Category Archives: True Crime

MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow to Host The McVeigh Tapes: Confessions of an American Terrorist

Posted by: Audiegrl

Fifteen years after the Oklahoma City bombing, Rachel Maddow brings viewers the inside story on the deadliest terror attack on U.S. soil prior to the events of Sept. 11.

168 lives were lost and more then 500 people were injured that day and now, on Monday, April 19 (9-11 PM/ET), MSNBC viewers will hear Timothy McVeigh’s chilling confession in his own words for the first time in “The McVeigh Tapes: Confessions of an American Terrorist.” Drawing from 45 hours of never-before-released interview audiotapes recorded during McVeigh’s prison stay, the film reveals the bomber’s descriptions of the planning and execution of the horrific attack and offers insight into how a decorated American soldier became a dangerous, anti-government terrorist.

The two-hour documentary employs state-of-the-art computer recreations of the interview with McVeigh and his actions on and leading up to the day of the bombing. It also provides biographical background of McVeigh’s life and the path that led to his transformation into an ‘American terrorist.’ In addition, survivors and family members of the bombing victims are given a voice in the film, bravely stepping forward to offer the final word on the true impact and meaning of McVeigh’s brutal attack.

The film reveals the bomber’s descriptions of the planning and execution of the horrific attack and offers insight into how a decorated American soldier became a dangerous, anti-government terrorist,” MSNBC said.

McVeigh was executed nine years ago. April 19, 2010 is the 15th anniversary of the horrific bombing.

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Filed under Death Penalty, Domestic Terrorism, MSNBC, Rachel Maddow, True Crime

John Patrick Bedell: Following the Pentagon Shooter’s Trail On-line

Investigated by: Geot and Audiegrl

UPDATE:
Bedell Was Arrested in Reno Before the Shooting

John Patrick Bedell Reno booking shot (AP Photo/Washoe County jail via the Reno Gazette Journal)

This undated booking photo provided by the Washoe County jail via the Reno Gazette Journal on Friday, March 5, 2010 shows John Patrick Bedell. He was arrested about a month earlier in Reno for driving under the influence of marijuana and possessing the drug.

During that Feb. 1 arrest by Washoe sheriff’s deputies, John Patrick Bedell did not appear violent or have any weapons, according to a probable cause arrest report. He appeared so intoxicated that he nearly fell over during portions of the sobriety tests he was given. Inside Bedell’s car was a pink drug pipe with marijuana residue and three plastic containers with 2.6 ounches of marijuana, the report said.

On Feb. 5, Bedell posted $2,080 cash bail in Reno on charges of driving under the influence of marijuana and possession of a controlled substance, records show. He was given a March 2 arraignment date in Reno Justice Court and failed to appear.

Bedell’s arrest documents
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UPDATE:
Pentagon Shooter Had a History of Mental Illness

DMV photo of John Patrick Bedell

DMV photo of John Patrick Bedell

AP~The man who opened fire in front of the Pentagon had a history of mental illness and had become so erratic that his parents reached out to local authorities weeks ago with a warning that he was unstable and might have a gun, authorities said Friday.
John Patrick Bedell was diagnosed as bipolar, or manic depressive, and had been in and out of treatment programs for years. His psychiatrist, J. Michael Nelson, said Bedell tried to self-medicate with marijuana, inadvertently making his symptoms more pronounced.

Without the stabilizing medication, the symptoms of his dis-inhibition, agitation and fearfullness complicated the lack of treatment,” Nelson said.
source:

Pentagon Police Chief Richard Keevill speaks with reporters about a shooting at the Pentagon in Washington, Thursday, March 4, 2010. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

Last evening started out pretty routine, until shortly after 6:40pm when we all heard the horrific news that an unidentified gunman had shot two police officers outside of the Pentagon. Shortly before 8 p.m. Pentagon Police Chief Richard Keevil held an impromptu press conference to answer some of the reporters and the countries questions. He explained to the anxious reporters that a gunman entered the subway entrance of the Pentagon complex and casually reached into his coat (as if reaching for his Pentagon pass), and calmly, with no words, began shooting. He explained that the gunman was attempting to enter the Pentagon complex, and was only stopped by the officers returning fire and gravely injuring the assailant. “The two officers suffered grazing wounds and were being treated in a hospital“, said Cheif Keevill.


