Lead Stories

In April a judge in Milwaukee threw out the lawsuit of Mary Verdev, 73, who said she incurred about $90,000 in injuries in 1990 when a Catholic church’s large bingo board fell on her. She claimed that as a result of her injuries she “suffered” spontaneous orgasms and found herself attracted to women. (The church denied any responsibility.)

Police in Eureka, California, issued a warning to mothers in April after two stroller-pushing women complained that a woman had distracted them momentarily and then breast-fed their babies briefly before fleeing. Several days later police backed off on the warning after one of the mothers said she wasn’t sure the intruder had placed the baby to her breast. (Police were still pursuing the other complainant.)

In the middle of Sotheby’s April auction of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis’s estate, Milwaukee lawyer Robert Steuer announced he was searching for an auction house to handle the Jeffrey Dahmer estate (to benefit the families of Dahmer’s 17 victims). Included were such treasures as Dahmer’s refrigerator and freezer, a 57-gallon drum, an 80-quart kettle, four saw blades, a sledgehammer, and chemical-resistant gloves. (Sotheby’s declined to handle the auction.)

Least Competent People

In April bailiffs at the jail in Brownsville, Texas, mistakenly placed a government witness in a double-murder case in the same holding cell with the man accused of the crimes, Jesus Ledesma Aguilar, 32. Bailiffs then had to rescue the witness from a beating administered by a third cell mate allegedly acting on Aguilar’s behalf.

Thieves who broke into a meat freezer in Spring Valley, California, in March are still at large. The thieves undoubtedly thought the freezer, located equidistant between two build-ings, belonged to a restaurant and that they were stealing frozen steaks for resale; in reality it belongs to the restau-rant’s next-door neighbor, the Paradise Valley Road Pet Hospital, which re-ported nine euthanized dogs missing.

Wesley Steny, 16, and Jeanis Caty, 18, were arrested for robbing a Food Spot store in Miami in February after they reported to a hospital with gunshot wounds. According to police, Caty had reached over the store’s counter for the money, accidentally discharging his gun and hitting Steny, who then fell against a third robber, which caused his gun to discharge and hit Caty. The three then fled. Said the clerk, “I knew there was a mistake. They were the only ones bleeding.”

Dennis Gene Chester, 31, was arrested in February for selling crack cocaine to a uniformed officer in the parking lot of police headquarters in Clearwater, Florida. Said Chester, “I knew I was taking a chance. I guess I lost.”

Western Kentucky University student Joe Schmidt, asked by the school newspaper whether Magic Johnson’s return to pro basketball in February would put other players at risk: “It would be an honor to get HIV from playing Magic Johnson on an NBA court. He’s one of the greats.”

Not My Fault

In April in West Palm Beach, Florida, Steven Barone, 17, said he robbed a gun store only because he was taken over by another personality, which was an amalgam of guys from the movies Pulp Fiction, Reservoir

Dogs, and GoodFellas.

In April a jury in Minneapolis awarded almost $16 million to Patricia Koehler, 35, a psychiatric patient who suffered brain damage during a 1990 suicide attempt. The jury said her hospital shared the blame because it left her alone, thus giving her the opportunity to tie her shirt around her neck and hang herself. Four days later the Michigan paper Ludington Daily News reported a financial crisis at its local jail caused by soaring insurance premiums based on a 1989 payout of $1.17 million to an inmate who filed a failed-to-prevent-suicide attempt lawsuit. That inmate, Randy Parsons, survived and is still serving 15 to 30 years for murder.

In April the Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled that truck driver Elmer O. Dulen was injured on the job and thus was due worker-compensation benefits. In 1993 railroad equipment that was probably faulty caused Dulen’s truck to be hit by a train, injuring Dulen and killing his female coworker. A witness at the scene, however, quoted Dulen as saying that he and his coworker were having sex at the time of the crash. (Dulen denied he said that but acknowledged that his pants had been pulled down and his coworker had been wearing only a T-shirt.)

Weirdo-American Community

In April in Muskogee, Oklahoma, religious patriot Willie Ray Lampley, 65, was sentenced to 20 years in prison for a scheme to “drop four or five build-ings.” Lampley had targeted gay bars, abortion clinics, and civil rights centers for demolition because he was certain of an imminent foreign invasion and thought the explosions somehow would forestall it.

Names in the News

Announced in the Wall Street Journal in April as a new managing director of Merrill Lynch’s loan syndications group, Ed Crook.

Pleading guilty to a $30 million fraud charge in New York City in March was the former owner of two investment companies, Chuckles Kohli.

Jailed in San Rafael, California, in February, on the latest of his 18 indecent-exposure convictions, Ubiquitous Perpetuity God, 68. (Mr. God says he chose the name years ago so that his flashed victims would have “some type of awareness of God.”

Send your weird news to Chuck Shepherd, Chicago Reader, 11 E. Illinois, Chicago 60611.

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