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Monthly Archives: January 2014
An Italian appeals court has just convicted former exchange student Amanda Knox on murder charges and sentenced her to 28½ years in prison. Her ex-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito was sentenced to 25 years.
The charges stem from the November 2007 murder of Knox’s former roommate—Meredith Kercher—who was found dead in the house they shared in Perugia, Italy. Knox and her boyfriend Sollecito were convicted of the murders a few years later, but were released in 2011 when the charges were overturned on appeal.
For the next year, Knox lived quietly and unassumingly in Seattle, Washington. Sadly, her break from the spotlight would be short-lived. In March, Italy’s Supreme Court overturned the acquittals for both Knox and Sollecito and, as you can see, this is the end result.
If either of them ever returns to Italy, their second destination after the airport will be a prison cell. Of course, Knox has no intention of ever going back, as she expressed in an interview with Italian daily La Repubblica earlier this month.
When asked what she would do if found guilty, Knox said simply, “I will become… a fugitive.” And who could blame her?
Fortunately, the American justice system—despite its many faults—will not allow a citizen to be tried twice on the same charge, so it’s unlikely Knox will see any more jail time. She already spent four years behind Italian bars for a crime she still says she did not commit, so I’m sure she’s gotten the last “taste of Italy” she could ever want.
There are plenty of other countries to visit… but I suggest Amanda not see them through a student exchange program. Call me superstitious…
If you ever happen across Weather Channel personality Jim Cantore delivering the news on location, don’t even consider trying to heckle him or the price you pay could be quite painful.
Just ask the poor bastard in this brief viral video. He thought it might be a good idea to give Jim a hard time. And when he decides to enter the shot—bounding in like some kind of fool and stealing away Jim’s on-screen time—he is rewarded with a swift knee to the nuts.
And trust me… it may not look like the groin shot injured this young man, but I assure you he felt the pain within 30 seconds and probably collapsed somewhere off-screen a few moments later.
I tip my hat to you, Mr. Cantore, for standing up to hecklers and putting them in their place… by “kneeing” them in that place.
There’s a certain poetry to it, don’t you think?
Less than a week has passed since our first significant snowfall of the year here in North Carolina—and now it appears as if we’re getting hit again. Only this time, winter will be arriving in full force, much like it has for our northern brothers and sisters all season.
Right now, roughly 140 million Americans in 34 different states are under some kind of winter weather advisory or warning. Where I am, there’s definitely a warning since the system scheduled to arrive this afternoon could dump as much as half a foot of snow on me and my neighbors… maybe more!
I love the snow, especially as seen from the comfort of my cozy, warm home. Being out in the snow has always been enjoyable, too, and skiing used to be one of my favorite pastimes—when my knees and back could handle it, I mean. The mountain beat the hell out of me the last time I went, so my days as a skier are clearly behind me. I do enjoying watching it on television, though.
What sucks about the wintry weather—even though it really can’t help itself—is when it leads to power outages. Unfortunately, I don’t have a fireplace, kerosene heater or any other device capable of producing heat if this happens. My only recourse will be to wrap myself in blankets from head-to-toe and, when all is said in done, I’m sure I’ll resemble some kind of overdressed, retail store Bedouin.
No offense to any Bedouin readers, of course.
It also sucks that the instant a snowflake touches down here, people forget how to drive properly. Granted, they were never very good to begin with, but adding the slightest precipitation makes getting from point A to point B nearly unbearable… even more so than usual.
Nevertheless, I’m looking forward to seeing some of the white stuff—a lot of it actually, if the forecasts are to be believed. Yet it’s just after 1 p.m. and not a flake has fallen. You know what that means, right?
This storm is about to sneak up and knock us on our asses. Brace yourselves, fellow Southerners.
And by all means, stay off the damn roads.
Few things make me happier than waking up on a Monday morning, trolling the news web sites for more “blog fodder” and finding someone from my home state of North Carolina in the headlines.
And if it seems as if I’m being facetious, that’s because I’m laying it on pretty thick.
42-year-old Christian Lusardi of Fayetteville was arrested over the weekend in Atlantic City after participating in the Winter Poker Open’s “Big Stack, No Limit Hold’ Em” event at the Borgata Hotel Casino and Spa. And believe it or not, but it was a flush that got him into trouble… and I don’t mean the kind of flush you get while playing cards, either.