UPDATE:
Police Say John Patrick Bedell Stayed Calm During Shooting

Keevill said Bedell was “dressed in a suit and gave no indication of hostile intent, a very well-dressed individual. He was very calm, no distress. Walked directly up to the officers and engaged them.”

He also said that he may have uttered something before opening fire, but what he said was unclear at this time.

Bedell drove to Washington, D.C., from California over the past few weeks, Keevill said, adding that police have been able to trace his movements as he made his way. He parked his vehicle in a local garage; it has since been impounded and is being processed.
source:


At 9pm the alleged shooter was identified as 36-year old John Patrick Bedell. That is the point when we decided to do some digital forensic investigating on our own. At 10 pm the Associated Press reported that Bedell had died of his wounds, and that his body had been delivered to Beverly Fields, Chief of Staff of the D.C. Medical Examiner’s Office.

This article is a compilation of what we discovered about John Patrick Bedell, which we shared last night with the Associated Press office in Washington, D.C. In this new digital age, it is virtually impossible not to find some details about a person’s life on the Internet. Posting as J. Patrick Bedell or JPatrick Bedell he left quite a trail to follow…

John Patrick Bedell in custody 2006

John Patrick Bedell in custody 2006

I am determined to see that justice is served in the death of Colonel James Sabow, as a step toward establishing the truth of events such as the September 11 demolitions and institutions such as the coup regime of 1963 that maintains itself in power through the global drug trade, financial corruption, and murder, among other crimes. My work to develop information currency is an effort to create a framework for information management that uses financial markets to create the economic signals (prices) that will effect complex human actions in the real world based on specified information.

“My desire for justice led me to violate what I think is one of the most unjust laws, cannabis prohibition, by growing 16 cannabis plants on my balcony in Irvine, CA from March 2006 to June 2006. (see below)

John Patrick Bedell: Video Capture by GeoT

John Patrick Bedell: Video Capture by GeoT

One desired result of my effort is (will be) billions and billions of carefully cultivated, highly valuable cannabis plants growing throughout the United States with complete security of property. I have posted the image to the right in order to illustrate the use of cannabis as a monetary system using digital financial instruments.

Wikipedia: User:JPatrickBedell

The NYT/AP reports a California based, twice busted marijuana activist behind Pentagon shooting…


John Patrick Bedell: documents from 2006 arrest in Orange County CA for Marijuana cultivation with the intent to sell and resisting arrest

Bedell’s online postings railed against the government’s enforcement of marijuana laws and included links to the his 2006 court case in Orange County, Calif., for cultivating marijuana and resisting and obstructing a arrest. We found the following court records available online:

The People of the State of California vs. John Patrick Bedell
District Attorney Case @06F08252
June 8, 2006


Bedell Speaks on Investment Proposal

Introduction to Information Currency
Uploaded to his YouTube page on October 31, 2006

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Bedell’s Anti-Government Musings
Directions To Freedom, Part One
(click play to listen)

Recorded on November 20, 2006 ~ OPEN SOURCE

Just bragging 🙂 44-D is being used a resource for this story:
ABC News is using our screen capture of Burdell.

and this from Orange County News Network:

“According to law enforcement documents posted by the blog 44-Diaries… “

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Gunman Shoots 2 Officers at Pentagon Metro Station


ALERT: This page has been updated with additional information on John Patrick Bedell. Please click here to see the new information.

Two victims were Pentagon Police Officers

Police activity outside the Pentagon Metro station on Thursday, March 4. 2010 where there was a shooting.Police activity outside the Pentagon Metro station where there was a shooting. (Photo credit ArlNow.com)

UPDATE 10:03pm EST
“Law enforcement sources identified the suspect as John Patrick Bedell, 36. They also said they were investigating whether a second person was somehow involved. No further information was available.”



Pentagon Police Chief Richard Keevill speaks with reporters about a shooting at the Pentagon in Washington, Thursday, March 4, 2010. A gunman coolly drew a weapon from his pocket and opened fire at the teeming subway entrance to the Pentagon complex, wounding two police officers before being shot and critically wounded, officials said. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

Updated: Thursday, 04 Mar 2010, 8:55 PM EST
ARLINGTON, Va. – Two Pentagon Police officers were hurt when a gunman opened fire at the entrance to the Pentagon Metro station on Thursday evening. The suspect, who was the third victim, was in custody.

