Cracked Spine Book Suggestion: Trial Junkies

Ok, got another book for you. In preparation for our reviews rebirth, I went on Amazon and bought a few popular books for my Kindle in the thriller genre. TRIAL JUNKIESa legalish crime thriller by Robert Gregory Browne, was high on the bestsellers list and my first pick.

Here’s the Goodreads synopsis:

"Ethan "Hutch" Hutchinson hasn’t seen his old college pals in nearly ten years. Now fate has brought them together again as one of the gang is put on trial for a brutal, senseless murder. The Chicago police and prosecutor think they have their perp, but Hutch isn’t about to sit silently in a courtroom as someone he cares about is wrongfully convicted. When Hutch and his friends join forces to search for the real killer, what they find shatters every notion they have about friendship, loss and redemption, and may very well cost Hutch—and the woman he loves—their lives."

Sounded decent, the reviews were good and the price was cheap. Three criteria I look for when trying out prostitutes or books from authors I have never been exposed to. But I’ve been burned before by books (and prostitutes) that matched those same qualifiers but luckily TRIAL JUNKIES  wasn’t one of them. Two days after I started reading I was finished, having spent every spare moment I had tearing through the book.

When I say TRIAL JUNKIES is “legalish” I mean that while a lot of the story takes place in the courtroom during a murder trial, the legal proceedings are not complicated and the jousting between the prosecution and defense are not on the level of a John Grisham or Scott Turow novel. The criminal proceedings in TRIAL JUNKIES, and the lawyer fanangling that goes along with it, are on the level of any decent LAW AND ORDER episode.

That’s not a slight towards the book or the author, as I love the show and, occasionally, I don’t want to feel like I’m in law school while reading a legal thriller. Besides, the real meat involves Hutch and company as they do their own amateur investigative work outside of the courthouse in an attempt to, hopefully, prove their friend is not a murderer while, at the same time, tracking down the person they feel is the actual killer.

If I had any complaints at all, it would be the title and setting of the book leads one to believe that the main focus would explore the psychology of the people who spend their days floating between one court’s public gallery to another. Not that I see anything wrong with it, as I probably would too if I had the chance. I find crime, as well as their legal proceedings, as fascinating as a lot of other people— as evident by this site’s popularity.

But this is only touched on lightly and this being the first book in a series, I’m guessing it’s just the method in which new cases will be introduced in future installments. I think that’s a pretty good idea. Legal thrillers that do not surround a detective or lawyer investigating a case, but rather someone hooked on watching trials. If that’s true or not, I think the book is better for leaving out that kind of psychology and focusing only on the legal proceedings and the hunt for a killer, leaving TRIAL JUNKIES free from fat and unnecessary filler.

It also helps that it has just the right amount of engaging characters (including an interesting lead), red herrings, and twists to keep you repeating, “Ok, one more chapter then I’ll feed the kids,” before finally tossing keys to the whining 10-year-old and instructing him to go to McDonald’s drive-thru himself. (He was fine, but I did make him go back for the straw they left out.)

This was my first book by Browne and, as I mentioned, the first in a series of books to involve these characters. I enjoyed it enough, especially at the low price of $3.99, that I’ll be sure to check out the next books in this new series and, if I have the time, his past work as well.


Woman Sentenced To Life In Prison For Strangling Her Daughter With Bra

Casselberry, FL – We last reported on Nioshka Bello after she was accused of strangling her 2-year-old daughter with her bra. On Wednesday, she was sentenced to life in prison.

Back in 2009, 24-year-old Bello and her daughter, Janessa Sandoval (cute kid), were living in a home with her mother and stepfather. They were moving out the next day and Bello was not going with them. She attempted to get back with her daughter’s father but an argument ensued when he refused to take her back.

Jobless and possibly homeless, Bello decided she could fix the situation by killing herself and her daughter. After taking Benadryl and Tylenol, Bello took off her bra and used it to strangle her daughter who was sleeping on the bed they shared.

A few days after being taken into custody on a charge of first-degree murder, Bello was found incompetent to stand trial and admitted into a state mental hospital where she once again tried killing herself, and once again failed. This was not out of the ordinary, really, as Bello has a history of failed suicide attempts dating back to when she was 15-years-old.

