News & Politics » News of the Weird

News of the Weird



Lead Story

High school guidance counselor Angelo Cardella filed a $15,000 lawsuit in Ansonia, Connecticut, in October for a 1988 incident in which he suffered back and neck injuries at the hands of Joseph Melita. According the the lawsuit, Melita was experiencing a heart attack and negligently clutched Cardella, pulling him to the floor and injuring him.

Smooth Reactions

In November, according to police, after the mother of a six-year-old boy in Lille, France, refused his request for Coca-Cola, he went into his parents' bedroom closet, loaded the family hunting rifle, and shot her in the abdomen.

In November in a courtroom in West Palm Beach, Florida, Judge Walter Colbath told accused rapist Byron Bryant, 23, that he would not reduce his bail, thus making it likely that Bryant would have to stay in jail pending trial. Incredulous, Bryant threw a nearby book (a paperback copy of Presumed Innocent) at Colbath, who then cited him for contempt of court (worth five more months in jail). Bryant let out a stream of obscenities at Colbath, and the exchanges continued until Bryant was led from the courtroom with four more contempt citations.

Runo Cairenius, 51, retaliating against his wife in an October domestic dispute, rigged a cable to a hook embedded in concrete in his backyard and ripped the entire roof off his Brampton, Ontario, house.

In October Toronto police arrested a man who was reportedly obsessed with a woman who was preparing to marry another man. The spurned man drove a front-end loader to her house, scooped up several parked cars, and threw them against the walls and roof, causing 100,000 dollars' worth of damage before neighbors chased him away. Police overtook the man as he tried to make his getaway in the vehicle.

Police in Hastings, Minnesota, arrested George Andrew Myers, 28, for assaulting a 19-year-old female customer at his gas station in June. Police said he was miffed when she refused to allow him to check the oil in her car, and when she came inside to pay for her gasoline, he slugged her in the face and threatened to kill her.

Willie L. Morgan, 49, was charged with shooting his son, Kenneth, 30, in a duel at Willie's home in north Memphis in June. The two had argued heatedly over funeral arrangements for Willie's wife.

Compelling Explanations

In a November dispute over where the FBI had gotten Cable News Network's tapes of Manuel Noriega's telehone calls from jail, the FBI denied that it had misappropriated them without a warrant from an Omni Hotel room, claiming that the tapes had actually turned up in the hotel's lost-and-found office.

A Houston city council committee, writing regulations for strip joints and other adult businesses, hired researcher Gayle Beck to tell them, in detailed testimony, why women's breasts are different from men's breasts. Council member Dale Gorczynski, paraphrasing Beck, told reporters, "Exposing male breasts is not arousing to women in our country, but exposed female breasts are arousing to men." The city council wanted to prohibit bare female breasts but not bare male breasts and felt a need to protect itself from any charge of gender discrimination.

Police in Lebanon, Tennessee, recommended psychiatric observation for Richard Lee, 29, in August after he and his wife and three kids were found nude in a local park. According to police, the family car broke down, and Lee told his family they would be less conspicuous if they were nude.

When a Republican candidate for Texas agriculture commissioner tried to hurt his opponent in August by claiming that the Democrat had visited "Jane Fonda's home," columnist Molly Ivins asked how he knew that. GOP spokesman Rick Perry said the Democrat had visited "Los Angeles" several times, pointing out that he thought Los Angeles is where Jane Fonda lives.

In September a judge in Clearwater, Florida, released Carl Edward Anderson from jail, where he had been held since April on burglary and attempted rape charges, because the victim told police Anderson's penis (shown to her in photographs) does not resemble the penis of the man who raped her. Police said Anderson had confessed to the burglary and had a rap sheet 15 feet long. However, his urinary opening is said to be at the tip of the penis, not on the top, as the rapist's was.

Kevin Ford and Donald McNair were charged with various driving-related offenses in June in Buffalo, New York, after Ford's brother drove Ford's car up a telephone-pole guide wire, causing the car to flip over. Ford explained that he had been drinking and turned the keys over to his brother, who is blind but who "always wanted to drive."

A judge in Oakland County, Michigan, dismissed a drunk-driving charge against William Dale McDonald, who was found in April in a car parked on a snowy ski slope and who failed sobriety tests. However, the judge said he was influenced by the facts that no witness saw McDonald drive onto the slope and no tire tracks were found near his car.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): illustration/Shawn Belschwender.

Add a comment