In real criminal cases, 99 times out of 100, the perpetrator is the husband, or it's a robbery gone wrong, or else it's the crazy guy outside shouting, "I did it! And it was hilarious! BELIEVE ME, DAMN YOU." It's almost never the last person you expect. That only happens in the movies. But every once in a while, a real crime will have a twist so weird and unexpected that M. Night Shyamalan skips Viagra for the night. We're talking about ...
On August 3, 2017, a neighbor found the bodies of two Frenchmen, 69-year-old Lucien Perot and 38-year-old Olivier Boudin, who seemed to have died during a lavish dinner. At first, the Authon-du-Perche police assumed that they had died from food poisoning. But when testing by the famous Pasteur Institute in Paris concluded that the meal didn't contain any botulism, a mysterious murder was suddenly on the table (next to the baguette).
But who had killed these men? And how? The police found no signs of struggle, and the two men "hadn't any enemies and led simple lives," said one neighbor. "They were certainly not the sort of people to be picked off by the mafia." The mysterious case gripped the nation, but curiosity quickly turned depressing when doctors finally determined the real cause of death.
Perot had literally bit off more than he could chew -- he choked to death on a 1.5 oz chunk of beef steak. This could've been prevented by the younger Boudin, but he was a bit busy dying of a heart attack triggered by the sight of his lifelong friend being slowly strangled by a bit of cow. When the news was revealed, locals were heartbroken by such a "stupid death," but being French, they did respect the overwrought metaphor for the fleeting pointlessness of man.
On a dark September evening in 2008, 68-year-old Agnes Westlund was bludgeoned to death near a forest lake outside the tiny Swedish village of Loftahammer. Her death was called in by her husband, Ingemar, who claimed he had found her in the snow. When police arrived, they immediately arrested Ingemar. There wasn't another person around for miles; it was either him or a shifty moose. As it turned out, they chose wrong.
With no hard evidence to tie him to the killing, Ingemar was released after ten days. But because there was no one else to consider, he remained their prime suspect for months on end. He had to move out of his home when his neighbors made it clear they weren't keen on living next to a presumed murderer. But when Agnes' forensic analysis finally came back, the report noted that she had the hair and saliva of a European elk (or moose) on her body. Yes, analysts determined that poor Agnes had been randomly kicked to death by a moose during her evening walk.
And probably a drunk one.
In general, moose are shy creatures and avoid humans at all cost. But at the time of Agneta's death, local gardens were strewn with fermented apples -- enough to let even a moose-sized critter party harder than Axl Rose. Sadly, this makes the bulls aggressive and overly confident, and one probably attacked Agnes out of sheer soused stupor. The case was dropped by the police, but not by Ingemar, who understandably sued the department for gross incompetence.
To this day, the moose remains at large.
Police Lieutenant Charles Joseph "G.I. Joe" Gliniewicz was one month away from retirement, so you probably know where this is going. On a routine patrol near Fox Lake, Illinois, Gliniewicz radioed for backup, stating that he was in hot pursuit of three suspicious unidentified men. When backup arrived, they heard a gunshot in the woods and found Gliniewicz lying dead on the ground. He had been shot twice, once in his bulletproof vest, once in his head. Instead of enjoying his well-earned retirement, the officer was buried with full honors, with an 18-mile funeral procession in tow. The town mourned the death of a local hero. But they soon found out that everything they knew about Gliniewicz was a lie.
The FBI investigated Gliniewicz's death, and soon realized his personal life was all manners of shady. His personnel file alluded to several severe acts of misconduct, and there was a lot of talk on his Facebook page about an upcoming audit that had him scared senseless. Meanwhile, his cellphone records showed him milling around the scene of the chase for half an hour before he called for backup, and forensic evidence showed that the two shots came from a surprisingly close distance. About arm length, in fact.
It didn't take long for the feds to complete the puzzle: G.I. had in fact been embezzling money out of a police youth program for years. The audit was about to reveal his dirty deeds, so he tried to hire a gang member to kill the local official about to expose him (as one does). When that fell through, Gliniewicz, who had a lot of experience staging crime scenes, decided to commit suicide in a way that would look like he'd been killed by some criminal scumbag. And ironically, that is now exactly how the people of Fox Lake remember him.
