Social Order: The Historical Evolution of Policing

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Photo courtesy of nwheritage.com.

Throughout civilized history, it has been vital for society to maintain some semblance of order with respect to crime. And, although, in ancient times, there existed no official, organized police function, people still managed to keep crime somewhat under control.

In those ancient societies, revenge was essentially the only form of law enforcement. The concepts of deterrence and crime prevention were not yet in existence, and such notions were not implemented for a couple millennia.

Here’s a brief overview of the evolution of policing.

Ancient Times

As stated above, there was no official law enforcement in ancient societies. If a crime occurred, the victim would seek revenge against the perpetrator. Depending on the severity of the offense, and the region of the world, the retribution would come from either the individual, family or the clan. Regardless of who sought revenge, leniency was rare, and punishment was often severe.

Military Order

Once societies became more organized and developed, there was a need for a more unified approach to law enforcement. And the most logical entity to fill that vacuum was the military. Already equipped with weapons and trained to battle, soldiers were essentially the most qualified individuals to enforce the law.

During the Roman Empire, centurions would seize law breakers, and patrol the streets. The mere presence of the soldiers led to a primitive form of crime prevention. The contemporary notion of deterrence is a result of more modern theories of criminology, which occurred much later in western civilization.

Clans Rule

After the collapse of the centralized Roman Empire, Western society once again became more provincial. As a result, responsibility for enforcing laws and maintaining order reverted to back to local authorities.

During this transitional period, it was an individual’s duty to protect themselves and their property. Under British law, people were granted authority to use force so that they may exercise this right. In addition to protecting yourself, it was expected that neighbors and family members would lend a hand. This was known as “kin policing.”

This clan mentality was a throwback to ancient times. And often, these blood feuds would lead to the decimation of entire families.

Community Policing

As society emerged from the Dark Ages, and into the Middle Ages, urbanization grew, and it became apparent that a new form of organized social order was required. This new system of control put communities in charge, as opposed to individuals and families.

One such method of community policing was known as frankpledge. Under this system, all males over the age of 12 were required to form groups of ten individuals, known as a tything. These groups were charged with detaining any person guilty of a criminal offense. Each tythingman took an oath to protect his fellow citizens, and such duty was obligatory and unpaid.

To increase the effectiveness of order and control, individual tything’s were brought together to form teams of one hundred men, who were under the supervision of the local constable. Although modern policing was still centuries away, the constable was the first notion of a police officer, in that he was a person specifically assigned the full-time task of maintaining law and order.

The groundwork for the hierarchy of a modern police department was laid out during this period with the establishment of the shire reeve (sheriff). The shire reeve was appointed by the King and was charged with managing all the constables in the region, or shire.

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Photo courtesy of gettyimages.com.

Parish System

Eventually, the frankpledge system collapsed due to regional disputes and lack of oversight by the monarch. In its stead, the parish constable system was implemented. Males in each parish (or village) were given a 1-year stint as a constable.

As part of their duties, parish constables had to appoint night watchmen, who were beckoned to the call of duty at moments’ notice in case of a crime or emergency. The watchmen would be obligated to remain “on duty” until the criminal was apprehended, or the emergency was resolved.

Justices of the Peace

The parish constable system was later enhanced with justices of the peace, who were appointed by the monarch to aid the shire reeves by issuing warrants, trying cases and sentencing guilty parties.

This form of law enforcement served small communities into, and throughout, the 19th Century. But, large cities began utilizing a different form of law enforcement beginning in the late 18th Century. And this can be attributed to the population explosion that occurred throughout the Western world, most notably in the United States and Great Britain.

The Genesis of Modern Law Enforcement

Once the population explosion occurred, leading to the urbanization of the West, there was a great deal of civil unrest. At that point, it became apparent that there needed to be professional, uniformed police forces that acted under the government’s official authority.

Society’s modernization coincided with the emergence of criminology. Those involved in that field, along with philosophers and sociologists, called upon officials to institute a centralized police force, whose primary roles were to maintain order and protect the populace.

