Whaaaat True Crime Story Epilogues
Not every true crime story gets a happy ending, which makes it extra satisfying when the culprit is quickly caught, found guilty and sent to rot in prison. But just because the case is closed and the prison bars are shut, doesn't mean that the wild ride is over. For example ...
The Unabomber, Oklahoma City Bomber, and World Trade Center Bomber Became Friends In Prison
USP Florence ADMAX in Colorado is one of the highest-security facilities in the world. A supermax-max (max squared if you will), its 7-by-12-foot cells have housed some of the biggest baddies in modern American history including John Walker Lindh, El Chapo, half a dozen members of Al Qaeda, and other assorted terrorists. It's a real Arkham Asylum for America's rogue gallery -- so it was only a matter of time before these villains started teaming up.
ADX Florence puts inmates in solitary for almost 23 hours a day. Each unit does get ten hours a week of "exercise" where the inmates are put into adjoining mesh cages in the yard to stretch their legs, see each other's faces and remember what the sun looks like. Which is how one day The Unabomber (Ted Kaczynski), the Oklahoma City bomber (Timothy McVeigh), and one of the 1993 World Trade Center bombers (Ramzi Yousef) found themselves to be mesh cage neighbors in a unit that the guards called "Bombers Row."
It didn't take long for the trio of terrorist bombers to start talking and realize that, hey, they had a lot in common. Movies, mostly, but inside their little tick-tick-tick clique, Kaczynski and Yousef would also chat about language, McVeigh and Yousef discussed politics, and the two Americans loved to talk about survivalism and how crap the media had become. And when the heavy doors again closed on their cells, these bomb buddies would simply scream through concrete walls at each other to continue the conversation.
Eventually, the three terror amigos became four when Luis "King Blood" Felipe, mob boss of the dreaded Latin Kings, moved into their supermax and bonded with them through the ancient rite of swapping porn. But since Felipe's prison deal had come with a very specific "you will die alone and friendless" clause, he actually had to sue the prison and get permission from a federal judge to be allowed to talk to his BBFs (Best Bomber Friends). But this Legion of Doom never took total control of the facility and then the world. Instead, they just talked about TV shows until the gang was broken up in 2001 when, like the end of any sleepaway camp friendship, McVeigh was given a lethal injection.
That Crazy German Dinner Cannibal Became A Vegetarian
Every good scholar of modern monster tales (or anyone who has ever listened to a podcast) knows the story of Armin Meiwes. As we detailed previously, the German cannibal put out an ad online looking for a man willing to be eaten out and not as a sex thing -- well, not just as a sex thing. Fellow cannibal Bernd Brandes answered the ad with the agreement for them to both dine on his penis. However, Meiwes then slit his throat, videotaped himself butchering his guest, and dined on the rest of him over the course of a year.
At the trial, several psychologists testified that Meiwes was an unrelenting cannibal psycho who continued to fantasize about killing and eating people. As a danger to penises everywhere, he was sentenced to life without parole in 2006. And it'd be logical to assume that, once inside, Meiwes would start slicing off faces and needed to be carted around like a psycho mummy. But instead, he came to a profound realization: eating people is really, really gross.
And his epiphany wasn't just restricted to not devouring dudes' dicks. Reading about factory farming disgusted the human cannibal so much that Meiwes decided to swear off eating meat entirely. But unlike what he used to enjoy as an appetizer, the cannibal wasn't just interested in a toe dip. Meiwes went all-in on his new humane persona, eventually becoming the leader of the his maximum-security facility's environmental party and worked on a book, Conversations With A Cannibal, in which he offered the message to all would-be cannibals to seek mental help before frying up each other's penises with garlic and pepper. And like a hippy Hannibal Lecter, Meiwes now also helps the police when they investigate other cannibal cases. At least he can still eat fava beans.
