Reality Round-Up: Crime Never Sleeps

Crime is running rampant (courtesy of What’s the Word)

There’s a proverb that comes to mind every time I read about fellow humans doing evil deeds: crime never sleeps.

As sure as the sun rises in the east and sets in the west, you can always count on people to do dumb, mean, dangerous, unexplainable and unlawful things. And thanks to advances in technology, we all get to hear about their crimes moments after they occur—sometimes even as they are occurring. These days, there simply is nowhere to hide and if criminals ever hope to “get away with it,” they need to be especially crafty and—most of all—careful.

Given the globalization of technology and the establishment of a “one world” community, you would think that today’s criminals would be more savvy than their predecessors—planning crimes to the last detail, orchestrating them perfectly and covering their tracks in an effort to avoid detection at all costs. And without hard evidence, witnesses or suspects, police would have so little to go on that investigations would lead nowhere and many crimes would go unsolved.

Fortunately, most criminals are not evil masterminds and police almost always have something to help them track down offenders—a hair sample, surveillance camera footage, eyewitness accounts, suspicious social networking posts… something. And while some criminals do manage to get away with their crimes for years, decades or even indefinitely—as was the case for D.B. Cooper, an unidentified man who hijacked a plane in 1971, extorted more than $200,000 and famously parachuted into the wilderness of the American Northwest, never to be seen or heard from again—most of them end up right where they belong: behind bars.

At least I hope they do.

Of course, when it comes to blogging, crime can be useful because it always gives you something to write about. Anytime I lack inspiration or simply need a prompt to initiate a flurry of key-tapping on my computer, all I have to do is trawl the news sites, check the police blotters and, inevitably, I find plenty of jackass criminals to use as blog fodder.

Whoever said “crime doesn’t pay” obviously didn’t have blogging in mind!

Sadly, my muse must be on vacation today, so inspiration has once again been hard to find. The good news is that a quick web search revealed countless criminals and enough of their misdeeds to fill endless blog posts. I won’t subject you to them all—as if such a thing was even possible—but I did find what I needed to produce the latest edition of the Reality Round-Up. Something about crime just gets my creative juices flowing, so now I offer you the chance to have them trickle down to you, as well. Don’t worry, though. They shouldn’t leave a stain.

Someone should have asked Ferna to wipe her nose (courtesy of WPBF)

Someone should have asked Ferna to wipe her nose (courtesy of WPBF)

LAKE WORTH, FLORIDA

Ferna Quesner is a 34-year-old woman with an unidentified mental disability who lives with her mother near Palm Beach. On the anniversary of our great nation, however, her mysterious condition manifested itself in a shocking display of violence that ended with her being locked up and her mother being sent to the hospital, where she remains in critical condition.

According to the latest report, the Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office received an anonymous call from someone who claimed Quesner was “beating her mother with a white pole.” When deputies arrived at her home a short time later, they found the mentally disturbed woman “covered in blood” and her mother in desperate need of medical attention.

The probable cause affidavit indicated that “the victim’s eyes were discovered on the kitchen floor near a knife and a large pool of blood.” No one knows what prompted the attack—which Quesner later admitted to—but the end result is that she now faces a charge of aggravated domestic battery with a deadly weapon. Of course, that’s nothing compared to her poor mother who, if she lives, will never see again.

This also means that if Quesner decides to try again once she is finally released from jail, then her mother won’t see her coming. I, for one, hope this never happens because that poor woman has been through enough. Losing her sight is one thing, but knowing the perpetrator of the crime was her own daughter won’t make life any easier for her, to be sure. It is truly a shame when even our mothers aren’t safe from harm.

PHOENIX, ARIZONA

On occasion—and only in the last five or so years—friends have been known to call me a “dirty old man” because, as I’ve stated in numerous posts, I am a rabid heterosexual male who simply loves the ladies. Bear in mind that this label is always meant in jest, but there are certainly old men out there who would qualify—lots of them.

One such “dirty old man” is 73-year-old Bruce Miller, a resident of the Ahwatukee neighborhood in Phoenix.