Apparently, tournament personnel discovered $800,000 worth of counterfeit poker chips mixed in with genuine chips at the Borgata. They postponed the tournament initially, but soon cancelled it altogether.
“This was a very unusual occurrence,” senior vice president of Borgata operations Joe Lupo told reporters. “It’s the first time in Borgata’s 10 years that anything like this has happened.”
Shortly after news of the counterfeit chips broke, staff at Harrah’s Resort and Casino discovered $2.7 million of counterfeit chips clogging up a pipe after being flushed down the toilet by a guest.
And yes, that guest turned out to be Lusardi.
Authorities caught up with him Friday at an Atlantic City motel and arrested him for criminal attempt, theft by deception and rigging a publicly exhibited contest. He’s currently being held on $300,000 bail with no option of being released early.
Unfortunately, the $6,800 in winnings Lusardi collected from the poker tournament won’t even put a dent in the fines he’ll be forced to pay once convicted, not to mention the time he’ll spend in jail. And I can’t begin to express my gratitude for him making North Carolina look like a state full of idiots and charlatans.
Thanks, Christian Lusardi… moron…
When he was just 14 years old, Jimmy Pallais was adopted from Costa Rica and came to America to live with his new parents—Alex and Jenny Pallais—in Houston, Texas. Despite speaking very little English and being a literal “stranger in a strange land,” Jimmy was excited about his new life and went to his first day at Memorial Middle School anxious to see what his future would hold.
Little did he know that by the time he was 15, he would be getting extra special attention from the person assigned to tutor him in Language Arts: former English support teacher Kathryn Camille Murray. And when I say extra special attention, I of course mean the sexual kind.
In the beginning, Jimmy found comfort in Murray’s classroom—getting help with his homework and learning to communicate more effectively—and like many boys at his school, developed a little crush on his attractive young teacher. And who could blame him? Teachers certainly didn’t look as good when I was going in middle school… damn it.
Eventually, Jimmy summoned the courage to write his tutor a love letter, but lost his nerve before giving it to her. He tore it up and dropped it in the trash on his way out of class. Murray apparently saw this and when Jimmy returned to her class the next time, she told him so.
“I read your letter,” she said. “I really like you, like, for real… but we can’t have anything.”
This last statement obviously turned out to be false, but I’m getting ahead of myself.
When Jimmy’s parents discovered that their son had a crush on his married teacher—he often referred to her as pretty and would spend hours after school getting one-to-one “tutoring” with her, alone—they emailed Murray and also contacted the school principal, who assured them Jimmy would be moved to another class. This obviously didn’t help because Jimmy continued to communicate with his teacher through Facebook. And the following Monday morning, the young student decided to take his shot, so to speak.
Arriving at school early, Jimmy marched straight into Murray’s classroom and kissed her. Then he walked out and went to his first class. When he returned to Murray’s class later, she told Jimmy that she wanted him to kiss her again. And the rest, as they say, is history.
Jimmy and his young, apparently sex-starved—and possibly mentally ill—teacher had sex in her classroom, at a local hotel and even in his own bed at his parents’ house. Once they even hooked up after Jimmy’s father dropped him off for a school dance. Murray parked her car at the church next to the school and waited for Jimmy, who snuck over to meet her once his father was out of sight. And their secret affair likely would have continued if not for a series of unfortunate events… unfortunate for them, I mean.
Suspicion first arose after Jimmy confided in another teacher and told her that he had kissed Murray. Jimmy also claimed to have taken some “selfies” of them kissing using the cell phone his mother loaned to him. He eventually returned the phone to her, and that’s when the next disturbing clue surfaced. Jenny Pallais received a text message from Murray that was clearly intended for her son: “You know I love you… I don’t know what we’re going to do, but we’re going to be happy together… I’m worried about how obvious we are at school… I miss you.”
As if this wasn’t a dead giveaway, 12-year-old Fernando Pallais—Jimmy’s younger brother—told his mother he had walked in on Jimmy and Murray having sex in her own home. They were in bed together and even though he never saw sexual activity, per se, the young man did notice several condoms and Murray’s bra lying on the floor. And no, these condoms were not in their wrappers, either.
