True Crime Analysis, Breakthroughs, Insights & Discussions Hosted by Bestselling Author Nick van der Leek

Tag: Chris Watts Confession

Would you have done better at Murder than Chris Watts did?

When we run scenarios in true crime, we’re not trying to commit murder, nor are we trying to commit the perfect murder. We’re trying to see the logic [or lack of] in heinous crimes, and why they were committed to begin with.We’re also doing a kind of True Crime IQ test, except what we’re testing for is criminal acumen and criminal logic, which is different to normal psychology and common sense. Chris Watts’ murder of his family was particularly heinous but within the context of criminal psychology, was it logical? Just how illogical was it?

The idea for this particular post comes from Sylvester’s comment [read it before reading further], and his idea of how the Watts crime could have been better executed. Could Watts have gotten away with it?

Murder is dumb as it is, but committing murder only to be caught a few hours later, and then to undo your own stupid schemes a few days after that is even dumber. No argument there. The question is: how dumb was the execution itself, and by extension, how dumb was Watts.


In Sylvester’s Scenario:

Watts murders his family and then goes to work leaving their bodies in the house. Perhaps he takes her ring and some jewelry. When enough time has passed he can call 911 and have them checked on. The idea when they’re found is a burglary gone wrong. Maybe they got in through the back door.

What’s good about Sylvester’s Scenario is it’s a better story than Watts’ story in the sense that Watts theoretically doesn’t really have to come up with any explanation of Shan’ann visiting a phantom friend or why she left behind her phone, car and medication.

The bad thing about this scenario is it doesn’t solve the original problem. The original problem was that the Watts home and the homes surrounding it were a kind of spider’s web of digital surveillance. There were layers and layers of digital security. So if it was tough to take bodies out of the house without being seen [and Watts almost succeeded], it’s equally tough proving anyone came in with malicious intent. It’s not just the doorbell cams that wouldn’t show approaches from the front and back, it’s the hi-tech Vivint system that wouldn’t show anything either.

In theory Watts could have disabled the home system himself and then failed to account for it [as happened in the Ramsey case].

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When I first stumbled into the Watts case, I remember thinking if he had only broken a window somewhere in the house, it would have given the idea of an interloper [someone who had come in and taken the three of them] some credence.  But it seemed Watts cared too much about the expensive house and maintaining it to break anything, let alone purposefully. But if he had, he would have set off the perimeter layer alarms. Probably the Vivint protocols would have automatically alerted authorities to check on the house. This is why Watts seemed to want to use the dodgy garage door sensor as his go-to explanation for how Shan’ann left on her own volition. It was a hole in the perimeter security.

The other issue facing Sylvester’s Scenario and effectively any scenario is, well, Nickole Atkinson. If Watts murdered Shan’ann at 05:00 or completed the execution of that phase of the crime [including washing up and removing bodies from the home] at about that time, then he only really had until 08:43 to get a headstart. Because that’s when Nickole contacted Shan’ann. If the bodies were in the home, the cops would have found them very early in the game, and would have provided [arguably] the best evidence against Chris Watts much earlier than they actually got it, and in a much better state of preservation. Time of death, cause of death, manner of death, crime scene, all provided to the cops on a silver platter.

If Watts had acted more like Patrick Frazee, and responded to Nickole’s message and perhaps even posted something on Facebook along the lines of…


…maybe he could have bought himself some time. Probably not though because any response posted on her phone would have pinged from wherever he was, if he had her phone.

Posting a message on her Facebook while he was still home was another option, but it would be very unlikely Shan’ann would go to bed after 02:00 and be up at 05:00 posting declarations about her day. Not completely implausible, just something that might raise suspicion.


It’s important to remember, if this was a premeditated murder [and I believe it was], Watts himself also ran through many scenarios in his own mind. What was clever about the execution was he had the end result – the evidence – mostly taken care of.

He also hid almost the entire fabric of the crime within the plausible deniability of just going to bed, waking up and going to work like he always did. It didn’t quite work, because he didn’t typically head out to the well sites first thing, but only someone close to his colleagues would know that. Also, if caught, because of the flight delay he’d have to explain how a lot happened between him and Shan’ann in three hours instead of twice that time.

If Shan’ann had arrived on time, maybe Watts had a different plan involving the Lexus, and maybe it would have played out better. Maybe there would have been time for a late night fake Facebook announcement. 48427215_736786590028657_1063860525886078976_n

My view is that the technical aspect of the crime was executed fairly well, as heartless as that is to say. If Watts had the resources to afford an elite defense lawyer, and if he’d stuck to his first confession, who knows, he may have pulled a Casey Anthony.

It was all hidden in the fabric of the average work day, in plausible deniability, not only the digital traces of the home, but the GPS traces of the truck. Watts also went to some length to send fake messages of concern and make fake calls to Shan’ann’s phone. It shows he was ready to play.

But the social aspect of his game was abysmal. Maybe his mistress had led him to believe he really was a kind of Rain Man who could do [and get away with] anything.


But Watts was a bad liar and an even worse actor from the get-go. Even so, it took a massive law enforcement team several days, and many hours of continuous questioning and data analysis to crack him. Watts did crack, but not completely, not even close to completely. He didn’t spill the beans during the first round. He cracked and revealed a little information.

True to his introverted nature, he has never fully revealed what he did, when or how. And the fact that many of the people closest to the case and charged with prosecution it still don’t know what really happened suggests Watts wasn’t so dumb after all.AP18233621618014-600x400

The First 3 Reviews for TWO FACE ANNIHILATION

The last two books of the series of 7 [as it stands now] were extremely difficult to research and write. Book 7 was probably the most difficult of all. This is because one is relying entirely on the audio as the primary source for the information.


On the one hand, it’s excellent material because what we are listening to is exactly what the three members of law enforcement heard, plus minus some white noise here and there. There’s also a lot to work with – over four hours’ worth.

If you felt frustrated listening to one of the Rzucek lawyers conveying his impressions to Dr. Phil, you weren’t alone. We wanted to know exactly what Watts said, and also how he said it. The tone. The pitch. The context. Most important, the psychology. Is it believable. Does what he’s saying actually make sense, or does it conform to another pattern…?

And then the Rzuceks provided their impressions. They were touching, and while we felt sympathetic to the family, the two-part show  never provided the kind of deep diving psychological analysis Watts’s Second Confession really needed.

On the other hand, not having video and sometimes having the audio muffled or cut out was frustrating. The chronology of Agent Tammy Lee’s 29-page CBI Report and the audio aren’t an absolute match, which is interesting. It shows while the law enforcement trio went to the prison with specific questions, they didn’t necessarily ask all of them in a specific order, nor did they get their answers in a prescribed order either. This makes for a chaotic narrative, and it was my job to unravel it and rearrange it.

Transcribing audio is hard work, but worth it, as I think readers have discovered.

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Complete Audio of Chris Watts' "Second Confession" [Includes Audio Subsections related to Specific Areas of the Crime]

LEE: I watched that video of you finding out Shan’ann was pregnant. You don’t sound excited. You seem like…kinda in shock-
WATTS: Scared? …It was insanely fast.
LEE: You just didn’t seem happy, like…
WATTS:…Maybe I felt guilty about…talking to Nikki at work…
It’s interesting how Lee and Coder copy Watts’ simplistic and casual way of talking and expressing herself, with Lee using the word “like” and Coder talking in a casual, disassociated way when referring to details of the murders, and Watts matching that with his own disassociated responses.

More: Watts Interview 02.18.19_Redacted

What's Wrong with the "Second Confession"? Fact vs Fiction Checklist

Claim #1: Chris Watts murdered his elder daughter after she witnessed him killing her mother.

Bella did not witness her mother’s murder.
Bella was dead before her mother’s murder.

Claim #2: It started with Shan’ann threatening to keep their children…

There were no arguments or conversations on Monday night or Tuesday morning, with the exception of a 111 minute phone call between Watts an Kessinger from approximately 21:00 to 23:00.

