Lead Story

Lannie Hendrickson, 24, was arrested in Bozeman, Montana, in December on two counts of assaulting a minor after he allegedly bit two children he was babysitting, ages 1 and 2, on their arms, shoulders, and legs because they wouldn’t quiet down and go to sleep. According to court records, he couldn’t recall how many times he’d bitten each child but acknowledged that he “bit the shit out of them.”

Least Competent CIA Agents

In December the Chicago Tribune reported on the sloppy work done by the CIA operatives who allegedly kidnapped an Egyptian-born cleric in Milan in 2003, which helped expose the U.S. program of extraordinary rendition. Among the cited examples of the agents’ insufficiently clandestine activities: they failed to remove the batteries from their cell phones before the abduction, allowing Italian authorities to track their movement along the route from the spot where the cleric was seized to an American air base several hours away; while in Italy during the weeks before the kidnapping they used their phones indiscriminately, apparently making personal calls to friends and family in the U.S.; in some cases they registered at Milan hotels using their real names and home addresses; and one operative who may have used an alias nonetheless provided hotels with her real-life frequent-flier number so she could get the extra miles.

Could Have Been Worse

The Wichita Eagle reported in January that Mary Capps, 45, had filed a $75,000 gender-discrimination lawsuit against her former boss at a municipal office in Park City, Kansas, claiming he’d used “abusive, intimidating language and physical gestures” with her and hindered her career via an unfavorable evaluation report. Capps’s former boss is Dennis Rader, better known as the BTK killer, who tortured and killed at least ten people in the Wichita area between 1974 and 1991; last June he pleaded guilty to ten counts of murder and in August was sentenced to a minimum of 175 years in prison.

Fetishes on Parade

Masafumi Natsukawa, 39, was arrested in Yokohama, Japan, in January; investigators say he admitted that on more than 30 occasions he approached young girls, persuaded them to open their mouths by telling them he wanted to check for tooth decay, and then licked their tongues. Also in January Michael Codde, a 44-year-old former substitute teacher from Aptos, California (near Santa Cruz), was sentenced to a year in jail after pleading guilty to felony child molestation; during a slumber party at his house Codde had gotten a group of nine- and ten-year-old boys to lick whipped cream off one another’s toes and videotaped them doing it.


New York’s Newsday reported in December on David Mocknick, a 49-year-old Philadelphia literary agent, and the stress-relief technique detailed in his book Who’s Fred, Ha! Mocknick, who acknowledges he has no background in medicine or psychology, attributes curative powers to the name Fred: to use his system, you try to steer a conversation so that someone says a word rhyming with “Fred”–e.g., “bread”–and then call out “Bread! Fred! Who’s Fred, ha!” According to Mocknick, this makes you feel better.


In Jackson, Missouri, in December 27-year-old Jacob Vandeven pleaded guilty to drunk driving and was sentenced to two years’ probation; less than an hour later the sentencing judge saw Vandeven violating probation by drinking at a bar and restaurant near the courthouse. In the same month, David Mulligan, 21, was released from jail in Juneau, Alaska, after serving 25 days for driving drunk; within three minutes, authorities said, he found a van left warming up outside a house nearby and stole it. Also in December 21-year-old Justin Fish was bailed out following his arrest for allegedly assaulting a car dealer in Framingham, Massachusetts. While being escorted out of the booking area minutes later Fish reportedly lost his temper and slammed a door against an officer’s hand; he was rebooked on new assault charges.

Life Imitates a Stephen King Movie

The New York Daily News reported in January on Gerard Glock and his lawsuit against the Catholic diocese of Brooklyn, New York, seeking two months’ lost wages for an incident that allegedly left him too traumatized to work: Glock, 39, says he was trimming weeds on his family’s plot at a diocese-run cemetery on Long Island when the ground collapsed underneath him, plunging him waist-deep into his brother-in-law’s grave.

America’s Gun Problem

More people who recently shot themselves by accident: Lawrence Maner, no age given, picking up handgun from car floor after it fell off his lap, where he’d been keeping it to protect himself from stranger he was driving home from a Christmas party they’d both attended, leg, lived (passenger, apparently terrified, fled on foot; Savannah, Georgia, December). Chad Bogard, 39, practicing “cowboy action shooting” at gun range with pair of .357 Magnums, abdomen, died (Ocala, Florida, December). (Cowboy action shooting is a sport in which participants adopt 19th-century personas, dressing appropriately, and use a succession of different guns to shoot targets as quickly as possible.) Unidentified man, 21, playing with gun in bathroom, finger, lived (finger severed; Vancouver, British Columbia, January). Unidentified man, 29, taking out trash while wearing pistol in waistband, leg, lived (Columbia City, Indiana, January).

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): illustration/Shawn Beslchwender.