Sinister Siblings: Robert & Anthony Rowlingson

Teacher imprisoned | Warwick Daily News

Cain and Abel.

Esau and Jacob.

There are several tales, both ancient and modern, which spoke of sibling rivalry that turned deadly. Today’s story details how one such situation shocked a family and community to their core.

The family at the center of our story lived in Pittsworth, a rural town in Queensland, Australia.  They were the Rowlingson’s- John and Wendell, with their three children-one daughter and two sons.  

Pittsworth had a very small and close-knit population in 2007- in fact, as far as I can gather, there were only three homicides reported in the entire Darling Downs district where the town is located.  

This will make what we learn occurred on July 15, 2007, even more unbelievable.

The Rowlingson family lived on a farm in Pittsworth.  Robert was the older of the two sons.  His many friends described him as popular and outgoing.  He was an outdoorsman who loved rugby. 

KILLER TEENS: No motive for brother's execution | Northern Star
Robert Rowlingson

As it sometimes is, Anthony was quite the opposite of his brother.  He was rather introverted and withdrawn.  He and his brother weren’t particularly close.  Robert had a robust social life, but Anthony was more of a homebody.  In fact, he wasn’t close to anyone except his favorite teacher and mentor, Graeme McNeil.  While a lot of alarm bells go off in retrospect- why does this kid spend so much time with his teacher?- I can almost understand why the parents didn’t put an end to this questionable relationship.  Their youngest son was lonely and misunderstood by his peers.  Mr. McNeil was a trusted educator and showed an interest in Anthony- what could possibly go wrong?

Inside Story: Anthony Rowlingson's brutal murder of older brother ...

It turns out, lots.  See, the harmless teacher had some pretty radical ideas.  He shared his ideologies with the young boy.  Was he recruiting him?  Anthony already entertained dark thoughts- it’s said that he fantasized about hurting people.  He had a rather morbid fascination with the Columbine massacre.  This led to him making a “hit list” that included students from his school.  He was entertaining killing them all- including his brother’s friends.

You’re probably wondering what kind of evil thoughts Mr. McNeil could have shared with Anthony.  I’m glad you asked!  Apparently, by day he was a teacher, but off the clock, he became one of the evilest motherfuckers in the world.  Mr. Graeme McNeil was a high-ranking member of the Ku Klux Klan- which I had no idea was a thing in Australia.  

Inside Story: Anthony Rowlingson's brutal murder of older brother ...
Graeme McNeil- KKK teacher

Aside from the Ku Klux Klan in Canada, there have been various attempts to organize KKK chapters outside the United States.

In Australia in the late 1990s, former One Nation member Peter Coleman established branches throughout the country,[243][244] and circa 2012 the KKK has attempted to infiltrate other political parties such as Australia First.[245]

It has also reported recruitment activity in the United Kingdom.[246]

In Germany, a KKK-related group (“Knights of the Fiery Cross”), was established in the 1920s. After the Nazis took over Germany, the group disbanded and its members joined the Nazis.[247] Another German KKK-related group, the European White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, organized and gained notoriety in 2012 when the German media reported that two police officers who held membership in the organization could keep their jobs.[248][249]

A Ku Klux Klan group was even established in Fiji in the early 1870s by white American settlers, although its operations were quickly put to an end by the British who, although not officially yet established as the major authority of Fiji, had played a leading role in establishing a new constitutional monarchy that was being threatened by the activities of the Fijian Klan.[250]

In São Paulo, Brazil, the website of a group called Imperial Klans of Brazil was shut down in 2003, and the group’s leader was arrested.[251]

Growing up in the US and Indiana, I always knew the Klan was “too close for comfort”, but I was not aware of the reach this shitty group had.  You learn something new every day.  

After some time, this secret life of McNeil hit Robert’s radar.  Being an inclusive and upright young man, he made it clear to his brother that he would report what he knew to administrators.  This is presumably what set the events of July 15, 2007, into motion.

The Sunday began with the elder Rowlingson’s at church, Robert at a rugby match, and Anthony at home.  After his match, Robert returned home to work on his car.  As he looked under the hood, Anthony quietly crept up behind him.  He brought with him his father’s .243 rifle he had taken from a gun safe inside the house. He raised the weapon and pulled the trigger.  The shot knocked his older brother to the ground.  What happened next is heartbreaking to think about:  Anthony stood over his own brother and shot him in the head.  

The next thing on Anthony’s murderous agenda was disposing of the body- his brother’s body.  He got the family’s forklift, using it to place Robert in the trunk of the very car he was working on at his time of death. He then drove around thinking of a site to dump the body.  Upon realizing he might need help, he drove to the only person he could count on- Mr. McNeil.

No one else really knows how the conversation between them went, but it ended with the responsible Mr. McNeil packing Anthony in his car and taking him directly to the police.

Actually, he didn’t.  Remember? Grand Pooba of the KKK? This was his opportunity to prove he was about that life.  With that, Anthony and Mr. McNeil dumped Robert Rowlingson, aged 19, off a bridge near Clifton.  They left his vehicle and Mr. McNeil took the emotionless Anthony home.  

Thank goodness he had remembered to cover up evidence of the murder!  Before dumping his brother over the bridge, he covered the blood with dirt. His mom and dad beat him home and they’re looking for Robert.  He told them he didn’t know where he was.  The parents weren’t too worried at that moment because Robert was a social butterfly.  It wasn’t odd for him to be out- they just knew he was supposed to be working on his car.  Had he changed his mind and decided it could wait?  That is the assumption his parents probably went with at the time.  

Unfortunately, you and I know what happened to Robert.  Now, his parents got their first inkling that something sinister was afoot.  The police had just located Robert’s car.  There were signs of foul play found at the scene.  

KILLER TEENS: No motive for brother's execution | Chronicle

Sunday, July 15, had started, for this family, like any other Sunday.  Sadly, after this Sunday, nothing about life would ever be the same.  Every murder investigation usually starts the same- work from the inside out. Always begin with the closest person or people to the victim.  The police talked to the shocked and grieving parents first.  Mr. Rowlingson answered all of their questions and explained that he did not understand who would want to hurt their son.  Had his wife Wendell answered that question, the response would have been different.  She had an idea of who hurt Robert, but she hoped it wasn’t true.

The police next spoke to Anthony.  He claimed that he hadn’t seen his brother.  After continuing their investigation by speaking to Robert’s friends, they swung back around to Anthony.  He was the only known person who would want to get rid of his brother.  Maybe Robert reminded him of all the things he was not.  Maybe he was consumed by jealousy.  It’s also quite possible that he was just an evil mother fucker.  Everyone pointed back to him as the culprit.

When the police talked to him two days later, they came at him from the angle of knowing he was involved in his brother’s disappearance and death.  Anthony found it funny when they attempted to appeal to his love of his parents as a reason to disclose the location of the body.  He denied and denied until one time he didn’t.

That’s right- he eventually confessed to brutally murdering his brother.  He asked that the police destroy a laptop with evidence of Mr. McNeil’s KKK activities.  Once they agreed he told them where he threw Robert over the bridge.  

Anthony was arrested, leaving his parents reeling.  In three days, they had, in essence, lost two sons.  Sadly, they never got a motive for the murder.  It has been argued that Anthony was attempting to protect Graeme McNeil, but evidence existed that proved the plot to kill Robert began before he found out McNeil’s secret.  The Rowlingson’s  also found out about Anthony’s other murderous plans.  Anthony was sentenced to life in prison.  He is eligible for parole in 2022.  

In 2010, McNeil pleaded guilty to accessory to murder after the fact.  He received an eight-year sentence but was eligible for parole after three years.

Klan connection proves pure hype | Chronicle

In 2013, he was released from prison.  The town wasn’t happy about this, and many were afraid that because of his extreme beliefs, he was still a danger to their community.

I think the biggest threat to the community is still in prison.  If 2020 doesn’t kill us all, he can be out in two years.  

What can we learn from this story?

  • Teacher student relationships
  • Withdrawn kids may need help
  • Be nosy!!

Sources & Shit

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ku_Klux_Klan

https://culteducation.com/group/1015-ku-klux-klan/12014-reverend-advised-at-risk-teens-and-hid-secret-life-as-kkk-chaplain.html

https://www.news.com.au/national/crime/the-disturbed-teen-who-killed-his-older-brother-to-protect-his-beloved-teacher-a-local-kkk-leader/news-story/499368331c7437e5cca5e9bcd746e579

https://www.pressreader.com/australia/the-chronicle-8992/20190916/281539407660432

One Uber Ride

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As 2020: the Movie continues to roll on, many of us are learning to roll with the punches. Punches that seem delivered from every angle. Precision punches that never seem to miss their target. This has been a strange ride.