The Whitakers of Sugar Land, Texas were a happy upper-middle-class family -- the kind all the neighbors were secretly jealous of. In December 2003, Kent and Tricia's oldest son, Bart, announced he had finally graduated from Sam Houston State University. The whole family went out for a celebratory dinner. When they got back home after a night of wholesome fun, Bart stayed in the car looking for his missing phone while his parents and brother Kevin went on inside, where they were brutally gunned down by an armed robber. While Kevin and Tricia were killed, Kent was only wounded. He watched as Bart, the last Whitaker standing, rushed into the house to drive away the killer, getting a bullet in the arm for his effort.
But things weren't as Bruce Wayne as they seemed. The cops found some very suspicious evidence, like how nothing had been stolen except for Bart's phone. And how Bart hadn't actually graduated, or even attended the university he'd said. And also how one of Bart's friends called them to say that Bart had tried to hire him to murder his family and make it look like a botched robbery. Very suspicious indeed.
That buddy had politely turned down the offer, but police soon found two who hadn't: Greg Brashear and neighbor Steven Champagne, who not only panicked and confessed to the whole deal, but also pointed authorities to where they'd hidden Bart's very incriminating cellphone. Not that Bart was worried about being arrested; he had already skipped the country a year prior to go live in Mexico under the name Rudy Rios. Despite his best efforts, Bart/Rudy was eventually arrested in Mexico. Two years later, the unrepentant mastermind was sentenced to death.
But there was one person still in Bart's corner: Kent Whittaker, of all people. Kent not only campaigned for his son's freedom, telling the state he would be "victimized again if the state put to death his last remaining immediate family member," but he even wrote a book about his experience whose dedication read "My son, I love you. All is forgiven." Because of his empathetic campaigning, Bart's sentence was commuted to life in prison ... mere minutes before his lethal injection was to take place.
In 2016, Angela Diaz was living the good life. She had recently married the love of her life, U.S. Marshal Ian Diaz, and was pregnant with healthy twins. But then things took a turn. Diaz received horrific emails full of biblical threats and disturbing photos of dead babies. She even informed the police that strangers were surrounding her house, threatening to rape her. It was soon discovered that some psycho stalker was pretending to be Angela while replying to rape fantasy ads on Craigslist. One of the more chatty correspondents later told cops that he and the rest of the perverts had been given her address, her dog walking routes, and were told to go on with the raping even if she resisted. Then the police found Diaz in an alley with bruises on her head. She said she'd just fended off someone who'd tried to assault her.
Fortunately, the cops didn't have to look far for a suspect. Diaz told them she was 100 percent sure that this dangerous monster was none other than Michelle Hadley, the fairly recent ex-fiancee of her hubby. And Hadley did have plenty of motive. Not only had Diaz stolen her fiancee the day she met him, but the newlyweds had moved into the condo Hadley and Ian bought for themselves -- something she had openly fought them over. So when police arrested the ex, it seemed like an open and shut case. Until they finally traced the IP addresses and found that those deranged emails sent to Angela Diaz were, in fact, sent by Angela Diaz. So were the rapists.
As it turns out, Diaz was a pathological liar. She had organized her own rape attempts just to get her rival thrown in jail forever. She also lied about her family and where she worked -- even her pregnancy was a total fake. She had bought fake sonograms on Etsy to show Ian and his parents. And here's the real kicker: Angela was planning to sell her Gone Girl brand of insanity as a Lifetime TV movie, which she had titled A Darkness Within: The Angela Diaz Story. (To her credit, it is pretty twisted.)
After raiding her computer, the police arrested Diaz and exonerated Hadley, who had spent 88 days in a cell by that point. Diaz was sentenced to five years imprisonment after pleading guilty to one hell of a rap sheet, including but not limited to perjury, grand theft, two counts of kidnapping (by cop), and two counts of false imprisonment (by cop).
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For as much as people love them, the 'Star Wars' movies have gotten rather awkward from time to time.
Bawitdaba, pass the green beans.
Going for that 16th minute.