On This Day in True Crime History – 15th February

On this day in True Crime History, we revisit the 15th February.

1564: 🌌 Birth of the Heretic Galileo, aka the Father of Science

On this day in 1564, Italian scientist and astronomer Galileo Galilei was born.

Galileo Galilei would be found guilty of heresy by the Roman Catholic Inquisition in 1633. His support for the heliocentric theory, which posited that the Earth and other planets orbit the Sun, directly contradicted the Church’s geocentric view that placed the Earth at the centre of the universe.

Despite Galileo’s efforts to argue that his findings did not conflict with Scripture, the Inquisition ruled that he had violated a 1616 edict that forbade holding, teaching, or defending the heliocentric theory.

As a result, Galileo was forced to recant his views and spent the remaining years of his life under house arrest.

In the 18th century Galileo’s middle finger was removed from his corpse and is now currently on display in the Museo Galileo in Florence, Italy. 🌠🔭📚

This Day in True Crime History

1796: 🌳 The Death of John Black Caesar Australia’s First Bushranger

On this day in 1796, John Black Caesar, also known as Australia’s first bushranger and a figure from Australia’s early convict history, met his end.

Born around 1763, possibly in Madagascar, Caesar’s journey took him from servant in England, to being transported to Botany Bay for theft to notorious bushranger in the colony of New South Wales.

Despite being recognized for his diligence, Caesar’s insatiable appetite led him down a path of repeated theft, resulting in additional sentences and escapes into the bush, where he attempted to live off the land. His repeated efforts to sustain himself outside the confines of the penal colony saw him clashing with local Aboriginal groups and the colonial authorities.

His final escape in December 17-95, leading a gang of absconders, solidified his reputation as Australia’s first bushranger. The pursuit for his capture ended tragically when he was shot to death, but by this time, his legacy in Australian history had been secured.

This Day in True Crime History

1872: ⚖️Execution of the Outlaws Charcoal and Tommy

On this day in 1872, Charcoal and Tommy, were executed for the murder of Samuel Lazenby during a pearl fishing expedition in Port Walcott, Western Australia.

This excursion took a strange turn when Lazenby failed to return from the expedition, with his disappearance cloaked in betrayal and violence. The subsequent investigation resulted in the discovery of Lazenby’s body – partially buried and identifiable by peculiarities in his jaw and the clothing he was last seen wearing.

Captured and subjected to trial, Charcoal and Tommy faced overwhelming evidence against them. Witness testimonies, coupled with the recovery of Lazenby’s belongings and fragments of his boat in their possession, painted a damning picture. Despite their pleas of innocence, the jury delivered a swift and unanimous guilty verdict. 🎣⚖️🕵️‍♂️

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On This Day in True Crime History – 8th February

On this day in True Crime History, we revisit the 8th February.

1587: ⚔️ The Execution of Mary, Queen of Scots, for Suspected Conspiracy

On this day in 1587, Mary, Queen of Scots, a figure entwined in political intrigue and dynastic struggles, was executed. Born in 1542, she became queen of Scotland at just six days old after her father’s death.

Her early life was marked by a brief betrothal to the English Prince Edward, a move that sparked conflict due to religious differences. She was instead sent to France, where she married Francis II, becoming queen consort of France at 16. Widowed at 18, she returned to Scotland, a realm divided by religious strife.

Mary’s reign in Scotland was turbulent, characterized by her marriage to her cousin Lord Darnley, whose murder and her subsequent marriage to the prime suspect, the Earl of Bothwell, led to widespread scandal and her forced abdication in favor of her infant son, James VI of Scotland (later James I of England).

Fleeing to England for protection, she became a prisoner of her cousin, Elizabeth I, due to her strong Catholic claim to the English throne. After 19 years of captivity she was caught in conspiracy to murder Queen Elizabeth, leading to her demise, leaving a legacy of martyrdom for her Catholic supporters.

Her execution was infamously botched and took three blows of the axe to complete the job. ⚖️👑📜

This Day in True Crime History

1792: 🍞 James Collington’s Execution for Bakery Burglary

On this day in 1792, James Collington met a grim end, hanged for the theft of bread and flour from the hut of John Campbell, a laborer who provided baking services to the public, as well as a check apron belonging to Susanah Bray, who resided in the same dwelling.

At the hanging tree he addressed the convicts, warning them to avoid the path he had pursued; but said, that he was induced by hunger to commit the crime for which he suffered. He appeared desirous of death, declaring that he knew he could not live without stealing.

