Are COLD CASES on the Rise? A Chat with Cold Case Detective and Crime Media Consultant Joe Giacalone

I’ve been concerned about the rise of unsolved homicides in California as well as across the entire US for some time now. Most that follow me know that I’ve voiced my concerns about crime and cold cases. I’ve been hearing some of the reasons why, or excuses, as to why police aren’t closing more homicide cases. In fact, over the past three years cold cases have risen. Many law enforcement agencies claim it’s the lack of manpower, training, and budget restrictions. With the widespread use of the Internet, social media, and advancement of DNA and other forensic applications, cold cases should be falling in number–not rising. 

I’ve had the privilege to meet and talk with various individuals in law enforcement from California to New York. I’ve spent more than a thousand hours on patrol ride alongs, observing criminal investigations, conducting research, interviewing police officers, listening to community concerns and answering police-community questions. I’ve also been a part of numerous radio shows highlighting and discussing both missing and cold cases. Cold cases are a continuing problem—they need to be addressed—and we need some answers.

I’m very excited to sit down and chat with Joe Giacalone, retired NYPD Sergeant, former Commanding Officer of the Bronx Cold Case Squad and Adjunct Professor at John Jay College. He’s definitely one of my favorite experts to talk about crime with. Today I’m going to ask him some difficult questions about cold cases.

Let’s see what he has to say…

***

Does the declining clearance rate for homicides across the country concern you?

Joe Giacalone:

Yes, it has been a problem for decades. From 2016 alone, there are almost 7,000 additional cases that need to be cleared. As a former commanding officer of the Bronx Cold Case Squad I know how time consuming and overwhelming a case load like this can be. Many departments don’t have a cold case squad that is solely focused on solving them. Each one of those cases is a victim and a family waiting for justice.

Do you think the status of homicide cold cases will continue to rise? Why or why not?

Joe Giacalone:

The trend for the past two years has been up. Homicides were up a combined 19% in 2015 and 2016. The 2017 numbers haven’t been calculated yet. Shrinking police departments, a lack of candidates, and a lack of experience have all led to the decline in good policing. Add that to the negative attitude towards police and you have a formula for “de-policing”. Police departments are not proactive anymore. In the face of public and political scrutiny, many cops have resorted to reactive policing—waiting for it to happen.

What procedures or investigative techniques have changed in the past 5 years to help assist cold case investigations? The last 10 years?

Joe Giacalone:

What I refer to as the Three (3) Forensic Horsemen will move a case forward:

Cellphone records

Internet Records

Video Surveillance

I think the advancements of DNA such as what we saw with the Golden State Killer Case and DNA Phenotyping are exciting areas. My only concern now are the courtroom battles and admissibility issues with cases such as GSK. We have standards that the new technology must pass through. Depending on your state, it’s either Frye or Daubert. Frye is the much tougher standard.

If you could make a statement to all police chiefs and sheriffs across the nation in regard to cold cases, what would it be?

Joe Giacalone:

I would make three points:

  1. Your homicide clearance rates are probably miserable. If you close a cold case today, no matter how old it is, it counts towards the clearance rate in the year it was closed. That should help.
  2. If you don’t have a cold case unit, no matter how small, you are doing the public a disservice.
  3. Cold cases are long-term endeavors. They need personnel, resources and the patience to deal with them.

What would be a way to begin to clear cold cases (procedure, personnel, forensic applications) if this was your responsibility?

Joe Giacalone:

  1. One investigator—one case
  2. Group—a number of investigators on one case

Each one has it’s pros and cons, but in my opinion, choosing the right case is the most important step. Not every case can be solved, so stick with the ones that have the most solvability factors.

My best advice for cold case investigators is to read the investigative reports last. If you read them first, you will more than likely be lead down the same path the other investigator was on. Since the case is still open, that is not a good idea. When you start examining one of these cases, investigator error is a strong likelihood on why it was open. If the body dropped today, would you have access to reports? No. So, start with the crime scene photos and move forward from there.

What would be a way for the public to assist local police departments to help clear more homicides?

Joe Giacalone:

Crowdsourcing. There are members of the public that have requisite skills to search for information on the Internet and some have the extra time too. The only thing is that they have to think in evidentiary value. If they find something interesting, a record of screen shots, web links as well as date and time found must be kept.

