Let’s Celebrate Valentine’s Day With A Massacre 

February 14 is a day of many emotions and not just love. Valentine’s Day is a point of contention for many. In reality, it’s just another day that really doesn’t mean much of anything. Unless you just so happened to be a victim of the infamous Valentine’s Massacre in 1929. 

 

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If you are offended by vintage crime scene photos, leave this blog now.

 

Chicago, 1929. Prohibition was in full swing and the mafia ruled. Honestly, the 1920s looked super fun. Would Rsvp “yes” to a 1920s party. At 10:30 a.m. on Valentine’s Day 1929, seven men were murdered in a shootout at a warehouse on Clark Street in Chicago. Five of the men killed were members of the Chicago North Side Gang led by Bugs Moran. The murders were planned by none other than Al Capone, which is something you probably already knew. Side note: 10:30 in the morning seems early for a planned gun battle/massacre. Murdering a bunch of rival gang members seems more like a nighttime activity.

 

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Al Capone

 

The initial plan was to lure Bugs Moran to the warehouse with a promise of a cut of illegal whiskey that had been shipped in from Detroit and kill him in order for Capone’s gang to gain more control over Chicago’s illegal liquor operations. Also, an associate of Moran’s had murdered members of Capone’s gang in 1924, Pasqualino “Patsy” Lolordo and Antonio “The Scourge” Lombardo. Side note 2: those are the best names EVER. These gangsters with their fighting and trendy names are total petty drama queens. 

Once members of the North Side Gang arrived at the warehouse, some of Capone’s men were there dressed as police. Moran, who was supposed to already be at the warehouse, was running late that day. When he saw police going into the warehouse, he waited outside. The police were actually Capone’s men and were inside murdering his men. 

Capone’s crew was successful in taking down so many of Moran’s men that Capone’s gang took complete control of the Chicago operations (or racket if you want to go full old-school gangster).

 

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Bugs Moran looks like the type of guy who randomly talks to you in the grocery store and makes a bad pun about the weather. 

 

No one was ever brought to trial or charged with the murders. Both Capone and Moran blamed each other for the murders. Capone denied that he was personally involved that even claimed he was at his home in Florida the day of the murders.

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Like most of the mafia crimes of yesteryear, this was one never officially solved. This was mainly because of police corruption and payoffs to public officials, which never happen today *wink, wink*.

Fun fact: Al Capone was actually arrested for tax evasion and went insane from syphilis.

On that note…

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Diane Schuler and The 2009 Taconic State Parkway Crash

It is one of my personal goals to watch as many true crime/weird/creepy documentaries as possible. While on my way to reaching my documentary and chill goal, I came across this one. 

This case isn’t exactly a murder in the first-degree sense, even though charges were going to be filed, I still thought it belonged here.

Regardless of what was originally concluded, others might feel that this case is justified as a murder based on the circumstances alone. The HBO documentary, There’s Something Wrong With Aunt Diane, tells the story of the 2009 Taconic State Parkway crash and Diane Schuler the woman behind the wheel who was responsible for the death of eight people, including Schuler herself, her two-year-old daughter, her nieces, ages eight, seven, and five, a father and his son, and their friend. 

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As someone who writes a blog with the word murder in it, I have watched, read, and written about a lot of horrifying things. The majority of them fail to bother me, except this one. 

Aunt Diane is one of the most polarizing documentaries in recent years and is constantly listed as a “must see” and “disturbing”. The documentary rightfully belongs on both those lists, while it does contain graphic content, including photos of the horrific accident, the most disturbing part of the story is what happened after the crash. 

The crash soon became national news. Sadly, what should have been just another highway collision statistic became a case of denial and debate over toxicology reports.

On Sunday, July 26, 2009, around 9:30 a.m. Diane Schuler left a campground in Parksville, New York driving a minivan registered to her brother, Warren Hance. Her husband, Daniel Schuler left the campground several hours later in a pickup truck. The families had been on a camping trip for the weekend. 

Four hours later, everyone in the minivan would be dead, except the Schuler’s five-year-old son, Bryan who survived with brain damage. 

Diane stopped at a McDonald’s and a gas station before the crash. Video surveillance from the gas station shows that Diane went inside. The clerk working that day stated that she asked for some OTC pain reliever. In the weeks leading up to her death, Diane had been suffering from a toothache. She left the gas station purchasing nothing. Witnesses later came forward and reported seeing Diane pulled over on the side on the side of the road, bent over as if she were vomiting. She was soon seen driving erratically. 

Around 1:00, Schuler’s niece called her father and told him “there’s something wrong with Aunt Diane.” She told her father that Diane was having trouble seeing. Thirty minutes later,  the crash occurred after Diane had been driving in the wrong direction on the road for 1.7 miles. 

