It’s astonishing just how off track Malcolm Gladwell’s precis is of the Amanda Knox saga. It’s as if someone [from the Knox camp naturally] provided him with an abstract, and Gladwell recycled it verbatim, and uncritically, from head to toe. Because it reads as Classic Apologia.
“But Rudy Guede was not the exclusive focus of the police investigation…”
On November 20th, the Telegraph reported on Guede arrested “on a train near Mainz”, the capital of the Rhineland-Pflaz region after an “international manhunt”.
The article adds:
He was allegedly on his way back to Italy to turn himself into police. An unnamed friend, known only as Alberto, worked with police to persuade Guede that the longer he remained abroad, the guiltier he would seem. Guede confirmed that he was aware he was the target of a manhunt and said he wanted to talk to police to clear his name.
He wrote: “I know that [I am a suspect]”. He added: “The reson [sic] I want to talk with police man, cause the news give at me a wrong profile.” During a three-hour conversation on Skype, the internet telephone service, Guede is alleged to have told his friend that he was sleeping on a barge on the Rhine, and that he had slept in empty train carriages while in Germany.
Guede was unaware that police were listening into the conversation. Five days before the murder of Miss Kercher, Guede was discovered to have broken into a nursery school in Milan, where he had spent the night. He was armed with an 11-inch kitchen knife. He told police he had to “protect” himself against thieves.
Miss Kercher, 21, from Coulsdon, south London, was found in her house in Perugia with her throat cut on Friday November 2. Guede allegedly told his friend: “I was not there that night. If they found my fingerprints, it means I had left them there before. I had been in the house before, but not on the day of the killing. I knew Amanda and I knew Meredith, but I did not kill her.”
…he was stopped just after 7am on a suburban train near Mainz for not having a ticket. He told the police that he was wanted in Italy in connection with the killing of Miss Kercher. He will now appear before a judge and be extradited to Italy within the next week. He is wanted on suspicion of murder and sexual assault.
…a pair of Nike sports shoes were found which may be similar to a footprint inside Miss Kercher’s house. Guede’s arrest led to the release of Patrick Diya Lumumba, a 37-year-old Congolese bar owner, who has always maintained his innocence. Mr Lumumba spent 13 nights in Capanne prison after he was accused of the murder by Amanda Knox, Miss Kercher’s flatmate. Knox, 20, and her boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito, 23, are still in custody as suspects. While the police are certain they have a case against those now under arrest, the motive and circumstances of the killing are still unclear. More than 30 officers have worked non-stop on the case since Miss Kercher was discovered.
The way Gladwell frames it, Rudy Guede should have been the exclusive focus of the investigation. They should have pursued him, found him, arrested him and that should have been that. What Gladwell conveniently leaves out, and almost all the Knox Apologists invariably redact out of this case, is that Knox falsely implicated her boss in the crime. She claimed she had gone with her boss to the villa and heard him with Meredith in her room. Whatever anyone may say of these claims, or the circumstances in which they were made, Knox’s accusation led to the arrest of Lumumba, and what’s more, based on the merits of the accusation, it placed her at the scene of the murder based on her own version. And, as a result of this version, it contradicted Sollecito who had first said Knox was with him all night, then that he couldn’t be sure if she’d gone out after 23:00, and then that she’d never gone out.
Coming back to Gladwell’s narrative, he implies that it would be reasonable and fair for the police to focus on Guede only, and not on Lumumba, Knox, Sollecito or anyone else for that matter.
So were the police supposed to ignore Knox’s confession? Were the police supposed to ignore Guede’s assertion – during his long Skype chat – that Amanda had been present, as well as an Italian guy who insulted him, and assaulted him with a knife? Furthermore, Guede had admitted he’d been in the house previously and knew Amanda Knox. So why had she implicated her boss if not to purposefully misdirect the authorities away from someone who implicate her?
It should also be noted that the police didn’t arrest anyone immediately. It took around five days for the first arrests to be made, and this was after extensively questioning everyone who was known to have visited the villa, including a list of Knox’s boyfriends, and all of the roommates, upstairs and downstairs, as well as all of Meredith’s friends.
It was after this exhaustive approach that they noticed things weren’t adding up with Knox and Sollecito. As such Sollecito was brought back for a second interrogation and Knox decided to tag along. At the time Sollecito told the police he was having dinner and would come to the station when it suited them. It was during this interrogation that Sollecito was searched, and found to be carrying a knife, and also when he said he could no longer vouch for Knox’s whereabouts. Of course the moment he did that, he also lost his alibi.