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So, last week, when I called an Uber at 4 in the morning to take me to work, I was looking forward to a mundane, ordinary commute. From my apartment to work is about five or six minutes, but those blips on time’s radar were anything but ordinary.

The driver was young and friendly. Those traits serve him well in his line of work. We joked a little about life. You know- work, rest, repeat. We chatted about 2020 being quite the learning experience. Then he inquired what I do for fun. I casually mentioned my podcast, Sinister Silhouettes, and explained that I talked about true-crime and conspiracies.

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Then, this stranger did something I didn’t expect- he asked me why I liked those topics. I’ve been interested in this subject for over thirty years! He asked me if I like “love”. What the fiddlesticks? Of course I like love! “So why not talk about that?” he asked.

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That made me think. It made me think about what I’m putting into the universe. It made me wonder why I intentionally inundate myself with misery and suffering and- EVIL. I tell myself that there are stories that need to be told, that there is an audience for these conversations, that I may be HELPING someone in the world. All of that is true. I don’t have any plans to quit talking about crimes and conspiracies. But, is that all I can talk about?

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The answer to that is a resounding and emphatic NO!! I am an informed person by nature- I’m curious about history, politics, social issues, science, sports, movies, the universe- God, so many things really interest me.

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I started a different podcast in 2018- a full year before Sinister Silhouettes. The name of it is After The Snap. On it, I discuss sci-fi, fantasy, and comic book movies and TV. I kind of abandoned it last year, but I’ve started it back up- in part, because of this conversation. I also am considering lending my voice to other topics that interest me- I want to be a positive inspiration to people. I want to add some happiness to the world. I want to answer questions that I didn’t ever think to ask. I want to improve someone’s day- teach them something- in the space of sixty minutes.

I’d love to say that I was on this trajectory of my own volition. That I just “decided” to inspect what I expect. The truth of the matter is, this epiphany came about because of that conversation.

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One Uber ride…..

Hiatus is over in August!

As you may have noticed, things have been quiet for me over the past month. I have released a few “timely” episodes, but the truth is, I was starting to feel the burn. Talking about the underbelly of society has sometimes left me feeling “some type of way” and every now and then a sister needs a break. I haven’t been wasting this time away from the podcast. I have put a lot of effort into improving my content to reach a wider audience.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCDkcs0l7_ZqWL7e43sY4KWw

I have done a few technical things, a few aesthetic changes, and a whole lot of listening to the best podcasts out there. I am preparing to release video versions of the show along with the audio only version. I’ve got a YouTube channel- Sinister Silhouettes. My plan is to make it impossible for my show to be ignored!

At this point in history, a lot is being made of being inclusive and allowing Black and POC voices to be amplified in all mediums, including podcasting. I want to be sure that Sinister Silhouettes is the best show I’m capable of producing so I’ll get some recognition. I want my unique way of storytelling to be noticed, not only because marketers need to fill some “quota”, but because I belong in the conversation.

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Being totally candid, I am not formally educated by any institution of higher learning. I write for fun, and to ensure that I am using everything I learned in K-12 to stay sharp. I listen to audiobooks, watch videos, and listen to podcasts for entertainment and to also learn things I wasn’t taught in school. I learn new words, new philosophies, new skills- all of this because I believe information is POWER. I don’t horde what I learn because everyone with a desire to improve should be able to.

I struggle with the topics I speak about at times- true crime isn’t for the feint of heart. The goal is to inform and leave my audience with something to think about. Some meaningful way they can apply what they learn from whatever sordid tale we may be discussing. Because I sometimes feel the mental load is heavy, I believe wholeheartedly that the struggle should be rewarded!

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I don’t think I’m going to quit my day job or ever be able to tour the country like other well known hosts. Those are things that may be out of my reach. I do believe that I should be invited to the conferences. Representation matters, in all things. I want the piece of the pie that I pay for in research, writing, editing, and producing a piece of free, but quality, entertainment.

All that being said, I really enjoy doing this. I LOVE when the audience reaches out to tell me how episodes make them feel. I light up when my work is shared and reviewed. I’m proud to feel like I am making a difference to people all over the world. So, be prepared for level 3 of Sinister Silhouettes next week- I’ve planned 12 weeks of shows (including Saturday LIVE streams).

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I hope that you enjoy the Level Up and will share my content with friends, family, associates, and enemies. I want to be amplified over the next three months. Don’t forget to subscribe to my YouTube channel, and watch at least one video. I hope I can count on your help and continued support. Before I get out of here, let me remind you-

STAY OUT OF THE SHADOWS!

Peace.

An Open Letter to the Chi

Please, for the sake of the kids, stand up and take back your streets. The next huge crime weeekend is upon us: Independence Day. Last year over the Independence Day weekend, close to 70 people were shot, six of them fatally. We’re heading into July, and it’s only going to get hotter.

God, I miss that skyline!

Before I get into this special report, I’d like to thank Indie Drop-In for sponsoring today’s episode. A special thanks to Always Angry 94, Mack Tape, and Paige 87 for your very kind reviews.  If you haven’t yet, please send your five star reviews to Apple Podcasts.  They really help the show get noticed. 

 I can remember being a kid in Gary, IN.  Gary sits right outside of Chicago- a kind of unofficial suburb of the Windy City.  We had a blast in the summers.  We played outside the whole day and part of the evening.  Hide and seek, kickball, double dutch, and my favorites- football and basketball.  That was many years ago, but in my mind, it was yesterday.  I watched my son make the same type of memories- hanging out with the boys who would become like brothers to him.  It saddens me to think that those memories are out of reach for this generation of Chicago’s youth.  It is becoming difficult for today’s children to have a sense of innocence- they are increasingly being caught in the crossfire between the feuds of  young adults.  They have to be hyper-vigilant about their own safety.  It’s literally a matter of life and death, and it isn’t fair.

In this season of protest against the brutality many people of color face from police, it is only right to shed a light on the many victims of inner-city violence, particularly in Chicago.  Please, don’t mistake my message as getting on a soapbox, spouting the “black-on-black” crime rhetoric.  The truth is, I want us to care about us.  Our enemy is not only the subset of law enforcement who abuse their power- but it is also the cowards who are robbing our children of a future.

The weeks continue to get more and more deadly.  In fact, Chicago has surpassed the most deaths on a single day since they have kept records of this statistic.  The last day of May recorded 18 homicides, the most in 5 decades.  In fact, throughout May, 2020, there were over 1100 victims of gun violence.  Eleven hundred in just the first five months of the year.  If history is our guide, there will be an increase in homicides and shootings as the weather gets warmer.  

Father Michael Pfleger, a longtime activist against gun violence, has always had his ear to the ground on the South and West sides of the city.  He told the Chicago Sun Times that the word on the streets on that deadly weekend in May was that the police weren’t out patrolling.  Remember, that weekend was the beginning of the George Floyd protests.  Simultaneously,  there were groups of crusaders marching for a worthwhile cause, and would-be murderers seeking their adversaries.

There are areas that are over-policed- usually inner cities and disadvantaged neighborhoods.  I understand that a police presence may loom over these communities like a dark cloud- almost like they are just looking for a reason to pounce.  There are also neighborhoods like the South and West sides of Chicago.  It seems that these communities need an increased police presence because they can’t be trusted to police themselves.  How many children need to die? 

********Indie Drop-in******** .

I am from a place that believes in the “no snitches” rule.  I can also remember when, as a teenager, a group of us were heading to the corner store to get snacks on our way to play basketball.  A well-known drug dealer was in the parking lot.  He basically told us to keep it moving because some shit was about to go down at the store.  Without question, we continued on our way.  Am I putting this thug on a pedestal for giving us a heads up?  In a way, I guess I am.  Those were guys who lived by a code- if they knew you weren’t about that life they didn’t aim to make you part of it.  Another time, a different drug dealer came to a group of us who were hanging out under the streetlight after dark.  He told us to go in the house.  I wanted to argue, because we were having a great conversation, but the look on his face told me that something was about to go down in the street and I didn’t want to present for it.  

I never found out why either of these men had warned us to leave the area, but I lived to play another day.  These “so-called” gangsters and drug dealers today have no code.  They have no scruples.  They are ruining lives and destroying families with impunity.  These are NOT the type of people the hood needs to protect.  The hood needs to take its streets back- even if that means calling the police to your hood. 

