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kottke.org posts about murder

Political intrigue in Guatemala

posted by Jason Kottke   Apr 04, 2011

A fascinating story by David Grann in the New Yorker about a pair of political assassinations in Guatemala that aren’t what they first seemed.

As Rosenberg dug deeper into the subterranean world of Guatemalan politics, he told friends that he had begun receiving threats himself. One day, Mendizábal says, Rosenberg gave him a phone number to write down — it was the number that showed up on his caller I.D. when he received the threats.

Rosenberg told friends that his apartment was under surveillance, and that he was being followed. “Whenever he got into the car, he was looking over his shoulder,” his son Eduardo recalled. From his apartment window, Rosenberg could look across the street and see an office where Gustavo Alejos, President Colom’s private secretary, often worked. Rosenberg told Mendizábal that Alejos had called him and warned him to stop investigating the Musas’ murders, or else the same thing might happen to him. Speaking to Musa’s business manager, Rosenberg said of the powerful people he was investigating, “They are going to kill me.” He had a will drawn up.

Anything by Grann is becoming a must-read at this point. (via someone on Twitter, I forget who (sorry!))

The dark side of Marvin Harrison

posted by Jason Kottke   Jan 15, 2010

Did former Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Marvin Harrison shoot a North Philly drug dealer and later have him murdered?

The cops also thought it was wrong to drop the case just because a piece-of-shit famous person might be guilty of shooting a piece-of-shit unfamous person in a piece-of-shit part of the city. If prosecutors required every witness to have a pristine record, one detective says, “most of the cases in the city wouldn’t be solved.” None of the cops doubted for a second that if Harrison was a plumber or a UPS driver instead of a famous athlete, he’d have long since been arrested.

Convincing a death-row murderer not to die

posted by Jason Kottke   Jan 14, 2010

I was drawn into Longo’s life through the most improbable of circumstances — after the murders, while on the lam in Mexico, he took on my identity, even though we’d never met. Starting from this bizarre connection, using charm and guile and a steady stoking of my journalist’s natural curiosity (he was innocent, he was framed, he had proof, he would show me), he soon became deeply enmeshed in my own life. In the first year, we exchanged more than a thousand pages of handwritten letters. I wrote a book about him.

After I started a family of my own, I didn’t communicate with Longo anymore. But I was not disentangled from him. I remained haunted by Longo, by what he’d done; nearly every day, as I held my own kids, images of his crime — a child locked in a suitcase, or falling from a bridge, or fighting for air — would flit through my mind and I’d flinch, as if I’d brushed against a hot burner on the stove.

This a brutal read, fascinating in places (especially the economics of death row part) but I have a hard time wrapping my head around what this guy did and how he feels about it.

Rest in peace?

posted by Jason Kottke   Jan 04, 2010

This episode of This American Life about murder will put you in a weird mood. For instance, you might find yourself about to cry in the dairy aisle at the supermarket (not that such a thing happened to me, nosirreebob).

Act Two. The Good Son. - A story about a mother who wants to commit suicide and a son who dutifully helps her do it-even though his mother is a happy, healthy, independent person. How did they manage to pull it off? Practice, practice, practice.

Jonestown: The Life and Death of Peoples Temple

posted by Jason Kottke   Apr 12, 2007

Even though I wasn’t that familiar with the whole Jim Jones/Jonestown story, I felt like they rushed through the early parts of the story…might have worked better at 2 hours than at 90 minutes. The ending is great, a well-paced mix of personal narrative, photography, audio, and video from the last fateful day of over 900 people. After the movie ended, I was trying to imagine what would happen if Jonestown (or to a lesser extent, the Branch Davidian thing or Heaven’s Gate) occurred today. Religious cult leader brainwashes all these people and then kills 900 of them in the South American jungle, including a United States Congressman? CNN, et. al. would got nuts for a start…I don’t know if 72 pt. type on their homepage would be enough. The blogosphere would probably go supernova as well.

The American Experience site has more information about Jones and the film. Check your local listings as well…you might be able to catch the film on PBS sometime in the next week or so.

After a couple of surprising losses in

posted by Jason Kottke   Mar 26, 2007

After a couple of surprising losses in the Cricket World Cup, the coach of the perennially mighty Pakistani national team turned up dead. It’s feared he was murdered.

Because of his open source programming connection,

posted by Jason Kottke   Oct 15, 2006

Because of his open source programming connection, Hans Reiser’s arrest for his wife’s murder was big news in that community. After his wife disappeared, Reiser bought 2 books on murder, including David Simon’s Homicide. Simon is the creator of The Wire.

Blog of Joseph Duncan, who’s being held

posted by Jason Kottke   Jul 04, 2005

Blog of Joseph Duncan, who’s being held for murder and kidnapping in Idaho. “My intent is to harm society as much as I can, then die.”

Four nuns and a priest from Romania

posted by Jason Kottke   Jun 20, 2005

Four nuns and a priest from Romania face murder charges after crucifying another nun. I think it was probably all the violent TV and video games they were exposed to.