Pentagon Police Chief Richard Keevill said Thursday night that the alleged gunman walked up to the Pentagon prescreen area at the Pentagon Metro entrance facility at around 6:40 p.m. and when he was asked to show his pass to officers, he reached into his pocket and pulled a gun. Then, Chief Keevill said, he immediately started shooting at the officers.

Chief Keevill said the alleged gunman didn’t say anything and showed no emotion before he started firing. He used a handgun that he pulled from his pocket.

Chief Keevill said the suspect hit two officers, and fire was returned. The suspect was then hit, and his injuries were critical, according to Chief Keevill. The officers’ injuries were non-life threatening.

All of the injured including the suspect were taken to George Washington University Hospital for treatment.

The names of those involved were not immediately released.

“We have layers of security, and it worked,” said Chief Keevill. “He never got inside the building to hurt anyone.”

Chief Keevill also said a shooting of this kind has never happened at the Pentagon before now.

In this image from video provided by WJLA-TV, a person on a stretcher is loaded into an ambulance outside the Pentagon Metro Station Thursday, March 4, 2010, in Washington. A gunman opened fire at the subway entrance to Pentagon complex Thursday evening, wounding two Pentagon police officers, a spokesman said. (AP Photo/WJLA-TV)


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2nd person scrutinized in Pentagon subway shooting

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Mar 4, 9:22 PM ESTAP~WASHINGTON~Law enforcement officials say they’ve got one person in custody and are investigating whether a second was involved in a shooting at Pentagon subway entrance

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation is still unfolding.

They say there’s no immediate signs of terrorism but, with information coming in quickly, they haven’t ruled anything out.

Two police officers were shot and critically wounded in the shooting.


Published : Thursday, 04 Mar 2010, 7:09 PM EST
ARLINGTON, Va. – Three people have been injured when a gunman opened fire at the entrance to the Pentagon Metro station on Thursday evening, and two of the victims are Pentagon Police officers.

The officers who were injured were taken to George Washington University Hospital’s emergency room. The suspect was among the shooting victims, and he was also taken to the hospital. None of the injuries were thought to be life-threatening, according to a Pentagon Force Protection Agency spokesman.

The Pentagon Metro station, which serves both the Blue and Yellow lines for the transit system, was closed for a time after the shooting, which happened around 6:40 p.m. By 8 p.m., the Metro station had been reopened, with the exception of one entrance near the scene.

The Pentagon was also locked down for a time during the investigation.

According to Pentagon Force Protection Agency spokesman, the suspect walked up to the main entrance of the Pentagon at 6:40 p.m. and opened fire, hitting two officers. The officers fired back and hit the suspect, whose injuries were said to be more serious.

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Nancy Kerrigan’s Life Touched By Tragedy Once Again

44-D's True Crime Stories
Posted by: Bluedog89

American ice skating legend Nancy Kerrigan’s father has been murdered by her own brother, according to cnn.com. Nancy’s brother Mark, 45, was arrested Sunday and is accused of assault and battery against their father, 70-year old Daniel Kerrigan, according to Massachusetts authorities.

American ice skating icon Nancy Kerrigan

Apparently there was a violent argument and struggle between the father and son, resulting in the elder Kerrigan falling or collapsing on the kitchen floor. Nancy’s mother Brenda then called 911 to assist her husband.

Authorities are still investigating the the circumstances of the incident along with the cause and manner of death. The county medical examiner is expected to release a report within a manner of weeks.

When police arrived on the scene, they found Mark Kerrigan in the basement of the house, “clearly intoxicated” and “extremely combative.” He refused to comply with police officers, had to be subdued with pepper spray before forcibly removing him from the home.

Mark Kerrigan pleaded not guilty during his arraignment. According to court documents, he was unemployed, was recently released from a correctional facility, and was living at home with his parents. He is taking medications and seeking psychological help for post-traumatic stress, apparently from a stint in the Army.

Nancy Kerrigan first gained prominence by winning a bronze medal at the 1992 Winter Olympics in Albertville, France. In 1994 she earned an Olympic silver medal in Lillehammer, Norway.

