On this date in crime history - March 29, 1971, Lt. William L. Calley is found guilty of premeditated murder by a U.S. Army court-martial at Fort Benning, Georgia. Calley, a platoon leader, had led his men in a massacre of 200 Vietnamese civilians at My Lai, including women and children on March 16, 1968. My Lai 4, was a cluster of hamlets in Quang Ngai Province of Vietnam.
On this date in crime history - March 28, 1814, the funeral of Joseph-Ignance Guillotin, the namesake but not the inventor of the infamous execution device, takes place outside of Paris, France. Guillotin, a member of the General Assembly had what he felt were the purest motives for proposing the use of the device. The machine was intended to show the intellectual and social progress of the French Revolution; by killing aristocrats and journeymen the same way, equality in death was ensured.
On March 27, 1905, neighbors discover the badly bludgeoned bodies of Thomas and Ann Farrow in their South London shop. Thomas was already dead, but Ann was still breathing, but died four days later without regaining consciousness. The brutal crime was solved using the newly developed fingerprinting technique. Only three years earlier, the first English court had admitted fingerprint evidence in a petty theft case. The Farrow case was the first time that the cutting-edge technology was used in a high-profile murder case in Britain.
by Michael Thomas Barry
On March 26, 1997, police enter a mansion in Rancho Santa Fe, an exclusive suburb of San Diego, California, and discover 39 victims of a mass suicide. The deceased were all found lying peaceably in matching dark clothes and Nike sneakers and had no noticeable signs of trauma. It was later revealed that the men and women were members of the "Heaven's Gate" religious cult, whose leaders preached that suicide would allow them to leave their bodies and enter an alien spacecraft hidden behind the Hale-Bopp comet.
The Scottsboro Nine
On March 25, 1932, the United States Supreme Court hands down its decision in the case of Powell v. Alabama. The case arose out of the infamous Scottsboro case. Nine young black men were arrested and accused of raping two white women on train in Alabama in March 1931. The boys were fortunate to barely escape a lynch mob sent to kill them, but were railroaded into convictions and death sentences. The Supreme Court overturned the convictions on the basis that they did not have effective representation.
On March 24, 1998, Mitchell Johnson and Andrew Golden shoot and kill five and wound 10 at the Westside Middle School in Jonesboro, Arkansas. Golden, 11, the younger of the two boys, asked to be excused from his class, pulled a fire alarm and then ran to join Johnson, 13, in a wooded area 100 yards away from the school's gym. As the students streamed out of the building, Johnson and Golden opened fire on students and teachers.
On March 22, 1984, seven teachers at the McMartin Preschool in Manhattan Beach, California were indicted on molestation charges by the Los Angeles County grand jury after hearing testimony from 18 children. Included among the charged are Peggy McMartin Buckey, the head of the school and her son Ray Buckey.