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News of the Weird

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Lead Story

Billy Milligan, 37, was recently hired to direct a $3 million film based on the life of a serial rapist who plagued Columbus, Ohio, in the late 1970s and who is now in prison. Milligan has never directed before; his only qualifications for the job are that he was a serial rapist in the 1970s and assisted on location in the filming of Hollywood director James Cameron's adaptation of Milligan's life story, The Crowded Room. (Milligan was found not guilty by reason of insanity and served ten years in mental institutions until his 20 multiple personalities "integrated" into one.)

Police Blotter

Police in Des Moines, Washington, frustrated by their inability to convict prostitutes in sting operations unless sex actually occurred (police officers were prohibited from having sex with prostitutes), revealed in April that they had hired convicted rapist Robert Berdue, 29, to do the dirty work for them.

In Houma, Louisiana, in April police cited Velma Ann Wantlin, 28, for improper use of the 911 number after she called to report that her husband was preventing her from watching the season finale of Knots Landing.

On May 15 policeman Jon "Crash" Fehlman of Laguna Beach, California, was again injured on the job--this time suffering a broken leg when a motorist hit his parked patrol car while he was standing alongside, frisking a suspect. Since "Crash" joined the force in 1985 colleagues have accidentally collided with his car in a car-chase exercise and he has suffered bruised heels chasing a prowler; been hit by a ricocheting bullet during target practice; been rear-ended by a truck; had his patrol-car door slam on his knee (breaking the leg in two places); and suffered the effects of poison oak, smoke inhalation, and wrenched knees and elbows.

In March Shawn O'Neill, 42, was arrested in Escondido, California, and charged with robbing Hussar's Jewelers. He had already been convicted of twice robbing the store in January and was awaiting sentencing.

Jenny Soukup, 17, was charged with conspiracy to assist in a drive-by shooting in February in Russell, Kansas. While out on bail several hours later, she was crowned winter sports queen at Russell High School as a result of a vote that had been taken before the shooting incident.

In July New Orleans police arrested Donald Simmons, 53, and Cheryl Collins, 38, for breaking into parking meters. The police said that, according to videotaped evidence, the two would walk along a street and passionately embrace every few yards as a ruse. Each time they stopped, there was a parking meter between them. Simmons would open it with a key and then slip the money to Collins, who would put it into a bag under her skirt--all in about 12 seconds. A police officer said Simmons admitted to having practiced the scheme since 1985.

The Litigious Society

An Indiana appeals court ruled in April that the estate of a railroad employee was entitled to federal railway worker compensation payment because his death occurred in the line of duty. The employee was shot by a 13-year-old boy as he leaned out the window of his train to pass a note to a coworker that read, "Eat a bag of shit."

In April Emoke P. Adams, 53, filed a lawsuit in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, against neighbor Theresa Bartlett, for negligently spraying her with a garden hose. Adams asked for $25,000, citing "permanent" physical problems and emotional trauma resulting from the incident.

In March the families of murder victims Michael and Susan MacIvor went to court in Tavernier, Florida, over who would get Michael's estate. The crucial legal question at hand was which of the two had died first, since both were found bound and strangled in their home in 1991. If Michael died first, Susan's heirs would get his estate because she would have gotten it had she survived him. If Susan died first, Michael's estate would go to his family.

Shauna Raisch filed a lawsuit in July in Tampa, Florida, against the National Cosmetology Association, alleging that she was unfairly denied her rightful place on the 1992 U.S. Ladies' Hairstyling Team bound for the Cosmetology Olympics in Tokyo in October. Raisch claimed that after having been chosen for the team she was kicked off by her supervisor because she was 20 minutes late to a meeting.

The Weirdo-American Community

Joseph J. Kim, a physician on the staff of the University Hospital in Columbia, Missouri, was charged in May with sexual assault against at least two female patients whom he told he was "preparing for surgery." He told one that, to prepare her to breathe properly during the operation, he had to blindfold her and insert four objects down her throat. The third object allegedly was his penis.

Least Competent Person

In June Ronald Sturkes was charged in Hicksville, New York, with irregularities in taking his driver's license test. After making himself well-known to motor-vehicle-department employees by protesting his failure on the driving portion of the test, Sturkes--27 years old and white--allegedly arranged for a 55-year-old black man to impersonate him in taking the written test.

The Diminishing Value of Life

In Cleveland in April Henrietta Page, 46, was charged with stabbing her husband to death as a result of an argument about whether the dog could sit on the couch.

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

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