Meanwhile, as Sollecito was being interrogated, Knox was behaving oddly in the hallway. According to her she was doing the splits. According to others she was doing cartwheels. The Italian authorities were appalled by her attitude, especially since Knox was supposed to be the person closest to Kercher, and ought to have been the most effected – the most traumatized by events. Instead, she seemed to be the least traumatized.
“[Guede] wasn’t more than an afterthought in the tsunami of media attention that followed the discovery of Kercher’s body…”
Again, Gladwell glosses over the relevant facts. Guede requested a fast-track trial. Because of this, and because no reporters were present, Guede was able to dodge a lot of the publicity surrounding the case.
By October 2008, less than a year after Kercher’s murder, Guede’s trial had concluded. He was found guilty and sentenced to 30 years in jail, however this sentenced was lowered to 16 years on appeal. By contrast, Knox and Sollecito’s trial hadn’t even begun – theirs would only start three months later, in January 2009.
“The focus was instead on Kercher’s roommate. Her name was Amanda Knox.”
Gladwell apparently can’t understand why the focus was ever on Kercher’s roommate. But there are a few ridiculously obvious reasons why Knox became the focus of the investigation.
1. In the first version he and Amanda went for a walkfrom her cottage before heading to his apartment for dinner. They watched a movie while making and eating dinner, spent the night on the computer and slept until about 10:30 a.m.
2. The next day Sollecito provided a similar account to the Sunday Mirror, but added a detail. He said that they went to a party before going back to his apartment.
3. Sollecito gave the cops a third account: “Amanda and I went into town at around 6 p.m….I don’t remember what we did. We stayed there until around 8:30 p.m. or 9 p.m. At 9 p.m. I went home alone and Amanda said that she was going to Le Chic because she wanted to meet some friends.” In this version, Amanda returned to his apartment at 01:00.
4. In his prison diary Sollecito said he “presumed” Amanda had done some grocery shopping before returning to his home around 8 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., where they smoked more pot. He doesn’t remember what time he ate, but was certain he ate with Amanda. He remembered surfing the Internet, maybe watching a film, and that his father called him. He thinks Amanda went out to a pub where she often worked, but didn’t recall for how long. On the other hand, he said he remembered Amanda told him later that the pub was closed.
5. At the end of the 2011 appeal Sollecito again stated that Knox was at his apartment that night. While he repeatedly said he spoke to his father around 11 p.m., there is no phone record of that call and there was no indication of any activity on his home computer after 9:10 p.m., when a movie on the computer ended and it seems there was not even any interaction with the laptop at that time. Furthermore, at 5:32 a.m. experts testified that someone unsuccessfully attempted to play an MP3 file on his computer followed by two more failed additional attempts. The individual switched to iTunes and played an MP3 file. If true, both he and Amanda did not sleep until at least 10 as they both have claimed.
The court found that [Guede’s] version of events did not match the forensic evidence, and that he could not explain why one of his palm prints, stained with Kercher’s blood, had been found on the pillow of the single bed, under the disrobed body. Guede said he had left Kercher fully dressed.He was found guilty in October 2008 of murder and sexual assault, and sentenced to 30 years’ imprisonment.Judge Micheli acquitted Guede of theft, suggesting that there had been no break-in…
It’s fascinating that Guede was both implicated in a break-in and acquitted. Why? Because he was known to break in to other places, and perhaps someone who knew him, or knew this, knew how to frame him. In any event, the crime scene implied a break-in, and yet nothing of value was stolen. There were laptops in each of the four women’s rooms, and yet none of them were taken, not even Meredith’s.
And so, if there was no break-in, it meant the break-in was staged, and who would do that?
“She came home one morning and found blood in the bathroom…”
Gladwell describes the vital elements of the crime in the most vanilla detail imaginable. Knox didn’t come home “one morning”, she went to her home early, by herself [on a holiday], and then returned to Sollecito’s home carrying a mop. Knox was well-known for being slovenly and untidy in her own home, and this was the reason she sometimes argued with Meredith too, and yet on the night and morning surrounding Meredith’s murder, the washing machine is fully loaded, and Knox even wants to clean Sollecito’s apartment, and what’s more, early in the morning during a long weekend.
Gladwell also implies that – just as Knox did – the blood she encountered in the house was no big deal. According to Knox she saw blood, basically shrugged, had a shower, and then headed back to Sollecito with the mop.
In episode one of our analysis we saw that Guede’s shoeprints and other blood traces were pinkish instead of red, and in many cases transparent. One way to explain his near invisible shoeprints leading out of Meredith’s room to the front door could be that they were mopped up. Though Knox claimed Sollecito had had a plumbing catastrophe that night of all nights, it’s conceivable that the mop was stained with blood and needed to be disinfected or destroyed, and that’s why it was removed then from the villa to Sollecito’s flat. We also know when the police visited Sollecito’s apartment, it smelled strongly of bleach.