Family members can help too. Start a Facebook Page, halo disseminate police flyers, and contact they local Crime Stoppers office for reward money. There are many things the family and the public can do that are free besides your time.

Finally, what would you like to add in regard to cold cases?

Joe Giacalone:

Cold Case investigators are the last liaison between the police and the public. If police chiefs are interested in building bridges to the community, this is a way to do it. With all of the new technologies, advancements in forensics and databases, police departments need to get their act together. There should be no reason why clearance rates keep on dropping. I don’t think DNA or forensic science has let us down, it’s the leadership in police departments that has accomplished that.

If you are concerned about privacy issues that the GSK revealed and you are not concerned with all the data breaches, I think you need to reexamine who you give your personal information to.

***

Thank you so much Joe Giacalone for your candor and taking the time to answer some important questions. This gives us so much to ponder.

***

More information about Joe Giacalone:

Joe is a retired NYPD Sergeant, former Commanding Officer of the Bronx Cold Case Squad, Adjunct Professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice and author of The Criminal Investigative Function: A Guide for New Investigators 3rd Ed.

Joe is a frequent TV media guest who has been published in the USA Today, Baltimore Sun, NY Newsday and the Buffalo News.

http://www.JoeGiacalone.net 

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/JoeGiacalone

Facebook: http://www.fb.com/JosephLGiacalone

Posted in crime, Police | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ingenious Forensics: Two High-Profile Cases Solved by Extraordinary DNA Evidence

blogPhoto_1

Photo courtesy of suno.edu.

Recent advancements in DNA technology has helped law enforcement lock up criminals who, years ago, would have most likely escaped justice.  But, thanks to the efforts of forensic scientists, DNA analysis has dramatically increased in accuracy and reliability.

Here are two cases where ingenious DNA analysis methods led to the arrest of high-profile killers.

The Killing of Yara Gambirasio

In this case—an Italian child killer was arrested because of DNA evidence found on the back of an old postage stamp. That’s right. The arrest of a murderous villain was due to the tireless efforts of Italian law enforcement and their smart use of amazing DNA technology.

The horrible saga began in November 2010 with the disappearance of 13-year old Yara Gambirasio in the quiet Italian village of Brembate di Sopra.  After the girl’s mutilated body turned up in a field near her home, the police began an unprecedented manhunt for the killer.

Using DNA evidence found on the girl’s clothes as a starting point, the police collected over 18,000 DNA samples during their lengthy investigation. Many of the samples were given voluntarily from the local male population.

Particularly, a significant amount of the DNA samples were taken from young men who frequented a nightclub located near where the young girl’s body was found. This is when the police received their first lead. One of the men from the nightclub had DNA very similar to that of the killer. The police now knew that the killer was a close relative of this man.

The police then began to investigate the family of their only solid lead. The problem was, this man’s family was huge. Eventually, the investigation led to the home of a deceased uncle—Giuseppe Guerinoni. By this point, the investigation was two years old, and the police were growing frustrated.

The wife of the deceased uncle provided the police with a box containing documents, one of which was a letter with a stamp affixed to it. So, the police tested the back of the stamp for DNA. Voila! There was a DNA match. The problem was, this man had already been dead for 11 years prior to the murder.

The genetic soap opera then led to the revelation that this man had an unknown illegitimate son. So, the police had to continue their investigation by testing over 500 women who had encountered Guerinoni during his lifetime, with the hopes of finding DNA similar to that found on the victim’s body.

Eventually, the police identified the mistress. And, they also identified the main suspect, which was her son, Massimo Giuseppe Bossetti, a married father of three. Using the rouse of a roadblock and breathalyzer test, the police obtained Bossetti’s DNA. It was a match.

Bossetti was soon arrested, tried for murder and sentenced to life in prison.

blogPhoto_2

Photo courtesy of abc15.com.

Golden State Killer

In this widely publicized case—a serial killer, who avoided justice for over 40 years, was brought down by a crime writer and a commercial genealogy website.

