LA Confidential: Vintage crime photographs from the LAPD archives
04.22.2014
11:56 am

Topics:
Art
Crime
History

Tags:
Crime
Police
LAPD


Morgue, man with floral tattoo, 1945
 
Back in 2001, photographer Merrick Morton—who also happens to be a reserve LAPD officer—came upon a massive archive of Los Angeles Police Department crime scene and evidence photos which had been hidden for decades in a huge storage facility in downtown LA. The photos were buried among 150 years of police records in cardboard boxes.

When it was discovered that some of the boxes contained decomposing cellulose nitrate negatives, a serious fire hazard, the Fire Department recommended that all the negatives be destroyed. The team lobbied for the archive to be only selectively destroyed and their efforts paid off; some boxes of images were determined to be unsalvageable and destroyed, while the remaining images were sent to a cold storage facility where they reside today.

Around one million photos have been unearthed so far and choice selections, presented by Fototeka, will be exhibited at Paramount Pictures Studios from April 25-27 in Los Angeles.


Detail of two bullet holes in car window, 1942
 

Shoes, arm, and knife, 1950
 

Victim’s feet hanging off bed, 1934
 

Detail of bullet holes in screen, 1930
 

Onion field reenactment, 1963
 

Bank robbery note, 1965
 
Via Feature Shoot

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
Party Monster: Club kid murderer Michael Alig to be paroled
04.17.2014
11:38 am

Topics:
Crime

Tags:
Michael Alig


 
According to Steve Lewis’s blog at Black Book, Michael Alig, the notorious “club kid murderer” and “Party Monster” (played by Macaulay Culkin in the 2003 cult film of the same name) is about to be paroled. Alig pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the death of drug dealer Angel Melendez in 1996 and was sentenced to ten to twenty years in prison.

Club kid founder Michael Alig is to be released from jail on May 5, according to sources in the know. A check of official prison site by Alig friend Victor Corona confirmed the news. Alig, of course, has been serving time for the murder and dismemberment of drug dealer Angel Melendez on March 17,1996. He has been eligible for parole since 2006, but has been denied until now. The release, although not a surprise, has sent waves through a community who knew him and loved him, as well as those who knew him and hated him. He will be staying with a close friend, and has been recruited for creative jobs by many. His transition to the real world will be eased by a support group who, for the most part, have stuck by him for more than a decade and a half. Michael has never used a computer or cellphone but he has remained keenly aware of the world we live in. There is no chance that he will return to clubs as a way of life, but he will paint and write, and as always, try to impact the way we think.

The reason there’s “no chance” that Alig would return to club life is that there isn’t any to return to—at least nothing even remotely resembling the scene he would remember from the 90s. Forget about computers and cell phones, New York City itself will be practically unrecognizable to him. The state of mind once known as “downtown” simply doesn’t exist anymore. It’s but a faded memory. The real estate has long since moved on. Last I heard Limelight was some sort of flea market. I wonder how long it will take before one of the cable television networks gives the green-light to Michael Alig: Reality Sets In ?

I was for many years Michael’s friend. Like so many others, I left him behind when drugs and power created a “Party Monster.” We reconnected in recent years, and during my visits to him in prison I observed the Michael Alig that I loved—the Alig prior the downfall. I believe he is ready to enter the world, and that reentering will be a good thing. No one, no act, no time, no hatred will bring back Angel, but Michael has served a great deal of his adult life in a bad place. I believe he has been rehabilitated. I believe he is forever remorseful and I look forward to his redux. To those who say nay, I respect that, but hope chances are given, and that we can move on. It is a time to remember Angel and reflect on the meaning of life. For me, forgiveness is part of it.

I met Michael Alig at the Danceteria nightclub on the very first day that I moved to NYC at the end of 1984. Later that night he got me and several other people into a celebrity-studded opening party at AREA. After asking if I wanted to meet Andy Warhol—implying that he knew him—Michael proceeded to shove me from behind, full force with both arms right into the Pope of Pop. I was completely flummoxed and tongue-tied, but Warhol had seen Michael push me and directed his annoyance towards him and not at me.

Michael was smart, charming and funny when he was young, but frankly, as my ignominious “introduction” to Andy Warhol demonstrated, he was also untrustworthy. And erratic. He could be really thoughtful—he alerted me to an apartment for rent that I ended up leasing, for instance—but he also stole several items from that very same apartment! When confronted—I literally shoved him up against the wall in Limelight by his neck and threatened to beat him up—he returned my stuff, but lied and blamed his boyfriend—who had never even been in that place. That was Michael before he disappeared down a permanant K-hole.

