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PERSONALITY PLUS:
A Montana district judge ruled in January that for a homicide suspect with apparent multiple personalities, exercise of a Miranda right by one of them carries over to all the others. Tessa Haley lawyered up when police sought to question her about the stabbing death of her roommate, and though police questioning ceased, Haley transformed into "Martha" and spontaneously confessed to the crime, according to officers. Judge Thomas Honzel ruled that Martha's statements could not be used against Haley (although Haley is still free under existing law to argue that she is not responsible for Martha's crime).

DUM-DUM:
Michael Brown, 33, was arrested in Marked Tree, Ark., in January and charged with burglarizing the lobby of the Marked Tree Bank after security cameras caught him hauling away a clock radio, a CD player and a handful of Dum-Dum suckers, which the bank has on hand for customers' children. The next morning, according to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, police followed a trail of Dum-Dum wrappers down Frisco Street, across the railroad tracks, and into the mobile home park where Brown lives.

SCIENTISTS DISCOVER BEER GOGGLES:
A study by psychology professor Barry Jones (Glasgow University) found that men and women who have had three beers perceive people of the opposite sex as 25 percent more attractive than they did before they started drinking (August).

PEOPLE'S LIMITATIONS:
The Boston Globe profiled homeless philosopher Donald Keaney, 61, in December, describing his Walden-like existence in the woods near Brookline, Mass. Keaney lives under a plastic tarp, warmed by several heavy blankets, but the rest of his possessions consist of about 10 years' worth of newspapers (New York Times, New York Daily News, New York Post, Wall Street Journal, Investors Business Daily, Boston Globe and Boston Herald) that are methodically filed and sealed in plastic bags and strewn around the ground as if they were chairs and tables. Keaney, a political conservative, also attends protests, lectures and concerts, and, by the way, has long been the beneficiary of a trust fund which he has chosen so far to ignore. "Living in the woods, you can see life is very tragic," he told the Globe. "I don't know if I'm a misanthrope, but [people] have a lot of limitations."

UNCLEAR ON THE CONCEPT:
Police in New Britain, Conn., confiscated a 50-foot-long pile of stolen items in November, the result of a ritual scavenger hunt of the Canettes, New Britain High School's all-girl marching band drill team. According to The Hartford Courant, police, parents and school personnel were flabbergasted that 42 normally law-abiding girls could steal so many items in a single evening, but the girls apparently sincerely had a hard time believing that they had done anything wrong. Said one girl, who helped pull a mailbox out of the ground: "I just thought it was a custom ... kind of like a camaraderie thing (and) if the seniors said it was OK and they were in charge, then it was OK."

I KID YOU NOT:
Florida, after a 4-3 decision of the state Supreme Court in January, became the latest state to rule that a man who initially agrees to pay child support until age 21 cannot shed that obligation just because he subsequently proves by DNA testing that he could not be the kid's father. Cathy Anderson had told police officer Michael Anderson twice that she was sure the kid was his, after which he agreed to pay $8,000 a year in support, but after the DNA test, he claimed that her assurance constituted "fraud," a claim that the Supreme Court thus rejected.

ALSO, IN THE LAST MONTH ... :
Officials in Rankin Inlet, on the north shore of Hudson Bay in Canada's Northwest Territories, began installation of an artificial ice rink because rising temperatures in the last three decades have reduced hockey season from nine months to five. And a female murder victim was identified (even though her body had been dismembered) when the coroner checked the serial numbers on her breast implants (Nottinghamshire, England). And the town council of Bend, Ore., formally prohibited spit- ting and defecating on its transit buses, as well as riders who emanate "a grossly repulsive odor."

2003 CHUCK SHEPHERD

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