On April 24, 2018, California police arrested 72-year old former police offer Joseph DeAngelo for the murder of eight people. Known as the “Golden State Killer,” DeAngelo committed murder, rape and burglary over a 12-year period, spanning from 1974-1986. And, although DNA evidence has only been able to link him to eight murders, police believe that he has killed at least 12 people, raped 50, and burglarized over 100 homes.

DeAneglo’s crime spree occurred in both Southern and Northern California. And over the past 27 years, he lived a quiet suburban live while working as a mechanic. His short time as a police officer in the 1970s ended when he was caught shoplifting. And, it is now known, that some of his horrific crimes overlapped with his time in law enforcement.

Several years ago, the now-deceased crime writer Michelle McNamara took an interest in this case. She dubbed DeAngelo the “Golden State Killer,” and her goal was to aide police in finding this psychopath. At the time of her unexpected death, McNamara was working on a book regarding her investigation into DeAngelo. The book was finished by her actor husband Patton Oswalt, as well as a case researcher and an investigative journalist. Her investigation into the killer is believed to have helped reignite a renewed law enforcement effort into capturing DeAngelo.

A few months prior to his arrest, police uploaded DeAngelo’s DNA profile into a personal genealogy website known as GEDmatch. The killer’s profile was obtained from an intact rape kit that had been collected from one of his victims in Southern California. The genealogy website identified 10 to 20 distant relatives of DeAngelo.

Based on this evidence, police were able to narrow the suspects down to the Golden State Killer and one other man, who was eventually ruled out due to further DNA analysis. This left DeAngelo as the prime target. About a week before his arrest, DeAngelo was tailed into the parking lot of a department store. The police swabbed his car’s door handle for DNA evidence. Then, they went to his home, and collected a DNA sample from a tissue found in his garbage.

Only four months elapsed from the time of law enforcement’s search on the genealogy website to his arrest. In that time, police utilized all available DNA technology to their advantage. And, the result led to the incarceration of one of the most dangerous men this nation has ever seen.

DeAngelo is behind bars awaiting trial for his horrific crimes.

These cases prove—once again—that truth is often stranger than fiction. And although modern technology has its drawbacks with respect to privacy and common decency, cutting edge DNA analysis is certainly one advancement that has yielded positive results.  

***

JUST RELEASED!

SCENE OF THE CRIME

A Chip Palmer Forensic Mystery

BUY ON AMAZON

SceneoftheCrime

Please join me:

Facebook

Twitter

Newsletter Sign-Up

 Author Blog: https://authorjenniferchase.com/

Book & Crime Talk:  http://blogtalkradio.com/jennifer-chase

Books: Compulsion   Dead Game   Dark Mind   Dead Burn   Dark Pursuit

Silent Partner   Body of the Crime   Screenwriting

Posted in crime, Serial Killers | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Law of the Land: 4 Landmark Criminal Justice Supreme Court Decisions

blogPhoto_1

Photo courtesy of theverge.com.

The United States Supreme Court is the final authority on all cases that arise from American federal law or Constitutional issues. Over the past 50 years, the Justices of the Court have rendered a plethora of landmark criminal justice decisions. Here are four of those monumental judgments.

Escobedo v. Illinois (1964)

In January 1960, Danny Escobedo was arrested for the murder of his brother-in-law, Manuel Valtierra. Immediately upon his arrest, the police conducted an extensive interrogation of Escobedo, but they uncovered insufficient evidence to implicate him in the murder. So, Escobedo was released from police custody.

Shortly after his release, another suspect was arrested, and that perp provided credible testimony that Escobedo was the killer.

Escobedo was once again taken in by the police. He was told repeatedly to confess, but Escobedo refused to do so. Although Escobedo was not yet arrested, he was still in police custody – so he consistently requested to speak with an attorney. But, the police refused to allow Escobedo to speak with his lawyer. After 14 hours of interrogation, Escobedo provided enough statements to result in his arrest and subsequent murder conviction.

Escobedo appealed on the basis that he was refused his right to an attorney as guaranteed in the Sixth Amendment. In opposition, the government argued that he had not been formally charged and arrested, so his right to counsel had not yet attached.

The matter climbed the appeals ladder and made it all the way to the US Supreme Court. In its decision, the Court held that any person in police “custody,” has the right to speak to counsel. Meaning, a person does not have to be formally charged or arrested to be granted this right. Basically, the right attaches once the police hold the person against their will in any capacity.

