August, 2000

August 1, 2000
A 39-year-old hitchhiker faces charges he bit another man in the neck after the man gave him a ride from Santa Cruz to San Francisco -- and then told police he did it because he needs to consume blood. Eric David Knight, identified in police reports as a transient, was arrested late Friday after the alleged victim told an officer about the bizarre attack. He remained in custody Monday evening at the city jail. The victim, a 28-year-old Santa Cruz man, was taken to University of California-San Francisco Medical Center with a "severe human bite" to the right side of his neck, police said. He was treated and released. The incident began when the victim, driving a 1976 Toyota truck, picked up the hitchhiker about 10 miles north of Santa Cruz. According to the victim, the man was calm during the ride but became agitated as the driver pulled over on Haight Street to drop him off. "He thanked me for the ride and attempted to hug me," the victim wrote in a police statement. "He then bit my neck and proceed (sic) to clamp down." Knight allegedly told police he was ill, saying he suffered from an inability to consume food. (The Mercury News, donated by Bruce Townley)

August 2, 2000
Perhaps the most celebrated case of a prolonged trance was that of Marguerite Bozenval, 'The Dormouse of Menelles', who remained in a trance for twenty years. In 1883, when Marguerite was twenty-one years old, a friend told her, as a joke, that the police were coming to arrest her. She instantly became unconscious. For the next two decades she was tube-fed. On the day before her death there was an episode of violent twitchings of her limbs, after which she opened her eyes and asked for her grandfather, who was long since dead. Not surprisingly, she did not recognize her mother. 'The effort to speak and rouse herself seemed more than the enfeebled frame could bear, and she ceased to breathe at nine o'clock in the morning.' (Death: A History Of Man's Obsessions And Fears)

August 3, 2000
A stripper's throat was slashed and her boyfriend's hands were nailed to a two-by-four during an early morning invasion in New York City on July 13, 2000. Jayne Loder was killed in the attack that police suspect was motivated by two bandits' search for thousands of dollars that the exotic dancer kept stashed in floor safe. Authorities are still trying to make sense of the horrifying tale related by Todd Taylor, the woman's boyfriend, who shared the apartment with the stripper. But, so far, that's all they have to go on as they probe the death of Loder, a 24-year-old who earned her living dancing at an upscale east side Manhattan strip club called Tens. Taylor, a construction worker, told police that he was sleeping about 3 a.m. when two men stormed into the apartment, one of them brandishing a handgun. There was no sign of forced entry. Taylor told police that the bandits nailed him to a piece of wood in one room of the second-story walkup, then attacked his girlfriend in the couple's bedroom. Taylor told investigators that he did not see the men slit Loder's throat with a kitchen knife. The killers fled with thousands of dollars in cash that Loder had kept hidden in a floor safe, reportedly to finance a return to her native Canada. (APB News, donated by Charlene)

August 6, 2000
Peter Kurten - the "Monster Of Dusseldorf" (see MFDJ 12/12/99) - couldn't wait to be executed. Aroused since childhood by the sight and sound of spurting blood, Kurten claimed he would die a happy man if he could hear the blood gushing from his own neck stump at the moment of beheading. (The A To Z Encyclopedia Of Serial Killers)

August 9, 2000
A woman found walking nude and carrying her dead baby in highway traffic in Detroit was arraigned on murder charges Monday (June 12, 2000). Charlotta Gavin, 29, was being held without bond on homicide murder and homicide felony charges, said Michigan State Police Det. Steven Robinson. "The child was killed by forcing mud into the child's mouth and throat," Robinson said. State police said an autopsy Sunday on the girl, believed to have been 13 weeks old, found that the child died of asphyxiation. The autopsy did not reveal how long the baby had been dead, Trooper Michael Oliver said. Gavin was found walking naked on the freeway the afternoon of Saturday, June 10, 2000 with bleeding eyes almost swollen shut. "When I asked her 'who did this to you,' she said 'I did it myself,'" said Oliver. An adult and child's bloody clothes were found freshly buried nearby, Robinson said. (The A To Z Encyclopedia Of Serial Killers)

