Sunday, July 12, 2020

TODAY IN CRIME: July 13


1793 Royalist sympathizer Charlotte Corday stabbed to death French revolutionary Jean Paul Marat in his bath. She was executed four days later.

1863 The Draft Riots protesting unfair conscription into the Union Army to fight the Civil War erupted in New York City. About 1,000 people died over three days.

1942 The SS and Ukrainian police liquidated the remaining 5,000 Jews living in the Rovno ghetto in western Ukraine. They herded them into freight cars, transported them to the forest near Kostopol, and shot them to death. Einsatzgruppe C and their Ukrainian collaborators massacred 21,000 Jews the previous November. Reichskommissar Eric Koch declared the ghetto judenrein ("clean of Jews") at the end of July.

1955 The last execution of a woman in Britain took place when nightclub owner Ruth Ellis was hanged at HM Prison Holloway in London. On Easter Sunday, 1955, she shot and killed her abusive lover, David Blakely, in what many considered a crime passionel.

1976 The court martial began in the USSR for Valery Sablin, captain of the Soviet destroyer Storozhevoy, who led a failed mutiny in the hope of replacing the Stalinist bureaucracy with a Leninist soviet democracy. He and 26 others were shot for treason. The case inspired Tom Clancy’s thriller The Hunt for Red October.

1977 A 25-hour blackout hit New York City after lightning struck upstate power lines. Widespread rioting and looting followed.

1978 A Soviet court sentenced political dissidents Alexander Ginzburg, Viktoras Piatkus, and Sjtsjaranki to work camps. Ginzburg received an eight-year sentence, but the next year U.S. President Carter negotiated an exchange of two Soviet spies for five Soviet political dissidents and Ginzburg came to America.

1983 The Transvaal Attorney General announced that Eugène Terre'Blanche, leader of the far-right Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging (AWB), and three associates would face terrorism charges in South Africa for attempting or planning to overthrow the South African government by violent means. Terre’Blanche and Petrus Johannes Rudolph were granted amnesty by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in 1999.

1994 An Oregon judge sentenced Jeff Gillooly to two years in prison for his attack on figure skater Nancy Kerrigan, the rival of his ex-wife Tanya Harding. He was released after six months and changed his name.

2000 South Carolina Electric & Gas Co. worker Russell Eubanks accused soul singer James Brown of assault and kidnapping. Eubanks was responding to a report of a power outage at Brown's home July 3 when the "Godfather of Soul" allegedly attacked him with a steak knife and held him against his will. Police did not have enough evidence to file charges.

2000 In Japan, Yoko Ono filed a lawsuit against Teito Rapid Transit Authority for copyright infringement, claiming the TRTA had no authority to use the likeness of John Lennon on a ticket.

2013 A Florida jury found George Zimmerman not guilty of second-degree murder and manslaughter in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin.

2018 A Missouri jury ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay a record $4.7 billion in damages to more than 20 women in the baby powder cancer case. The company was aware for years that its talc contained cancer-causing asbestos. J&J still faced almost 20,000 lawsuits filed by other victims.

2018 The U.S. Department of Justice charged twelve Russian intelligence officers with cyber-attacks against Democratic officials during the 2016 U.S. election. The hackers were accused of using spear phishing emails and malicious software; they also stole data on half a million voters from a state election board website. The Kremlin denied all accusations against the GRU agents.

Sunday, July 5, 2020

TODAY IN CRIME: July 6

photo credit: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

1415 The Catholic Church burned Czech theologian and church reformer Jan Hus at the stake as a heretic. He sang Psalms as the flames engulfed him.

1535 Sir Thomas More was beheaded for treason—he refused to join Henry VIII's Church of England.

1699 Colonial authorities captured pirate Captain William Kidd in Boston, MA, and deported him back to England.

1892 Three thousand eight hundred striking steelworkers fought a day-long battle with Pinkerton agents hired by Carnegie Steel during the Homestead Strike in Homestead, Pennsylvania. About 700 members of the Amalgamated Association of Iron and Steel Workers, the nation’s strongest trade union, objected to production demands not in their contract and the remaining workers joined them. State militia troops helped Carnegie restore order. Nine strikers and seven Pinkertons were killed and dozens were left wounded during the confrontation. The strike lost momentum over the next few months and the union lost power, allowing Carnegie to institute longer hours and lower wages.

1905 Officials in Europe and the U.S. exchanged fingerprints for the first time, in the case of John Walker.

1918 Members of Cheka, a Soviet secret police organization, assassinated German ambassador Wilhelm von Mirbach in Moscow, sparking the Left Socialist Revolutionaries uprising in Russia.

1944 Future baseball legend Jackie Robinson, a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army, refused to move to the back of a bus in Camp Hood, Texas, leading to a general court-martial on charges of insubordination and disrespect under the Articles of War. He was fully acquitted.

1944 A carelessly tossed cigarette started a blaze in the big top tent of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus in Hartford, Conn. 167 people died trying to escape. The circus paid out almost $5,000,000 to 600 victims and families over the next 10 years.

1981 An Argentine federal court freed former President of Argentina Isabel Peron after five years of house arrest.

1983 The U.S. Supreme Court ruled (Arizona Governing Comm. v. Norris) that retirement plans could not pay women smaller monthly payments solely because of their gender.

1988 In one of the worst offshore oil disasters, an explosion and resulting gas and oil fires destroyed Piper Alpha, an oil platform in the North Sea off the coast of Scotland. 167 men were killed; 61 escaped and survived. The insured loss came to almost two billion dollars, making it one of the costliest man-made catastrophes in history. A Public Inquiry in Scotland found Occidental Petroleum, Piper Alpha's operator, guilty of sustaining inadequate maintenance and safety procedures, but no criminal charges were ever brought against the company.

1989 Abd al-Hadi Rafa Ghanim of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad seized the steering wheel of commuter bus 405 en route from Tel-Aviv to Jerusalem and drove it over a cliff, killing 16 passengers. (Yehuda Meshi Zahav, one of the students from a nearby yeshiva who ran to help, later founded ZAKA, an Israeli volunteer rescue service organization.) Ghanim survived and received sixteen life sentences for murder, hijacking, and terrorism.

1997 In Cambodia, co-premier Hun Sen ousted co-premier Norodom Ranariddh. Hun Sen is still prime minister as of 2020.

2000 A Missouri jury awarded former NHL player Tony Twist $24 million for the unauthorized use of his name in the comic book Spawn and the HBO cartoon series. Co-defendant HBO settled with Twist out of court for an undisclosed amount.

2005 A federal judge jailed New York Times reporter Judith Miller after she refused to testify before a grand jury investigating the leak of an undercover CIA operative's name (Valerie Plame).

