Photo Of The Day

Pictured, officers working the Phantom Killer case in 1946 gathered in the Miller County Sheriff's office. Law enforcement officers believed they once caught the hooded killer behind a murder spree in Texarkana that left five people dead in 1946, but the suspect got off on a technicality. The case remains unsolved.

Pictured, officers working the Phantom Killer case in 1946 gathered in the Miller County Sheriff’s office. Law enforcement officers believed they once caught the hooded killer behind a murder spree in Texarkana that left five people dead in 1946, but the suspect got off on a technicality. The case remains unsolved.

The Town That Dreaded Sundown

Terror In Texarkana Twilight

Silvery, Cold Moonlight and Night Conspire To Create an Eerie Sense of Foreboding and Terror.

For the night stalkers of the world – the serial killers, the sexual predators – a moonlit night provides just enough illumination to see the prey, but not so much light that the victim can easily identify the assailant.

Presuming the victim remains alive, of course.

Texarkana was a throwback village in the mid 20th Century. The town not only straddled two state lines (Texas and Arkansas) it also straddled two distinct states of mind: the wild, lawless Texan and the hillbilly fussin’ of Arkansawyers.

Taxarkana .. The enduring legend began not with death, but with a frightening and vicious attack on two young lovers who managed to survive.

On a February night in 1946, 24-year-old Jimmy Hollis and his girlfriend Mary Jeanne Larey, 19, had attended a downtown movie, then decided to prolong the evening with a romantic visit to a secluded lane on the edge of town. They had, according to the story the young woman would later tell authorities, been parked no more than 10 minutes, when a man, his face hidden beneath a white hood, approached the car, pointing a flashlight and pistol at them.

She would recall the assailant telling her boyfriend, “I don’t want to kill you, fella, so do what I say.” He then ordered both of them out of the car, angrily demanding that Hollis remove his trousers. Then, with the young man clad only in his boxer shorts, the attacker hit him twice in the head, knocking him unconscious. When Larey tearfully tried to convince the gunman that they had no money, even pulling a billfold from her date’s discarded pants to show him, she, too, was struck in the head. Bleeding and dazed, her screams echoed through the woods as the man then sexually assaulted her with the barrel of his gun.

It was when Hollis began to regain consciousness that her attacker’s attention was diverted long enough for the young woman to get to her feet and run. The intruder quickly caught up to her and hit her in the head again. “I remember looking up at him and saying, ‘Go ahead and kill me,'” she later said. Then, for reasons she would never know, the masked man suddenly turned away and disappeared into the darkness.

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Judith Collins on gangs and gun control

081111. Photo Maarten Holl/Fairfax Media, The Dominion Post. NEWS. Police College. New firearms, etc, training simulator. minister of Police Judith Collins gets trained by Vince Anthony, Lockheed Martin (US)

Photo Maarten Holl/Fairfax Media, The Dominion Post.

Police Minister Judith Collins is signalling tighter controls on the licensing of firearms to gang members.

“I was really shocked the other day to find that being a gang member doesn’t preclude someone from having a firearms licence, because, apparently, you’re still a fit and proper person,” Ms Collins told Q&A today.

She says “this is the sort of nonsense that we need to change the law on”.

Parliament’s law and order select committee is holding an inquiry into the illegal possession of firearms.

It is looking at how widespread firearm possession is among criminals, including gangs, and how criminals, gangs and those who do not have a licence come into possession of firearms.

The public clearly expect any firearms held by gangs to have been obtained illegally. To discover that some of the gang members have a bona fide firearms licence has been a shock to many.   Read more »

So how are Australia’s restrictive gun laws helping stop criminals get guns?

So, Australia has vastly more restrictive gun laws. How’s that working out for them?

Not that well, by the looks of things. Criminals with guns. Drive-by shootouts.

It’s kind of hard to see how the gun laws are working. They haven’t stopped criminals getting or using firearms.

