Welcome to Mystery Crime Blog

In 1998, if someone had told me I would be spending the next eight years of my life involved in injustice, I would have said "You are stark raving mad!". Well, I am here to eat those words.

In 1997, a friend was telling me about twin sisters, Betty Wilson and Peggy Lowe, from Alabama who were arrested and tried for supposedly hiring an alcoholic, drug addict con-man, James Dennison White, to kill Betty's wealthy husband, Dr. Jack Wilson, who was a very well-liked and well-known eye doctor in Huntsville. Both sisters were tried on the same evidence and lying testimony. Betty was convicted and sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole because she was a rich bitch and slept with a black man in Alabama. Peggy, the saintly one, was acquitted. The convicted con-man, who never really admitted to killing the doctor, has come up for parole several times but is still incarcerated.

After spending six years studying this case including both trial transcripts, putting up an extensive website (http://hankford.com/bettywilson) and spending the remaining two years putting together a book about this case Killer For Hire - The Final Chapter of the Alabama Twins Murder Case, I, as many others, believe that the real killer of the doctor is walking around free. Neither of the twin sisters had a motive to have the good doctor put away but the doctor's ex-wife and son did.

As time permits, I hope to present other similar cases of injustice along with information on books, movies, TV shows, video games, etc., related to mystery crime. In the meantime please visit http://mysterycrimescene.com/.












Do Celebrities Get Special Treatment?

Sunday, May 22, 2011

By Kendall Coffey,
Author of Spinning the Law: Trying Cases in the Court of Public Opinion

Do celebrities get kid gloves and a "get out of jail free" card, or do those who investigate celebrities take the gloves off and pursue them relentlessly to create an attention-getting case?

The public usually assumes that celebrities receive preferential treatment at every turn in criminal cases, as well as in civil proceedings. Their lawyers tell a different story. The one point of agreement is that celebrities, like other people with lots of money, can hire the best legal representation. Additionally, a Martha Stewart can afford public relations consultants and even public-opinion surveys, while ordinary defendants may be getting advice from only their family members and drinking pals.

Except for the issue of financial resources, celebrities are otherwise less favored by the system than one might think. Certainly, when it comes to being investigated, no one receives more scrutiny than a celebrity. Prosecutors and investigators look under every rock and behind every blade of grass. After all, if proceedings are brought, famous people become famous cases, and high-profile trials define the careers of prosecutors and sometimes of police and of criminalists.

Ben Brafman, who won acquittals for such high-profile defendants Sean "Diddy" Combs and nightclub impresario Peter Gatien, believes special treatment for celebrities is one of the biggest myths. Brafman notes that a person less famous than NFL star Plaxico Burress might not have even been arrested following his self-inflicted guns wound. A football star with a bullet hole in his leg attracts more attention than a football fan in the same unfortunate predicament. And once the police arrested the celebrity, the city's mayor and its newspapers made an issue about maximum punishment that likely would not have been made had an anonymous mortal broken the law. The authorities like to use high-profile cases to carry a message about obeying the law, and low-profile cases do not carry such messages very far.

Charles Stillman also believes any idea that high-profile defendants get a better break is a misconception. "They get top-flight representation," he notes, but, "apart from that, it's tougher." When high-flying people are seen as going down, "they get no good press," Stillman adds. 27

Robert Morvillo emphasizes the inflexibility of the process as a major liability when notable figures fall into legal trouble. "Everybody changes," he notes, "people are frozen, and they become much more rigid with respect to the issues of the trial." Of course, well-regarded celebrities may fare better than the more notorious. O.J. Simpson, at the time of the initial questioning in the double homicide case, was then a popular figure who was treated respectfully, even deferentially, by police. Correspondingly, several defendants who had played for the Miami Dolphins, though tried for federal drugs or laundering charges that usually led to convictions, won acquittals from Florida juries. 28Conversely, heavyweight champion Mike Tyson was convicted of rape in a he said-she said case that might have created reasonable doubt for a figure with a less sinister image. 29

Additionally, celebrities may have more difficulty getting favorable plea deals. Few prosecutors want to face public outrage and press rancor for supposedly letting a celebrity off the hook. As to prison time for guilty celebs, judges usually try to sentence the rich and famous as if they were neither. When cameras are hovering nearby, judges know they will not be rewarded for leniency.