2010 A California court sentenced actor Lindsay Lohan to 90 days in jail for violating her probation and 90 days in a residential substance-abuse. She served 14 days behind bars.

2013 Boko Harem gunmen attacked a government-run boarding school in Yobe State, Nigeria, killing at least 42 people, mostly students. Yobe governor Ibrahim Geidam closed all secondary schools for the rest of the year and claimed the attack could have been prevented if there had not been a cell phone outage that kept citizens from reporting suspicious persons.

2013 An unattended 74-car freight train loaded with crude oil running at 65 mph derailed near the downtown area of Lac-Mégantic, Quebec. Multiple tank cars erupted in flames. 47 people were killed and the center of town half-destroyed. Most victims had to be identified from DNA samples and dental records.

The Transportation Safety Board of Canada found 18 factors that contributed to the disaster, including unresolved mechanical problems, negligent brakemen, insufficient training of employees, a lax safety culture within the train company, and inadequate oversight by Transport Canada.

Jurors acquitted the locomotive engineer, rail traffic controller, and operations manager, each charged with 47 counts of criminal negligence causing death.

2013 A Boeing 777 operating as Asiana Airlines Flight 214 from Korea crashed on its descent to San Francisco International Airport, killing three and injuring 181 of the 307 people on board. An investigation by the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board concluded that the flight crew mismanaged the airplane's final approach. Seventy-two passengers reached an undisclosed settlement with Asiana Airlines and Boeing in 2015 but as many as 100 more lawsuits filed in China, South Korea, and the U.S. remain unsettled.

Sunday, June 28, 2020

TODAY IN CRIME: June 29


1804 Members of the Lewis and Clark Expedition court-martialed privates John Collins and Hugh Hall for drinking on duty and stealing whiskey from the supplies. Collins received 100 lashes on his back and Hall received 50.

1903 The British government officially protested Belgian atrocities in the Congo.

1905 Russian troops intervened as riots erupted in ports all over the country, with rioters looting many ships.

1916 A British court sentenced Irish-born diplomat Sir Roger Casement to death for high treason for his part in the Easter Rising.

1946 British authorities arrested more than 2,700 Jews in Palestine in an attempt to end alleged terrorism.

1967 A British court found Keith Richards guilty of allowing his property to be used for the smoking of marijuana and sentenced him to one year in jail and imposed a fine. It found Mick Jagger guilty of illegal possession of pep pills and sentenced him to three months in jail. Neither rocker served time for the offenses.

1972 The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Furman v. Georgia the death penalty could constitute "cruel and unusual punishment," prompting some states to revise their capital punishment laws.

1992 A divided U. S. Supreme Court ruled that women have a constitutional right to abortion, but the justices also weakened the right as defined in the Roe v. Wade decision.

1995 The Sampoong Department store in Seoul, South Korea collapsed, killing 502 people and injuring 937. During construction, owner Lee Joon changed the original plans numerous times (such as adding an ill-advised fifth floor) and fired engineers who warned of structural dangers. Investigations revealed the foundation was poorly laid, the landfill it was built on was unstable, builders used a substandard concrete mix of cement and sea water and poorly enforced concrete for walls and ceilings, failed to use enough reinforcement bars in the concrete, and built floor slabs directly onto columns that were too few and too narrow. Lee Joon was found guilty of criminal negligence and served 7 years. His son and the store's CEO received 7 years for accidental homicide and corruption; two city administrators served sentences for bribery, and other officials, company executives, and construction personnel were jailed.

Lee Joon and the store's CEO offered their entire wealth to compensate the victims' families and ended up paying out $300 million in 3,293 cases.

1999 Los Angeles police arrested teen idol Leif Garret during a sting operation. He pled guilty to drug possession and avoided jail time by agreeing to a stint in rehab.

2006 The U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-3 that President George W. Bush's plan to try Guantanamo Bay detainees in military tribunals violated U.S. and international law.

2009 Financier Bernard Madoff received a 150-year sentence for his multibillion-dollar fraud.

2011 The state of Nevada passed the first law permitting the operation of autonomous cars on public roads.

Sunday, June 21, 2020

TODAY IN CRIME: June 22

photo credit: Britannica

1611 The crew of famed explorer Henry Hudson mutinied during his voyage to find a northwest passage. Thirteen starving and homesick crewmen put Hudson, his son, and seven others off the Discovery; the stranded men were never heard from again. After the ship returned to England, the crew was arrested for mutiny but none was punished for it—or for murder.

1633 The Inquisition sentenced Galileo to life in prison for teaching that the Earth revolves around the Sun. The sentence was reduced the following day to house arrest for life.

1772 The Court of King’s Bench ruled in Somerset v Stewart that slavery is unsupported by English common law.

1839 Cherokee tribesmen assassinated tribal leaders Major Ridge, John Ridge, and Elias Boudinot for signing the Treaty of New Echota, which had led to the Trail of Tears.

1870 The U.S. Congress created the Department of Justice.

1897 Indian revolutionaries Mahadeo Vinayak Ranade and the three Chapekar brothers assassinated British colonial officers Charles Walter Rand and Lt. Charles Egerton Ayerst in Pune, Maharashtra, India "for atrocities committed on the people of Pune under the guise of plague eradication." The killers were later caught and hanged.

1953 A Brooklyn newspaper delivery boy dropped a nickel he was given as change. It broke open and revealed microfilm from a Soviet spy.

1964 In Grove Press, Inc. v. Gerstein, the U.S. Supreme Court voted that the book Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller was not obscene and could not be banned in the U.S.

1977 Former U.S. Attorney General John N. Mitchell began serving a sentence for his role in the Watergate cover-up.

1981 Mark David Chapman pleaded guilty to killing rock musician John Lennon.

1992 The U.S. Supreme Court unanimously ruled that hate-crime laws that ban cross-burning and similar expressions of racial bias violate free-speech rights (R.A.V. v. City of St. Paul).

1998 In Pennsylvania Bd. Of Probation and Parole v. Scott, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that evidence illegally obtained by authorities could be used at revocation hearings for a convicted criminal's parole.

1999 The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that persons with remediable handicaps cannot claim discrimination in employment under the Americans with Disability Act (Olmstead v. L.C.).

2004 A Belgian court gave convicted child molester and murderer Marc Dutroux the maximum sentence—life in prison—for the kidnap, rape, and murder of young girls.

2011 Federal authorities found and arrested legendary Boston crime boss James "Whitey" Bulger in Santa Monica, Calif.

Sunday, June 14, 2020

TODAY IN CRIME: June 15

photo credit: Historic UK

1381 King Richard II's forces crushed the Peasants’ Revolt in London. Sir William Walworth, the Lord Mayor of London, struck down insurgent leader Wat Tyler with his sword as the 14-year-old king looked on.

