points, an issue I clarified and illustrated in detail inINTO THE BELLY OF THE WHALE. Greer actually mentions as part of his theory that the killer stood behind her, basically just off the balcony and maneuvered Rebecca’s body over the railing. The balcony isn’t very wide at all, around half a meter, so this would be fairly easy to pull off.
But the mere fact that the doors were closed calls into question the entire suicide hypothesis. Did Rebecca close the doors with her hands tied behind her back, and while the heels of her feet were right against the door? If she did, why on Earth would she do that? Meanwhile, we can see clearly why a murderer would want the door or doors closed. Firstly to hide behind while lowering her, but secondly, and importantly, to hide behind while staging the bedroom [including painting the message on the door].
3. The Candle
The candle on the grass is one of the seemingly inexplicable idiosyncracies of this case. Although I will be dealing with this aspect in more detail in AT THE EDGE OF CIVIL, for now it’s worth mentioning that the candle may have been used for “low light” illumination late at night, not only in Rebecca’s room but outside on the lawn. It’s also possible, but unlikely that the candle was used to “cut” the rope by burning through it. As unlikely as this scenario is, we nevertheless have to ask why the candle is where it is? What function did it serve? Was it only illumination?
And that raises the issue of the rope. Why is the length of rope so long behind Rebecca? Why is it in a virtual straight line?
Why are Rebecca’s legs bent inwards, and her face turned upwards? Were her legs bent when she “fell” when she was cut down? Or was she cut down and carried, placed on the lawn and this “bent” her legs? The position we see here suggests the position she lay in when she was struggled at some other location. Note, her knees also appear slightly open.
4.The “Rope Burn”
If the injury to Rebecca’s middle finger is rope burn, it suggests that she was lowered fast enough to inflict the injury – post mortem – but slow enough that she suffered no significant trauma to her neck vertebra. Since this would be the riskiest manoeuvre of all for her murderer, he had to do it quickly but also not too quickly. Too quickly would jolt the bed, perhaps breaking the leg that was ultimately anchoring the entire rig, and limbs might dislodge out of their bindings.
It’s very clear that Greer is quite correct and the Defense witness [Williams] judgement on the nature of the wound is questionable, to put it mildly. It also beggars belief that the cops didn’t test the blood for vaginal epithelial cells, but if the San Diego cops were trying to fuck up this case, and their forensic technicians trying to frustrate the prosecution of it, they were doing a great job in that department.
5. “Blood Imprint” on Rebecca’s Left Inner Thigh
We know there was also tape residue on Rebecca’s legs, possibly from duct tape. It does make sense if she was murdered and then a suicide was staged that the original device used to bind her wouldn’t be the lengthy ski rope.
In episode four Greer suggests a bloody imprint fits the size of a knife handle with the blade facing outward and handle facing inward. This impression, frankly, reminds of the blade impression left on a sheet in the Amanda Knox case.
6. Two Pairs of Gloves were Found at the Crime Scene
I will deal with the gloves and additional analysis in a follow-up post at CrimeRocket II. But the issue of two pairs of gloves raises the possibility of a killer and at least one accomplice, an aspect Oxygen provides some reinforcing evidence to support.
7. 3D Rendering of Rebecca’s Route to the Balcony
The animation in episode four is extremely brief – a few seconds – but it’s arguably the best footage in the whole series. The animation seeks to cast doubt of the absence of blood drops in the imputed route Rebecca would have taken if she hopped [bound, obviously] from the bed to the balcony.
But what the animation also achieves is that it provides a context to imagine her attacker. Where is he? Where would he have stood [especially in the final image], and what would he have done with the shutters to avoid being seen? Probably he had one of those shutters [the left] completely closed, while the other was slightly ajar. Did he use a candle to illuminate what he was doing?
That’s seven assessments – that’s enough. This analysis covers the first 18 minutes of the final episode. The last 20 minutes or so, including some of the insights from the DEATH AT THE MANSION crew and their experts, will be highlighted in due course at CrimeRocket II.
A final point: when the presenters enter Greer’s “Zahau Room” Adam Shacknai’s signature features prominently in the room, along with handwriting analysis taken from that signature as well as other handwriting.
Although Adam Shacknai has been found guilty by a civil court [where the burden of proof is lower], the producers have been careful to be explicit that the evidence presented is “the opinion” of the prosecutor, and that Adam Shacknai “expressly denies all allegations”.
Interestingly, both Greer and the DEATH AT THE MANSION presenters share a kind of consensus on their four primary person’s of interest. Adam, Nina, Dina [and Max] and Jonah.
We can see why DEATH AT THE MANSION spent a relatively short time dealing with Adam as its “main suspect”. Although a jury and Judge supported Greer’s version, the medical examiner and San Diego cops do not, and most important, Adam’s billionaire brother also still seems to be in his corner.