August 10, 2000
Secret lovers Frauke Punz, 22, and Ulf Lech, 31, worked together in a steelworks in Essen, Germany. As their works closed for its summer break, they sneaked into a lift for an illicit sex session. But while they reached the heights of passion, the electricity was turned off, leaving them trapped between floors in total darkness, while everyone went on holiday. Their mummified bodies were found by a security man four weeks later when the factory returned to work. Unable to raise the alarm by hammering on the walls of the lift, fitness fanatic Ulf had tried to climb the cables, but they were too greasy and he had to go back. The couple died an agonising death of dehydration in the midst of the empty factory, leaving a final note on a scrap of paper reading: "We are at the end of our strength, but our love for each other is eternal. But why ..." Although single, they had kept their romance secret because they feared bosses would move them to other offices. (Strange Deaths)

August 11, 2000
A Kenyan teenage boy was in critical condition after his penis was cut off in a botched circumcision, a Kenyan newspaper reported Wednesday (August 9, 2000). The People newspaper said the 13-year old -- a member of the Luhya tribe of western Kenya -- had collapsed after a tribal elder mistakenly hacked off his whole penis instead of just the foreskin. "The boy, who had braved the chilly morning to face the sharp blade... cried out aloud and writhed in pain, teeth bared as he saw all the treasures he had carefully preserved for the big day drop to the polythene bag he was standing on," the newspaper said. It said the circumciser had been severely beaten up by friends and relatives of the boy, and that a crowd had then surrounded him in a thatched hut chanting "kill him, kill him." Most tribes in Kenya practice traditional circumcision, with a ceremony marking the entry into manhood. Participants usually jump into a cold river to numb the pain before an elder removes the foreskin with a sharp blade. (Reuters, donated by Stephen O'Rourke and Michael Carroll)

August 12, 2000
He proposed in the dead of night, and she accepted. What Rafael Rodriguez did next shocks the senses. Phoenix police said Rodriguez told his new fiancťe he had a surprise for her early Wednesday (August 9, 2000), drove her to the central Phoenix landscaping business where he worked and asked that she close her eyes and lie down. Then he lay down beside her, on what turned out to be a conveyor belt, and fed himself into a wood chipper. His last act was to try to pull her in with him, police suspect. Rodriguez, 20, was dismembered and died at the scene. The chipper automatically stopped before Lucia Lopez, 28, was seriously hurt. Police said that Lopez's head or hair became stuck in the outer rollers of the machine. She underwent surgery at John C. Lincoln Hospital-North Mountain and was listed in good condition Wednesday afternoon. She declined requests for interviews, hospital officials said. The incident, which occurred about 12:45 a.m. at Jomar Tree Service, 2003 W. Glendale Ave., was the second apparent suicide in the Valley this year involving a wood chipper. "He told her not to worry about anything, to trust him and close her eyes," said Detective Bob Ragsdale, a police spokesman. Police Lt. Mark Zingg said Lopez was unaware of what happened until it was too late for Rodriguez. "He lies down next to her, and she says the next thing she knows is he is through the machine, apparently grabbing her wrists to bring her into the machine too." A man working at a nearby towing company saw a pickup truck pull up and heard the machine turn on but didn't think much of it, Ragsdale said. However, once he heard the machine stop and Lopez's screams, he called authorities. Police said Rodriguez was about to be fired from his job because he had become unreliable, and Rodriguez's family told police that he was acting strange lately. (AZ Central, donated by Charles Larsen)

August 13, 2000
For mass public execution with the most pomp and circumstance, the Inquisitions of Spain and Portugal are difficult to top. An enormous crowd of 20,000 dressed in their finest clothes jammed the main square of Lisbon to witness the burning of twenty-one heretics on June 30, 1682. An eyewitness account:
At the place of execution... there are... many stakes set up... with a good quantity of dry furze about them. The stakes... are about four yards high, and have a small board, whereon the prisoner is to be seated within a half a yard of the top... The Professed go up a ladder betwixt two Jesuits... When they come even with the board, they turn to the people and the Jesuits spend near a quarter of an hour in exhorting them to be reconciled to the Church of Rome. If they refuse, the priests come down and the executioner ascends and turns the professed from off the ladder and puts them upon the seat, chains their bodies to the stake and leaves them. Then the Jesuits go up a second time to renew their exhorations and if they find them ineffectual usually tell them at parting, that they "leave them to the Devil, who is standing at their elbow to receive their souls and carry them with him into the flames of hell-fire, as soon as they are out of their bodies." Upon this, a great shout is then raised, and as soon as the Jesuits are off the ladder, the cry is "Let the Dogs' beards be made! Let the Dogs' beards be made!" This is done by thrusting flaming furzes against their faces with long poles. This barbarity is repeated until their faces are burnt coal black, and is accompanied with such loud acclamations of joy as are not heard even at a Bull-Feast or a farce. Fire is then set to the furzes, which are at the bottom of the stake, but the flames seldom reach as high as the seat they sit upon... If the day is windy, then they do not die even after an hour and a half or two hours, and so are really roasted and not burnt to death... The sufferers as long as they are able to speak, cry out: "Mercy for the love of God". (An Underground Education)