1648 Midwife Margaret Jones was hanged in Boston for witchcraft in the first such execution for the Massachusetts Bay Colony.

1904 More than 1,000 people on an annual church outing burned to death or drowned when fire erupted aboard the steamboat General Slocum in New York City's East River. Fire hoses and life preservers were rotten and lifeboats were inaccessible; the crew had never practiced a fire drill. Eight employees of the Knickerbocker Steamship Company were indicted although only the captain served any time for criminal negligence.

1917 Great Britain pledged the release of all the Irish captured during the Easter Rebellion of 1916; the last of the republican prisoners were released a year later.

1970 In Los Angeles, jury selection began in the trial of Charles Manson for the Tate-LaBianca murders.

1972 Police in Langenhagen captured Ulrike Meinhof, co-founder of the Red Army Faction, a West German far-left militant group. For several years Meinhof had participated in a range of terrorist activities including bombings, robbery, kidnapping, and shootings.

1983 In City of Akron v. Akron Center for Reproductive Health, the U.S. Supreme Court reinforced its position on abortion by striking down state and local restriction on abortions. It declared unconstitutional the requirement that abortions after the first trimester be performed in a hospital, that an unmarried minor under 15 must obtain parental consent or a judicial bypass, that the mother must wait 24 hours, that a doctor must inform the patient of the stage of fetal development, the supposed health risks of abortion and the availability of adoption and live birth resources, and that the fetal remains be disposed of "in a human and sanitary manner."
In 1992 the case was overruled by the plurality in Planned Parenthood v. Casey.

1985 Soviet Lithuanian national Bronius Maigys attacked Rembrandt's painting Danaë in the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg. Maigys threw sulfuric acid on the canvas and cut it twice with a knife. He was judged insane and spent eight years in an asylum; it took experts twelve years to repair the damage.

1986 Pravda, the Communist Party newspaper, reported that the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant dismissed plant director Viktor Bryukhanov and chief engineer Nikolai Fomin for not following safety protocols during the April 26 nuclear accident. At least 26 people died, hundreds were hospitalized, and more than 100,000 people evacuated from contaminated areas in the Ukraine and Belarus. Six former officials and technicians of the plant were found guilty of violating safety regulations and sentenced to up to 10 years in labor camps.

1992 In United States v. Alvarez-Machain, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a criminal suspect kidnapped from a foreign country could be prosecuted in a U.S. court.

1995 During his murder trial, O.J. Simpson struggled to put on a pair of gloves that prosecutors claimed were worn by the killer of Simpson's ex-wife, Nicole, and her friend, Ronald Goldman. Police found one bloody glove at the murder scene and one at Simpson’s estate.

2003 After five weeks of testimony and ten days of deliberation, a Houston jury convicted accounting firm Arthur Andersen of obstruction of justice for shredding documents related to its audit of energy giant Enron. Although the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously overturned the conviction in 2005, the accounting firm did not survive.

2006 In Hudson v. Michigan, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that even when police violate the knock-and-announce requirement, subsequently discovered evidence may still be admitted at trial.

Sunday, June 7, 2020

TODAY IN CRIME: June 8

photo credit: sciencemag.org

793 Vikings in longships plundered St. Cuthbert's monastery on the island of Lindisfarne off the northeast coast of England. They massacred the monks indiscriminately and stole irreplaceable relics, gold and silver devotional objects, and precious manuscripts.

1405 King Henry IV ordered the beheading of Archbishop of York Richard le Scrope and Thomas Mowbray, 4th Earl of Norfolk, for their participation in the Northern Rising against him.

1789 Virginia congressman James Madison proposed a Bill of Rights to the Constitution in the U.S. House of Representatives.

1921 For the second time in a month, Manhattan police arrested Babe Ruth arrested for speeding—he was driving 26 mph. The Sultan of Swat was fined $100 and spent the next day in jail.

1929 Venezuelan rebel Rafael Urbina led the taking of Fort Amsterdam in Curaçao and the kidnapping of the Dutch governor, Leonardus Albert Fruytier, in another doomed attempt to overthrow dictatorial President Juan Vicente Gómez.

1953 The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that restaurants in the District of Columbia could not refuse to serve blacks.

1956 American airman Edward C. Clarke shot and killed Technical Sergeant Richard B. Fitzgibbon Jr. in Saigon, Viet Nam, over a reprimand Clarke received earlier in the day, making Fitzgibbon the first American casualty of the Viet Nam War.

1968 Authorities in London arrested James Earl Ray, the suspected assassin of civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

1978 A jury in Clark County, Nevada, ruled that the Howard Hughes "Mormon will" was a forgery.

1984 The Australian state of New South Wales declared homosexuality legal.

1987 Fawn Hall, secretary to national security aide Oliver L. North, testified at the Iran-Contra hearings, saying she had helped to shred some documents.

1987 The Labour government of New Zealand passed legislation against nuclear weapons and nuclear-powered vessels in New Zealand, making it the only nation to legislate against nuclear power.

1988 The judge in the Iran-Contra conspiracy case ruled that Oliver North, John Poindexter, Richard Secord, and Albert Hakim had to be tried separately.

1994 A New York judge sentenced mass murderer Joel Rifkin to 203 years in prison for the murders of nine women. He confessed to killing eight more.

1998 The U.S. Federal Trade Commission brought an antitrust complaint against semiconductor giant Intel Corp., alleging it used its dominance in the microprocessor market to withhold key information from certain customers and competitors. Intel chips ran about 90 percent of the world's personal computers and it held an 80 percent market share in worldwide chip sales.

1998 Car maker Honda agreed to pay $17.1 million in civil fines for disconnecting anti-pollution devices in 1.6 million cars.

2001 Janitor Mamoru Takuma killed eight children aged 6-8 and injured fifteen others, including two teachers, in a mass stabbing at the Ikeda Elementary school in the Osaka Prefecture of Japan. He was wrestled down by staff within minutes. Takuma had a long history of psychological issues and was diagnosed with paranoid personality disorder. Found guilty of multiple counts of murder, Takuma was executed by hanging only a year later.

2001 The "International Committee for Art and Peace" stole Marc Chagall’s painting Study for 'Over Vitebsk from the Jewish Museum in New York City. The 8x10 painting was valued at about $1 million. The ICAP announced it would return the painting after the Israelis and Palestinians made peace but effected its return in February 2002 by mailing it to a nonexistent address in St. Paul, Minn. It was redirected back to a postal center in Topeka Kansas where an alert employee checked for stolen art on the internet and called the FBI.