Earlier this month, a group of young women ranging in age from 13 to 17—along with one 37-year-old woman (who I still consider young, of course)—were jogging through a neighborhood near Desert Vista High School when they each passed Miller, who was strolling down Chandler Boulevard. As each woman passed by, he groped or accosted them in one way or another—slapping their butts, touching their thighs or arms and, in one case, grabbing their breasts. And since most of the women were running together, a number of them witnessed Miller’s perverted assaults.

bruce-miller.jpg

Hands off the ladies, Bruce! (courtesy of MCSO)

One of the young women—a 14-year-old whose ass had just been slapped by the dirty old man—phoned the police and, when they arrived, they found 11 of the women waiting for them. The twelfth wasn’t interested and skedaddled before the cops could respond.

Miller claimed to have Alzheimer’s disease—as if that would excuse his perverted behavior—but the cops weren’t buying it. He has now been indicted by a grand jury and faces five felony charges and seven misdemeanors—all of which could have been avoided if Miller just hired a prostitute or enjoyed Internet porn like a normal person!

Crime in the Phoenix area must be getting worse because our next story comes from the very same city.

This past Wednesday, a 41-year-old man at Casa Mia Apartments was walking his dog in the courtyard when a neighbor on the second floor leaned over the railing and vomited all over his pet. Needless to say, an argument ensued and the barfing man started down the stairs to confront the angry dog-walker. Fearing for his safety, the man made a bee-line for his apartment and nearly made it before his neighbor pulled out a gun and shot him several times. The victim fell through the door into his living room and a few stray bullets even struck his young daughter and her even younger friend, who were playing in the apartment at the time.

Although the children’s wounds were not life-threatening and they should recover completely, the girl’s father is in critical condition at a local hospital. Meanwhile, the suspect—a tall, black man with dreadlocks who was apparently quite drunk at the time of the attack—remains at large.

If you happen to live in the Phoenix area, please keep an eye out for him. And if you do cross his path, be extremely careful. Vomit may not be the only weapon he turns on you.

JACINTO CITY, TEXAS

Apparently, last Wednesday was a very busy day for crime. Before that pet owner in Phoenix was subjected to barf and bullets—and much like the Lake Worth woman whose eyes were gouged out by her daughter—a woman in Texas lost her life at the hands of a family member—her 15-year-old son.

Police received a call early that morning from the sister of the victim, Laura Moreno. She told them that her nephew phoned around 3 a.m. to inform her that he stabbed his mother to death while she was sleeping. She was apparently a heavy drinker and had a tendency to be both verbally and physically abusive to him—and he obviously reached his breaking point.

Moreno and the son that killed her (courtesy of Moreno family)

“He just snapped,” Chief Joe Alaya of the Jacinto City Police said of the seemingly harmless teenager who suddenly became psychotic. “And the next thing he observed was that he had stabbed her and was removing the knife.”

According to police, they had responded to numerous calls involving Moreno in the past—usually when she was drunk and belligerent—which certainly supports the young man’s story. Neighbors even described him as a “great kid” and never even suspected that he was being abused.

“He was always very respectful,” Arthur Zuniga told authorities. “He never bad-mouthed her. He always did what he was told.”

It just goes to show you that no matter how normal people may seem on the surface, what lies beneath could be evil, ugly and—in cases like this—deadly. And now in addition to all the abuse and the death of his mother—which could be viewed as self-defense, in a way—this young man faces a murder charge. I don’t condone his actions, of course, but I hope he is treated as a juvenile so someday, he has a chance to live a normal, abuse-free life.

Everyone deserves that, after all.

ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI

Mauricio Oscar Guerra, 35, was a man with a violent past.

In May, he came home drunk one night and allegedly beat his wife with a tire iron while she was holding their young son in her lap. This was followed the next month by an incident in which Guerra supposedly stabbed a man with a butcher knife, sending his 21-year-old Hispanic victim to the hospital in critical condition. Fortunately, he survived.

Despite being a suspect in both of these cases—and even though his wife remembers him leaving their home the night of the stabbing to “investigate a noise coming from an unoccupied apartment,” butcher knife in hand (he returned later with blood on his clothes)—Guerra was never charged.

carla-mauricio-guerra.jpg

Carla and Mauricio Guerra (courtesy of Facebook)

In other words, there were plenty of warning signs that this guy was unstable and very, very dangerous. Unfortunately, they were largely ignored by authorities and now, sadly, it’s too late to save Guerra’s latest victims: his 27-year-old wife Carla and their three-year-old son Mauricio.