Last November, a judge reviewed her medical records and ruled that she was well enough to proceed with a trial for her murder charge. This trial lasted only three days and took the jury a mere two hours to hand down a guilty verdict. The most damning piece of evidence against her, aside from the dead child, was the confession she made to police a few hours after her arrest.

Since prosecutors were not seeking the death penalty, the judge immediately sentenced her to life in prison. Now maybe someone can show Bello how to tie a knot show she can achieve the goal she’s been trying to reach for the last decade.

Roadside Fight Over Bra Ends With One Woman Hospitalized, One Jailed

Corbin, KY - A Kentucky woman was hospitalized in serious condition after an acquaintance reportedly stabbed her six times in a heated roadside dispute over a bra. Virginia L. Frye (pictured), 30, was arrested after Erica Canada - believed to be in her 20s - was brought to a hospital with stab wounds.

The melee reportedly began when Frye asked the victim to return a bra that she had left at Canada’s home.

"I called [Canada] to ask her about the bra and that’s when she said, ‘I have a problem with you,’” said Frye.

Not able to let that go by, the women met shortly after alongside a Kentucky highway. Investigators say both women had weapons - Canada armed with a lug wrench and Frye armed with a kitchen knife.

"They were screaming ‘bash her head in, kill her, kill her,’ and I had no choice but to defend myself," said Frye.  An interview with the clearly hyperactive Frye can be viewed here.

Whitley County Sheriff’s Deputy Shawn Jackson was dispatched to the scene at approximately 8:15 p.m. after a caller reported the fight between the two women. The caller described one woman being stabbed multiple times and transported to local hospital by a family member. Witnesses said that Frye and her boyfriend, Arliss McKiddy, fled before Jackson arrived. Frye and McKiddy were reportedly found hiding in a nearby home. According to Jackson, the kitchen knife used to stab Canada was found washed and clean in the kitchen sink of McKiddy’s home.

"It seems like a lot to fight over a six dollar undergarment," said Deputy Jackson.

The clash between Frye and Canada may seem extreme, but an eerily similar confrontation erupted between Dwight D. Eisenhower and Nikita Krushchev in 1960.  The cause of that conflict was a captured U-2 high-altitude reconnaissance aircraft and not a bra, but it was essentially the same circumstance - without meth and stretch pants, of course.  I sometimes find historical analogies such as these to be helpful when understanding the situations that people get themselves into on D’D.

At last report, Canada remains hospitalized now in stable condition. Frye is charged with attempted murder and tampering with physical evidence and is currently being held on $1 million bond - equivalent in cost to roughly 167,000 bras. McKiddy is charged with tampering with physical evidence for his alleged involvement in cleaning the crime scene and the knife.

The case will now be sent to a grand jury who will decide on additional charges.

Man Intentionally Runs Down, Kills Teen After Wallet Theft

Little Rock, AR — A 58-year-old man is facing murder charges after police say he intentionally ran down a teen boy with his grocery-getter after the young thug relieved him of his wallet.

According to witnesses, Michael Sadler had just cashed a check at the Asher One stop convenience store Thursday, when 14-year-old Michael “Lil Flip” Stanley rode by on his bike and jacked his wallet before pedaling down the street.

Incensed, Sadler hopped into his mini-van and gave chase, jumping the curb and tearing through several yards before finally mowing the kid down in a vacant lot.

Once the kid was immobilized, Sadler reportedly dragged him out from underneath the van and began beating the holy hell out of him. One witness told police Sadler even tore the kid’s clothing off in an attempt to find the wallet.

"He ran over him than pulled him out from under the van and started beating him up and choking him. That’s what I saw." said witness Dewayne Turner. "He [Stanley] is well loved; you know kids are going to be kids. He was being mischievous."

Stanley was transported to Arkansas Children’s Hospital, where he was pronounced dead a short time later.

A supposedly remorseful Sadler has since been charged with first-degree murder and is being held without bond pending a preliminary hearing. No word on whether the wallet has been recovered.

Brewery Worker Killed By Exploding Beer Keg

PORTSMOUTH, NH — We have reported on killed by pinto beans, chocolate, meat grindersindustrial dryerswood chippers and even paper rolling machines. Now we have a new way someone can be accidentally killed on the job.