2008 Factory worker Tomohiro Katō rented a truck and plowed into a crowd in the Akihabara shopping quarter in Tokyo, Japan, killing three pedestrians. Then he jumped out of the truck and went on a stabbing spree, attacking at least twelve people with a dagger, killing four and injuring eight. Police cornered him in a narrow alley after a brief chase; with a gun pointed at him, Katō dropped his knife. The Tokyo District Court sentenced him to death in 2011.

2009 A North Korean court sentenced two American journalists to twelve years of "reform through labour" for illegally entering the country. Laura Ling and Euna Lee were filming a report about North Korean refugees attempting to cross the narrow Tumen river into China when North Korean guards, objecting to being filmed, came and dragged them across the river from the Chinese side. In 2009, the North Korean government pardoned them after intervention by former U.S. President Bill Clinton.

2017 The Kansas Department of Corrections freed Richard Anthony Jones after 17 years of incarceration for robbery after his lookalike was discovered. Without admitting another man committed the crime, in 2018 the state agreed to pay him $1.1 million in compensation and give him a "certificate of innocence.”

2018 WhatsApp rumors of child kidnappers in India prompted a mob in Assam to beat two men to death and injure seven others, one critically. An angry crowd of 1500 in Chandgaon village in Vaijapur, Taluka, cornered Bharat Sonavne and Shivaji Shinde in a nearby farm and attacked them with wooden sticks after receiving fake messages on social media about the presence of a "gang of robbers.” Police booked more than 400 villagers on charges of murder and attempt to murder but made no arrests.
The same day, villagers in Karbi Anglong brutally beat Abhijeet Nath and Nilotpal Das with bamboo poles and wood before torturing them to death. The two friends were returning from a picnic spot where they recorded the sounds of twilight. The mob suspected them of being child lifters. Police arrested fifteen. Unfounded rumors circulated by WhatsApp lead to the deaths of at least 31 innocent citizens in May-June.

Sunday, May 31, 2020

TODAY IN CRIME: June 1

"Council of Blood" photo credit: wikipedia

193 The Roman Senate sent a soldier to assassinate Roman Emperor Didius Julianus 66 days into his reign and his rival Severus took over. Julianus had bought the throne in an auction from the Praetorian Guard, which had assassinated the previous emperor.

1568 In Brussels, the Duke of Alva oversaw the decapitation of 22 noblemen condemned by his “Council of Blood,” a tribunal that condemned without trial those suspected of heresy and rebellion.

1660 The Massachusetts Bay Colony hanged Mary Dyer for defying a law banning Quakers from the Puritan colony. She was one of four executed Quakers known as the “Boston martyrs.”

 1862 The African Slave Trade Treaty Act, a bilateral agreement between the U.S. and England, abolished the slave trade in all U.S. possessions.

1877 U.S. President Hayes authorized troops to pursue bandits into Mexico.

1896 The mechanic of motorcar enthusiast Baron de Zuylen de Nyevelt stole his boss's Peugeot in Paris. It was the first recorded automobile theft.

1921 A white mob attacked the predominantly black Greenwood neighborhood of Tulsa, Oklahoma, looting and burning homes and businesses over an area of 35 square blocks known as “Black Wall Street, the wealthiest black community in the U.S. at the time. The day before, a black teenager was arrested and held for assaulting a white woman—he’d accidentally stepped on her foot getting into an elevator—and chaos broke out after the sheriff turned away a lynch mob. Hundreds of blacks were shot, dragged, beaten, and burned. Over two days as many as 300 people were killed, 800 injured, and 10,000 made homeless before National Guard troops arrived. No one was convicted for the violence or damages, no reparations ever paid, and the incident was largely omitted from local, state, and national history books.

1962 Israel executed S.S. officer Adolf Eichmann after finding him guilty of war crimes.

1963 Alabama Governor George Wallace vowed to defy an injunction that ordered the integration of the University of Alabama.

1965 France outlawed the use of performance-enhancing drugs in bicycle racing.

1972 West German police arrested Andreas Baader, leader of the terrorist group Red Army Faction, after a shootout.

1974 Bundy victim Brenda Ball disappeared from Burien, Washington. She was last seen in the parking lot of the Flame Tavern speaking to a man with his arm in a sling.

1977 The Soviet Union formally charged Jewish human rights advocate Anatoly Shcharansky with treason and espionage. He was imprisoned until 1986.

1978 The U.S. reported the finding of wiretaps in the American embassy in Moscow.

1996 Sheriff Junior Kilburn of Lee County, Kentucky arrested actor-activist Woody Harrelson after he symbolically planted four hemp seeds to challenge the state law which did not distinguish between industrial hemp and marijuana.

2001 Crown Prince Dipendra of Nepal shot and killed his father, mother, sister, brother, and five other members of the royal family before shooting himself. In a coma, Dipendra was king for three days before he died.

2007 The Michigan Department of Corrections released Jack Kevorkian from prison after he served eight years of his 10- to 25-year prison term for the 1998 second-degree murder of Thomas Youk.

2009 General Motors filed for Chapter 11, becoming the largest U.S. industrial company to enter bankruptcy protection. The filing reported $82.29 billion in assets and $172.81 billion in debt.

2009 Air France Flight 447, an Airbus A330 carrying 228 people from Rio de Janeiro to Paris, crashed into the Atlantic Ocean with the loss of everyone on board. Investigations concluded the pilots were not properly trained in the procedures to follow when faulty airspeed measurements caused the autopilot to disconnect and the aircraft stalled. Prosecutors considered charging both Airbus and Air France with manslaughter and negligence but ultimately did not; lawsuits filed by the families for compensation are languishing in the French courts.

2009 Abdulhakim Muhammad shot and killed Pvt. William Andrew Long and wounded Pvt. Quinton I. Ezeagwula outside an Army recruitment center in Little Rock, Arkansas. Muhammad claimed that American military actions against Muslims justify the slaying of Americans. The gunman plead guilty to capital murder, attempted capital murder, and gun charges and was sentenced to life in prison without parole.

2018 Israeli Defense Forces on the Gaza border shot and killed Rouzan al-Najjar, a 22-year-old Palestinian volunteer medic, as she tried to help evacuate the wounded during the 2018 Gaza border protests. The event sparked widespread condemnation because al-Najjar was clearly a medical worker and not a threat to the Israelis: she was shot after she and other medics, walking with their hands up and wearing white vests, approached the border fence in order to treat a wounded demonstrator.

Sunday, May 24, 2020

TODAY IN CRIME: May 25

photo credit: ozy.com

1521 Holy Roman Emperor Charles V declared Martin Luther an outlaw and ordered his writings burned because he refused to recant his heretical Ninety-Five Theses.