On Saturday, police responded to an emergency call from someone on Tennessee Avenue, where Guerra lived with his family. They learned that the couple had been involved in some kind of physical confrontation and investigated, only to find Guerra, his wife and his child dead. According to the official incident report, Guerra shot and killed his family before turning the gun on himself. And now everyone who knew the family is left questioning why police didn’t act after Guerra’s first violent attack.

“We have a man that is totally out of control that is obviously homicidal,” family friend Lisa DiPaolo told reporters recently. “I just don’t understand it.”

Neither do I, Lisa.

If police had acted after Guerra’s first violent offense, Carla and Mauricio may still be alive. Instead, their surviving family members are left with one big “what if” question that will plague them for the rest of their days. I truly feel for them.

SPRINGFIELD, MISSOURI

I promise this was unintentional, but the next story also comes from the great state of Missouri. It involves 51-year-old Diane Staudte, a Springfield resident who poisoned and killed her husband Mark, 61, and her son Shaun, 26, last year. She now stands accused of attempting to kill her daughter Sarah, 24, using the same method—adding anti-freeze to her food and drinks. And what’s worse is that her youngest daughter Rachel, 22, helped her do it!

It was May of 2012 when Mark passed away from what medical examiners deemed “natural causes.” Shaun followed in September—which to me would have raised an eyebrow—but his death was attributed to some “prior medical issues.”

diane-staudte.jpg

Diane Staudte (courtesy of the Riverfront Times)

In other words, Staudte got away scot-free and likely would have remained free if not for one incident: the admission of her daughter Sarah to the hospital last week for symptoms far too similar to her dead husband and son to be mere coincidence. Medical officials immediately called police not only due to the suspicious circumstances, but also because Staudte didn’t seem very upset by her daughter’s condition.

Staudte was questioned and eventually admitted to poisoning everyone but Rachel, the daughter that helped her research, plan and execute each crime. And when police asked her why she would do such a thing to family, the murderous mother had clear reasons for each murder or murder attempt: Shaun was a pest, she hated Mark and Sarah refused to get a job despite having school loans to pay.

I wonder if Rachel’s only chance of staying on her mom’s good side—alive—was to participate in the murders. Strange.

Oddly enough, Staudte sent all kinds of strange tweets while her daughter Sarah was suffering from antifreeze poisoning. Messages like “Sarah update: out of ICU and able to walk a little” and “Asking for prayers as my daughter Sarah is in critical condition in ICU tonight” seem as if they come from a loving mother, but are now being examined more closely since Staudte was the person who put her in the ICU to begin with. Rachel, too.

The good news is that Sarah will live while her mother and sister face first-degree murder charges. Actually, I guess that isn’t good news for Sarah. Yes, they deserve to pay for what they did to her—both for the poisoning and for killing her father and brother—but now she also loses the only real family she has left.

I know they’re psychopaths, but they’re still family.

So ends yet another edition of the Reality Round-Up. I hope we all learned some valuable lessons today, the most important of which I now present as today’s “rules to live by.” Thanks for reading and please—if at all possible—try to remember:

  • If you think that you’re completely safe with family, think again. Anyone can snap and lash out at those closest to them.
  • If you’re female and find yourself passing Bruce Miller on the street, either run away screaming or keep your hands over your private parts. You can never be sure which one he will be aiming for.
  • If someone barfs on your dog, LET IT GO.
  • If you abuse someone for years and years, expect retaliation someday. Seems like a no-brainer.
  • If someone commits a violent crime or, better yet, several violent crimes, recognize and deal with them then. Do people really have to die because you weren’t paying attention or simply got lazy?
  • And finally, if you believe that crime does sleep, take a nap on a park bench with a Benjamin taped to your chest and see what that gets you.

Be good to one another and watch your backs out there, peeps. It’s a mad, mad world and it’s getting crazier all the time!

Posted on July 11, 2013, in Perspectives, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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