 Police found an empty bottle of vodka in the wreck. Common sense says clearly Schuler had been drinking and driving. This is where the controversy comes in. If you don’t know the story, you are probably wondering what the hell is going on and what direction this is going in. 

Autopsy and toxicology reports showed that Schuler had a blood alcohol content over twice the legal limit in New York, including 6 grams of alcohol in her stomach that had yet to be digested. She also had high levels of TCH in her system. The high levels of TCH showed that she had used marijuana as recently as 15 minutes before the crash. 

During the documentary, the story is told in such a way which presents these findings as a shock to the viewer. Then, the proverbial bomb is dropped-both Diane’s husband and her sister-in-law admit that Diane did both drink and occasionally use marijuana. This was after they both denied and refused to believe that the autopsy and toxicology results were correct. Daniel Schuler claimed that Diane had either suffered a stroke, an aneurysm, heart attack, or another medical emergency. He even raised money on several occasions to have Diane’s tissue samples re-tested. Every lab came back with the same results. 

This case suddenly went from a drunk driving accident to a clear case of heavy denial in which the surviving members of the Schuler family keep making themselves look like jerks for denying that one of their own had a problem and refusing to believe what has been in front of them for almost ten years. Their insistence to prove everyone else wrong and keep bringing up the case has been painful for the surviving family members of the others killed in the crash. This is the part that bothers me. Denial and blind ignorance can be just as harmful as a gun. 

Aunt Diane is a good documentary and well made, but it doesn’t do the Schuler family any favors. Instead of painting a sympathetic portrait of a family tragedy and its aftermath, it accomplishes the exact opposite. It is by far the most frustrating and irritating documentary on any streaming channel. If you can think of another one, let me know. 

Regardless of the controversy surrounding this story, the documentary is worth a watch. You can find it on HBO Go and

“Alias Grace” Is A Vomit-Filled Letdown 

No one knows us better than our BFF Netflix. She knows what we like, what we’ve seen, and notifies the NSA when we’ve watched all the murder shows. She knows that I would enjoy a historical murder drama. Only this time, she was wrong.

 Grace had enough in the beginning to intrigue me but it couldn’t keep up. Still, this didn’t stop me from binge-watching the entire thing. If you haven’t seen it, take this with a grain of salt. Watch if you want, but don’t forget I warned you. Slight spoilers ahead. 

 

 

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The Woman Who Cooked Her Boyfriend

I would like to point out now that I’m writing this while listening to the sound of sizzling meat in a skillet. I promise it’s chicken and not long pork.

The woman who served the other-other white meat was Australia’s, Katherine Knight. Knight now has the distinction of being the first woman in Australia sentenced to life in prison without parole.

 

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Katherine Knight. Image.

 

Like many killers, Katherine had a troubled and violent upbringing. She was abused by both of her parents and claimed to have been sexually assaulted by Her mother would often discuss the details of her sex life with her daughter and told her about how much she hated men.

When Katherine started high school she became a loner and a bully. The only people she was close to were her twin sister and her uncle, Oscar Knight. When he committed suicide in 1969 when Katherine was only 17, she became very distraught.

During high school, Katharine assaulted a male classmate and attacked a teacher. She was also known to fly into terrifying rages. When she wasn’t assaulting educators and other classmates, Katherine was a model student although she claimed that she never learned to read and write.

She dropped out of high school at age 15 and started working in a clothing factory. A year later, Knight started working at what she called her “dream job” at a slaughterhouse. She was promoted and given her very own set of butcher knives! Unlike presumably all other slaughterhouse employees, she took these knives home and hung them over her bed so “they would always be handy if I needed them.” Knight continued sleeping with the knives above her bed until her arrest.

Katherine found her first love and husband, David Kallett. When they married in 1974 Knight’s own mother told him: “You better watch this one or she’ll fucking kill you.” I doubt that’s on too many Hallmark cards.

His mother-in-law’s theory luckily didn’t come to pass (at least not for him) but his new life tried to strangle him on their wedding night. Katherine later recalled this was because he would only have sex with her a measly three times and fell asleep.

Unsurprisingly, their marriage didn’t last long. On one occasion, when Knight was pregnant with their daughter, Melissa Ann, she hit him in the head with a frying pan and fractured his skull. Soon after Melissa Ann was born, Kallett left him for another woman.

The day after he left her, Knight was seen throwing a baby stroller back and forth down the street. She was admitted to a mental health facility and treated for postpartum depression. Knight stayed in the hospital for several weeks and was quickly readmitted after she dumped her daughter on a train, stole an ax, and threaten to kill several people. Melissa Ann was rescued shortly before the train departed.

Kallett and Knight reconciled and had another daughter in 1980 before breaking up in 1984. Two years later Knight met another man, David Saunders. They also had a violent and volatile relationship.

