Love historic murder mysteries and ghostly tales… whether real or folklore?

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At Clairitage Press, my writer/attorney friend Karen Dustman publishes history books and a free blog filled with intriguing sites, legendary yarns, and spine-tingling ghost stories from the high Sierra region

Karen loves nothing better than digging out great local history tales. Clairitage debuted with Silver Mountain City: Ghost of the Sierra (the history of a now-empty ghost town — no actual ghosts!) Other books soon followed, including guides to several local cemeteries. Among the most fascinating cemetery tales: a diminutive Welshwoman who foretold her own death.

A recent addition is Markleeville Ghost Tales: thirteen true ghost stories told by locals around Markleeville, a California border town founded in the 1860s.

Karen’s latest newsletter about an 1885 murder http://mailchi.mp/f233cfd49602/the-sarman-murder?e=af46ceff47 caused our paths to cross again. Karen had followed my award-winning book with co-author, artist Elizabeth Williams, The Illustrated Courtroom: 50 Years of Court Cases, because of her abiding interest in crime cases like the 1986 slaying of Jennifer Levin by “Preppie Murderer” Robert Chambers. Our book came to mind again when Karen wrote about the case of Zack Field and Mary Gray.

Adam Uber’s saga (http://blog.clairitage.com/2017/12/01/genoas-hanging-tree/) was another ghost story Karen found riveting. Was it founded on truth? You be the judge. As Uber was hanged (hardly rare in those days), he loudly cursed the merciless lynch mob who strung him up from the hanging tree which stands to this day. And yes, you’ve guessed it: those locals began meeting unfortunate ends.

 

Another story sprang from a lonely tombstone at Gardnerville’s Garden Cemetery proclaiming Murdered It is an enduring mystery and the headstone suggests William Moore, 67, was murdered in 1800 when his tiny cabin was set ablaze. However, some question if he ever even really died. A poor man in poor health, he lived in isolation for 20 years save for his horses and few head of cattle, near the east fork of the Carson River above Horseshoe Bend.

Law enforcement’s initial search of the charred remains came up empty as did locals’ search. On December 26, 1800 Sheriff Brockliss and Judge Dake had another go finding a few small charred pieces of matter that might have been bone. Might.

Dr. Gerdes of Gardnerville, however, pronounced them shards of a human skull. On close examination he found “three small shot” embedded in the bone. The local newspaper promptly dubbed this as “almost positive evidence that William Moore was murdered, and his cabin burned over his body.” Dr. Gerdes opined that the position of the bone might explain why the fragment was charred but the shot hadn’t melted. Read more at http://blog.clairitage.com/2017/12/07/murder-or-was-it/ .

It’s awash with wild details like the rumors that Moore always had kept a human skull in his cabin, “the victim of his rifle in former years.” Soon, a hapless fellow named Indian Mike was placed under a citizen’s arrest for causing his death, yet the savvy jury delivered a not guilty verdict in a matter of hours. So many colorful stories and lives…

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Last Chance on Sizzling Summer True Crime Read, my eBook Lethal Intent. The Price-Busting $1.99 Promo Ends (Kind of) July 1

Just a heads-up — reaching the finish line on the chance to grab my True Crime Classic eBook biography Lethal Intent on the life–and death–of serial killer Aileen Wuornos. The book biz’s great summer promo prices of $1.99 are meant to vanish July 1. In June, Lethal Intent hit #1 on Amazon Kindle rankings in three categories. Available via BookBub, Kobo, Amazon, and from Barnes & Noble Nook.

Two years work went into going deep into Aileen’s (Lee’s) life, from her childhood to her early run-ins with the law and later to conviction for holding up a liquor store with a gun and then of course the murders which meant covering her court hearings and attending every day of her trial. So for me, at least, it is great to see that the book is still around! I owe many of you out there–and you know who you are–thanks for all your support over the years.

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Columbus Will Pay Ohio Innocence Project For Witholding Public Records

Wrongful Convictions Blog

Click to read the original article and listen to the WOSU interview

The city of Columbus and a group that works to free wrongly convicted people ended a years-long fight this week.

The city will pay $19,000 dollars for legal expenses incurred by the Ohio Innocence Project, which is based out of the University of Cincinnati school of law. Columbus will also pay the Ohio Innocence Project $1,000 in damages for illegally withholding public records.

Attorney Donald Caster, a clinical professor of law at the University of Cincinnati who works for the Project, explained in an interview with WOSU how the case unfolded and what it means for transparency in the state.

The below is an automated transcript. Please excuse minor typos and errors.

Sam Hendren: When did the Ohio Innocence Project first encounter resistance from the city of Columbus to public records requests?

