This Is The Weird Case Of Norway’s Isdal Woman

In Bergen, Norway, there is a span of land called the Isdalen Valley, parts of which are also sometimes nicknamed Death Valley (no copyright infringement intended). Perhaps it might come as little surprise, then, that someone would choose to dump a body there in 1970. When a man and his daughters were hiking the Isdalen Valley that year, they stumbled onto charred remains of a young woman who would leave Norway–and an international audience that would speculate on what had happened for years to come–with the mystery of a lifetime.

The body was home to a boatload of evidence that would amount to very little in the way of determining how she came to that place. Judging from the materials on her body, she was may have been a drug addict. There were about a dozen sleeping pills on her person, an empty bottle of liquor, and two bottles of petrol that were likely used to start the fire that left her–and her passport–burned to a crisp.

The autopsy concluded that she died of carbon monoxide poisoning. She also had upwards of fifty sleeping pills in her system. Had the stream of evidence ended there, it might have been concluded that she committed suicide by a variety of means. Alas, the stream of evidence did not end there.

The fire had left her face unrecognizable. She showed signs of being in a recent struggle because of bruising on her neck. Someone used sandpaper to make her fingerprints disappear. Although it seems like someone went to quite a bit of very gruesome trouble to ensure that no one identified the body, they seem to have missed one tiny detail–her teeth. They indicated that she had probably had work done as far away as Europe or South America, although the exact location could not be identified.

This was only the tip of the iceberg.

Investigators went on to find two suitcases thought to belong to the Isdal Woman at the nearby Bergen railway station. They found money, clothing, a lotion prescription, partial fingerprints, and diary entries that pointed to cities the woman had perhaps visited. Labels were absent from the clothing, as were the signature of the prescribing doctor and the date during which the lotion was prescribed. It seemed that every new avenue led to a dead end in the case.

Investigators located a man who had provided the woman with a car ride and also joined her for a dinner. Although he provided them with details about the cover story he was given, it was readily apparent those details were fabricated. Eventually it was learned that the unidentified woman had traveled Europe with no fewer than eight fake passports, and that those who met the woman knew she spoke many languages.

Later, a man came forward to tell investigators that he had seen her hiking with a couple of men just days before her body was discovered. He believed she had been about to speak, but that those same men interrupted her and kept on moving. It is unknown if this story is true.

This case is still a source of intense international curiosity, and even today agencies operating in Norway are openly seeking new information to find out more about the woman and the factors surrounding her death. So far, this is all we know–and perhaps it is all we ever will.

Why Is The Mystery Of The Somerton Man So Appealing?

Humans have a naturally inquisitive disposition. We like to question, we like to share information, and we often say that knowledge is power. If that is true, then perhaps the lack of knowledge is weakness. In the case of mystery, it shows. Anything that occurs out of the ordinary tends to attract more attention, even when a closer look might reveal that the details aren’t as odd as they seem–but the Somerton Man mystery might be right on the money. It is just as weird as it looks.

On the first of December in 1948, the body of a John Doe was found on Somerton beach near Adelaide in South Australia. This is also called the Tamam Shud case because a torn page from Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam (a book of poetry) had the phrase printed on it. The phrase is usually translated as “finished” or “ended.”

There are many details of the case that cause our curiosity to flare. When the rest of the book from which the page was torn was finally found, police noticed a phone number, numbers, and a possibly encrypted text inside. Since it was found, authorities have never been able to discover the meaning behind the text or numbers.

The phone number belonged to a woman who went by the name of Jessica Thomson (an alias, as she was born with the name Jessie Harkness). The woman denied all knowledge of the Somerton Man. In the most recent interviews conducted with Thomson, it was suggested that she seemed uncomfortable when answering questions (although after so many years of people questioning her about the same subject, that’s probably not a huge surprise). Thomson’s daughter eventually revealed that she believed her mother did indeed know the John Doe.

Just these odd circumstances were already enough to elicit fears that the John Doe could have been the victim of international Cold War paranoia that was escalating around the same time period. The corpse was never identified, was associated with an encrypted code, and the man died under questionable circumstances. Was he poisoned? Some people seem to think he was. Even the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation scanned their databases for fingerprint matches. The FBI discovered nothing (that they made available to the public, anyway). Dental records showed nothing either.