This severe punishment for seemingly petty theft was considered necessary as a means for keeping law and order intact owing to the near starvation rations that existed in the colony at this time. 🏚️⚖️💔

This Day in True Crime History

1799: 🚨 James Reece’s Desperate Final Act Before Execution

On this day in 1799, James Reece was hanged for a crime involving a sow, which was a capital offence under the severe moral and legal codes of the time.

Reece’s case was particularly notable not only for the nature of the crime but also for his actions on the day of his execution. Having previously been granted a reprieve at the gallows, Reece made a desperate attempt to escape his fate by attempting to cut his own throat on the morning he was to be executed.

The attempt was not fatal and was likely an attempt to buy more time in order to plan an escape attempt rather than a genuine desire for death.

This Day in True Crime History

1879: 🏦 Ned Kelly’s Daring Raid on Jerilderie

On this day in 1879, the notorious Ned Kelly and his gang executed one of their most audacious heists, targeting the small town of Jerilderie.

In a display of cunning and boldness, they captured two police officers, securing them in their own cells, before proceeding to rob the local bank. This event not only showcased the gang’s expert planning and brazenness but also highlighted Kelly’s complex relationship with authority and his sense of social justice.

His declaration, “I am a widow’s son outlawed and my orders must be obeyed,” underscored his defiance and the desperate resolve of a man cornered by circumstances.

The raid culminated in the drafting of The Jerilderie Letter, an outlaw’s manifesto that served as a poignant narrative of Kelly’s grievances against the police and the judicial system, sealing his legacy as one of Australia’s most emblematic and polarizing figures. 📜🔒💰

This Day in True Crime History

1950: 🕵️‍♂️ The Founding of the Stasi in East Germany

On this day in 1950, East Germany saw the establishment of the Stasi, or “Staatssicherheit,” marking the inception of one of the most repressive and feared secret police agencies in the world.

The Stasi was notorious for its extensive surveillance and espionage activities, both within East Germany and abroad, aimed at suppressing dissent and controlling every aspect of citizens’ lives. Its methods included informants, wiretapping, and extensive personal surveillance, creating an atmosphere of fear and mistrust among the population.

The agency’s vast network and ruthless tactics made it a symbol of the oppressive nature of East German communist rule. The Stasi was dissolved in 1990, following the fall of the Berlin Wall and the subsequent reunification of Germany, but its legacy remains a chilling reminder of the dark side of surveillance and state control. 🔍💔

This Day in True Crime History

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On This Day in True Crime History – 7th December

On this day in True Crime History, December 7th has witnessed a series of startling and somber events throughout history, marking it as a day of infamy in the annals of true crime. From notorious bank heists by legendary outlaws to chilling abductions that captivated nations, let us delve into the next batch of dark and complex tales from criminal history.

0043 BC: 📜 The Famous Roman Orator Cicero Assassinated

On this day in 43 BC, Cicero, one of the most celebrated figures in Roman history and renowned for his eloquence and oratory skills, met a tragic end. He was assassinated on the orders of Marcus Antonius, marking the conclusion of a turbulent chapter in Rome’s political landscape.

Cicero’s last months were marked by his reentry into politics, advocating for a general amnesty and attempting to use Octavian (the future emperor Augustus) as a political tool. He vehemently opposed Mark Antony’s control over Rome following Julius Caesar’s assassination.

Octavian learned of one of Cicero’s unfortunate remarks that “the young man should be given praise, distinctions—and then be disposed of.” The formation of the Second Triumvirate in October sealed Cicero’s fate. He was captured and killed near Caieta on December 7, 43 BC, with his head and hands displayed on the speakers platform at the Forum in Rome. 🌟🗡️🏛️

This Day in True Crime History

1869: 🤠 Jesse James Infamous Bank Robbery and Revenge Killing

On this day in 1869, Jesse James, and very likely his brother Frank, perpetrated a notorious bank robbery at the Daviess County Savings Association in Gallatin, Missouri.

The target of their heist yielded only a modest sum of money. However, the robbery took a violent turn as Jesse James fatally shot the cashier, Captain John Sheets, in a case of mistaken identity.

Jesse believed Sheets to be Samuel P Cox, a militia officer responsible for the death of Bloody Bill Anderson, one of the most fearsome leaders of Confederate guerrillas in Civil War Missouri, who Jesse strove to emulate.

This bank robbery and daring ride out of town from a chasing posse catapulted Jesse James into notoriety, making him one of the most infamous outlaws of the Wild West. 🤠💰🔫

This Day in True Crime History

1972: 👠 Philippine First Lady Survives Bold Assassination Attempt

On this day in 1972, a brazen assassination attempt was made on Imelda Marcos, the First Lady of the Philippines 🌺.

