True Crime-Beauty Queen Missing; Birds-Mountain Ash Raided by Robins; Comments

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Where Is Former Beauty Queen Tara Grinstead?
She's young, beautiful, intelligent. And she's been missing for over two weeks.

Tara Grinstead was last seen at a barbecue with friends. Evidently she returned home as her cell phone was found inside the house. Her car was still in the driveway but was unlocked. Her purse and keys are missing.

Grinstead had been the victim of a stalker, a 20-year-old Anthony Vickers. Grinstead once reported him to police for banging on her door. Tara also recently broke up with a boyfriend, a former police officer, Marcus Harper. Her current beau is also on the police force. Allegedly, Vickers took a lie detector test but this has not been confirmed. All friends and former friends of Grinstead have allegedly been interviewed.

I also heard on Fox's Greta Van Sustern that Grinstead has been known to disappear before. I don't recall any further details about this.

However, all friends, employers and family of Tara Grinstead do not believe that she would take off for this long. Especially without her car or her cell phone.

She's a former beauty queen. She's got police beaus, both past and present. A latex glove, like the ones used by medical personnel, fire and police investigators, was found on Grinstead's front lawn. No one knows if there is a connection to her disappearance of not.

Grinstead's disappearance has all the makings of the next major true crime.

From The Atlantic Journal Constitution:

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Published on: 11/03/05

As many as 60 volunteers with four-wheel-drive trucks and search dogs
combed rural areas east of Ocilla today, but Irwin County Sheriff Donnie
Youghn said investigators have no solid leads in the case of missing
teacher Tara Grinstead.

"The more time that goes on, we suspect she was abducted. We need
information, and are hoping the reward will give us some," said Youghn
this morning.

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A native of Hawkinsville, Grinstead graduated from Hawkinsville High
School in 1993, had a master's degree in history from Valdosta State
University, and was still taking courses toward a doctoral degree in
education administration there, said Grinstead's older sister, Anita
Gattis of Hawkinsville.

On the Saturday she was last seen, Oct. 22, Grinstead helped contestants
in the Miss Sweet Potato Pageant in Fitzgerald and later attended a
barbecue with friends.


Jerry Hobbs-Murder of Rage

He went looking for his daughter. Only she ran and hid from him, along with her young friend. Hobbs was enraged. He stabbed both of them to death.

Now the prosecutor is seeking the death penalty. Which is as it should be.

However, I have presented, on my own personal Blog, my own theory of the defense for Hobbs. Yea it's a bit out there but from my reading on this nut case, he fits the mold perfectly.

I don't like to send yon readers off to another link to read my theory but in this case I must.

If I'm right, I shall say I tole you so.

From the Chicago Tribune:

2 girls' slayings now a death penalty case

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Prosecutors in north suburban Lake County said today they would seek the death penalty against Jerry Hobbs, accused of beating and stabbing to death his young daughter and her friend last May at a park in Zion.

Read My Theory on Hobbs' Defense HERE

It Was Bound to Happen

Let's hope this is the only case of a Good Samaritan losing a life for trying help out victims of the recent hurricanes.

During the hurricanes' aftermath, I'd read many accounts of good people taking those left homeless by nature's wrath into their own homes. My very first, and arguably uncharitable thought, was that someone was going to get murdered.

Betty Blair had a right to live the rest of her days in peace and quiet and happiness. Instead three heinous thugs bound and strangled her after she befriended them and helped them out.

Let's hope these three creeps end up at the end of one of Texas' famous death needles.

From CNN.Com:

(CNN) -- A Texas woman was allegedly robbed and killed by three hurricane evacuees she befriended after meeting them at her church, according to Pasadena, Texas, police.

Betty Blair, 77, was strangled to death inside her Pasadena home Friday and her bound body was discovered by her daughter Friday evening, said Pasadena Police spokesman Vance Mitchell.

Three suspects -- all described as hurricane evacuees -- were arrested Friday evening after police located the dead woman's missing car through its OnStar electronic tracking system, Mitchell said.

The three had been hired by Blair to do odds jobs around her home, including cutting her grass, Mitchell said.