Prison officials have “no legal basis for removing the photographs from Christopher Watts,” the Wisconsin Department of Corrections said in a statement obtained by People. Watts was transferred to Wisconsin late last year for safety concerns.
While arguably tasteless, the photos don’t technically break the rules.
There is a bleakness to the reality that many artists are valued more in death than in life; that what they offered the world was not truly cherished until it became preciously finite. It is hard to think of what the man who sold only one painting in his lifetime would thinkof the €40-60,000 predicted price tag on his suicide weapon. While many a person would jump at the chance to be one of Van Gogh’s posthumous patrons, the acquisition of the gun he chose to end his suffering with seems to be an entirely different desire. But perhaps not. Perhaps it’s not dissimilar to the purchasing or beholding of one of his heartfelt works- especially with the understanding of the emotional turmoil that swam through him- where one can sense the will of a troubled man in his journey to find and create beauty despite all his sorrow. Perhaps the prospective buyer wishes nothing more than to feel a closeness and an understanding of that intangible wonder: the will of Van Gogh.
Would a rusty weapon imputed as a suicide tool bring someone closer to knowing the “will of Van Gogh”? Perhaps. Perhaps the rust destroying reality over time is a code, after all, for something useful.
What would Vincent van Gogh think of this business of this gun fetching so much money, given his art when he was alive, could not? My guess is he would be hopping mad. More proof of that is in The Murder of Vincent van Gogh.
…director Julian Schnabel makes us feel what it’s like to live as his Van Gogh. As one might expect, it’s a stressful experience. All the more so since the film is shot on a handheld camera, its jerky motion mirroring the artist’s febrile state. The palette is polarised, either dazzling us with the bright colours of the south, pushed to the extreme, or subduing us with a melancholic blue-grey filter. No even keel for Vincent, or for us. When his ‘frenemy’ Paul Gauguin (Oscar Isaac) asks ‘What’s the rush?’ during another frenzied painting scene, Vincent’s answer is to reel off a list of masters – Franz Hals, Goya, Velázquez, Veronese, Delacroix – who all ‘paint fast, in one, clear gesture’. Long, continuous takes make the film feel correspondingly immediate and organic, even dizzying.
But the flip side to enduring the stress of being Van Gogh is of course the beauty; of seeing the world through his eyes (which the camera often simulates): the wind through wheat or a line of poplars; craggy rocks in a landscape; the texture of scuffed leather boots and terracotta tiles. We’re down in the dirt with him as he lies in a field, smearing earth over his face with relish. And this is the point of Schnabel’s film – why else the need for another Van Gogh biopic, of which there have been three notable versions already.
At Eternity’s Gate focuses on the tumultuous last two years of the artist’s life, spent mainly in Arles and in Auvers-sur-Oise.
Thirty-one seconds – that’s how long Oscar Pistorius was silent for when asked by Prosecutor Gerrie Nel if he heard Reeva Steenkamp scream after he fired the first of four shots that killed her. Late on the second day of what has been a sustained and brutal cross-examination, Nel said: “Are you sure, Mr Pistorius, that Reeva didn’t scream after you fired the first shot?”
Oscar slumped back in his chair and kept quiet for 31 seconds. Court GD in Pretoria was utterly silent. On the audio recording, all that can be heard is Nel again asking “Are you sure?” after five seconds of silence had passed. Eleven seconds later, a man can be heard taking a deep breath and slowly exhaling. Surprisingly, it is Nel who breaks the silence to come to Pistorius’ rescue, saying: “My Lady, I’m giving the witness time to console himself, he is distressed”.
“I wouldn’t have done that,” said an experienced former prosecutor. “I would have kept quiet and counted and then when he finally said something, I would have said: ‘That took you four and a half minutes. What were you thinking about?’’’
I thought that was the moment he was going to crack, the former prosecutor added. This piece of evidence is key. If Pistorius’ ears were ringing and he? couldn’t even have heard himself scream after the shots, as he had testified, then he can’t tell the court that three other witnesses didn’t hear her scream during the shots.
Saving Pistorius from his silence was a rare show of mercy from Nel, who during a turbulent two days of cross-examination compared a photograph of Steenkamp’s bloodied head to an exploding watermelon, called the athlete a liar and laughed openly at one of his responses. Before his 31 seconds of silence, Pistorius twice became emotional as Nel carefully picked apart the improbabilities in his story.
If Nel hadn’t have given Pistorius a break, Oscar would likely have become more emotional, allowing Judge Masipa a chance to call a recess. Nel didn’t want that to happen either. So it was a careful chess game between pushing the accused and getting him emotional, but not so emotional that the Judge intervened on his behalf…
What is the TCRS take on Oscar Pistorius’ Murder Trial? The 5-Part Book Series is available at this link.