Claim #3: ….she learned of his affair…

Watts never admitted to the affair. He committed murder so that he didn’t have to admit to it, or confront her, and so that Kessinger wouldn’t find out about the pregnancy [either that Shan’ann was pregnant, or that he was the father, or both].

Claim #4: Bella reportedly spent her final moments begging her father to spare her life.

Bella did not “fight back” or beg. The injuries inflicted were in the process of forcing her little body through an 8-inch hatch, and then stomping on her to make sure she went all the way through.

Claim #5: Shan’ann had said something to the effect of, “well you’re not going to see the kids again.”

TCSR: This is true, but it wasn’t said on Monday morning. It came up for the first time in the Phone Data review on August 8th.

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On the same day Shan’ann declared to Cassie and Nickole [and in the same conversation about the house loan]:
It has been argued that Watts’ admission to killing Bella after she saw him kill her mother sounds genuine because he’s not trying to minimize what actually happened.
I would argue it is still minimizing. The way it is described in the media is that Bella “begged”. The way Watts probably told it likely very different. She simply said, “What are you doing to Mommy?” and then he quickly smothered her. That’s not begging.
All of this conforms to the classic “I just snapped” defense wormout. But semantics aside, what could be worse than Shan’ann freaking out, Watts killing her and then killing his child? What could possibly be worse?
A triple, premeditated murder – that’s what. A coldly calculated annihilation plotted and planned several days ahead of time and then coolly, almost casually executed when the time came. That is infinitely worse.

The "Second Confession": TCRS Breaks Down What We Know So Far

There’s a saying by English journalist Rudyard Kipling, author of Jungle Book, that goes:

“If you can keep your head while all about you are losing theirs…you’ll be a man, my son.”

Right now a lot of people are losing their heads [some are losing their minds too] on the Chris Watts case. After three months of virtual silence in the media, with the exception of the DA breaking its silence to have no comment on Kessinger’s first search for Shan’ann Watts in 2017 [December 10] and HLN’s recent publication of the doorbell footage [February 20], this “Second Confession” in March is the third major story.
It should be noted that our first peek at this story, and that’s all it really is – a glimpse – comes not from the Rzuceks [who are not terribly articulate] but through their lawyer Steven Lambert.

And it should also be noted that this isn’t a firsthand account, it’s either a second-hand account [meaning, Lambert was potentially in the room], or more likely a third or fourth hand account [via law enforcement, via the Rzuceks and then via Lambert].
We should also note that the media coverage at the moment is intended to sell a particular slot on a particular talk show. It plays like the teaser to a movie. In other words, it’s not exactly True Crime Rocket Science, it’s the tabloid shit that swills around cases like this.
The three screengrabs below are taken from a story published by the Daily Mail on March 5th. I’ve referred to the same story on the title page with some additional fact correction. It will be far more useful to deal with the police reports and analyze the audio, and that will likely be done exhaustively in a narrative [the audio is apparently 5 hours long].
But since we have what we have, let’s see what we can work with, and hopefully for those reading this who are also going to watch the show this evening, you guys can come back with a cogent sense of fact versus fiction still intact. Without further ado let’s unpack the coverage thus far.
1. A Fourth-hand Account
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Steven Lambert, apparently, will appear on the show, the Rzuceks family lawyer. A lot of what is going on right now is the lawyer trying to win a civil claim for damages on behalf of the victim’s family, or in common language “get as much money as he can for his clients [not forgetting himself]”. I remember very early on the media reporting that they were lodging a civil claim to prevent Watts from making money from the murders, for example through writing a book or selling his story. Well, that means the Rzuceks have virtually the exclusive rights to do that [make money telling and selling the story].
This strategy came to fruition recently as published on Inside Edition on February 19th.
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And here’s the story from November 27th, reporting on what happened 8 days earlier. Notice how the lawyer talks about “making millions”.
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The public should ask Dr. Phil how much he paid for this story, and evaluate the payment with the merits of what’s being peddled as “true” crime. Whatever your answer, that will give you some idea of the honesty and integrity of all the folks involved.
Now, back to the fourth-hand account. Let’s drill into the import of these claims:

It started with Shanann threatening to keep their children from him after she learned of his affair, and ended with the mom and both daughters dead.

Bella reportedly spent her final moments begging her father to spare her life. 

So if I understand English, the basic scenario here is a family argument? The family argument starts with Shan’ann threatening her husband, presumably to get him back after he confessed to her about the affair. But that’s not how it happened [just in the strict terms of this statement]. It started as Watts telling his wife of the affair, and then Shan’ann threatening to keep their children from them. And then [again this is outside the chronology of the way the paragraph is written] Bella begs for her life and then we’re left in suspense. Did he kill her right there?
So to simplify, this is the claim:
Watts confessed [to an affair].
Shan’ann threatened [to fight custody].
Bella begged [for her life].
Essentially these are three conversations or communications that end in a violence, brutal [to use the word in the article] triple murder. And yet no one hears a sound. When Watts tells his wife about the affair, does he whisper and Shan’ann whispers back? When Shan’ann threatens him, does she whisper? When Bella sees her mother dead, dying or murdered, does she beg for her life quietly?
We’ve also got an interesting flipping around of Watts’ original scenario. Remember how he came up stairs and caught Shan’ann strangling/smothering Ceecee? Now it’s Bella coming into the room and catching him doing it.
I don’t want to go into it into too much detail right here, but even the first contention is fucking preposterous. So…Chris Watts told Shan’ann he was having an affair? He just told her? Because that’s the kind of guy he is right? He’s a truth teller. Why would he tell her this at 02:00 or 04:00 in the morning when she’d had little or no sleep? Shan’ann didn’t want to wake him up and talk to him that night, although there was a lot she needed to talk about. And of the two, who was the more confrontational and talkative? So the idea that Watts told his wife the truth, and that’s what set the cat between the pigeons is patently ridiculous. But if you don’t know the people in this story you might think it makes perfect sense.
2. Not one fight, not one argument but two…
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So here we already have an adaptation of the first scenario, except it’s a double conversation. Fuck me, we’re running out of time! So was the first fight, making up and getting on really well in the first ten to fifteen minutes after Shan’ann arrived home? And that was also a quiet fight in which the children weren’t roused and the neighbors didn’t hear anything. What was that fight about?
Later on [an hour later, two hours later?] they get into a second fight and this time Watts confesses to the affair. At the same time he says he wants a divorce. Shan’ann tells him [I guess this is the “threatening”], “Well, you’re not going to see the kids again.” Like that, that’s how she says it. In other words, the conflagration that ends in triple murder starts off with Shan’ann calmly saying the word “well”. She says it.
Lambert then emphasizes that it was because of this “conversation” [he uses the word conversation] Watts strangles Shan’ann to death. That’s strange because they’d been texting for weeks about not being compatible and and possibly getting a divorce, and to him and to her friends Shan’ann didn’t mince words. Shan’ann wasn’t once to mince words. It was “fuck him” and “fuck that” but in spite of it, she was fighting to keep the marriage, and why wouldn’t she, she was pregnant. She couldn’t afford to raise the kids by herself, and he couldn’t afford to move out and live on his own either [and he knew it].
There are more sparks between Watts and his wife in their texts than in this silent night climax that leads to violent death. There are more sparks in a meltdown over nuts, than in an affair, divorce and murder.
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3. Bella walked in and asked…
We also get a silent re-examination of Bella’s last words. Now she’s not begging, now she simply asks [presumably in a soft voice that can barely be heard]: “What are you doing to Mommy?”
In the dozens upon dozens of videos, there are some where we can hear the children shouting. Bella was distressed about her sister not waking up, and probably missed her mother that night in particular, seeing as though they’d bonded over two weeks. And so in this scenario, she “asks” her father a question?
A real scenario involving a child witnessing the murder of their mother would sound like this:

And where was Rampage when all this silent ruckus was happening? Where was Deeter?