A toddler and a 10-year-old child were killed in two separate incidents of gun violence in Chicago this weekend.

The 10-year-old girl died from her injuries on Sunday after she was shot in the head by a stray bullet that came through the window of her Logan Square home Saturday night, Chicago police said. She was transported to John H. Stroger Hospital where she later died, police told CNN.

Separately, a 20-month-old boy was fatally shot in the chest and his 22-year-old mother was grazed by a bullet while the two were driving home from the laundromat Saturday afternoon, according to Chicago Police and reports from CNN affiliate WBBM.

As of June 14, there have been 268 murders in Chicago, a 22% increase from last year’s total but slightly below the murder totals of 2017 and 2016, according to Chicago Police data.  Over Father’s Day weekend, 11 people were killed, including four children, and 67 others were wounded in shootings.

Brown on Saturday urged the public to offer any information they have on the shooting.

“We cannot compartmentalize the violence that is tearing families and communities apart. Someone knows something,” Brown said. “For the sake of Chicago’s children, please come forward to help bring the trigger pullers to justice.”

While we are discussing gun crime in Chicago, please be reminded that there are zero gun merchants in the city.  The question on many people’s mind is: where are these guns coming from?  As of 2018, 95% of the weapons used to commit crimes are not owned by the original purchaser.  In fact, Illinois’ gun laws are among the toughest in the country. The state requires citizens to have a permit to buy firearms and to report stolen or lost guns. Residents who want to sell their guns privately are also required to solicit a background check from state officials and to submit documentation of the sale.

This is where lax laws in other states come into play- namely, my home state of Indiana.  It is relatively easy to obtain a weapon in Indiana.  Any Illinois resident can quickly go over the state line and purchase a gun illegally from gun traffickers.  Gun shops also routinely get robbed- those guns are then distributed on the streets.  When they are eventually used to commit crimes, the roads never lead back to the black market sellers. In most cases, the gun has changed hands several times before law enforcement gets ahold of it.  

Then, finally, the criminal organizations in Chicago may have help from the inside.  It is not unusual for some officers to have gang affiliations.  This isn’t a conspiracy theory- it is a fact that there are some officers who serve two masters.  To further compound things, the NRA and other super-PACs have tremendous sway over politicians.  Our federal laws are terribly weak when it comes to gun control. Even with the ever-present threat of gunmen attacking children at school, little is done to ensure weapons don’t get into the wrong hands.

 Going into the conspiracy theory realm, there are many who believe that the ATF or CIA are dropping guns off in poor neighborhoods.  It’s said that they are hopeful that they can catch someone with one of these illegal weapons and make them a full time employee of the penal system.  There is no evidence that this is true- unless you take into account the following case, as reported by the Chicago Sun Times:

John Thomas, a resident in his 30s resorted to setting up illegal gun sales to help provide for his daughter.

Working through an informant, the ATF enticed Thomas to set up small gun deals by offering to buy weapons for a high price. All of the guns Thomas brokered deals for were actually purchased by the ATF.

Cases like Thomas’ begs the question of whether or not the ATF is eliminating gun dealers, or creating them.  Then there are the often reported claims that the CIA was supplying crack in inner cities in the 80s and 90s.  The truth is, the U.S. Justice Department and its agencies were aware of the Nicaraguan Contra-linked drug trafficking operations and allegedly thwarted local police investigations and blocked the prosecution of the Contra-linked cocaine traffickers.  Technically, they were complicit.  And if the government can do that, is there any wonder that a) black people believe that it would indeed supply weapons to warring gangs to fill prisons and b) we don’t really trust them?

This brings us back around to Chicago- is it shameful that there are innocent lives being lost? Of course it is.  It’s even worse when the president of the United States compares the city to Afghanistan.  Is Chiraq the most dangerous city in the country?   

Although Chicago is probably the first city that springs to mind when you think of crime in Illinois, the Windy City is actually not even  the most dangerous place in the state. With a violent crime rate of 1,386 incidents per 100,000 people, Rockford stands as the most dangerous city in Illinois. The murder capital of America isn’t Chicago, but it is in Illinois for the second straight year. With nearly one murder per 1,000 residents, last year’s murder capital is East St. Louis, IL and has a murder rate 17.5 times the national average, and 4 times Chicago’s murder rate.

Of course, the murders in Chicago become big news because it is a major city- and I’m directing most of my comments to the Chi because it’s so close to home.  I could easily insert other large cities every time I say Chicago- Stockton, California; Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Cleveland, Ohio; Baltimore, Maryland; Detroit, Michigan- to name just a few.  

I am saying this to everyone within the sound of my voice- just like we want to hold law enforcement and elected officials accountable when lives are lost because of their actions; we need to hold our neighbors and ourselves to the same standards. Our children are not only our most precious possessions, they are our future.  We are letting them down.  

I had to speak on this because the crime rate in Chicago is still astronomical, but with a minimal amount of research, I have found proof that there are cities in worse predicaments.  I understand why the communities are frustrated and afraid to speak up.  Black people, people of color, and poor people of any race have far too many examples of being let down by not only law enforcement, but the govenment on both the state and national levels.  The news will lead you to believe that there is no more dangerous city in the US than Chicago when a quick Google search will shed a unique light on the city.  

My challenge to you is to be a change in your community.  When you see something, say something.  Sometimes, the politicians and police don’t feel how dire your situation is because they don’t live there.  You have to know that if your ten-year-old can’t dance in front of a window without catching a stray bullet, there is a huge problem.  If a baby is shot while strapped in his car seat, that is an issue. These kids deserve hide-and-seek.  They deserve to play kickball and double-dutch.  They should be able to chase the ice cream truck without dodging bullets.  The safety of your own community starts with you!  

My hope is that while we are lamenting the deaths of so many people at the hands of police, we also plan for how we will protect the babies.  When these rival factions terrorize neighborhoods with impunity, there is little incentive for them to stop.  Please, for the sake of the kids, stand up and take back your streets.    The next huge crime weeekend is upon us: Independence Day.  Last year over the Independence Day weekend,  close to 70 people were shot, six of them fatally.  We’re heading into July, and it’s only going to get hotter.

I know that this message is unpopular amongst my brothers and sisters.  Many feel like I’m siding with police but that’s the furthest from the truth.  I am siding with the young lives that are in danger every day.  I’m siding with the parents who are trying to raise children in a pressure cooker.  And, yes, I’m siding with officers who take the pledge to serve and protect our community seriously.  My words aren’t politically motivated because I have no political affiliation.  I am speaking truth, whether or not you want to hear it.  

That’s it for my open letter to the Chi- I’m going to give you two things to think about before I get out of here.  Crime Stoppers is an effective national program that collects anonymous crime tips. Anyone who wants to report drug activity can contact Crime Stoppers via phone or online. A national tip line is available 24/7, and the program also operates out of local offices. Witnesses to drug crimes can make an anonymous phone call or fill out an online form. What’s more, you can rest easy knowing that all Crime Stoppers workers are trained to protect the caller’s identity and, instead of caller ID, all incoming phone calls are assigned a numerical code. 1-800-222-TIPS

Also, On June 11th, Michael Hickson, a quadriplegic black man with COVID-19 was killed by a hospital in Austin Texas.

Doctors decided he had “no quality of life” and was not worth spending the resources to save.

Now, in this scenario that I read on Twitter, the race of the patient isn’t the most appalling aspect.  If true, even more appalling is that America has come to this.  The plug is being pulled on some of our most vulnerable citizens based on chance of a quality life.  Doctors and hospital staff are being forced to decide who is worth saving.  Why? Because people refuse to be socially distant from one another and/or wear masks.  The protesters have begun being diagnosed with Covid 19- so have the people who go to the beach, the bar, etc. I’m begging you on behalf of my elderly father and my best friend who suffers from COPD and congestive heart failure- wear your damn masks.  Protect your neighbors!

Sources & Shit

Indie Drop-In:

https://www.neighborhoodscout.com/blog/highest-murder-rate-cities

https://www.cnn.com/2020/06/28/us/chicago-children-shooting/index.html

https://abcnews.go.com/US/chicago-sees-18-homicides-deadliest-day-60-years/story?id=71150234

https://robinkelly.house.gov/media-center/in-the-news/where-do-guns-used-to-commit-shootings-in-chicago-come-from

https://www.indystar.com/story/news/crime/2017/10/31/report-1-5-guns-recovered-chicago-crimes-come-indiana/816399001/

Crimestoppers National Hotline: CSUSA.org

https://www.kvue.com/article/news/investigations/defenders/quadriplegic-covid-19-patient-dies-after-austin-hospital-stops-treatment/269-6ffe3515-97b1-4962-beca-a3f9e0499a34

Sinister Silhouettes LIVE

Just dropped in to share the audio from last Saturday’s live stream. I hope you enjoy it enough to join me this Saturday (6/27). The show starts at 1pm CST. You can watch on Facebook Live or GetVokl.com.