August 14, 2000
In the later years of his life, tyrannical Russian Tsar Ivan The Terrible's life followed the same curious, sadistic pattern as it had in earlier years. His sexuality was unremitting (and it has been suspected that his insanity was the result of syphilis), his murders and cruelties never ceased. He carried a pointed iron staff and frequently impaled courtiers who irritated him; one day, in a rage, he killed his own son - no great loss, since Ivan was as evil as his father. In the city of Wenden in Livonia, against which he conducted a war for a quarter of a century, hundreds of citizens preferred to blow themselves up in a castle rather than fall into his hands. He then tortured to death all the remaining citizens of the town. His own counsellors and favourites became his victims. One of the worst and most debauched was Prince Ivan Viscovaty. The Tsar had him hung upside down and sliced to death; then he and his son Ivan went to Viscovaty's house and raped the grief-stricken widow and daughter. (The Mammoth Book Of The History Of Murder)

August 15, 2000
Seven Mexicans died during an exorcism after the room in which they were holding the rite filled with carbon monoxide fumes. National Formato 21 radio said self-styled "witch" Teodoro Martinez was ridding a 15-year-old boy of evil spirits in the town of Tetla, in the central state of Tlaxcala, Friday, August 11, 2000, when the tragedy occurred. It said authorities found burning coal in the room, which led them to conclude the cause of death was carbon monoxide poisoning. Two people were being treated in the hospital. (Reuters, donated by Drude and The Ravenite)

August 16, 2000
Police say a man missing for more than a month died during a sadomasochistic sex game, then was hacked up and stuffed into a trash bag by his panicked partner. Michael Lord, 54, went missing early last month. But police say they traced his phone records to a dominatrix, and visited her Web site. When confronted, the woman admitted to being with Lord when he died. The woman, who has not been identified, said he died during their encounter at her condominium on July 3. Afraid to go to the authorities, she enlisted the help of her boyfriend. The two cut up the body with a hacksaw and removed the manís organs - preserving them in ammonia - before putting all the body parts in eight double-bagged trash bags and tossing them into a trash bin in Maine, the woman told police. No arrests have been made, and the body parts have not been recovered. A spokesman for Norfolk County District Attorney William Keating told the Ledger that the manís cause of death may have been related to "consensual adult contact." The womanís neighbors were shocked when told of the story. "It is quite shocking, but she was a very polite woman and seemed keep to herself," said one stunned resident. "I had seen her at our association meetings, and thatís why thatís quite a shock to me." (ABC News, donated by Stephen O'Rourke, Shiftless and Snort)

August 17, 2000
Ontario police are investigating an accident in which three farm workers died after they climbed into an 18,000-liter liquid manure tank and were overcome by the fumes. Police believe the men were killed by inhaling deadly methane gas when they climbed into the nearly empty tank to repair a faulty part. The men were using the mobile tank to spread manure on a farm field near Drayton, Ontario, 80 miles west of Toronto, around 7 p.m. on Tuesday, August 15, 2000. One man entered the tank to make the repair, but failed to return. A second man went in to rescue him and the third was then prompted to go in after the other two failed to come out. Henry Redekop, 23, Gary Ferrier, 32, and Eric Schulz, 33, were pronounced dead at the scene. The precise cause of the deaths has yet to be determined. The bodies were removed from the tank by firefighters wearing air tanks. Police said criminal negligence on the part of the farm owners has yet to be assessed. "It's too soon to tell. We're still investigating the cause of death and trying to put the pieces together on what occurred," said Ontario Provincial Police Constable Darryl Campbell. (Reuters, donated by Michael Carroll and Sage)

