Good News, Bad News!

CastroAriel Castro has accepted a plea deal for the horrific crimes he committed against Amanda Berry, Gina De Jesus, and Michelle Knight. He must spend the rest of his life plus one-thousand years in a penitentiary. The extra time is to be applied consecutively, meaning that clock doesn’t even start ticking until he dies. Under the deal, he agreed to plead guilty to 937 felony counts. He will not stand trial and he will not face the death penalty. He will never receive a parole hearing and will die in prison, or as the Cuyahoga County prosecutor said, “He’s never coming out except nailed in a box or in an ashcan”.


We must hope that he is housed under the worst conditions possible and that his remaining years are hopeless, lonely, and isolated. He is such a dangerous criminal and such a despicable human being that he should have severely limited access to the outside world. Ariel Castro is the worst kind of sexual predator: it is as if he were regurgitated from the bowels of Hell, and the sooner he returns the better off we all will be.


A statement issued through the law firm that is representing the victims said that, “Amanda, Gina, and Michelle are relieved by today’s plea. They are satisfied by this resolution to the case, and are looking forward to having these legal proceeding draw to a final close in the near future.” They must take great relief from the fact that Castro will never have another opportunity to harm an innocent human being.


I’m sure the victims are relieved that they have been spared from having to testify against Castro in court, but they still have the option of making victim impact statements at his sentencing hearing on August 1. Castro had too much influence over their lives for far too long, so I would not be surprised if they decline the opportunity.


As society collectively sighs in relief that a twisted pervert like Castro in finally being removed from the system, we gasp in disbelief to find that Vermont is releasing a pedophile so dangerous that the Vermont Department of Corrections department is warning citizens to keep a keen eye on blond haired, blue eyed boys between 12-13 years old.


Timothy Szad

Timothy Szad

In 2001, 40-year-old Timothy Szad was convicted in a sexual assault against a 13-year-old boy. He pled guilty to grabbing the boy, who was fishing on the bank of the Williams River, carrying him across the river, handcuffing him to a tree and sexually assaulting him twice. He was facing life in prison but took a plea deal. Unlike several other states Vermont does not have a Civil Commitment Law that allows sex offenders who are considered to be a continued threat to society to be maintained in custody once they have finished their prison sentence, so they have no option other than to release him. However, they are so convinced that he is a continuing threat that the Vermont Department of Corrections has warned the public that Szad would most likely target “male strangers between the ages of 12 and 13, in particular those with blond hair and blue eyes.”


Vermont ACLU executive director Allen Gilbert believes that the public simply needs to accept that sex offenders like Szad get out of prison when they complete their sentences. “We live in a society that operates by the rule of law and courts have determined the appropriate sentence for him, he’s served his sentence, and now he’s getting out.” He doesn’t care that the constitutionality of Civil Commitment Laws has been upheld by the United States Supreme Court. Neither does State Rep. Alice Emmons, a Springfield lawmaker who chairs the House committee that oversees Vermont’s prisons. She too opposes civil commitment laws. “You’re holding someone who has not committed a (new) crime. Do we as a society in Vermont want to do that?” she asked.


No, Mr. Gilbert and Ms. Emmons apparently prefer another approach. The residents of the city where Szad was to be released became so incensed and vocal that the home that was going to house him rescinded the offer. Instead, he will be released to an undisclosed location in California. I live in California and am incensed that Vermont has chosen to export their 6′ 5″, 255 lb. pervert to California where he can prey on our sons.


State hospitals have been seeking a cure, or even a viable way to control, sexual predators for decades to no avail. Here is what’s clear: When pedophiles and psychopaths have been identified, we need to prosecute and lock them up as well as have a means of maintaining them in confinement until they no longer pose a threat to society. That can mean life in prison, or barring that states need a civil commitment law that ensures that dangerous sexual predators are maintained in a restricted environment. Sending home grown perverts across the country is not an answer.


The primary duty of government is public safety, not ensuring that an incurable predator gets a second or third chance because the ultimate endgame of that strategy is continued victimization.


If you are a California resident and believe that an injustice has been done, please contact Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin. His phone number is (802) 828-3333.