I’m also approaching 15,000 downloads! When I reach that goal, I will be doing an ask me anything stream! I’ll let you know as I get closer so you can prepare your questions.

Last but not least- I have stickers! If you’d like me to send you a couple just DONATE to the podcast. A $2 donation will get you 2 stickers- see how that works?

I hope everyone has a safe weekend! WEAR YOUR MASKS!!!

The Scream Killers

This dude was so serious about his horror that he laid out the rules to surviving a scary movie. 1. Stay a virgin 2. No booze or drugs and 3. Never, EVER say, “I’ll be right back”. It’s a good thing that none of us lived through a horror movie, huh?

Image result for movies don't create psychos quote
Scream- 1996

So- what’s your favorite scary movie?  Almost everybody has one.  I can say with certainty that my sister’s favorite is The Exorcist.  I’ve got a shortlist that includes IT, A Nightmare on Elm Street (the first one), the first installment of Scream, and A Quiet Place.  I could name more, but you get the point.  Now, my sister and her friends used to “play” exorcist with one another- hence, the whole LaToya Ammons situation from Episode 21.  That’s about as close to reenacting a horror film that I’ve seen anyone do. 

How to Survive a Horror Movie

In the movie Scream, there was a true to life film geek named Randy.  This dude was so serious about his horror that he laid out the rules to surviving a scary movie. 1. Stay a virgin 2. No booze or drugs and 3. Never, EVER say, “I’ll be right back”.  It’s a good thing that none of us lived through a horror movie, huh?

  Unfortunately for some Pocatello, ID students, they would be the unwitting stars of one such nightmare.  Today, we discuss “The Scream Murders”.

We’re jumping in the way back and heading to Pocatello.  The year is 2006.  That year had a few brilliant horror movies released- Slither, The Hills Have Eyes, the third installment of the Final Destination series, and Scary Movie 4.  Anyway, this city is in the top 50 small cities in the US.  About a third of the population is of the Mormon faith.  

September 22, 2006, started like any other Friday at Pocatello High School.  Kids were scurrying to classes while making plans for the weekend.  Cassie Stoddart was at her locker when her friends Torrie Adamcik and Brian Draper showed up at her locker.  These two were Mormons and aspiring filmmakers.  Most of the time they documented the day’s events with a camcorder.  Today was no different- this morning, they aimed the camera at Cassie and told her to say “Hi”.  

Image result for cassie jo stoddart
Cassie Jo Stoddart

Cassie was an exceptional student, artist, and musician.  She literally was the definition of the girl next door.  As a junior in high school, she had aspirations to study law in college.  She was cute and friendly to everyone.  She had recently begun dating Matt Beckham.  They’d been together a whole 5 months!  Well, to parents that’s recent.  To teens in love, that’s FOREVER.  

That evening, Cassie’s aunt and uncle Frank and Allison Contreras, planned to go out of town for the weekend.  They trusted Cassie to house sit for them while they traveled. Cassie and Matt planned to Netflix and chill.  Well, maybe Blockbuster and chill?  I don’t know- it seems like Netflix has been around forever.  Point is, the couple would spend the evening watching movies until Matt’s 10:00 curfew.

At 6 pm, Matt arrived at the Contreras’ dream house.  The couple watched a movie- I’ve heard that it was Kill Bill.  About an hour later, Torrie and Brian showed up to watch the movie with them.  They stuck around for about an hour.  They decided they wanted to go to the movies- film geeks.  

Now, Matt and Cassie are finally alone again.  Matt’s curfew was slowly creeping up on them but before they could really savor the moment- the power goes out.  This seems like something straight out of a horror flick.  The lights go out.  Boyfriend leaves to investigate the problem.  Girlfriend is slaughtered by deranged psychopath.  Repeat for two hours until we get to final girl against monster.  

In this situation, Matt finds the circuit breaker has tripped and resets it.  He returns upstairs to find his girlfriend in one piece.  Needless to say, this spooked Cassie.  She tells Matt that she is now afraid to stay in the house alone.  Matt calls his mom and asks if he could stay with Cassie since she was afraid.  His mom probably didn’t have to think about it much before she said no.  In fact, she came to pick him up shortly after that call.  Call it mother’s intuition, but she knew that nothing good could come from them spending the night together.

And now Cassie was all alone in the house her aunt and uncle loved so much.  She laid down on the couch and watched TV.  Suddenly, the power again goes out.  Cassie was afraid to move- she didn’t want to go to the basement to reset the breaker, so she closed her eyes and tried to go to sleep.  

Have you ever been asleep and felt like someone was in the room with you?  Like you’re being watched?  Then you wake up and it’s your creepy boyfriend standing in the shadows staring at you?  No? Only me? 

Shadows and Fog (1991) - IMDb

Well, Cassie got that feeling.  She jumped up off the couch and came face-to-face, not with her boyfriend, but with a shadowy figure with a ghoulish mask on.  Who knows how it went down after that.  It seems as if she fought for her life but was overpowered.  When the ordeal was over, Cassie’s lifeless body was left on the floor.  She had been stabbed 29 times- nine of those wounds would have been considered fatal.

I can’t imagine what those last moments must have been like for her.  She had to be so afraid and confused.  This grotesque figure had ambushed her and extinguished one of Pocatello, Idaho’s brightest stars.  She would lay there, alone, until her family returned from their weekend getaway.

On Sunday, when her uncle and his family returned, their 13-year-old daughter rushed into the house to see her cousin Cassie.  Instead of being greeted by Cassie’s smiling face, she was confronted with the horrific sight of Cassie’s mangled remains.  Upon entering the home, her uncle couldn’t believe his eyes.  He rushed to call the police.  His beautiful niece was dead.

Word quickly spread about the murder.  Of course, law enforcement wanted to talk to everyone who was in contact with Cassie over the weekend.  Cassie’s mom had called Matt on the phone and asked what he had done to her daughter.  Real-life is just like every scary movie, the boyfriend is always the first suspect.  The police interviewed Matt.  They wanted to know everything that had happened during his visit with Cassie, when was the last he talked to her, and where he was in the days following the murder.  Matt was very cooperative and even agreed to a polygraph exam.  He explained that on Friday he and Cassie watched a movie, Torrie and Brian stopped by for about an hour, and he left shortly after 10 pm.  Cassie was very much alive when he left, and when he got in his mom’s car he wasn’t covered in blood.  He said he had been trying to catch up with her the next day, but she didn’t answer her phone.  He asked Torrie to take him over to the house, but Torrie said he didn’t have enough gas in his car.  The polygraph exam determined he was telling the truth.

The next people on the list for interviews were Torrie and Brian.  They were questioned separately, but both of their stories were consistent.  They were with Matt and Cassie for about an hour.  They realized that no one else would stop by, so they left and went to the movies.  They both had the ticket stubs to prove what movie they had seen.  They hadn’t spoken to Cassie again, but they hung out with Matt on Saturday.  Matt wanted to go check on Cassie, but Torrie only had enough gas to get him through the school week.  With no evidence to hold them on, the police cut them loose.

Just like in the movie “Scream”, the town was on edge knowing that a killer was lurking among them.  Everyone had their ideas about who that murderer could be.  They pointed lots of fingers at Matt.  Others thought it had to be a deranged stranger just passing through.  Still others thought it was Torrie or Brian.  Everyone had an idea- some thought of who could have done this to Cassie.  Just like in the movie Scream, they would find out that the killer is closer than you think.

After the medical examiner autopsied the body, he determined that Cassie had likely died on Friday night.  Like previously stated, someone had stabbed her 29 times in what was a frenzied attack.  The M.E. also determined that there were TWO weapons used in the attack.  That’s right, some wounds were made with a serrated knife, the others with a smooth knife.  This shows  law enforcement that there is a strong possibility that there were two assailants involved in this crime.  

The investigators went back to their suspects.  Matt’s mother was his alibi.  She would have noticed blood on his clothing when she picked him up Friday night.  We would like to hope that she wouldn’t cover for her son had he done something heinous.  But Torrie and Brian?  Their alibis were each other.  There was no one else who could confirm their whereabouts for the evening in question.  The police brought them in again for another round of interviews.  They, again,  were questioned separately.  This time, investigators about the plot of the movie they had seen.  Neither of them could remember the plot.  When asked about actors in the movie, neither could answer.  This is highly suspicious because these two were well known film geeks.  

5 Ways Fans Fear Avengers: Endgame Could Mess Up the MCU
I can tell you ANYTHING you want to know about the MCU!!

Ask me today about a movie I was so intrigued by that I paid money to see it in a theater.  Tell me to describe Avengers: Endgame to you- I’ll be able to tell you damn near frame by frame what went on in that movie and how it ties to the greater Marvel storyline.  I’m passionate about sci-fi/ fantasy films.  I dissect them.  I relate them to the world we are living in.  They are almost always representative of some current event, even if they are showing how we overcome a failure of present society.  I remember the key plot points because if there is EVER a part two (and in the world we inhabit, there is ALWAYS a part two) I know that these things become more important.  In fact, even the sequel to Scream built upon the rules established in the first movie.

These aspiring filmmakers couldn’t remember a film they had watched only days earlier.  That’s an enormous problem.  That caused the police to want to look into them a little further.  And the more they dug, the more they found out about the boys.  Torrie and Brian wanted to direct films, but they were very interested in a certain genre.  That genre?  Horror.

Other students from Pocatello High offered similar observations of the boys’ personalities.  Torrie and Brian regularly depicted acts of violence as their camera rolled.  They rarely picked up on the discomfort of others as they acted out scenes from their favorite scary movies.  Their peers had little doubt that they were capable of murder.

Investigators believed Brian and Torrie were responsible for Cassie’s horrible death.  After several interviews, they discovered how right they were.  

Brian cracked first.  He told the police he was present when Cassie was killed, but didn’t take part in the murder.  Law enforcement, aware that there were at least two perpetrators, allowed him to keep talking.  He said he and Torrie agreed to prank Cassie and Matt.  While at the house earlier that evening, he unlocked a back door.  After leaving to “go to the movies”, they returned to the home.  Donning their disguises, they hid in the basement.  They accessed the circuit breakers, shutting the power out.  When Matt came downstairs to reset the breaker, they saw him.  They also heard Matt leave when his mom came to pick him up.  They knew Cassie was alone.

According to Brian, the plan was to scare the crap out of Cassie.  He said Torrie deviated by actually attacking her.  After killing her, they disposed of the evidence.  Brian was willing to lead officers to the site they had buried the weapons. And so, they went on a little field trip.

Brian led the officers to a site in Black Rock Canyon.  He said they’d find the weapons there, but the police found so much more.  There were masks, gloves, clothes, knives, and- A VIDEO TAPE!  Our film geeks just couldn’t help themselves.  They recorded their thoughts before and after Cassie’s death.  

After viewing these videos, investigators now had irrefutable evidence that Torrie Adamcik and Brian Draper committed murder.  Not only that, but they planned the act days in advance.  They chose Cassie to die in the first act of their horror movie.  They intended for there to be more victims- including Matt.  

Booked just five days after slaying Cassie, the villains faced first degree murder charges.  In the coming months, the young men went to trial separately.  During trial, Brian stated the Columbine shooters, Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris inspired him and Torrie.  The movie “Scream” also influenced them.  In 2007, both were convicted and sentenced to life in prison with no possibility for parole.  They both appealed the decision, only to have their sentences upheld.  

In 2010, the Stoddart family filed a civil lawsuit against the Idaho School District. They claimed that the school was negligent and should have known that Draper and Adamcik posed a threat to others. Both the civil court and the State Supreme Court dismissed the case, saying the actions of the killers were not foreseeable.

Over the years, a remorseful Brian has acknowledged the pain he caused and accepts his sentence.  Torrie and his parents continue to downplay his involvement, despite evidence that points directly at him.  In one video, even he looks surprised when his mother and father insist he is innocent.  

The Supreme Court issued a ruling that mandatory life sentences without parole are unconstitutional for juvenile offenders.  This requires states to re-examine hundreds of cases- including Adamcik and Draper in Idaho.  For now, both are still held at the Idaho State Correctional Facility.

That there’s no motive for the would-be crime spree of two 16-year-olds is not at all surprising.  In the movie “Scream”, the antagonists admit that having no motive is scarier.  

Sources & Shit

https://www.spokesman.com/stories/2007/aug/30/teenage-killers-chatty-on-ride-to-prison

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Murder_of_Cassie_Jo_Stoddart

https://www.idahostatejournal.com/members/house-where-murder-of-cassie-jo-stoddart-took-place-proving/article_57694590-5cdb-11e4-876d-270a4ac0f093.html

Murder of Cassie Jo Stoddart   Tape of Brian Draper and Torey Adamcik 480p

The Scream Murder of Cassie Jo Stoddart. 85 Grave True Crime Series Case #1

The Murder of Cassie Jo Stoddart

The Blueprint: A Turning Point For Change

Today, Barack Obama gave us the cornerstone to affecting actual change.

If we want our criminal justice system, and American society at large, to operate on a higher ethical code, then we have to model that code ourselves.

Barack Obama

We have discussed the problem ad nauseam. Today is about offering solutions. We are at a crossroads- the public has overwhelmingly signaled that WE WANT CHANGE! The old system of racism and profiling is old news. It’s one thing to desire equality and something else entirely to achieve it. Today, Barack Obama gave us the cornerstone to affecting actual change. Some of us knew this and just needed a reminder. For others, this will be the first time you hear how we move forward AFTER the protests. This will be work- nothing good ever comes easy. After seeing the national and global response to these most recent injustices, I know you are up for it. Let me know how YOU will be actively implementing change in your judiciary.

Sources & Shit

https://medium.com/@BarackObama/how-to-make-this-moment-the-turning-point-for-real-change-9fa209806067

https://medium.com/@Sinister_Silhouettes/simply-being-black-cdbb63d1b084

The Heartbreaking Case of Angie Housman

 

 Remember being a kid?  In Gary, when I was a child, there were no buses that took us to Webster Elementary School.

Daniel Webster Elementary School - Find Alumni, Yearbooks ...
Webster Elementary School, Gary, IN

If parents didn’t drop us off or pick us up, we endured the 15 to 20-minute walk with other children in the neighborhood.  Of course, this was the late 70s early 80s.  We all knew about stranger danger but rarely had to put those lessons into practical use.  Rain, sleet, snow- we dressed for the elements and trudged back and forth to school.  We never even gave a thought to NOT making it home.

42 Years Ago: The Blizzard of '78 - The Scott Winters Blog
Yep- I even walked home in THIS!!

  The complexion of things began to change for us in 1984- but that’s another story for another time.  I’ve been teasing it and I will eventually tell it.  I just wanted to jump in the way back machine and take you with me.  Today’s story starts off like so many.  A normal, mundane afternoon that suddenly turned into the stuff of nightmares. 

   It was November 18, 1993, in St. Ann, Missouri. Angie Housman was nine-years-old.  Like every day, she was excited to get home when she hopped off the bus after school.  She lived about 5 minutes from the bus stop.  Some days, she would run just to get home faster.  Unfortunately for her, she would never make it to her home.  There was a monster lurking, and he was one depraved and lucky son-of-a-bitch. Today we will discuss the heartbreaking case of Angie and how the police never gave up on bringing her killer to justice. 

  Thirty minutes after Angie’s normal arrival time, her mom and step-father began to grow concerned.  It wouldn’t take her this long to get home even if she stopped and chatted with friends or neighbors along the way.  This wouldn’t be completely out of the ordinary-the stopping and talking.  Angie was known as a friendly child who was quick to make new friends.  While this is an admirable trait, could it have also made her vulnerable to potential predators?

DNA evidence cracks case of rape and murder of 9-yr-old girl 25 ...

Just like my neighborhood, there were certain parents that lived close enough to the route children took to and from the bus stop who would serve as lookouts.  They watched the kids and looked out for anyone who didn’t belong in the area.  Two days earlier, a parent had complained to the police about a strange man loitering about.  On this day, as luck would have it, none of those parents were at their usual posts. One was catching up on housework, the other caring for her sick parent.  Angie was definitely on the bus and had gotten off on her usual stop.  It was as though after that she just vanished.  

Once a couple of hours passed with no sign of Angie, her parents, Ron and Diane Bone had sounded the alarm.  The St. Ann police began to search for the second-grader.  They called in help from the St. Louis Major Case Squad and the FBI when they determined that they were likely dealing with an abduction.  These authorities, along with help from the community, began to look for evidence that would lead to her safe return. 

There were appeals to the public and the abductor from the Bones.  It was hoped that the kidnapper would see their tears and spare their child.  Sadly, that would not be the case.  On November 27, 9 days after her disappearance, two deer hunters stumbled upon a horrific sight.  They called in the St. Charles County police about a body found at the August A. Busch Memorial Conservation Area.  Nothing could prepare the officers for what they were about to see.  In fact, I’m finding it very hard to describe the scene to you.  

Man is arrested in the rape and murder of a nine-year-old girl 25 ...
Woods where Angie Housman was located

The child was nude and had duct tape wound around her entire face except for her nose.  Her clothes and winter coat was neatly folded near her, along with her backpack. Her body showed signs of having been sexually abused and tortured by her abductor.  She had been savagely beaten and starved over the week she had been missing.  She was chained to a tree with her hands cuffed behind her back.  The most awful part of this is that she had only been deceased for a matter of hours.  This baby had survived these atrocities- having food and water withheld from her and the horrific sexual and physical abuse- only to die of exposure to the elements.

It goes without saying that this was the worst crime committed against a child in the area.  Parents became extra vigilant over their children.  St. Ann was on high alert.  Then, the unimaginable happened.

Hunt for girl ends in heartache | Law and order | stltoday.com
Newspaper coverage of the Cassidy Senter Case

  On December 9, 1993, the body of 10-year-old Cassidy Senter was found by pedestrians in an alley in Hazelwood, which is very close to St. Ann.  The child was wrapped in two comforters and a pink curtain. Her jacket and sweater were pulled above her chest. Her jeans were pulled down over her ankles, inside out. A sheet was looped around each of her ankles and then tied in the middle to hold the ankles together.  Near her body were distinct tire impressions made by a U-Haul truck.

There was decomposition on the upper portion of her body and at least four tears to the scalp along with multiple fractures in the skull. She had bruises on her chin, right cheek, right shoulder, breast bone, abdomen, each side of her chest wall, and at the base of her neck. Numerous other bruises were found over her body.

The condition of Cassidy’s scalp indicated that she was alive when she received many of her injuries. The physician who performed the autopsy determined that there were at least five blows to her head and that the blows were significant enough to have caused death within half an hour.

In less than one month, two girls, about the same age, were presumably sexually assaulted and murdered.  This made many people question whether there was a serial killer operating in their community.  St. Ann police worked with the Hazelwood authorities to see if these two crimes were connected.

In Feb. 1994, the police in Hazelwood made an arrest in the Cassidy Senter case.  Unlike the Housman case, on December 1, Cassidy had been seen by multiple people after school.  She also had a personal alarm that she carried with her and her neighbor, Michael Goldbeck made sure it was working that day.  She went off to visit with friends.  Later, she stopped at the home of Cassandra Quinn to play with her children.  Quinn’s brother, Thomas Brooks, answered the door. When little Cassidy asked if his nephews were home, he snatched her into the house.  

Once inside, she fell down the steps to the basement which activated her alarm.  Brooks threw it out into the yard. He then asked her to remove her clothes.  Cassidy tried to escape and screamed at the top of her lungs.  When he realized that she wouldn’t be compliant, Brooks beat her about the head and body with a slat from a bed.  

Neighbor charged in killing of Cassidy Senter; suspect has ...
The waste of life that killed Cassidy

It is said that his sister knew the body was in her home.  She didn’t want to know anything about it and told him to dispose of it.  A MOTHER.  That is actually as fucking sick as her pedophile brother, in my opinion.  Neighbors tipped off the police when they noticed a U-Haul backing out of her drive.  Neighbors had also found the baby’s alarm nearby.  In 1994, Brooks was convicted of his crime and sentenced to death.  Unfortunately, this piece of shit checked out early.  He died in prison in 2000.

The police were unable to establish any link between Brooks and the Angie Housman murder.  The evidence just didn’t match. They continued to work the case but even though there were some strange leads, it grew cold.

One of the weird leads came from a teacher at Angie’s school. The day prior to Angie’s disappearance she told this teacher that she was going to visit the countryside with a relative. Even stranger is the reports that soon came in regarding Angie meeting an older gentleman (wanting to start a friendship) and this unidentified perv accepted the offer and told her to call him “Uncle.” This became a huge lead in the case of Angie’s abduction and murder, but the investigation quickly turned dry in relation to this tip.

Another crazy tip was said to come from a boy named “David”.  On Thanksgiving in 1993- two days before Angie’s remains were found- 13-year-old David announced that he had a dream and knew where she would be located.  Then, he went on to predict her location and HOW she’d be found.  This definitely got back to law enforcement and “David” repeated his story.  He was able to lead them to the approximate area where she was found.

The police figured that he knew a little too much for him to not be involved.  They took fingerprints and hair samples from the boy and sent them to the FBI crime lab.  All tests came back negative.  David was quickly dismissed as a person of interest.

Other suspects that were investigated and cleared include:

Bryant Squires who, on his death-bed in 1996, confessed to several murders.  He also implicated a “friend” of his.  His nurses told police that Squires claimed Angie as one of his victims.  Squires never named the friend although he had been known to keep company with Nathan Williams- also a convicted murderer and child molester.  Apparently, it could not have been Williams who was an accomplice because he was serving time in prison at the time of Angie’s murder.  Investigators followed this lead and determined that their evidence didn’t point to Squires.

Also, Texan Gary Stufflebean, became a suspect after he was linked to the sexual abuse and attempted abduction of an 11-year-old girl in Maryland Heights on Nov. 8, 1993. He pleaded guilty in that case.  There was nothing to tie him to Angie.

In  March 1994, John Wayne Parsons, a confessed child molester arrested in Bradenton, Fla.,  had newspaper clippings about Angie’s death in his possession.  Parsons, however, was cleared of the killing.

Another 9-year-old girl was kidnapped and slain in Arlington, Texas, in January 1996. Again, no connection to Angie.

It’s hard to imagine that many creeps were out there then and that even more operate today!  And, how do these pieces of shit find tag team partners?  How do you realize that “Hey- this guy’s just as big a piece of garbage as me!  Did we just become best friends?”

And so it went on, tips came in and were dismissed.  The case grew colder and colder.  The poor Bone family went on with no answers.  One year.  Five years.  A decade.  Two decades.  The evidence of Angie’s gruesome death sat in an evidence locker.  It seemed that despite their hardest work, the investigators continued to come up short. UNTIL-

Yeah- y’all knew there had to be light at the end of the tunnel.  I can’t bring this baby back to life.  The next best thing is reporting on JUSTICE.  In November 2018, sources outside the prosecutor’s office told the media that evidence from the case was being processed in the FBI lab in Quantico, Virginia.  That included DNA from a pea sized sample found in Angie’s panties. 

Well-Remembered St. Louis Area Child Murder Case Appears Solved ...
Law enforcement never gave up

By June 2019, the results came back and revealed that there could only be one person in 58 trillion (about 7 times the population of the entire planet) that contributed the sample.  I still must mention that he has not been convicted of this crime and in the US one is innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.  That said, a one in 58 trillion  DNA match would be all the evidence I’d need. That person is currently sitting in a North Carolina prison for unrelated crimes.  The sadistic fuck had been named- he was Earl Webster Cox.  Sucker.  

How did detectives in Angie Housman case miss a prime suspect ...

According to ksdk.com, Cox was born and raised in St. Louis and joined the Air Force in 1975. Five years later, he was court-martialed and served a sentence at Fort Leavenworth for sex offenses involving young children he babysat while stationed at an Air Force base in Frankfurt, Germany.

Cox was free on parole in 1985, which was revoked in 1992 after he was again arrested and charged with sexual abuse of a child. He left Fort Leavenworth again at the end of 1992 and moved back to the St. Louis area.  Get this- even with his very disturbing history, this guy was NEVER on the authorities radar.  No one would have connected him to the crime.  The worst part is he lived just three blocks away from Angie and her family.  Talk about too close for comfort.

Also, According to court documents, Cox was involved in a child pornography network starting in 1997. While living in Colorado, he was caught in an FBI sting operation where an agent posed as a 14-year-old girl online. He pleaded guilty in 2003 to trying to entice a minor across state lines for sexual activity, and to charges for the 45,000 images of child pornography FBI agents found on his home computer.

Cox has been in federal custody ever since.  Though he had finished serving his sentences by 2011, federal authorities had held onto him, deeming the pedophile as a “sexually dangerous person,” according to court papers quoted by KMOV.

Crime and Capital Punishment Forum
Earl Webster Cox (sucker)

On June 5, 2019, St. Charles County Prosecuting Attorney Tim Lohmar announced charges at a press conference at the St. Charles County Police Department. He was flanked by a dozen or more experts, investigators and scientists who have been involved over the years.  Cox has been charged with first-degree murder, first-degree kidnapping, and sodomy.  It has been stated that there is reason to believe that Cox didn’t act alone.  It makes me wonder if that death bed confession made by Bryant Squires could hold credence. 

Still unknown, for instance, is where Cox kept Angie during her nine days in captivity, and whether he had assistance in concealing her whereabouts.

According to a June 7, 2019, New York Daily News article, Cox could additionally be implicated in at least one other case. He was accused of molesting two 7-year-old girls in 1989, but the charges were dropped.  The prosecutor’s office in St. Louis County is considering new charges against Cox for that case.

After 25 years, little Angie Housman’s killer is finally caught up in the wheels of justice.  May he be torn to pieces.  It is remarkable that the evidence was well-preserved enough to be an integral part of bringing this pervert to justice.  Hopefully, as science and technology continue to advance, more stories like this can be told.  Even more optimistically, maybe knowing that they are a genealogy test away from being apprehended will persuade a would be murderer from committing the act.   Sadly, Angie’s mom did not live long enough to learn the identity of the beast who took her baby away.  She passed away three years ago after fighting cancer.

And that’s the tragic case of Angie Housman.  One of the things I want each member of my audience to do is research just how many sexual predators live in their area.  The results may be staggering.  Let that number make you commit to holding your children and grandchildren close.  Be present and alert- even for simple things like getting off the school bus.  Create an army with other parents.  Force a predator to think twice about operating on your block.

Because a lot of these stories are so tough to get through, I thought it would be different if each week I leave you with something to think about.  It may be pop culture, random musings, quotes from famous people or what have you.  If you want to participate send me anything on social media or to TCbyTB@gmail.com.  I will share responses as they come in.  This week’s something to think about is this:

Google "Friends" Easter Eggs For 25th Anniversary Of Show
Did they even KNOW a black person?

Were there ever any black people on Friends?  It’s hard to believe that there wouldn’t be. I really wasn’t a fan because we had “Living Single” which was Friends only before Friends, but I digress.  I just don’t recall there being any black folks where they lived.  In the early 2000s.  Like none.  Or I could be all wrong, so Friends fans- straighten me out.  I promise I won’t just Google the answer.

On that note- please don’t forget to subscribe on your favorite podcatcher.  I also need some new reviews on Apple Podcasts. Lastly, share the show with a friend.  Or if you hate the show, share it with an enemy.  Just share it okay?  Thanks for hanging out, and until next week- stay the hell outta the shadows.

Sources & Shit

https://www.nydailynews.com/news/crime/ny-dna-evidence-angie-housman-cold-case-solved-st-louis-20190607-3j7pe4c7njezfmdiu6k7fgoimq-story.html

https://www.kmov.com/news/man-charged-in-cold-case-murder-of-angie-housman/article_6175b7fa-87cc-11e9-8a00-375e8c6e93f7.html

http://outline.com/y3xWtP

https://www.newspapers.com/clip/29869751/dream-about-angie-housman/

https://murderpedia.org/male.B/b/brooks-thomas.htm

https://www.riverfronttimes.com/newsblog/2019/06/05/earl-webster-cox-charged-in-angie-housmans-killing

https://www.stltoday.com/news/local/lead-surfaces-in-housman-killing-deathbed-confession-to-nurse-could/article_53b0f8d4-0dd8-59f4-b2b1-be6d2c283cbc.html

https://www.ksdk.com/article/news/timeline-of-the-angie-housman-case/63-4f940487-9ab2-4bec-bebd-409220bba0bc

That Time Aretha Franklin Wasn’t Aretha Franklin

Q: When was Aretha Franklin NOT Aretha Franklin?
A: When she was Vickie Jones!

Music. It soothes the soul and tames the savage beast.  Tell me if you’ve ever been in the funkiest of funky moods until “your jam” came on. Can I get a witness? Or if you have ever felt as if your life and the life of your favorite artist (through their music) somehow ran parallel? Please don’t mistake what I’m talking about with stalking and being delusional, I mean do you sometimes FEEL the sentiment coming through the song?  For me, one such artist is Mary J. Blige.  We are just about the same age.

Tiny Harris Goes Crazy Over Photo Of Mary J Blige In A Revealing ...
My “she-ro”- Mary J Blige

  After gaining some popularity, she began to hit fame’s rough patches.  This was right around the time I was rising like a phoenix from some of the nonsense that I had been through.  I couldn’t help but root for Mary because in a way it was like I was rooting on myself.  She turned the corner on a lot of her issues in the early 2000’s- right about the time I was getting up on my feet.  I matured with Mary.  We were alike in many, many ways, except I can’t sing a lick!

Well, today’s story is kind of similar to that feeling of familiarity with a rising star.  Set in the 1960s, the journey begins at a time of civil unrest in the United States.  The Black population, mostly descendants of slaves, continued to face persecution and discrimination.  A lot has been overcome since then, although we still have quite a bit of work to do.  But this is a story of a people rising above inequality by any means necessary.  This is about women using their God-given talent as a means to bring the nation together.  It’s about kidnapping.  It’s about fraud.  And it’s about redemption.  Spoiler alert- nobody dies but one woman learns what it means to live.

In 1967, we found two 27-year-old women on separate trajectories in life. Both became mothers at a very young age. Both married young and experienced violence at the hands of their husbands.  Both were brought up in the Baptist church.  And both had AMAZING singing voices.  The similarities kind of end there, because one of these women was Aretha Franklin.  This year, with her Baptist minister father’s full support, Aretha would make the jump to secular music.  By 1969, she was a world-renowned artist, sold millions of records, and had already won four Grammys.

The Counterfeit Queen of Soul | Arts & Culture | Smithsonian Magazine
Aretha Franklin in her younger days

  The subject of our story is the OTHER woman, Mary Jane Jones.  I gave you the cliff notes version of Mary Jane’s life story but now I’ll fill in some blanks.  She got married at 19 and soon after had a son.  This wasn’t the abusive situation- in fact, it may have been a fairytale life for Mary had her husband not passed away.  After life handed her this enormous heartache, she soon married again.  This wouldn’t be a fairytale either- her new husband was a raging alcoholic with whom she had three more children.  Eventually, Mary Jane and her children escaped their abuser leaving her to care and provide for the kids on her own.  

Mary had less than a high school education and finding work to support her family didn’t come easily.  But, she was a woman of faith.  Raised to use her dynamic voice to praise God, for six years she was able to tour with her church choir, led by the Reverend Billie Lee.  She and her children survived on government assistance and donations the choir received while traveling.

It became obvious that she would have to supplement her income somehow.  She began performing Motown hits in local nightclubs under the stage name “Vickie Jones”.  For each night, she received $10. That’s equivalent to about $80 per day in 2020. That is just about twice the amount United States citizens received as coronavirus relief aid recently.  Once.  Wasn’t much then and it’s not much now.  But it was something and last Mary checked, something was better than nothing.  

Mary Jane had to use the stage name so she wouldn’t jeopardize her standing with the church.  Those Motown hits were considered the devil’s music.  It was thought that the money and fame that came along with secular music was a satanic payoff to get people to turn their backs on God.  She also disguised herself with wigs and heavy makeup as part of her onstage persona.  

Her favorite artist at the time was Aretha Franklin.  They were the same age, and like I previously described, their life-stories were similar.  Mary Jane scoured the pages of popular Black magazines like Ebony and Jet to learn the trending fashion, makeup, and entertainment news.

1967 - Jet magazine's most iconic covers - Pictures - CBS News
Aretha on Jet Magazine Cover, Feb. 1967

  It was in these magazines that she got an up-close and personal look at Aretha.  She would recreate the various looks for her performances.  Mary Jane would also open and close her set with Aretha’s hits.  It has been said that Mary Jane indeed sounded remarkably similar to Aretha.

In the 1960s, very few people had the opportunity to see the hitmakers in full color.  Most homes still had old black & white televisions that were far from high definition.  When Mary Jane would appear at the Pink Garter nightclub, the audience would be just drunk enough to mistake her for Aretha.  Nobody sang that mix of blues and gospel like Aretha- except maybe Mary Jane.  

At the Pink Garter, Mary Jane performed alongside a James Brown impersonator named Lavell Hardy.  Hardy made $200 a night with his act.  He was awestruck by Mary Jane’s performances even stating, “She’s identical from head-to-toe. She’s got the complexion. She’s got the looks. She’s got the height. She’s got the tears. She’s got everything.”

The Counterfeit Queen of Soul | Arts & Culture | Smithsonian Magazine

After following her act at several nightclubs, Lavell asked Mary Jane to tour with him in Florida.  Mary Jane refused.  She had children to care for and, furthermore, couldn’t afford a bus ticket.  Then Lavell held out his carrot- she would be opening for Aretha Franklin and would be paid $1000 for 6 shows.  That’s equal to about $7200 in 2020.  Needless to say, Mary Jane made arrangements for her mother to take care of her kids and borrowed money from anyone she could for a ticket to Florida.  That salary would change her family’s life and she would be able to meet her musical inspiration, Aretha. She left Mary Jane behind.  When she boarded that bus she was Vickie.

After hours of travel, Vickie arrived at the venue in Melbourne, Florida.  Marquees announced “Aretha Franklin Performing Tonight”.  When she met with Lavell, wondering when she could see Aretha, he dropped a nuclear-sized bomb on her.  SHE was Aretha.  He had tricked her into coming all this way to IMPERSONATE Aretha Franklin. 

Vickie was shocked and understandably pissed that she had been lured away from her family under false pretenses.  She refused to perform.  Lavell reminded her that she was miles away from home.  He also threatened to feed her to the gators if she didn’t cooperate.  Vickie would sing as if her life depended on it because it did.

Because of the times, the ruse worked!  Vickie sounded so much like Aretha Franklin that, to concert attendees who had never seen her in person, no one doubted their ears.  Fake Aretha would finish her sets and rush offstage to her dressing room.  Then, it was likely off to the next city to do it all over again.  

Between shows, Vickie was locked in hotel rooms.  She was fed two hamburgers a day.  In the meantime, Lavell Hardy was booking more shows.  She was held there, far away from her family, against her will.  Even in the 60s, Florida was still Florida.  She didn’t dare call the police for help.  Just a few months earlier, Florida police had shot and killed three Black residents when a rally turned into a riot.  Some things never change.

Lavell booked a 1400 seat venue in Fort Myers called the High Hat Room.  The show sold out quickly, even with tickets costing $5.50 a pop (equal to about 40 bucks in today’s money).  This was too many people to fool- Vickie wanted to tell the truth, but Lavell continued to threaten her into silence.  The packed house saw Fake Aretha and some felt like something wasn’t right.  There was something about the look.  But when the band started and Vickie belted out “Since You’ve Been Gone” the audience shook away all doubt.  That HAD to be Ms. Franklin!

This was Vickie’s dream.  To sing in front of a packed house of adoring fans.  But she realized that this was a counterfeit version.  These people weren’t there to see Vickie Jones, they were there to see Aretha Franklin.  This wasn’t HER dream. It was Aretha’s- and here she was stealing it from her.

It could have been Stockholm Syndrome that kept Vickie cooperating city after city.  She may have subconsciously enjoyed being the center of attention.  It didn’t matter much, because soon the jig was going to be up.  See, while Fake Aretha was touring Florida, Real Aretha was heading there to wait out her divorce from her abuser, Ted White.  While there she received some much-needed therapy and even booked a few shows.  In today’s internet age, Lavell would have known that Real Aretha was heading their way.  He may have been able to get a head start out of Florida.  Twitter and Instagram were nearly 40 years away, though.  Lavell had booked a 4200 seat venue for “Aretha Franklin” while the real Aretha was booking her own concert in Florida.

Just like all the shows prior to this one, the one in Ocala, Florida sold out.  This was the biggest venue yet.  I’m sure Lavell was licking his chops, thinking of the huge payday he’d receive at the end of the night.  I say that “he’d” receive because Vickie didn’t get one dime of the money that was swindled from unsuspecting audiences.  Lavell figured that if he gave her money she may attempt to get back to Virginia- back to her kids.  So, he didn’t give her anything but two hamburgers a day and enough threats to keep her compliant.

What Lavell didn’t count on was Aretha’s team getting word that “she” would be performing in Ocala.  Her attorneys reached out to authorities, some of whom had tickets to that evening’s show.  When “Fake Aretha” and her small entourage arrived at  Southeastern Livestock Pavilion they were greeted not by legions of fans but by police, who quickly took the pair into custody.

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The jig is up!

The world was finding out about the fraud these people had perpetrated in the name of Aretha Franklin.  To be honest, I’m not sure how they pulled it off for so long.  Vickie didn’t look enough like Aretha to fool all these people.  SOMEBODY had to know that she was fake- but money talks, right?  Lavell was trying to fast talk his way out of ending up in prison.  He didn’t see what the big deal was.  Vickie didn’t tarnish Aretha’s reputation- she actually represented Re-Re well! 

While Lavell attempted to con the authorities, Vickie was singing a different song.  She had no money, so she couldn’t hire an attorney.  She pleaded her case with the prosecutor of Marion County, Gus Musleh.  She told him of the threats, of being locked in those grimy hotel rooms, and of those god-awful hamburgers.  She didn’t want to pretend to be Aretha Franklin- she loved Aretha!  She only wanted to get back home to her family.  

Lavell had $7000 on his person at the time of his arrest.  He hired an attorney who assured Gus Musleh that Lavell had learned his lesson.  See, this attorney took Lavell for every cent he had.  The courts let him go under the condition that he get the fuck out of Florida. 

Gus now had to figure out what to do with Vickie.  He listened to her story about basically being kidnapped.  The lady didn’t have any cash, unlike her “manager”- and I use that term very loosely.  She had no way to get back to her children in Virginia.  Still, he wanted to know how she fooled so many people.

The Counterfeit Queen of Soul | Arts & Culture | Smithsonian Magazine
Mary Jane Jones aka Vickie Jones aka Fake Aretha

Gus asked her to sing right there in his office. And sing she did.  She felt as if she were singing for her freedom, and her voice reverberated through the courthouse.  Everyone within earshot was mesmerized by her song.  And Gus let her go.  He was 100% convinced that the voice he heard was Aretha Franklin’s even though he KNEW it wasn’t.  

Aretha herself held no ill will towards Vickie.  She wanted Lavell to pay for forcing this young woman, so much like herself, to participate in the charade.  This didn’t happen in the court of law, but Lavell was now seen as just a washed up James Brown impersonator.  Just like that his career was over.

When Vickie left the courtroom, there were throngs of people waiting for her on the courthouse lawn.  Among them was Ray Green- a white guy- who was an attorney and entrepreneur.  He signed her on the spot and gave her $500 to get back home to West Petersburg.  Vickie was soon reunited with her family having survived her ordeal.

Oh, yeah- I promised fraud, kidnapping, and redemption.  There was redemption.  See, Vickie went on to tour various cities, singing for huge crowds that were there to see HER.  She was accompanied by Duke Ellington and his band.  There’s even a picture of her and Duke on the cover of Jet Magazine. 

The Counterfeit Queen of Soul | Arts & Culture | Smithsonian Magazine

She once admired the style and beauty of Aretha Franklin on its pages, now she was on the cover!  She traveled on planes instead of buses.  She ate steak instead of hamburgers,  She even had her own impersonator who was quickly caught.  Just like Aretha, she forgave the young singer.

She was able to send thousands of dollars back to her family.  Unfortunately, her mother had sent her children to their father when she became unable to care for them any longer.  He hadn’t changed one bit.  He told the kids that their mama wasn’t coming back for them.  Once Vickie found out what he had been filling their heads with, she left the limelight.  She wanted to rescue her babies.

This time, she left Vickie Jones behind.  She returned to West Petersburg as Mary Jane Jones, mother of four.  She had the memories and the stories- good and bad- and no one could ever take that away from her.

That’s it, that’s all for That Time Aretha Franklin Wasn’t Aretha Franklin.  Please- let me know what you thought about today’s episode. I’m dying to hear from you!  You can send me an email at tcbytb@gmail.com! You know I’m tcbytb on all of the things including the website, tcbytb.com.  I’m looking for art- do I have any artists out there?  If so, sketch me a pic.  I’d love to see what you come up with and I may feature it on a t-shirt or coffee cup.  As always, rate and review the show on Apple Podcasts- those reviews really help the podcast  get discovered and they make the host feel good!  Next episode we’ll get back to murder and mayhem so get your minds right.  I thank you all for hanging out with me and until next week- stay outta the shadows.  Peace.

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