This was a monumental holding by the Court, and it had a direct impact on how police conducted interrogations going forward.

Terry v. Ohio (1968)

In October of 1963, Cleveland Police detective Martin McFadden was on a routine patrol in downtown Cleveland. While on his beat, Detective McFadden noticed three men acting suspiciously in front of a jewelry store. Utilizing his 39 years of experience, McFadden had a strong feeling that these men were “casing” the joint for a potential robbery.

So, like any diligent police officer, McFadden confronted the men, identified himself as an officer of the law, and asked for their names. The men merely “mumbled” things under their breath and did not provide their names.

Detective McFadden then decided to frisk the men. And what he discovered was that one of the men was unarmed, but two of them were armed, including John W. Terry. Specifically, Terry had a pistol, whereas the other guy – Richard Clinton – had a revolver.

At his criminal trial, Terry moved to have the evidence of the gun suppressed claiming the police conducted an unlawful search and seizure. This matter rose through the appeals process and was eventually brought before the US Supreme Court.

In one of the nation’s most important criminal procedure judgments, the Court decided on two very crucial issues related to the Fourth Amendment (which focuses on unreasonable governmental searches and seizures).

First, the Justices held that police may stop a person if they have “reasonable suspicion” that such person has committed or is about to commit a crime. Second, the police are permitted to frisk (i.e. search) a suspect for weapons if they have “reasonable suspicion” that the person may be armed and dangerous.

blogPhoto_2

Photo courtesy of voanews.com.

Enmund v. Florida (1982)

Early in the morning on a random day in April 1975, Earl Enmund sat in a getaway car, while his two cohorts robbed an elderly couple at their farmhouse. During the robbery, something went horribly wrong. The elderly couple wound up murdered. All three men were arrested for murder and eventually sentenced to death.

Throughout the criminal proceedings, Enmund maintained his innocence as to the murder. He argued that the state had no evidence that he participated in the murder, had any intent to kill, or had any knowledge that his accomplices were intending to kill. Because of his position, Enmund argued that sentencing him to death was in violation of the “cruel and unusual punishment” clause of the Eighth Amendment.

The US Supreme Court agreed with Enmund. The Court declared that a person convicted of a felony (during which a murder occurred) may not be sentenced to death if that person did not actually murder someone, attempt a murder, or intend that a murder take place.

Hamdi v. Rumsfeld (2004)

In 2001, while fighting in Afghanistan, the United States military detained Taliban soldier Yaser Hamdi. He was promptly moved to Guantanamo Bay. Labeled by the government as an “enemy combatant,” Hamdi only spent a relatively short period of time at Guantanamo before being sent to a military prison in Virginia.

Hamdi’s transfer was a result of the revelation that he was – in fact – an American citizen. At this juncture, Hamdi was being held indefinitely, with no trial date or access to an attorney. So, Hamdi’s father filed a legal petition on his behalf declaring that his son’s detention was unconstitutional. The argument was Hamdi’s indefinite detention violated the Due Process clause of the Fifth Amendment.

In rebuttal, the government argued that, in time of war, anyone who fights against the USA  can be labeled an enemy combatant. And with that nefarious status comes restricted access to the American court system.

In a powerful judgment, the Supreme Court upheld the government’s right to designate certain people as enemy combatants, including US citizens. But, the ruling had a caveat – enemy combatants that are American citizens have the right to Due Process and to challenge their status in an impartial court of law.

This is just a small sample of the major criminal justice issues decided by the Supreme Court. Have any recent Supreme Court cases piqued your interest?

***

JUST RELEASED!

SCENE OF THE CRIME

A Chip Palmer Forensic Mystery

BUY ON AMAZON

SceneoftheCrime

Please join me:

Facebook

Twitter

Newsletter Sign-Up

 Author Blog: https://authorjenniferchase.com/

Book & Crime Talk:  http://blogtalkradio.com/jennifer-chase

Books: Compulsion   Dead Game   Dark Mind   Dead Burn   Dark Pursuit

Silent Partner   Body of the Crime   Screenwriting

Posted in crime, scene of the crime | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Chip Palmer is Back in a New Book: SCENE OF THE CRIME #NewRelease #Mystery

SceneoftheCrime

The second installment in the Award Winning Forensic Crime Series, SCENE OF THE CRIME, features the eccentric, reclusive criminalist and profiler Chip Palmer and Inspector Kate Rawlins together again. There is a killer on the loose and sparks are flying!