Déjà vu – Another Monster in our Midst


Killer, Rapist Dennis Stanworth

Killer, Rapist Dennis Stanworth

Serial rapist and child killer and registered sex offender Dennis Stanworth B-5936 had previously been sentenced to death and life without the possibility of parole, yet he was arrested yesterday for murdering his mother.


Dennis Stanworth’s violent crime spree began on August 12, 1965 when he carjacked a 20-year old nursing student’s car, drove her to a remote location not far from Oakland’s Bay Bridge, threatened her life and raped her.


It was about sixty-degrees Fahrenheit at 8:30 p.m., on November 4, 1965 when Stanworth dragged a 24-year old into a field in El Sobrante, held an ice pick to her throat, raped and robbed her.


On the evening of May 13, 1966 Stanworth similarly carjacked, raped, and threatened a 17-year old high school student in Richmond.


Less than three months later, on August 1, 1966, near Pilole he brutally raped and murdered  15-year old Susan Muriel Box and 14-year old Caree Lee Collison.


On August 3, 1966, the day the girl’s bodies were discovered, Stanworth carjacked, raped and robbed, and stole the car of an 18-year old young lady near the San Mateo Coastline. The authorities arrested him in her car a short time later, finally putting an end to his crime spree.


Dennis Stanworth pled guilty to two counts of first degree murder, one count of kidnaping to commit robbery with bodily harm, four counts of kidnaping, three counts of forcible rape, one count of sexual perversion, and one count of robbery. He was sentenced to death for each of the murder counts and life without the possibility of parole on the aggravated kidnapping count.


Stanworth became eligible for parole when the California Supreme Court ruled that the use of capital punishment was considered impermissible cruel and unusual as it degraded and dehumanized the parties involved. 


In 1979 the California Board of Prison Terms (BPT) recommended Stanworth’s parole based on the following factors: lack of prior serious criminal history or history of violent conduct; an excellent work record while in prison, six-years of participation in therapy programs, and personal savings of $3,000. Finally, after spending seventeen years in prison for a litany of crime that should have mandated his extinction Dennis Stanworth was released back into the community.

Dennis Stanworth SOR

Has Dennis Stanworth been living quietly these past decades, or might he be responsible for unsolved crimes that have plagued the Bay Area over the years? According to the California Sex Offender Registry Dennis Stanworth is guilty of oral copulation. The California Department of Justice is unable to determine if there are any subsequent felony convictions for this registrant at this time. Finally, why were our elected officials protecting this monster when they should have been protecting us?

Speed Freak Killer Gives It Up for a Candy Bar

Wesley Shermantine is the scum of the earth. On death row for murdering four people, Shermantine and his partner in crime Loren Herzog are suspected of killing as many as two-dozen people during an unchecked crime spree throughout the 1980’s and 90’s. At long last, more than a decade after being sent to death row, Shermantine is squealing like a pig, leading the authorities to where the bodies are buried. Thus far more than 1,000 bone fragments have been recovered from the first of three bone yards. Two victims have been identified.

Shermantine didn’t give up the killing fields to unburden himself before the Lord, and he didn’t have an attack of conscience. He wasn’t trying to do the right thing by giving resolution to the families of his victims, and he wasn’t negotiating for a reduced sentence or even to get off of death row. No, Wesley Shermantine wanted a candy bar.

That he puts such a small value on life should come as no surprise. Shermantine and his childhood friend Loren Herzog engaged a methamphetamine fueled killing spree that spanned two decades and terrorized a Central California community around Stockton, California. They killed in drug induced frenzy, they covered their crimes by eliminating witnesses, but mostly they killed for the thrill. Their victims were mostly young, defenseless women who had no idea what they were getting into, and were ultimately unable to extricate themselves from the grip of unrelenting evil. Shermantine bragged of kidnapping, raping, torturing and killing more than 20 victims.

