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Showing posts from February, 2014

The Bloody Benders

This case has proven very hard to research, even still it is a case worth noting for many reasons.  The first is that it is a very interesting case. Another reason, that I will discuss late in this blog, is this case shows that when it comes to crime and people wanting publicity in some shape or form, it is not very different from what we see now.  The difference is that now we can determine more easily who is telling the truth and who is just looking to talk.  

The problem lies with the fact that this story began around 1870 in a newly settled area of Kansas and legend has followed it for over 140 years. It is simply hard to keep the fact from the fiction, but I will try the best I can.  

Here are the facts that are known, at least with a high probability....

Around October of 1870 two men settled in Labette County, Kansas, land that had been newly acquired by the government when they forced off the American Indian.  The older of the two men went by the name of John Bender and the young…

T. Cullen Davis Case

This is a case that has always fascinated me.  It was one of the first true crime stories I recall ever reading about but until I decided to do this blog I had not really researched it in quite some time.  This is the story of how the richest man in Texas got away with murder. There is simply no other way to put it.  The evidence against this man was enormous.  In a second trial, that he was also acquitted for, he was even heard on tape ordering the murders of his estranged wife, who had survived the first attempt, and the judge proceeding over their divorce.

Thomas Cullen Davis (aka T. Cullen or simply Cullen) inherited his fortune from his father through oil.  It has been said that the character of J. R. Ewing from the television show Dallas was at least partly based on Cullen.  Cullen and his two brothers had inherited their fortune and the oil company in 1968 when their father died, although working for their father prior to his death had not had them living in the poor house prio…

The Colleen Stan Case

This case has infamously become known as "The Girl in the Box" case.  It is the story of 20 year old Colleen Stan who was kidnapped by Cameron and Janice Hooker on May 19, 1977 near Red Bluff California and was not set free until 1985.

Colleen was hitchhiking from her home in Oregon to Red Bluff, California... about 450 miles away.  Today that may seem unusual but in the 1970's it was rather common especially in the far Northwest part of the country.  There had been some major crimes associated with hitchhiking already but for the most part it was believed to be safe.  As she was hitchhiking the first car that pulled over was full of young men and Colleen did not feel like that would have been a safe so she turned it down.  The next car that stopped was a young couple, close to Colleen's age, with a baby. Unlike the car full of young men Colleen thought one could not get much safer than with a couple with a baby and got in.  After driving for a bit they stopped at a…

The Insanity Defense

The common standard for an insanity defense is to answer the question of whether the defendant knew the difference between right and wrong.  If the answer to that is yes, then it is commonly believed, at least by legal standards, that the defendant is not insane.  Yet, does that truly mean that someone is not insane?  The Supreme Court has ruled over the last several years that minors, the mentally retarded, and the insane are not to be executed.

While this is the legal standard when it comes to criminal offenses, that standard is often, or should be applied in other areas involving mental illness. And isn't insanity a mental illness?  However, the question lies with, does the simple act of knowing the difference between right and wrong truly the test of insanity?

Let's take hoarding for example.  Over the last several years hoarding itself has been classified as a mental illness.  Along with the act of what I call the "visible" hoarding, hoarders all often exhibit m…