Morgan Harrington update

I never like when law enforcement goes “radio silent” on a case, but usually it’s because a) they haven’t got anything new to report or b) they do and they need to keep it from the public while they continue to piece together the investigation. They owe us, the public, nothing and while I know many folks are angry about the lack of information about Morgan’s disappearance, The Hook, a fantastic Charlottesville weekly, has done the best job of covering the story.

Kudos to Courteney Stuart, an editor of the Hook, for her outstanding reporting. Please read this article about what some witnesses are saying.

We pray for the safe return of Morgan to her family and friends. So many unanswered questions.

1) are there any photos of her that night?
2) is there any surveillance video from JPJ Arena?
3) Why is the University of Virginia choosing to remain silent about the case?
4) have the sex offenders in the area been questioned about that night?

Given the massive amount of blog commentary, Courteney has indeed done her homework, though it seems hard to get quite a few of them to stay on topic.

A century later, justice for the family of Tom Joyner.

If you don’t know who Tom Joyner is, take a listen to his wildly popular, nationally syndicated radio show. I’ve been listening to him since the early 90s.

His two great uncles were wrongfully executed for the 1913 murder of a Confederate soldier and given the electric chair. Seems they had the wrong guys. This past week, the state of South Carolina officially pardoned the two wrongfully executed men, giving Joyner’s family the peace they so richly deserved.

Interestingly enough, Joyner did not know of the wrongful death until Skip Gates (White House beer and “teaching moment”) told him of the story.


A brave woman in Colorado deserves our praise.

Today, a friend sent me an article about a cold case in Colorado in which the victim is pressing on, nine years later. Bravo to her. Read the article and decide for yourself. The most troubling part of the article, though, is the comments section. It’s amazing that people blame her for her own rape because she was intoxicated.

Because, naturally, she wanted to end up covered in blood and mud having “had sex” with two men. That’s normal, right? I love her for her courage in coming forward. It is really hard to be public about this because a) you are then known primarily for the fact that you are a rape victim and not a daughter, wife, mom, hard worker, etc. and b) you need to endure the crazies on blog boards.

I honestly believe that one should have to register a credit card with their real name in order to comment on a blog. So many anonymous cowards, holding forth about something they have no experience with. Bravo, Julie Stene! Bravo!

Justice revisited. An excellent article re: Gary Zerola in BoMag.

A few years ago, we heard a lot of activity around accused and acquitted serial rapist (I’m trying to say he was acquitted here – alleged, accused, acquitted, so don’t parse my words!), Gary Zerola.

Many people weigh in on the status of Zerola, the fundraiser, charmer, survivor of a sad childhood. They also weigh in on his dark side. It’s a well-written article by David Copeland and since I’ve received quite a few emails from some of his alleged victims, I thought we’d revisit it via this article, courtesy of Boston Magazine.

Enjoy and comment. As you know, you can always post here anonymously without fear of retribution as long as you keep it without racial slurs or personal attacks of a false nature. I want this to be a safe haven.

One year later – the Oklahoma schoolgirl shootings.

What many lay people don’t understand in many cases is that you can have a great deal of evidence (circumstantial and otherwise) but still be unable to prosecute a case. What seems obvious to many as “open and shut” is anything but and DAs take great care to only prosecute winnable cases. This is difficult for families of victims waiting for an arrest, but is truly the best way of our justice system. No one wants a jury asking for redirection on reasonable doubt and letting a perp go.

The case of the 2 murdered schoolgirls in Oklahoma is a sad, terrifying and frustrating case, but I agree with the spokeswoman who says the are close, but need one more piece of evidence. The public is always looking for the cause/effect nature of crime – “was she drinking? what was she wearing? why was he walking alone at night?” and the like. Cause/effect does not matter in cases of crime. The victims are not to blame. What could possibly be the motive for someone (perhaps 2 people) to slaughter these innocents?

May the parents of these two little girls find the strength they need. It is absolutely frustrating – someone knows and they aren’t talking. They don’t have to.

Disappearing wife, part 8,342. Liza Murphy’s cold case.

This devoted wife and mother had an argument with her husband, stormed out without any of her belongings (purse, cell, cigs) and has never been seen since August 2007. Her husband, an Irish immigrant named Joe Murphy, tried to kill himself in the days that followed.

What is hinky here is that a) he has lawyered up and is no longer cooperating with Police (yes, you can do that), b) he has full custody of the 3 children, c) she was suffering from depression and fibromyalgia, thereby suggesting suicide and not focusing more on the husband. He also will not let the children see their maternal grandparents. Why not?

I don’t mean to point the finger at the husband, but FBI statistics and good old common sense tell us to look at the intimates first. He was very possessive, didn’t like when she went to visit friends…what do you think?

Where is Brittanee? The new Spring Break case.