Roy Black summarizes his experience representing celebrities with two categories of reactions. "Prosecutors and judges tend to hold them to a higher standard." On the other hand, Black believes that "jurors are impressed with people who are famous." As a result, Black's conclusion is that "celebrities are more likely to get charged and more likely to get acquitted" than the rest of us. 30

Fraudster Bernie Madoff received a one-hundred-fifty-year prison sentence, five times his likely life expectancy. At the other end of the criminal spectrum, Paris Hilton was sentenced to forty-five days in jail for violating probation by driving without a license. Her sentence was certainly not lenient to begin with, but her modest legal problems were about to become a ratings gangbuster that attracted extensive coverage from cable news. When she was released early due to medical issues, a national uproar ensued. Within hours, the judge ordered her back into court and then on her way back to Los Angeles County jail. Professor and legal analyst Laurie L. Levenson attributed Hilton's above-par, punishment for traffic violations to the reality that "people are fed up with celebrity justice." 31 Being tough on Paris Hilton may have seemed harsh to her family and her fans, but for most of the public, the judge seemingly stood tall when Paris Hilton went down.

27. Charles Stillman, interview with author, September 14, 2009.
28. New York Times, "Pro Football; Marten Acquitted of Money Laundering," August 27, 1999; Sun-Sentinel, "Ex-Dolphin Mark Duper Cleared of Drug Charges," March 16,1995.
29. New York Times, 'Tyson Gets Six-Year Prison Term for Rape Conviction in Indiana," March 27, 1992.
30. Roy Black, telephone interview with author, January 21, 2010.
31. Laurie L. Levenson, telephone interview with author, January 12, 2010.

The above is an excerpt from the book Spinning the Law: Trying Cases in the Court of Public Opinion by Kendall Coffey. The above excerpt is a digitally scanned reproduction of text from print. Although this excerpt has been proofread, occasional errors may appear due to the scanning process. Please refer to the finished book for accuracy.

Copyright © 2011 Kendall Coffey, author of Spinning the Law: Trying Cases in the Court of Public Opinion

Author Bio
Kendall Coffey, author of Spinning the Law: Trying Cases in the Court of Public Opinion, a former U.S. Attorney who headed the largest federal prosecutors' office in America, is the founding member of and a partner at Coffey Burlington, PL. Following his service as a U.S. Attorney, he was closely involved with the Elian Gonzalez case and the 2000 presidential election recount. A leading media commentator on high-profile cases, he has appeared on the Today Show, Larry King Live, Good Morning America, Anderson Cooper 360, CNN Headline News, as well as hundreds of other nationally televised programs.

For more information please visit http://kendallcoffey.com/ and Amazon, and follow the author on Facebook and Twitter

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Spinning the Law: Trying Cases in the Court of Public Opinion by Kendall Coffey

Saturday, May 14, 2011

A Media Primer for Spinners

For all the fascination with trials in the court of public opinion, no one really knows how much media campaigns actually affect the verdict. Ultimately, what matters is winning the courtroom battle for life and liberty rather than the contest over the next news cycle. No matter how important publicity may be to clients, the best press releases are written about winning, just as woefully bad news follows defeat. The legendary Johnnie Cochran had the memorable sound bite,"If it doesn't fit, you must acquit," but without the jury's own words of "not guilty," his phrase would have been pointless rather than timeless.

That said, even if the benefits of spin are difficult to quantify, there are many reasons to believe they are not illusory. Studies conducted of mock jurors -- simulated jurors in simulated trials -- suggest that negative news contributes to negative verdicts. And even though real jurors routinely deny that they are media influenced, it is undeniable that cases are decided by jurors who are media exposed. It is neither necessary nor realistic, however, to disqualify jurors simply because they were previously subjected to onslaughts of publicity about a case -- the law does not require an empty mind, only one that is open. Although media drenched jurors must assure the court that they will be fair and will consider only the evidence and law presented inside the courtroom, those assurances are more comforting when the groundwork for fairness has been laid by balanced news coverage.