"Unfortunately, it looks like her good will cost her her life," Mitchell said.

Two of the suspects are teenagers who evacuated from Beaumont, Texas, in the wake of Hurricane Rita, Mitchell said. They were identified as Jimmy Hoang Le, 18, and Stephanie Jacobo, 18.

The third suspect, 43-year-old Roosevelt Smith Jr., apparently was a Hurricane Katrina evacuee from New Orleans, Mitchell said.


Soldier Did NOT Commit the Perfect Crime

Here's another true crime I covered on my Blog earlier this year. I'll provide a link but in this instance there is nothing new in that post.

Save for my speculation that a murder in a war setting could possibly be the perfect crime.

Which this is evidently not. Although at first authorities thought the blast that killed Martinez' victims was caused by war. A logical assumption. Further investigation revealed that Martinez had a long history of threatening to "frag" his superiors. Alberto Martinez is being brought up on charges for an eventual court martial.

Another interesting thing about this case, it will NOT be tried in a court of law. Martinez will face a court martial by the United States Army.

I am reminded of the court martial of Jeffery McDonald, the doctor stationed at Fort Bragg who was found guilty of murdering his wife and children. McDonald claimed a coven of "hippies" murdered his family

McDonald was set free as a result of his court martial. It took years of devotion by McDonald's father-in-law to get the case before a civil prosecutor to achieve justice for his daughter and grandchildren.

Let's hope Martinez gets his fairly and firmly by the U.S. Army.

From Foxnews.com:

A military tribunal began hearings Monday for a U.S. Army sergeant charged with killing two superior officers in Iraq, with a witness testifying that the defendant told him he wanted to kill one of the victims.

Staff Sgt. Alberto B. Martinez, of Troy, N.Y., faces murder charges in the June 7 killing of Capt. Philip Esposito and Lt. Louis E. Allen in a bomb blast at Forward Operating Base Danger, near the central Iraqi city of Tikrit, the hometown of the deposed Iraqi leader, Saddam Hussein, some 80 miles north of Baghdad.

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The tribunal, held at Camp Arifjan in Kuwait, will determine whether to send the case to a court martial. The hearing adjourned until Tuesday, when a decision for a recommendation on whether to proceed with the case will be made.

Esposito, 30, and Allen, 34, were killed by a blast in Esposito's office in a former Saddam palace being used as a base.

My Blog post on this murder HERE

$75,000 Worth of Bull Semen Stolen

Okay, so it's not a murder and it's not heinous.

But let's say you're a thief. You gonna steal bull semen? How on earth would you fence something like that?

Ah, I smell a rat. I think Fleming somehow found the plug pulled out from the fridge, got rid of the "straws" of bull semen, then claimed he was robbed.

I could be wrong. It's been known to happen.

But to steal bull semen, even if you're a ranching type of thief, seems a bit far-fetched.

From the Washington Post:

In his nearly 16 years in the Frederick County Sheriff's Office, Detective Chuck Jenkins has seen a lot: old-fashioned cattle rustling, grand theft tractor and thousands of more-pedestrian crimes. But he's never seen anything quite like his most recent whodunit: the case of the stolen bull semen.

The burglary took place Sunday in Smithsburg while Eric Fleming was away from his farm, Stonewood Acres. When he got home that night from a visit to relatives in Pennsylvania, he found that the 70-pound semen tank he had in an outbuilding was open, with the electrical cord pulled out of the liquid nitrogen refrigerator, Jenkins said. Sixty-five "straws," containing the precious bodily fluids of 40 to 50 bulls, were missing.

Jenkins said they were worth $75,000.


More True Crime Updates HERE

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Robins Annihilate the Mountain Ash; Dark-Eyed Juncos Sighted

In all my experience with the bird fellows I’ve never witnessed the sight I saw in early Fall in this year of our Lord 2005. Then again, I’ve never had a Mountain Ash tree in my yard.

And fine trees they are. Beloved by the birds and goodness let’s not forget our fine backyard robins which come in flocks and strip the tree of every berry what ever had a mother.