In Knox’s version of seeing the blood, she claims she thought Meredith was having her period, and also that her own blood – from a recent ear piercing – may have dripped onto the bathroom faucet [or tap], and thus mixed with hers. In this “suggestion” Knox admits the possibility that her own blood mixed with Meredith’s blood, and in her version, this is entirely plausible because they lived together.
In her email to friends of family Knox provided the following dubious account:
…it was after i stepped out of the shower and onto the mat that i noticed the blood in the bathroom. it was on the mat i was using to dry my feet and there were drops of blood in the sink.at first i thought the blood might have come from my earswhich i had pierced extrensively not too long ago, but then immediately i know it wasnt mine becaus the stains on the mat were too big for just droplets form my ear, and when i touched the blood in the sink it was caked on already. there was also blood smeered on the faucet.again, however, i thought it was strange, because my roommates and i are very clean and we wouldnt leave blood int he bathroom, but i assumed that perhaps meredith was having menstral issues and hadnt cleaned up yet.
Despite her denial in the email, as it turned out, the blood on the bathroom faucet tested positive for Knox’s blood. It’s possible Knox had bled from a neck wounded inflicted by Meredith’s flailing fingernail.
Besides this trace, five traces of Knox’s DNA were found mixed with the victim’s at the crime scene. Including this one.
As you can see, even in this image the blood is dilute, transparent and barely visible. If someone cleaned it up, especially at night, they may have not realized it was still barely visible. This is the same view from further away.
It’s in this very specific area that Knox’s goofiness is recruited to explain behavior that makes no sense, and also made no sense when her Italian roommate Filomena Romanelli found out about it. Knox, arriving home and finding blood [blood she claimed didn’t belong to her], simply took it in her strike, had a shower and trotted off again without a care in the world.
At the time Knox was showering, Meredith was lying dead in her bedroom, just a single door away down the hall. All Knox needed to do was knock on the door and ask if Meredith was okay. But because Knox is “goofy” she didn’t react to the blood in the house like most people would. Instead, what she seemed to be doing, was cleaning. Was this part of that goofiness too?
We get a wonderfully descriptive account from Knox herself of this moment in Waiting to be Heard. It paints a vivid portrait, but fails to explain why knox didn’t simply knock on Meredith’s door to find out if she was okay, or call out to her, or call her on her phone.
In Sollecito’s book Honor Bound he admits they ate fish for dinner, but says nothing about cutting himself. He does write at some length about Knox being an idiot when she encountered the blood in the bathroom.
Where do we draw the line between goofiness and reasonable suspicion? How about the fact that Knox was bleeding to begin with? How about the fact that when Meredith was bleeding [on the night of her murder], so was Amanda Knox. That’s one heck of a coincidence.
Knox wrote [a] letter at 11pm on the day of her arrest, asking for sheets of blank paper and a pen while in custody…She said she had not asked her boyfriend, Sollecito, to provide her with an alibi, and instead said that at one point, she recalls him with “blood on his hands”.However, she said she thought it was blood from a fish they had cooked for dinner.
So now we have Rudy Guede and Amanda Knox who were both bleeding on the night of the murder. And Sollecito admits he cut Meredith with a knife [“accidentally”]. So why wouldn’t you have three suspects?
END OF PART 1
“She and her boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, called the police.”
Amanda Knox never called the police. Sollecito called his sister, who was a policewoman, and she advised him to call the police. When the first call was made, and the substance of the first call, and the second call should also be acknowledged.
First 112 Call:
SOLLECITO: Hello, good day, listen … someone has entered the house breaking the window and has made a big mess and there is a closed door…No, there’s no theft… they broke a window… there is a mess… there is also a closed door… a mess.
Second 112 Call:
SOLLECITO: Yes hello, I called two seconds ago.
POLICE: Someone has entered the house and broke the window?
SOLLECITO: Yes…They didn’t take anything, the problem is the closed door, there are bloodstains.
POLICE: There is a closed door. Which door’s closed?
SOLLECITO: [The door] of one of the flatmates who isn’t here and we don’t know where she is.
POLICE:And there are blood stains outside the door of this flatmate who’s not there?
SOLLECITO: The blood stains are in the bathroom.
“The police came…”
The postal police arrived first, investigating a report that cellphones had been stolen. The time that the carabinieri arrived is still a matter of some dispute. What’s not in dispute is the time of the calls. The first was made at 12:51:40. Even if Knox’s account is true, that she visited the villa at around 10:00, it means it took them more than three hours after seeing blood and the broken window to call the police. Someone else who found cell phones in their garden that morning took less time to call the police.