Once selected, jurors are instructed repeatedly to avoid media coverage of the case they are deciding. The law assumes that they honor their oath, but common sense says some may not. And even jurors who read nothing about a case live among others who may be reading everything. When a community is buzzing about a trial, no one wants to be remembered as one of the jurors fooled by clever defense lawyers into acquitting a notoriously guilty defendant.

The ears of judges often have chronic buzzing, particularly because they are not prohibited from following the news coverage of their cases. The law presumes that judges will ignore the media monsoons drenching the courthouse and decide every legal issue as if nary a drop had fallen. If we assume, though, that judges are real people who live in the real world -- sometimes a world of judicial elections -- it follows that they are acutely aware of community feelings about media intensive cases. And judges live in more than one community. Most care deeply about maintaining respect from their peers in the courthouse and from the attorneys who practice in the same locale. Because the legal community reads newspapers much more than most, the articles that judges and lawyers will be reading should be balanced as much as possible if the playing field is to be level.

Legal icon Dershowitz recently recalled some advice he received from a local lawyer when he was handling the appeal for convicted wife killer Claus von B├╝low: "The only way you can win this appeal is if these three judges (all male back then) can explain to their wives why they let off a wife killer." Absorbing the daunting reality, Dershowitz focused not only on the legal brief but also on facts about the medical evidence that would raise questions in the minds of reasonable readers.

Good press is also a recruitment poster for lawyers, experts, and even fact witnesses. Winnability magnetizes cases. Lawyers and experts may be mercenaries, but even hired guns prefer to be retained by winners. For the top professionals who can pick and choose their cases, many prefer a cause that is acclaimed to one that is being defamed. Even fact witnesses, the main determinant of most cases, can be more effective if they believe their testimony will be featured in a success story. Just as many prefer to join the team with all the cheerleaders, horrible publicity can impair recruitment efforts. (Note: large, upfront payments to attorneys and experts can make even beastly cases seem beautiful.)

Occasionally, the fear of negative publicity can inspire the parties to negotiate a solution before the judicial process reaches its own conclusion. Several years ago I represented a woman who shipped herself to the United States by plane, arriving inside a DHL box. This elegant but -- no surprise here -- petite client might have had an uphill battle seeking asylum to remain here. In theory, a so called stowaway is among the least favored of all newcomers for purposes of immigration law. Her case began to attract attention, however, because while gift DHL packages are common, a gift immigrant understandably created a news stir. As press interest intensified over her battle for asylum, we held our fire and postponed the ever present temptation to trash talk the immigration service for trying to deport a young woman who was obviously courageous, even if too ingenious for safety's sake. The government's press anxieties actually helped us make a deal providing that if the authorities agreed not to send her away, we would keep the television cameras at bay. Along with downsizing our press strategies, we assured the government that our client would travel with passengers rather than inside packages in the future.

The above is an excerpt from the book Spinning the Law: Trying Cases in the Court of Public Opinion by Kendall Coffey. The above excerpt is a digitally scanned reproduction of text from print. Although this excerpt has been proofread, occasional errors may appear due to the scanning process. Please refer to the finished book for accuracy.

Copyright © 2011 Kendall Coffey, author of Spinning the Law: Trying Cases in the Court of Public Opinion

Author Bio

Kendall Coffey, author of Spinning the Law: Trying Cases in the Court of Public Opinion, a former U.S. Attorney who headed the largest federal prosecutors' office in America, is the founding member of and a partner at Coffey Burlington, PL. Following his service as a U.S. Attorney, he was closely involved with the Elian Gonzalez case and the 2000 presidential election recount. A leading media commentator on high-profile cases, he has appeared on the Today Show, Larry King Live, Good Morning America, Anderson Cooper 360, CNN Headline News, as well as hundreds of other nationally televised programs.