Jenny Pallais—who obviously missed her calling as a crime scene investigator—immediately collected her son’s sheets, contacted the police and had everything sent to a lab for DNA testing. And when the results were returned, they confirmed that Murray had been in the home with Jimmy. The police arrested Murray and charged her with sexual assault of a child, but soon released her on bail with the understanding that she would cease all contact with her young student.
Clearly, this didn’t happen.
Over the course of a few months, Jimmy confessed everything to his mother and then to police, who confirmed his story using hours of video surveillance footage from the school and even from the hotel the pair visited together. Prosecutors charged Murray with two more counts of sexual assault of a child, added one count of an improper relationship with a student and ordered her to wear an ankle bracelet. Of course, none of it helped since Jimmy and Murray began seeing each other secretly again.
And once again, their secret didn’t last, this time because Jimmy’s parents hired a private investigator to follow him. One late evening as she was “staking out” the Pallais’ home, the P.I. noticed Jimmy sneaking out and walking a short distance to meet a friend, who then drove him across town to an upscale, gated home. Jimmy jumped out and went inside, at which point the investigator contacted police and discovered who actually owned the house.
It belonged to Murray’s father. And she was already inside waiting for him, too.
The P.I. called Jimmy’s parents and by the time they arrived, police had surrounded the home and were using a loudspeaker to try to coax out the forbidden lovers. Eventually, Jimmy returned to his parents while police arrested his naughty teacher again. Murray’s bond was revoked and this time, she was thrown in jail.
Kathryn Murray had her day in court this week and, much to the chagrin of Jimmy’s parents and countless others around the country, her punishment seemed like little more than a slap on the wrist. Murray received a “felony deferred adjudication” and will serve only one year in Harris County jail. She has been ordered to surrender her teaching license—duh—and must also register as a sex offender.
And she must never contact Jimmy again, which is a directive I certainly don’t expect her to follow. Now 17 years old—and despite dealing with depression, suicidal thoughts and a host of other troubling emotions—Jimmy still has feelings for her. Granted, he claims that the love he feels for her isn’t the same as before, but it is still love. And since Jimmy answered “maybe” when asked if he would ever see Murray again, I suspect that the real answer is “yes.”
Just be sure to wait until you’re 18, okay Jimmy? At least then you’re officially responsible for your own bad decisions.
It’s finally Friday and like millions of people around the country, I am anxiously waiting for what I hope will be a relaxing, flu-free weekend. Of course, there are still hours to go until quitting time—the perfect amount of time for another edition of the Reality Round-Up—so here are some dumb and disturbing things that have been happening in the good old United States recently.
23-year-old Teresa Hernandez appeared in court this week on charges of first-degree assault of a child. Apparently, she was home taking care of her boyfriend’s 3-year-old son and decided to punish him in some extreme and brutal ways.
When he got too close to her while she was ironing, Hernandez pressed the hot iron down on his hand and left it there for at least five seconds while he screamed in pain. She initially told police that he grabbed the iron by accident, but changed her story a short time later.
Hernandez also confessed to pushing the young boy down the stairs a few days after burning him with the iron. She was apparently bringing a laundry basket downstairs and pushed into the boy, who tumbled down 12 stairs and hit his head on the tile floor below. The boy was taken to Randall Children’s Hospital for surgery and, as of now, remains in fair condition.
I certainly hope this poor little guy recovers. And I hope they throw the proverbial book at this mean “witch with a capital B.” What a loser…
PORTSMOUTH, RHODE ISLAND
A few weeks ago, Portsmouth Middle School parents received a rather disturbing email informing them of even more disturbing behavior by some of their students. It seems that some kids were caught snorting Smarties, the sugary candy normally associated with Halloween and trick-or-treating.
According to school officials, snorting the fruity treats causes a sugar rush—likely the same kind of rush you might get from actually eating the candy. Unfortunately for this young “users,” snorting sugar won’t get you high and could instead do damage to nasal passages. What’s worse is that school officials even claimed this behavior could lead to cigarette smoking or drug use later, which makes sense since a buzz-seeking middle school student may be more willing to experiment with different substances.
I only hope they don’t graduate to something harder… like Fun Dip or Pixie Sticks!
A 14-year-old girl in the Chicago area was arrested on Tuesday morning and charged with murder. And what she did shocked the small Mundelein community where she lives.