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Police: Lone Shooter Kills 8 in Central Virginia

posted by: GeoT

Suspect in 8 Va. slayings surrenders after hunt
APPOMATTOX, Va. (AP) — A gunman suspected of killing eight people before disappearing into dense Virginia woods and firing on a police helicopter surrendered at sunrise Wednesday, ending an overnight hunt by dozens of law enforcement officers.

Christopher Speight, 39, approached officers at the scene of the shootings at about 7:10 a.m. and turned himself in, said Sgt. Thomas Molnar of the Virginia State Police.

This image provided by the Virginia State Police shows shooting suspect Christopher Speight, 39, who is being sought in connections with the fatal shootings of eight people in Appomattox, Va., Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2010. (AP Photo/Virginia State Police)

Associated Press/Larry O’Dell

~Police with dogs and heat-sensing equipment hunted for a man they say shot eight people to death Tuesday and then nearly took down a police helicopter that was trying to flush him out of the woods near this central Virginia town.

State police said officers had the suspect, Christopher Speight, 39, circled in the woods late Tuesday near the home where seven of the bodies were found and they believed he was still alive. An eighth victim was found barely alive on the side of the road — which led to police being called — and died on the way to the hospital.

All the victims were adults and both men and women were killed, state police Sgt. Thomas Molnar said. Three of the bodies were found inside the home, and four just outside it, Molnar said.

Police refused to speculate on a motive and would not say what type of weapon was used. Molnar also gave no background on the suspect. Speight’s last known address was along the block where the shootings occurred, but Molnar did not know if the suspect was still living there. He also would not say if all the victims were shot at the home.

Virginia State Police gather while searching for a man that is possibly connected with multiple fatalities outside of a house on Snapps Mill Road in Appomattox County, Va.

The drama paralyzed the rural area as police swarmed forests trying to catch the suspect who fired at a state police helicopter, forcing it to land with a ruptured fuel tank, police said. No police were injured after one or more rounds struck the helicopter.

A National Guard helicopter with thermal imaging equipment were being used to search the woods.

They are searching the area and will continue until the suspect is apprehended,” Molnar said.

The violence began shortly after noon when the injured man was found on a rural stretch of road. A deputy who went to investigate fled after he heard gunshots, police spokeswoman Corrine Geller said.

When the deputy arrived on the scene, that’s when he heard several shots,” Molnar said.

Police did not release the victims’ names or the suspect’s possible relationship to them.

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James Von Brunn Dead: Holocaust Museum Shooter Died In Hospital



James von Brunn

James von Brunn

AP—The 89-year-old man accused of a deadly shooting at Washington’s Holocaust museum died Wednesday in a prison hospital. At Butner federal prison in North Carolina, spokeswoman Denise Simmons announced that James von Brunn died shortly before 1 p.m. Wednesday.

Von Brunn’s lawyer, A.J. Kramer, called the death “a sad end to a tragic situation,” but declined further comment.

The elderly suspect had been awaiting trial for the killing of security guard Stephen T. Johns at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum on June 10. Von Brunn had been wounded by return fire but survived.

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Statement from the Holocaust Memorial Museum~~January 6, 2010

The Museum’s thoughts and prayers continue to be with Officer Stephen Tyrone Johns’ family at this time. Officer Johns died heroically defending the Museum, visitors and staff. This tragedy is a powerful reminder that our cause of fighting hatred remains more urgent than ever.

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2 in one week: DNA testing clears wrongly convicted

Donald Eugene Gates

WASHINGTON (AP) — A man who spent 28 years behind bars for a rape and murder he said he didn’t commit walked out of a federal prison in Arizona on Tuesday with $75 and a bus ticket to Ohio after DNA testing showed he was innocent.

The conviction of Donald Eugene Gates, 58, was based largely on the testimony of an FBI forensic analyst whose work later came under fire and a hair analysis technique that has been discredited.

“I feel beautiful,” Gates told The Associated Press by telephone after leaving the U.S. penitentiary in Tucson, Ariz.

Just hours before, the same judge who had presided over Gates’ trial years ago in D.C. Superior Court ordered his release.

Prosecutors had agreed Gates should be released. However, at their request, Senior Judge Fred B. Ugast delayed Gates’ formal exoneration until next week to give the government a chance to conduct one more round of DNA testing.