Kercher wasn’t just dead in her bedroom, she was found naked with her legs open in a starfish position, and with her buttocks propped on a pillow. Just as the burglary appeared to be staged, so did Kercher’s body.
“Within hours they added Knox and Sollecito to their list of suspects.”
This is not only misleading, it’s being very “economical” with the facts of this case. Knox and Sollecito were interviewed like everyone else, and only after several days, arrested. Their arrest was contingent on their own dodgy, dubious and doubtful statements, statements that ultimately implicated each other, themselves and others. If there was nothing to hide, an alibi ought to have been simple, just as it had been for everyone else.
Gladwell is incorrect to use the word “hours” – it took at least five days to arrest Knox and Sollecito, and if anything, they found Sollecito more suspicious than she was, which is why they summoned him to the police station on November 6th, and not her.
“The crime, the police believed, was a drug-and alcohol-fueled sex game gone awry…”
How on earth did the police get that crazy idea?
“[The game] featured Guede, Sollecito and Knox…”
A staged burglary, so why not a staged sexual assault? Guede had said he left Meredith with her clothing on, and yet she was found naked. Also, blood had spattered onto her bra, and yet her breasts had no blood on them. Did the rapist forget to undress Kercher, or did he undress Kercher only after she was dead?
Why would someone stage a sexual attack? Well, if the obvious suspect was a female housemate, what was the obvious way to exclude a female as a suspect?
“The three were arrested, charged, convicted, and sent away to prison…”
Well, four were arrested, one because of Knox’s slander. Knox and Sollecito were convicted not once, but twice, and when Knox was acquitted, she was unable to sue for compensation for an unjust sentence, because she had been convicted on the slander charge and on staging the crime scene charge [obstruction of justice].
“…every step [of the prosecution] was chronicled obsessively by the tabloid press…”
I came across a discussion recently that had me scratching my head. It’s around the popular myth that Shan’ann arrived home, her murderer allowed her to enter the house, make herself at home, go to bed and even fall asleep. I’m not sure in this scenario whether they believe she brushed her teeth, took off her make-up and did some online shopping as well, they will know better than I do.
Presumably according to this theory Watts lay awake for several minutes or hours waiting for his wife to fall asleep so he could murder her in his bed after she’d lost consciousness. is that right? But if he moved to get up wouldn’t that wake her too?
And while murdering her, wouldn’t that wake the children and cause the Deeter to go nuts?
A bed of course is like a sponge for forensic evidence. Blood, saliva, sweat, DNA, touch DNA can be perfectly preserved between sheets and the mattresses. So it’s not the perfect place to kill someone, and in terms of a premeditated murder it’s the worst place, because the most logical explanation for a wife murdered at home in her bed with the whole family present is it had to be the other person who shared that bed. And who is the other person in this scenario? It’s the husband – Chris Watts. So why murder her in such an obvious place and have all the arrows pointing to himself?
Oh, you may argue, it wasn’t a premeditated murder, it just happened. Well, that’s a separate argument, even crazier than the murdered-in-bed theory, but let’s deal with theories one at time. Let’s put the murdered-in-bed theory to bed.
If Watts knew he had to be up at 04:00 and Shan’ann only got into bed at 02:00 [or 02:30 if she removed her make-up, bought make-up online etc] then him laying in bed waiting for her to doze off, when he had so little time to work with, had to be agonizing.
Personally, I can’t imagine Shan’ann falling asleep after spending most of Sunday worrying about what her husband was doing while she was away. What was that $62 transaction on her credit card all about?
Would she really have arrived home and not confronted him about it, when she’d spent the whole weekend distressed, depressed, wrecked and out of sorts about it [and let’s face it, she was right to be worried because he wasn’t at the Rockies game, he was in fact out with his mistress cheating on her just as she feared]?
All of that aside, let’s examine a piece of evidence and see where we’re at when it comes to our standards of perception and analysis when it comes to a crime scene.
It’s the circled patch of Thrive powder beside the bed. What does it mean?
In true crime we try to be guided by the evidence. That’s our first and best source. The crime scene is the origin, after all, of what happened, where, and how. But a crime scene can be manipulated so that what was originally there appears different. There may be cleaning, removing things, putting things there that weren’t there, even contaminating an area incidental to the crime to throw one off track.
So with that in mind, here’s the question:
What is the significance of the Thrive powder sachet beside the bed in the master bedroom?
Here’s some more footage to provide further context to the question [and answer].
Some have used the picture at the top and the Thrive powder to reinforce the notion that Shan’ann went to bed on Monday the the 13th. But that’s wrong. Chris Watts slept on the right side of the bed.
