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News of the Weird

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Lead Story

James M. Jernigan, 30, was arrested in Folly Beach, South Carolina, in April outside the church where Teresa Parker was being married. Jernigan, described as infatuated with Parker, was creating a scene in an attempt to prevent the marriage, brandishing a toy pistol and wearing a big cowboy hat, white cape, and black mask.

Compelling Explanations

Albert Ducharme, 58, was convicted of bigamy in Winnipeg in May. Police discovered his two wives when called to rescue Ducharme, a double amputee, from his locked bathroom. He explained that his wife of 16 years, Geraldine, had threatened to leave him unless he also married her lesbian lover, Mary-Lou, so that Geraldine could be "a wife for me and a husband for [Mary-Lou]."

James L. Bowman, 43, pleaded guilty in Delaware, Ohio, in May to having bilked an elderly woman out of $90,000. Asked why he committed the crime, Bowman told the judge, "I feel I have a need to buy things. I don't know why I buy."

Edward J. Rodgers Jr., a Denver expert on the effects of child abuse, is preparing for trial on charges that he abused his own children. He said in a deposition: "I know that I wasn't the best father in the world. I was anxious to learn about [improving] and to teach others what I have learned about it."

Convicted Kansas City serial killer Robert Berdella recently refused to answer lawyers' questions in a civil suit brought by the families of some of his torture victims because he says that answering the questions would cause him emotional distress.

From a Washington Post report on a June rally protesting the abuse of animals in science experiments: An opponent of the rally said, "I'm sorry, but if I had to choose between the life of a human and a rat, I am going to take the human." A rally supporter replied, "That's your choice. I think they are both equal."

A 34-year-old Saint Paul woman was arrested recently for slugging her husband with a cordless telephone because, she said, he had fallen asleep during church earlier in the day.

John Milton Park, 31, pleading guilty to bank robbery in Salt Lake City in May, said he did it to improve his chances of getting treatment for alcoholism. A veteran of many "short-term" programs, he said he had heard good things about the long-term program in the federal penal system.

A Cairo newspaper reported in April that Mohammed el Mahdi Essa, 38, was arrested in a sting operation for selling his three-year-old son, to raise about $700 to buy a videocassette recorder. Essa told police he was forced to sell his son because he is too honest to steal.

Creme de la Weird

John Fairman, director of the Denver Department of Health and Hospitals, called reporters into his office in May, apparently solely to tell them that he had passed out on the job once 18 months ago after "forgetting" to eat for several days. When stunned reporters began asking for details, the press conference was abruptly terminated.

Ramon Ruiz, 26, was charged with animal cruelty in April when Los Angeles police saw him walking in the street, wearing, apparently as jewelry, an 18-inch pink string around his neck with a live hummingbird tied to it.

Anthony J. Hunt, 29, was found unconscious in May in an outhouse near Durango, Colorado, buried to his neck in sewage and suffering from hypothermia. Said a sheriff's spokesperson: "We're not ruling out foul play. We're not ruling out an accident. We're not ruling out anything."

Odds and Ends (Mostly Odds)

Tien Lui, one of the inventors of Play-Doh, died in Cincinnati in December, the same day an Associated Press story ran nationwide on how University of Cincinnati law students opened a toy room in the library to help them burn off stress. "We go through a lot of Play-Doh," a library official said, explaining that students prefer the stuff to both puzzles and coloring books.

Fisher-Price recently named as presidents of the firm David Fisher and Paul Price, neither of whom is related to the Fisher and Price who founded the firm in 1930.

In January, Bruce Behner beat Robert Spencer for a seat on the Goshen (Ohio) Township board of trustees on a coin toss after the two tied in votes. Four years ago, Behner also beat Spencer on a coin toss.

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

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