An assailant, concealing a bolo knife in his left coat sleeve, made a sudden and violent lunge at Mrs Marcos, striking her twice. The attacker then went on a rampage, hacking at bystanders until he was fatally shot by security 🗡️🚑.

Imelda Marcos would go on to become better known for her extraordinary collection of 3000 thousand pairs of shoes, a stark contrast to her nation’s turmoil and an enduring symbol of her lavish lifestyle. 🥿👠

This Day in True Crime History

1982: 📅 The December Murders in Suriname

On this day in 1982, in Dutch-speaking Suriname, fifteen prominent young Surinamese men who had voiced criticism against the military dictatorship then ruling the country became victims of the event known as The December murders.

Thirteen individuals were forcibly taken from their homes during the early hours between 2 am and 5 am, according to accounts provided by their families. The remaining two victims already in detention due to their involvement in an attempted countercoup in March 1982.

Soldiers loyal to Dési Bouterse, who held dictatorial power in Suriname at the time, transported these individuals to a sham “trial” presided over by sergeants who had assumed the roles of judges. Following these dubious “hearings,” the victims endured brutal torture and were ultimately shot dead. The exact circumstances surrounding their deaths remain shrouded in ambiguity.

A few days later the country’s dictactor Bouterse made a national television announcement asserting that all detainees had been shot dead while purportedly attempting to flee.

The December Murders sparked international outrage, and many Surinamese civilians fled their homeland for the Netherlands in fear for their safety. 🕯️🌍

In November 2019, President Bouterse was sentenced to 20 years in prison by a military court. Bouterse, sentenced in absentia, filed an appeal which, in August 2021, which concluded in the sentence being upheld.

This Day in True Crime History

1982: 💉 First Lethal Injection Execution in the U.S

On this day in 1982, Charles Brooks Jr made history by becoming the first person in the United States to be executed by lethal injection 💉.

This execution in Texas marked a shift in the methods of capital punishment, introducing lethal injection as a supposedly more humane alternative.

The condemned man’s final meal before his execution included a t-bone steak, french fries with ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, biscuits, peach cobbler, and iced tea 🥩🍟🍑🍹.

This Day in True Crime History

2003: 🚍 Tragic Abduction in Queensland

On this day in 2003, a heartbreaking incident shook Australia when Daniel Morcombe was abducted from under an overpass on the Sunshine Coast, Queensland while waiting for a bus. This case remained a mystery for many years, casting a shadow over the region and capturing national attention.

An extensive undercover operation led to the arrest of Brett Peter Cowan, who had been previously interviewed by police in 2006. He was charged after leading undercover detectives to Daniel’s remains in 2012, bringing a somber closure to the case. 🕵️‍♂️🔍

This Day in True Crime History

As we close the chapter on December 7th’s true crime history, let these historical events serve as solemn reminders of the past, guiding lights for the present, and cautionary tales for the future. Hope to see you on a Dark Stories True Crime Tour soon!

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On This Day in True Crime History – 30th November

Casting a light on November 30th in True Crime History, we uncover a mosaic of human experiences where tales of justice, tragedy, and infamy intertwine.

1796: ⛓️ Francis Morgan Gibbeted on Sydney Harbour’s Pinchgut Island

On this day in 1796, In the midst of Sydney Harbour lies the picturesque Pinchgut Island, known today for its iconic Fort Denison. But in the early days of the colony, this tiny island bore witness to a macabre chapter in history, with a convict named Francis Morgan meeting a gruesome fate there. 💀

Francis Morgan’s journey to Pinchgut Island began in 1793 when he arrived in the colony of New South Wales aboard the ship Sugar Cane, surviving the attempted convict mutiny on their way to Sydney.

Morgan had a dark past, having been tried for the murder of a man in Dublin, Ireland, and was caught wearing the victim’s watch. His sentence, initially death, was commuted to transportation for life. 🚢

However, upon reaching Sydney, Morgan’s violent tendencies emerged once more. In mid-October 1796, he brutally bashed a man named Simon Raven to death on the northern shores of the harbour. This heinous act led to his second encounter with a death sentence. ⚔️

As Francis Morgan awaited his execution, he received a chilling piece of news. His body would not find peace in death; instead, it would be hung in chains on Pinchgut Island, serving as a grim warning to others as required by the Murder Act of 1751. Morgan, stoicly commented favorably on the splendid view of the harbor he would have from his eerie perch, noting its unparalleled beauty. 🌅

For at least the next four years, Francis Morgan’s lifeless body endured the elements, suspended in the middle of Sydney Harbour—a haunting reminder of the consequences of a life gone terribly wrong. ⏳

This Day in True Crime History

1796: 🔒 John Lawler and Martin McEwin Hanged for Robbing the Public Stores

On this day in 1796 in Sydney was a sombre day full of executions. The newly formed bustling streets of Sydney saw John Lawler (convict) and Martin Mcewin (soldier) faced the hangman’s noose for robbing public stores.

