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News of the Weird

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Lead Story

Joining the list of women who had no idea they were pregnant until they went into labor, in February 18-year-old Kayla Alire of Ojo Caliente, New Mexico, gave birth to a six-pound, four-ounce boy just hours after starting at point guard for the Mesa Vista High School girls' basketball team in its final game of the regular season.

Chutzpah!

Last fall Joshua Campbell was convicted of drunk driving but acquitted of second-degree murder in the death of Gary Davis, a police officer in Bloomfield, Michigan, who was leaving the scene of a traffic stop when Campbell crashed into his squad car. In April the now 23-year-old Campbell--who according to trial evidence was going 90 miles per hour and had a blood alcohol level more than twice the legal limit--sued the Bloomfield police department for damages, claiming Davis's bad driving caused the accident and that he had suffered humiliation, embarrassment, and anxiety as a result.

Family Values

Elizabeth Bragg, 23, of Huntington, Indiana, was sentenced in February to three years in prison after pleading guilty to neglect of a dependent. According to prosecutors, Bragg was taking five children on a car trip when she became angry with one of them, her four-year-old stepdaughter, for falling asleep despite being told not to. She reportedly ordered one of the other kids to unbuckle the offending girl's seat belt; after telling everyone else to hang on, Bragg sped up, then slammed on the brakes, causing the girl to hit her head.

More than two years after she allegedly left Arizona with her two children in violation of a joint-custody arrangement, 30-year-old Shellie White was arrested for kidnapping in March when she was found living with the kids, now eight and six, in Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina. According to a press release from the U.S. Marshals Service, White had assumed a number of male identities while on the run, including that of the children's father, and the kids reportedly asked arresting officers why their daddy was being taken away.

In March in Mont-de-Marsan, France, Christophe Fauviau was sentenced to eight years for manslaughter in the death of a tennis teacher who crashed his car after Fauviau drugged him. Fauviau admitted to spiking the drinks of at least 27 young tennis players (one was only 11) while they played matches against his children, 16-year-old Maxime and 13-year-old Valentine (who's ranked in the French top ten for her age group). And in the same month Dietrich Doerfler Jr. was arrested in Seminole County, Florida, for possession of child pornography; the next day Dietrich Sr. was arrested for tampering with evidence after he allegedly shredded his son's alleged child-porn collection.

The Thrill of Competition

In a grueling 14-hour session in March, Matt Robison, a 21-year-old tattoo-studio apprentice from Ottawa, Illinois, received 990 body piercings, giving him a total of 1,016 and the new world record. He said he'd planned to go for 1,200 but the pain was too intense (even the friend who was doing the piercing became physically ill at one point); afterward he had all but his original 26 piercings removed, a process he said was just as painful. Apparently optimistic even though the previous record of 1,015 had stood for only a few weeks before he broke it, Robison told the Peoria Journal Star, "At our 10-year class reunion, we can say we've got a world record in our name."

In March police in Savannah, Georgia, found 20-year-old Carlos Little wandering around naked; Little initially told them he'd been beaten and robbed, then said he'd been in a fight over a woman. Investigation turned up a witness, however, who said that Little had come from the nearby apartment of 23-year-old Sherman Robinson, where he'd bet Robinson $40 and his clothes that he was the better endowed. A comparison (allegedly in the presence of Robinson's children) proved him wrong, and following a scuffle Robinson threw Little out, then barricaded the doors.

David McGill, 30, won $50,000 for taking first place in the national rock-paper-scissors championships held by the USARPS League in Las Vegas in April. When McGill was asked after the five-hour tournament what sign he used for the prizewinning throw, he admitted, "It could have been a rock or a scissors. I'm sorry--I've been here since two in the afternoon."

Least Competent Criminals

The Daily Press of Victorville, California, reported in March on an unsuccessful attempt to burglarize a cell phone store. According to the store's owner, surveillance footage showed two men getting out of a car and trying to shoot out the lock on the door. The bullet ricocheted off the lock, however, and apparently struck the shooter in the chest without breaking the skin; he promptly threw up, got back in the car with his accomplice, and drove away.

Readers' Choice

Curtis Gokey filed a $3,600 claim against the city of Lodi, California, after his car was hit by a municipal dump truck; the suit was dismissed, according to a March report by the Associated Press, because Gokey, a municipal employee, was driving the truck at the time. Gokey's wife, Rhonda, then filed her own suit for $4,800, but the city attorney predicted that that one wouldn't fly either.

Adult-education teacher Robert Colla was hospitalized in Ventura, California, in April after he blew off part of his right hand while trying to smash a bug with the paperweight on his classroom desk. The paperweight was a 40-millimeter artillery shell that Colla had found years earlier and apparently assumed wasn't live.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): illusration/Chuck Shepherd.

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