Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

In this classic murder mystery, Alice Crimmins' two children are murdered. As a very attractive and sexually adventuresome woman in the 1960s, she is railroaded into a conviction not based upon the evidence, but upon the scandal of her sex life. "A tramp like her is capable of anything," the prosecutor sneered.

The twists and turns, surprise witnesses and tabloid events of her two trials almost defy belief. Not surprisingly, this extraordinary case has been the subject of books, movies and plays.

In the 1970s Atlanta was one of the most dangerous cities in the U.S. A series of murders of black children and teenagers began to emerge, throwing an unwelcome spotlight on the entire city. The murders, believed at that time, to be the work of a racist white group did nothing to recommend the city to tourists and new business opportunities.

Two black boys were found murdered at the end of July 1979, officially starting one of the most highly publicized murder series in history. A couple of years later, 29 black youths would be dead and a black man, Wayne Williams, who many people believe was railroaded by the government, would be imprisoned for life. Recent efforts to vindicate Williams have stalled.

Incredibly, there are no photos of Lindy and of Michael in the most of the story. Take a look and see what happened to them and give me a call.

"A Dingo Took My Baby!"

They were the words that Lindy Chamberlain had screamed out into the blackness of the cold night in a camping ground close to Ayers Rock, Central Australia, on the night of August 17, when the minister's wife discovered that her nearly ten-week-old baby, Azaria had been taken by a dingo.

There were dingo tracks going in and out of the tent and fellow campers were eye witnesses to the events, but somehow the media got ahold of the story and twisted it beyond recognition. Despite the all the forensic evidence to the contrary, Lindy was convicted of murder and spent years in prison until this horrible miscarriage of justice was exposed. This is the real story behind Meryl Streep's classic movie "A Cry in the Dark."

What became known, as "the Donnelly Massacre" was the culmination of a 30-odd years feud between one Irish immigrant family and their Irish immigrant neighbors. It reeks of obsessive pride and prejudice. It is a landmark example of an ancient and bitter religious opposition in one country spreading thousands of miles across an ocean to affect human lives in another.

Was David Koresh a manipulative psychopath who exploited the opportunity, as many FBI agents claim, or was he just a deluded religious leader whose private play was suddenly exposed on the world's stage? Includes a first-hand account by former ATF agent, Chuck Hustmyre.

Wealthy Scarsdale student is brutally bludgeoned in her sleep by her Mexican-American boyfriend. A bizarre public relations campaign orchestrated by the Catholic clergy results in a trial that portrays the killer as the victim.

There are few stories in the annals of true crime like that of the career girl murder case of 1963. On one level, it was a classical whodunit tale that had Manhattan detectives stumped for many months while public pressure to solve the killings built to a boiling point. The savage sex-murders of two girls on Manhattan's Upper East Side in 1963 instilled genuine fear into thousands of young women and shocked even the most hardened investigators. On another level, it exposed an ugly and secret side of police work, which forced the Supreme Court of the United States to address the constitutional issues at stake. The case served as the blueprint for a popular television show of the 1970s called Kojak, starring Telly Savalas. But the series, which ran for many years, never put the actual story on TV. Maybe it was too controversial or too bizarre or maybe the truth was just too much for some people.

The barbaric history of lynching in America

Imagine that you could earn nearly a million dollars for every year you spent in prison with the understanding that you would likely get out in the prime of your life. Would you take that $15 million deal to make a movie of your life?

Suppose you could live like royalty behind bars, in almost total control, with guests free to come and go as they pleased, cellphones, TV, gourmet food and fine wine to eat and drink. Would that make the deal worth 20 years of your life?

Sobraj is a con man, jewel thief, drug dealer and murderer, but one who lived a life of adventure and intrigue that made him a media celebrity.

Legendary lawyer defends distinguished black doctor who bought a home in a white Detroit neighborhood. Mob threatens the house, shots ring out and a white man dies. The doctor and his defenders face murder conspiracy charges.

Are much too common as spotlight focuses on techniques used by unscrupulous investigators. Some shocking examples.

