Sunday, September 14, 2008

2 Spree Killers, and LA's Elusive Serial Killer, The "Grim Sleeper"

I promised my blogging friend katfish well over a week ago, that I would get her latest story on Nicholas Sheley up on T&T, but as usual real life overwhelmed me. My only excuse is, we have been working round the clock trying to get an upstairs room finished for a new member of our household, Mr. Sprocket's son. It's been slow going due to Mr. Sprocket's arm injury. Since then, katfish has posted another story on this accused killer.

Nicholas Sheley
From katfish's September 3rd entry:
Today Knox County States Attorney, John Pepmeyer, filed the paper work necessary to seek the death penalty in the case against accused spree-killer Nicholas Sheley. Sheley, 29, is facing 17 counts in connection with the June 28 death of Ronald Randall,65.

I wasn't able to attend today's hearing, but after reading the report in the Galesburg Register-Mail, it sounds as though it was a productive day in court. Because this is now a
capital case, Sheley is entitled to two attorneys. Attorney Jeremy Karlin was appointed to assist Public Defender James Harrel in Sheley's defense. It's reported the state turned over it's discovery, consisting of 2,330 documents and 99 CDs, to the defense last Friday.

After Harrel argued for a one week delay to allow Karlin to read all the discovery, Sheley asked to address the court. Sheley told the court he doesn't want a continuance of any kind. He went so far as to say if it is necessary to fire his attorney's then so be it. Read more...

Yesterday, she followed up that story with another entry, here. katfish will be the "go to" blog when it comes to following this story because she plans on attending as much of the trial as possible.

Isaac Zamora
A day before Sheley appeared before a judge, another spree killer went on a rampage in Skagit County, WA. The shooter killed six and wounded two others in various locations of Alger and a state highway before he was apprehended in Mount Vernon.

The News Tribune reports:
Chad Lewis, a Department of Corrections spokesman, identified the man as Isaac Zamora, 28, of Alger. He was under the department’s supervision after convictions for theft and drug possession. [...] He was known to authorities “as someone with a mental illness,” Leary added, and was booked into the Skagit County Jail.

One of the victims, Skagit County deputy, Anne Jackson, 40, was a first responder to the incident in Alger. Jackson was familiar with the family and had tried to help them in the past, according to Zamora's mother, Denise.

CNN.Crime reports:
Isaac Zamora's mother begged him to get help when he was released from jail a month ago.

State and federal laws prevented her from doing much more for the man who was arrested after a shooting spree Tuesday in rural northwest Washington that left six people dead and four wounded.

Steve Huff of True Crime Report has two excellent entries on this story here and here.

Serial Killer in South Los Angeles
I was first alerted to this story by Steve Huff's entry, that referenced the explosive piece in the local LA Weekly by Christine Pelisek.

Like The Green River Killer, Gary Ridgway, the elusive killer is targeting prostitutes and leaving their bodies near Western Avenue in South Los Angeles. Pelisek dubbed him the "Grim Sleeper" because, similar to BTK, Dennis Rader, there was a 13 year lull between linked victims.

Investigators are looking into at least 30 other cold case murders for possible links the the "grim sleeper" murderer.

What is most disturbing about this story is not the fact that the killings have spanned over 20 years, but that detectives have known there was a serial killer who had resurfaced in the area for over four years, but LE chose not to inform the public. Even when the killer took a new victim in 2002 after 13 years, department brass did not feel a task force was needed. You have to wonder were our public officials asleep at the wheel, or did they just not care because most of the victims were black prostitutes and that the murders were not occurring in the "better" neighborhoods? One comment by Terri Lloyd on the LA Weekly site summed it up perfectly:

"The silence of the city toward the black and poor communities never ceases to amaze me. This is a serial killer actively operating; THAT alone should have everyone, no matter what race, class or neighborhood, let alone city office, up in arms. It does make this Angeleno wonder what would happen if the killings were occurring on the Westside or in hipster Silver Lake."

Posted by Terri Lloyd, Aug. 29

Exactly Terri.

But once the story broke in the LA Weekly, city officials finally took notice. Less than a week later the Los Angeles City Counsel approved a 500,000 reward to help catch the grim sleeper.

DNA has been recovered from the victims, but so far it has not matched anything in prison data bases. for some unknown reason, California Attorney General Jerry Brown is waffling on running that DNA against wider data bases to see if it could match family members. Steve Huff in his latest entry on the Grim Sleeper asks AG Brown, "Why the hell not?"

I'm sure many Angelenos are asking the same question.

The Homicide Report