Modern Police

There was a great deal of resistance among the masses when the idea of a centralized police force was introduced. The prevailing fear was that the police would become an extension of the military and serve as an occupying force.

Many of the fears were quelled after English Parliament Minister Sir Robert Peele formed the first modern police department—London’s Metropolitan Police Services. The “Bobbies” as they are still called were named after Peele, and their actions of instituting order and preventing crime eventually became a welcome addition to the dangerous city of London.

Some of the methods used by Peele to distinguish between the police and military, and to assuage the fears of the citizenry was to give the police a different color uniform, and to not provide guns to the Bobbies.

The principles instituted by Peele found their way to the United States, and across the globe. Peele’s philosophy combined with the long, storied evolution of policing has led to today’s modern police departments.

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Smooth Criminals: 4 Notorious Masterminds

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Photo courtesy of abc7chicago.com.

The criminal underworld is filled with all types of characters. Thugs. Psychopaths. And masterminds. These sociopaths are often so diabolically creative and clever, that it becomes virtually impossible for law enforcement to bring these outliers to justice.

Instead of helping the world, criminal masterminds utilize their creative intellect to the detriment of society. Here are four such individuals.

Carl Gugasian

Holding a master’s degree from the prestigious University of Pennsylvania and a PhD from Penn State, Carl Gugasian also received special forces and tactical weapons training during a brief stint in the US Army. Loaded with outstanding academic and armed forces credentials, Gugasian’s potential for a positive societal impact was limitless. Yet, despite all these accolades, Gugasian chose to spend his life robbing banks.

Soon after receiving his doctorate, Gugasian began meticulously planning bank robberies. During that time—on eight separate instances—Gugasian was on the brink of moving forward with his robbery fantasy, but then backed down at the very last minute. On the ninth instance, however, he pushed down his reluctance and went forth with his plan. Using a stolen car as a getaway, Gugasian finally crossed the line into a life of crime. And there was no turning back.

Gugasian was notoriously diligent with his planning. He would scout a bank location by first referencing topographical and street maps in local libraries. His goal was to find to a bank in a small town that was close to a wooded area, but also easily accessible to a freeway. After narrowing his search, Gugasian would determine which banks had late autumn and winter closing times. This way, he could escape under cover of darkness.

Gugasian would even find a secret location in the woods where he would hide the stolen cash, any further evidence of the crime and his getaway dirt bike. He would leave the stash tucked away until the “heat” of the crime cooled down. Then, Gugasian would return and grab his cash.

Wearing a tightly fit ‘horror’ mask and loose clothing, while moving around in a hunched over manner to hide his true size, Gugasian would flash a gun during his quick and intense robberies. Only once did Gugasian resort to violence, and the person he shot eventually recovered.

Despite years of successfully robbing at least 50 banks, Gugasian’s eventual downfall occurred after two teenage boys came across a secret hiding location that contained his masks, ammunition, maps and other equipment. After assisting law enforcement in closing the case on a large amount of unsolved bank robberies, Gugasian’s initial 115-year sentence was reduced to seventeen years in federal prison.

Photo courtesy of alchetron.com.

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Photo courtesy of alchetron.com.

Albert Spaggiari

It was a beautiful, warm weekend in picturesque Nice, France. The year was 1976, and this part of the French Riviera was teeming with vacationers looking for some relaxation and sunshine. But, despite all this relative peace, there was a massive heist afoot.

Albert Spaggiari, and his team of 20 men, had spent several summer weeks digging a 25-foot tunnel underneath the street leading to the Societe Generale bank. Spaggiari’s crew had managed to connect the bank and Nice’s sewer system without drawing any attention.

Then, from Friday night through Sunday, the merry bandits emptied the bank’s safe-deposit boxes, and stole most of the financial institution’s cash reserves. By the end of the heist, the “sewer gang” walked away with between $8 to $10 million in cash, gems, jewelry and gold. Not only did Spaggiari and his team rob the place blind, but during their weekend in the vault, they drank wine, cooked meals and even used antique silver tureens as toilets.