For more information please visit http://kendallcoffey.com/ and Spinning the Law, and follow the author on Facebook and Twitter

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Selena Famous Crime Scene - Part 4 of 4


Selena Quintanilla: VH1 Famous Crime Scene - Part 4 of 4

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Millennium Trilogy

Article by Beachranger

The Millennium Trilogy

Financial journalist Mikael Blomkvist has been disgraced and is facing a 3 month prison sentence for libel.

Lisbeth Salander is tattooed, an expert computer hacker as well as a wanted woman. She is also an expert at staying out of sight while employing various and mysterious ways of tracking down even her most elusive enemies.

This highly unlikely pair, or are they, forge a fragile bond as they delve into the sinister past of a most secretive family, sex trafficking, as well as exposing corrupt and secretive government departments.

The Millennium Trilogy is a crime odyssey extraordinaire; each volume leaving you desperately asking for more, - more suspense, more great noir narrative, more.....

The Millennium Trilogy is a superb contribution to the genre of crime fiction.

24 million copies sold worldwide, and counting. These are the kind of books we want to read, where not-perfect and flawed characters with complicated relationships take on the wicked, powerful and one-dimensional, - and they win! A healthy amount of sex goes a long way as well.

Investigatiave journalist Mikael Blomkvist and tattooed punk hacker Lisbeth Salander inflict justice upon men who exploit and abuse women. Salander rapes her rapist, a serial killer is murdered, sex traffickers are exposed, and even punters are ruined.

Socially margianlised geeks use their mastery of technology and their sense of revenge as a weapon against the wicked and powerful while the incorruptible old-style journalist is greatly advantaged by his powerful intuition, good heart and years of experience in the field.

The creator of The Millennium Trilogy, Stieg Larsson, 1954 - 2004, started his career as a graphic designer with Tidningarnas Telegramsbura (TT). At the time of his untimely and sudden death in 2004 Larsson, a leading expert on anti-democratic, right wing extremist organisations and co-founder of the Expo Foundation, was the chief editor of Expo, a magazine published by the organization.

Interestingly enough, Larsson's own career was strikingly similar to that of Mikael Blomkvist, the protagonist of the Millennium Trilogy, Stieg Larsson's thrilling crime odyssey.

Stieg Larsson confessed that he started writing the Millennium Trilogy comprising The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played With Fire, and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest, for the fun of it. Describing them as his "retirement plan," Larsson admitted to enjoying the process of fiction writing so much so that he did not make contact with a publisher until he had completed the first two volumes of the trilogy and had a third safely under way. Larsson, the natural and great storyteller that he was, wrote the three books comprising The Millennium Trilogy in just two years time.

Sadly, Stieg Larsson died of a heart attack in 2004, prior to the publication of the first instalment of his Millennium Trilogy.

About the Author

Please go to http://theredlounge.com.au/The-Millennium-Trilogy.php/ for further information as well as how and where to buy The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played with Dire, and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest at great prices.

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True Crime NYC Video Walkthrough: Bad Cop Ending


This is my video walkthrough for the PS2 version of True Crime: New York City: This video covers Hustler's Exit (Bad Cop Ending).
Video Rating: 4 / 5

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Five Ways To Immediately Improve Your Writing

Article by William Meikle

As a writer it is all too easy to concentrate on the mechanics of submitting work to editors and to forget that the writing itself is of primary importance. We should all be constantly seeking to improve. If we do that, editorial approval will become that much easier.

To that end, here are five things you can start doing today that will immediately improve your writing, and with it your chances of getting published.

Improve your vocabulary
Buy a good dictionary, and learn a word every day. Play around with it, using it in sentences, in dialogue and description. As you go along, make a list of the words you've learned. At the end of the month, try to write down a definition beside each word. If you can't remember what the word means, look it up again, play with it again, and leave it on the list for another month. I guarantee your vocabulary will grow in leaps and bounds.

Read more

You can't come up with an original idea unless you know what isn't original. So read as widely as you can, both within your chosen area and beyond.

I write, and read, horror fiction, but I also read the classics, crime fiction, science-fiction, fantasy and the occasional airport blockbuster. I also read non-fiction, in the fields of astronomy, biology, parapsychology, archaeology, religious history and mythology.