Brittanee Drexel (what is UP with the way parents spell names – sorry, I digress) is 17-year-old girl from Rochester, New York who went to Myrtle Beach for a spring break trip and has disappeared. There is video of her walking into her hotel alone as well as leaving alone and walking along the street. Foul play is suspected.

Brittannee’s parents were in the midst of a stressful divorce and her mother did NOT give her permission to go to Myrtle Beach. She did anyway and the parents suspect that she was depressed over the impending divorce, which is why she went with her friends on the trip despite their wishes.

Police are now dragging a nearby river. What do you think? Another Natalee Holloway? Drugged, murdered? Suicide? Doing okay but just needs some time to think? Being held captive somewhere in a hotel? Sold into the sex trade?

It’s horrible, no matter what. My thoughts and prayers out to Ms. Drexel and her family. Discuss. And please don’t blame the girl or her parents. It would be so easy to, but we don’t judge here unless blame can be squarely placed. Teens who are depressed will defy their parents. Parents who trust their kids won’t double check – I think.

Haleigh Cummings’ father engaged to 17-year-old girlfriend who saw her last.

While we do not sit in judgement here at Not Ranting, it would seem that Misty Croslin is way too young to marry Ronald Cummings. It would also seem that an engagement during this missing child saga is pretty tasteless, although the girl’s dad defends it in his statement to the press. Misty even shows off her new ring to the press corps. I think people react to tragedy in a multitude of ways.

I also think that married folks don’t have to testify against one another. Why does this story bug me so much? Why can’t they find this girl? I am not saying that the family is to blame, at all, but they need to figure it out, stat.

Haleigh’s four year old brother says a “man in black clothes” came and abducted his sister. He’s four. He could have imagined it, could have seen it, could have been coached. Whatever the case, I hope this child is found.

UPDATE: after the photographed proposal at Chili’s (sorry), Ronald and Misty plan to marry today. Today! It’s Wednesday! What’s the rush? In the meantime, a new massive search for the child is underway today covering a 13 square mile area around the home. In addition, Haleigh’s mother has now retained Counsel.

Ron and Misty plan to have “another wedding” once Haleigh is “home with them”.

UPDATE: The married couple say the wedding is “what Haleigh would have wanted”. How many 5 year olds do you know championing wedding vows? You know what I think Haleigh would have wanted? TO BE FOUND.

Drew Peterson “fiancee” says whole thing a hoax. Hunh?

It seems as though Christina Raines, the newly minted ex-fiance of Drew Peterson, suspected wife disposer, says the whole engagement thing was a hoax planned by his attorney, Joel Brodsky, in order to keep Peterson’s name in the news. What don’t I understand? Wouldn’t Peterson want to lay low? Brodsky refutes this, saying he wanted to keep the engagement secret. I am prone to believe her, not because she’s a woman, but because the whole thing seems so odd that it seems true. But, as you know, I don’t really want to pass judgment here.

Raines admits she used to love him. Okay, now that Guns ‘n’ Roses song just popped into my head and I don’t mean to be disrespectful.

The only time I ever want to post about Peterson is when a) he’s been fully exonerated or b) he’s been charged. What do women see in this guy? Really?

Peterson’s third wife was found to have been murdered after they recently exhumed her body. His fourth wife, Stacy, remains missing.

Ah – the old deathbed confession.

I have often said, I wish the other douchebags of Phi Kappa Psi would speak up NOW, rather than later, about the other two complete evil beings who raped me. I don’t really want to know the details, but I am trying avoid the following scenario:

Douchebag who didn’t cooperate with the Police contracts brain cancer or pancreatic cancer. Doesn’t have long to live. Doesn’t want to meet his Maker with this knowledge that he lied and covered up. Wants to cleanse his soul. On his deathbed, he confesses to what he knows. I am probably about 65 and playing with my grandchildren when this awful shit again permeates my life and I get another letter or phone call. Just sayin’. They should have gotten it out now.

But this post is about Virginia’s own Sharron Diane Crawford Smith, who killed two women in 1967 because they taunted her (Smith) about her being a lesbian. Shot them right in an ice cream store in Staunton. She was arrested and charged with first degree murder after her November 28 confession and a trial date was set, but it never went to trial because of Smith’s health problems. The police and the Commonwealth Attorney still say they have questions about the case. Sounds like brilliant police work.

And get this! The murderess GAVE the gun to a member of the Staunton Police, David Bocock, who buried it for her. This cop is the same cop who, according to the article, taught her how to shoot! Jesus! He’s now dead. KARMA. Some woman brought the gun in when she heard. Seems HER husband, a cop, was given the gun by Bocock and told to hush about it. I love small town justice.

Anyway, here’s to some justice and peace for the families, who you’d think might have known this all along if the cops had done their jobs. I’m just saying. Funny how these cases in Virginia are open until there’s a confession.

What do you all think of this case?