Woman Killed Her Own Hit Man but Now Fears Ex-Husband’s Release

blogpostI like reading stories about strong women who fight for justice, whether it is in their own lives or behalf of those around them. In fact, such depictions are so important to me that I created protagonist Emily Stone, a woman who acts as a vigilante crime solver in her efforts to rid communities of the most heinous criminals, to star in a series of my novels.

For this reason, I am captured by the story of Susan Walters, an emergency room nurse who came home from work one day in 2006 to find a man waiting to kill her with a hammer. Despite being struck in the head, Walters fought back, eventually gaining control of the hammer and the upper hand on her assailant. As she had her hands around his neck, she offered him the opportunity to save his life by telling her why he had been sent to kill her. He declined. As she shared in a recent interview, “I didn’t choose my attacker’s death for him. I chose my life.”

As it turns out, she did not need the confession of her attacker, later identified as Edward Haffey. Authorities were able to determine that Walters own husband, Michael Kuhnhausen, had paid Haffey $50,000 to kill his wife. Apparently Kuhnhausen was not pleased with Walters’ decision to seek a divorce after seventeen years of marriage.

Walters agreed to a plea deal that put her estranged husband in jail for ten years, but he now is preparing for release after only eight years due to good behavior. Walters is understandably nervous about Kuhnhausen’s imminent return to society and is speaking out in hopes that authorities will put measures in place to protect her should Kuhnhausen decide to finish the job that he started.

Susan Walters showed great courage and calm resolve, both when fighting for her life and again when facing her ex-husband in court. I hope that she is granted the sense of security that will allow her to live without constant fear.

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Check out the Award-winning EMILY STONE THRILLER SERIES available at Amazon, Amazon UK, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Sony, iTunes, Smashwords, and most online and book retailers.

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DeadBurn_Gold_Action_covRecent Reviews of DEAD BURN:

“Fast paced, leave no stone unturned and the story is equivalent to the caliber of Vince Flynn reads. “

“Author Jennifer Chase knocks the ball right out of the park with this story. Reminiscent of Daniel Silva reads the author creates a powerful story that twists and turns – keeping me white knuckled more than once.”

“I really enjoyed this book. It has all the ingredients of a good suspense, mystery story, and it’s well written. “

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Man Who Allegedly Murdered His Family Nearly Forty Years Ago is Newest Addition to Most Wanted List

blogpostIt is a cold case that is filled with horrific acts of brutality, clues left in multiple states, and a possible element of international mystery. And, the FBI is hoping that by highlighting its suspect on the Ten Most Wanted list, a murderer who has remained free for nearly forty years finally will be brought to justice.

William Bradford Bishop is wanted by the Montgomery County Police Department in Maryland for the murder of five of his family members. He allegedly left work early one day and, after stopping at the local mall to make purchases including a gas can and metal mallet, headed home to kill his wife, his three sons and his mother. It is believed that Bishop then loaded the bodies into the family’s station wagon and drove to North Carolina. The five bodies were found by a park ranger burning in a shallow grave.

While Bishop’s vehicle eventually was found at the Great Smokey Mountains National Park in Tennessee, the man himself has so far evaded capture. With his background working for both the State Department and CIA, Bishop is fluent in five languages and easily could make himself comfortable in another country.

As was noted in an article on The Huffington Post about this decision to add Bishop to the list, more than ninety percent of the 501 people who have been placed on the Most Wanted list since its inception have been found. One of the D.C. news stations interviewed a police officer, Sheriff Darren Popkin, who has spent nearly his entire career on this case, and who is still haunted by images of the bloody crime scene. For his sake, and for the sake of the woman and three young boys who were murdered, I hope that this decision by the FBI has its intended results.

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Assessing the Psychopath

blogpostHave you ever gotten frustrated with someone’s indifferent reaction or maybe even the harmful way one person treated another and thought, “That person is a psychopath!” Merriam Webster defines “psychopath” as “a person who is mentally ill, who does not care about other people, and who is usually dangerous or violent; a person affected with antisocial personality disorder.” According to an assessment by Dr. Robert Hare, a criminal psychologist, more of us may fall somewhere on this spectrum than we would like to admit.

Hare developed the PCL-R, which looks at twenty characteristics and scores individuals based on if each characteristic partially of fully applies to them. The highest possible score is 40, with a score of at least 30 qualifying for the diagnosis of psychopathy. Some of the traits include; grandiose sense of self-worth, impulsivity, emotional shallowness, juvenile delinquency, and promiscuous sexual behavior. Most of the men and women who earn at least some scoring on this test function well at work and in relationships, even using their personality as an advantage in fields like business, sports and the military.

I strongly recommend you read the entire article written for The Telegraph by writer Tom Chivers highlighting this assessment and some of the recent conversations about its use. The piece includes an interview with neuroscientist James Fallon, who recognized his own psychopathic traits following a review of his brain scan, an encounter that Chivers describes as a “strange experience.” Chivers also looks into legal and medical analysis of what should be done with the knowledge that a person has psychopathic tendencies. How do we best protect innocent people who may become victims of these individuals without violating a person’s rights just because his brain may be wired to a certain disposition?