1895 English Judge Sir Alfred Wills convicted playwright Oscar Wilde of “committing acts of gross indecency with certain male persons” and sentenced him to two years' penal servitude with hard labor. After his release Wilde left the UK forever and spent his last three years in poverty.

1925 A Tennessee grand jury indicted teacher John Scopes for teaching Darwin's theory of evolution. The Butler Act prevented public schoolteachers from denying the story of Divine creation as taught in the Bible. After a sensational trial, Scopes was found guilty and fined $100; the verdict was overturned because of a legal technicality.

1926 Sholom Schwartzbard assassinated Symon Petliura, the head of the government of the Ukrainian People's Republic headquartered in Paris during exile. Schwartzbard held Petliura personally responsible for the deaths of 15 family members in the 1919 pograms and freely admitted shooting Petliura. A sympathetic jury acquitted him.

1977 The Chinese government lifted a decade-old ban on William Shakespeare's work, effectively ending the Cultural Revolution started in 1966.

1978 The first bomb of a series of bombings orchestrated by Unabomber Ted Kaczynski detonated at Northwestern University. Campus police officer Terry Marker received minor cuts and burns when a suspicious package exploded as he opened it.

1979 In the worst air disaster in U.S. history (excluding the Sept. 11 attacks), a DC-10 crashed at Chicago's O'Hare airport, killing over 270 people. The American Airlines maintenance crew was found to be at fault and the airline fined $500,000. One of the mechanics responsible killed himself.

1979 The state of Florida executed convicted murderer John Spenkelink in the electric chair. He was the first person to be executed in Florida after capital punishment was reinstated in 1976.

1992 Three men shot and killed Khalil Rountree, tour manager for the Grammy Award-winning R&B group Boyz II Men, in a confrontation in an elevator at the Guest Quarters Suite Hotel in Chicago. Rountree’s assistant was also wounded in the assault. Only one of the suspects went to trial and served time.

2006 A Texas jury found Enron chief executives Kenneth L. Lay and Jeffrey K. Skilling guilty of fraud and conspiracy. The executives took part in a major accounting scandal that led to the largest bankruptcy in history up to that time. Lay died before he could be sentenced. Skilling was sentenced to more than 24 years.

2011 An Arizona judge ruled that Jared Lee Loughner, the man accused of wounding U.S. congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and killing six in a shooting rampage, was incompetent to stand trial.

2013 A gas cylinder exploded on a school bus in the Pakistani city of Gujrat, killing 17 children and a teacher and injuring 7 others. The fire started when the driver of the dual-fuel van converted from CNG fuel intake to petrol fuel intake. He fled the van and left it to burn with 25 people inside and was later arrested in a nearby town. The government awarded approximately $7,000 for those killed and $1,000 to those injured.

2018 Two-thirds of the people of Ireland voted to repeal the Eight Amendment of the Constitution of Ireland that prohibited abortion except when the mother’s life was threatened.

Sunday, May 17, 2020

TODAY IN CRIME: May 18


1302 In Bruges, weaver Pieter de Coninck led an insurrection of local, untrained Flemish militia against the occupying forces of French King Philip IV. 2,000 people died, mostly French troops.

1593 British authorities issued an arrest warrant for Elizabethan poet and dramatist Christopher Marlowe on charges of heresy. Thomas Kyd, the playwright's former roommate, had been arrested but under torture claimed the "vile heretical conceits denying the eternal deity of Jesus Christ" found in his room belonged to Marlowe.

1619 The States General of Netherlands sentenced Dutch jurist Hugo Grotius to life in prison for his role in the intra-Calvinist dispute of the Dutch Republic. Grotius supported religious tolerance vs. the Calvinist hard-liners. He escaped in a trunk “full of books” two years later.

1631 In violation of the colony’s charter with England, officers of the Massachusetts Bay Colony granted voting rights only to church-going Puritan males.

1643 Anne of Austria, widow of French King Louis XIII, convinced the Parlement of Paris to annul her husband's will and make her sole and absolute regent until her son became of age. Louis XIV began his rule in 1661.

1652 The colony of Rhode Island passed the first anti-slavery legislation in North America.

1852 Massachusetts ruled all children 8-14 must attend school for at least three months out of the year. Violators faced a maximum fine of $20 and prosecution by local authorities.

1896 The U.S. Supreme Court affirmed racial segregation in Plessy v. Ferguson as "separate but equal." The precedent was overturned in 1954 in Brown v. Board of Education.

1904 Moroccan tribal leader Mulai Ahmed er Raisuli and his bandits kidnapped Greek-American playboy Ion H. Perdicaris and his stepson in Morocco. Raisuli demanded a ransom of $70,000, the release of political prisoners, control of more districts, and other political stipulations. U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt sent warships to the Mediterranean, with armed support from England, France, and Spain. Sultan Abdelaziz of Morocco acceded to most of Raisuli's demands and the hostages returned home June 24.

1926 Evangelist Aimee Semple McPherson vanished from a beach in Santa Monica, California. She reappeared a month later claiming she had been kidnapped.

1927 In the worst school massacre in history, 55-year-old Michigan farmer and school board member Andrew Kehoe killed his wife and firebombed his house and outbuildings before proceeding to the Bath Consolidated School building, where he set off a series of explosions that killed 45 people, mostly children, and injured 58 more. He had been planting explosives in the basement of the elementary school for more than a year. As rescuers arrived, Kehoe detonated dynamite inside his shrapnel-filled truck, killing himself and four others. Rescuers searching for survivors in the debris found 500 pounds of dynamite in the south wing of the school that failed to detonate. Kehoe was angered by higher school taxes and his defeat for the office of Bath Township Clerk and faced eviction from his farm.


1944 The Soviet government deported 200,000 Crimean Tatars en masse to Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan after Soviet leader Joseph Stalin accused them of collaborating with the Germans during World War II. Nearly half of those deported, mostly women and children, perished between 1944 and 1947 in the harsh exile conditions.


1971 Police in Calgary discovered the last victim of vampire rapist Wayne Boden. An orthodontist matched impressions of the bite marks on Elizabeth Anne Porteou to suspect Boden, who admitted to killing four women during rough sex. He would reach a frenzy while strangling his victims and feel compelled to feast on their breasts. An Alberta jury sentenced him to life in prison, making Boden the first murderer convicted in North America on odontological evidence. He received additional life sentences for the three murders committed earlier in Montreal.

1980 In Kwangju South Korea, government troops beat 600 students at Chonnam University gathered to protest the suppression of academic freedom. Civilians opposed to military rule soon joined them, with nearly a quarter of a million people participating in the uprising nationwide over the next three days. By May 27, troops had completely crushed the rebellion, killing as many as 2,000 civilians.

