Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Seems To Me He Got The Order Reversed

Torrance, CA

The problem with restraining orders is that they don't actually, you know, restrain. Case in point is the gentleman in Torrance last night who, after having police serve him with one of the aforementioned pieces of paper for making a scene at his wife's house, came back later that evening with a gun.

First he went after them, killing his 5-year-old son and wounding his wife and mother-in-law. Then he took himself out.

Five years old.  Some things I will never understand.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Oh Yeah. Books.

Los Angeles, CA

We're not all swimmin' pools and movie stars out here. Some of us actually, you know, read. Books that is. With words and everything. Really. And to show just how literate we can be, UCLA is hosting the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books this weekend.

Booksellers, publishers, authors, and the obligatory writers in tin-foil hats whose collected works will be published if only someone would recognize their staggering genius and give them a multi-million dollar book deal with fame, fortune, lots of large breasted, ex-porn, lit-groupies who will get on their knees in the presence of such greatness to show their appreciation in the way their previous profession has so thoroughly taught them.

Yes, those guys'll be there. If you're lucky, you'll hear a rant or two at an agent panel.

Be that as it may, the Festival's a blast. And it'll be nice and HOT, too. 83 degrees, baby. Every goddamn year the sun turns it up a notch to try to jump start our annual roasting. So grab an overpriced lemonade, dodge the stroller wielding yoga moms and hit a signing or two.

Of course there'll be signings. Lots of 'em. Check out the Sisters In Crime booth and the Mystery Bookstore booth (Saturday, Sunday). They'll have authors with cramped hands and the thousand yard stare that comes from the multitudes of people walking by like ravenous sharks.

What? You want more? Pretty goddamned demanding, aren't you? Fine. Check out the Mystery Bookstore's annual Pre-Festival Party And Square Dance Hootenanny tonight from 5 to 9. Okay, I made that last part up. There will be no square dancing that I know of.  Thank god.

But there will be authors. Not drunk either. Well, mostly not drunk. And that really is a shame, don't you think? Authors should be permanently soused in my opinion. Nothing like a book that reads like your college roomie in one of his stream of consciousness pot hazes.

So go this weekend. Buy books. Get 'em signed. Make an ass out of yourself in front of your favorite authors. It's fun.

I do it every year.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Doing Her Part For Earth Day

Canoga park, CA

In case you hadn't heard, it's Earth Day.  And we should all do our part for the environment.  Plant a tree, use reusable grocery bags, get rid of that gas guzzling SUV. Of course, you might not want to do that by plowing it into a chicken joint.

A woman crashed her SUV into an El Pollo Loco on the corner of Topanga and Roscoe before leaving the vehicle and running away. Might help if she'd taken the license plates, the VIN or, hell, the car itself, because the police tracked her to her house. Might explain why she didn't go home.

Not sure what's going to be worse. The criminal hit and run charge or the inevitable lawsuits from the pregnant lady who tripped trying to get out of the way and the worker who got hit by the suddenly mobile ice machine. Who wants to take bets on how many bandages, collars and supports these two show up at court in?

Not that I'm cynical or anything.

Monday, April 21, 2008

They'll Start Shooting Babies Next

Compton, CA

Compton's got a bad reputation. Not saying some of it isn't deserved, but let's be honest, it's not like they're killing cripples outside of churches or anything.

Yeah. It's come down to that. Two men, one in a wheelchair, the other pushing him along, were gunned down yesterday outside of a church on Alameda.

According to the locals the two men weren't members of a gang. But considering how gang violence has a tendency to spill over to innocent bystanders, this could still very well be gang related. No suspects, yet.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Drive By Tagging

Oh. It's that time again, is it?

The inimitable (trust me on this, I've tried - I just can't do that Matlock Country Lawyer twang) J.D. Rhoades, he of the excellent and wonderfully violent Jack Keller series, has tagged me with that whole "meme" thing. You know, the one where you're supposed to reveal a few unusual facts about yourself?

Well, I'm dull and uninteresting, so this might take a while.