Everything is grist to the mill, and little is ever wasted. If nothing else, it allows you to feel superior while watching "The Weakest Link".

Deconstruct Writing that Works
When you read something that strikes you as a fine piece of writing, or something that has had success in your chosen area, go back and read it again. This time take notes:What caught your attention about the writing?What does the writer do that you don't?Would you have done it differently? If so, what makes what you've just read better? You can also do this when you see bad writing. After a while, you'll find yourself doing it automatically with almost everything you read. From the notes you can make up a list of writing tips for yourself. Add to it as you go along, read it often, and follow your own guidance. Improvements will follow.

Edit yourself
You have to develop a thick skin, and an ability to look at your work dispassionately. After you've written something, put it away for a few days, then come back and look at it critically.Cheque yure spelingGrammar your checkRemove any superfluous unnecessary adjectivesRemove any repeating repetitious repetitionAre your verbs will use the right tense?If you are writing about a man, is she the right gender?Never use a long word when a short individual will do

Hone your work until it is as good as you can make it. If you don't respect your writing, how can you expect anyone else to do so?

Read your work out loud.
Reading aloud enables you to check the rhythm of your work. Check that your writing flows. If it feels uncomfortable to say it, it's time to rewrite.

At the same time check your sentence lengths. If you need to take a breath in mid-sentence, then it probably needs editing. You might feel self-conscious at first, but stick with it. I've found this to be one of the best ways to find your writer's voice.

Go on. Start now. You'll feel the benefits immediately, and you'll be a better writer for it. And that's what we all want, isn't it?

About the Author

William Meikle is a Scottish writer, with seven novels published in the States and three more coming in 2007/8, all in the independent fantasy and horror press. His short work and articles have appeared in the UK, Ireland, USA, Canada, Greece, Romania, Saudi Arabia and India. He is available for any freelance writing work.

Contact him and read some free fiction at his web site http://www.williammeikle.com

Books by William Meikle
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Blood's a Rover by James Ellroy


Blood's a Rover is a 2009 crime fiction novel by American author James Ellroy. The book's title is taken from a poem titled "Reveille" by AE Housman: Clay lies still, but blood's a rover; Breath's a ware that will not keep. Up, lad; when the journey's over There'll be time enough for sleep.
Video Rating: 5 / 5

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Unremembered (2009) Sci Fi Thriller


A complex thriller in the style of Memento, with a science fiction twist, Unremembered (Indie award winner, feature film, lead actor, original screenplay) is a story told in non-linear time about a man who has no past. As John Outis begins to restore his fractured life history, he radically alters the lives of his friends, his wife, and his lover. As his past threatens to end his future, he turns to Tina Plantes, a brilliant and unconventional physics professor. Drawn deeper into the bizarre events of John's life, she discovers a disturbing and far-reaching set of truths about dreams, time, and the power of the human will. "It's a complex, intelligent interpretation of the ancient Greek epic, The Odyssey," says writer/director Greg Kerr. "It's also a tale about a man who can't control the chaos in his life, which many people can relate to in our modern world." Winner of the Best Narrative Feature at the Great Lakes Independent Film Festival, and Best Sci Fi Feature at the Eugene International Film Festival, Unremembered is "sinuous and riveting" declares AG Nigrin, director of the New Jersey Film Festival. Stars Tim Delaney, Karla Mason, Carmela Ramaglia, Laura Duyn, Spencer Conway Music Composed by Nan Avant Written and Directed by Greg Kerr

More Mystery Crime TV & Movies
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Swimming in the Murk: On Being a Dark Writer

Article by C. M. Clifton

I stand at the edge of a cliff. Fear grips the pit of my stomach. I inch my feet forward, despite the fear. When I glance down, I spy my toes dangling over the grass and rock where I am looming. My fear oozes through me, snakes around me, binds my arms and legs. Frozen, I grow as afraid of self discovery as I am of the height where I stand. But, I'd climbed the cliff to bring myself to this moment. I have to complete the journey, or try to, at least. If I back down, now, then I'll never know; I'll never be sure.