Besides that, the crime scene footage in the above screengrabs are all from August 16th, three days after the murders. It seems Watts himself either slept in the master bedroom on the night of August 13th after the murders, or he made the bed after stripping it. Either way, the way it was found on August 16th is nothing like the way it was after the murders.
Remember, officers on the scene early in the afternoon on Monday August 13 found the bed stripped, with sheets and pillows on the floor.
So if we’re going to play detective, it helps to be working with the original crime scene. it helps to get the basics right. Subsequent photos are helpful, especially where one identifies what’s been changed. It’s not helpful to look at crime scene photos that are a few days old and draw all our inferences solely from those. However, it does appear that the Thrive sachet is beside Watts’ side of the bed on the 13th as well.
So is the sachet irrelevant?
It seems to be irrelevant to whether Shan’ann slept in her bed that night. If anything, we need a good look at the bedside table on her side.
What we can say, however, is there seems to be a mismatch between Watts sleeping in the basement, and the baby monitors and Thrive powder on his side of the bed. This raises a few questions. When did he start sleeping in the basement? Why did he start sleeping in the basement? Did he do so by choice, and if so, was that part of the separation?
We also know – and this is important – that while in North Carolina, Shan’ann and Watts didn’t sleep in the same bed. This was witnessed by the Rzuceks, and Shan’ann’s mother told her colleagues that at Hair Jazz that they’d discussed separating. It was no mystery.
So riddle me this. If they weren’t sleeping together in North Carolina, why would Shan’ann arrive home and get into bed with him? Why would he be there? Why wouldn’t he be in the basement? And if he was in the basement, if that’s where he was living over the last days or weeks, how happy could he have been about that? The house was in his name, and here he is, sleeping in the basement while his wife and kids enjoy the luxury suites!
Do you see how this theory, this asinine insistence that Shan’ann was murdered in her bed with her husband initially asleep beside her actually shoots itself in the foot? It does because it completely ignores the actual dynamic surrounding the crime. That’s part of the crime scene fabric too, the emotional reality they were living, experiencing, feeling.
While I have my daggers out for sloppy armchair detectives, I’d like to raise a few additional gripes. I do so in the hopes of raising the bar of those who visit this site, and also those who speculate about the case without a second’s afterthought. True crime isn’t a simple or easy discipline, it requires second-guessing because criminals are doing their best to mislead you. A lot rides on them doing so successfully. They win their freedom and a happily ever after. So a lot of work goes into making things appear a certain way. But as we well know, appearances can be deceiving.
So, applying these lessons in what-you-see-isn’t-necessarily-what-you-get [which by the way is meat-and-potatoes in true crime], let’s see if the thinking has sharpened. Test you knowledge with three more simple questions:
You’ve seen the surveillance video, right? Do you need to watch it again to be 100% of your answer?
The answer is no. The surveillance video doesn’t show Watts loading any bodies. It does show activity early in the morning. But at no point can he be seen carrying what looks like a body, let alone three, or loading a body, let alone three. He does appear to load a red gas can into the back of the truck on the camera side at one point, and he’s seen walking to and from the garage a few times, but that’s about all the footage really shows.
During the sentencing hearing, the District Attorney mentioned Watts loading three bodies into his truck. He said this was captured on the neighbor’s surveillance video.
In fact, Rourke’s actual words were, from the Coloradoan:
In the early morning hours of Aug. 13, a doorbell camera [recorded] Shanann coming home from a work trip [at] about 1:45 a.m [actually 1:48]. Chris Watts was seen on a neighbor’s doorbell camera about 5 a.m. backing his truck into the driveway and going back into the house and out to the truck three times, likely as he loads the bodies, Rourke said, though the bodies can’t be seen on the camera.
Likely is isn’t a statement of fact, it’s an inference, and I’m not sure Rourke saying he went in and out “three times” is even accurate or, for that matter, verifiable.
This should be an easy one. During his lengthy interrogation on the night of August 15th and the morning of August 16th, did Watts confess to the murders or didn’t he? It’s a yes or no answer.
It appears he only confessed to killing Shan’ann, never to killing his children, and an argument can be made that he didn’t directly confess to killing Shan’ann either. He said he “hurt” her, and that he no longer wished to “protect” her, and by inference, one can say he confessed. The words “killed her” appear only twice in the entire 1960 pages of Discovery Documents.
This was Chris’ confession:
The Discovery Documents aren’t a 100% accurate narrative record either. Ronnie Watts’ response wasn’t “Oh my God” but “God Almighty, Son.”
Where Watts does say “And then I killed her“, he says the words “killed her” so quietly the enhanced audio barely picks it up. So we can’t be certain he actually says it. You can hear the clock ticking louder, but you can barely hear what he says to his father. This is why the agents need to come back in, nail it down and make sure.