April 11th, 2019
1. Give it until 2:30 for this video on Chris Watts to get going. Valid points raised regarding Watts being informed from the outside about what’s being said and vaunted on social media. Interesting that “Nut Gate” was a term first raised on social media as well.
During the Presidential election last year, he published tens of thousands of hacked e-mails written by Democratic operatives, releasing them at pivotal moments in the campaign.They provoked strikingly disparate receptions. “I love WikiLeaks,” Donald Trump declared, in exultant gratitude. After the election, Hillary Clinton argued that the releases had been instrumental in keeping her from the Oval Office.
Shortly after Trump’s Inauguration, I flew to London, to visit Assange—the first of several trips, and many hours of interviews, to better understand how he runs WikiLeaks, how he has been living, how his political views have changed, and what role Russia has had in his operation. Even as a new inquiry opened into possible collusion between Trump-campaign operatives and Russia, “the WikiLeaks connection,” as James Clapper, the director of National Intelligence, put it last year, remained obscure.
Assange is not an easy man to get on the phone, let alone to see in person. He is protected by a group of loyal staffers and a shroud of organizational secrecy…
Julian Assange will be taken to Westminster Magistrates court this afternoon. He has been arrested under a US extradition warrant for conspiracy with @xychelsea for publishing classified information revealing war crimes in 2010.https://t.co/vvbZBOgCwL
As the catalogue for “Vincent van Gogh: His Life in Art,” a momentous new show at the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, Texas, puts it: “It was most likely a combination of deep disquiet that Theo might no longer be able to look out for him, a growing sense of loneliness, and fear that his nervous attacks would return that drove van Gogh to shoot himself in the chest on July 27, 1890, with the intention of ending his life. He died of his injuries two days later, with Theo at his bedside.”
The mainstream motive for why Van Gogh committed suicide is that he didn’t want to be a burden to his brother [who had just started a family]. Even the Van Gogh Museum support this idea. It makes sense except – how was committing suicide [and botching it up so he took 30 hours to die] lessening the burden? If Van Gogh didn’t want his brother to be troubled by his existence, then Theo rushing to his brother’s aid during a life-and-death emergency, only to watch his brother die, and have to pay for his funeral [suicide was regarded as disgraceful in 1890’s France] didn’t achieve that goal.
Van Gogh’s funeral and the disgrace around his suicide was a huge burden, financial, societal and emotional, that his brother and family had to bear.
A US private investigator who worked undercover at the holiday resort where Madeleine McCann vanished has made claims that appear to cast doubt on the controversial parental checking system Kate, Gerry and the Tapas 7 told police they were conducting on the night the three-year-old vanished.
In a remarkable interview on the Maddie podcast, Boston-based investigator Joseph Moura claimed a bartender and waitress who served the McCanns and their friends at the now infamous tapas restaurant on May 3 told him “nobody left the table that evening”.
Lauded as the “the most famous weapon in art history,” the corroded, legendary revolver was discovered in 1965 by a farmer in the field where then-37-year-old Van Gogh was struck in the stomach by the bullet that killed him on July 29, 1890, in the village of Auvers-sur-Oise north of Paris.
The seven-millimeter gun, reportedly kept by the family that owned the Auberge Ravoux inn where the artist lived for the final months of his life, was put on public display for the first time during the 2016 exhibition On the Verge Off Insanity at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. The farmer who found it presumably gave it to the owners of the inn, whose descendants are now selling it.
“The severely corroded weapon is a Belgian-manufactured Lefaucheux pinfire revolver, which was among the most popular civilian handguns in the second half of the 19th century,” writes the Art Newspaper. “It remained in production until 1893.”
According to the auction house, there are several pieces of evidence to prove it was Van Gogh’s suicide gun. “It was discovered where Van Gogh shot it; its caliber is the same as the bullet retrieved from the artist’s body as described by the doctor at the time; scientific studies demonstrate that the gun had stayed in the ground since the 1890s.”
But is it – forensically speaking – the actual killing/murder weapon?
April 7th, 2019
1. Mitch Summers, an ex-classmate of Chris Watts in high school [now a video producer] released this prom photo of Watts.
Following an investigation by nine.com.au, a formal request from one of the world’s leading DNA scientists has been lodged with London Metropolitan Police for access to 18 complex DNA samples which are potentially loaded with vital clues about Madeleine McCann’s disappearance.
There is hope that Dr Mark Perlin’s powerful computational DNA testing methods could blow open the cold case by successfully cracking the 18 samples which frustratingly stumped a UK lab in 2007.