***

SYNOPSIS:

A calculating cold-blooded predator closes in…

When a community has barely recovered from a ruthless serial killer six months earlier; now two more horrifying murders hit the radar again. It leaves police burdened with two of the most shockingly contaminated crime scenes ever documented in California’s law enforcement history. The Slayer works behind the scenes as a sinister puppet master, precisely pulling the strings, taunting the police without leaving any viable evidence, and orchestrating his killer hit squads.

The sheriff and district attorney bring in the best investigators. Reunited again, Dr. Chip Palmer, a reclusive forensic expert, joins DA Inspector Kate Rawlins to sort through the crime scene aftermath in search of the truth—all without a probable suspect or a solid motive. Complicating the investigation—sparks reignite between the two.

Ratcheting up the suspense, Chip suffers a nasty fall hitting his head, impairing his perception and giving him a mind-blowing ability for specific detailed recall. Palmer and Rawlins assemble an unusual team including a rookie detective, a forensic supervisor, and an ex-military operative turned bodyguard. After one of their own is kidnapped and the investigation is taken over by the FBI, the now rogue team must pull together their own resources—alone—with a killer waiting to take each one of them out. SCENE OF THE CRIME takes no prisoners and leaves everyone fighting to stay alive.

***

Available at AMAZON

Just $ 99 cents or available with KindleUnlimited

Visit my Amazon Author Page

***

SCENE OF THE CRIME will be participating soon in a blog tour and there will be plenty of updates and fun things along the way. I would love to hear from you!

***

Please join me:

Facebook

Twitter

Newsletter Sign-Up

 Author Blog: https://authorjenniferchase.com/

Book & Crime Talk:  http://blogtalkradio.com/jennifer-chase

Books: Compulsion   Dead Game   Dark Mind   Dead Burn   Dark Pursuit

Silent Partner   Body of the Crime   Screenwriting

Posted in scene of the crime | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

FBI’s Most Wanted: 3 Infamous Fugitives Caught!

blogPhoto_1

Every so often, some violent criminal slips through the fingers of local law enforcement. Or maybe they get lucky and escape prison. But usually, the fugitive’s days are numbered. Because once they enter the proverbial crosshairs of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, justice will eventually come knocking on their door.

Although these sociopaths may dodge the feds for a time – their misdeeds sooner or later come back to haunt them. Here are three criminals who were eventually caught after reaching the notorious status of being one of the FBI’s Most Wanted.

Ted Kaczynski

Prior to becoming a recluse living in the mountains of Montana, Ted Kaczynski was a well-respected, Harvard educated math whiz who taught at the prestigious university, UC Berkeley. At some point, though, Kaczynski stopped caring about algorithms and started to focus on his rapidly developing anti-government and anti-technology philosophy. So, he left the academic world behind and went off the grid – for a very long time.

And, to demonstrate his disdain for modern life, Kaczynski mailed bombs to universities and airlines for a 17-year period beginning in 1978. In total, Kaczynski’s bombs killed 3 people, while injuring another 23. The feds eventually dubbed Kaczynski as the “Unabomber,” which was an acronym for UNiversity and Airline BOMber.

For years, the FBI was stumped as to the identity of the Unabomber. This was because Kaczynski was masterful at leaving false clues and ensuring his mail bombs were untraceable. Then, in 1995, the feds got their big break – the Unabomber released a 35,000 word “manifesto,” in which he discussed the problems of modern society.

After the manifesto was published by media outlets, Kaczynski’s brother happened to read the content. He immediately recognized his brother’s voice and thoughts through the manifesto. Shortly thereafter, Kaczynski’s brother alerted the FBI, who then arrested the Unabomber in 1996. Two years later, Kaczynski was sentenced to life imprisonment.

blogPhoto_2

Ruth Eisemann-Schier

In December 1968, Ruth Eisemann-Schier became the first woman in history to earn a spot on the dishonorable list of the FBI’s Most Wanted.