1983 The U.S. Senate passed a revision of immigration laws that would give millions of illegal aliens legal status under an amnesty program.

1992 The U.S. Supreme Court ruled states cannot force mentally unstable criminal defendants to take anti-psychotic drugs.

1993 Italian police arrested fugitive Mafia boss Benedetto "Nitto" Santapaola in a farmhouse in Sicily. "All things have to end," he reportedly told the arresting officers. Italy’s “Most Wanted Man” had been on the run for 11 years.

1998 The U.S. Department of Justice and attorneys general of twenty states filed a sweeping antitrust case against Microsoft Corp., claiming Microsoft made it difficult for consumers to install competing software on computers operated by Windows and was therefore a monopoly. The software giant appealed a federal judge’s order to split into two entities and won, but agreed to share computing interfaces with other companies.

1998 U.S. Treasury and Justice Department officials arrested 142 people and seized $35 million in what is believed to be the largest money laundering case in history. U.S. Customs-led undercover agents of “Operation Casablanca” investigated the money laundering operations of a dozen Mexican banks linked to Colombian and Mexican drug-smuggling cartels.

2003 President Megawati Sukarnoputri of Indonesia declared martial law and sent 30,000 troops into Aceh, Sumatra, to suppress a separatist rebellion. The movement finally collapsed in 2005 after the crackdown by the Indonesian military and the devastation wrought by the 2004 tsunami.

2009 The 25-year civil war in Sri Lanka ended. The government announced it had gained control of the last bit of territory held by the Tamil Tigers separatist group and killed its leader.

2010 John Langley, co-owner of the Red and Black Café, in Portland, Oregon, asked police officer James Crooker to leave his store, claiming Crooker's uniformed presence made the customers of his vegan coffeeshop uncomfortable.

2011 Dominique Strauss-Kahn resigned as head of the International Monetary Fund after his arrest May 15 on charges that he sexually assaulted a housekeeper in a midtown New York hotel room. The state eventually dropped the charges of attempted rape, sex abuse, forcible touching, and unlawful imprisonment, although the one-time candidate for the French presidency later settled a civil case for a confidential amount purported to be $6 million.

2018 Armed with a 12-gauge Remington 870 shotgun, a Rossi .38-caliber snub-nosed revolver, and explosives, 17-year-old student Dimitrios Pagourtzis opened fire at the Santa Fe High School in Santa Fe, Texas near Houston, fatally shooting eight students and two teachers and wounding 13 others. Police officers stationed at the school returned fire and wounded Pagourtzis, who then surrendered.

Sunday, May 10, 2020

TODAY IN CRIME: May 11

photo credit: Hulton archives

1310 King Philip IV of France ordered 54 members of the Knights Templar burned at the stake on charges of heresy.

1625 Lutheran peasants besieged the Frankenburg estate in Upper-Austria, in resistance to Catholic rule. The Bavarian assizes sentenced to death the 36 men who had led the revolt but allowed half of them to go free: two men would step forward and one would hang, determined by a roll of the dice.

1812 Disgruntled businessman John Bellingham shot and killed British PM Spencer Perceval in the lobby of the House of Commons. He blamed the prime minister for not coming to his aid when he was imprisoned in Russia on debt charges. Bellingham was tried, found guilty, and hanged within a week.

1857 Indian troops (sepoys) employed by the East India Company seized Delhi from the British in an attempt to topple British rule. The mutiny spread throughout northern India, but Britain eventually quashed the rebellion.

1880 Seven people were killed in a gun battle near Hanford, California, in a dispute over land titles between settlers and the Southern Pacific Railroad. The “Muscle Slough Tragedy” became a rallying point for anti-railroad sentiment.

1889 U.S. Army Paymaster Major Joseph Washington Wham and a contingent of Buffalo Soldiers were stopping at various forts in the Arizona territory with a payroll of $28,000 in gold and silver coins when 12 men attacked the entourage. A shootout ensued: eight soldiers were wounded but, amazingly, no one was killed. 11 suspects were caught, 7 stood trial, and all were found not guilty. Unsurprisingly, with all suspects freed, the payroll was never found.

1891 While on a state visit to Japan, Prince Nicholas (later Tsar Nicholas II) of Russia survived an assassination attempt by one of his police escorts. Tsuda Sanzō jumped onto the prince’s rickshaw and swung his sabre at the prince’s head, but Nicholas turned, receiving a glancing blow that left a 3 ½-inch scar. He was spared further injury when his cousin, the crown Prince George of Greece and Denmark, whacked the assailant with his stick. Sanzō was convicted of attempted murder and sentenced to life in prison but died of self-imposed starvation within months. He thought the Tsesarevich was a Russian spy.

1894 Workers at the Pullman Palace Car Co. in Illinois started a strike when company owner George Pullman refused to listen to employee grievances. Pullman created a town for his employees, but when company profits dipped, he reduced wages and refused to lower rent and other charges. Rail service was crippled nationwide as the strike spread.

1944 The National Organization for Help to People in Hiding, one of the most successful underground resistance organizations in Europe, freed co-founder Frits Slomp, a Dutch Reformed pastor and prominent anti-Nazi activist, during an armed raid at Dome Prison in Arnhem, Netherlands. A group of 8-10 men, two disguised as Dutch policemen, led a handcuffed "prisoner" into the facility and abducted Slomp and fellow resistance fighter Henk Kruithof.

1960 Israeli agents captured Nazi Adolf Eichmann in Argentina. The SS leader was in charge of the logistics of sending millions of Jews to extermination camps in WWII. The Mossad agents smuggled him back to Israel, where he was found guilty after an eight-month trial and hanged.

1963 The day after city leaders and the non-violent Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights campaign announced the "Birmingham Truce Agreement” in Birmingham, Alabama, a bomb exploded at the home of the Rev. A.D. King, brother of civil rights activist Martin Luther King. King and his wife and children escaped unharmed. About an hour later, assailants bombed the Gaston Motel, where MLK often stayed. When thousands of blacks rioted over the next two days, President Kennedy sent in federal troops.

1970 In Oxford, North Carolina, three white men shot and killed Henry Marrow, an unarmed black man, in a racially-motivated assault. An all-white jury found the three not guilty of all charges, incensing the black community, which organized a boycott of white businesses. After 18 months, the town agreed to end the segregation of public facilities.

1972 John Lennon announced on the The Dick Cavett Show that the FBI put a tap on his phone.

1973 Citing government misconduct, a California District Court judge dismissed charges of espionage, theft, and conspiracy against Daniel Ellsberg for his role in the Pentagon Papers case. He released the report about the Viet Nam War to The New York Times.