Even so, the Discovery Documents don’t record Watts ever saying “And then I killed her.”
You can watch that particular moment of the interrogation at this link.
So did Watts confess to murder? No. He confessed to “killing”, which is theoretically a justifiable homicide in the circumstances that he sketched. Even so, his confession was likely not true anyway, so in fact it wasn’t a confession.
3. “Framed” letter
What is the significance of the “framed” letter?
[I’ll leave you to figure that one out on your own].
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].
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
Oh yes. Nichol's Google searches for "preparing for anal sex" on that Saturday night when Chris got a babysitter. Her bragging to her friend Charlottea about his cunnilingus skills…The nude selfies of her he uploaded. I now know more about them than I do about my own sex life.
He was always the quiet kid who followed the rules. So much information right here. #ChrisWatts developed carpel tunnel syndrome, and seems to be the reason he gave up being a mechanic. Used to attend church regularly. His father started drinking when his son left home. pic.twitter.com/5Vtg0X0WYF
According to Frederick Police when Chris arrived at the house and he allowed officers to search inside. He came up to officers and handed them Shannan's wedding ring, which he said he found on the nightstand. #Chriswatts@DenverChannel
Very interesting, while police were searching the house: "Shanann's mother called during this time and was adamant that Christopher had done something and that I needed to check the GPS on his truck." #ChrisWatts
More observations from Shannan's friend Nikole and neighbor on the day she was reported missing: " Nickole and Nathaniel said they both felt Christopher was extremely nervous. Nathaniel said he had heard Christopher numerous times in the past yelling loudly at Shanann."
Shannan's five week trip to North Carolina this summer appears to be when their marriage started to change. This is also around the same time #ChrisWatts started dating his new gf. "Christina said when they were separated for 5 weeks Chris came back to Shanann a different man."
When asked why the sheets weren't on their bed this was Chris's response to police: "Chris advised she usually jumps into bed after being in the airport and will wash the sheets the next day to get the airport off them." #ChrisWatts@DenverChannel
When they found Shannan's phone, Chris did not know the password. Her friend Nikole Atkinson who first called police did. Chris gave police consent to search her phone. They found no calls that morning. #ChrisWatts@DenverChannel
MORE: "He said when they were together again the last week it just wasn't the same. Chris felt like they weren't in love anymore. Chris said he could never be himself or be who he was before he met her."
That was the self help book investigators found in the trash: "I collected a hardback book within its original Amazon shipping box that was titled "Hold me Tight" appearing to be brand new. I was informed that it had been located in the recycle bin."
Remember the mark on #ChrisWatts neck in the media interviews he did with @DenverChannel everyone speculated was a defensive wound: "There was a red mark on the left side of his neck that he identified as being a mosquito bite."
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.
Jason Rohde’s defense team says they ‘severely underestimated’ the preparations for the pre sentencing hearing. It seems we will be postponing the matter to December 5. Rohde could be facing a prescribed minimum sentence of 15 years in jail for murder. #JasonRohde#Rohdepic.twitter.com/D7jQgX8E13
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.
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.
“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.
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.”
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
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?
Who is not patriotic? The Chinese marathon runner who dropped a national flag in the sprint phase and lost the gold medal, the volunteers who handed over the flags and interrupted the runner, or the organizer who failed to respect the sports spirit? https://t.co/VowOVHA7A6pic.twitter.com/dNVZoGkjkW
“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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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”.
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.
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.”
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
But Judge Kopcow has denied the request, meaning expanded media coverage has been provisionally granted for Monday’s sentencing hearing:
November 13th, 2018
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.
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.
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.”
“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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
Let's see a gauge of interest. Who would like a book on the #Rohde case? I'm halfway through it but paused pending this judgment because he seems to be a very litigious oke. Could bring it out by Christmas for those interested. pic.twitter.com/92YyGfu7Nb
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.
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:
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.”
No @WeldCountyDA respected the wishes of the victims family and consulted them first. Michael Rourke doesn’t oppose the death penalty but likely saw the plea deal as a pragmatic way to give the family some measure of justice without putting them thru a trial. https://t.co/OCAqbCCj8p
The fact that so many family members are here from both sides of the family [flying in all the way from North Carolina] suggests this is a big deal. It's not just a nothing preliminary hearing. It's not just scheduling. It's significant #chriswatts#pleadeal
If I understood correctly, the DA flew to North Carolina to meet with the Rzucek family. Says he feels sick, saddened by this result. Pleasure knowing the family, but "there is no cause for celebration." That's for damn sure. #ChrisWatts
Summary of morning session: Jason Rohde Trial: Live Coverage & Analysis #tcrshttps://t.co/ehbgn4OZ0a … #Rohde I'll be updating this page over the course of the day and the next few days until the closing arguments have been completed. Please share your thoughts in the comments.