When the bank’s staff arrived on Monday morning, they were greeted with a plundered vault and a message written on the wall that read “Without Guns, Without Violence, Without Hate.”

Within a year of the robbery, the police arrested Spaggiari and six members of his crew. But, Spaggiari’s incarceration was short. Soon after being jailed, Spaggiari was being processed in a magistrate’s office. While interacting with law enforcement, he complained of the heat, so they allowed him to open a window. As soon as Spaggiari opened the window, he leapt out and landed on a car that waited for him nine feet below. That was the last time law enforcement ever saw him. Spaggiari funded the remainder of his life with the proceeds from the robbery.

Years later, at the age of 57, Spaggiari died from lung cancer. His body was anonymously dropped off in the front of his mother’s home in Nice.

Hassan and Abbas O. (Twin Brothers)

Some argue that this January 2009 heist was the perfect crime. Deep in the night, three masked, gloved men slid down ropes from the skylights within the haute Berlin department store, Kaufhaus des Westens. Their skillful entrance allowed them to evade the store’s high-tech security system. The thieves walked away unscathed with over $6.8 million in exquisite jewelry.

The problem was—the robbers left behind some evidence. Through forensic analysis, the police located a small drop of sweat on one of the thieves’ discarded gloves. The DNA was run through the German database. And, surprisingly, the DNA got two hits. That’s right—two identical twins were identified by the computer program.

The men identified were 27-year old brothers, Hassan and Abbas O. (German privacy laws prohibit full name disclosure.) These Lebanese born brothers had criminal records for theft and fraud. Berlin police promptly arrested the men and charged them with burglary.

Just before trial, the men were released from police custody. Why? Because the DNA evidence reveals that at least one of the brothers was involved in the crime. But, without witnesses or a confession, it was impossible to determine which exact brother committed the theft.

If new evidence emerges, the thieves could be charged again, but for now, these men beat the justice system and got away with a high-stakes robbery.

These wild stories reveal the clever and cunning traits of some criminals. Can you think of any masterminds that should be included on this list?

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FBI Profiling of SERIAL KILLERS: 3 Notorious Cases

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Photo courtesy of doctorwho.wikia.com.

In 1972, the FBI established the Behavioral Science Unit (BSU). The unit’s goal was straightforward. It wanted to develop law enforcement techniques, procedures and tactics that focused on the psychology and behavior of violent criminals.

To that end, two men in particular—FBI agents Bob Ressler and John Douglas—were pioneers in developing psychological profiles for the most violent of criminals. These trailblazers played a vital role in developing modern day criminal profiling, with a particular focus on mass murderers. In fact, Ressler is often credited with coining the term “serial killer.”

The BSU was dissolved in 2014, but the work it produced is still being utilized in various spinoff units, such as the Behavioral Analysis Unit and the National Center for the Analysis of Violent Crime.

Here are three of the most disturbing, early cases encountered by the Behavioral Science Unit.

John Joubert

It was September 1983 in Bellevue, Nebraska. A 13-year old paperboy went missing. Days later, his mutilated body was found in a ditch. Bite marks were all over his body. And, there was evidence of sexual assault.

Local law enforcement asked the FBI for assistance due to the gruesome nature of the crime. None of the known sex offenders in the area fit the profile developed by the FBI. So, no immediate arrest was made.

Then, three months later, another young Nebraska boy was kidnapped and murdered. This 12-year old victim also had bite marks on his body. About two months after the second murder, a woman caught a man loitering near a local daycare. She confronted the man, but he pushed her, jumped in his car and fled. But, the woman got his license plate number.

The man was John Joubert, a 19-year old, who was stationed at a local Air Force base. Joubert fit the profile developed by the FBI. He was arrested, and eventually confessed to the two murders.

Not too long after his arrest, Agent Ressler was teaching a FBI training course. Two Portland, Maine detectives were among the many attendees. After hearing the Nebraska case file, the detectives immediately notified Ressler that the murders sounded just like an unsolved killing of an 11-year old boy from Portland. Turns out, Joubert hailed from Portland.