A bloody war between rival crime gangs is about to escalate following the execution of convicted killer and standover man Wally Ahmad at a Bankstown shopping centre yesterday.

Ahmad, 40, was shot dead outside the Crunch Fitness gym on the rooftop carpark of Bankstown Central in Sydney’s south when an unknown person opened fire just before midday.

Two others, including a 53-year-old man and a 32-year-old woman, sustained non-life-threatening gunshot wounds and are both in a stable condition at Liverpool Hospital tonight.   Read more »

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Catt Family Bank Robbers: Father Ronald Scott Catt And 2 Children Suspected Of Multiple Heists.

Catt Family Bank Robbers : Father Ronald Scott Catt And 2 Children Suspected Of Multiple Heists. Catt, 50, and his 20 year old son Hayden are alleged to have carried out the raids while 18 year old Abigail acted as the getaway driver.

I Would Only Rob Banks For My Family

The Catts of Katy, Texas seemed to be a normal, quiet, family before their secret lives as bank robbers were revealed.

Scott Catt, 50, and his 20-year-old son Hayden and 18-year-old daughter Abby stole $100,000 in two bank robberies before they were arrested at their apartment complex.

In a confessional prison interview, Scott Catt tells  how he recruited his two children to become his accomplices in crime.

‘All I can tell you is that I thought it would help us as a family,’ Catt said.

‘I did it for the family,’ he said. ‘I swear to you, I would only rob banks for my family.’

Just after sunrise on the morning of August 9, 2012, in the Houston suburb of Katy, Scott Catt, a fifty-year-old structural engineer, was awakened by the buzzing of his alarm clock in the master bedroom of the apartment he shared with his twenty-year-old son, Hayden, and his eighteen-year-old daughter, Abby. The apartment was in Nottingham Place, a pleasant, family-oriented complex that featured a resort-size swimming pool and a large fitness center.

Scott took a shower, dried off, and ran a brush through his closely cropped, graying hair. He put on a T-shirt, a pair of blue jeans, and some work boots and walked into the living room, where Abby and Hayden were waiting for him on the couch. Hayden was also wearing a T-shirt and jeans, along with some slip-on tennis shoes. His short dark hair was brushed forward, splayed over his forehead. Abby, whose highlighted blond hair fell to her shoulders, was wearing a blouse, black yoga pants, and flip-flops.

“Okay, kids,” Scott said. “You ready?”

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How do gang members get guns? They apply for a firearms licence and the Police approve them…really

So the Police – again – are responsible for firearms getting into the hands of scumbag criminals.

Spectacular failure of monumental proportions.

A gang member was able to legally buy 18 high-powered firearms before police cottoned on – and now the cache has vanished.

The man, understood to be a patched member of the Headhunters Motorcycle Club, bought the guns, including high-powered semi-automatic rifles, with a value of about $30,000, between 2012 and 2015, the Herald has learned.

It is understood that in January, police went to the Northland man to revoke his licence and guns, only to find he had already sold them.

Police would not comment on the case except to say it was “very rare for a patched gang member to be issued a firearms licence”.

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Sandeep Kaur, The Bombshell Bandit. "Tick Tock. I have a bomb"

Sandeep Kaur, The Bombshell Bandit. “Tick Tock. I have a bomb”

From Nurse to Bank Robber

The Bombshell Bandit

“Tick tock. I have a bomb.”

This was a note given by a bank robber to a the cashier at Bank of the West on 6 July 2014.

But this bank robber wasn’t a sturdy man wearing a ski mask or wielding a machine gun, she was a 25-year old Sikh nurse. Called the Bombshell Bandit, due to her glamorous disguises and bomb threats, she captured the attention of many who wondered what could be the reason behind a nurse becoming a bank robber.

Sandeep Kaur  moved to California from Punjab at the age of seven and by 19 was a licensed nurse, earning up to $6,000 a month. But things turned awry when Kaur discovered Las Vegas at 21 and became a gambling addict.