Despite the seemingly minor offence of stealing food, they faced the same fate as that of a murderer, Francis Morgan, whose vile act of wilful murder darkened the colony’s early history. ⚖️🔓

Both John Lawler and Martin Mcewin were executed and found their eternal rest at Sydney’s first public cemetery known as the Old Sydney Burial Ground, a site now known as Town Hall in the heart of Sydney. The burial ground remained in use until January 1820. During the 28 years the cemetery operated some 2240 burials were added. Excavations of the Town Hall basement in 2008 identified 66 remaining graves in total. 🏛️

This Day in True Crime History

1900: 💔 Oscar Wilde’s Iconic Farewell

On this day in 1900, the world lost one of its most brilliant and controversial literary figures, Oscar Wilde. The renowned Irish writer and wit, known for his sharp humor and flamboyant style, spent his final days in a Paris hotel room.

Oscar Wilde’s life had taken a tragic turn when he was imprisoned for “gross indecency” due to his homosexual relationships. After his release, he fled to France to escape the judgmental eyes of Victorian England. He found himself in a modest hotel, facing the drab wallpaper that adorned his room.

Legend has it that, in his last moments, Wilde remarked on the wallpaper, saying, “One of us had to go.” It was a poignant and ironic statement, reflecting the profound struggles and conflicts he had faced in his life.

Oscar Wilde’s death marked the end of an era and the loss of a literary genius whose works continue to be celebrated today. His wit, humor, and unique perspective on society remain celebrated in the world of literature. 📖🎭🖋️

This Day in True Crime History

1962: 🕊️ Andrews Hanged in Grim Finale

On this day in 1962, a dark chapter in history concluded as Lowell Lee Andrews, a 22-year-old college student at the University of Kansas, faced execution by hanging for the horrifying murders of his mother, father, and sister. 💔🕊️

His shocking crimes unfolded on the night of November 28, 1958, when he callously shot and killed his own parents, William and Opal Andrews, along with his 20-year-old sister, Jennie, within the walls of their Wichita, Kansas, home. The nation was left in disbelief as the gruesome details of this family tragedy emerged.

Initially, Andrews attempted to deflect suspicion by reporting the murders to the police, deceitfully claiming that an unidentified intruder had committed the heinous act. However, law enforcement swiftly turned their attention towards Andrews as their investigation uncovered a web of damning evidence.

The pieces of the puzzle fell into place as it was revealed that Andrews had taken out a substantial life insurance policy on his family shortly before their deaths, a policy that promised a substantial windfall upon their demise. Moreover, the murder weapon was traced back to him, eroding the facade he had tried to maintain.

During his trial, the chilling truth emerged. Andrews confessed to the murders, divulging that he had been motivated by two sinister factors: the lure of insurance money and a desire for emancipation from what he perceived as his family’s suffocating control.

Justice was served as Lowell Lee Andrews faced his ultimate punishment, hanging at the Kansas State Penitentiary in Lansing, Kansas. ⚖️🪓🏚️

This Day in True Crime History

1989: 🌌 Aileen’s Fateful Beginnings

On this day in 1989, a chilling chapter in the life of Aileen Wuornos, one of America’s most infamous female serial killers, began. Aileen, who had a troubled past as a victim of abuse and exploitation, found herself on a path that would lead to a series of gruesome murders.

Aileen often resorted to prostitution to make a living, and on this fateful night, her client was Richard Mallory, a convicted rapist. According to Aileen, the encounter took a horrifying turn when Mallory attempted to assault her. In what she claimed was an act of self-defence, she shot him three times, ending his life.

However, this event marked the beginning of a series of killings by Aileen Wuornos. She went on to claim the lives of six more men, raising questions about her motivations and the transformation from victim to predator. While the first murder may have been driven by self-defence, subsequent acts left even sympathetic observers sceptical of her motives.

