BETTER OFF DEAD
In October in Orange County, California, Billy Joe Johnson, who had just been convicted of murder as a hit man for a white supremacist gang, begged the judge and jury, in all sincerity, to sentence him to death. Johnson knew that those on California’s death row get individual cells and better telephone access, nicer contact-visit arrangements, and more personal-property privileges than ordinary inmates. The Los Angeles Times reported that the state’s spending per death-row inmate is almost three times that for other inmates. The current death-row census totals 685, but because of legal issues, only 13 have been executed since 1977 (compared to 71 death-row fatalities from other causes). In fact, Johnson was so eager to be put on death row that he tried to confess to two murders that no one yet knew about.
Veteran marathoner Jerry Johncock, 81, was four-fifths through the Twin Cities Marathon in October when he was overtaken by a medical problem common to men of his age: urinary blockage. As he stopped to discuss his plight with officials, noting that he would have to quit the race to get to a hospital before his bladder burst, a spectator overheard the conversation and offered him the use of a “spare” catheter he had in his car. Johncock repaired to a rest room, administered the catheter, and returned to finish the race.
In October, Poland’s Polskieradio reported a settlement in the 18-month legal battle between two neighbors in Mikowice over a plastic bucket worth about $4.50. One had sued, accusing the other of ruining the bucket by kicking it. The respondent had elaborately offered proof of innocence by submitting video of the neighbor continuing to use the bucket as before, but the neighbor had countered by calling an “expert” witness, who examined the bucket and concluded that it was probably damaged.
HAVING MOM FOR DINNER
Lisa Blair and her six sisters were enjoying a Thanksgiving meal in Hamilton, Ontario when they began noticing suspicious flecks in the food and realized that their necklace lockets, containing the ashes of their mother (who had passed away two weeks earlier) were leaking. A local funeral services store restocked and sealed the lockets.
In August, the Thorpe Park amusement facility in Chertsey, England, posted signs on its roller coaster admonishing riders not to wave their arms during the ride. According to director Mike Vallis: “We’ve found that when the temperature tops 77 degrees [Fahrenheit], the level of unpleasant [underarm] smells can become unacceptable, and we do receive complaints.”
WHAT’S IN A NAME?
(1) The victim of fatal gunshots in Buffalo, N.Y., in October: Mr. Mister Rogers, 23. (2) Arrested for flashing women in Annville Township, Pennsylvania, in October: Mr. Hung Thanh Vo, 19. (3) Sentenced for burglary in Portland, Oregon, in November (for a December 2008 incident in which he, nude, was detained by the 88-year-old female homeowner, who had grabbed hold of his scrotum): Mr. Michael G. Dick, 47. (4) Arrested—for the second time—for prostitution in Forsyth County, Georgia, in October: massage parlor employee Mi Suk Yang, 47.
INCOMPETENT CAR OWNERS
(1) From a police report in the October 6 Jersey Journal: An out-of-state visitor who parked his Ferrari Modena overnight on the street in Jersey City returned the next morning to find the car burglarized and a $100,000 Audemars Piguet watch that he had left inside the car missing. (2) A still-unidentified driver who had just spent $1.25 million on a 2006 Bugatti Veyron EB (at 1001 horsepower, reputed to be the fastest and most expensive car in the world) was distracted by a low-flying pelican while driving in LaMarque, Texas (on Galveston Island), and accidentally drove the car into a salt-water inlet.MauiTime, Chuck Shepherd