Soon she quit nursing to concentrate on gambling fulltime. “I stopped working. I could not focus and going to work for this little amount of money” Kaur said.

But by March 2012 she had lost her life savings and was in debt. She then borrowed money at a steep interest, attempting to recover what she had lost.

What happened next is best summed by Kaur’s statement:

“I ate at that table. I only took bathroom breaks… I was sitting at the table for 16 hours… hoping it’ll all change. Then it all just went down the drain.”

She had to flee Las Vegas and managed to evade the loan sharks until they caught up with her in May 2014.

Desperate, she resorted to their suggestion of a bank robbery and without a weapon or back-up plan, she managed to escape with $21,200 on her first attempt. But since that wasn’t enough, she had little choice but to rob more banks.

However, her run ended on 31 July 2014 when the manager of US Bank alerted the authorities and thus began the police pursuit that lasted 65 miles, crossed three states, two time zones, and reached speeds of 130mph resulting in her capture.

Kaur may be in prison now, but her exploits have cemented her name on the list of unusual bank robbers.

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“The Toughest Cop in the World”

Here’s how Johnny Broderick handled ordinary smart guys. There were three of them, standing outside a downtown restaurant, looking for trouble. Johnny smacked them around for a while, then he picked them up one by one and flung all three of them through the restaurant’s plate-glass window. Then he ran them in for malicious destruction of property, and the judge gave them 30 days and made them pay for the damage.

Here’s how Johnny Broderick handled racketeers like Vannie Higgins. Dapper Vannie would come around to Madison Square Garden for a sporting night out on the town, and Johnny would be waiting for him every time, and Johnny would just pick him up and send him crashing through a phone booth and make him leave. Vannie complained about this to the fixers on several occasions, but it never got him anywhere.

Here’s how Johnny Broderick handled Legs Diamond, who blustered one night that he’d had enough of this Broderick and he was going to take the lousy copper for a ride. Word of this came to Johnny, who went out looking for a showdown and soon found Legs and his boys at Broadway and 46th. The boys fled at once. Legs gulped. Johnny dumped a trash bin over his head. Then he made him crawl away on his hands and knees as the whole Stem watched.

Here’s how Johnny Broderick handled Two-Gun Crowley. Crowley was holed up at West End and 90th, fending off tear-gas bombs, challenging 300 cops outside to come and get him. Johnny stomped upstairs by himself, bashed down the door, ordered Crowley to come along and marched him out by the scruff of his neck.

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J.L. Hunter "Red" Rountree in prison, 2004. Photo DAN WINTERS.

J.L. Hunter “Red” Rountree in prison, 2004. Photo DAN WINTERS.

One of the Most Inept Bank Robberies in American History

At the age that most men are either dead or dozing in their La-Z-Boys, enjoying retirement, JL Hunter Rountree began his second career: Robbing Banks

Red Rountree, 92 “You want to know why I rob banks?” asked the oldest known bank robber in America in an interview..

“It’s fun. I feel good. Awful good.”

While some geriatrics spend the twilight of their lives fishing or golfing, sitting on the beach with a romance paperback or showing everyone who doesn’t care photos of their grandkids, J.L. Hunter “Red” Rountree went on a crime spree.

Born and raised in his family’s farmstead near Brownsville, TX, in what was the Golden Age of American bank-robbery, Rountree walked the straight-and-narrow life of an ordinary citizen until his 80s. Indeed, he was once a well-to-do businessman. According to a relative, Rountree made a fortune when he founded the Houston-based Rountree Machinery Co., which manufactured industrial tubing.

But then came the two things that every man should avoid: a younger woman and a bank loan. As business went south, Rountree’s payments on his refinancing loan were harder and harder to meet. A year after his first wife died, Rountree, at the age of 76, married a 31-year-old woman and then spent almost half a million dollars putting her through a drug rehabilitation program (the sum he spent on Viagra was never reported).

The bank didn’t care about substance-abuse problems; it just wanted its money. At this point, Rountree decided he didn’t like banks very much.

