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  • John 10:54 am on April 30, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: evidence, true crime   

    Forensics & Criminal Cases 

    I found this neat graphic on Pinterest, which is a pretty cool app for crime & music history, old photos etc … I used to think Pinterest was only for products and household stuff my sister wanted to buy.

     
  • John 8:46 am on August 7, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: pacino, , sex change, true crime   

    Dog Day Afternoon – The Sex Change Love Story 

    John Wojtowicz and Sal Naturile were involved in the true story of a daring daytime bank robbery in Brooklyn, for which the film Dog Day Afternoon was based.

    Introduction

    On August 22, 1972, Wojtowicz, along with Salvatore Naturile and Robert Westenberg, attempted to rob a branch of the Chase Manhattan bank on the corner of East Third Street and Avenue P in Gravesend, Brooklyn. Wojtowicz and Naturile held seven Chase Manhattan bank employees hostage for 14 hours. Westernberg fled the scene before the robbery was underway when he saw a police car on the street. Wojtowicz, a former bank teller, had some knowledge of bank operations. However, he apparently based his plan on scenes from the movie The Godfather, which he had seen earlier that day. Ironically, Al Pacino, star of The Godfather, would later go on to portray Wojtowicz in Dog Day Afternoon. The robbers became media celebrities. Wojtowicz was arrested, but Naturile was killed by the FBI during the final moments of the incident.

    When entering the limo to be chauffeured to the John F. Kennedy International Airport in South Ozone Park, Queens, Wojtowicz told Naturile to sit with bank employee Shirley Ball and another co-worker in the third row, while the others sat in the fourth, reserving the fifth row for himself and the two remaining hostages. There was a .38 caliber handgun hidden in the front seat of the limousine that John missed when searching the limo upon first arriving at the bank. FBI Special Agent Fred Fehl positioned himself on the driver’s side of the limo next to the open window closest to Salvatore, who sat between two hostages in the third row. FBI Special Agent Dick Baker took up a position on the right side of the car closest to John, who was still situated in the rear seat. NYPD Police Chief of Detectives Louis C. Cottell, who headed the negotiations during the initial standoff, stayed 15 feet away from the rear of the limo.

    When everyone prepared for the final standoff, the Hansa Jet rolled out onto the tarmac where they sat in the limo. Baker asked a police officer identified only as “Murphy” to ask whether the group wanted any food on the flight. He took advantage of this opportunity to assess the threat Salvatore and John posed, from where they were situated in the vehicle. Baker grabbed the handgun with his left hand and ordered the two men to “freeze”. Simultaneously, he wrestled with the barrel of Naturile’s shotgun, knocking it toward the ceiling and shooting him in the head point blank. Naturile slumped in the seat, mortally wounded. He was rushed to the hospital by an ambulance that was waiting at the scene but was pronounced dead on arrival.

    He Did It For Love

    The heist was meant to pay for John’s gay lover’s sex reassignment surgery.

    Years before the famous robbery, John met Ernest Aron (later to be known as Elizabeth Eden) in 1971 at an Italian feast in New York City. The two were married on December 4, 1971, in Greenwich Village.

    The first gay marriage? Liz was “pre-op” here. Wedding was not to be recognized, as John was already married to his wife.

    Elizabeth Debbie “Liz” Eden (born Ernest Aron, August 19, 1946 – September 29, 1987) was an American transsexual woman whose boyfriend John Wojtowicz attempted to rob a bank to pay for her sex reassignment surgery. The incident was made into the 1975 film Dog Day Afternoon. The character Leon Shermer (played by Chris Sarandon) is loosely based on her.

    John negotiating during the actual robbery. Al Pacino? Great casting!

    Eden, then known as Ernest Aron, and Wojtowicz were married on December 4, 1971 in Greenwich Village. At the time of Wojtowicz’s attempted robbery of a Chase Manhattan bank branch in Brooklyn, New York, on August 22, 1972, she was in a psychiatric institution, following a series of suicide attempts. Eden was not previously aware of his plans.

    After the failed heist, Wojtowicz was sentenced to 20 years, although he was released in April 1987; while imprisoned, he sold the movie rights to the story for $7,500 and subsequently was able to help finance Eden’s sex reassignment surgery.

    Eden, born in Ozone Park, Queens, died of pneumonia resulting from AIDS in Rochester, New York. Her personal papers and photographs were donated posthumously to the National Archive of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender History at the Lesbian Gay Bisexual & Transgender Community Center on June 14, 1990.

    The actual bank in Gravesend, Brooklyn, NY

    Sources:

    Flatbush Pigeon. http://flatbushpigeon.blogspot.com/2008/05/featured-brooklynite-of-week-john.html

    Wikipedia

     
    • gayle 12:31 pm on December 8, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      It’s no surprise that you wrote something on this. You cover everything cool and unusual. Coincidentally I just watched a new documentary on this last night called ‘Dog’ that was released last year. It contained mostly old film footage, but was very good. It included some funny interviews with Wojtowicz and good interviews with his first wife, mother and lover he met in jail. I’ve been interested in this story for years, my parents took me to see it in the theatre when i was a kid, strange I know!! It’s such a crazy story.

  • John 8:47 am on August 3, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: changeling, chicken coop, , , true crime, wineville   

    The Wineville Chicken Coop Murders 

    The Wineville Chicken Coop Murders – were a series of kidnappings and murders of young boys occurring in Los Angeles and Riverside County, California, in 1928. The case received national attention. The 2008 film Changeling is based in part upon events related to this case.

    Walter Collins

    In 1926, Saskatchewan-born ranch owner Gordon Stewart Northcott took his 13-year-old nephew, Sanford Clark (with the permission of Sanford’s parents), from his home in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada. Once in California, Northcott beat and sexually abused his nephew.