To be sure, the fucked up, drugged-out decadent person portrayed in Party Monster, well, that movie is damned accurate, let me tell you. (The filmmakers, Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato knew Michael quite well themselves, and even the layout of the furniture in their movie conforms exactly to my own memory of two of his apartments.) Having said that, I always maintained a level of sympathy and begrudging affection for Michael, even during his downward spiral, because he just seemed so needy and desperate for attention. There was a bit of a “Lost Boy” or Peter Pan quality to him, and I recall him recounting a conversation that his divorced parents were having about his tuition to Fordham when his father, balking at the costs, apparently said “Look, I love the kid, but I don’t love him that much.” This speaks volumes about where Michael ended up, probably. That all-consuming need for attention was both his genius and his undoing.

A strange bit of “true crime” trivia is that Michael was the first person I knew who had a VCR. His was a Betamax and he had just two videos and both were directed by Herschell Gordon Lewis: 2000 Maniacs and Blood Feast.

Just sayin’.
 

 
Below, the 1998  Party Monster “shockumentary” that preceded the 2003 feature film:
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
Small Town Noir: Mugshots and true crime stories from New Castle, Pennsylvania, 1930-60
04.17.2014
08:33 am

Topics:
Crime
History

Tags:
mugshots

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The small town of New Castle, in western Pennsylvania, was once a boom town way back at the start of the twentieth century. Its population had tripled between 1890 and 1900, as immigrants from across Europe and America came to the town in search of employment in its tin plate mills, steel factories, ceramics works, foundries and paper mills.

The 1930’s Depression hit New Castle hard, but its manufacturing base was kept going by WWII and the Korean war. The population peaked in 1950 at 48,834. Since then it’s dropped to around 28,000 today. The boom years are long gone and the unemployment average in New Castle is twice America’s national jobless rate.

The site Small Town Noir curates the mugshots of petty criminals whose lives unraveled in sad, tragic, grim, bizarre and often disturbing ways within the boundaries of New Castle’s borders. Each entry is well-written and the biographical information has been painstakingly researched from various sources.

Small Town Noir is a fascinating place to visit, to while-away a few hours, as you get to know its citizens.
 
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James Dagres, “B & E”, 28 April 1934

James Dagres was sixteen, when he was arrested for breaking an entering. Dagres, together with two chool friends James Cook, LeRoy Shoaff, removed various items from the house—tables, chairs, a gas heater, a clock, a world atlas—and sold them to second-hand dealers in town. They were caught when the owner of the house, a local teacher, passed by and saw them carrying furniture out of the place. All three boys were minors. There is no record of any sentence. When James left school, he got a job at American Cyanamid & Chemical. LeRoy Shoaff went on to become a colonel in the US army. There is no further record of Jack Cook.

 
1515homer.jpg
 

Homer Chrisner, “Bank Holdup”, 7 Feb 1935

Homer Chrisner lost his business during the Depression. A respected figure, borough councilman and pigeon fancier, Chrisner decided to rob a bank in New Castle, as he reckoned it would be the easiest place to rob.

With his his accomplice Edward Scales, aka Jack of Diamonds, a Youngstown barman and numbers writer who had recently been released from prison after serving a sentence for the attempted rape of a minor. Together, they planned the details of the hold-up and enlisted the help of a woman called Nellie Sellers who would act as their getaway driver.

In February, 1935, Chrisner and Scales walked into the bank and held it up. Chrisner lost his nerve and the bank teller pulled his own gun on the pair. Chrisner and Scales absconded in a car driven by Sellers. They were chased and soon arrested. Homwer was jailed for five years.

 
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David Clemons, “Dis. Cond”, 20 Sep 1936

David Clemons was a 28-year-old was arrested for disorderly behavior in 1936. Eight-years later Clemons murdered his father, Wilson Clemons, a minister in the Church of God in Christ, with an axe.

David had a mental age of nine and had recently been discharged from the army in the build-up to the D-Day Landings. Clemons killed his father after an argument over an alarm clock. He was sentenced to life imprisonment, but was moved to Fairview state hospital for the criminally insane, where he remained for the rest of his life.

 
More tales of New Castle’s criminals, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
Polish prison tattoos preserved in formaldehyde
04.03.2014
06:14 am

Topics:
Art
Crime

Tags:
tattoos


 
Fresh off the heels of my post on Frederik Ruysch’s creepy embalming art comes this disgusting/fascinating collection of preserved tattoos from Polish prisoners. Even before you get to the whole “stolen chunks of flesh” part of this collection, I’m always disturbed by the “poke-and-stick” kind of tattooing that most of these appear to be. I’ve seen poke-and-stick done with everything from glass shards to nails, and the “ink” could be anything from ash to a ball-point pen—there’s obviously a high risk of infection. (Not to be a snob, but I had my tattoos done like a respectable person—in a sterile environment by an old biker.)