1985 The Bradford City stadium fire during a football match in west Yorkshire killed 56 and injured at least 265. The dilapidated stadium was officially condemned and due to be replaced after what would have been the final match of the season. The Bradford City Association Football Club was deemed responsible and ordered to pay as much as £20 million to the 154 claimants, with the payouts covered by insurance.

1987 The trial of Klaus Barbie for war crimes during WWII began in Lyon. 730 witnesses attested to his guilt: the murder of 4,000 people and the exportation of another 7,000 Jews, most to certain death at Auschwitz. The “Butcher of Lyon” was sentenced to life in prison.

1989 Kenya announced a worldwide ban on ivory to preserve its elephant herds.

1996 A ValuJet DC-9 caught fire shortly after takeoff from Miami and crashed into the Florida Everglades, killing all 110 people on board, when improperly stored chemical oxygen generators in the cargo hold ignited. A federal grand jury fined SabreTech, the airline’s maintenance contractor, $2 million and ordered it to pay $9 million in restitution for its handling of hazardous materials. Two workmen in charge of the oxygen canisters were acquitted of charges and one who failed to appear is still a fugitive. The FAA grounded ValuJet for three months.

1998 In violation of a global ban on nuclear testing, India conducted three underground nuclear tests, its first in 24 years. The United Nations unanimously condemned the tests and demanded that both India and Pakistan halt their nuclear programs.

2001 Convicted Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh received a 30-day stay of execution. The FBI had failed to disclose thousands of documents to his defense team.

2009 Upset at being forced into treatment at the counseling center at Camp Liberty in Bagdhad, Iraq, Army Sergeant John M. Russell assaulted his escort on the way back to his unit, seized the escort's M-16 rifle, and drove back to the clinic where he opened fire on unarmed personnel. He killed five and wounded three U.S. soldiers. Russell plead guilty and received a life sentence.

2013 Egypt conducted a retrial of its former President Hosni Mubarak on charges of complicity in the deaths of protestors during the 2011 Egyptian revolution. He was ultimately acquitted.

2018 In the worst shooting incident in Australia since the Port Arthur massacre of 1996, a grandfather in Margaret River, Australia, shot six members of his family and himself. Peter Miles first shot his daughter and her four children, then his wife, alerted police to the shootings, then killed himself. Miles’s daughter and son-in-law were engaged in a costly and lengthy custody dispute; the children lived with their mother at her parent’s property, “Forever Dreaming Farm.” Aaron Cockman, the estranged son-in-law, speculated Miles wanted to end his own suffering and did not want his family to grieve his death.

Sunday, May 3, 2020

TODAY IN CRIME: May 4


1436 Swedish aristocrat Måns Bengtsson assassinated petty nobleman Engelbrekt Engelbrektsson, leader of a national movement against despot Erik of Pomerania, king of the Kalmar Union (Denmark, Norway, and Sweden), in a private dispute. Engelbrektsson's martyrdom fueled growing discontent and the Swedes overthrew King Erik.

1535 The English state executed three Carthusian monastics, a Bridgettine monk, and a priest for refusing to acknowledge Henry VIII as Supreme Head of the Church of England. The martyrs were hanged, disemboweled while still alive, beheaded, and quartered, then their parts stuck on pikes and displayed in public places.

1886 A labor demonstration for an eight-hour workday at Haymarket Square in Chicago turned into a riot when a bomb exploded. Eight people died in the violence that day.

1897 A fire at a charity bazaar in Paris killed 126 people, mostly women. The operators of the malfunctioning cinematograph lit a match to fix the lamp and set fire to the ether in it. The draped canvas serving as a suspended ceiling then spread the fire; some exit doors did not open outwards. The Court of the Correctional Tribunal found the President of the Charity Bazaar Committee, the Baron of Mackau, guilty of negligence and imprudence and fined the prominent Conservative Party member 500 francs. The cinematograph operators received prison sentences in addition to fines.

1916 British authorities at Kilmainham Gaol, Dublin, executed four Irish republicans for their part in the Easter Rising, an armed rebellion against British rule in Ireland. Fourteen men were executed by firing squad between May 3 and May 12. The executions were intended to stop the move toward nationalism but only increased it.

1919 Beijing students demonstrated in Tiananmen Square, protesting the Treaty of Versailles which transferred a Chinese territory to Japan. After weeks of nationwide protests, the government reluctantly agreed to dismiss pro-Japanese officials, accept the resignations of the cabinet members, and reject the peace treaty with Germany.

1932 Mobster Al Capone, Public Enemy Number One, started his prison sentence for tax evasion at Atlanta Correctional.

1946 In San Francisco Bay, U.S. Marines from the nearby Treasure Island Naval Base stopped a two-day riot at Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary. Five people were killed in the riot.

1948 The Hague Court of Justice convicted Nazi SS officer Hanns Rauter of Crimes against Humanity. He was executed by firing squad in 1949. Rauters was the leading SS leader in the occupied Netherlands and reported directly to Himmler.

1961 South African police arrested African National Congress leader John Nkadimeng for entering a prohibited zone without a permit. He was detained until 1 July, convicted, and fined £25.

1961 Thirteen civil rights activists, called "Freedom Riders," left Washington, D.C., for New Orleans to challenge racial segregation on interstate buses and in bus terminals.

1968 Dancer's Image won the 94th Kentucky Derby almost two lengths ahead of the nearest horse, but officials announced May 7 they had found traces of phenylbutazone, an anti-inflammatory drug, in his urine after the race and declared Forward Pass the winner. The Kentucky Racing Commission legalized phenylbutazone in 1974.

1970 Ohio National Guardsmen shot down four Kent State University students and injured nine others during an anti-Vietnam War demonstration.

1978 The South African Defence Force attacked a South West Africa People's Organization (SWAPO) base at Cassinga in southern Angola, killing about 600 people. Debate continues as to whether it was a massacre of civilians in a refugee camp or a highly successful military operation against insurgents.

1989 Federal prosecutors won a partial victory in their case against former White House aide Oliver North, a central figure of the Iran-Contra affair: he was convicted of three felonies but acquitted of nine other charges. The convictions were later vacated and reversed.

1992 Dudu Mntowaziwayo Ndlovu (Dudu Zulu), a band member of Johnny Clegg & Savuka, died of a gunshot wound in Zululand, South Africa, as he walked to his home from a neighbor’s. Police determined the popular percussionist and vocalist was probably an unintended victim of feuding taxi drivers.

1994 Singer Courtney Love was cleared of drug charges. L.A. police arrested her April 7—the day before her husband was found dead—on suspicion of narcotics possession after she became ill at the Peninsula Hotel in Beverly Hills. Actually, she had suffered an allergic reaction to prescription medication and requested hospitalization herself. Doctors found no evidence of narcotics in her system and police found no illegal drugs in her room.