Donald Caster: We’ve been encountering resistance from Columbus…

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Countdown: Enter Goodreads Giveaway for Chance to Win Copy of “Lethal Intent”

Time is running out on this Goodreads Giveaway! Goodreads  members (and membership is free) — enter by 11.59 p.m. March 9 for the chance to win LETHAL INTENT, the definitive biography of executed serial killer Aileen Wuornos. Had she lived, this Leap Year baby would have turned 60 on February 29. Instead, after a decade on Florida’s Death Row, she was executed in 2002.

She was both victim and victimizer. She killed 6 men; all strangers and a seventh victim. She confessed to killing him but in a drunken state and could not recall where she left him. His remains have never been found.

Best-selling author John Douglas, a former FBI Special Agent and one of the first criminal profilers, calls the book: “Shocking, sad, revealing, and deeply researched, this true account of the life and crimes of serial killer Aileen Wuornos will fascinate true-crime fans.”   https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/173286-lethal-intent

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The Michigan house where Aileen spent her early childhood years.

Leap Year Baby Aileen Wuornos Would Have Turned 60 This Month. Enter Goodreads Giveaway for Chance to Win Autographed Copy of “Lethal Intent”.

AWonBikeHard to believe that had she lived, executed female serial killer Aileen Wuornos — a Leap Year baby — would have turned turn 60 on February 29, 2016.

This truly rare murderer spent a decade on Florida’s Death Row before her 2002 execution. She killed 6 men; all strangers. Another victim’s remains were, by her own account, still out in the woods. She could not recall the location. To this day, they have not been discovered.

Best-selling author John Douglas, a former FBI Special Agent and original criminal profiler, calls Lethal Intent “Shocking, sad, revealing, and deeply researched, this true account of the life and crimes of serial killer Aileen Wuornos will fascinate true-crime fans.” Listed on Business Insider’s “11 True Crime Books you should read if you’re obsessed with Serial,” It takes readers deep inside Wuornos’s life and crimes.

Was Wuornos a cold-blooded killer? A victim? A robber who killed to avoid capture? If you haven’t yet read the book, you decide. (2013 updated edition.) Visit Goodreads (Lethal Intent link at https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18759543-lethal-intent) to enter or Sue’s Lethal Intent webpage. Goodreads is free to join.
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http://www.suerussellwrites.com/lethal.html

In which I’m pleasantly surprised that we’re again noticing incarceration is still violence.

Rebel With A Bar Card picks up on a theme dear to my heart — the way we treat incarcerated youth will revisit us down the road, so we’d better be paying attention. The idea should be to give us a safer future, not a more perilous one, and to redeem youngsters whenever and wherever possible during “formative years.”
In which I’m pleasantly surprised that we’re again noticing incarceration is still violence.
August 5, 2014Prison Industrial ComplexCarcerality, Crime and punishment, Criminal justice, Dehumanization, Empathy, Injustice, Prison Industrial Complex, Violence

[[Content Note: Carcerality, violence, both in this post and at the link.]]

A US Attorney in Manhattan has released the results of an inquiry into civil rights violations against teenagers at Riker’s Island. The report concludes that the guards at Rikers engaged in regular, routine and violent abuse of teenage inmates.

Rebel With a Bar Card

[[Content Note: Carcerality, violence, both in this post and at the link.]]

A US Attorney in Manhattan has released the results of an inquiry into civil rights violations against teenagers at Riker’s Island. The report concludes that the guards at Rikers engaged in regular, routine and violent abuse of teenage inmates.

I was struck by this quote in particular:

“For adolescent inmates, Rikers Island is broken,” Mr. Bharara said at a news conference announcing the findings. “It is a place where brute force is the first impulse rather than the last resort, a place where verbal insults are repaid with physical injuries, where beatings are routine, while accountability is rare.”

I imagine that accountability will be the byword for addressing the horrendous actions cataloged in the report, but accountability is only half the story.  I find it incredibly frustrating that the other half will be almost entirely ignored.

Accountability is…

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Win a Copy of “The Illustrated Courtroom” in Our Goodreads Giveaway Contest!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Illustrated Courtroom by Elizabeth  Williams

The Illustrated Courtroom

by Elizabeth Williams

and Sue Russell

Giveaway ends January 09, 2015. Four copies to be won, signed by both authors. Free to enter. Amazon price: $30.

“The Illustrated Courtroom: 50 Years of Court Art” is in an 8×10 format with 140 iconic illustrations – many in color – from five of the nation’s top, award-winning courtroom artists. These illustrators go where cameras can’t. Recently chosen as a Times Literary Supplement Book of the Year 2014 and named to Kirkus Reviews’ Best Books of 2014. (eBook version available on Amazon.) Cover illustration by Bill Robles: Charles Manson tries to leap over the defense table to stab Judge Older with a pencil.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win