On Monday night, the young girl reached her breaking point with her 11-year-old half-sister, who she felt was unappreciative for all the help she’d been given—her older sister often cooked dinner for her and performed other chores around the house. After deliberating for 10 or 15 minutes, the older sibling went down to the kitchen, grabbed a butcher knife and proceeded to stab her younger sister… at least 40 times!
After showering and rinsing off the blood, the young girl phoned the police and claimed an intruder had broken in and attacked her sister. Local schools were briefly placed on lockdown, but this soon ended once the young assailant confessed to her crime. And since her sister died a short time after being found, the young killer could now be tried as an adult and could spend a considerable portion of her life behind bars.
It’s sad that we live in a society where even young children resort to violence to solve problems that could easily be solved without it. School shootings get all the attention, but it’s obvious that the problem runs much deeper. And the true victims are the kids who should be learning reading, writing and arithmetic… not revenge.
It saddens me to report on this next story, but it does provide yet another example of young children taking extreme and violent measures. Only this time the child in question was an 8-year-old boy.
By all accounts, Julianni Plascencia was a happy and sensitive young boy. He served as the youngest usher at his church, loved to play football and often asked his parents to give money to homeless people on the street. Unfortunately, something changed last Saturday night… and it was something destined to change the lives of his loved ones forever.
While his mother was out buying groceries, Julianni told his older brother that he was going to hang himself. His brother thought he was joking and told him not to say such things or he would tell his mother. Julianni walked away and, for a while, everything seemed fine… at least until his brother realized how quiet the house became and went to see what was happening.
What happened next still shocks the hell out of me.
The older brother found Julianni in his parents’ bedroom and, sadly, he had done exactly what he said he would: he used a scarf to hang himself from the doorknob. Paramedics soon arrived on the scene and were able to get Julianni’s heart started on the way to UC Davis Medical Center, but he passed away the next morning.
Julianni’s father believes his son was only mimicking something he’d seen on television, but that certainly doesn’t make his suicide any easier to handle. And again, it seems as if our violent society has claimed yet another victim… and we all know that he won’t be the last.
It’s been a weird couple of weeks and, as you can see from these stories, a traumatic few weeks, too. Kind of makes you wonder what tomorrow will bring, doesn’t it?
In March, one of pop singer Justin Bieber’s neighbors accused him of spitting in his face during a heated argument about the loud parties often held at the young man’s home.
Last week, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department issued a felony search warrant for Bieber’s estate on vandalism charges. His neighbor alleges that Bieber assaulted him with eggs—which he tossed over a fence onto the house next door—and caused more than $20,000 to his home. The investigation is ongoing.
This week, another police department in the Miami area began to follow up on reports that some of its officers escorted Bieber and his entourage between several different strip clubs. This is obviously a no-no, especially without prior approval and authorization.
Now it seems that the spoiled, 19-year-old teenybopper is in even more trouble, this time for drunken driving, resisting arrest, driving without a valid license and maybe even illegal street racing!
Bieber was arrested early Thursday morning after police saw him driving a yellow Lamborghini and apparently racing a red Ferrari through a Miami neighborhood. When he was pulled over and confronted by officers, Bieber “was a little belligerent” and used some “choice words questioning why he was being stopped and why the officer was even questioning him.” The officers smelled alcohol and when they subjected Bieber to a field sobriety test, he failed miserably and was immediately taken to jail.
Is there no end to what this arrogant little prick will do? Better yet, does Lindsay Lohan know that Justin Bieber is trying to steal the celebrity basket case title from her?
He certainly seems to be gaining ground on her!
It finally happened.
After watching the entire eastern seaboard of the U.S. experience blizzards and record low temperatures for weeks on end, snow has finally come to my state.
And I could not be happier.
Like a giddy schoolboy, I sat up until the wee hours of the morning waiting for word of school closings—both mine and my son’s. He wanted to stay up with me—as I did with my siblings when I was young and the forecast called for snow—but ended up crashing around 11 p.m.
It was easily 3 a.m. before I finally passed out, and with only a two-hour delay to speak of. Fortunately, a pee break around 6 a.m. led to one last news check and, lo and behold, both of our schools were closed.
So here we sit in the midst of a snow day—the first in at least a few years. Granted, the snow’s already melting, there are large patches of muddy grass starting to appear and the roads seem fine, but for the next five or six hours, it will still feel like a wintry vacation.
Time to make a few snowballs, so I’ll catch up with you good people again tomorrow!