In Dr Perlin’s email to Detective Chief Inspector Nicola Wall, who heads up Operation Grange, the UK strike force investigating Madeleine’s disappearance, he confirmed he would conduct analysis of the 18 samples for no cost. Scotland Yard’s Operation Grange, launched in 2011, has cost British taxpayers more than $20 million and it has recently requested further funding from the UK Home Office.
The Sun pretends here to analyse seven different theories about what happened to Madeleine McCann. In the middle of the list of seven theories is the theory of the lead detective. The Sun refers to this theory as a “crackpot” theory, the only one of the seven theories to be singled out in this manner. Why do you think that is? An unlikely theory, or a newspaper pandering to their cash cow?
[Mrs Fenn] refers to the day of the 1st May 2007, when she was at home alone, at approximately 22.30 she heard a child cry, and that due the tone of the crying seemed to be a young child and not a baby of two years of age or younger. Apart from the crying that continued for approximately one hour and fifteen minutes, and which got louder and more expressive, the child shouted “Daddy, Daddy”, the witness had no doubt that the noise came from the floor below. At about 23.45, an hour and fifteen minutes after the crying began, she heard the parents arrive, she did not see them, but she heard the patio doors open, she was quite worried as the crying had gone on for more than an hour and had gradually got worse….That night [Fenn] contacted a friend called EDNA GLYN, who also lives in Praia da Luz, after 23.00, telling her about the situation…
Recently, however, speculation that he was actually killed accidentally by two boys playing with the gun have been fueled by the artist Julian Schnabeland the screenwriter of Schnabel’s Van Gogh biopic At Eternity’s Gate. The pair believe that the number of paintings the artist produced in his final months does not match up to someone who was suicidally depressed, and their film shows this alternative ending to the troubled artist’s storied career.
But the auction house dismisses this suggestion. “The new theory about the killing is based on testimonies given several years after Van Gogh’s death,” the AuctionArt spokesperson says. “It has been deeply criticized by all the Van Gogh specialists, among them the Van Gogh Museum and Alain Rohan, who wrote a book about the gun.”
€40,000–60,000 is on the line if the weapon was used by Van Gogh in a self-inflicted gunshot. And if he was murdered? How much would the gun be worth then? Double? Or zero?
Art experts are squabblingover whether a set of previously unpublished drawings are the work of Dutch artist Vincent Van Gogh. The Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam says the sketches are complete fakes. Welsh-Ovcharov, a Canadian professor of art history and Van Gogh specialist, told reporters she was convinced the sketches were authentic, describing the discovery as an “OMG moment.”
“I started to look through all the drawings and each one had his fingerprint,” she said. But according to the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, they are mere imitations and contain no trace of the Dutch master.
Almost 130 years ago, Vincent van Gogh checked himself out of the asylum at St. Remy in the south of France, caught a train to Paris [where his brother lived] and moved into a small apartment above a restaurant in Auvers. Auvers is a small satellite town in the countryside set beside the river Oise. It’s about an hour by rail from Paris.
After researching a few lines of inquiry in Portugal, I travelled to Auvers in the south of France where Vincent van Gogh set up his “studio in the south” in the famous Yellow House. It’s also the setting for a violent and bloody act, perhaps even an assault. The ear incident.
From Auvers I journey along the same tracks north as Vincent did, to Paris, past the smouldering ruin of Notre Damme, and then Auvers where Vincent died at the height of summer, at the end of July 1890. I believe he was murdered, and in June this year, the murder weapon [or suicide gun] will be auctioned off.
How much that 7 mm Lefaucheux revolver actually sells for will be an indication of whether the world believes its authentic or not. How much of what we know about the world, and history, and the famous mythology of people like Vincent van Gogh is true? I’m here to find out. Follow #LastJourney on Twitter and Instagram to keep up to speed on where I am.
In POST TRUTH, the 100th True Crime Rocket Science [TCRS] title, the world’s most prolific true crime author Nick van der Leek demonstrates how much we still don’t know in the Watts case. In the final chapter of the SILVER FOX trilogy the author provides a sly twist in a tale that has spanned 12 TCRS books to date. The result may shock or leave you with even more questions.
SILVER FOX III available now in paperback!
“If you are at all curious about what really happened in the Watts case, then buy this book, buy every one he has written and you will get as close as humanly possible to understanding the killer and his victims.”- Kathleen Hewtson. Purchase the very highly rated and reviewed SILVER TRILOGY – POST TRUTH COMING SOON.
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“Book 4 in the K9 series is a must read for those who enjoy well researched and detailed crime narratives. The author does a remarkable job of bringing to life the cold dark horror that is Chris Watts throughout the narrative but especially on the morning in the aftermath of the murders. Chris’s actions are connected by Nick van der Leek’s eloquent use of a timeline to reveal a motive.”