On another occasion, Knight slit the throat of a baby dingo in front of Saunders and said she’d do the same to him if she ever caught him cheating on her. She would also frequently throw him out of her apartment. When she became pregnant with their daughter, Saunders bought a house which Knight decorated with animals skins, skulls, horns, rusty traps, old boots, leather, and machetes.

Knight also hit him in the face with an iron and stabbed him in the stomach with a pair of scissors. She also cut up all of his clothes. Saunders left her and when into hiding. He returned several months later to see their daughter. This prompted Knight to go to the police where she claimed he was the violent one. She was issued an Apprehended Violence Order against him (similar to an Emergency Protective Order in the U.S.).

Knight had another relationship with a man named John Chillingworth. The two had a son named Eric. After three years, Knight left him for John Price.

 

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John Price. Image.

 

Knight and Price had been having an affair for some time while he was married and she was still with Chillingworth. Price had three children with his ex-wife, two of which lives with him. Price was well aware of Knight’s violent history but continued their relationship and let her move into his house.

They soon had a fight brought on by Price’s refusal to marry her. Knight then made a video of several items Price had stolen from his work. Knight took the video to his boss and he was fired.

A few months later, Price rekindled their relationship but didn’t allow her to move back into his house. After their relationship started again, the ill-fated lovers started fighting even more. Price’s friends said they would no longer have anything to do with him if he continued seeing Knight. Price was well liked in their small community and many were shocked when he became romantically involved with Knight.

Their relationship finally came to a head in February 2000 when Knight stabbed him in the chest. On February 29, Knight obtained a restraining order against her. Later that day, Price told his co-workers that if he didn’t come to work the next day it was because Knight had killed him. He also feared she would kill his children as well.

After work on the night of February 29, Price went over to his neighbor’s house and drank for several hours. When he returned home, he found Knight there. The couple had sex and Price soon fell asleep. He would never wake up.

The next morning, his neighbors called the police when they noticed his car still in the driveway. The police were called and arrived at 8:00 a.m. There they found a gruesome sight.

Warning: this is graphic.

Knight was found unconscious after taking a bottle of pills. Evidence showed that Knight stabbed Price 37 times while he was sleeping and that he tried to get away and bled out in the hallway where he died. What was left of Price’s body was found posed with his arm wrapped around a 2-liter bottle. She then skinned him and hung his skin on a meat hook in the living room. Price was decapitated and his head was found in a pot still hot on the stove. Knight cooked other parts of his body with baked potato, pumpkin, beetroot, courgette, cabbage, yellow squash, and gravy.

 

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A less graphic and murderous representation of the crime. Image.

 

The police found two place settings at the dining room table with place cards with the names of Price’s children. Another meal and some of the cooked human meat were found discarded in the backyard. Police believed that Knight might have attempted to eat it. Price’s body also had a note attached to it which read: “Time got you back Johathon for rapping [raping] my douter [daughter]. You to Beck [Price’s daughter] for Ross – for Little John [his son]. Now play with little Johns dick John Price.”

When Knight woke up from her pill-induced coma, she claimed to have no memory of committing the crime. The accusation that Price had raped Knight’s daughter was never proven.

Knight was arrested and attempted to plead guilty to manslaughter. Her plea was rejected and changed to not guilty of the murder or Price. Her lawyers attempted to use a plea of amnesia and insanity. Several psychiatrists diagnosed Knight with borderline personality disorder and was declared fit to stand trial.

Before the trial began, the judge offered selected jury members to be excused due to the graphic crime scene photos. Knight was obviously found guilty and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Knight has continually refused to believe that she killed Price and still claims she doesn’t remember killing, dismembering, and cooking him.

In 2006, Knight attempted to appeal her life sentence and failed. Knight is currently serving her sentence in the Silverwater Women’s Correctional Centre in New South Wales.

Victimology

I apologize for the lack of posts lately. I have been working on a freelance job as well as finishing up 2 books. Writing is like, so hard.

Note: The following post is in no way meant to victim blame. This is just presenting facts.

In our PC laden culture, victimology can be a somewhat controversial topic as it can come across as victim blaming (see note above). However, the study and theories of victimology are extremely important in apprehending criminals.

Victimology is simply the study of victims in the criminal justice system and the connection between victims and perpetrators. This is a pretty basic, self-explanatory topic although it sounds much more complicated.

For example, Ted Bundy’s victims were college-aged girls often with long, brunette hair. Specific details about victims are used to create a victim profile which helps law enforcement track crimes. For a fictional example, take Dexter who’s victims are criminals and generally all around bad people.

This is a rather heavy topic and isn’t as fun as teenagers who think they are vampires and murder a bunch of people in Florida (where else would they do it?). Here’s a Dexter meme to lighten the mood.