Ben Friedman, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney’s office in Washington, said Gates would be the first D.C. defendant who spent significant time in prison to be exonerated based on DNA evidence.

Gates was convicted of the 1981 rape and murder of Catherine Schilling, a 21-year-old Georgetown University student, in Washington’s Rock Creek Park. He was sentenced to 20 years to life in prison.

But the conviction was based largely on the testimony of FBI hair analyst Michael P. Malone whose work came under fire in 1997. At that time, the FBI’s inspector general found that Malone gave false testimony in proceedings that led to the impeachment and ouster of U.S. District Judge Alcee Hastings in 1989.

Ugast was incredulous that prosecutors had failed to inform him after Malone’s work was called into question. He ordered the U.S. attorney’s office to review all its cases in which Malone testified – something he said should have been done earlier.

Sandra K. Levick, one of Gates’ attorneys from the D.C. Public Defender Service, said she came across the inspector general’s report while doing her own research for the case. She then obtained more information through a Freedom of Information Act request that showed the FBI had issued warnings about the work of Malone and 12 other analysts who were criticized by the inspector general. As part of a review requested by the FBI, prosecutors confirmed they had relied on Malone’s work to obtain Gates’ conviction.

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Fla. man exonerated by DNA after 35 years in jail

BARTOW, Fla. (AP) — A Florida man who spent 35 years in prison has been freed after DNA evidence exonerated him. James Bain was sentenced to life in prison in 1974 for kidnapping and raping a 9-year-old boy. He’s been pushing for DNA testing and he finally got it after the Innocence Project of Florida got involved in his case.

Tests released last week showed he could not have committed the crime. A judge ordered him freed on Thursday and he walked out of a courthouse a free man.

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**Breaking—Seattle police kill suspect in officer slayings

Police plan to arrest more people who helped Clemmons

SEATTLE (AP) – The man suspected of gunning down four police officers in a suburban coffee shop was shot and killed by a lone Seattle patrol officer investigating a stolen car early Tuesday, a sheriff’s spokesman said. Four other people were arrested for allegedly helping the suspect elude authorities during a massive two-day manhunt. A Seattle police officer came across the stolen car in a working-class south Seattle neighborhood about 2:45 a.m., Assistant Police Chief Jim Pugel said. The officer approached the car, then detected movement behind him, recognized the suspect Maurice Clemmons and ordered him to show his hands and stop.
“He wouldn’t stop,” Pugel said. “The officer fired several rounds, took the person into custody.”

Police planned to arrest more people who helped Clemmons. “We expect to have maybe six or seven people in custody by the day’s end,” said Ed Troyer, a spokesman for the Pierce County sheriff. “Some are friends, some are acquaintances, some are partners in crime, some are relatives. Now they’re all partners in crime.”
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44-D’s True Crime: Discovery Channel’s Jack the Ripper in America

TrueCrime-490X136

Reviewed by Audiegrl

The greatest serial killer in history has never been named. But what if we are looking in the wrong place?


In 1888, a deranged killer stalked his prey on the streets of east London at night. After 121 years since the murder and mutilation of at least five prostitutes, the case remains unsolved and the true identity of Jack the Ripper has never been known. The world’s greatest criminal investigators have focused on searching for answers in London. However, in the 1890s a series of horrific murders took place across the United States in New York, San Francisco, Galveston and Atlanta, that mirrored the attacks in attacks in the UK. In this one hour special, Discovery Channel’s viewers will witness the new evidence, science and analytical techniques being used to reveal the true identity of Jack the Ripper.

NYPD Cold Case Detective Ed Norris

The Discovery Channel’s documentary, Jack the Ripper in America focuses on Detective Ed Norris, former head of the NYPD Cold Case Unit, who investigates and uncovers new evidence not seen since the time of the murders. In trying to solve the 118 year old murder of New York prostitute Carrie Brown, he begins to note the similarities between her murder and the famous Whitechapel murders in London. Brown’s murderer had a three-stage MO (strangled, penetrating wound, pulled apart) Because of the unusual and gruesome nature of the crime, the press of the day, immediately began asking the question, “Is Jack the Ripper in New York“. Norris sees the same unusual ‘signature‘ in both the London and New York killers. They both kill prostitutes by strangling, cutting the throat, and eviscerating the body. For Norris this indicates that he might be looking at the same killer.

