Chuck Shepherd is on vacation. The following items are reprinted from the News of the Weird archives.
A 1999 police report in the Messenger of Madisonville, Kentucky, recounted an incident in which a man was found driving two trucks along a rural road. He would drive one truck 100 yards, stop, walk back to the other truck, drive it 100 yards beyond the first one, stop, walk back to the first truck, drive it 100 yards beyond the second one, and so on. According to police, the man’s brother had passed out in one of the trucks, so the man was driving both home.
Minneapolis firefighter Gerald Brown, 55, was fired in 1995 for abuse of sick leave but won a grievance hearing before a state arbitrator and was eventually reinstated with 18 months’ back pay. Brown was scheduled to return to work on June 2, 1997, but he called in sick.
People Different From Us
In 1997 Courtney Mann, head of the Philadelphia chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of White People, was rebuffed by the Ku Klux Klan when she attempted to join a Klan-sponsored march in Pittsburgh, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Though she had been a member of the NAAWP for at least four years, her request was turned down by the Pennsylvania Grand Dragon because Mann is black. “She wanted me to send transportation [for the rally],” he said. “She wanted to stay at my house [during rally weekend]. She’s all confused, man. I don’t think she knows she’s a black.”
In San Diego in 1998, unlicensed surgeon John Ronald Brown, 75, was arrested and charged with causing the death of Philip Bondy, an 80-year-old man who let Brown amputate a healthy leg. According to a friend, Bondy suffered from apotemnophilia (a sexual compulsion to have one’s limbs amputated). Brown’s license was revoked in 1977 after he botched several sex-change operations; in 1989 he went to prison for performing sex-change and plastic surgery without a license, and before his murder trial for Bondy’s death (he was convicted) he pleaded guilty to seven more counts of unlawful practice.
Unclear on the Concept
Really not getting it in the summer of 1998: In July a juror in Judge Esmond Faulks’s court in Newcastle, England, asked the judge for the defendant’s date of birth so he could draw up a star chart to help him decide the case. He was removed. Also in July a 31-year-old woman in Oakley, California, felt a mysterious bump as she was pulling out of her driveway. Trying to determine what it was, she drove over it two more times. It was her three-year-old son, who suffered a broken leg. And in August Wall Street Journal reporter James S. Hirsch, writing about the Boston Globe’s recent troubles with columnists making things up, said in his story that the New York Times (owner of the Globe) had no comment on the matter, a fact he later admitted he’d made up. He was fired.
News of the Weird reported in 1996 on Oklahoma rapist Darron Bennalford Anderson, who had received a 2,200-year sentence in 1994 but appealed and won a new trial. Unfortunately for him, he was convicted again and given more than 9,000 additional years behind bars for a total of 11,250 years, including 4,000 years each for rape and sodomy, 1,750 years for kidnapping, 1,000 years for burglary and robbery, and 500 years for grand larceny. In July 1997, the state court of criminal appeals held that the grand larceny charge constituted double jeopardy on the robbery conviction and dismissed it, speeding Anderson’s release date up five centuries to the year 12,744 AD.
The Finer Points of the Law
In 1996 the Iowa Supreme Court prohibited inmate Kirk Livingood from suing Phillip Negrete under the state’s domestic-abuse law. Negrete was Livingood’s cellmate and, according to Livingood, beat and tormented him.
Professionalism in Action
Outside a courtroom in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, in 1997, defendant Mark Gusow, 36, told his court-appointed attorney, Laura Morrison, 52, that he was going to request a new lawyer. Morrison tried to persuade Gusow to stay outside and talk about it some more, but when he started to walk away she clamped him in a headlock and allegedly raked his face with her fingernails.
Least Competent Criminals
Michael Guilbault, 19, pleaded guilty in 1997 to robbing a convenience store in Raleigh, North Carolina. According to the prosecutor, a delayed getaway aided police in their capture. Guilbault and his accomplice were to meet their friends Heather Beckwith, 18, and Curtis Johnson, 19, at the getaway car nearby, but when the robbers arrived, they found the doors locked and the couple engaged “in the act,” as the prosecutor put it. Guilbault and his colleague were forced to wait until the couple had finished before they could get in the car, but by that time passersby had noticed the two men pacing around and yelling at the couple.
In 1997 a basketball player for Southeastern Oklahoma State University was killed near Paris, Texas, when a flying cow hit the car in which he was riding, causing the driver to lose control and crash. The cow had been sent airborne when it was hit by another car.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): illustration/Shawn Belschwender.