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News of the Weird



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In July police in Willoughby, Ohio, arrested Jamie V. Bradshaw, 23, for breaking and entering, confiscating more than 450 items of women's underwear from his car and home, all stolen, according to police, from the laundry rooms at ten apartment complexes over the past two years. Bradshaw is from nearby Painesville, population 15,000, where two years ago another man was convicted of stealing men's underwear and, in one instance, of cutting the briefs off a sleeping man.

Courtroom Antics

In June in London, lawyers for convicted murderer Stephen Young filed an appeal after learning from one juror that three other jurors had conducted a Ouija board seance during deliberations and "contacted" the dead man, who named Young as his killer.

In April 21-year-old Rodney Williams appeared in the courtroom of Judge Robert Altenhof in Kelso, Washington, to explain why he had missed his court date on an assault charge. Fearing that the judge might not believe his excuse--his mother's recent fatal illness--Williams brought his mother's ashes with him in a plastic box and offered them to the judge to examine. Said Altenhof, "You think you've heard it all, but somebody always comes up with something new."

Late last year in Bangladesh, 60-year-old Falu Mia was released from prison after 21 years. He had been locked up before his trial for theft in 1972, when he was found not guilty, but a lethargic bureaucracy failed to release him. He recently filed a lawsuit against the government for 21 years' back wages (about $26,000).

In June a judge in Thousand Oaks, California, dismissed a request by neighbors for an injunction against Kathleen Adams, who they said lures squirrels to her home with food, creating a nuisance. Adams claims the area is populated with squirrels anyway and that she doesn't need to lure them. The neighbors' evidence included the "Squirrels Welcome" signs Adams posts in her yard, but the judge said he found the signs unpersuasive in that he doubted the squirrels could read them.

In December a federal court in San Francisco ruled against former Doobie Brothers drummer John Hartman in an employment discrimination lawsuit he filed after he was fired from the Petaluma, California, police force. Hartman claimed that because of his drug use in the early 70s he qualified as "disabled" under the Americans With Disabilities Act, but the judge ruled that Hartman had failed to prove he had done enough drugs to be considered disabled.

Apparently weary of family bickering in the federal bankruptcy case of Judith Herskowitz, Florida judge Jay Cristol ordered Herskowitz in March to "obtain and mail to" her sister Susan Charney, at least five days before Charney's next birthday, a card that reads "Happy Birthday, Sister" and contains Ms. Herskowitz's signature. Further, Cristol ordered that "the card shall not contain any negative, inflammatory, or unkind remarks."

In July, Ontario judge Lee Ferrier upheld the 1991 firing of Sharon Bagnall, 52, by Calvin Klein Canada, where she worked as a cologne demonstrator. The judge said he was persuaded by witnesses for the company, who testified that Bagnall had a "personal hygiene problem" and smelled like an "armpit."

People Unclear on the Concept

In July 35-year-old Dean Freeman, a clinical psychiatrist at the University of California at San Francisco, was arrested and charged with attempted murder after he reportedly attacked a patient with a knife and an ax, inflicting at least ten wounds.

The Massachusetts Division of Medical Assistance revealed in March that it had spent almost $50,000 in 1993 on fertility drugs for 260 people, including about 80 welfare mothers, two of whom already had eight children each.

In July 26-year-old Lisa Evans told reporters she had been fired from an adult entertainment club in Edmonton, Alberta, where she worked in a nude peep show "fantasy booth," and that she planned to file a complaint with the Human Rights Commission. Evans weighs 270 pounds, and management said customers had complained that she was difficult to fantasize about.

Health officials in Calgary, Alberta, who inspected a pizzeria there in December refused to close it down even though they discovered a dungeonlike "trick pad," a catacomb of rooms littered with sex magazines, liquor bottles, and used condoms where teenage girls were forced to work as prostitutes. "There is no reason to be concerned about the food being served," said Dr. Paul Hasselback. According to Hasselback, police business and health business are separate matters.

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

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