Mountain Ashes love high spots. Duh. That might explain the “mountain” in the name. My little swamp yard here in Delaware hardly qualifies and indeed the little Mountain Ash stuck directly in the center of the back yard under a stifling umbrella of oak trees doesn’t do very well at all. There is, however, a little spot of sun afforded the struggling tree and these branches of the Mountain Ash do bloom, leaf out and in early Fall, provide enough berries to attract, well that flock of hungry robins comes to mind.

I do like this struggling Ash in my yard but over half of it does not bloom or get leaves of any sort. The half that does is a real beauty in the spring and now I’ve discovered the lure for the robins.

It took them three days, this hungry hoard of robins. Three days to strip that Mountain Ash of every single berry and the whole while I could not believe mine eyeballs. Even the dogs got antsy with all the robins flying yonder and fro, alighting everywhere and barking their annoyance at the greedy flock mates that would take all the berries.

By mid-September the robins have already left my yard, their young fledged and ready to join the winter flocks. I consider them gone until the spring. I was delighted when they returned again, albeit high in the tree canopy, to indulge in the berries on my pathetic Mountain Ash.

They fought and they flapped and they barked and they yelped. Over a three day period the leaves shook, branches shivered and hundreds of robins pulled berries from the bounty.

On the third day, just like the bible said, they rested. Then they were all gone. The Mountain Ash stands now with leaves turning a bright yellow but with nary a berry to be found.

Well I’m so glad this struggling tree was able to provide such a bounty for the robin fellows. Although I’ve great doubt on how long this tree will survive. As it is now, only half of the thing blooms.

Image hosted by Photobucket.comMountain ash is the name for a group of trees and shrubs that grow in the Northern Hemisphere. they grow chiefly in high places. The American mountain ash grows from the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador south to northern Georgia. A mountain ash has compound leaves made up of several separate leaflets. The white flowers grow in large, flattened clusters. The orange-to-red fruits are clusters of berrylike pomes.

Mountain ash is valuable as wildlife food and as an ornamental tree for lawns and gardens. The wood from the European mountain ash, or rowan tree, may be used for making tool handles. Superstitious people once believed the rowan tree would drive away evil spirits.

A few days after the robin invasion I sit on the front porch. Strange bird sounds are hitting my ears of late. I consider that migration must be upon. The hummingbirds all left a few weeks ago.

The sound of laser lights shooting across the galaxy of a computerized spacescape hit my ears. I ponder where I’ve heard this bird sound before.

The Juncos!

Handsome little dark-eyed fellows, my winter bird visitors, are all about and sending out their cute little blip sounds. And so early!

Well I think early October to be a bit early for the Juncos to make their visit. Middle-aged memory serves me intermittently at times. Seems that I see the Juncos only when I see snow.

But no, well before Halloween the Juncos make their appearance here in my Delaware Serendipity Shore.

I smile. It’s bittersweet. The Juncos are fine bird friends during the colder months. Make no mistake, however. Their arrival means the winter dark months will soon be upon.

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Dark-eyed junco Junco hyemalis

Identification Tips:
Length: 5.25-6 inches
Pink, conical bill
White outer tail feathers
Considerable geographic variation in plumage
Various forms were formerly considered separate species


More Gardens and Bird posts HERE

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A New Republican in the First State!

Welcome, Miriam. Republicans in Delaware are too often RINO’s (Republicans in Name Only). Help me make them toe the line.

Thanks for the heads-up. I just registered as a Republican when I got my DE driver's license. Lead me to the Republicans. I'm glad there are others.

Posted by miriam to The Kaitlyn Mae Book Blog at 10/22/2005 09:35:51 PM


Fiction Comment

On this year’s Halloween fiction.

Just Hanging Around on Halloween

Comments: Interesting read, although the motive is somewhat murky, as I'm sure you intended.


Martha Stewart’s The Apprentice

Although my review was not on the show featuring the dog auction, I did watch this show. I didn’t think it was so bad but the following commenters had issues with it.
Reiview-Martha Stewart-The Apprentice HERE

Comments: Dear Martha,

Your episode of the apprentice for the dog auction was so obviously phony that I'm afraid I'm firing you from my TV listings. You and Mr. Trump have taken the reality out of reality TV by rigging the bids so your entertainment darling would survive for another week. The show is a great concept and you should led the reality show instead of manipulating your audience with such insults. Goodbye and good grief.