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:
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.
Do you believe Shannan Watts killed (Strangled) her children to death
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.”
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
The source of school shootings isn't guns. It's humiliation. The sadism in mass shootings doesn't come from inside a gun or bullet, but human psychology. Guns don't help, but take away guns and you still have the source of the problem to deal with. Columbine also involved bombs.
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:
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:
There’s an easy way to read someone’s mind. It’s so easy, a kindergarten kid could do it. In a few moments, if you’re patient, you’re going to be doing it too. No degree in psychology needed. There is one requirement though. If it’s so easy that we can look on with the mind of a child, we nevertheless have to listen intently to what the suspect is listening to. Agreed?
Before we get to Chris Watts’ favorite song, let’s be explicit in what we’re getting at. Does a criminal’s favorite song say much about him, or the crime he committed? Does it say anything? Does a tattoo say much about someone, or their criminal capacity?
The easy way to answer this question is off-the-top of one’s head. Does your favorite song – current or in the past – say much about you, the you you are now or the you you once were? It has to, it resonates with you for a reason.The ethos of the song matches your interiority at a particular time. The song, for all intents of purposes, is the slippery thing that’s someone else’s interiority.
My favorite song at the moment – don’t judge me – is this one.
But of course we do judge. We can’t help it. What we like when it comes to music says plenty about not only who we are and the kind of person we are, but what we’re feeling.
The other aspect to interiority is how these sights and sounds allow us to read the criminal mind. Just as writing is telepathy, my words are talking inside your mind right now, music is the same. They’re also words and ideas talking to and about who we are.
To the extent that we’re caught up in it, those words are our interior monologue. It allows us not only to read the mind of the murderer, but to look at his heart and soul too.
Before we get to the tattoo, let me clear. In every true crime case I’ve researched it takes time for the character of the suspect to emerge. That time lag isn’t because the suspect has no character, quite the contrary, but because like all strangers, it takes time to get to know them, especially when they’re doing their damnedest to hide who they really are from us.
One of the questions we ask people we don’t know is “what’s your favorite music”? We do this to gauge their vibe, who they are, how they see themselves and to we see how relatable they are to us, and we to them.
What’s your favorite music?
Doesn’t it make sense, then, to ask Chris Watts this question?
Down the Alley of Criminal Intertexuality
[To skip this section, scroll down to What Does Chris Watts Tattoo Say About him?]
To understand why music may be important, and just how deeply it allows us to penetrate into the psychology of a case, let’s examine this issue through another case first.
Many people don’t know, for example, that in the Amanda Knox case, someone was listening to music at about 05:44 on the day Meredith Kercher’s body turned up with her throat slit.
The music was played on Knox’s boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito’s MacBook computer, but he was an Italian who could barely speak English. So who was listening to American music [see timestamped playlist below] that morning? Who could it be besides Knox?
What the above playlist seems to show is that 1) Knox was awake and listening to music four hours earlier than she said she was on the morning after the murder and 2) through the music we begin to intuit the type of person Knox is.
The type of person is really the question the criminal trial – and all of us, the media, the public – are trying to fathom. Is this type of person capable of murder? What type of person is this person? Did this type of person really get along with the type of person the victim was?
And what about Meredith Kercher, the murder victim – did her music tastes matter? Why would they? What did a university student’s music preferences have to do with murder? Well, more than you might think.
On the night of the murder the MTV Eurovision awards were broadcast, at approximately 21:00. One of the reasons the British girls departed when they did was so one of them, Sophie Purton, could catch the awards. Well, didn’t Amanda Knox – Amanda Knox who was strumming Beatles songs in her room and always singing – also want to watch them?
Music, especially for young impressionable university students, is one of the important ways they identify themselves to each other. Meredith Kercher, a few weeks before arriving in Italy, appeared in a music video, thus giving her massive social credit as a happening young woman.
Could this, and Meredith’s popularity with the girls and boys, have been a source of burning envy for the younger and not-so-popular American living in the same house?
Another example, this time looking at cinema choices, in the Van Breda case, the axe murderer was a fan [like Raffaele Sollecito – Knox’s boyfriend] of violent anime. In both cases they claimed to be watching anime on the night of the murders.
In the Henri Van Breda case it transpired after the trial that he was also into gratuitous violence porn in movies like Hardcore Henri. See trailer below:
Often television or a movie is given as an alibi for what the suspect was doing at the time of the murder. That’s the case with Knox and Van Breda. What we tend to miss while trying to disprove the “alibi” is the person these movies and music points to and describes. By their own admission, the suspects in these crimes identify the sights and sounds that were filling their heads at the time terrible crimes were committed. Almost no one actually tests this media to see what it was actually saying to and about these criminal characters.
