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News of the Weird

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At a high school basketball game in February, Oklahoma City police officer Eldridge Wyatt became dissatisfied that no fouls were being called on number 21 and walked onto the court to point out the player's elbowing to the referees. When referee Stan Guffey told Wyatt to leave the officiating to him, Wyatt arrested Guffey. Guffey was unarrested a few minutes later so that the game could continue, but when a reporter asked Wyatt after the game what had happened, Wyatt tried to arrest him too.

Questionable Judgments

Marvin Johnson was sentenced in June to 80 years in prison by a judge in West Palm Beach, Florida, for burglary and other charges, but with 75 of those years suspended provided that he get in no more trouble. Johnson then asked for and was granted (against the better judgment of his lawyer) a three-day leave before he started serving time. He was not heard from until picked up by police eight days later on an auto-theft charge.

Lynne F. Herron, 33, was hired recently as a municipal bus driver in Cleveland by the Regional Transit Authority. She had just been fired as a municipal train driver after she caused an accident that injured 14 people by deliberately disengaging a safety system. The city's labor contract requires that anyone fired for a train accident be rehired as a bus driver.

Bruce A. Walker, 18, is so well known among some police officers in Little Rock, Arkansas, for his bright orange hair that when the clerk at a Circle K store recently reported he had been robbed of money and beer by a man with bright orange hair, police went straight to Walker's home and found enough evidence to arrest him.

A urologist in West Chester, Pennsylvania, reported in an issue of Medical Aspects of Human Sexuality last year that a man had checked himself into an emergency room with pain resulting from a swollen and apparently lacerated scrotum. Days after the doctor treated his condition, the man confided that he had been masturbating by holding his penis against the canvas drive-belt of a piece of machinery at work during his lunch hour when, as he approached orgasm, he leaned too close and suffered an industrial accident. He then used a heavy-duty stapling gun to close his wound.

Motorcyclist David Gripon was injured in a collision near Escondido, California, in July when he lost control of his bike on Interstate 15. Gripon had come up alongside a car with bare feet sticking out of the passenger window, reached out to tickle them, and run into the car in front of him.

Steward Menefee, a government prosecutor in Montesano, Washington, announced in November that he would not seek a tougher penalty against convicted murderer Lee Baca because the required "aggravated circumstances" were not present. Baca had gouged his victim's eyes with a screwdriver, stabbed her to death, and drunk her blood.

Malaysian deputy interior minister Megat Junid Ayob told an antidrug conference in January in Kuala Lumpur that shortages in heroin and cannabis have caused some addicts to get high by sniffing fresh cow dung. Users put a coconut shell over the patty, with a hole at the top for sniffing.

According to a New York Daily News story, a customer in a New York City supermarket recently became upset that another woman was abusing the maximum limit for items at an express checkout line and precipitated a loud argument, which culminated with the angry woman shouting at the woman abusing the express line, "I spit into your groceries." The alleged abuser was the wife of reputed mobster John Gotti. Victoria Gotti said she "used connections" to trace the woman's license plate, went to the woman's home, and dumped a box of dog feces on her.

In December, Washington State Reformatory officials admitted they had erred in obliging a 53-year-old inmate's request to work in the prison's printing plant. He was serving time for forgery, and during a routine inspection of his quarters officials uncovered forged birth certificates, marriage licenses, and a paycheck stub. An official said the prison tries to get inmates jobs "based on their interests."

Least Competent Person

Prison escapee James Sanders was captured by federal agents at his home in Stinnett, Texas, in January after 17 years on the lam during which he had established a new life, married, and fathered a daughter. Agents were tipped off when Sanders, out of curiosity, telephoned the FBI to ask whether they were still pursuing James Sanders.

The Diminishing Value of Life

In February, Marc Cienkowski, 26, confessed to the murder last July of his friend Michael Klucznik, 31, in Doylestown Borough, Pennsylvania, after a dispute over a game of Monopoly. Cienkowski shot Klucznik through the heart, using a bow and arrow. According to the district attorney, "[Cienkowski] wanted to be the car rather than the thimble or the hat."

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

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