Hello to all those faithfully reading and hopefully enjoying this effort to make even the worst horror movie more watcha... aw, screw that - I'm not that good. If a movie makes you cringe because yet another batch of unlikable teens that are pushing 30 are inching toward their deaths, having a party no one does anywhere ever, a paranormal movie is boring you to tears with unending pans of empty rooms, or thanks to CGI technology when people finally bite it, their blood squirts everywhere except on the victim, the ground, the people next to them... you're in good company and this is the right place for you.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

TRUE LIFE IS MUCH SCARIER THAN FICTION







Child Murder In The United States Part One

I've posted at length about the horrors visited on children (and women) the world over. However the US has a very dark history when it comes to the treatment of our small ones, and because of the printed page and the development of better media and especially things such as computers and the internet, crimes in the United States are unfortunately very easy to research and it's quite frightening how often this particular crime happens. 

I'm not talking things such as Sandy Hook - that is a different kind of animal. That was more of a horrid individual who went on a shooting spree where the victims happened to be children (and it's not the first).

This is about the taking of life of those helpless to even begin to defend themselves. Sometimes performed by people they trust, other times by total strangers, with all our advancement we still can't seem to properly protect the most innocent of our population. As the list is, unfortunately, extremely long and growing every day, here are just a few.

Polly Hannah Klaas: On October 1, 1993, Klaas invited two friends for a slumber party. Late in the evening, a man (Richard Allen Davis) entered her bedroom, carrying a knife. He tied the two friends up, pulled pillowcases over their heads and told Klaas' friends to count to 1,000. He then kidnapped the weeping Klaas. Over the next two months, about 4,000 people helped search for her. TV shows such as 20/20 and America's Most Wanted covered the kidnapping. It was discovered that Davis, after being released from a traffic stop as the police officers were unaware that he was wanted at the time, murdered Polly and buried her in a shallow grave. 

Davis was convicted in 1996 of first-degree murder and four special circumstances (robbery, burglary, kidnapping, and a lewd act on a child). Davis provoked national outrage by taunting his victim's family by extending his middle finger to TV cameras. He is currently on death row at San Quentin State Prison, in Marin County, California. Having survived an apparent drug overdose while in prison, and attacks on him by several other prisoners, Davis is now in solitary confinement, and continues to assist his attorneys in various appeals over the last 17 years (as of December, 2013) and has more appeals ahead of him before the sentence passed can be carried out.


His attorney has complained that California's seeming inability to implement any executions in a timely manner has forced Davis "to endure the uncertainty and ever-present tension on death row for such an extended time constitutes cruel and unusual punishment". (?!?)

The Klaas family started the Polly Klaas foundation dedicated to finding missing children - it is still active today, with a count of 8,500 children returned to their homes. In the wake of the murder, politicians in California and other U.S. states supported three strikes laws, and California's Three Strikes act was signed into law on March 8, 1994.


Marcy Renee Conrad: This case, although solved, still has a massive amount of 'why's attached to it to this day. Marcy disappeared at the age of 14. Her death was the work of a 16 year old high school student by the name of Anthony Jacques Broussard. The boy was large for his age, and though he’s frequently described as having a gentle demeanor in news reports, Broussard was reportedly troubled ever since finding his mother dead in the shower after coming home from elementary school. 

Conrad reportedly ran with a bad crowd, a group at school who called themselves The Stoners, and she frequently ran away from home. Conrad’s mother had reported that the girl had run-away the day before her death.


After the murder, Broussard loaded Conrad’s body in his pick-up truck and made his way into the hills surrounding town, dumping her remains in the bottom of a ravine. After hiding the body, Broussard told several classmates about his crime–many of whom did not believe him, and to verify his act, Broussard guided groups of kids to the body as proof.

As word of the body spread, at least thirteen kids filed out  into the hills to see Broussard’s grizzly work. Witnesses included Conrad’s former boyfriend, who brought his 8-year-old brother in tow. To Detective Sgt. Garry Meeker of the Santa Clara Sheriff's Department, it was not the killing of 14-yearold Marcy Renee Conrad that was so unusual, at least not these days.