A man working at the Redhook Ale Brewery was killed yesterday after a beer keg exploded, sending shrapnel into his head and chest. The worker was using compressed air to to empty and clean kegs when the incident occurred.

“Something failed where it basically blew apart under the pressure and with such force that parts of the keg pushed into his chest and into his head,” said Asst. Fire Chief Steven Achilles.

Other employees discovered the unidentified man and called 911. Emergency workers arrived within a few minutes and found the man was weak and barely had a pulse before going into cardiac arrest. He was rushed to the hospital but would be pronounced dead later that day.

OSHA has started investigating and others are eager to hear the results as this cleaning practice is common, and a keg exploding in this manner is practically unheard of.

“I really don’t know how it could happen because it’s rare. I want to know what happened exactly so it doesn’t happen here,” said Steve Souza, head brewer at a nearby a microbrewery.

Kirsten Neves, managing member at Tuckerman Brewing Co., said industrial keg cleaning systems use pressure regulators and speculated keg defects were probably the cause of the accident.

I remember never thinking twice about filling my vehicle tires with air until the day I saw video of one exploding on a man as he put air into it. Now whenever I perform such a mundane task, that image is always lurking in the background. I  can only imagine there are a lot of brewery employees clenching their sphincters every time they clean a keg today.

Mother Fights Back After Getting Kicked Out Of Legoland For Naked Tinkerbell Tatt

Dallas, TX - A Texas mother has taken to social media to fight back after being asked to leave the Grapevine Mills Mall Legoland due to her body art.

She staunchly maintains that the tattoo on her lower leg - depicting a naked Tinkerbell with a light switch in either her vagina or rectum - is absolutely ‘not offensive.’ Check out the tattoo here. It’s NSFW-ish.

On Sunday, Lana Massey reportedly took her ‘very excited’ 8-year-old son to Legoland. According to her account, Massey paid $53 for access to Legoland Discovery Center and the adjoining aquarium. Massey later described being shadowed by a Legoland employee while moving among the playrooms.

"The whole time we were in, we were followed," Massey said. "I was totally assuming that she was going to come up to me and ask me who my artist was."

Instead, the employee reportedly told her that she needed to leave.

"Ma’am, I need to give you your money back and ask you to leave," Massey recounted. "We’ve had some complaints about your tattoos. And this is a family-friendly environment."

According to Massey, the employee escorted her to the cashier’s desk, gave her a refund, then escorted and her child her out.

It turns out that the complaint wasn’t about her tattoos but, rather, a specific tattoo. An email from Legoland displayed on Massey’s Facebook responded to her emailed complaint.  It identified a tattoo of Tinkerbell on her leg as the offensive tattoo. It described the policy on offensive clothing or images, and invited her to return on another day with the tattoo covered.

Massey is claiming discrimination and maintains that the ink is classic artwork from the 1940s.

"[It is] no more offensive than zombie Jesus or guns promoting violence," Massey says. "Aside from any of that, there is nothing about tattoos in their policies, just inappropriate clothing. … I could see if it was like a gaping vag or something like that, but I don’t have anything like that."

I have often pondered a working threshold of decency at a Legoland. It appears to be - quite verifiably - “gaping vag.”

Massey added that - although she did get her money back - she was never informed that she could return (covered) on another day.

In addition to her Facebook postings, you can also read her appeal on the Church of Body Modification website and - if her stated intentions are realized - on a greater number of traditional Dallas media outlets.

I am sure that there are more than a few tattoos among you Demonites. I am interested to hear if you consider potentially offensive body art - and particularly a tattoo of Tinkerbell banging herself - to be constitutionally-protected free speech or second-hand smoke.

Man Drowns After Being Attacked By Swans

DES PLAINES, IL — A 37-year-old man in Illinois drowned in a condo’s retention pond after being attacked by one or more swans.

Anthony Hensley worked for Knox Swan and Dog LLC, a company that places swans or dogs in areas experiencing problems with the geese population. Hensley was at the Bay Colony Drive condos early Saturday morning, caring for swans they’d placed in their retention pond.