    Sanford’s sister, Jessie Clark, visited Sanford in Wineville concerned for his welfare. Once in Wineville, Sanford told her that he feared for his own life and one night while Gordon Northcott slept, Jessie learned from Sanford about the horrors and murders that had taken place at Wineville. Jessie returned to Canada in the next week or so.

    Once in Canada, she informed the American Consul in Canada about the horrors in Wineville. The American consul then wrote a letter to the Los Angeles Police Department, detailing Jessie Clark’s sworn complaint. As initially there was some concern over an immigration issue, the Los Angeles Police Department contacted the United States Immigration Service to determine the extent of the complaint from Jessie. On August 31, 1928, the United States Immigration Service (inspectors; Judson F. Shaw and Inspector Scallorn) visited the Northcott Ranch in Wineville. The Immigration Service found 15-year-old Sanford Clark at the ranch and took him into custody. Gordon Northcott had fled through the fields when he saw the agents driving up the long road to his ranch. Gordon told Sanford to stall the agents, or he would shoot Sanford from the treeline with a rifle. In the 2 hours that Sanford stalled for Gordon, Gordon had kept running, and finally when Sanford felt that the agents could protect him, he told them that Gordon had fled into the trees that lined the edge of Gordon’s chicken-ranch property.

    Sanford Clark testified at the sentencing of Sarah Louise Northcott (his grandmother) that Gordon Northcott (his uncle) had kidnapped, molested, beaten, and killed three young boys with the help of Northcott’s mother, Sarah Louise Northcott, and Sanford himself. In addition to the three young boys murdered, Sanford stated that Northcott had also killed a Mexican youth (never identified, but referred to in the case as the “Headless Mexican”), without the involvement of his mother or Sanford. Gordon Northcott had forced Sanford to help dispose of the “head” (of the Mexican youth) by burning it in a firepit and then crushing the skull into pieces with a fence post. Gordon stated that “he had left the headless body by the side of the road near Puente (La Puente, California), because he had no other place to put it.”

    House and chicken coop on the property

    The Northcotts fled to Canada and were arrested near Vernon, British Columbia.

    Police found no complete bodies, but they discovered personal effects of the three children reported missing, a blood-stained axe, and partial body parts, including bones, hair and fingers, from the three victims buried in lime near the chicken house at the Northcott ranch near Wineville – hence the name “Wineville Chicken Coop Murders”. Wineville changed its name to Mira Loma on November 1, 1930, due in large part to the negative publicity surrounding the murders. The new City of Eastvale, California took parts of the area of Mira Loma in 2010 and the new city of Jurupa Valley took parts of Mira Loma in 2011.  Wineville Avenue, Wineville Road, Wineville Park and other geographic references provide reminders of the community’s former name. Sanford Clark returned to Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. City of Saskatoon records indicate that Sanford Wesley Clark died on June 20, 1991 and was buried in the Saskatoon Woodlawn Cemetery on August 26, 1993.

    Son (left) and Mom -or is it his Grandma?- (right) on trial. Old photos always make it even creepier! Am I right?

     

    Canadian police arrested Gordon Stewart Northcott and his mother on September 19, 1928. Due to errors in the extradition paperwork, they were not returned to Los Angeles until November 30, 1928. During the time period that Sarah and Gordon Northcott were being held in Canada, awaiting extradition back to California, Sarah Louise Northcott confessed to the murders, including that of nine-year-old Walter Collins. Prior to being extradited to California, Sarah Northcott retracted her statement, as did Gordon Northcott, who had confessed to killing more than five boys.

    Once Sarah Louise Northcott and her son, Gordon Northcott, were extradited from Canada to California, Sarah Louise Northcott, once again, pled guilty to killing Walter Collins. There was no trial. Upon her plea of guilty, Superior Court Judge Morton sentenced her to life imprisonment on December 31, 1928, sparing her the death penalty because she was a woman. Sarah Louise Northcott served her sentence at Tehachapi State Prison, and was paroled after fewer than 12 years. During her sentencing, Sarah Louise claimed her son was innocent and made a variety of bizarre claims about his parentage, including that he was an illegitimate son by an English nobleman, that she was Gordon’s grandmother, and that he was the result of incest between her husband, George Cyrus Northcott, and their daughter. She also stated that as a child, Gordon was sexually abused by the entire family. Sarah Louise Northcott died in 1944.

    Gordon Northcott was implicated and participated in the murder of Walter Collins, but because his mother had already confessed and been sentenced for the murder of Walter, the state chose not to bring any charges against Gordon in the death of Walter Collins. It was speculated that Gordon may have had as many as 20 victims, but the State of California could not produce evidence to support that speculation, and ultimately only brought an indictment against Gordon in the murder of an unidentified Mexican boy known as the “Headless Mexican” and brothers Lewis and Nelson Winslow (aged 12 and 10, respectively). The brothers had been reported missing from Pomona on May 16, 1928.

    In early 1929, Gordon Northcott’s trial was held before Judge George R. Freeman in Riverside County, California. The jury heard that he kidnapped, molested, tortured, and murdered the Winslow brothers and the “Headless Mexican” in 1928. On February 8, 1929, the 27-day trial ended with Gordon Northcott convicted of the murders.

    On February 13, 1929, Freeman sentenced Gordon Northcott to death, and he was hanged on October 2, 1930, at San Quentin State Prison.

    Gordon, looking creepy as hell. Due to claims of incest, his sister was his mother and his mother was actually his grandmother. Now that is strange and bizarre.

    Further Reading:

    Wikipedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wineville_Chicken_Coop_Murders.

     

     
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