Last month Shermantine accepted Sacramento, California based bounty hunter Leonard Padilla’s $33,000 offer for information leading to the recovery of his victims. He claims that he wants to use the money to pay victim restitution, purchase headstones for his deceased parents, and fund an inmate account that will allow him to purchase candy bars from the prison commissary. We know that Shermantine is a narcissistic psychopath who lacks conscience, so dismissing victim restitution as motivation is a no brainer. Perhaps he does want to purchase headstones for his parents, but they will be tiny and cheap. In the final analysis it is instant gratification, the ability to stuff his fat face with Mars bars that really flushes Shermantine’s toilet: that and the fact that in September, 2010 Loren Herzog was inexplicably paroled for his complicity in their criminal enterprise.

On January, 17, 2012 the bounty hunter called Herzog and told him that his partner in crime was leading the authorities to their mass graves. Later that day Herzog hanged himself in his state-issued trailer just outside the gates of the High Desert State Prison in Susanville: one down one to go.

The debate rages on. Is Shermantine the beneficiary of blood money, or is this a legitimate means of bringing resolution to the families of the missing? Although they refused Shermantine’s offer to reveal their daughter’s remains in exchange for $10,000 years ago, Cyndi Vanderheiden’s parents are grateful to Leonard Padilla for finally bringing their daughter home. Upon learning that their daughter’s remains had been identified Chevy Wheeler’s mother told the Associated Press that, “This is a happy day. We can finally have some closure.” However, Susan Kizer, the mother of missing Gayle Marks, also believed to be a victim of the speed freak killers, said that she’s offended by the $33,000 deal. “He has been found guilty of murder,” she said. “Why should he get any kind of pleasure, anything that would bring him any pleasure from all that?”

Philosophically, I am opposed to profiting from crime. Therefore, I understand and empathize with Ms. Kizer’s outrage. But as the father of a child who was missing for 65-days I can tell you that knowing enables relief. It provides resolution, and although the hole in your heart will never heal, you will be able to compartmentalize the tragedy knowing that resolution has been achieved. Knowing that your child is not being tortured, being able to bring them home for burial, so that they can at long last rest in peace is a benefit that cannot be calculated.

Let Shermantine gorge his fat face with Snickers and Almond Joy’s. Studies prove that eating too much sugar has serious health consequences. With a little luck he will contract diabetes and/or heart disease and die sooner rather than later. Unless of course Padilla doesn’t actually pay the money as promised and Shermantine’s lust is denied. Now that would be an ironic, and fair, resolution to the sordid saga of the speed freak killers!

Powell Family Secrets

“It is a federal crime to knowingly possess, manufacture, distribute, or access with intent to view child pornography (18 U.S.C. §2252).  In addition, all 50 states and the District of Columbia have laws criminalizing the possession, manufacture, and distribution of child pornography.  As a result, a person who violates these laws may face federal and/or state charges.”

Images of animated incestuous sex were found on Josh Powell’s computer after his wife Susan was reported missing in 2009. According to the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department the images were realistic computer-generated depictions of parent-child sex. So, why, after Utah authorities discovered these images, was Josh allowed to retain custody of his children? Why did Chuck Cox, Susan’s father and the boy’s grandfather, only learn about this revelation this morning as he was being interviewed on the Today Show?

In Utah, possession of child pornography is classified as a felony of the second degree. The penalty for individuals convicted of a felony of the second degree is 1-15 years in prison and a possible $10,000 fine. The authorities found child pornography on Josh’s computer shortly after his wife Susan disappeared, so they knew that he was guilty of a felony of the second degree. Yet, they allowed him to leave the state unimpeded. Had they pursued those charges instead, Josh would be in prison right now and Charley and Braden would still be alive.

The newly revealed incest animation was referenced during a court appearance last week. Josh was attempting to regain custody of his children which he lost when his father, with whom he was living, was arrested on child pornography and voyeurism related charges last September. At a custody hearing last week, the judge ruled that Josh would have to undergo an extensive psychosexual evaluation, polygraph test, and counseling before he could regain custody of the boys. There is no way that Josh could hold up under such close scrutiny. Like a rat in a corner, Josh Powell had nowhere to run, and there was no place left to hide.