Residents say Hensley has been a regular visitor there for years, often seen on the pond in his kayak caring for the swans and feeding them. But tragedy struck that morning when one or more of the swans attacked him. No one knows exactly what prompted the attack — some thinking he just got too close to their nest or eggs — but whatever the reason, it resulted in Hensley’s kayak flipping over.

He was a good swimmer, but a combination of being fully clothed and wearing boots made it difficult for Hensley to keep his head above water. This was made especially laborious by the swans who continued their assault on Hensley as he tried to swim to shore.

Witnesses say Hensley came up at least once before disappearing under the water and never resurfaced until his body was pulled out of the pond over 30 minutes later by a dive crew.

I cannot imagine what his family is going through right now, especially when the circumstances of his death ensure that the media — including us — will be all over it. Hensley was the sole breadwinner for his wife and two young daughters, so a fund has been set up to help them out. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made here:

Amy Hensley
c/o Steuerle Funeral Home
350 S. Ardmore Ave.
Villa Park, IL 60181

I was once attacked by one of these nasty creatures. I had accompanied a girlfriend to a cemetery to visit a dead brother I found out later she never had. While there, she liked to feed the swans that resided in the cemetery’s pond. I just liked I would be getting laid afterwards.

On this day, a swan didn’t like the cut of my jib and waged a continued assault against me. I didn’t feel as if I were in any danger as much as I was getting really aggravated by its tenaciousness and my woman’s cackling. It wasn’t until the bird got a rock-solid peck to my right testicle that I punted the bird like a football before collapsing to the ground in agony.

It left me alone after that, but my balls swelled up to the size of a softball. Like I said, nasty creatures.

Father Killed After Shotgun Execution Of Family Members In Cracker Barrel

Brooklyn, OH - An Ohio father was killed by police after shooting and killing his wife and daughter - and critically wounded a second daughter - during the murdered daughter’s birthday party at Cracker Barrel. This after the wife told him that she was divorcing him.

According to police records, on Thursday evening Katherina (Kate) Allen, 42, brought her daughters Kerri and Kayla, both 10, to Cracker Barrel to celebrate Kerri’s birthday with their father Kevin Allen, 51,. Because of an “incident” that had occurred Easter Sunday, Kate Allen had left the family home with the girls to stay with a family friend.  Kevin Allen arrived to the restaurant separately.

During the course of the dinner, Kate Allen reportedly called police saying she had just told her husband she wanted to end their marriage and that he had left the restaurant and was circling the parking lot. She added that she feared ‘he might become violent.’

Her fears were not unfounded.  Three minutes later, Kevin Allen would walk back into Cracker Barrel carrying a loaded shotgun. Witnesses said he “selectively” fired on his wife and daughters.

"He didn’t say not one word," a witness said. "He came in and pointed, and we could just see the fire come out of the barrel and we all just ran."

According to police, Kevin Allen fatally shot his wife in the head and torso while she stood near the restaurant’s register counter. Allen then shot his daughter Kayla in the gift shop. Allen then went looking for his daughter Kerri - who was hiding in the bathroom - and killed her with a fatal shotgun blast to the abdomen.

Officers heard gunshots as they arrived and saw Kevin Allen leaving the restaurant with his gun. Police Chief Scott Mielke said officers shot him when he refused to surrender. He died at the scene.

Police records show that Allen - who has been married at least three times - had a history of violent behavior and threatening his wives, girlfriends, and others. In February, a gas company worker requested a police escort to Allen’s house, explaining that Allen he had not paid his bill “and has stated he will shoot anyone who attempts to turn his gas off.” One ex-wife had reported his attempting to suffocate her with a pillow.

When asked to comment on the incident, Cracker Barrel spokeswoman Julie K. Davis reportedly said, “This appears to be the result of a domestic dispute between two guests and no Cracker Barrel employees were involved.”

From this, I am assuming that the phone conversation was interrupted and she had been in the process of saying “…no Cracker Barrel employees were involved in preventing the killer from reentering the restaurant; burying him in an avalanche of kitschy knick-knacks with a determined shove of a towering display; or attempting to distract him with one well-placed throw of a barfing-chicken gravy boat.  Okay… maybe - despite calling police minutes before - Kate Allen didn’t make anyone at the restaurant aware of the situation unfolding. If so, it is too bad.  A short delay from a locked door barricaded with a few rockers could have made all of the difference in the world on this one.