It’s classic that the Rzuceks decided to accept the plea deal out of mercy for Watts, and to spare themselves the discomfort and the spectacle of a trial, and then three months later, here they are celebrating and endorsing and passing on [essentially] this disclosure worth millions to the highest paying media about how their daughter and grand daughters were murdered. This is closure? Financial closure sure.
Ironically that was Watts’ motive too when he wanted to move on with his life.
There is something particularly troubling and psychopathic [not I word I often use] about this easy peasy, loosey goosey spinning of straw [dead bodies] into tabloid gold. If it was genuine justice, a true confession and actual contrition that would be one thing, but it isn’t. And look how many people are in on this ruse. The family. The lawyers. The media. We are all unthinking, unfeeling, unconscious monsters.
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Crime News – November 2018


November 30th, 2018

1. Full video: Chris Watts tells father and investigators about deaths of his wife and daughters

At 1:07:17 Watts is asked if one of his co-workers should go out and retrieve the bodies of his children from where he dumped them in two large fracking tanks. He answers, despairingly, “No, no, no, oh God, no…I can’t have that.” [Sobs].

Christopher Watts’ girlfriend didn’t see any “red flags” that foreshadowed the future murders – Times-Call


2. A photograph believed for more than 50 years to have been a portrait of a 13-year-old Vincent van Gogh is actually one of his brother Theo, aged 15. – the Guardian

See – not everything we know about the world’s most famous artist is true. And this is just the beginning.

November 29th, 2018

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1. Second Major Tranche of Video/Photos Download Link [Servers currently down].

Video of Chris Watts’ confession to his father released:

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Shanann Watts` parents file wrongful death lawsuit against Christopher Watts

Prosecutors release more videos, documents in Chris Watts murder case – Denver Channel

A total of 66 video files were released on Thursday, including the video of Watts loading his truck. See below.

Chris Watts FaceTimed His Mistress After Killing Wife and Daughters — and Seemed ‘Fixated’ on Her – People

Revealed: Killer dad Chris Watts played out ‘rape fantasy’ with woman he met on Tinder who says she was forced to fight him off after he tried an unwelcome sex act after Chik-fil-A date – Daily Mail

Audio of Nichol Kessinger August 16 Interview with the Cops



3. Willem Dafoe on Becoming Vincent  Van  Gogh: “You Want a Living Painting, Not a Museum Piece” – Hollywood Reporter

When preparing to play van Gogh, what research did you do?

I read biographies, of course. I had seen Lust for Life and the [Robert] Altman film [Vincent & Theo] years ago. But when you make something, you really want to forget those things. You can’t copy them. It’s the idea that to express what a work of art is you have to make another thing. There are parallels to what you learn in painting: It’s not about likeness.

Did anything you learned about him surprise you?

How steeped he was in a spiritual quest, which is usually short-handed as a kind of madness. He tried to be a man of God early in his life, so that was surprising to what extent he was always having a dialogue with his God through nature. For someone that was so socially awkward and had so much trouble communicating with people on a social level and famously had trouble with women, had trouble with physicality, intimacy, he was a very compassionate person. He felt distance from people, but he loved the soul of the worker. He talks much about how you have to live like a peasant to paint peasants.

What do you hope van Gogh would think of the movie?

I can’t even think about that. Who knows?

November 28th, 2018

1. Chris Watts’ Mistress Googled ‘Did People Hate Amber Frey?’ — Referencing Scott Peterson’s Lover – People

Kessinger also wanted to know about the book deal Amber Frey got, and how much money she made.

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2. About 137 women killed by someone they knew every day in 2017: UN report

3. Officials release video from gender reveal party that ignited a 47,000-acre wildfire – CNN

November 27th, 2018

1. Chris Watts’ 2nd Face: New Mugshot Released

Chris Watts’ tender last act towards kids revealed before he slaughtered them – The Mirror

Huge 3 terabyte tranche of photos, video on Watts case to be released in days.

2. Why Do Filmmakers Love van Gogh? – The New Yorker

November 26th, 2018

1. Casey Anthony’s father seriously injured in crash, authorities say – ajc

George Anthony seriously injured in I-4 crash, FHP says – wftv

2. Police re-examine theory Madeleine McCann wandered out of hotel to look for parents – nzherald

3. Rohde’s daughters fearing for their own future – report – TimesLive

4. ‘Making a Murderer’ Star Brendan Dassey’s Brother Thinks Barb Tadych ‘Knows More Than She’s Telling’ – The Blast

Something very wrong with those words: Making a Murderer Star…

November 25th, 2018

1. Text messages reveal weeks before Colorado man murdered pregnant wife, daughters – wsbtv

Chris Watts case: Text messages reveal days before Colorado mom, daughters found dead – ajc

Shanann Watts’ texts reveal crumbling marriage – kdvr

Chris Watts’ wife had been planning a romantic getaway to try and save her marriage before she was murdered – Daily Mail


The report then printed the entirety of the words to the Master of Puppets track, which begins, “Lashing out the action / Returning the reaction / Weak are ripped and torn away / Hypnotizing power / Crushing all that cower / Battery is here to stay / Smashing through the boundaries / Lunacy has found me / Cannot stop the battery / Pounding out aggression / Turns into obsession.”

Watts, 33, strangled Shanann Watts, 34, and smothered their daughters, 4-year-old Bella and 3-year-old Celeste before sunrise in their home in Frederick, Colo. He then disposed of the bodies at the oil and gas company where he worked.

Note: in the oil and gas industry a “battery” refers to an installation of identical or nearly identical pieces of equipment (such as a tank battery or a battery of meters).

2. OJ Simpson is spotted spending Thanksgiving on the Florida beach – Daily Mail

The Nevada Department of Corrections granted OJ an out of state travel permit for November 17 to 24, which means he’ll have to return to Nevada by Sunday, the Tampa Bay Times reported.

“While in Florida, Mr. Simpson is required to adhere to his parole conditions and remain in contact with his parole officer in Nevada,” Florida Department of Corrections spokesman Patrick Manderfield told the newspaper.

 Among the conditions of Simpson’s parole are that he not drink alcohol “to excess,” he said. However, that didn’t to stop Simpson from drinking what appeared to be a tropical cocktail garnished with a lime and strawberry while strolling on the beach Friday. 

Dressed casually in athletic gear and a sun visor, OJ dined with his children and others in the group on a busy outdoor terrace overlooking a marina.

November 24th, 2018

1. Chris Watts took daughters to a party, fed them pizza and tucked them into bed before murdering them and their mum – The Sun

Perfect illusion: How young mum’s Instagram fairytale turned deadly –

Chris Watts ‘Giggled’ as Agents Pushed for a Murder Confession — and Failed a Polygraph Test – People

Chris Watts confessed to dumping bodies in a ‘freakin’ oil tank’ – New York Post

The Colorado man who butchered his pregnant wife and two toddler daughters told police he was “not a good man” as he confessed to coldly dumping their bodies in a “freakin’ oil tank,” according to documents released this week.

Notes from interviews released Wednesday by the Weld County District Attorney’s Office show how investigators got Christopher Watts, who was sentenced to life in prison last week for the heinous killings, to confess after he failed a polygraph test.

For two days, Watts, 33, maintained that he had no clue what happened to his wife Shanann, 34, and their two daughters, after they went missing on Aug. 13.

He told investigators he missed reading to Celeste, 3, and Bella, 4, and that it was difficult to be at home without them, the documents, posted by The Denver Post show.

When the interviewer, at one point, asked Watts to describe all the ways a person could make someone disappear, the Watts gave a short answer — and then giggled.

In a polygraph test, Watts didn’t tell the truth each time he answered “no” to whether he physically caused his wife to disappear, if he was lying about the last time he saw her, and whether he knew where Shanann was.

Later, Watts admitted he was having an affair with a woman named Nichol Kessinger, the documents show. Investigators told him to be honest and “get everything off his chest.” That’s when Watts asked to speak to his father, Ronnie Watts, who was in the police department lobby.

How police got Christopher Watts to confess to killing his wife after he failed a polygraph – Denver Post 

Christopher Watts failed a polygraph test before investigators were able to pressure him into confessing that he killed his pregnant wife and hid her body, as well as those of his two young daughters.

“She hurt them…And then I… hurt her.”

