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Ex-firefighter, girlfriend charged in Va. arsons
Apr 3, 2013, - 0 Comments

April 3, 2013 Associated Press

ACCOMAC, Va.  — A former volunteer firefighter and his girlfriend are responsible for all but a handful of the 77 arsons set on Virginia's Eastern Shore over the past five months, state police said Tuesday.

Charles R. Smith III, who went by the alias Charles Applegate when he served as captain of the Tasley Volunteer Fire Department several years ago, and his girlfriend, Tonya S. Bundick, were arrested early Tuesday, shortly after an abandoned residence was set ablaze.

The pair has been charged in only one fire, but Virginia State Police spokeswoman Corinne Geller said they are believed to be responsible for most of the blazes set since November. She said more charges should be filed soon.

"We now have a very complex prosecution ahead of us due to the sheer numbers of arsons these two people are responsible for setting," Geller said.

All of the fires were set in or near abandoned or unoccupied commercial and residential buildings, and no injuries were reported.

Robert Ford assassinates outlaw Jesse James - 1882
Apr 3, 2013, - 0 Comments

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Robert Ford

by Michael Thomas Barry

On April 3, 1882, one of America's most notorious outlaws, Jesse James, is shot to death by fellow gang member Robert Ford. For 16 years, Jesse and his brother, Frank, committed robberies and murders throughout the Midwest. Newspaper accounts and pulp novels glamorized the James gang, turning them into mythical Robin Hoods who were driven to crime by unethical landowners and bankers. In reality, Jesse James was a ruthless killer who stole only for himself. 

Man held for 42 years in deadly Arizona hotel fire set to be released
Apr 2, 2013, - 0 Comments

April 2, 2013 MSNBC

An Arizona man who has maintained for 42 years that he had nothing to do with a horrific hotel fire that killed more than two dozen people is set to be freed from prison Tuesday.

Louis Cuen Taylor was just 16 years old when he was sentenced to multiple consecutive life sentences for a fire that ripped through the Pioneer Hotel, a Tucson landmark that went up in flames in December 1970 while employees of an aircraft company were there for a Christmas party. 

Taylor, who is black, claims police pinned the crime on him and an all-white jury gave him an unfair trial. A 2002 examination of his case by CBS' "60 Minutes" found evidence that he had been railroaded and led volunteer legal group The Arizona Justice Project to take on his case.

On Tuesday, Taylor is expected to be released as part of a deal with prosecutors in which he will be forced to plead no contest in the case. 

The blaze killed 29 people: Some jumped to their deaths, others were trapped in their rooms because fire truck ladders weren't long enough to reach upper floors, but most victims died from carbon-monoxide poisoning inside the hotel.

The "Teflon Don" John Gotti is found guilty of murder - 1992
Apr 2, 2013, - 0 Comments

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John Gotti

by Michael Thomas Barry

On April 2, 1992, a jury in New York finds mobster John Gotti, guilty on 13 counts, including murder and racketeering. In the wake of the conviction, the assistant director of the FBI’s New York office, James Fox, was quoted as saying, “The don is covered in Velcro, and every charge stuck.” On June 23 of that year, Gotti was sentenced to life in prison, dealing a significant blow to organized crime.

Judge throws out key evidence against twice-convicted murderer Woodworth
Apr 1, 2013, - 0 Comments

In a scathing order, a Platte County judge on Monday threw out key evidence against a rural Missouri man who has spent 20 years maintaining his innocence in a 1990 murder.

Circuit Judge Owens Lee Hull Jr. excoriated law enforcement’s handling of critical bullet and revolver evidence that state prosecutors have used to twice convict Mark Woodworth of murdering Cathy Robertson and wounding her husband, Lyndel, in November 1990 outside Chillicothe.

“(T)he court finds that there has been an egregious, flagrant, cavalier disregard of evidentiary procedures,” Hull wrote in his 10-page order.

Elsewhere in the order, Hull described law enforcement’s lack of documentation as “odious.”

Woodworth was remodeling the basement of his parents’ home near Chillicothe when his lawyer called with the news. “I feel great,” he said. “It’s a great victory.”

Woodworth was 16 at the time of the shootings. After a long investigation, he was charged in 1993 with murder and assault. A jury convicted him two years later.

Marvin Gaye is murdered by his father - 1984
Apr 1, 2013, - 0 Comments

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Marvin Gaye

by Michael Thomas Barry

On April 1, 1984, singer Marvin Gaye is murdered . At the peak of his career,  Gaye was the Prince of Motown—the soulful voice behind many hits. Over the course of his roughly 25-year recording career, he moved successfully from upbeat pop to "message" music to satin-sheet soul, combining elements of Smokey Robinson, Bob Dylan and Barry White into one complicated and sometimes contradictory package.

English serial killer John Christie is arrested - 1953
Mar 31, 2013, - 0 Comments

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John Christie

by Michael Thomas Barry

John Reginald Christie was a notorious English serial killer active in the 1940s and early 1950s. He murdered at least eight females, including his wife Ethel, by strangling them in his flat at 10 Rillington Place, Notting Hill, London.

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