1. I have this habit of forgetting about inconsequential events. Thing is, my definition of "inconsequential" encompasses things like car accidents, assaults and hospital visits. This is why my wife doesn't believe me when I tell her nothing important happened during my day.

2. I am descended from Hawai'ian royalty. That and a hula skirt might get me a job as a tour bus operator on the Big Island. Maybe.

3. The Methodists kicked my family out of their church. I have no idea why. I mean, seriously, what do you have to do to piss off the Methodists?

4. I am an atheist. Now that I think about it, that might have had something to do with #3.

5. When someone hands you a loooong match and tells you to light a biiiig pile of gunpowder, take the hint and stand back. Just sayin'.

6. I am almost completely deaf in my right ear. This and number 5 are, oddly enough, unrelated.

7. My first car was an aqua green Honda Accord CVCC that would periodically catch fire. Fun on the freeway. People really like to get out of your way when you're on fire for some reason.

8. I was born on Guy Fawkes Day. I find it much easier to celebrate the foiled attempt to bring down an entire government than I do my actual birthday. Imagine how screwed up I'd be if I'd been born on Groundhog Day.

And so, in the spirit of communicable diseases, I pass this along to my buddy David Terrenoire.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Keanu Kills

El Segundo, CA

Did you know that movie theaters sometimes contract out to local police departments for added security? Jonathan Belvin Taylor, 24, apparently didn't. He does now. Or he would if he weren't dead.

Mr. Taylor was out at the Pacific Theater in El Segundo last Friday night with some friends to see Street Kings, a cop drama with Keanu Reeves and written by James Ellroy. That's a tragedy in and of itself. Ellroy linked to Keanu Reeves. Jesus.

So, anyway, maybe he didn't like Keanu, or maybe he didn't like Ellroy. Whatever it was, he demanded a refund. Only he didn't have his ticket stub on him, so they wouldn't give it to him. Mr. Taylor became distraught, noisy. So, the aforementioned police presence, Detective Scott O'Connor and Lt. Raymond Garcia, decided to check him out.

And that's when Mr. Taylor, a parolee with multiple weapons related convictions, opened fire, striking both officers - one in the jaw and the other in the chest. They're pretty fucked up, particularly Lt.Garcia, who was struck in the jaw, but should survive.

Their return shots, fired as Belvin was running out the door, killed him.

And to think, if Street Kings had been a better movie, all this might not have happened.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

A Quarter At A Time

Los Angeles, CA

Sam Flemming is an entrepreneur. Sells drugs to the homeless. Strictly small change. No, seriously.

The LAPD snagged Flemming while he was dealing at our town's lovely open-air drug market on Fifth and San Julian last week. When they went to his house to see what else he might have, they found a pound and a half of cocaine and $135,035.00.

More than $11,000.00 of it in singles and $6,000.00 in coins.

Sure he wasn't just using the bus a lot?

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Eat Your Young

Los Angeles, CA

When it looks like things are going badly, and your back's against the wall, it's time to set aside petty differences and look to your family for support. They're your rock in times like these. They're the ones who can see you through. Failing that, you could just sell them out.

Interesting defense tactic in the trial of Helen Golay and Olga Rutterschmidt, who stand accused of taking out close to $3 million in insurance policies on homeless men then running them down with a Mercury Sable. Seems the defense attorney is suggesting that it wasn't Helen Golay at the wheel of the car, but her 44-year-old daughter, Kecia.

The theory goes like this. Kecia hates her mother, so she runs down the men, uses Helen's AAA card to get a tow truck for the now damaged car, and signs for it as Helen. But she uses a cell phone in her own name to call for the tow (let's ignore that Helen's phone is in Kecia's name). And, if that wasn't enough, Kecia is also a member of the same gym as the woman whose stolen ID was used to rent the car.  All this to get back at mom.

Points for style.  But.

Deputy Dist. Atty. Truc Do, the lead prosecutor in the case, questioned why, if Kecia hated her mother, she would help her collect millions of dollars by committing murder.
Why indeed? And the defense's answer?

...

Think they're gonna have to get back to us on that one.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Criminal Tip #87,623: Don't Stab The Driver While He's, You Know, Driving

Los Angeles, CA

Panic and stupidity make you do funny things. Scream, run in circles, stab your cab driver and die in the resulting car crash.