How did she achieve such notoriety? Well, Ruth and her boyfriend, Gary Krist, got themselves involved in a bit of trouble by kidnapping Barbara Mackle, the college age daughter of a wealthy land magnate. And then demanding that the affluent family cough up $500,000 for Barbara’s safe return.

While negotiating the ransom demands with law enforcement and the victim’s family, the kidnappers buried Barbara in a shallow grave, where she was locked inside a ventilated coffin that contained a small amount of food and water. Fortunately for the victim, the perpetrators’ attempt to collect the ransom – and to vanish unscathed – didn’t work out very well. Krist was arrested soon after collecting the ransom money. And shortly thereafter, Barbara was found in the grave – relatively unharmed.

Although her boyfriend was captured, Ruth escaped and was on the lam for 79 days. Eventually, the law caught up with her at the University of Oklahoma where she was pretending to be a 19-year old college kid.

Ruth was sentenced to a prison term of seven years, but only served four after being deported back to her native Honduras.

Leslie Rogge

A true menace to society, Leslie Rogge was a Canadian born crook who spent his life in a revolving door of American prisons. Rogge’s first prison stint began in the 1970s at the infamous US Penitentiary in Leavenworth, Kansas. He was locked up for grand larceny and car theft.

Once he was released from Leavenworth, Rogge didn’t waste any time getting back in the game. He proceeded to rob a bank in Florida and was subsequently sentenced to 25 years in prison. This time, though, he wasn’t going to wait to be released. After about a year in lock-up, Rogge successfully bribed a prison guard, who helped him escape.

Following his gutsy jailbreak, Rogge went on to commit a slew of bank robberies. Eventually, the FBI had enough of this guy’s dangerous shenanigans, and added him to the Most Wanted list. Rogge remained on the list for 6 years. Then, he was finally brought down in Guatemala. That’s right, he had made his way down to Central America and was living under the alias of “Bill Young.”

Rogge’s downfall came after someone in Guatemala recognized him after seeing his photo on the FBI’s website. In response, the Guatemalan authorities began a nationwide manhunt. And, instead of getting potentially gunned down by foreign police, Rogge turned himself in at the US Embassy. He’s currently serving a 65-year prison sentence in Oregon.

Rogge holds the not-so-illustrious honor of being the first criminal on the FBI’ s Most Wanted list to be brought down with the help of the internet.

Justice was certainly served with the capture, arrest and prosecution of these dangerous fugitives. There are obviously a lot more outlaws from the FBI’s Most Wanted that have been captured.  Any story stand out in your mind?

***

Please join me:

Facebook

Twitter

Newsletter Sign-Up

 Author Blog: https://authorjenniferchase.com/

Book & Crime Talk:  http://blogtalkradio.com/jennifer-chase

Books: Compulsion   Dead Game   Dark Mind   Dead Burn   Dark Pursuit

Silent Partner   Body of the Crime   Screenwriting

***

COMING SOON!

SCENE of the CRIME

A Chip Palmer Forensic Mystery

SceneoftheCrime

Posted in crime, Police | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Undercover Cops: 3 Heroic Stories

blogPhoto_1

Undercover police work is a fascinating universe due to the inherent paradox. You have a person sworn to uphold and enforce the law, who then becomes immersed in – and ingratiated into – the world of outlaws.

In addition to the innate risks of being around criminals, undercover agents live in constant danger of having their identity compromised. In other words –  the peril of being outed as law enforcement is a looming concern. There is also the very real fear that the agent will “go native” by empathizing, and identifying, with the criminal targets.

One slip-up as an undercover cop could mean an agent’s life. But, despite all the risks – brave individuals still go deep undercover with the goal of bringing down criminal enterprises.

Here are three successfully bold undercover agents who helped lock-up some dangerous people.

Billy Queen

In 1998, ATF agent Billy Queen infiltrated one of the nation’s most dangerous biker gangs – the Mongols. Assuming the identity of “Billy St. John,” Queen was introduced to, and joined, the San Fernando Valley chapter of the gang. And within a short time, the undercover ATF agent became a well-respected “patched-in” member of the outlaw motorcycle club.