Comments: She keeps Jim to keep it interesting? Who knows! He gives me the creeps along with cigar gagpa. I found it so boring and I am gone to better things on line or will find what my friends find so interesting on HDTV (which is lacking too after spending so much for a new HD TV. They repeat and repeat programs). Tried to ask friends what person they hoped would win and all said...we have not a clew because we do not watch Martha. I felt embarrassed for asking. What an opportunity lost for her. So many great ideas could have been more in keeping with what she does. I watched to support her as I admire what she has bravely done. But a dog auction makes this time slot gone to the dogs.


A “Neighbor” of Bill Jefferson-New Orleans Sent an Email

Reproduced in its entirety below the link to the original Blog post.

To the commenter:


You are either Billy Jefferson, thief and liar, himself. OR else you are a spin doctor for Mr. Jefferson. Or else you really ARE his neighbor. In which case you are either totally wrong about the events as they unfolded. Or you are patently lying.

Below the quoted email is an excerpt from the original Blog post. Said Blog post included a quote from ABC news. Which in turn quoted Lt. Col. Pete Schneider of the Louisiana National Guard.

We have the choice of believing YOUR turn of events (we especially like that bit about the insurance papers) or believing the National Guard’s story.

I’m going with the National Guard given that the lovely William Jefferson is already under indictment, note that bit about the money in the freezer. The National Guard says they waited about an hour for William Jefferson. The “neighbor” says he wasn’t there.

Sure he wasn’t.

MY Blog Post HERE

Here are some facts that were never published. We are neighbors and were there for the whole thing. Jefferson was never at his house. The military truck pulled into his front yard because all his family’s cars were parked in the driveway. The water was about 4 ft deep so the ground was mushy. The truck sunk to its axles. A military person got out and check the front and back doors, which of course were locked. They then called in a Blackhawk helicopter. As it hovered over the Jefferson house, the force of the wind generated stripped Jefferson’s roof and the neighbors’ roofs. Shingles were flying everywhere. It was just like what we saw on TV when the folks were being airlifted off their roofs. As the Blackhawk hovered over the house, a man repelled down from the copter and kicked in the perfectly fine third floor balcony window/door. He then went down stairs and unlocked the front door. Many from the military transport got out and went in the house trooping the muddy nasty water through Jefferson’s house. This was all during the timeframe when shooting was reported in the downtown area. (The Marengo Street area was fine with no looters running around. So safety really wasn’t a problem.) But because of the shooting reports, the military personnel did not walk out of the neighborhood. Instead they all repelled back up into the Blackhawk and left the military transport behind. The next day, they came back and towed the truck out of Jefferson’s front yard leaving a couple of huge trenches behind. I heard the report that he wanted to get important papers out but he was not there and the Feds had taken all the important papers, including his laptop and the money they found in his freezer a couple of weeks before under the Federal Search Warrant. The only papers he might have had left were insurance papers but again he wasn’t there to get them.

From ABCnews.com:

Lt. Col. Pete Schneider of the Louisiana National Guard tells ABC News that during the tour, Jefferson asked that the truck take him to his home on Marengo Street, in the affluent uptown neighborhood in his congressional district. According to Schneider, this was not part of Jefferson's initial request.

Jefferson defended the expedition, saying he set out to see how residents were coping at the Superdome and in his neighborhood. He also insisted that he did not ask the National Guard to transport him.

"I did not seek the use of military assets to help me get around my city," Jefferson told ABC News. "There was shooting going on. There was sniping going on. They thought I should be escorted by some military guards, both to the convention center, the Superdome and uptown."

The water reached to the third step of Jefferson's house, a military source familiar with the incident told ABC News, and the vehicle pulled up onto Jefferson's front lawn so he wouldn't have to walk in the water. Jefferson went into the house alone, the source says, while the soldiers waited on the porch for about an hour.


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