Carrie Brown aka Old Shakespeare

Carrie Brown aka Old Shakespeare

The key in all cold cases is finding the clues missed by the original investigators. Although, Brown was murdered on April 23, 1891, Norris decides to let a new set of eyes look at the evidence. Enter Dr. Jonathan Hayes, the Manhattan Senior Medical Examiner. Dr. Hayes combs through the autopsy report of Carry Brown. He reaches some interesting conclusions, including a special marking on the body, which I won’t reveal here, you’ll have to watch the show. On August 7th, 1891, another unidentified prostitute is murdered with the same MO as Brown, and pulled from the East river. Visiting the New York Municipal Archives, Norris finds that the old newspapers of that time, reveal another shocking detail. The killer actually wrote to the NYPD, before the murder of Carry Brown. His letter is recreated below:

Capt. Ryan,

You think that “Jack the Ripper” is in England, but he is not, I am right here and I expect to kill somebody by Thursday next, and so get ready for me with your pistols, but I have a knife that has done more than your pistols. Next thing you will hear of some woman dead.

Yours truly,

Jack the Ripper

Richard Jones

Detective Norris wants to get into Jack’s head, and walk in his foot steps. He feels that he was an organized killer that took advantage of the conditions of the time: no ambient street lighting, a black curtain of smoke over the city caused by burning low quality coal, and counting on his victims to naturally take him to the dark, secluded places used in the prostitution trade. Norris takes viewers through a summary of the Ripper murders by using re-enactments and walking through the crime scenes. Next, Norris consults London historian Richard Jones, owner of Ripper Walking Tours and author of Uncovering Jack the Ripper’s London. Jones has spent more than two decades investigating the Whitechapel murders. He asks Jones if any of the serious Ripper suspects had ever traveled to the United States after the death of Mary Kelly. Jones provided him with three names: Severin Klosowski, Francis Tumblety, and James Kelly.

Known as the From Hell or Lusk Letter

Norris then consults with Sheila Kurtz, a Forensic Hand Writing Analyst, Master Graphologist and President of Graphology Consulting Group. Kurtz had successfully worked on the Son of Sam case among many others. After reviewing samples of the Ripper’s hand writing, Kurtz identified the writer as a very disturbed individual, who she said, “I wouldn’t want to be in his company“. For additional details on her analysis please visit her blog. The graphic to the left shows the letter was purportedly written in 1888 by Jack the Ripper.

Dr Thomas Bond

Dr. Thomas Bond

Norris then paid a visit to Britain’s National Archives. The archives hold thousands of original documents in the Ripper case. There, Norris discovers a document not previously used in the investigation. A profile of the killer. Sir Robert Anderson, the head of the police Criminal Investigation Departments, asked Dr Thomas Bond, Britain’s top police surgeon in 1888 to examine material connected with the Whitechapel murder investigation. Bond wrote a 19th-century version of a modern day unsub profile, based on personally examining the body of Mary Kelly and reading the autopsy reports on the first four victims. In the report, he describes in detail the type of person they should be investigating. Dr. Bond was sure that all five women had been killed by the same hand, because the throats of all victims had been cut in a similar way and the victims were presumably lying down when murdered. (for additional details on Dr. Bond’s profile, click here to read the report) Norris ultimately uses this 121 year old profile to narrow the three suspects down to one name. James Kelly. In the world of police parlance, Norris says that “Kelly looks good“.

Jack the Ripper victims: Polly Nichols, Annie Chapman, Elizabeth Stride, Catharine Eddowes, Mary Kelly

In 1883, James Kelly only one month married, argues with his wife and accuses her of being unfaithful. In a psychotic rage, he uses the methods of strangulation and throat slashing to kill her. Kelly is caught, convicted and sentenced to die by hanging. Then his employer comes forward and explains that he believes Kelly is mentally disturbed. Kelly was then examined by a alienist and committed to the Broadmoor Criminal Lunatic Asylum. Kelly’s psychiatric report has been sealed for over 125 years, until Norris examines it.