1998 A federal judge in Sacramento, Calif. sentenced Unabomber Theodore Kaczynski to four life terms plus 30 years under a plea agreement that spared him the death penalty. His series of bombings killed three and injured 23.

2006 A federal judge sentenced Zacarias Moussaoui to life in prison for his role in the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The day before, the jury decided against the death penalty. Moussaoui’s attorneys had argued he should face life in prison, rather than achieve martyrdom through execution.

2007 A Los Angeles County Superior Court judge sentenced Paris Hilton to 45 days in jail for violating probation in an alcohol-related reckless driving case.

2012 Authorities discovered 9 people hanging from the Colosio Bridge in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico and a few hours later found 14 decapitated bodies in garbage bags stashed in a van. The four men and five women dangling from the bridge were handcuffed, blindfolded, and showed signs of torture. The heads of the 14 corpses were found stuffed into three ice chests dumped near the town hall. All the victims were suspected members of the warring Zetas and Gulf drug cartels.

2014 Three people were killed and 62 injured when homemade bombs exploded on two buses packed with commuters in Nairobi, Kenya. The Kenyan government blamed Al-Shabaab for the incidents. The al-qaeda-linked group vowed to avenge the presence of Kenyan troops helping neighboring Somalia fight Islamic extremists.

2019 At the 145th Kentucky Derby, stewards disqualified winner Maximum Security for interference and declared Country House, a longshot, the victor. Stewards determined that Maximum Security cost two other horses better positions when he swerved into their paths and forced them to check their strides. It was the first DQ of the champion for an on-track infraction in race history.

Sunday, April 26, 2020

TODAY IN CRIME: April 27

photo credit: Ancient Origins

1521 Philippine natives led by chief Lapu-Lapu killed explorer Ferdinand Magellan on Mactan Island. Magellan was demanding the islanders bow to the king of Spain, pay tribute, and convert to Christianity.

1595 Turkish Ottoman Grand Vizier Sinan Pasha publicly incinerated the relics of Saint Sava in Belgrade in a symbolic gesture to quell the cleric-led Serbian uprising. Instead, it provoked the Serbs and empowered them to continue their fight for liberation.

1773 British Parliament passed the Tea Act, giving the East India Company huge tax breaks and a monopoly on the American tea trade.

1857 Lower Austria prohibited the establishment of Jewish communities.

1861 American President Abraham Lincoln suspended the writ of habeas corpus that protects the public against unlawful and indefinite imprisonment.

1865 The steamboat SS Sultana exploded in the Mississippi River, killing up to 1,800 of the 2,427 passengers. Most were paroled Union POWs on their way home. The boat was grossly overcrowded, the boilers leaky and mismanaged, and the captain notoriously corrupt and incompetent, but no one was ever held accountable for the greatest maritime disaster in U.S. history.

1940 Reichsführer-SS Himmler ordered the establishment of Auschwitz Concentration Camp, the largest Nazi concentration and extermination camp. Between 1.2 and 1.6 million people lost their lives there.

1945 Italian partisans captured fleeing dictator Benito Mussolini and his mistress as they attempted to slip into Switzerland. The two and their entourage were shot the next day.

1950 The apartheid government of South Africa passed the Group Areas Act No. 41. Creating different residential areas for each race, it forced physical separation and segregation between races to maintain dominance by the white minority. It was not repealed until 1990. This day in 1994 marked the second day of voting in the first post-apartheid general election in South Africa, when everyone over 18 was allowed to vote regardless of race.

1978 Members of the Soviet-backed People's Democratic Party of Afghanistan began the takeover of the city of Kabul, attacking government buildings and media outlets. Around midnight revolutionists assassinated self-proclaimed Afghan president Daoud and his family. The Saur Revolution established the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan and began a continuous series of armed conflicts there.

1978 Safford Federal Correctional Prison in Arizona released Domestic Affairs Adviser to President Nixon John D. Ehrlichman after he served 18 months of a 2- to 8- year sentence for Watergate-related crimes. He became a successful novelist after his release.

1982 John W. Hinckley Jr. went on trial in Washington, D.C., on attempted murder charges in the shooting of President Ronald Reagan. (He was charged with 13 offenses and found not guilty by reason of insanity.)

1986 An operations engineer at the Central Florida Teleport uplink station in Ocala, Florida jammed the Home Box Office satellite signal for almost five minutes to protest HBO's rates for satellite dish owners. The FCC tracked down John R. MacDougall (aka "Captain Midnight") and he received a $5,000 fine, one-year supervised probation, and a one-year suspension of his amateur radio license.

1987 The U.S. Justice Department barred Austrian president Kurt Waldheim from entering the United States. He was accused of aiding in the execution of thousands of Jews in World War II as a German army officer.

1989 In the largest instance of defying the state since 1949 and with widespread public support, as many as 200,000 students from Beijing universities marched on Tiananmen Square to protest an editorial published the previous day accusing the student movement of destabilizing the party and the country. Protests demanding reforms broke out in other Chinese cities as well. The demonstrations did trigger a dialogue between government and student leaders, but premier Li Peng soon forcibly suppressed all protests, declared martial law, and backed the military action that led to the massacre on June 4.

1993 A plane carrying the Zambian national team crashed into the sea off Gabon as the team headed to Senegal for a 1994 World Cup qualifier, killing all 25 passengers and five crew members. After a lengthy court battle, in 2002 the government of Zambia was ordered to pay the families of the victims $4 million. The official investigation, not concluded until 2003, found that the overworked pilot had shut down the wrong engine following an engine fire and his instrument panel was faulty.

2012 Four home-made bombs hidden in concrete waste bins exploded in different locations in Dnipropetrovsk, Ukraine, injuring at least 27 people. The attacks were blamed on random acts of violence, feuding oligarchs from Ukraine's criminal underworld, al-Qa'eda, and the Russian secret services in an attempt to foment panic, fear, and confusion.

2018 Mass protests occurred in Spain after a court cleared five men of gang rape charges stemming from an attack on a teenage girl that occurred during the running of the bulls in Pamplona in 2016. The men in the "Wolf Pack" case were sentenced to nine years for sexual abuse.

2019 Armed with an AR-15 style rifle, John Timothy Earnest burst into the Chabad of Poway synagogue in Poway, California, and opened fire. Lori Lynn Gilbert-Kaye was killed protecting her rabbi and three others, including the rabbi, were injured. Earnest fled the scene when his gun jammed and called 9-1-1 to report the shooting. He was charged with one count of murder, three counts of attempted murder, one count of arson (for setting an earlier mosque fire), and 108 federal hate crime and civil rights violation charges.