The Kitty Genovese Murderer Escaped By Shoving A Tin Can Up His Ass
The Kitty Genovese murder was that infamous New York tragedy that led to the coining of the Bystander Effect, as it was alleged that 38 witnesses stood by and did nothing while a young woman was raped and stabbed to death. And while we've previously mentioned that nearly everything reported about the murder was a load of horse shit, that isn't the only shit that tainted the story of the culprit Winston Mosely, necrophiliac murderer and strategic self-sodomizer.
Despite Moseley confessing to murdering two other women and raping eight, he got lucky when the New York death penalty was abolished before his time came up. But Moseley never planned on staying in jail for long. Four years in, he came up with a scheme to escape. If he could get admitted to the prison hospital, he could overpower the single guard stationed outside of his room and make a break for it. To get in, he'd need to injure himself in a way that looked accidental and that necessitated surgery. And this he achieved by shoving an entire tin can up his ass.
The plan went as smoothly as pushing a cylinder up your pooper. Moseley bided his time while his blown out rectum recovered and, on his transport back to prison, managed to take out the guard, grab his gun, and waddle his sore asshole into a vacant house. Sadly, painfully sodomizing himself hadn't taught this sociopathic killer any lessons on the horrors of violating the human body. When the family returned to the house, Moseley raped the mother before taking their car and a photo of their children for maximum maniac points.
Moseley then broke into another house where he took a mother and daughter hostage at gunpoint. But with not no plan beyond the destruction of his colon, he eventually surrendered to the overwhelming police force. Moseley was thrown back to Attica where he spent the remaining 48 years of his life in the same tiny cell -- hopefully with slivers of Spam shrapnel shredding his butthole every single day.
The Thalidomide Babies Whistleblower Was Caught Falsifying Scientific Data
Back in the 1950s, pharmaceutical company Chemie-Grunenthal sold their new drug thalidomide as not just a non-addictive sedative, but a safe cure for morning sickness in pregnant women. Except that they hadn't actually bothered to test the "safe" bit first. The tens of thousands of birth defects and miscarriages that followed remains one of the darkest chapters in the history of corporate supervillainy. Luckily, a hero emerged to take down these villains, but because real life is like comic book, he then lived long enough to become a villain himself.
In 1961, Australian obstetrician William McBride became the first person to publicly connect the dots and publish damning research connecting thalidomide and all those kids born without limbs. The drug was banned and, though CG executives managed to worm their way out of manslaughter charges, the company was forced to set up a substantial compensation fund for its victims. Having saved thousands of babies, the famous McBride could have devoted the rest of his life to cocaine and strippers and still would've qualified for sainthood. Instead, he dedicated his life to a new organization researching birth defects. What an ethical stud.
But as any wrestling fan knows, the nobler a babyface, the more dramatic their heel turn, and McBride was about to punch medical research in the dick and choke-slam it through the Japanese announcer's table. By the late 1970s, another morning sickness pill called Debendox faced a string of lawsuits. As the Erin Brockovich of birth defects, McBride again took on the case, traveling to the USA to testify that his own experiments showed the drug definitively causes fetal abnormalities in rabbits, Once again, fetuses were saved from a dangerous pill thanks to Dr. McBride.
Except that, this time, it was McBride who hadn't bothered to actually test the "dangerous" bit. When the good doctor published his findings, his two co-researchers noticed McBride had pulled a bunch of fake rabbit data out of his hat to make his weak results look much more impressive. Both scientists resigned but not before publicly calling their boss out on his bullshit. A tribunal found McBride guilty of research fraud, and he was struck from the medical register in disgrace. But it took years for his findings to be disproven, and as a result, pregnant women lost a drug that was safe and effective, and hospitalizations for morning sickness nearly doubled. At best, that makes McBride's contributions to the well-being of pregnant women a very mixed bag.
Martin Luther King Jr.'s Assassin Broke Out Of Jail Numerous Times
James Earl Ray was a lot of things. An Army reject, a petty criminal, a massive racist, and an escape artist. But it was the latter that both allowed him to perform his most famous feat of all -- becoming the assassin of Martin Luther King Jr. -- and, in the aftermath, somehow try not to spend the rest of his life in prison for that.