Broadmoor Old Gate

Broadmoor Criminal Lunatic Asylum

In 1863, Broadmoor was the first custom-built asylum to house criminal lunatics. In Broadmoor, Kelly is a outwardly a model prisoner, but at the same time he is secretly planning his escape. Working in the asylum’s carpentry shop, he cunningly uses a piece of medal he carved into a key to aid his escape. In January of 1888, Kelly escaped and just disappeared. At that time a series of stabbings and slashing attacks of women start in London. Three victims: Annie Millwood, (February 25, 1888, stabbed repeatedly, but survived), Ada Wilson, (March 28, 1888, slashed in the throat, but survived), and Martha Tabram, (August 7, 1888, stabbed 23 times, did not survive). Norris feels these are the early attempts of Jack the Ripper, who like many serial killers, escalates and only gets more brutal over time. After these three attacks, the first London Ripper murder occurs. Surprisingly, Kelly was once considered a suspect by London police, but after only minimal checking at his old residence, they simply gave up, and were never able to find him. With the huge amount of pressure they were under, the case against Kelly went cold…

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Astonishingly, in 1927…forty years later, a much older Kelly voluntarily returns to the insane asylum and began to chronicle his travels. A typed copy of Kelly’s confession letter survives in the National Archives, and Norris is the first detective to read it. In the letter, Kelly describes having “problems dealing with society“, and being “overtaken with feelings of envy, jealousy, and malice“. Kelly states, “the thing has been hard because of all kinds of ‘skank’” (a term he uses to refers to women of low moral character) and “I’ve been on the warpath since I left Broadmoor Asylum.” Also in his letter, he admits to traveling to London after his escape, and more interestingly he tells of traveling to the United States and arriving in New York conveniently before the Carrie Brown murder. He was by profession, a trained upholsterer, and would have known quiet a bit about knives and how to use them effectively for the purpose of murder. Kelly also mentioned traveling to many cities in the US before returning to England and admitted that he came to the US many times over a period of 40 years.

USS Zaandam

First Norris wanted to check to make sure that Kelly’s confession matched up with actual travel records of the day. In Britain’s National Maritime Museum, they kept track of every ship that came to the United States. Kelly said he traveled to America aboard an Anglo-German steamer named the Zaandam that sailed from Rotterdam to New York. At the museum, Norris not only confirmed the ship existed, but that it sailed from Rotterdam to New York on October 7, 1890—two years after the last Ripper murder in London (11/88) and months before the April 23, 1891 murder of Carrie Brown in New York. You might be thinking, “How does a ‘wanted man’ get into the United States without detection?” Professor Dan Citrum is an expert in 19th-century immigration and explains how easily it could have been done. Remember this was before Ellis Island was established, so getting in and out of the country was very easy. No drivers licenses, no passports, and no photo id whatsoever. Many people back then, came to this country to start over, and remake themselves and get lost in the huge crowds of New York city. In his confession, Kelly admits to changing his name once his ship arrives to ‘John Miller‘, one of the most common names both then and now. Kelly used his new name like a disguise to blend in and escape police scrutiny.

Knowing from experience that many serial killers travel extensively, to avoid detection, Detective Norris plots the cities Kelly claims to have visited against the murders written about in the newspapers. He begins to see similarities in Ripper-like murders committed in other cities: New York NY, Trenton, NJ, Galveston, TX, New Orleans, LA, Philadelphia, PA, Baltimore, MD, Jackson, CA, San Francisco, CA, Denver, CO. Each of these murders occurred during the time that Kelly, thorough his confession letter, said he was in that city. Even the city newspapers asked the same question “Is this the work of Jack the Ripper” and “Is this the fiend of Whitechapel?” and “Has Jack the Ripper Invaded Texas at Last“. Detective Norris identified twelve murders across five states in just four years…and remember, Kelly was gone for forty years…you can do the math. To read an amazing collection of news reports, please visit Casebook: Jack the Ripper.

Using a asylum photo of Kelly provided by the National Archives, he was able to see what Kelly looked like at age 67. Norris then contacted Steve Mancusi, a NYPD senior forensic artist who has helped solve the most difficult cases for the last 30 years. He wanted Mancusi to use forensic imaging technology normally used for age-progression in missing child cases, but with this case, he wanted him to reverse the effects of aging, to show what Kelly would have looked like in his 30’s. The striking illustration below on the right is based on their findings.