What Does Chris Watts Tattoo Say About him?
I can’t take any credit for joining the dots regarding Chris Watts’ tattoo. Credit goes to Paula Neal Mooney, who put a lot of it together in this thread.
Chris Watts was such a Metallica fiend. Shanann Watts surprised him with tickets, he wore their shirts, covered a Metallica back tattoo. I want more about his mother, father, childhood. “This bitter man he is/This fight he cannot win/The old man then prepares/To die regretfully” pic.twitter.com/vaIKG6nJbP
And Mooney is right, that tattoo on his back is the Metallica logo:
For Chris Watts’ 32nd birthday, Shan’ann gave him a Metallica shirt. Doesn’t he seem more delighted here about a shirt and concert tickets than he was about finding out his wife his pregnant?
The joy is written all over his face, isn’t it?
Metallica was clearly a very big deal to Chris Watts. He more than identified with the band, he branded himself with it. He identified himself with them. The words in Metallica’s biggest hit The Unforgiven are – as Mooney mentioned in her tweet – very, very haunting.
This whipping boy done wrong, Deprived of all his thoughts…
Think of just those words in the context of what was going on in the Watts home. Him, an introvert, her an extrovert having him perform in her Thrive-inspired spiels. And then the pregnancy itself, did that really happen the way her words contrived it – something he wanted?
What I’ve felt What I’ve known Never shined through in what I’ve shown Never be Never see Won’t see what might have been What I’ve felt What I’ve known Never shined through in what I’ve shown Never free Never me So I dub thee unforgiven
Besides the words of this song, the iconography of Metallica is also worth noting. Given the gruesome body count in this particular crime, the skulls and death symbolism suggests a man who may not have been as uncomfortable with corpses and skulls [and dismemberment] as we first imagined.
In 2011, while Amanda Knox was in prison, she co-wrote a script for a music video. According to UPI.com:
U.S. student Amanda Knox, convicted in Italy for the murder of her British roommate, has written a music video script for a band based near her prison.
Amanda Knox has “always had a passion for music and poetry” said the band, Hands of Time, ANSA reported Friday.
Knox reportedly sent the script in English and Italian to the band via mail. Hands of Time said the script showed “considerable artistic quality” and decided to use it for their song “The Mistral Blows.”
Knox, 24, is currently in the process of appealing her case in Perugia.
When the music video was released, it bore weird similarities not only to Knox’s personal story, but also to the original music video in which Meredith Kercher appeared.
Settling of scores?
Kercher’s video has remained a lot more popular based on YouTube views. The Mistral Blows has been viewed only 313 times. Some Say has been viewed over 230 000 times. The music business is like the murder business in one vital aspect – it is at its core a popularity contest.
At 11:06 in the clip below, the reporter asks about financial problems. Did Shan’ann or Chris Watts ever talk to them about their finances? The reporter mentions the Wattses filing for bankruptcy protection in 2015. Did they knowing anything about that?
Nick Thayer furrows his brow, purses his lips, pulls a face and shakes his head slightly in response.
But the reporter pushes back on the same point.
REPORTER: Did you guys ever talk about financial stuff?
NICK: I mean, I was never a part of anything. Um-
AMANDA [Interrupting]: Shan’ann and I…Shan’ann and I had discussed it but [shakes head] it was so long ago…that…it was like, you know she would…like bring it up that, you know, ‘We had to file bankruptceeee’, and all of that other stuff, but it was…it kinda ended there.
How likely is it, if Amanda and Shan’ann were business partners, that Amanda wouldn’t bring up Shana’nn’s seriously compromised finances with her husband?
I mean, I was never a part of anything. Um-
In another, harder to come by interview, the story shifts slightly.
AMANDA: We had no idea they were financialleee….until we spoke with Chris on Monday. Um…
NICK [Nods while looking at the ground]: He mentioned putting the house up for sale. [Wipes his nose].
REPORTER [Narrating]: And then…last week [the week prior to the murders], Amanda says Shan’ann confided suspicions of infidelity.
AMANDA: She…said that…it came to her mind…that possibly…he…could be cheating…but at the same time, she was like [laughs], ‘He has no game.’
Interestingly, the Thayers noticed on Tuesday afternoon that Chris Watts wasn’t doing the easy things to find out where Shan’ann was.
NICK: He didn’t seem all that eager to…look into it.
REPORTER: They called detectives that night to report it [Chris Watts’ suspicious behavior].
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.
TCRS MERCH available now – just in time for Christmas!
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Book 4 in the TWO FACE series, one of the best reviewed, is available now in paperback!
“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.”