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News of the Weird

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Lead Story

According to police in Salt Lake City, a 27-year-old woman called 911 in May because her husband refused to have sex with her. By the time police arrived, the nearly nude woman had begun beating her husband, who attributed his lack of desire to an exciting Utah Jazz basketball game on TV.

Well Put

Steven L. Johnson, 40, sentenced to two years in prison in Brookings, South Dakota, in April for drunk driving, explained to the judge, "I enjoyed drinking while driving. It's one of the most pleasurable habits I've had."

Harvard University and McLean Hospital of Belmont, Massachusetts, have established a center to analyze tissue from the brains of mentally ill people who have died. However, physicians have had trouble getting mentally ill patients to agree to donate their brains. Asked one physician, "How do you ask someone who thinks their brain is under the control of radio waves from Mars?"

Dr. June Stephenson titled her new book on crime as an essentially male pursuit (with a price to society of $300 billion a year) Men Are Not Cost Effective.

Charles Carothers, a high school band director in Coshocton, Ohio, denied allegations that he sat two female students on his lap and fondled them, saying "I don't allow anyone to sit on my lap unless it's my daughter or my wife."

John Hurst was taken to a mental health center after he was discovered propping up a ladder to the second floor of the Kennedy estate in Palm Beach last August. He had said, "I'm looking for my wife. I think she may be up there."

When John F. Thanos was found guilty in March of a 1990 murder, the judge asked whether he would prefer the death penalty or "life in prison without the possibility of parole." Thanos replied that he'd take the "life in prison with the possibility of escape." The judge gave him the death penalty.

Parents From Hell

Donna Clark, 26, and Paul Kramer, 31, faced various charges in Merchantville, New Jersey, in April after Clark allegedly grabbed $216 worth of film and walked out of a drugstore. The couple's names were provided by their six-year-old son, who was left behind in the store as they made their getaway.

According to police in Knoxville, Tennessee, in February 36-year-old Bobby Rose tried to avoid arrest for a traffic violation by throwing his two-year-old child at the officers' feet in order to slow them down while he made his getaway.

Georgia state representative Henrietta Canty went on a hunger strike in February to protest the arrest of her son, who was jailed for failing to make court-ordered child-support payments.

Tammie Guthrie, 28, was indicted in February for manslaughter in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Police said that her one-year-old child drowned in a bathtub in December while she was in an adjacent room having sex with a 15-year-old boy.

Creme de la Weird

Milwaukee mayoral candidate Gregory Gracz, president of the local fire fighters' union, was accused in March of exposing himself to Melissa Fojtik, a young female fire fighter, at a convention in June 1990. Gracz denied the charge, but Fojtik staked her credibility on her knowledge that Gracz has a distinctive mole on his penis. Fojtik also said that one of Gracz's colleagues told her that they were "musketeers" and that he, Gracz, and others had "crossed penises" in a show of solidarity.

Least Competent Person

At the police station in Clermont, Florida, David Thomas Solomon, 35, was filing charges against his wife for hitting him when he allegedly became fixated on a bag of marijuana (that had been confiscated in another case) on Detective Danny Cheatham's desk. Cheatham said that Solomon had "literally begged me for it and stated he wouldn't tell nobody where he got it." Cheatham then set up a hidden microphone in another room, where he sold the drugs to Solomon for six bucks, and then arrested him.

The Diminishing Value of Life

Paul Arbitelle, 17, was charged with the attempted murder of his mother in Danbury, Connecticut, in February. He allegedly threw a hatchet at her because she had failed to properly toast the bagel for the sandwich she was making for him.

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

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