Cruising around Southern California on his chopper with his long-haired, tattoo laden, beer guzzling biker brothers, Queen’s street smarts and tough guy attitude earned him instant credibility. Being so well-respected by the outlaws, Queen rose quickly through the ranks to the position of treasurer.

Fighting off any instinct to embrace the dangerous, outlaw lifestyle, Queen kept in close contact with his ATF handler, providing the feds with quality intel concerning the full extent of the Mongols’ criminal actions.

At the end of his undercover operation, the feds conducted a nationwide sting that resulted in the arrest of 54 of the 350 members of the Mongols. The charges ranged from rape and murder, to arms violations and narcotics.

Despite the successful operation – deceiving and crippling an outlaw biker club has some significant drawbacks. There’s little doubt that Queen has a price on his head, and he most certainly sleeps with one eye open.

Terry Mills

As a 30-year veteran of the Missouri Highway Patrol, Terry Mills spent a great deal of time doing undercover work. He immersed himself into the world of drug dealers, terrorists and gang members. And even though he lived dangerously for many years, the one case that made a huge impact on him involved animals.

In 1986, while working as an investigator with an FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force, Mills came upon a major multi-state dog fighting ring. And for 15 months, Mills assumed the identity of a dog fighter who operated from a rural Missouri property where he trained pit bulls. Over the course of his investigation, he attended dog fights throughout Missouri and Southern Illinois. What he encountered left a permanent scar on his psyche.

Witnessing the horrid abuses inflicted upon these dogs made this an exceptionally difficult assignment for Mills. A man who had gone undercover with ruthless gangs was shocked at how brutal these dog fights were, and how the people involved had no regard for the lives of these animals. Mills was astounded that these people believed dog fighting was a cultural right, along the same lines as hunting, fishing and even – religion.

Because of Mills’ tireless and soul crushing work – over 100 people were arrested, and more than 500 dogs were rescued.

blogPhoto_2

Operation Iceman

By the mid-1980s, New Jersey contract killer Richard Kuklinski had already killed over 100 men. Known by the mob and law enforcement as “the Iceman,” Kuklinski was a stoic, ruthless murderer, who never displayed much emotion. (Kuklinski’s nickname is attributed to his cold-blooded nature, and the fact that he froze the corpses of his victims to mask the time of death.)

The Iceman was on law enforcement’s radar for a long time. Then finally, in 1985, the New Jersey Criminal Justice Department set up a joint federal, state and local task force dedicated to bringing the hammer down on Kuklinski. The task force was simply known as – “Operation Iceman.”

With a career spanning five decades, Kuklinksi was a fierce hitman who killed with reckless abandon. Operation Iceman agents were determined to lock this guy up. The undercover cop assigned to befriend Kuklinski was ATF Special Agent Dominick Polifrone.

Although the Iceman had killed with guns and knives, his late-career preferred assassination method was cyanide poisoning. So, when Polifrone was introduced to the Iceman, the ruse was that the undercover agent wanted to hire Kuklinski to kill someone using cyanide. They developed a relationship, and Kuklinski freely shared murder tips and stories with the agent.

Operation Iceman turned out to be a success. Agents arrested Kuklinski on the day he purchased – what he thought was – pure cyanide from Polifrone.

In 1988, the Iceman was convicted of five murders and sentenced to consecutive life sentences. Then, 15 years later, he was found guilty of the 1980 murder of an officer of the NYPD, resulting in an additional 30-year sentence. In 2006, Kuklinski died in prison of natural causes.

One thing that all these undercover agents possessed was the ability to act like a chameleon. They were able to blend in with their targets, think on their feet, and relate to just about anyone. An undercover cop’s social skills are almost more vital to a successful operation than their investigative skills. Are there any undercover stories over the years that have piqued your interest?

***

Please join me:

Facebook

Twitter

Newsletter Sign-Up

 Author Blog: https://authorjenniferchase.com/

Book & Crime Talk:  http://blogtalkradio.com/jennifer-chase

Books: Compulsion   Dead Game   Dark Mind   Dead Burn   Dark Pursuit

Silent Partner   Body of the Crime   Screenwriting

***

COMING SOON!