 

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Sorry, not sorry. 

 

Victimology comes with various sets of theories based upon the lifestyle and environments of potential victims. For example, drug users, sex workers, abuse victims, and individuals fitting into a criminal’s M.O. are all considered in victimology theories. The study of victimology also explores how perpetrators lure and groom victims based on these theories.

The study of victimology has led to the rise of the victims’ rights movement, which was nonexistent until the 1970s with the beginning of the Victims’ Rights Movement. In 2004, the Crime Victims’ Rights Act was passed ensuring victims of protection, restitution, etc.

Freakin’ 2004! Seriously, it shouldn’t surprise anyone it took so long to get something so basic and obvious into law. The Victims’ Rights Movement has been very successful in passing legislation to help victims and future generations.

Murderabilia, or “why the hell is that in your house?”

Owning something collected from a crime scene or that was once owned by a famous murderer is the ultimate way to:

1. Keep your family and neighborhood children away from your house

2. Creep out your friends

3. Not get a second date

OR maybe find cool friends and the love of your life. Dean Martin was wrong, you are somebody when someone doesn’t love you, even if you have Ted Bundy’s Christmas card on your fridge.

Murderabilia is exactly what it sounds like- memorabilia collected from crime scenes and from the homes of murderers, personal effects, and artwork.

By far the famous pieces of murderabilia are the notorious Pogo the Clown paintings by everyone’s favorite KFC lovin’ serial killer, John Wayne Gacy.

 

 

Murderabilia is taking both true crime and trash vs. treasure to the extreme. While legal, the buying and selling of these items go hand in hand with the Son of Sam Law, which prohibits criminals from profiting from their crimes such as selling stories to journalists and publishers.

Instead, these macabre collectibles are sold through dealer sites. eBay banned the sale of such items in 2001. The concept alone sounds like something only the most depraved can access via the dark web. Surprisingly (or not), a Google search will lead the curious to these sites. eBay banned the sale of such items in 2001. The concept alone sounds like something only the most depraved can access via the dark web. Surprisingly (or not), a Google search will lead the curious to these sites.

To collectors, murderabilia is owning a piece of history. While collecting these oddities borders on illicit and would raise some eyebrows in conversation, the sale of these items isn’t about making money for the sellers. Many of these sites will donate to victims and their families. 

The concept is interesting and intriguing. However, as someone who runs a true crime blog, collecting these items is taking it too far and borders on serial/mass murder glorification and sympathizing (more on that later). These items belong in a museum, not in the creepiest living room display case of all time.

You’re probably better off still hoarding Beanie Babies.

 

 

Hollywood & Crime Podcast Explores The Black Dahlia As Well As Other Grisly Murders In 1947 Los Angeles

Even the most seasoned true crime aficionados probably don’t know about the similar and possibly connected murders which occurred following the months after the killing of The Black Dahlia (Elizabeth Short). I surely didn’t. Hollywood & Crime uncovers these horrific murders for a crime-hungry, twenty-first-century audience.

 

In this podcast series, host Tracy Pattin along with a team of talented actors tell the stories of these murdered women and the investigations into these crimes. Seventy plus years later these cases remain unsolved.

The podcast focuses on several different women: an heiress, a WWII flying nurse, a wife out for a good time who met a gruesome end, and the would-be actress with a seemingly bad reputation, The Black Dahlia. Yet, they all were murdered in a similar fashion around the same time. How did such different women with different paths meet the same end? We may never know.

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Image via.

 

If these crimes happened in 2017, or even 2007 (this January marked the seventy-year anniversary of The Black Dahlia murder), we would probably know the killer (or killers) due to DNA technology and a better understanding of crime scene contamination. This was a classic serial killer case before the term serial killer was even in the lexicon.

As I listened to these stories I wondered why don’t we know about these murders, which at the time were called The Werewolf Murders, like we do The Black Dahlia or other well-known crimes before the 1970’s? In my mind, the 70’s were terrifying and the epitome of all things serial killer. I’m not sure why these cases aren’t more talked about considering how sensationalized they were at the time. The podcast implies that The Black Dahlia murder was more reported and talked about than the others at the time-history proves that correct, which is why these other murders aren’t as well-known.

This podcast also mentions the theory that Elizabeth Short’s murderer was a woman. This theory is one I’ve come across in my years of looking up weirdness and murder on the Internet. I did a little research while writing this and wasn’t able to come up with much other than this post and a short Wikipedia entry. I thought it was interesting the police didn’t rule out the possibility of a female murderer. The podcast doesn’t discuss this for very long, but I’m glad they mentioned the theory.

I can’t say much more without giving anything away. Besides, Wondery does a much better job talking about murder than I do. Give it a listen on iTunes or here.