In 1967, while doing a 20-year stretch for numerous dirtbag crimes, Ray hitched a ride on a prison bread truck and casually escaped the Missouri State Penitentiary. That's why he was out and about and able to, on April 4, 1968, gun down Martin Luther King Jr. Suddenly, the authorities were again invested in putting him behind bars. It took two months and the largest manhunt in history to find the elusive Ray. He pleaded guilty to King's murder (and tried unsuccessfully to recant that confession for the remainder of his life) and was sentenced to 99 years in prison.
But, as mentioned, Ray wasn't a big fan of staying behind bars. In 1971, he used a crowbar and hacksaw to Shawshank his way through his cell wall and into a tunnel. But instead of shit, the tunnel turned out to be filled with scalding steam, and Ray had to back out. For his escape attempt, he was thrown into solitary. Despite being in the hole, he again managed to find a way to saw through his cell's ceiling and escape to ... absolutely nowhere. It then dawned on Ray had been thinking too small, so he and five buds planned a group escape straight out of a Looney Tunes cartoon. On June 10, 1977, while some other inmates in the yard staged a fight, the Brushy Mountain Six constructed a 12-foot high ladder from rusty pipes they had smuggled out of the machine shop, climbed over the prison wall, and escaped into the Tennessee wilderness.
Ray didn't make it too far, though. In over two days, he managed to move no farther than eight miles through the murky badlands before the bloodhounds caught up with him and put an end to his last-ever escape attempt. As a legacy to his daring escape escapades, people still run Ray's 8 miles in a foot race called the Barkley Marathon. And as a legacy to him being a weak-ass chump, they then keep going for another 92 miles in the same 60 hours.
The Dingo-Ate-My-Baby Lady Was Convicted For Murdering Her Baby
"A dingo ate my baby" has become one of those iconic Australian catchphrases like "put another shrimp on the barbie" or "has your dick been bitten by a box jellyfish or are you just happy to see me?" From Seinfeld to The Simpsons, the morbid phrase has been used as a punchline so often it's hard to remember: Did a dingo actually kill a baby? It turns out that the answer to that was up in the air for over thirty years.
This long story does, sadly, begin with the death of a baby. In the winter of 1980, Lindy Chamberlain, her husband Michael, and their three children -- Aidan, Reagan and nine-week-old baby girl Azaria -- went on a large group camping trip to the outback. On the evening of August 17, Lindy rushed into the communal tent and announced that a wild dingo had carried off Azaria. Several search parties were sent out but when they returned with only a tiny, bloody coat, Azaria was declared dead. The official cause: dingoes.
But the Australian people were skeptical. Dingoes were seen as harmless, adorable animals incapable of such monstrosities. Furthermore, they distrusted the calm Lindy for not grieving in that typical way you do when your child has been devoured by a pack of wild animals. When investigators then reported traces of blood in the Chamberlains' car, the trial was over before it even started. The Australian court decided that Lindy had cut her baby's throat in their car, stuffed her body in a camera bag, and dumped it when everyone else was out searching -- that scenario was more plausible than that a cute bush doggo had done it.
After a speedy and sensationalist trial, Lindy was convicted of murder and given a life sentence in 1982. But the prosecutors were, to put it in Australian terms, a bunch of bloody drongos, mate. The blood was never officially confirmed to be Azaria's (or even real blood, for that matter), an eyewitness swore she had heard a baby scream moments before the incident, and the local ranger had warned the government several times that dingoes were becoming aggressive to humans. Despite the overwhelming evidence in her favor, Lindy spent four years in prison before, by pure luck, new evidence exonerated her when a search for another missing body discovered Azaria's missing jacket in a dingo den.
But despite acknowledging Lindy's innocence, it wasn't until 2012, more than 30 years after the baby's death, that the Crown formally declared that a dingo really had eaten Lindy's baby (several other people had been attacked and killed by dingoes in the meantime), which not only caused endless grief to the Chamberlain family but also allowed the world just enough plausible deniability to keep using a family's worst nightmare as a wacky Aussie catchphrase.
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