Many were left wondering whether Aileen was a serial killer, a victim, or both. She was on death row for a number of years before being executed in 2002. 📚🔍

This Day in True Crime History

2001: 🔒 Capture of the Green River Serial Killer

On this day in 2001, a significant breakthrough occurred in the pursuit of justice as Gary Ridgway, a notorious serial killer, was arrested. This arrest marked a pivotal moment in the effort to bring a remorseless murderer to justice.

Gary Ridgway, infamously known as the “Green River Killer,” eventually pleaded guilty to a staggering 49 murders. His crimes had terrorized the Pacific Northwest for years, and his capture was the result of relentless investigative work by law enforcement.

Ridgway’s journey to capture was not without its twists and turns. He had previously come to the attention of law enforcement, having been arrested in 1982 and 2001 on charges related to prostitution. It was in 1983 that he became a suspect in the Green River killings, a shadow that would follow him for years.

In 1984, Ridgway passed a polygraph test, which added a layer of complexity to the investigation. On April 7, 1987, police took hair and saliva samples from Ridgway, seeking to uncover any evidence that might link him to the string of murders.

Ridgway’s ability to pass a polygraph test was a chilling reminder of the challenges faced by law enforcement in bringing him to justice. Here are the polygraph questions and answers:

🔒 Gary, you have heard all the questions on this test, are there any you are going to lie to? NO
🔒 Regarding the deaths of prostitutes, have you told the police the complete truth about that? YES
🔒 Is your true last name Ridgway? YES
🔒 Have you ever caused the death of a prostitute? NO
🔒 Before you were 30 years old, did you ever physically injure anyone without provocation? NO
🔒 Were you born in the state of Utah? YES
🔒 Do you know of anyone who has killed a prostitute? NO
🔒 Before you were 30 years old, did you ever lie about someone to get them into serious trouble? NO
🔒 Have you taken any illegal drug or narcotic in the last 48 hours? NO

Gary Ridgway, the Green River Killer, is serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole. He entered a plea agreement in 2003 in exchange for a life sentence instead of facing the death penalty.. 📚🔍

This Day in True Crime History

2003: 🚴 Cyclist Ian Humphrey’s Tragic Death

On this day in 2003, a sombre event unfolded on Kapunda Road in South Australia, forever etching itself into the annals of controversy. It was the day when cyclist Ian Humphrey lost his life in a collision with a vehicle driven by Eugene McGee, an incident that would raise significant questions about justice and accountability. 😢

The Controversy Unfolds:

Hit-and-Run Drama: Eugene McGee, a prominent Adelaide lawyer, struck and killed Ian Humphrey with his vehicle. Shockingly, he did not stop at the scene of the accident and failed to render assistance to the injured cyclist. This hit-and-run aspect of the incident immediately raised concerns and garnered public attention. 🚗🏴‍☠️

Delayed Surrender: Adding to the controversy was the fact that Eugene McGee turned himself into the police more than six hours after the collision. This delay in coming forward added to the mystery and left questions about his actions and intentions during those critical hours. ⏰🤔

Alcohol Consumption: Reports indicated that McGee had consumed at least four or five glasses of wine over lunch on the day of the incident. He was not subjected to a blood alcohol test, raising concerns about whether alcohol impairment played a role in the collision. 🍷🍻

Legal Proceedings and Public Outrage:
Eugene McGee faced legal proceedings in the wake of these shocking events. However, the outcome of the trial left many deeply dissatisfied. He was found guilty of driving without due care and was fined $3,000, with his driver’s license suspended for a year. This verdict and the relatively lenient penalty fueled public outrage. ⚖️😡

Calls for Accountability:
The trial’s outcome and the perceived inadequacy of the penalty sparked widespread protests and demands for greater accountability. Hundreds of cyclists and victims’ rights groups rallied, expressing their dissatisfaction with the state’s justice system. 📢👥

A Royal Commission Investigates:
In response to the controversy and public pressure, the South Australian Government ordered a Royal Commission to investigate the incident comprehensively. 🕵️‍♂️📋

The Second Trial and Its Aftermath:
Following the Royal Commission, further charges were laid against Eugene McGee. He faced accusations of conspiring to pervert the course of justice and perverting the course of justice. However, in a series of legal developments, including stays of proceedings and a permanent stay, the charges against McGee were ultimately dismissed. This outcome further fueled debates about justice and accountability. Questions that remain unanswered to this day. ⚖️🔄

This Day in True Crime History

Reflecting on the events of November 30th in True Crime History, we are reminded of the profound impact that crime and its consequent justice have on the fabric of society. These stories serve as a chronicle of the darker aspects of human nature and human history.

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