August 26, 2000
A man broke into a home and fatally stabbed a 9-year-old girl and her 8-year-old brother with a pitchfork before he was shot to death by sheriff's deputies. Three other siblings, including one who was bleeding from puncture wounds, escaped by climbing through windows and fleeing to a neighbor's house where they called authorities. When sheriff's deputies arrived at the house in this rural community about 60 miles north of Fresno, the assailant charged at them with the pitchfork. "He was pointing it at them and going right after them, he wouldn't stop," Assistant Sheriff Henry Strength said. "They were hollering at him to stop, but he wouldn't stop. Finally they had to shoot him." Investigators still don't know what led 27-year-old Jonathon David Bruce on the violent rampage. They knew of no connection between the family and Bruce, who was identified through fingerprint records from a 1999 arrest for being under the influence of methamphetamine and fighting with police. The two younger siblings, Ashley and John Carpenter, were killed in their beds. Anna Marie, 13, was hospitalized and in satisfactory condition early Thursday. The children's parents were not at home at the time. Jessica Carpenter, 14, told authorities she that she was walking out of her bedroom when she noticed the man in the house. He had closed all the windows and pushed the furniture up against the walls. The girl told relatives she ran back to her room, locked the door and tried to call for help from her phone but the line was dead. She escaped out of her window and ran barefoot through the fields until she found a neighbor who was at home. (The Associated Press, donated by Nina, Vickie and Bruce Townley)

August 27, 2000
Coolidge Winesett, 75, said there's only one way to describe what it was like being trapped for almost three days at the bottom of his southwest Virginia outhouse after its floor gave way. "I compare it to the Bible's hell," said Winesett, a World War II veteran and retired janitor. It had hellish elements - the smell, maggots, snakes, spiders, rats. Plus there was the persistent notion that he'd done something wrong to deserve it, recalled Winesett, speaking by phone from his bed at Wythe County Community Hospital, where he is recovering from dehydration and injuries he suffered when the 50-year-old outhouse floor collapsed from dry rot Saturday afternoon. "I suffered awful down there," Winesett said. "I kept trying to figure out what I'd done wrong. ... I said, 'God, don't let me die like this.'" Turns out, God had other plans, Winesett said, in the form of mail carrier Jimmy Jackson, who on Tuesday noticed Winesett's mail accumulating at his farmhouse and went to investigate. Jackson said he called out and found Winesett, who is partially paralyzed from a stroke, doubled over and hallucinating in the pit. "It wasn't pretty," Jackson said yesterday. Winesett's ordeal began about 4 p.m. Saturday (August 12, 2000) after he returned from getting a new battery for his 1978 Chevrolet Impala. Winesett said he was getting ready to pick the banjo on his back porch when he decided to make a pit stop. Retired from his janitor's job at the local high school, Winesett has lived alone for decades in Ivanhoe, about 60 miles southwest of Roanoke. Since 1984, he's had only partial use of one arm and has lost part of a leg. Winesett said he built the outhouse in 1950. "I don't use it much, though," he said, adding that he usually depends on restrooms elsewhere. "I eat out most of the time." He used it last Saturday though, hobbling out back with the aid of crutches and a broomstick. After the floor fell in, he struggled to get out, and he called for help, all to no avail. "I screamed 'til I run out of voice," he said. After he fell, Winesett said, he was suspended over the "bad stuff" - the sludge - by a sub-floor and the cracked floor boards. Nails from the planks dug into his flesh, and his body was contorted and immobilized. But that, he said, was nothing compared to the horrors of the next 69 hours, which he spent dealing with creepy, crawly things. When he was at his weakest, he said he heard the footfalls of Jimmy Jackson. "I got up the strength to holler, just a little bit," Winesett said. Jackson said he heard a weak noise, then found Winesett and began the rescue. While neighbors and volunteer fire department personnel arrived to help, Jackson got the parched Winesett a Coke. Winesett said his ordeal had tempted him to think about moving into an assisted-living facility, but he can't afford it. Instead, he said, "I'm going to have me a bathroom put in." (The Washington Post, donated by KSHOhio)

August 29, 2000
Workers at an Australian fish wholesaler were shocked to find a human head inside a giant cod they were preparing for sale. Police in Cairns in the far north of Queensland state said the 97-pound flowery cod was caught by a fishing trawler off Townsville at the weekend and had been delivered to the seafood wholesaler before sale to the public. "On preparing the fish they observed the remains inside and contacted police," detective sergeant David Miles told reporters Tuesday. "It was fairly big and the head appeared to be fairly much intact inside it," he said. Forensic tests were being carried out on the head as police attempted to identify the remains. Local media suggested the head could have belonged to a trawler fisherman missing after falling overboard about 31 miles off Townsville early Sunday. Police said a search for the fisherman, 39-year-old Michael Edwards of Cairns, was called off after the discovery of the head inside the 5.2-foot fish. It was hoped forensic tests would help determine how the head was severed. (Reuters, donated by A Cast Of Thousands)