Two women were killed in a crash at Medford and Fishburn in East Los Angeles after allegedly stabbing their cab driver, who survived. Seems he was dropping them off at the Ramona Gardens housing project when a man threatened him with a gun. Not waiting to find out whether it was actually loaded, he took off with the women still in the back.

That's when they stabbed him.

Stab the driver of a speeding vehicle? That's crazy talk! Why would someone do something so incredibly stupid? You'd think they were setting him up to get robbed or something. I mean, it's not like he had a lot of cash on him or...

Oh.

Anyway, he's in the hospital in stable condition. Relative to the state of "dead" that puts him ahead of the game.

Friday, April 04, 2008

It's Johnny Stompanato Day!

Los Angeles, CA

Fifty years ago today, Johnny Stompanato, bodyguard to mobster Mickey Cohen, was murdered in the home of his girlfriend, actress Lana Turner, by Turner's daughter, Cheryl Crane. Quite the scandal at the time. He'd been dating/beating Turner for a while. Crane finally snapped one night and stabbed him to death.

Maybe.

There has always been some debate on whether it was Crane who did it, or Turner who did it and got her daughter to take the rap. Mostly fueled by Cohen, who may have been trying to use Stompanato to get leverage over Turner.

I was reminded of all this last night while looking over crime scene and trial photos at the reception for Mobsters, Molls and Mayhem: A Year in the Life of Los Angeles at USC's Doheny Library, which showcases a sample of photos from 1958 culled from the thousands that they acquired from the Los Angeles Examiner.

From the shot of the middle-aged housewife found dead in her home with a serving fork shoved so far through her chest that only the handle is visible (police couldn't tell if she'd been murdered or fell on it), to the elderly woman who held off demolition crews for 8 days with a shotgun as they were coming to bulldoze her home to build a new freeway, the photos show a thin slice of the tragic comedy that is Los Angeles. Some heartbreaking, some gruesome, all provocative, the pictures show just how much, and just how little, has actually changed in this town.

The size of the collection is staggering. When the researchers culled all the photos down to 1958, they still had tens of thousands to go through. The ones on-line are only a tiny fraction of what's available.

The exhibit has been going on since February (why they had hte reception mid-way I'm really not sure) and continues through May 16th and is free to the public at the Doheny Library on the USC campus.  Worth checking out if you get the chance.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

You Said You Were Over Eighteen

The Intarwebs

Thrilling Detective turns 10 years old this week. Surprisingly, no one's locked them up, yet.

The anniversary issue is full of chocolaty, hard-boiled goodness with stories by Paul Guyot, Evil J Winter, Stephen D. Rogers and Robert Petyo, as well as excerpts from Eric Lerner's Pinkerton's Secret and John Shannon's novel The Devils of Bakersfield.

Man, when you have a birthday you don't fuck around do you?

Congrats, guys. Ten years.

Jesus, I feel old.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

All This And They Still Don't Know

Alhambra, CA

So, Isaac Campbell, chief suspect in the murder of Liya Lu, whose body was found stuffed in a trash can in September had his arraignment yesterday.

April fool!

Yeah, not so much. Turns out it's been delayed to May 6th. Seems the L.A. County Coroner's having some, you know, trouble with that whole "cause of death" thing they keep going on about. Like it's important or something.

Come on, people. You've had the body since September. Look, I'm not trying to tell you how to do your job... Okay, yeah, actually maybe I am. But it's been more than 6 months for chrissakes.

Jeez. Coroners. You'd think they were busy or something.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

On The Topic of Road Rage

Los Angeles, CA

You know how, when somebody is just generally being an asshole and you really wish there was a cop around? Well, this is what happens when there is.

An off duty Sheriff's deputy was run off the road on the 105 freeway. Seems that when he pulled over, the other guy got out of his car and came at him with a knife.

The deputy, as deputies are wont to do when dealing with knife wielding maniacs, shot him.

Oh, and in case you hadn't seen it, the guy who took a round to the head on the 101 over the weekend? Turns out it was suicide.