''Not the crime itself,'' said the 42-year-old sergeant, who has been a police officer all his working life, like his father before him. ''The unusual aspect was what followed, the kids going up there. That was the unusual aspect.''

At that, he said, it was only the extremity of the crime, the strangulation of a young girl, that made the callousness and silence of the teen-agers so out of the ordinary. For two days they had gone up into the hills by the carload, as if on an outing, to take a look at the body lying half naked in the woods.

"Even the straightest kid in school knows which kid is dealing dope; they don't care or want to get involved," Sergeant Meeker said. "They know all the stuff that's going down. You take the straightest, straight-A, civic-minded student in that school, he's going to know all that, and he's not going to tell. But when it reaches the point of murder, I mean, when you're talking about a 14-year-old girl..."


This brought into question California statutes regarding juvenile sentencing for violent crimes, as Broussard's actions were particularly heinous. After kidnapping her, he raped and strangled her, leaving her body in a ravine. If that was all, this story would not have been so shocking in this day and age. But Broussard, evidently extremely proud of what he had done, invited friends from Milpitas High School to view Conrad's corpse. 

Reactions varied. Some poked at the body with sticks like curious children, others thought it was a mannequin, a bad joke. They goaded each other into touching the body. They removed patches from her half-removed jeans, and one–16-year-old covered her body in plastic bags and leaves to give Broussard 'a head start' on the police. Most simply went about their day and pretended that nothing was wrong.
When the story finally broke, and Broussard went into police custody, Milptas became the center of a media firestorm with reporters from across the country swarming into town to get a scoop on Broussard’s crime, and on the decayed moral fiber of those who stayed quiet. A 1981 article from the Sarasota Herald Tribune records many of the teens’ reactions, most of them echoing the same chilly reserve. Even homicide detectives put on the case were shaken by the teens’ apparent apathy, claiming that the kids “must have ice water in their veins.”

He was only caught after two students finally went to the police about it. The others said they 'did not want to get in trouble'. Broussard pled guilty and was sentenced to 25 years to life. A report said that Mr. Broussard had no remorse... Dr. Howard H. Lee, a staff psychiatrist, characterized Mr. Broussard’s many complaints of mental problems as "overkill." He said Mr. Broussard appeared to be without feelings about human life and was without emotion, as if nothing touched him.

He was denied a new trial in 1985, and has repeatedly been denied parole. As of April 2013 Broussard is still incarcerated at California's Folsom State Prison.

Adam Walsh: Probably one of the best known (and most tragic) unsolved child murder case in the United States. He disappeared from a Sears store on July 27, 1981. Adam's severed head was found by two fishermen in a Vero Beach, Florida, canal on August 10, 1981. The rest of his body was not recovered. John Walsh himself was considered by authorities as a prime suspect as the police investigation started to become exhausted. After about a week, he was later absolved of any foul play following a highly emotional press statement that was televised nationally. A drifter named Ottis Toole was commonly believed to be the abductor and murderer although evidence was not able to support this and his confession was later recanted. 

Toole died in prison, aged 49, of cirrhosis of the liver while serving a life sentence for other crimes. Afterwards, Toole's confession has been viewed as reliable, since he accurately described details only the culprit would know. Adam's kidnapping and murder prompted John Walsh to become an advocate for victims rights. 

Adam Walsh's murder was among those that helped to spur the formation of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC). As a result of his advocacy, he was approached to host the television program America's Most Wanted. The Code Adam program for helping lost children in department stores is named in Walsh's memory. The U.S. Congress passed the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act on July 25, 2006, and President Bush signed it into law on July 27, 2006. 

The signing ceremony took place on the South Lawn of the White House, attended by John and Revé Walsh. The bill institutes a national database of convicted child molesters, and increases penalties for sexual and violent offenses against children. It also creates a RICO cause of action for child predators and those who conspire with them.