He was eventually convicted for all three murders – one in Maine, two in Nebraska. Joubert died by execution at the age of 33.

In this situation, the FBI’s profile narrowed the suspect field, and helped solve two murders within a short time. But, the profile also helped resolve an open murder case located on the other side of the country. If the Maine detectives had the help of this unit originally, it is quite possible that Joubert wouldn’t have skipped town, moved to Nebraska and committed two additional murders.

The FBI’s profiling work was cutting-edge, and was helping remove violent offenders from the streets.

Ted Bundy

Agent Ressler interviewed many serial killers during his time with the FBI. Supposedly, the killer who most disturbed Ressler, was Ted Bundy. Known for his charm, good looks and intelligence, Bundy killed over 30 women on the American west coast between 1974-1978.

Many in law enforcement suspect that Bundy killed a much larger number than 30 women, but he was executed in 1989, so the truth will most likely never be known.

In 1977, while awaiting a murder trial in Colorado, Bundy escaped from a courthouse library. That’s when the FBI was called in to help. The unit developed a victim profile in an effort to warn women about Bundy and the threat he posed.

What was the victim profile? Young, pretty ladies with brown hair parted down the middle. This marked the first time an FBI criminal profile was used to warn the general public about a serial killer.

The Bundy case had another lasting effect on crime fighting. Bundy’s victims spanned many different states. This is what enabled him to murder for so long without getting caught. Why? Because there was no centralized criminal profiling database. But, that changed as a result of Bundy. A new national database was created by the FBI, and it included the predator’s modus operandi, personality and victim type.

Ressler had often publicly discussed his interviews with Bundy, and he was very candid in describing Bundy as a complete animal.

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Photo courtesy of allthatisinteresting.com.

Edmund Kemper

A genius, with an IQ of 136, Edmund Kemper is one of America’s most notorious serial killers. At 15, Kemper committed his first murders – his grandparents. Sent away to a psychiatric hospital, Kemper was able to manipulate the staff into believing he was no longer a danger to society. So, in his early 20s, he was released into his mother’s care.

At 6’9 and over 300 pounds, Kemper was a massive, imposing man. Known as the “Co-ed Killer” for his murder of six college women, Kemper’s killing spree came to an end after murdering his mother and her friend. After killing his mother, he mutilated her body.

Due to Kemper’s high intelligence and articulation skills, the FBI was very interested in learning about him and his motives. According to Kemper, his violent tendencies towards women stem from their early rejection of him, and the abuse he endured from his mother.

Ressler interviewed Kemper on several occasions, and the killer’s insights assisted the FBI in developing a thorough understanding of the mind of a serial killer.

The work conducted by the BSU was very difficult, and psychology draining. But, these men and women put the needs of the public ahead of their own. They wanted to understand the mind of a killer, so hopefully they could prevent further violence. Are there other famous FBI profiling cases that you find fascinating?

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4 Influential Figures in the History of Forensic Psychology

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Photo courtesy of jjay.cuny.edu.

Forensic psychology is a fascinating specialty that focuses on researching human behavior, as it relates to the law.  To that end, forensic psychologists utilize their research, experience and skills to consult within the legal system – in both civil and criminal law matters.

This branch of psychology has evolved significantly over the past 150 years. Here are four individuals who were instrumental in such evolution, and who have helped shape forensic psychology into its modern-day form.

Wilhelm Wundt (1832 – 1920)

Wilhelm Wundt was a German physiologist and psychologist, who is widely recognized as the founder of experimental psychology. In short, experimental psychology is the process by which scientific methods are used to collect relevant data that allows psychologists to perform research on both human and animal test subjects.

Prior to Wundt, psychology was generally considered a branch of philosophy. This meant, that most theories and determinations were made by rational analysis as opposed to any sort of scientific method. Wundt’s advancements in this field had a profound impact on the future of psychology, and its eventual acceptance into the world of science.