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Both illustrations of Jack the Ripper

The left composite, was drawn based on 118 year old eye-witness accounts of Jack the Ripper in London. They examined different witness statements and used modern day forensics to come up with a portrait of the killer, even indicating what type of hat he wore.

The drawing on the right, is the result of Mancusi shaving 40 years off of James Kelly’s photo at age 67. As you can see, once they added the type of hat mentioned by eye witnesses, the drawings are a very close match.

In the end, there is no doubt in Norris’ mind that he has found Jack the Ripper. We may never know. John Kelly died of natural causes in 1929 inside Broadmoor Asylum and took his secrets to his grave. In my opinion, Jack the Ripper in America was very well done and is a must-see for all forensic buffs and amateur Ripperologists. I’m interested in seeing further research, analysis and discussion of Norris’ theory. Regarding any factual errors in this post, I apologize in advance, and encourage everyone to let me know what needs to be corrected.

Time After Time

On a lighter note, anybody remember the movie “Time After Time” starring Malcolm McDowell, John Warner and Mary Steenburgen? McDowell played H.G. Wells, who uses his time machine to chase his friend, Warner (aka Jack the Ripper) through the streets of modern day (1979) San Francisco. After watching Norris’ documentary, maybe Hollywood’s silly (but entertaining) version of the Ripper story had a sliver of truth to it after all. 😉

The Secret of Prisoner 1167: Was This Man Jack the Ripper? by James Tully


Hat tip and special thanks to Roy Corduroy for his suggestion to add this book to this post. Casebook: Jack the Ripper gives this book a three-starred review:

A triumphant achievement on the part of Jim Tully, well-researched and written. James Kelly is his suspect, a lunatic upholsterer and wife-murderer who is actually in the Guinness book of world records for his escape from Broadmoor asylum. Tully weaves a fascinating story, regardless of your feelings on Kelly as a suspect. Recommended.

Related Articles and Sites

Casebook: Jack the Ripper

Maps of Whitechapel, 1888-1894

Ripperological Preservation Society

Jack the Ripper Tours

Serial Killer Database – Jack the Ripper

The Whitechapel Society

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The Missing Link From Killeen to Kabul by Frank Rich

Op-ed by Frank Rich

Frank Rich

Frank Rich/The New York Times

New York Times/Frank Rich—The dead at Fort Hood had not even been laid to rest when their massacre became yet another political battle cry for the self-proclaimed patriots of the American right.

Their verdict was unambiguous: Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, an American-born psychiatrist of Palestinian parentage who sent e-mail to a radical imam, was a terrorist. And he did not act alone. His co-conspirators included our military brass, the Defense Department, the F.B.I., the Walter Reed Army Medical Center, the Joint Terrorism Task Force and, of course, the liberal media and the Obama administration. All these institutions had failed to heed the warning signs raised by Hasan’s behavior and activities because they are blinded by political correctness toward Muslims, too eager to portray criminals as sympathetic victims of social injustice, and too cowardly to call out evil when it strikes 42 innocents in cold blood.

The invective aimed at these heinous P.C. pantywaists nearly matched that aimed at Hasan. Joe Lieberman announced hearings to investigate the Army for its dereliction of duty on homeland security. Peter Hoekstra, the ranking Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, vowed to unmask cover-ups in the White House and at the C.I.A. The Weekly Standard blog published a broadside damning the F.B.I. for neglecting the “broader terrorist plot” of which Hasan was only one of the connected dots. Jerome Corsi, the major-domo of the successful Swift-boating of John Kerry, unearthed what he said was proof that Hasan had advised President Obama during the transition.

William Bennett excoriated soft military leaders like Gen. George Casey Jr., the Army chief of staff, who had stood up for diversity and fretted openly about a backlash against Muslim soldiers in his ranks. “Blind diversity” that embraces Islam “equals death,” wrote Michelle Malkin. “There is a powerful case to be made that Islamic extremism is not some fringe phenomenon but part of the mainstream of Islamic life around the world,” wrote the columnist Jonah Goldberg. Islam is “not a religion,” declared the irrepressible Pat Robertson, but “a violent political system bent on the overthrow of the governments of the world.”

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