It’s a crude, primitive art-form, but it’s hard for me to see these pieces, which were a part of some one’s actual body, completely removed from their former humanity. Still, the images are kind of fascinating. There’s basic old school flash, of course, but the juvenile, coarse pornographic images are even more interesting. Not all tattoos, even ones done in prison, represent some deeper meaning or cultural affiliation, but with some of these you have to wonder what possessed some one to risk infection for a dirty little doodle.
 

 

 

 
More tattoos after the jump…
 

Posted by Amber Frost | Discussion
‘Inside Out’: Ol’ Dirty Bastard’s wildly entertaining life on parole


 
It’s safe to say that for virtually every moment from the time that Wu-Tang Clan became prominent around 1993 until his sad death in 2004, Ol’ Dirty Bastard—“Russell Jones” to the law enforcement community—was in some kind of legal trouble. He was convicted of second degree assault in 1993 and was arrested for failure to pay child support in 1997. A year later, he pleaded guilty to attempted assault on his wife and was also arrested for shoplifting. It goes on from there. In 2000 he was assigned to a court-mandated drug treatment facility but escaped—as a fugitive he met up with RZA and spent some time in the studio. In Philadelphia he was eventually captured. (DM previously reported on his endlessly interesting FBI file, released in 2012.)

After spending the next two and a half years in prison in New York, he was released on parole on May 1, 2003. Sensing an opportunity, ODB’s manager, Jarred Weisfeld, arranged for VH1 to have a crew follow ODB around for his release and the first few weeks out of jail. The end result was “Inside Out,” which can be viewed below. Actually, it’s a little unclear what this video is—IMDb.com lists the running time as 60 minutes over two episodes. This video isn’t that long, however. What I think this is is episode 1 of “Inside Out”—not sure there was an episode 2—followed by a brief remembrance section that likely doesn’t have anything to do with VH1. In any case, it’s wildly entertaining.
 
Ol' Dirty Bastard
 
The life of a mentally troubled rap star is as crazy as anything you’re likely to find. A stretch limo filled with family, friends, and business associates (of course these lines overlap) is there to meet him upon his release. He is immediately presented with a gift of 500 condoms. As the father of 13 children by multiple women, ODB sniffs out the subtext: “They don’t want me makin’ no more babies!” At his press conference the same day as his release, who shows up to take part? Of course, Mariah Carey.

Eventually ODB’s interest in the ladies alienates his sort-of ladyfriend Raquel, who promptly flees back to LA. Within days he’s photographing a silicone-enhanced Playboy model and hitting on women in the street. Meanwhile his new relationship with Roc-A-Fella records is proceeding with the usual complications. We see a few cordial encounters with RZA as well.

The special presents a glimpse of actual parole life that’s not often available on TV. We see ODB successfully pass a drug test and we’re told that, as messy as his life was, he was able to adhere to the 9pm curfew imposed on him. When he signs the paperwork before his release, he’s told that he’s agreeing that parole officers can visit his home more or less anytime, and sure enough, we get to see such a visit. All goes well, except for ODB’s lingering paranoia after the fact.

ODB never really got the psychological help he needed, but nobody could say that he lived an unfulfilled life. “Inside Out” is excellent evidence of both parts of that equation.
 

 

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
Someone is defacing hundreds of copies of Anne Frank’s Diary in Japanese libraries
03.07.2014
06:58 am

Topics:
Books
Crime

Tags:
Japan
Anne Frank

Anne Frank
 

Last month it was discovered that a total of 305 copies of the Japanese translation of The Diary of Anne Frank have been severely defaced—some most likely slashed with a knife, others with entire pages forcefully torn out—in a number of libraries across Tokyo, according to Asahi Shimbun, a major newspaper in Japan. The affected libraries, of which there are 31, have reported no other acts of vandalism or theft, leading authorities to regard the vandalism as the handiwork of a person or persons with a political motive.
 
The Diary of Anne Frank
 
The diary is one of the most moving and inspiring documents of the twentieth century. Anne Frank, of course, was a teenager hiding in Amsterdam with her family to evade detection from the Nazis during World War II. The diary covers the years 1942 through 1944, years during which Frank was 13 to 15 years old. In early 1945 she died in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. In 1947 her diary was published in the Netherlands to widespread acclaim under the title Het Achterhuis (The Annex); the English translation would follow five years later, under the title Diary of a Young Girl, although it is most commonly called simply The Diary of Anne Frank. As one of the best-known testimonies about the Holocaust, it has been widely read in Japan and many other countries.

Officials in Japan have commenced an investigation into the mysterious mutilation of hundreds of copies of the diary as well as other books related to her at public libraries across Tokyo. The motive for the mutilations are likely to reflect Japanese politics more than ordinary anti-Semitism per se. The New York Times made reference to vague conspiracies from the late 1970s incorrectly claiming that the name of the Enola Gay B-29 bomber that delivered the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima meant “Kill the Emperor” in Yiddish. Meanwhile, the election of right-wing politician Shinzo Abe as prime minister in 2012 (he had served in the post for a year spanning 2006 and 2007) has emboldened right-wing groups across Japan.
 