Wundt’s further significant contributions include establishing the world’s first psychological laboratory, and psychology journal. His impact on forensic psychology is monumental. Wundt’s methodology provided the framework for the modern-day study of trial testimony, criminal behavior and motives, and jury selection techniques.

Hugo Munsterberg (1863-1916)

Hugo Munsterberg was a German-American psychologist, who had a medical degree and a doctorate, which he earned under the tutelage of Wilhelm Wundt at the University of Leipzig. Considered to be a pioneer in the field of applied psychology, Munsterberg was recruited by Harvard University to run the learning institution’s experimental psychology lab.

Utilizing the experimental techniques developed by his mentor, Munsterberg pushed forward the field of applied psychology – which uses psychological theories and principles to resolve practical, real world issues.

Munsterberg was also an avid supporter of psychological parallelism, which holds that a body’s physical processes and brain processes always act in tandem. His greatest work focused on applying his research to questions that addressed industry, education and law. With respect to legal issues, Munsterberg delved into psychological factors affecting trial outcomes and the viewpoints of jury members.

Munsterberg’s most impactful book in the field of forensic psychology is “On the Witness Stand,” which contains a collection of essays on psychology and crime.

Harry Hollingworth (1880 – 1956)

Also a pioneer in applied psychology, Harry Hollingworth was used as an expert witness in a famous legal action brought by the U.S. government against Coca-Cola.

In 1909, federal agents set up a stakeout in Tennessee, right near the state’s border with Georgia. The agents wound up intercepting a delivery from Coca-Cola’s Atlanta plant on route to the bottling plant in Chattanooga. The government’s seizure (40 barrels of Coke and 20 kegs of syrup) was made under the authority of the Pure Food and Drug Act.

The theory? The government alleged that Coca-Cola was selling a product that was injurious to health because it contained a harmful ingredient – namely, caffeine.

Desperate to defend its product and in effort to disprove the government’s position, Coca-Cola hired Hollingworth to conduct experiments on caffeine and its impact on humans. Up until that point, Coca-Cola had only experimented the effects of caffeine on animals.

Hollingworth completed the experiments in 40 days. His masterful execution of the studies is used today as a teaching tool to illustrate how one should conduct forensic experiments.

The conclusions reached by Hollingworth’s experiments were quite favorable to Coca-Cola. He testified that the soft drink was merely a mild stimulant for both motor and cognitive performance. Most importantly, Hollingworth’s testimony revealed that there was no evidence of any injurious effect on people’s physical and mental capacity,  as alleged by the government.

Prior to reaching the jury, the judge dismissed the government’s case against Coca-Cola.

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Photo courtesy of discinsights.com.

William Marston (1893 – 1947)

An American psychologist and attorney, William Marston made an impact in both forensic psychology and pop culture. Although he is often wrongly credited with inventing the polygraph machine (which was invented by John Larson), Marston did have a significant impact on the machine’s genesis.

Specifically, Marston was the creator of the systolic blood pressure test. His research into this area led him to the conclusion that one’s blood pressure rises when that person is telling a lie. Utilizing Marston’s research, Larson developed the polygraph machine that would eventually become the modern day lie detector test. Marston’s research was so influential, that the U.S. government requested his assistance with lie detection during their investigation into the infamous 1930s Lindbergh kidnapping.

Marston’s other notable impact on forensic psychology was his findings on how a person’s will and sense of power has an effect on that person’s personality and behavior. His theories and principles on these topics led to the future study of personality traits and behaviors of criminals.

On a different note, Marston led a somewhat unorthodox life (especially for his time period). Marston fathered 4 children, two with his wife and two with his live-in mistress. His wife worked to support the family financially, while his mistress stayed at home to raise all four children.

Marston’s unconventional lifestyle led him to another interesting creation, namely – Wonder Woman. In a world dominated by male superheroes, Marston believed that women needed their own superhero, who exuded independence and power. Wonder Woman was created by Marston under the pen name Charles Moulton.

