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News Quirks 

Curses, Foiled Again

Police investigating the murder of Juliana Mensch, 18, in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., identified James Ayers, 32, and Nicole Okrzesik, 23, as their suspects after obtaining the couple’s internet searches, texts and Facebook messages. Five days after the victim was strangled, police found her body under a pile of clothing in the couple’s apartment, where Mensch had been staying. Among their Google searches and pages visited were: “Whats on those rags that make people pass out,” “ways to kill people in their sleep,” “could you kill someone in their sleep and no one would think it was murder” and “how to suffocate someone.” They exchanged hundreds of messages after the crime, some arguing over getting rid of the body: “If the smell gets worse were f***ed.” The police affidavit says Okrzesik posted pictures on Facebook of her and Ayers at a bar “partying” a few hours after Mensch was killed, with the comment: “Wooooo — at Wet Willie’s South Beach.” (HLN-TV)

After arresting Keenan Alex, 28, for stealing a bait car, Los Angeles County sheriff’s detective Anthony Shapiro testified in court that Alex made incriminating statements after he read Alex his rights. The Cadillac Escalade, which was left with its engine running and keys in the ignition, was rigged with cameras for a TruTV reality show. The unedited video shows Shapiro didn’t read Alex his rights. As a result, Alex went free and Shapiro was placed on leave. (Los Angeles’s KTLA-TV)

Slightest Provocation

Police charged Calvin Bernard Hill, 54, with stabbing a 41-year-old man while the two were riding in the back seat of a PT Cruiser in Greenwood City, S.C., after they argued over which one of them “can have the most sex.” When questioned, Hill denied stabbing the victim, claiming, “That man stabbed his self.” (Smoking Gun)

Never Mind

A 78-year-old woman reported that her deceased husband’s 1973 Chevrolet van was missing from the front yard of her home in Dacula, Ga., even though it was inoperative. Later that day, she notified police that the vehicle had been parked in the yard the whole time, but, according to the police report, “she could not see the vehicle which was covered by the tall grass that grew around the vehicle, and she automatically assumed the vehicle was stolen.” (Dacula Patch)

Sperm in the News

The United States is the world’s leading exporter of sperm. According to market analyst Marketdata, the U.S. fertility industry has gone from $979 million in 1988 to $4.3 billion projected for 2013. American sperm is considered the “gold standard,” Time senior editor Jeffrey Kluger said on “CBS This Morning.” He attributed its reputation to Food and Drug Administration-regulated quality control on sperm donations, including who can donate, and variety, thanks to America’s multiethnic population. Also, unlike Canada, Australia and Western Europe, U.S. donors may remain anonymous. They’re paid according to quality standards such as height, health and education, and can earn as much as $60,000 a year. (CBS News)

Mama’s Boy

A New York City jury convicted Thomas Parkin, 51, of fraud after he cashed his deceased mother’s Social Security checks every month for six years, stealing about $44,000. He also took part in a real estate scam involving a foreclosed Brooklyn apartment building that had belonged to his mother. Perpetuating the fraud that his mother was still living, he filed a fraud lawsuit against the new owner and set up a meeting with the Brooklyn District Attorney to discuss the matter. Prosecutors said Parkin showed up “dressed as his 77-year-old mother, wearing a new red cardigan, lipstick, manicured nails and breathing through an oxygen tank.” (Reuters)


Prior to the start of Euro 2012 soccer championship, Poland’s Krakow Post warned potential troublemakers that local law enforcement officials had formed antihooligan squads equipped with shotguns capable of firing “baton rounds that probably won’t kill you as long as you’re 30 meters away,” a truck-mounted water cannon affectionately known as “the typhoon,” a high-tech sonic cannon that can induce involuntary urination and dogs “trained to bite you directly in the testicles.” (Agence France-Presse)

Living off the Grid

After a security camera showed Manuel Ovalle, 35, in his neighbor’s backyard, walking away with two dark-colored bags, police in Mesa, Ariz., said Ovalle admitted filling the bags with water he’d taken from the neighbor’s swimming pool because he doesn’t have running water. The arresting officer also found a stolen Playstation 3 game console in Ovalle’s living room but noted it couldn’t be used because the home has no electricity. (Phoenix’s Arizona Republic)

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Roland Sweet

Roland Sweet is the author of the syndicated column "News Quirks," which appears weekly in Seven Days.


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