Feb. 24, 2013 Associated Press
ATHENS, Greece (AP) — A helicopter swooped down on a prison courtyard Sunday as armed men on board fired on guards and lowered a rope to help a convicted killer make his fourth attempt to escape from a Greek prison.
But the plot was foiled after the prisoner was shot and the chopper forced to land in the prison's parking lot.
The dramatic escape attempt was one of a handful involving helicopters in Greece, and the first time such plans have failed.
Authorities said the chartered helicopter — carrying two armed passengers, a pilot and a technician — first tried to rip off the chicken-wire fence surrounding Trikala prison with a hook dangling from a rope. But that didn't work, so a rope was lowered down to whisk away Panagiotis Vlastos. Another prisoner, an unnamed Albanian national also in the courtyard at the time, may also have been part of the escape plan.
At the same time, the armed passengers used AK-47 assault rifles to fire on the prison guards. One guard, who was inside a post, was slightly injured by shards of flying glass. He and others returned fire, injuring Vlastos, who had managed to climb into the helicopter, as well as the helicopter's technician. Vlastos fell from a height of about 3 meters (10 feet) into the courtyard, and the helicopter was eventually grounded in the parking lot.
Vlastos, 43, is a convicted murderer and racketeer serving a life term who had tried and failed three times before to escape from prison.
On February 24, 1981, socialite Jean Harris is convicted of murdering Dr. Herman Tarnower, the author of the bestselling The Complete Scarsdale Medical Diet. Harris, the headmistress of an exclusive girls' school, shot Dr. Tarnower at his Westchester County, New York, home on March 10, 1980.
Feb. 23, 2013 USA Today
PITTSBURGH — The story has more irony than a Greek tragedy. Three sisters from a devout Catholic family have seen their personal and political careers ruined by a scandal that began with, of all things, a letter to some nuns.
Thursday's conviction of suspended Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice Joan Orie Melvin along with her aide and sister, Janine Orie, on campaign corruption charges mean they might join a third sister — former state senator Jane Orie — in state prison. No sentencing date has been set.
The former senator was sentenced last year to 2½ to 10 years for using her state-paid staff to run her campaigns, though she was acquitted of having them campaign for Melvin, then a lower appellate court judge, who was running for the Supreme Court in 2003 and 2009. Joan Orie Melvin and Janine Orie were convicted in a spinoff investigation and found guilty of similarly misusing Melvin's former staff and the senator's.
Even before the convictions, their careers — and the family from which they sprang — were extraordinary.
Dr. John Orie, now 90, and his late wife, Jean, raised nine children including five attorneys, Joan and Jane among them; two cardiologists; a teacher; and a human resources manager, Janine, who worked for her sister Joan Orie Melvin in the lower Superior Court before moving up with her to the Supreme Court.
Feb. 23, 2013 ABC News
A Virginia elementary school teacher and a school nurse are facing charges in what police are calling a murder-for-hire plot.
Angela Nolen, a 47-year-old kindergarten teacher, was arrested Wednesday for allegedly plotting to hire a hit man to kill her ex-husband for $8,000. According to police, Nolen's friend 37-year-old Cathy Bennett, a school nurse, worked with Nolen to find a hit man.
According to the Franklin County Sheriff's Office, Nolen's plan unraveled when she gave a police officer, working under cover as a hit man, an up-front fee of $4,000 to kill her ex-husband, 63-year-old Paul Strickler.
Strickler, who is the father of Nolen's 7-year-old daughter, told the Roanoke Times he had been working on a deal to sell his house to Nolen.
"If I was dead, she would not have to give me the money," he told the Roanoke Times. "That scares the H-E-L-L out of me. I'm just so glad that the state police found out about this and uncovered it."
Johann Otto Hoch aka The Stockyard Bluebeard
On February 23, 1906, serial killer Johann Otto Hoch was hanged in Chicago, Illinois. Hoch was born John Schmidt in 1855, at Horweiler, Germany. He immigrated to the United States as a young man in the 1890s and dropped his surname in favor of assorted pseudonyms where he began to marry a string of women, frequently taking the name of his most recent victim.
Feb. 21, 2013 USA Today
More than 900 people died in mass shootings during the past seven years, and a majority of them were killed by people they knew, according to a USA TODAY analysis of gun-related slayings.
The 934 deaths account for less than 1% of all gun-related homicides, and nearly half involve a suspect slaying his or her family members, the detailed examination shows. USA TODAY combed through FBI records and news accounts to identify 146 mass shootings since 2006 that matched the FBI definition of mass shooting, where four or more people were killed.
A separate analysis of 56 mass shootings since 2009 provided to USA TODAY by a group of mayors promoting gun control reaches similar conclusions. More than half – 57% – of cases examined by Mayors Against Illegal Guns involved domestic violence. The group, co-founded by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, is made up of more than 850 U.S. mayors.
Harry Kendall Thaw
On February 22, 1947, notorious playboy and accused murderer Harry Kendall Thaw died in Miami, Florida. Thaw was the son of American coal and railroad baron William Thaw. Plagued by mental illness since childhood, Thaw led a profligate life. Heir to a multi-million dollar fortune, he spent money lavishly to fund his obsessive partying, drug addiction, and the gratification of his sexual appetites.
With the purpose of writing about true crime in an authoritative, fact-based manner, veteran journalists J. J. Maloney and J. Patrick O’Connor launched Crime Magazine in November of 1998. Their goal was to cover all aspects of true crime: from organized crime to serial killers, from capital punishment to prisons, from historical crimes to celebrity crime, from assassinations to government corruption, from justice issues to innocent cases, from crime films to books about crime. Read More