Are there any other historical figures that you believe should be included on this list?

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You Ask: So What’s the Real Story Behind DEAD COLD?

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I receive this question quite a bit about what my inspiration was for creating vigilante detective Emily Stone and the rest of the crime thriller series. Well let me tell you…

What you are about to read is true, at least how I remember it. Please note, it’s not for the squeamish. It was a day that I’ll never forget because it changed everything in my life. It started out as any other mild California day in April. A new neighbor moved into the house next door and it appeared that a man and a woman with a small baby would be added to the neighborhood.

One aspect you must realize, it was a quiet and conservative area—not a particularly close-knit neighborhood but nice nonetheless. Nothing ever happened that would rate a news story or a visit from the police. Ever. My first meeting with the new neighbor, and we’ll just call him “John” for this story, was unforgettable. I apologize to all the wonderful and nice “Johns” out there—but I had to pick a modest name for the sake of story.

There was no conversation with John that would resemble anything cordial or even normal. There was a response to my friendly greeting. Nothing representing a civil tone, but he demanded, “What’s wrong with your face? Why are you looking at me like that? You know how easy it would be to slit your throat?” He made the cutting of throat gesture with his hand to back up his statement.

I knew that from that day forward there would be a problem—make that a huge problem in my life. And, I was right. The next two and half years were a nightmare, I was constantly stalked, threatened to be decapitated and raped, and I never had a day that wasn’t disturbing in dealing with John. There were so many awful situations that I don’t think I could write them all in one book—maybe two or three volumes might cover it. Some episodes were quite unbelievable, while other were almost comical.

I finally moved. And you know what? He followed me and the horrifying stalking and harassment started over. Yes of course, I went to the police and I’m still friends with some of them today. Law enforcement couldn’t do anything until he touched me, hurt me, and yes, even killed me. It’s true. So I prepared myself, working with a martial arts and self-defense trainer–it helped to build my strength, agility, and confidence. I knew it was a matter of time before John broke into my house and killed me. Luckily for me, he was arrested for beating someone almost to death, but I was on his list of people to kill. How nice. I thought things like this were only in the movies. I guessed wrong.

What in world does this have to do with inspiration for my Emily Stone crime thriller series? I would say quite a bit. Well from this experience, I created a fictional vigilante detective, Emily Stone, who tracks down serial killers and child abductors. She accomplishes this covertly and under the police department’s radar. When she gathers all the information, forensics, and behavioral evidence; she then forwards everything to the detective in charge of the investigation–keeping her identity secret.

My own personal experiences with a textbook, violent, sociopath inspired me to create a thriller series and to earn degrees in criminology and criminal justice, as well as police forensics. I think my own story ended well. You will find some scenes in my books that were based on real occurrences I experienced, but you won’t know which ones. You’ll just have to guess.

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Merry Christmas! Thank you ALL for Making this a Memorable Year

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This has been an extremely diverse and interesting year. We’ve all had ups and downs, but objectively I think that we’ve learned something from our experiences. Remember, there is always something to be learned from something unpleasant, and oftentimes, something really wonderful comes from it.

Someone reminded me earlier this year, as corny as it sounds, is that the glass is always half full, not empty. Keep that in mind when you become embroiled in debates and disagreements. If you listen carefully, we all have good points to bring to the table even if we disagree.

I cherish all of you and the opportunity that has come from writing my books. I could not do what I do without you. Thank you all for being a part of my year. I have some surprises and new books scheduled for next year.

Thank you to my family, friends, and fans for making this year outstanding.

Merry Christmas!

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Creepy Christmas: 4 Infamous Holiday Murders

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Cold nights. Warm fires. Cozy celebrations. That’s what Christmas is all about for most of us. But, sadly, the high emotions that surround the holidays can sometimes turn horrifically dark.

While many savor the joy of the season, some people’s lives are destroyed by deranged psychopaths.