SCENE of the CRIME

A Chip Palmer Forensic Mystery

SceneoftheCrime

Posted in Police | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

5 Writing Tips for Punching up Fight Scenes

EmilyPunch2

I love reading and writing action-oriented stories. It doesn’t matter if it’s a movie or book—I love all the action with fights, weapons, car chases, martial arts, or an old-fashioned shootout. It may sound easy enough to write, but you might be surprised what it takes to make your fight scene really shine and get your readers excited.

If you’re incorporating some type of fight scene into your story, there are a few things that you should be aware of when prepping for it. It’s not just a one-two punch and that’s the end of the fight. It may look that easy, but I have a few tricks that help punch up the scene.

  1. KNOW YOUR HUMAN ANATOMY

The first phase to writing a fight scene is to know and understand basic human anatomy. Visit a reputable website(s), borrow a book from the library, or purchase a book for research (highly recommended).

Did you know that you have 206 bones in your body? More than half of those bones are in your hands and feet. Truly amazing. Take a closer look at your own hands. Study the details of the bones, tendons, veins, and how your fingernails are shaped. Think about it and how it would pertain to your characters. The next time your characters are in a fist fight or searching for something to defend themselves with, there are many possible scenarios of what can happen to the body, specifically the hands and feet. Think about injuries, weaknesses, and strengths.

It’s not just about the bones. By having an understanding of where the major organs are located, such as the kidneys, solar plexus, liver, and the heart, it will make the scene much more believable.

  1. UNDERSTAND WEAPONS

I don’t know how many times I’ve read a novel where the author doesn’t understand the difference between a revolver and semi-automatic gun. EmilyStone_Stills_006AIf you’re going to use a gun as the character’s weapon of choice, know everything about it—size, make, model, type of grip, how many bullets it holds, how to hold, and how the safety works.

Weapons aren’t just limited to guns. There is a whole host of weapons that could be used in a fight. Besides bare hands, the character can use hatchets, hammers, knives, swords, bats, and just about anything that a person could use to attack someone or defend themselves. I’ve used kitchen pots and pans to implements found in a garden and garage for my character’s fights. The list is endless. Whatever the weapon of choice in a fight—find out everything about it.

  1. IDENTIFY SELF DEFENSE & OFFENSIVE MOVES

If you’ve ever taken a basic self-defense class or some type of martial arts, it will help you on a fundamental level to know where your characters should and shouldn’t stand during a fight. Know the stances, both for defensive and offensive moves. EmilyStone_workoutHow does your character stand? Where is the position of feet and hands? What are some of the realistic capabilities for your character?

You can watch movie fight sequences or pick up a book on various fighting techniques. Once you put your mind to it, there are almost limitless possibilities to your character’s fighting techniques. Whether your hero is a freestyle amateur or trained fighter, know your defensive and offensive moves.

  1. DO YOUR RESEARCH

When you’re preparing to write a story, whether a book or script, make sure to add to the research list your fight scenes. I know that it may not sound a big thing, but don’t drop the ball on understanding what you need to know for your fight scenes.

You can get as detailed as necessary, whatever the fight scene dictates. Plus, as an added bonus, whatever research you’ve done for one project can work for other stories as well. I think you’ll find that preparing for your fight scenes can be really fun as well as beneficial to the story.

  1. SKETCH OUT SPECIFIC SCENES

This may seem extreme or even funny, but I cannot express to you how helpful it is to take a plain piece of paper and sketch out your fight scenes—nothing fancy just the basics.Fight I do this for my crime scenes, when I have a scene with several people involved, detailed action scenes, and when I need the hero to kick some butt in a fight. Even if you’re not an outliner, it’s highly recommended that you outline a good fight scene. It’s actually fun and helps you to visually realize your scene. Try it. I promise it will help you make your fight scene jump off the page…

***

Please join me:

Facebook

Twitter

Newsletter Sign-Up

 Author Blog: https://authorjenniferchase.com/

Book & Crime Talk:  http://blogtalkradio.com/jennifer-chase

Books: Compulsion   Dead Game   Dark Mind   Dead Burn   Dark Pursuit

Silent Partner   Body of the Crime   Screenwriting

***

 LATEST VIGILANTE DETECTIVE EMILY STONE THRILLER  

DEAD COLD, An Emily Stone Thriller

DeadCold

Posted in Emily Stone Thrillers, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment