At a January hearing in LaCrosse, Wis., child-molester Ellef J. Ellefson, 95, was ordered to remain confined beyond his sentence because experts said he was still incorrigible. Mr. Deo Dubbs, 88, was sentenced to probation-only in April in Sarasota, Fla., for buying crack cocaine, which he said gives him "pep." In April, first-time arrestee Ruth A. Goelz, 81, was charged in Hollywood, Fla., with running a $200,000 Ponzi scheme. Retiree Charles John Swanson, 71, was arrested in January for two armed bank robberies, allegedly committed because he was having trouble affording his rent in Palo Alto, Calif.
Sang Lee, the owner of a custom slaughterhouse near Minneapolis-St. Paul that serves the Hmong-American community (and speaking to a St. Paul Pioneer Press reporter in January concerning complaints about heavy slaughterhouse traffic): "We (Hmongs, natives of Laos and Thailand) have a complex culture, and we have to sacrifice animals a lot."
Learning to Kill Before They Learn to Shave
In February, an 8-year-old boy, coming to his mother's aid, stabbed her abusive boyfriend to death in Coker Creek, Tenn. And in an Islamic public execution in Kandahar, Afghanistan, in February, a 10-year-old boy, now the eldest male in the family, took a rifle and did the honors to the man who had killed his father. And in Dover Township, N.J., in March, a 10-year-old boy argued with his father over missing chocolate icing and then, when the father sarcastically suggested the kid just take a knife and kill him, the kid complied.
In the five years since Bill Davis made News of the Weird by settling his 20-year dispute with Rhode Island over the pile of 10 million used tires (he says it's 30 million) on his property in Smithfield, contractors have gradually removed 4 million tires, at 79 cents each, and sold them as fuel. Federal and state officials still believe that a fire on the land would cause catastrophic environmental damage to Narragansett Bay, in that each melted tire would release about a quart and a half of oil. (A similar fire in Westley, Calif., in September burned for a month.)
Least Competent Criminals
Ill-Conceived Crimes: In Biloxi, Miss., in January, Ronald Dean Cherry, 52, was arrested after he called the Treasure Bay Casino and threatened to start shooting their customers unless the company delivered $100,000 within two hours to his home (address helpfully provided by Cherry). And Ronald Keith Graham, 45, was arrested in Des Moines, Iowa, in February and charged with burglary; according to police, he had stolen a TV set but rather than try to sell it to one of Des Moines' other 200,000 residents, he invited its former owners to his apartment, where he offered to sell it back to them for $150 and even suggested an easy payment plan.
Also, in the Last Month ...
A 26-year-old woman started an agency to say prayers for people too busy to say their own (at $1.50 a day and up) (Milan, Italy). A woman was convicted of arranging for her lover to get a penile implant using her estranged husband's health insurance (New York City). A 20-year-old, brand-new mother was arrested in Cedar Rapids, Iowa; she had allegedly dealt $650 worth of cocaine from her room in the maternity ward. An Israeli rabbinical council authorized three tons of bread for starving Ethiopians but, because it was Passover week, was forced to send only religiously correct but notoriously hard-to-digest unleavened bread. The Centers for Disease Control estimated that a 20-cent tax increase on a six-pack of beer would reduce gonorrhea in young adults by 9 percent.
COPYRIGHT 2000 CHUCK SHEPHERD