Since acquiring custody in September 2011, the boys, once “disconnected, like robots,” were “slowly but surely realizing that they were safe and happy.” Where they used to run away from their grandparents when they talked about Susan, they now engaged the conversation. For the first time since their mother’s 2009 disappearance Charlie and Braden were in a nurturing environment that allowed them to share their feelings and perhaps even their secrets.

One of the reasons Chuck and Judy Cox wanted custody of the children was to protect them from their father. Charlie and Braden’s intuition was acute, but for naught. They disliked attending the supervised visitations with daddy. Last Sunday Josh Powell committed the ultimate act of abuse against his two boys. Was he simply trying to cover up the truth about what happened to Susan, or was something even more sinister going on?

Many incarcerated sex offenders justify their behavior by telling you that they were abused when they were children. In other words, they were caught up in a generational cycle of abuse, mirroring behavior that was perpetrated upon them and paying it forward to the next generation of children. I won’t pretend to understand the psychology of this behavior; only that it occurs often enough that should be taken seriously.

We now know that Josh Powell and his father Steven both kept secrets. They both had child pornography on their computers. Steven videotaped women and children, including Susan, without their knowledge. Josh had a very troubled past that included attempted suicide, a threat to murder his mother with a butcher knife, and killing his sister’s pet hamster. One has to wonder what prompts a young boy to acts of extreme violence, and why those acts are only now being revealed. What other dark secrets are buried in the Powell family history?

The final burning question that will never be answered might explain the whole sordid mess. Did Josh murder his wife because she caught him having sex with one or both of their young sons?

The Son of a Bitch Tried to Chop Off Their Heads!

No wonder he always looked like he was sucking on lemons. He was holding back a taste much more acerbic than lemon juice. First he killed their mother, his wife, and concocted a cockamamie alibi that carried him forth until he could commit the ultimate betrayal. Then the son of a bitch tried to chop off their heads before immolating them in a homemade inferno that also spat him back into the hell from which he came.

The disappearance of Susan Powell was never a real mystery. Josh murdered Susan on December 6, 2009. The weather was bitter cold. I can almost imagine Susan watching the 5:00 pm weatherman predict that a winter storm was projected to drop more than a foot of snow overnight. Of course she agreed when he closed his forecast with, “You do not need to travel tonight.”

Susan, her husband and sons, were reported missing by her parents the next morning. Josh and the boys showed up later that evening, but not Susan. She was never seen again!
Josh’s story was a poorly fabricated lie. But it seemed to fool the authorities, because, as we found out only after the fact, her disappearance was not reclassified as a murder until almost two years later. Josh was considered a “person of interest”, but apparently not enough interest to actually hinder his style.
About a month later Josh packed up the boys and moved out of state to live with his father, another lemon-sucking pervert, in Puyallup, Washington. Josh and his father Steven launched a campaign to assassinate Susan’s character and threatened to publish her childhood journals online. A judge issued a permanent injunction stopping that plan. Shortly thereafter Steven Powell was arrested on child pornography and voyeurism related charges. Steven’s daughter Jennifer Graves expressed relief after hearing that her father had been arrested, telling a reporter, “They’re getting him off the streets now and he won’t be able to take advantage of innocents in the future.” Steven remains in Jail, but somehow Josh was able to slither under the radar one more time.

He lost custody of the children to Susan’s parents, but not access. A judge gave him supervised visits. The boys began to blossom once they escaped Josh’s toxic influence. I’m using toxic as a synonym for evil here. They may have even begun to talk about the night Susan disappeared. I wonder if Josh was aware that his son Braden may have drawn a picture of a van with three people in it and told caregivers it showed his family going camping and that, “Mommy’s in the trunk.”  We could ask him, but…oh no, we can’t because he’s in Hell and still not cooperating with the authorities.

Josh Powell carried more red flags than a Chinese New Year parade. He showed no remorse or regret that his wife was missing. His alibi was a pitiful fabrication. He wasn’t cooperating with the police. His own sister hated him. His father was a known pervert. He segregated the kids from Susan’s family as he allowed them to be exposed to perversion. He tried to assassinate Susan’s character. It was all there in plain sight. Why couldn’t the court see the facts that screamed from the headlines for more than two years?