The Diary of Anne Frank
 
Some libraries have elected to remove materials relating to Anne Frank off the shelves, which means that a personal request will have to be made with a library employee to read them. Government spokesman Yoshihide Suga has expressed disappointment at the damage; “It is extremely regrettable and shameful,” he told reporters. The Simon Wiesenthal Center, the Los Angeles-based Jewish human rights group, has issued a statement expressing “shock and deep concern” over the vandalism: “Only people imbued with bigotry and hatred would seek to destroy Anne’s historic words of courage, hope and love in the face of impending doom.”

On a more hopeful note, an anonymous donor has already funded the replacement of 100 copies of The Diary of Anne Frank.
 

 
via RocketNews24

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
Bullets to the head, arrows to the chest—a twisted new photo series by artist Jon Burgerman

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NYC-based British illustrator Jon Burgerman has blogged a darkly hilarious series of digitally altered photos titled “Head Shots,” which depict him being murdered by movie and TV posters in the NYC Subway system, in an effort to call attention to the pervasiveness of violence in culture and entertainment. Via The Fox Is Black:

Jon describes the work as “interventions staged in public” and each image features a violent advertisement found in the New York subway. I’m particularly impressed by how simple and effective these images are at highlighting the violence that exists in ads. Most of us pass these types of images everyday and yet we never stop to notice just how violent they can be.

 
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More after the jump…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Discussion
‘Swiss Cheese Pervert’ terrorizing women in Philadelphia
01.13.2014
08:24 am

Topics:
Crime

Tags:
Swiss Cheese Pervert


 
According to Philadelphia magazine, police are on the hunt for a man they’ve coined the “Swiss Cheese Pervert.” Apparently this dude likes to drive around and show his junk to women with a slice of swiss cheese. Yep.

Via Philly.com:

According to the group, the suspect, a heavyset white man estimated to be in his late 40s or early 50s, approaches women while driving a silver or black sedan with his genitals exposed. He then displays a piece of sliced Swiss cheese and offers to pay the women to put the cheese on his penis and perform sexual acts on him using it.

snip

A police source yesterday confirmed that the Special Victims Unit is investigating the man after several women from the Mayfair area filed reports describing similar encounters with a man displaying what the source called a “major sexual cheese fetish.”

If any of our female readers in Philadelphia come in contact with this man and his “major sexual cheese fetish,” you should contact the authorities immediately.

UPDATE: Is this man the “Swiss Cheese Pervert”?


 

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
Zapruder speaks: Vintage interview with the man who shot the Kennedy assassination
11.19.2013
08:24 am

Topics:
Crime
R.I.P.

Tags:
John F. Kennedy
Abraham Zapruder

zapkentex.jpg
 
Abraham Zapruder shot the most famous home movie in history. He was the man whose 26 seconds of film footage captured the assassination of President John F. Kennedy on November 22nd, 1963.

It is the only known film of the entire assassination.

In an interview with Jay Watson, program director with WFAA, an ABC news affiliate, Zapruder described the events he witnessed.

“As I was shooting, as the President was coming down from Houston Street making his turn, it was about a half-way down there, I heard a shot, and he slumped to the side, like this…

“Then I heard another shot or two, I couldn’t say, it was one or two, and I saw his head practically open up, all blood and everything, and I kept on shooting. That’s about all, I’m just sick, I can’t…”

Watson responded by saying that this “pretty well expresses the entire feelings of the whole world.”

The report moves on to videotape of the President’s body arriving at Parklands Hospital, after which a photograph of the Texas School Book Depository is shown and discussed in relation to the shooting. The report ends with news of the arrest of a suspect.

Here, in less than six minutes, is a concise distillation of the events that have obsessed America for 50 years.
 

 
H/T ABC News

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
Folk singer Roy Harper accused of sexual assault on a child
11.15.2013
09:35 am

Topics:
Crime

Tags:
Roy Harper


 
British folk singer Roy Harper, 72, has been charged with nine counts of sexual assault perpetrated on a girl from the age of twelve according to published reports.

On Monday, Harper is due at the Hereford Magistrates’ Court to answer the charges. Police in West Mercia have revealed that the alleged offenses were to have been committed between 1975 and 1977.

Harper lives in County Cork, Ireland. The summons was issued on October 16th, but Harper was first questioned about the matter at Heathrow Airport back in February.

Harper has performed with Pink Floyd (that’s his voice on “Have a Cigar”), recorded with Jimmy Page, and Led Zeppelin did a tribute to him, “Hats Off to Roy Harper.” He was having a late in life career resurgence and has just ended a sold-out tour. Harper was awarded MOJO magazine’s “Hero Award” in 2005 and fetted at a 70th birthday celebration at London’s Royal Festival Hall in 2011.

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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