Rap artist "C-Murder" is convicted of the 2002 murder of an underage fan in a fight at the Platinum Club. In 2006, the Louisiana Supreme Court overturns his conviction and life sentence, but he may stand trial again. Still under house arrest, his retrial date postponed indefinitely, Miller's still has plans to release a new CD and a book.

Several Italian immigrants who worked on the building of New York's Croton Lake Dam heard about an inheritance that a local widow had just received and planned to rob her of that money. The clumsy robbery resulted in the unexpected death of a woman.

Twenty-six days later, five defendants had been sentenced to death. To most people, it mattered little that four of the suspects did not even know a murder was committed during the robbery at the Griffin house. They had a trial, were found guilty and now had to suffer the penalty. Case closed. Was this rush to justice legal? Yes, but was it just?

Was he a manipulative psychopath who exploited the opportunity that Waco presented, as many FBI agents claim, or was he just a deluded religious leader whose private play was suddenly exposed on the world's stage?

First person account of the ATF raid at Waco by former ATF agent, Chuck Hustmyre.

After decades of prison for allegedly murdering his wife and daughters, he may finally get a fair shake in the courts as retired U.S. marshall comes forward to reveal the confession of major suspect Helena Stoeckley of having been at MacDonalds house to get drugs.

When a fun day of celebrating second amendment rights and firing automatic weapons resulted in the death of Christopher Bizilj, 8, former sheriff Fleury and organizers were called to account for the tragic accident.

Battle of business titans yields a not-so-perfect method of executing criminals.

Evolution of a controversial defense and famous trials in which it was used.

Mentally impaired young man who is obsessed with actress Jodie Foster shoots President Ronald Reagan and three others to impress her. Impressed she was, but not favorably, when she testified at his very controversial trial. The verdict was the catalyst for major changes in the Insanity Defense.

Waist-up, Holmes wasn't much to look at. He was a 6'1" beanpole, but he had 12 inches of hidden charm that was as thick around as a man's wrist the kind of dimensions that women fantasize about, but few enjoy.

To understand how the blue film actor wound up at the center of the "Wonderland Murders," a quadruple murder investigation, you must first trace Holmes' meteoric rise to stardom, and his equally impressive fall from it.

Hollywood director illegally cuts corners with dangerous stunts in the making of the Twilight Zone movie. Death and disaster follow.

Forensic bite marks is the only evidence in this remarkable case.

Seductive southern black woman and sadistic white man develop an irresistible but deadly attraction in a small backward community filled with hate. Sixty years later, Georgia pardons her in an attempt to heal festering wounds.

The crowd on the grounds of the state capital in Atlanta numbered in the thousands. There were gaunt farmers with their wives and children, state employees with stiff celluloid collars and straw hats, shopkeepers with aprons and arm-banded sleeves. They shifted restlessly, milled around in a slow rumbling anger, yet, in a strange way, they were a festive gathering, as if anticipating a parade or a picnic. They were waiting for the Baptist minister to rouse them, to fuel their smoldering anger. When the preacher had finished, proclaiming the man on trial, Leo Frank, to be a despoiler of innocence, the devil who had killed the little girl, Mary Phagan, the crowd cried, "Hang him, hang him!" Over the shouts and the frenzied babbling, fiddling John Carson began to play and sing "The Ballad of Mary Phagan."

A little less than two months later, the crowd got its wish. A number of upstanding citizens hung Leo Frank. They lynched him from a large oak tree, in a quiet grove, outside Marietta, Georgia.

But the story did not end with his death. It is a case of injustice that continues to echo through the twentieth century and beyond. It generated the formation of the modern Ku Klux Klan, and produced the Jewish Anti-Defamation League, two organizations that exist to this day. It is a sad tale of anti-Semitism, the clash of cultures, and an egregious miscarriage of justice.

This classic has to be one of the most enduring murder mysteries America has ever produced. Elderly Andrew Borden, still in his heavy morning coat, reclines on a mohair-covered sofa, his boots on the floor so as not to soil the upholstery. As he naps, his wife, Abby, is on the floor of the guestroom upstairs, dead for the past hour and a half, killed by the same hand, with the same axe, that is about to strike him, as he sleeps.