With so much about the brain still unknown even to top experts, every glimpse into that most complicated of organs is fascinating.

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Following the Clues of Forensic Anthropology

Originally posted on Author Jennifer Chase:

One of the more interesting aspects of forensic science, at least for me, is the study of forensic anthropology.  It entails the analysis of human skeletal remains that is within the context of a legal investigation. 

During my academic studies, I took forensic anthropology as one of the requirements for my bachelor’s degree in police forensics.  I thoroughly enjoyed the class and it made me view skeletal remains in more of a scientific way.  I was surprised how I learned to establish the gender of a skeleton from major bones, such as the femur, cranium, mandible, and pelvis.    

In both of my novels, Compulsion and Dead Game, the heroine Emily Stone unearths human remains in some of her investigations.  In a few different chapters of both books, Emily tracks down the serial killer and the rural burial grounds of the victims.  She uses her ingenuity and experience to carefully…

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Former Homicide Detective Shares How He Got Criminals to Talk

Law and Order: SVU

Law and Order: SVU

It is always exciting to come upon an article about someone whose career offers me insight and inspiration as I constantly strive to learn more about criminal psychology and use that knowledge to be a better writer. For this reason, the CNN piece and accompanying documentary featuring retired Miami homicide detective Marshall Frank was perfect for me.

Since retiring from the force nearly a quarter of a century ago, after thirty years of service, Frank has been researching and writing crime novels. You know I love that! What a wonderful perspective he offers to the genre! He also has been sharing some of what he learned while trying to get confessions out of the most dangerous killers in Florida. His number one piece of advice? Make friends.

Frank says it is important to remember that the typical television scene depicting a barren, darkened room with multiple police officers tag teaming their efforts of yelling in an accused’s face is not what happens in real life. Frank, who had a highly successful and accurate career in reading the language and behavior of criminals in determining their guilt, shares that a detective must take the time needed to build up trust and get the person sitting across from him to want to tell his story.

In the article I read, Marshall Frank details some of his other encounters with violent and sick members of his community and explains the reversal he has taken on the death penalty. He no longer believes it to be a just punishment, and credits the research he has done for his books as bringing about the change in his outlook.

I encourage you to read the entire article. It offers a fascinating inside look into a world for which I have the highest level of respect.  I would love to hear your comments.

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Alaska Rallies to Raise Awareness of Sexual Assaults in the State

Photo Courtesy: Office of the Governor of Alaska

Photo Courtesy: Office of the Governor of Alaska

Something that has been important for me to advocate through the development of my Emily Stone character is the notion that women are strong and deserving of respect. Emily takes it upon herself to become a vigilante member of law enforcement, tracking down the criminals in our communities who commit the most heinous of crimes, including rape and murder. I hope that the women who read my novels perhaps become a bit bolder in appreciating their own talents and abilities. Also, I hope that any woman who has been a victim of sexual assault will know that she is not alone, her pain is worthy of attention, and justice must be done.

With that in mind, I was inspired reading an article about an initiative that is taking place in around 170 communities across Alaska this week. Men and women are being encouraged to take part in rallies around the theme “Choose Respect” as a way of recognizing the sad distinction that Alaska has as the state having the highest number of sexual assaults within its borders. I was shocked to learn that fifty-nine percent of women in Alaska have faced sexual abuse or assault of some form. I’m glad that these annual rallies have grown exponentially over the past several years so that women know that have the support of their communities and the resources they desperately need are allocated where needed.

I am with the people rallying across Alaska this week. And, since sexual crimes continue to be a problem in every state, I hope the efforts of this one state will have a ripple effect as we all stand up for better education and other preventative measures to prevent crimes against women from happening in the first place and more severe punishments for those who inflict the violence.

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Escaped Murderer Captured after Nearly 40 Years of Freedom

Crime Scene GraphicI would assume that when a prisoner manages to break out of jail, he probably spends nearly every moment looking over his back. Is this the day the authorities finally catch me? Will someone from my past life recognize me? But I also wonder if, after an extended period of time, an escaped convict might begin to let his guard down. After a decade or two of freedom, maybe there is the feeling that you got away with it. As was proven in Florida last week, though, individuals who escape from their prison sentence should never get comfortable.

James Robert Jonesblogpost killed a fellow private in the U.S. Army forty years ago and was sentenced to time at Ft. Leavenworth in Kansas. Three years later, he escaped the maximum security prison and then spent the next thirty-seven years evading the law. United States Marshals recently followed up on leads that Jones was living and working in Florida under an assumed name and arrested him outside of his workplace.

Jones did not put up a fight when confronted by authorities and even admitted he thought his actions would catch up to him one day. He will be sent back to Kansas to finish his sentence and likely face additional time behind bars for the new charges stemming from his escape.

After the time I’ve spent with some of the amazing men and women who have pledged their life’s work to keeping us safe, I should not be surprised that authorities continued for so many years in their effort to bring Jones back to justice. This case is a testament to the diligence of detectives and forensic psychologists and others in making every criminal accountable. Congratulations on Mr. Jones’ capture and may those who came to know and love Jones as an entirely self-created and fictional man be able to find some peace after learning this ugly truth.

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