The Murder of Michelle O’Dowd

Described as a sweet and gentle woman, 67 year old Michelle O’Dowd liked to help people. So, during the holidays in 2011, Michelle invited a down and out family friend to stay at her home in a quiet Florida gated community. The friend –  40 year old Patty White – was even given access to Michelle’s debit card to purchase groceries for the both of them.

But, despite Michelle’s generosity of free housing and food, White apparently wanted more. And when she didn’t get it, things went horribly wrong for Michelle. Several weeks before Christmas, Michelle’s twin brother discovered Michelle’s beaten and strangled body hidden beneath presents under her own Christmas tree.

After killing Michelle, White fled to South Carolina. Prior to fleeing the state, White was caught on surveillance footage withdrawing $1,000 from Michelle’s bank account. The cowardly killer stole the money using the debit card generously offered by Michelle for groceries.

White was caught within days of the murder, and was extradited to Florida to face murder charges. She was sentenced to 45 years in prison.

Covina Massacre

It was Christmas Eve, 2008. The Pardo family was celebrating the holidays with a gathering of 25 people. As the celebration was drawing to a close, someone knocked on the door around 11:30 pm. When an 8-year old girl answered the door, she was greeted by a man wearing a Santa Claus suit. In one hand, Santa held a semi-automatic handgun, and in the other hand – a gift wrapped homemade flamethrower. That’s right. A flamethrower.

The man in the Santa outfit was Jeffrey Pardo. And he had just finalized his divorce a week prior. The home being invaded by Pardo was the residence of his former in-laws.

When the young girl opened the door, Pardo immediately began shooting. The young girl sustained a facial injury. Pardo then opened fire on the rest of the 25 partygoers. He had 4 guns in total, and when Pardo was done shooting, he unleashed the flamethrower – burning the house to the ground.

By the time Pardo was done with his rampage, nine people had died and three more were injured. The ensuing fire was so bad, that it took 80 firefighters to extinguish the flames. Dental records were required to identify the victims.

Shortly after the macabre event, Pardo was found dead 30 miles away with a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

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Photo courtesy of aftermath.com.

Pennsylvania Murder

In 2014, Dustin Klopp, his wife – Stephanie Kilhefner – and their children were getting ready to leave their home for a Christmas Eve shindig at Klopp’s parents’ house. Then, Klopp and Kilhefner got into a heated argument, which ended in Klopp cutting his wife’s throat with a knife, and striking her head repeatedly with an axe.

Their children did not witness the event. So, after killing his wife, Klopp dragged her body into the shed. He then gathered the children and went to his parents’ house to celebrate Christmas Eve.

After telling his father about the killing, Klopp was urged to turn himself in to the police. Which he did.

Klopp was charged with murder and abuse of a corpse, which stems from the allegation that he sexually assaulted his wife after the killing.

In 2015, Klopp died in prison as a result of hanging himself.

Murder Mansion of Los Feliz

Weeks before Christmas in 1959, a dark event took place in the swanky Los Angeles neighborhood of Los Feliz. At 4:30 in the morning, cardiologist Harold Perelson pummeled his sleeping wife with a ball-peen hammer. She choked to death on her own blood.

After killing his wife, Perelson headed over to the room of Judye, his teenage daughter. He struck Judye with the same hammer. But, his aim was off. And she escaped to a neighbor’s house. Judye then called the police.

Judye’s screams of terror woke Perelson’s youngest two children. When the kids approached their father, Perelson advised them to go back to sleep, as they were merely experiencing a nightmare. They were not killed.

Before the police arrived, Perelson had already killed himself with pills. During the investigation into the motive, it was revealed that Perelson was having financial problems. It was also discovered that Perelson had attempted suicide on several occasions, and that he was due to be committed to a mental hospital. The mansion where the murder took place remained untouched for nearly 50 years.

These terrifying true stories are a reminder of the dangers that exist in this world. The poor victims were primed to enjoy Christmas and all that comes with the holiday season. Yet, their fates were sealed by the hands of psychopaths who had no respect for human life.

Let’s all be grateful for the love in our lives, and continue to show respect for the people around us.

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