‘He has changed:’ Texts show the relationship between Chris Watts and wife before he killed his family – wgntv


2. ‘He’s holding up well,’ says Rohde’s lawyer as daughters prepare to plead for leniency – TimesLive

#JasonRohde: Report reveals children’s heartbreak – Weekend Argus

Jason Rohde won’t testify for lesser sentence, but his daughters might – News24


Rohde’s pleas to see wife’s diary ‘ignored by state’ – TimesLive

3. Internal documents Facebook has fought to keep private obtained by UK Parliament – CNN

November 22nd, 2018

1. Discovery Documents [REDACTED] 1960 Pages

First picture of Chris Watts and Nichol Kessinger together emerges.

0_Nichol-Kessinger-with-Chris-WattsLengthy documents detail marital problems, affair in Chris Watts murder case – 9News

Chris Watts case: Over 2,000 pages of documents released in Frederick murder case – Denver Channel

DA Releases 2,000+ Pages In Chris Watts Murder Case, Revealing Texts With Wife – CBS Local

fullscreen-capture-20180818-111856-0011Hold up, is that a SCRATCH on Chris Watts’ neck?

November 21st, 2018

1. Venus Williams reaches settlement in fatal traffic accident – AFP

The article should read “unknown” settlement:

Venus Williams has reached a settlement with the estate of a man who died in a traffic collision in Florida with a car driven by the tennis star. The family of 78-year-old Jerome Barson filed a wrongful death suit against Williams following the June 2017 crash in Palm Beach, Florida. No charges were filed by police against Williams or the driver of the other car over the accident.

The settlement reached last week does not reveal any of the terms of the agreement other than a stipulation that both parties will pay their own attorneys’ fees. Barson’s wife was driving and he was in the passenger seat when the collision occurred with the car driven by Williams.

Barson suffered severe injuries and died two weeks later.

Effectively Williams – a multimillionaire – has been fighting this suit for over a year. Against the family of a 78-year-old man she wrongly killed because she crashed into him.

2. Not much happened today at the Rohde sentencing, besides admin and a postponement. Methinks it wasn’t a good time to disrupt the matric exams of his daughters, which is fair enough, but then why not simply say so.

3. ‘At Eternity’s Gate’ star, Willem Dafoe, says ‘history lied’ about Van Gogh – iol

Yes it did, but Eternity’s Gate didn’t get it right either.

4. Cyclist rides to nearby doctor with knife stuck to his skull after attack – News24

After the attack he got back on his bike – with the knife still stuck in his skull – and rode to a doctor in nearby Strand.

A receptionist at the doctor, who wants to remain anonymous, confirmed the incident to YOU. She said the cyclist has since been admitted to a hospital in Cape Town where emergency surgery was to be performed.

It’s the second attack on a cyclist in less than a week on the same 3km stretch of road between Gordon’s Bay and Strand.


November 20th, 2018

1. He killed his wife and daughters ‘for a fresh start,’ a prosecutor said. He’ll spend the rest of his life in prison – Washington Post

But neither prosecutors nor the surviving relatives of Shanann, Bella and Celeste Watts who spoke at Monday’s hearing expected to ever understand how “a seemingly normal person [could] annihilate his entire family” and then methodically cover his tracks, as Weld County District Attorney Michael Rourke put it.

“You buried my daughter Shanann in a shallow grave, and then you put Bella and Celeste in huge containers with crude oil, you heartless monster,” Frank Rzucek told the court as his son-in-law sat behind him clenching and unclenching his jaw, having already pleaded guilty to the murders.

On Monday, Rourke described how surveillance cameras showed Watts going back and forth between the house and his pickup in the darkness that morning — loading up the corpses before he drove to a company oil field “to secrete away his family in a place he hoped they’d never be found.”

He dug a hole for Shanann and stuffed each of his daughters into a separate tank full of crude oil. Bella had to be shoved through the eight-inch hatch, Rourke said, leaving a tuft of blond hair on the side that investigators in hazmat suits would later discover.

And when he had done all that, Rourke said, Watts contacted a real estate agent to put the house on the market.

‘Devastated’ and ‘Sincerely Sorry’: What Family Murderer Chris Watts Had to Say as He Was Sentenced – People

“Mr. Watts has asked us to share this morning that he is devastated by all of this,” his public defender told the court on Monday morning in Weld County, Colorado, two weeks after he pleaded guilty to his charges.

“Although he understands that words are hollow at this point, he is sincerely sorry for all of this,” his attorney said.

Asked by the judge if he wanted to make a statement himself, Chris, 33, declined.

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Chris’ motive “was simple,” Rourke said. “He had a desire for a fresh start, to begin a new relationship with a new love.” (Police have said Chris was cheating on Shan’ann with a co-worker when he murdered her.)

Rourke also described the “stark contrast,” in the lead up to the homicides, between Shan’ann’s efforts to save her marriage and Chris’ disinterest.

“None of this answers the question of why, however,” he said. “If [Chris] was this unhappy and wanted a new start, get a divorce. You don’t annihilate your family and throw them away like garbage.”


2. Rohde daughters set to testify at killer dad’s sentencing proceedings – iol

“We love you dad, we know you are innocent and we want to testify for you.”

This was the message Jason Rohde’s twin daughters sent their father via a family member after receiving the news that he had been found guilty of murdering their mother at Spier Hotel in 2016.

Rohde’s 18-year-old daughters Josie and Alexandra, who are writing matric exams at Diocesan School for Girls in Grahamstown, heard about their father’s fate as they walked into their Afrikaans exam.

The Rohde sentencing hearing is on November 21.

3. Who is Christopher Robinson? Amanda Knox’s fiance and novelist – The Sun

4. He claims he’s America’s deadliest serial killer with 90 victims. Police believe him– Washington Post

In September 2014, Samuel Little was convicted in Los Angeles of the cold-case murders of three women between 1987 and 1989. DNA evidence linked Little — also known as Samuel McDowell — to the slayings. He was given three life sentences, the Los Angeles Times reported at the time.

But last summer, Little’s DNA also connected him to the unsolved 1994 murder of an Odessa, Tex., woman named Denise Christie Brothers — another young woman strangled and dumped. In July, Little was indicted on a charge of the crime, and transferred to Texas. According to a release from the Ector County District Attorney’s Office, a Texas Ranger named James Holland struck up a rapport with Little, and the elderly man began talking.

“People for years have been trying to get a confession out of him and James Holland is the one who finally got him to give that information,” Bobby Bland, the Ector County district attorney, told the Associated Press.

His words delivered a shock. Little claimed he was responsible for more than 90 murders nationwide between 1970 and 2013. If the those numbers prove true, the serial killer’s run would be historic.

“If all of these are confirmed, I mean, he’ll be the most prolific serial killer, with confirmed killings, in American history,” Bland said

5. Chinese marathon runner loses race after being handed national flag – CNN

Did athlete He Yinli commit a crime by tossing aside the Chinese flag in public? Or was the the weather to blame for it slipping out of her hand?

6. Willem Dafoe: ‘With success come certain things that corrupt you’

“I’m not down with the idea of the poor unknown artist is the true artist,” he sighs. “But I do think that with success comes certain things that can corrupt you. That’s the oldest story in the book and I think you just have to be careful.”

“Actors are famously inarticulate about what we do because it’s mysterious work. Any time you really try to describe it, buzzers and lights go off in my head because of the lie-lie-lie-bullshit-bullshit- bullshit,” says Dafoe.


November 19th, 2018

1. District Attorney Reveals Chris Watts’ Motive – The Coloradoan

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Weld County District Attorney, Coroner, Cops Host 37-minute News Conference after Chris Watts Sentencing

Shan’ann, Bella and Celeste Watts 25 Page Autopsy Report

Chris Watts sentenced to life for ‘inhumane’ killings of two daughters and pregnant wife – CNN

Before learning he would never walk out of prison Monday, Chris Watts sat at the defense table, head down and leg bobbing, as his mother told him she loved him and his slain wife’s family called him a monster.

Calling it perhaps “the most inhumane and vicious crime that I have handled out of the thousands of cases that I have seen,” Judge Marcelo Kopcow handed down five life sentences — three consecutive and two concurrent — with no possibility of parole, in the deaths of Watts’ daughters and pregnant wife.

Watts Sentencing: Live Coverage and Analysis [Updated throughout the day]

Live at 10AM: Christopher Watts to be sentenced in deaths of pregnant wife, young daughters

Chris Watts Case: ‘Partial Motive,’ Autopsy Results to Be Announced After Sentencing

What We Still Don’t Know About the Watts Family Murders — and When We’ll Know It

2. Fresh hope in Madeleine McCann search as police pursue two vital new leads – The Mirror

November 18th, 2018

1. Watts family murders: Chris Watts scheduled to be sentenced Monday – Denver Channel

The headline of the article below oozes bias doesn’t it? Technically it’s true, of course, but is really true that she’s going to attend court just to say that?

Report: Chris Watts’ mother will tell court he was capable of killing wife

Rourke said that investigators never believed that Watts was being entirely truthful.

“The spotlight that he tried to shine on Shanann — falsely, incorrectly and frankly a flat-out lie — has been corrected,” Rourke said. “The spotlight shines directly where it belongs: On him.”

2. Madeleine McCann’s parents post messages of ‘hope’ in face of anger after £150k cash boost – The Sun


3. Want to know why you can’t trust the MSM for true crime news? Because of garbage fluff pieces like this:

Making A Murderer: 19 pieces of evidence Steven Avery’s defence say PROVES his innocence – The Express

4. A portrait of Vincent van Gogh as a tormented soul – Washington Post

God, it’s beautiful. The world I mean. Sunlight. Sunflowers. The faces of old women. Gnarled hands. Night skies. Cypresses in the wind. The world as Vincent van Gogh saw it.

A new film by Julian Schnabel, “At Eternity’s Gate,” with Willem Dafoe playing the man we refer to, by common consent, as “poor Vincent,” captures this beauty. It’s an understated, yet insinuating and ultimately stunning work, one of the most credible and convincing artist biopics ever made.

Well actually, it’s not. And if you think the story of Vincent van Gogh doesn’t qualify as true crime, well, how about this:

In December 1788 when he lost his ear, Vincent van Gogh was found almost dead in his room, lying in a blood-soaked bed. Initially people thought he was dead because he’d almost bled to death. Hours later his housemate, fellow artist Paul Gauguin was on a train from Arles to Paris [fleeing the scene?] When he wrote to Vincent he asked him to send his fencing equipment, which he’d left behind in his haste to leave the scene. Vincent said he wasn’t ready to face those “weapons”.

The circumstances around Vincent’s death are even more appropriate to true crime – a gun that was never found, a trajectory [through the abdomen] that made no sense, and a suicidal man who wanted a doctor. If you want the real “biopic”, read The Murder of Vincent van Gogh.

November 17th, 2018

1. Chris Watts’ parents given permission to speak during son’s Monday sentencing in murder case – Denver Channel

The parents of Chris Watts will get the opportunity to provide victim impact statements at their son’s sentencing hearing Monday but their attorney will not be allowed to address the court, the judge in the case ruled on Thursday.

Extended Interview: Cindy Watts, Chris Watts’ mother, questions son’s plea deal – 9News

2. CIA concludes Saudi crown prince ordered Jamal Khashoggi’s death, official says – CNN


3. Mother Of Missing Girl Slams Extra Funding Given To Madeleine McCann Case –

4. Meredith Kercher murder house in Italy goes on sale for £260k – Mirror

Amanda Knox is engaged to longtime boyfriend after sci-fi-themed proposal – CNN

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5. Twitter users react to Oscar Pistorius’s temporary release from prison – All4Women

November 16th, 2018

1. Death penalty expert: Weld County DA made right choice in Chris Watts case

Chris Watts is scheduled to be sentenced Monday in Weld County District Court.

By not pursuing the death penalty, Rourke saved the family of Shanann Watts years spent wrapped up in the criminal justice system, as well as millions of dollars for taxpayers, according to Michael Radelet, a professor of sociology at the University of Colorado and author of “The History of the Death Penalty in Colorado.”

“Even if Mr. Watts would have been executed, it still would not have repaired the damage he did to those three people and their families,” Radelet said.

In Colorado, one person has been executed in the last 50 years in the state, according to Radelet. For homicides committed in the 2000s, he said there have been two dozen death penalty prosecutions, but only two have resulted in death sentences. A third case is still pending, and the rest resulted in life sentences or less.

“So it’s not a very good hit record,” Radelet said. Once someone is sentenced, he said they should expect to be on death row for at least 20 years before they are executed.

Of the two death row inmates in Colorado, one was sentenced in 2008 and the other was sentenced in 2010. Those convictions are still being examined by trial courts, Radelet said, and may still face appeal.

While it’s possible Rourke could have won the death penalty in this case, it’s becoming increasingly difficult across the state and nation to even fill a jury for death penalty cases. Prospective jurors are asked if they support the death penalty, and Radelet said about 50 percent of people in the country are against it when given the option of life without parole.

“That’s part of why death penalty trials are so timely and so costly,” Radelet said.

Stan Garnett, former Boulder County District Attorney and an attorney at Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck in Denver, also said there are benefits to avoiding a trial in cases like this. If the prosecution can secure a sentencing agreement of life imprisonment without parole, it saves taxpayer money and is easier on the victims’ families.

“I think it’s a just result to an incredibly tragic case, where three people lost their lives and it’s awful,” Garnett said.

Chris Watts’ mystery mistress breaks her silence

At 19:16 on November 15th, and updated later at 21:36, the Denver Post published an exclusive interview with Nichol Kessinger. In the interview she claimed she co-operated with the cops virtually from the get-go. It’s likely Kessinger’s assistance [which Watts would have felt as a stinging betrayal] is what led to his swift arrest and initial “confession”.

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Throughout the two-month-long affair, Kessinger claims she believed Watts was going through the final stages of a divorce, and had no idea she was pregnant.

Did Nichol Kessinger really not know Chris Watts was about to be a father for the third time?


2. What Facebook knew and tried to hide

Democrats Should Un-Friend Facebook

Delay, Deny and Deflect: How Facebook’s Leaders Fought Through Crisis


3. In another betrayal, North Korea tests another missile as a veiled message to the US

November 15th, 2018

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1. Did Prosecutors Screw Up the Chris Watts Case by Leaving Him Room to Wiggle Out of Guilty Plea? –

Weld County District Attorney Michael Rourke has been clear that Chris Watts thus far has only provided a “partial motive”.

There are some odd things about the circumstances surrounding the plea deal Chris Watts struck with prosecutors, according to Law&Crime Network host and former Morris County, N.J. head prosecutor Bob Bianchi. Circumstances that he would never have allowed to happen under his watch.

“What I do find to be unusual in this case … is that I would have required a proffer session with the defendant, where he would have sat down in order to be spared the death penalty,” Bianchi said. “He would have spilled the beans on everything, from A to Z, we would have known what the motive is, which we don’t know right now, and he would have clearly allocuted in court, got up and said this is why I did it.”


2. Sturgill Simpson’s Conversation With Damien Echols: 8 Things We Learned – Rolling Stone

No one loves Damien Echols more than Damien Echols. But he seems to have a few high-profile celebrity fans blowing his horn. Sturgill Simpson is one of a long list of celebrity schmucks singing the praises of the murder-made-me-famous-and-now-I-write-about-it true crime celebrity.

The discussion, held last week at Unity of Nashville, a church on the outskirts of Music City, was part of the Nashville Public Library’s Salon@615 series. (Echols will sit for two more conversations in the coming days: one with the Dixie Chicks’ Natalie Maines in L.A. on November 15th; another with Eddie Vedder in Seattle on November 19th.)

“I would say roughly 99 percent of the people on this planet, if they had to endure your life experience, most of us 1) would not have survived, and 2) would not have [come out of it] with your outlook on the world and life in general, [which] has been pretty inspiring and humbling, just for me as an individual,” Simpson told Echols, who explained how he used mediation and magick to flush from his soul the anger, pain and bitterness over being a victim of gross injustice. As defined in Echols’ book, magick is “an amalgam of Gnostic Christianity, esoteric Judaism, Taoist energy practices, and often forms of divination such as the Tarot or the I Ching. … Spelled with a k to differentiate it from parlor tricks and illusions you see on the stage.”

“You are invoking elemental, astrological and planetary energies into yourself, into your energy system, over and over and over, sometimes for hours a day,” the author said of the magickal practices he credits with saving his life, while distinguishing them from the dark arts and occultist negative connotations of the word’s traditional spelling that Arkansas prosecutors used to persecute him in a kangaroo court nearly 25 years ago.

“People will come up to me and they’ll talk to me, and I’m smiling and it seems like we’re having this interaction and I’m engaged,” said Echols. “And people are like, ‘Oh yeah, he was really in tune to what I was saying.’ When that person walks away from me, I couldn’t tell you one single thing they said to me, because I go on autopilot, and I’m doing everything I can to keep my shit together.”

Jodi Arias Appeal


A new 100-page inmate file for convicted killer Jodi Arias, reveals that she has thrown a fit over a haircut and complained about receiving death threats while behind bars.

In 2015, while conducting a mail scan, a corrections official found a letter addressed to Arias that…said that a person “and a female accomplice have stated that they are going to put funds on the books of some inmate there so that the inmate can do harm to you.” according to 12 News.

In another incident, Arias told an officer that an inmate threatened her, reportedly telling her, “I’m going to [expletive] kill you [expletive] the same way you killed [redacted name].”

Arias has reportedly complained about several threats and has asked the prison to transfer her for safety. Still, the convicted killer seems to be finding ways to communicate with the outside world.

During one phone call, Arias reportedly told a friend to tweet for her so that she could effectively complain about an alleged lack of hot water at the prison for several days.

4. Madeleine McCann investigation receives more funding

Police investigating the disappearance of Madeleine McCann have received a further £150,000 in government funding.

Madeleine was three when she was last seen while on holiday with her parents in Praia da Luz, Portugal, in May 2007. The Metropolitan Police launched its inquiry in 2011 after a Portuguese investigation failed to make headway.

A total of £11.75m has been spent on Operation Grange to date. The new funding is for the six-month period until 31 March next year. Detectives have been applying to the Home Office every six months for a grant to continue their work.

November 14th, 2018


1. ‘Making a Murderer’: Nancy Grace Details Why Steven Avery is Guilty (Q&A) – Hollywood reporter

This whole interview makes for excellent reading, but the part that resonated the most was Nancy Grace saying her views in true crime – including of the Avery case – have nothing to with ratings or popularity.

You’ve gone out on a limb on a lot of cases. Are you taking more heat on this one than other ones?

(Laughs.) Gee, that’s kind of hard to compare. What’s hotter: a white flame or a blue flame? I don’t know. They both burn, let me put it like that. Yes, it’s hurtful. Of course it’s hurtful. I’m not a robot. I don’t have a dog in this fight. I don’t have any skin in the game. My deal with HLN doesn’t have anything to do with ratings. I don’t think that’s right for what I do. I’m not going to get a big bump in pay or raise or a promotion if I get 5,000 more viewers. My paycheck remains the same if I get a ton of viewers or very few viewers on a night. The reason I am speaking out is that I have been on the Halbach case since the get-go, when it was just a missing person. And I remember talking to Steven Avery about where she was. And I can remember the moment. I knew right then that he was lying. And if he was lying, then he killed her.

2. TCRS publishes TWO FACE TWO POLLYANNAS, the 3rd book in the groundbreaking series on the Watts Family Murders.

3. Chris Watts’ Parents Claim Son Was in Abusive Relationship with Wife He Admitted Murdering – PEOPLE

“It was a very hard relationship…I couldn’t do anything right.” – Cindy Watts

Families of Shanann Watts, Christopher Watts trade words – KDVR

This article by KDVR provides some cogent analysis for how and why a plea can be rescinded.

Defense attorney Harvey Steinberg said there is a way to withdraw a plea before sentencing, but does not believe it will happen in this case.

“Remember the mother is not in a position to withdraw the plea,” Steinberg said. “The mother can scream and yell and do everything she wants. Maybe it’s appropriate, maybe it’s not, but ultimately it’s his decision after sitting and talking to his lawyers.

“There is a rule, rule 32 allows the withdraw of plea prior to sentencing if there is a fair and just reason.I don’t know what the fair and just reason is here. So do I think there is a likelihood that any judge would allow him to withdraw the plea? The answer is no.” 

More than 3 months after her murder, the mainstream media still don’t know how to spell Shan’ann’s name:

Chris Watts filed an objection through his attorneys against expanded media coverage.

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But Judge Kopcow has denied the request, meaning expanded media coverage has been provisionally granted for Monday’s sentencing hearing:

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November 13th, 2018

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1. Six days after the dodgy plea deal last week, Chris Watts’ parents have broken their silence, and are taking the media into their confidence. At least three separate stations have reported on their side of the story in the past 12 hours.

“It was a very hard relationship,” said Cindy Watts, Chris’ mother. “It was a very hard relationship (with Shanann) as far as I’m concerned. I couldn’t do anything right.” – ABC13

“I want to stop it before it’s too late. I want to talk to him. I want to be able to talk to him. I love my son no matter what and I want to fight for him, and I don’t want him to go down for something he didn’t do.” – Ronnie Watts, Chris Watts father []


Chris Watts’ parents break their silence after son’s guilty plea in murder of wife, daughters – Denver Channel

“There’s a whole lot of unanswered questions about the case. Everything happened too quick there, from a case status to a plea. – Ronnie Watts

“It has been so overwhelming. And I feel like I have to do something to help my son. I just need to do something. If he’s not going to fight, I’m going to fight for him.” – Cindy Watts

Chris Watts’ folks are right. Everything has been rushed and Chris Watts has been thrown under the bus, legally speaking. No matter how guilty, everyone has the right to trial.

2. Damien Echols discusses “High Magick” – Boulder Daily Camera

Echols’ book tour continues.

Damien Echols will speak about and sign his new book, “High Magick: A Guide to the Spiritual Practices That Saved My Life on Death Row.” He will be in conversation with Tami Simon for this special event; 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Boulder Book Store, 1107 Pearl St., Boulder; $5

In my view the High Magick that saved his life was the same magic that cost the lives of Steve Branch, Michael Moore, and Christopher Byers.

West Memphis Three

3. ‘Cruel, vengeful, vicious’ – life sentences for Hannah Cornelius’ murderers – News24

During emotional pre-sentencing proceedings last week, Cornelius’ father Willem appealed to Judge Allie to impose a sentence on the accused “which will at the very least prevent other parents from going through what we have gone through”.

His family had been ripped apart by what happened in the early hours of that winter morning. His wife, Anna Cornelius, drowned in March. Her body was found along the shores of Scarborough, less than a year after Hannah’s murder. Over a year after her death, Hannah’s younger brother, who is autistic, still asks his father when his sister is coming home from holiday.

“Me and my son are not a family – we are the survivors who live in the ruins of what once was.”

4. Boeing withheld info on model of plane involved in Indonesia crash – WSJ

According to CNN:

“What seems to have happened here is that a new version or a modified anti-stall capacity was added which pushes the nose down automatically. If it’s true, it is beyond comprehension that Boeing did not tell the airline and pilots about this,” said CNN aviation correspondent Richard Quest.

He added that if the WSJ report is confirmed, the matter will be one for aviation regulators to take up, rather than individual airlines.

“The issue is how much information to give the pilots about the systems on board so they can respond in an emergency,” Quest said, adding that pilots are often overloaded with readouts and signals from multiple devices and monitors that can risk distracting them at the worst possible moment.

November 12th, 2018

1. Strawberry needle contamination: Accused woman motivated by spite, court hears – ABC

Strawberry needle scare: Woman allegedly spiked punnets for revenge – CNN

Whenever there is a mass shooting in America, the same chorus erupts: why? What’s the motive? The motive is unknown. When it comes to mass murder, or attempted mass murder, the motive is NEVER unknown. Mass murder is an attempt to settle a score with the world, with society, for a perceived injustice. We miss this because we transfer our sense of “all is right with the world” onto the perpetrator, and hence their motive is a mystery to us.

The real source of these negative feelings however, and thus potentially the source of the solution to mass killings, is humiliation. See below:

A 50-year-old woman sabotaged Australian supermarket strawberries with sewing needles in an alleged act of workplace revenge, prosecutors told a Brisbane court Monday.

My Ut Trinh has been charged with seven counts of contamination of goods and faces up to 10 years in jail if convicted. Trinh’s arrest Sunday followed at least 100 reported cases of sewing needles or pins found in strawberries across the country earlier this year, sparking nationwide panic. Metal was also found in a banana, an apple and a mango, which the government believed to be isolated “copycat” cases or hoaxes.

Trinh is reportedly a former supervisor at the Berrylicious and Berry Obsession farm in Wamuran, north of Brisbane. Police will allege she felt mistreated by colleagues and had spoken to coworkers about taking revenge, according to CNN affiliate Nine News.


2. Adam Lanza Threatened Sandy Hook Killings Years Earlier, Records Show – New York Times [2017]

This is not new, but worth remembering.

Four years before Adam Lanza massacred more than two dozen people in Newtown, Conn., in 2012, police officials were warned of his homicidal plans, according to documents released by the F.B.I. this week.

In one entry dated Dec. 26, 2012, 12 days after the shooting, a man said he had been privy to a conversation in which Mr. Lanza said he had an assault weapon and was planning to kill children at Sandy Hook Elementary School and his mother.

What this shows is that, far from being a huge mystery, mass shootings are predictable and preventable. Social media is often used nowadays to express feelings of threat. Weapons and combat gear are posted online. Aggressive messages and/role-plays acted out on YouTube or Facebook. The question is whether society takes any notice of these early warnings, and when we don’t, why not?

November 10th, 2018


1. McCanns challenge UK High Court over press inquiry – The Portugal News Online

The British Government’s decision not to go ahead with the second part of the Leveson Inquiry into press standards and regulation is being challenged at the High Court by a group that includes Kate and Gerry McCann.

The second inquiry was due to look into unlawful conduct within media organisations as well as relations between police and the press. The McCanns complained of press intrusion into their lives after their daughter Madeleine went missing on holiday in Portugal in 2007.

Two inquiries were expected when back in 2011, and in response to a wave of public anger over alleged phone-hacking by the now-defunct News Of The World, former British Prime Minister David Cameron said that it would be divided into two parts.
In related news, it has emerged that Kate and Gerry McCann have opened legal proceedings at the European Court of Human Rights in a bid to have a book by a former Portuguese PJ detective shelved.

According to the couple, the book and subsequent DVD has earned Gonçalo Amaral close to €400,000. Demand for the book has seen it translated into several languages with 180,000 put into print.

This comes after the Portuguese Supreme Court last year rejected yet another appeal by Kate and Gerry McCann to overturn an earlier ruling in favour of former PJ police inspector Gonçalo Amaral.

A lower court had ruled in 2015 that Amaral pay the parents of Madeleine McCann 500,000 euros for damage caused by his book. 
But since then, three successive court rulings have found in favour of the former Portuguese detective. 


2. Robert Durst Pleads Not Guilty in Friend’s Benedict Canyon Slaying – NBC/Los Angeles

Durst is due back in a Los Angeles courtroom Jan. 14 for a pretrial hearing.

During final arguments at the conclusion of a preliminary hearing that spanned several weeks, defense attorney David Chesnoff said last month the prosecution’s theory that Durst killed Berman while he was lying in wait was illogical, telling the judge the allegation was “very weak.” He also noted there were no fingerprints, DNA, blood, eyewitnesses or hair samples linking his client to the crime.

But Deputy District Attorney John Lewin argued that Durst was “responsible” for his wife’s death in 1982. He called Durst an “egomaniac” who has done what he wants his entire life.

3. America’s easy access to guns is enabling all these mass shootings, It’s the guns. The guns are the problem – Vox


I used to believe guns were the problem, and guns are the solution to America’s mass shooting epidemic. Then I researched and wrote SLAUGHTER. I didn’t expect to have my own views shifted as much as they were, but what I discovered was gun control are part of the solution, but they’re not the source of the problem. Guns enable the underlying pathology.

4. Jason Rohde found guilty of murdering his wife – News24

The Rohde case means quite a lot to me. For one I sat in on some of the trial, and covered almost all of the defense case. For another, I saw the autopsy and crime scene photos, and remain troubled by them to this day.

I also had a brief one-on-one encounter with the accused [now convicted], and his family, and had unusual access to the prosecutor.

My book on Rohde is still in progress. Depending on how the Watts case goes, Indefensible may be available later this year or early 2019.

November 8th, 2018

1. New York real estate heir Robert Durst set to stand trial – 9News

The arraignment is set for tomorrow.

2. Jason Rohde faces Judgment Day for alleged murder of wife – News24

Frankly I’m surprised Judge Salie-Hlophe is pronouncing judgment after two long, straight days of closing arguments. She’s either made up her mind even before the arguments began and were submitted, or the one argument was simply a lot more compelling than the other [and perhaps it’s both].

TCRS verdict: Guilty. Also guilty of defeating the ends of justice.

However the female Judge clearly gave the prosecutor a much harder time during his closing argument. During the Van Breda trial Judge Desai was very argumentative with the defense throughout, and also in the closing arguments. And we know how that went.

Incidentally the SCA has just denied Van Breda’s application for leave to appeal his verdict and sentence.

Throughout the Rohde trial Salie-Hlophe appears to have been more benign [if that’s the word] to the handsome prosecutor, and the sword-crossing with Van der Spuy was epic at times. That said, the challenging and interrogation of the state’s case on Tuesday led me to post this:

UPDATE: Rohde found guilty on all charges.

Read the TCRS livestream updates at this link.

3. TWO FACE  just made the top 10 of Amazon’s Bestselling Hoaxes & Deceptions Category for the first time. On the same day the 25th review is posted for an overall reviewer rating of 3.5 out of 5.

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November 7th, 2018

1. Chris Watts of Colorado Pleads Guilty to Murdering Pregnant Wife and 2 Daughters – New York Times

A sentencing hearing is scheduled for Nov. 19.

[Get live midterm election analysis and real-time results.]

The Colorado public defender’s office, which was appointed to represent Mr. Watts, did not respond to a request for comment Tuesday.

Mr. Rourke, the district attorney, said investigators did not know if they would ever get a full and accurate statement from Mr. Watts. But he said: “The spotlight that he tried to shine on Shanann, falsely, incorrectly and frankly a flat-out lie, has been corrected.

“The spotlight shines directly where it belongs — on him.”

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Look out for Why did Chris Watts take the plea deal? publishing on TCRS in the next few hours.

2. The Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) has rejected convicted murderer Henri van Breda’s leave to appeal his judgment and conviction – EWN

3. The Jason Rohde trial continues today with closing arguments for the defense.

The closing will be livestreamed and TCRS will be livetweeting coverage and analysis.

3. Big questions we still have after binge-watching Making a Murderer Part 2 -DigitalSpy

November 6th, 2018

Two high-profile hearings are being held today. One, kicking off the Watts criminal trial [unless there’s a plea deal which will do the opposite and end the prospect of a criminal trial], and the other the closing arguments in the very long Jason Rohde case.

In July 2016 Rohde – a millionaire CEO of a large realty group – was accused of murdering his wife during a business conference at the Spier hotel. He claimed his wife committed suicide after he told her he wanted a divorce.

TCRS will be actively covering the court proceedings of both throughout the day. Keep tabs on these hashtags:

#Rohde and #ChrisWatts #ChrisWattsHearing

Follow the #tcrs coverage on Twitter @HiRezLife.

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1. Are status conferences usually not televised? There won’t be any expanded media coverage [that’s television and livestreaming] from inside Weld County Court during today’s Chris Watts hearing. There will be coverage, including Livetweeting and analysis at TCRS. Fullscreen capture 20181106 065201

2. Complaint against Jodi Arias prosecutor Juan Martinez can advance, discipline committee says – AZ Central


One of his alleged lovers, a social-media blogger, bragged to at least two others that she helped Martinez dig up negative information about the sole juror who refused to vote for a death sentence. That juror’s name was revealed minutes after a mistrial was declared.

Arizona law prohibits the public release of juror names.

Martinez also is alleged to have flirtatiously communicated with a juror who had been removed from the trial in an attempt to glean information about sitting jurors.

The woman told investigators during a sworn deposition that she had texted photos of her naked breasts to Martinez after he told her he was “a breast man.”

Fullscreen capture 20181106 0723163. Was it suicide or murder? Judge to hear closing arguments in Rohde trial – News24


Did a heartbroken Susan Rohde end her own life in the bathroom of a fancy winelands hotel in July 2016 or did her husband Jason violently cut her life short and try to lead police off the trail?

Closing arguments for and against these scenarios will be presented in the Western Cape High Court on Tuesday when the State and Rohde’s defence team face off after an almost three-month break.

Likely to be at the centre of their presentations is the physical clues that give an indication of what happened in Susan’s last moments. 

The court faces a challenging task in making sense of the testimonies from four pathologists who weighed in on possible causes of death, and deciding which is beyond reasonable doubt. The State maintains that Rohde manually strangled his wife to death and/or inflicted “other violence” that was unknown, following months of heated arguments over his affair with colleague Jolene Alterskye.

The two had been at Spier Hotel for a weekend conference that Alterskye was also attending. One possibility that prosecutor Louis van Niekerk put forward during the trial was that Rohde had smothered his wife with a cushion as it was “the only way to shut her up”.

Van Niekerk said Rohde then tried to stage a suicide by dragging her body to the bathroom and using an electric cord to hang her from a hook on the back of the door. 

Last October, State pathologist Dr Akmal Coetzee-Khan testified that he had recommended police investigate a possible homicide after noting blood stains in the room, scratches on Susan’s face and blunt force trauma injuries which suggested a physical altercation.

Coetzee-Khan found injuries to suggest that she had been punched in the face, her neck squeezed with a hand, a hand or object placed over her nose and mouth, her chest or ribs kicked, punched or kneed, and the back of her head pushed against a surface.

There were signs of a physical altercation before strangulation which lasted more than a few minutes, and could have lasted up to an hour, he said at the time.

State pathologist Dr Deidre Abrahams observed the autopsy that Coetzee-Khan conducted and testified that she supported his findings of strangulation and asphyxiation.

Rohde has pleaded not guilty to these charges and emphasised during his testimony that the only thing he was guilty of was being an adulterer. “The option for me was divorce, my lady, not murder. With all my faults, I am not a murderer. I made a lot of mistakes, but I am not a murderer.”

Defence pathologist ‘95% sure’

The defence maintains that Susan took her own life or had a failed parasuicide attempt.

Defence pathologist Dr Reggie Perumal, who conducted a second autopsy on Susan, testified that suicide by hanging was the most probable cause, but he could not exclude other possibilities, such as manual strangulation.

He also said it was possible that marks of faecal matter next to her body and outside the hotel bathroom door could possibly be as a result of her being dragged after she had died and soiled herself.

A second forensic pathologist testifying for the defence said he was 95% sure that Susan had committed suicide.

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4. Kate and Gerry McCann are challenging Goncalo Amaral to stop him from cashing in –

Kate McCann also published a book with a lucrative advance that’s probably triple what Amaral got, if not more.

is a little hypocritical, wouldn't you say?

5. Making A Murderer Season 2 Was A Mistake For Netflix & Steven Avery – ScreenRant


November 5th, 2018

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1. Chris Watts will make another appearance in Weld County District Court Tuesday for a status conference.This will be the last court hearing for Christopher Lee Watts before he is  scheduled for an arraignment, where he may enter a guilty or not guilty plea. – Times-Call


2. Top cop who taunted Kate and Gerry has made nearly £350k from Maddie McCann in book and DVD deals – The Sun

Amaral cruelly claims Madeleine, abducted aged three from an Algarve holiday apartment in 2007, died in an accident and the McCanns then covered it up.

Is Amaral right though about Madelein’s death being an accident? If it was entirely accidental, absolutely no need to cover it up.

Kate and Gerry, who have fought a lengthy legal battle to stop Amaral cashing in, are currently challenging him at the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg. A source close to them said: “If Goncalo Amaral continues to make these outrageous claims then he will find he has a tough fight on his hands.

“Kate and Gerry are not going to let him get away with what he said about them.”

The McCanns’ pursuit of Amaral is impressive. If only they pursued their daughter with the same personal passion and focus.


3. Magick ‘saved my life’: the former death row inmate turned warlock – Guardian

Tickets to the class were $200 a pop. Sarah, a school administrator from DC, drove seven hours to attend. “I look to Damien because, like thousands of others, I was inspired by his resilience,” she said. “He taught me that anyone can be freed from their own personal prison cell. I had put myself in an imaginary cage; the bars were made of my anxieties and fears.” Sarah wakes up at 3.30 every morning to practice magick; thanks to Damien’s teachings, she says, “I am mostly free of anxiety and sadness.”

There’s a difference between putting yourself in a prison cell of your own mind and making, and being a prime suspect in a triple murder case. There’s also something to be said for the vacuous life that follows, where the “innocent” accused then goes on to milk his victimhood ever after in books and talks about how much he suffered, as if he has no life beyond the infamy and celebrity related to a murder he says he didn’t commit.

At a recent talk and book signing in Manhattan, Echols led an audience of more than 100 in a guided meditation he says reliably helps clear his mind.

More:  Rocket Science’s take on Damien Echols.

Note: Amanda Knox is also milking the murder-made-me-famous celebrity gravy train by doing speeches for money to talk about how and why she didn’t kill her British housemate.

Unsurprisingly, since Echols and Knox have so much in common, they’re bosom buddies.

4. ‘Making a Murderer’ leaves fans hanging again – MesaPress


Frustration, tears and a feeling of hope is what part two of “Making a Murderer” brings. Fans will have to wait several years more to see what will happen with all this new information, or to see if there is any chance of justice for Steven Avery and Brendan Dassey.

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November 2nd, 2018


1. Frederick homicide suspect Chris Watts to appear Tuesday [November 6] in Weld District Court – Greeley Tribune

The Weld District Attorney’s Office announced late Friday that Frederick triple murder suspect Christopher Watts will appear Tuesday in Weld District Court for a status conference.The hearing is scheduled for 30 minutes beginning at 2 p.m. in Division 17. The district attorney’s office didn’t release any other information.

Watts wasn’t scheduled to return to court until 10:30 a.m. Nov. 19 for a status conference in Division 16. That court appearance remained on the docket as of Friday afternoon.

Is it just bad luck that this hearing has been moved to the same day the US media will be preoccupied with the Midterm elections? In true crime there is no such thing as coincidence.

2. Gerry McCann Radio 4 Interview About Madeleine McCann

3. I Was a Marine. Now I’m a Teacher. Don’t Give Me a Gun – TIME

Protestors Rally For Gun Control At Broward Courthouse After FL School Shooting

Read the Rocket Science assessment of Mass Shootings which profiles for the first time in true crime history Stephen Paddock, Adam Lanza, Nikolas Cruz, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, James E. Holmes and Seung-Hui Cho:

November 1st, 2018

1. Madeleine McCann: Father Gerry says he cries as he dreams of finding missing daughter – The Express

He opened his heart to BBC Radio 4 listeners yesterday, describing the pain he and wife Kate felt when the little girl vanished from a holiday apartment in Portugal’s Algarve just short of her fourth birthday 11 years ago.

Opened his heart? A cardiologist implicated in the disappearance and death in his daughter opening his heart?

Cardiologist Gerry, 50, said: “We are incredibly resilient for the most part, and people and time make the pain ease. The grief and the loss and some of the pain we have is the not knowing but I certainly don’t wish her dead.

“That is not a trade-off at any point.”

Grief and loss? Smiles all round during this interview: