CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
August 26, 2013 |
A federal judge Monday approved the release of videotaped testimony by President Ford, later used in the trial of Lynette Alice "Squeaky" Fromme, who tried to assassinate him in Sacramento 37 years ago. Portions of the 20 minutes of testimony taken in Washington in 1975 were played for jurors during Fromme's trial. The Sacramento Bee obtained a copy of the tape Monday. In his testimony, Ford calmly described seeing a woman in a bright red dress at Capitol Park in Sacramento and thinking she was drawing near to shake his hand.
August 9, 2013 |
Early in Jeff Guinn's "Manson: The Life and Times of Charles Manson," the first full biography of the infamous mass killer, there's a moment of unexpected and discomforting empathy. It's 1939, and Manson - 5 years old, living with relatives in West Virginia while his mother is in state prison for armed robbery - has embarrassed himself by crying in a first-grade class. To toughen him up, his uncle takes one of his daughter's dresses and orders the boy to wear it to school. "Maybe his mother and Uncle Luther were bad influences," Guinn writes, "but Charlie could benefit from Uncle Bill's intercession.
July 18, 2013 |
I didn't know much about the bizarre U.S. market in "murderabilia" until I became an unwitting part of it. But I now know more than I'd like to about the buying and selling of souvenirs linked to gruesome murders. My encounter with the market came after a copy of my book, "Lost Girls," which chronicles the rape and murder of San Diego-area teenagers Chelsea King and Amber Dubois, showed up on a website fittingly called darkvomit.com. It was autographed by the murderer. On the page opposite my dedication to his two victims, sexual predator John Gardner had written: "I'm sorry for all the pain that I have caused," and signed his name.
June 10, 2013 |
The cases of two convicted murderers, within the space of 48 hours, made it clear that California's handling of capital cases may need a wee bit of tweaking. On Friday, death row inmate Richard Ramirez died. He was the notorious "Night Stalker," convicted of killing 13 people and trying to kill five others and of 11 counts of sexual assault. He had spent more than half his life behind bars, mostly on death row; he died in a hospital bed in Marin County. In November, Proposition 34 on the California ballot would have abolished the death penalty.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
June 5, 2013 |
Convicted murderer Leslie Van Houten will ask a state parole board Wednesday for the 19th time to be released from prison for her role in the Charles Manson murders. Van Houten, 63, was convicted of murder and conspiracy in the 1969 killings of Leno and Rosemary LaBianca in their home in Los Feliz. She has repeatedly been denied bids for parole over the last four decades. The hearing is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. Wednesday at the California Institution for Women in Chino.
June 2, 2013 |
Summer is my favorite season - always has been. Partly, it's the light: slow and thick, like a glaze of honey spread across the world. Partly, it's the heat, which I feel in my joints, making me imagine I was loose-limbed again. But more than anything, it's the feeling of space, of the moment expanding, the faith that, during these three months, I might do anything. That's an adolescent's faith, to be sure, but it has lingered, as if there might be (to borrow a phrase from a favorite episode of "The Twilight Zone")