In 1998, at the age of 86, the short, scrawny redhead held up a South Trust Bank in Biloxi, MS. A year later he knocked over a Nations Bank in Pensacola, FL. This time he wasn’t that lucky; he was apprehended and sentenced, leniently, to three years in a state prison. In 2002 he was released on probation.

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One of the X-Rays of Fish's pelvic region revealed 29 needles that had been inserted in his body and left there. (New York Daily News)

One of the X-Rays of Fish’s pelvic region revealed 29 needles that had been inserted in his body and left there. (New York Daily News)

Hannibal Lecter and Albert Fish

Warning, The story becomes a little more repugnant as we go along.

Fiction writers frequently plumb headlines for story or character ideas.  Many of crime fiction’s best known figures and plot devices are based upon real criminals and criminal events. Albert Fish, the cannibal and killer of children, has echoes in one of the best-known literary characters of recent history, Dr. Hannibal Lecter.

Murder holds the most fascination of any crime. Part of the allure of a “good” murder is the questions that arise from civilized people: “How could he do that?” “She did what?  Why?”

Another element is the anarchy of murder – most people operate within the bounds of society’s laws; a murderer, on the other hand, has no such constraints.  Murders are committed many times to erase an inconvenience from the killer’s life, such as a pregnant girlfriend.  Other times, murders are motivated by greed (as in the case of America’s first female serial killer Belle Gunness and with the Bender clan of Kansas).  Serial killers (or even casual killers) do not live within the strictures of what “normal” people might do under similar circumstances.

There is a class of murderer, however, that defies almost all attempts at explanation or understanding.  This is the realm of the truly psychopathic, the deranged, killers who work on an agenda not fixed in reality.

Thomas Harris brought the world the iconic character of Dr. Hannibal Lecter in a series of popular and very brilliantly conceived and well-written novels. Hannibal Lecter, as a psychopathic cannibalistic killer in the novels, is erudite, urbane, and anarchic.  His high intelligence and cunning make him one of the most effective murderers in literature, although he does get caught a time or two

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John Holmes; John Holmes by Mark Sullivan; John Holmes, Self Assignment, November 1, 1975; Los Angeles; California. (Photo by Mark Sullivan/Contour by Getty Images)

John Holmes; November 1, 1975; Los Angeles; California. (Photo by Mark Sullivan/Contour by Getty Images)

The Devil and John Holmes

John Holmes was a porn star. Eddie Nash was a drug lord. Their association ended in one of the most brutal mass murders in the history of Los Angeles.

Holmes’s biggest commodity had been trouble. He was freebasing one hit of coke every ten or fifteen minutes, swallowing forty to fifty Valium a day to cut the edge. The drugs affected his work, he couldn’t work in porn. Now he was a drug delivery boy for the Wonderland Gang. His mistress, Jeana, who’d been with him since she was fifteen, was turning tricks to support his habit. They were living out of the trunk of his estranged wife’s Chevy Malibu. Holmes was stealing luggage off conveyers at L.A. International, buying appliances with his wife’s credit cards, fencing them for cash.

Since the late Sixties, Holmes had traded on his natural endowment. In a career that would span twenty years, Holmes made about 3000 pornographic films, had sex with 14,000 women. At the height of his popularity, he earned $3000 a day on films and almost as much turning tricks, servicing wealthy men and women on both coasts and in Europe.

He got hooked on drugs, primarily cocaine, which eventually rendered him incapable of performing. He was always late to the set, and when he finally did show up he’d disappear into the bathroom for hours at a time. After which point, of course, he was scatterbrained and unable to perform. Then he stopped getting roles.

During the height of his drug addiction, Holmes went broke and turned to crime to support his habit. He stole luggage from the baggage claim at LAX, sold things he purchased with his wife’s charge cards, broke into cars. Somewhere around this time, John got involved with alleged drug dealer Eddie Nash, who had an unsavory reputation.

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