The bloodiness of the acts is startling. Along with the gruesome nature of the crimes is the unexpected character of the accused, not a hatchet-wielding maniac, but a church-going, Sunday-school-teaching, respectable, spinster-daughter, charged with parricide, the murder of parents, a crime worthy of Classical Greek tragedy. Many people believed she killed her father and stepmother, but recent forensic research suggests that she didn't.

The case that opened the way for the Miranda warning and changed American justice

Emmett Till, a Chicago teenager, went to visit relatives for vacation and came back as a symbol for thousands of people hungry for justice.

It was almost midnight on Nov. 6, 2003, when Hong Kong police investigators entered a storage room at the exclusive Parkview high-rise apartment complex. They found what they were looking for behind the doora rolled oriental rug tied with rope and bound with clear adhesive tape. The rug seemed suspiciously bulky, and when the investigators unrolled it, they found what they expecteda body.

Robert Kissel, a high-flying investment banker, was a prominent member of the American expatriate community in Hong Kong. Police arrested his wife, Nancy, who stated that her husband had assaulted her over the previous weekend after she refused to have sex with him.

Does poisoning one's husband with a pink arsenic-laced milkshake constitute premeditated murder?

What's wrong with the case of the West Memphis Three? Nearly everything, according to case expert Mara Leveritt. Op-Ed.

10 years after the murder of his ex-wife and her friend, the former football star continues to stir controversy. Analysis of the murder and road rage trials, forensics.

The downfall of the flamboyant super-celebrity reads like Greek tragedy. In his quest for forbidden love, his fall from grace was stunningly swift and complete.

Handsome bad boy Robert Chambers murders attractive young Jennifer Levin in the park.

The Jennifer Levin murder case captivated New York City and mesmerized the public with its sordid tale of "rough sex" and a freewheeling lifestyle among the city's spoiled youth. Fueled by the tabloids, which featured such titillating headlines as SEX PLAY GOT ROUGH, JEN'S SEX DIARY and the now notorious, HOW JENNY COURTED DEATH, the case dominated front-page news for two years.

The media turned Chambers into the victim, blaming a very young woman for her rape and murder. Jennifer Levin, 5 foot 3 inches and 120 pounds, roughed him up a little too much during sexual play behind Manhattan's Museum of Art. He said that he was forced to act in self-defense when he accidentally choked her to death.

Now "preppie" killer Robert Chambers is charged on multiple felony drug counts.

Federal agents spent a fortune at Ruby Ridge to kill a mother of three children with a baby in her arms, her son and her Labrador dog for what amounted to minor crimes by her husband. The lawsuits after the fact cost the Feds another couple million. The whole sordid story of government agents run amok.

Despite evidence against him, Roy Brown maintained his innocence in the murder of Sabina Kulakowski from his prison cell for fifteen long years.

Famous trial and execution of two Italian immigrants for 1920 robbery & murder is a classic case of bias against one ethnic group and a continuous source of anger and irritation in the Italian-American community to this day. While it is not possible to determine forensically whether Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti were innocent or guilty, it is clear that the two men did not get a fair trial.

By the time the hysteria died down, 20 people were executed and 3 died in prison, including the baby of one of the accused. The pace of accusations spiraled out of control, naming over a hundred people in Salem and Andover.

Mentally disturbed woman goes into a crowded Phildelphia mall with a semiautomatic rifle and starts killing.

Transsexual teenager and friends murdered in police-assisted hate crime. Updated chapter.

Preteen Andrea Wilborn died a cruel and violent death in the wine cellar of her family's mansion. The killer had her kneel on the floor of the cellar and shot her in the back of the head, execution-style.

A smeared, bloody handprint was found by police. Within hours, police had a description of the killer and a single suspect T. Cullen Davis, one of the richest men in America and the model for the villainous J.R. Ewing on the nighttime soap opera "Dallas." In a series of events that emulate soap opera fiction, the billionaire oil man was charged in the most expensive investigation and trial in Texas history for the murder of his daughter and wife's boyfriend, shooting a witness, assaulting his wife and paying to have a judge murdered.

Many called it the best "justice money can buy."

Did Satanists murder 3 boys or were 3 local teenagers set up for a crime they did not commit because their tastes and interests clashed with the local norms? Dr. Katherine Ramsland analyzes Devil's Knot, the new book on this intriguing case.

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