Wind swirls around me, and I begin to sway. My jump is inevitable. The wind blows harder, whistling pass my ears. Vertigo threatens to overwhelm me. I bend my knees slightly, and then push off against the cliff.

I dive into the sea before forces beyond my control shove me over.

My descent goes smoothly. The water approaches fast.

I crash into the sea, my outstretched hands and arms guiding me into the cool water. The momentum of my dive propels my body downward until I regain control of my arms and legs. I paddle my feet and swim back to the water's surface.

While treading water, I spy dolphins up ahead. Their trademark clicks, pulses, and whistles echo through the air as they communicate. There's a Blue Whale in the distance, also, its mouth stretched impossibly wide while it feeds on tiny plankton along the water's surface.

The sun's reflection shimmers across the sea, and the sky is a watercolor painting of stark white clouds against a light blue background.

I liken this spot in the water to most inspirational writing where readers can usually feed their souls. As a reader, I enjoy visiting here. As a writer, I am uncomfortable here.

I propel myself beneath the water, again, and then swim lower.

Long, thick, swaying kelp leaves threaten to reach out and snag me. My heart palpitates, and I swim faster for a moment, paddling beyond the kelp, abandoning the sea snails and sea horses crawling and hiding along the kelp leaves.

A sponge garden appears. This underwater garden blooms sea sponges that produce toxic chemicals which causes the sponges to taste awful to their predators. Some sponges also have sharp spines that stop fish and sea urchins from feeding on them.

I am beginning to feel more comfortable here, but questions about my sanity and thoughts of self-doubt crowd my mind as it feels like I'm approaching familiar territory. Why do you write this stuff? Can't you write something nice for a change? The voices of all those who've caused me to doubt myself and caused my inner critic to grow increasingly negative echo through my mind.

Soon, the sun's reflection grows dim, and the blue-green water darkens to liquid onyx.

I swim within the darkness.

Until something snags my attention. Something visible even within this void of light.

I do the backstroke on my way to investigate.

My inspection yields a gruesome find--a body in the water. The corpse is bloated and decomposed beyond recognition. Not even the clothes reveal clues about whether it is a man or a woman wasting away in the water.

I spend a bit of time wading and swimming in circles, wondering who this could have been, and what was his or her story in life. Was it his own hands that brought him to such a demise? Was she someone's victim, discarded to hide an awful truth? Was his death accidental? Is someone missing her, desperate to learn of her whereabouts, of what happened to her? Whose lives have been turned upside down, or right side up, since his disappearance? Was she brought to such a grim existence by human hands, or was she brought here by something normally unseen by human eyes?

With my mind overflowing with questions, I swim to the surface. I squint as sunlight bathes my eyes, once again, and then walk onto the sandy shore beneath the cliffs where I'd taken the leap. There is a story I would like to write. A dark story where I am comfortable exploring and exposing the darker side of human nature through speculative and crime fiction.

No longer concerned about what some might think about me because of the type of fiction I write, I have accepted that this is me. I am a dark fictionist. I have found my niche. I hope all writers who pen dark fiction are either comfortable with their craft from the beginning, or if they're not, that they grow to become comfortable.

About the Author

C. M. Clifton is a published fiction writer and an author on http://www.Writing.Com/ which is a site for Creative Writing.

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The Dark Prophecy - Part 2 The Fool


Part Two of the cyber-bridges from the Digi-novel "Dark Prophecy: A Level 26 Thriller" by Anthony E. Zuiker. Starring: Justine Bateman, Michael Ironside and Daniel Buran. Pre-order your copy today by going to www.level26.com Available in bookstores nationwide on October 14, 2010!
Video Rating: 5 / 5

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Dark Prophecy - Part 1 The Reading/Hanged Man


Pre-order your copy today by going to www.level26.com Part One of the cyber-bridges from the Digi-novel "Dark Prophecy A Level 26 Thriller" by Anthony E. Zuiker. Starring: Justine Bateman, Michael Ironside and Daniel Buran. Available in bookstores nationwide on October 14, 2010!
Video Rating: 5 / 5

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