My only other comment is that is takes a special malignant form of putrid and festering evil to unload a shotgun on two 10-year-old girls - let alone your own children after a birthday celebration.  It’s Event Horizon.

CFO For Champagne Beverage Arrested For Producing Child Porn

Covington, LA — This happened last month, but it is local to me and as a mother of one child with another on the way, I had to get this guy on the front page.

The FBI say that over an eight year period, 66-year-old Charles Edward “Chuck” Reese, the CFO for Champagne Beverage, paid two women $750, 000 for sexually explicit videos of themselves along with their children, relatives, and even their pets.

The investigation into Charles Reese’s activities began when alerted authorities to inappropriate media that had been uploaded by a user. One video showed a woman engaged in a sex act with a boy around 2-years-old. One subpoena later, and the FBI were able to identify the woman as a 28-year-old living in Vidor, Texas. The boy in the video was her own son.

The woman also happened to be dead, having passed away in a hospital for reasons that have not been disclosed. Investigators were able to retrieve the woman’s cell phone regardless, and found that it contained even more sexually explicit videos involving other children.

Specialists interviewed the woman’s two daughters, ages 6 and 9, and one told them that her mother made her perform and simulate sexual behavior with her 2-year-old brother and a 3-year-old cousin. The girl explained how her mother recorded the acts on her phone for a man named “Chuck” that once visited the children and brought them toys. The younger girl was not able to identify “Chuck” in a photo line-up, but her older sister was able to identify him as Reese.

The mother of the dead woman told authorities she was aware that her daughter had been paid for sex videos but she had no idea the children were involved. The woman’s sister says she had also been paid by Reese for sex videos but none of them included minors — just her own sister and family pets.

While digging into Reese’s Paypal transactions, investigators found he had paid money to another woman in Texas. This woman was the mother of a girl under the age of 7, and is currently in jail on child endangerment charges. She told investigators that Reese paid her for pornographic images she took of her daughter and was also ordered to film herself having sex with her dog while her daughter watched.

Reese, the dead woman, and the second woman were all charged with the production of child pornography. Reese was arrested last month and booked into the St. Tammany Parish Jail. Aside from the dead woman, they are all looking at 15 to 30 years in prison, maybe more depending on their criminal history.

Teacher Who Left Wife For Teen Student Jailed For Sexual Abuse

Modesto, California - A California teacher who made national headlines for leaving his wife and three children for a teen student, has been accused of sexually abusing a different teenage girl that he taught in 1998.

Jordan Powers, 18, quit school to move in with her teacher James Hooker, 41, has now dumped him following his arrest for alleged sexual misconduct with another student in 1998. Jordan, who last February defended their odd pairing on national news, now fears there may be more students

"My heart dropped. I felt betrayed. I just have a gut feeling there are other girls," Powers said, according to the ABC News interview. She went on to say, "He called me from jail and, yes, I told him that we’re done. I lost everything for this guy. I lost my senior year. I gave up all my friends at high school because they didn’t agree with me."

Jordan’s mother, Tammie Powers, is pushing for a bill in California that would make it a felony for a public school teacher to date a student in the same school, regardless of age, even if the student is 18. Currently, 23 states now have a law forbidding teachers to date students regardless of age.

The bill will also include making it illegal to send any sexual based texts, letters or any other form of communication.

Jordan and Hooker have maintained that their love wasn’t consummated until after Jordan turned 18, however her mother has uncovered over 8,000 texts between the two spanning back to when Jordan was a minor. There were also many late night phone calls and emails between the two.

Tammie had an opportunity to confront Hooker on Dr, Phil last month and accused him of “brainwashing” her child. This sentiment I’ve seen echoed over many websites and blogs while researching this article. Many have called him a predator and accused him of grooming his students.

Hooker now has a $50,0000 bail, a public defender and a hearing on Tuesday in hopes of reducing his bail amount. With all the publicity and the creepy old man factor involved, I doubt that he will get it.

Let’s recap. Since the second month of this year, Hooker has lost his wife and children, his job, has been arrested for fiddling a teen fourteen years ago and lost his teen live-in girlfriend along with the remains of any dignity he may have possessed.

Good job, man. You’re a dipshit.