There were several witnesses who may have seen the man at the same part of the beach where his body was later discovered, in various stages of movement. Some believed he may have been drunk, and so they decided not to lend the possibly dying man any help. In 1959, someone else claimed that they had seen one man carrying another along the same beach. A report was made, but the credibility was probably questioned immediately.

The coroner in charge of the man’s autopsy deduced that the likely cause of death was an undetectable poison. Other than that, the corpse belonged to a man who was in perfect physical shape.

Most theories about the Somerton Man’s death involve espionage. As with most mysteries that have persisted so many decades, though, we will probably never discover the truth as to who the man was or how he really died. Even today, military agencies and hobbyists around the world struggle to understand the numbered code written in the book of poetry. Is it real? That’s another question to which we’ll probably never find the answer.

The OJ Simpson Drama That Began In 1994 Is Not Over Yet

A double-homicide that occurred on June 12, 1994, became one of the biggest trials of the century after former football player O.J. Simpson was charged with the killings of his ex-wife Nicole Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman. The outcome of that eleven months, heavily publicized trial would send shockwaves throughout the country, and unfortunately, the drama is about to get amplified once again as Simpson is scheduled for parole on a completely different set of charges that eventually led him behind bars.

Although the case against Simpson for the double-homicide was strong, his defense team convinced a jury of his peers that DNA evidence was far from conclusive, and certainly not a reliable way of proving guilt. Simpson was eventually found innocent, probably in part because using DNA as the foundation of a criminal homicide case was a new wrinkle in court back in 1994. People were not familiar with the science behind DNA, and so they found that there was reasonable doubt that Simpson had committed the murders.

On top of that, Simpson’s defense also implicated the LAPD in a brand of misconduct that persists even today–racism. Many of us are already aware of the disparity between the way African Americans and Caucasians are treated by law enforcement (in some circumstances, but not all of course), and the defense team was able to capitalize on race as a source of confusion during the trial. It worked.

The lawyers also suggested that evidence had been handled improperly. If true, any evidence could have been tainted before it was provided as part of a court exhibit.

Although Simpson was eventually acquitted of the murders and released from custody, Nicole Simpson’s family levied a successful civil lawsuit against O.J., after which they were supposed to be given $33.5 million. To date, they have not received the full amount.

The trial itself unleashed a crazy amount of tension between African Americans, those of Hispanic descent, and Caucasians. Although a high number of African Americans thought that O.J. was the victim of unfair bias towards a man of color, Caucasians were much more certain that he had committed the double murder.

Back in 2007, O.J. was caught and convicted of felony armed robbery and kidnapping in Las Vegas. He was slammed with 33 years behind bars, although he would be given the opportunity for parole after only nine. And that leads us to the newest tidbit of news regarding the case.

In a more recent development to the O.J. Simpson drama extravaganza, the prosecutor that put him behind bars now says that Simpson will likely be released after his next parole hearing. Because previous allegations (should) have nothing to do with the robbery charges that landed him in prison this time around, he is more likely to get out. After all, he has been jailed for nine years already. If he is to be released, it could happen by the first of October (2017).

The prosecutor also said that he gave Simpson the chance to make a plea bargain to reduce the amount of time spent behind bars to only two years, but that Simpson did not accept. The man is just about to turn seventy years old, and we’ll know soon enough if this is his last birthday behind bars.

How Much Do You Remember About The Manson Family Murders?

The Manson case gripped America like no other, in large part because everything about the family in question was fascinating from the very beginning. Charles Manson was reportedly sold by his mother for some beer in his early years. Eventually his uncle found him. One must wonder how much history could have changed if Manson had stayed in the arms of a woman who wanted children more than a pitcher of beer. Then again, Manson seemed worth giving up. Sadly, we’ll never know.

Charles grew up troubled, diagnosed with schizophrenia while exhibiting symptoms consistent with paranoid delusions. He was a control-freak, accustomed to manipulating people and circumstances in order to get his way. He spent time in facilities designed to rehabilitate delinquent youths, and then prison as well. But that was nothing compared with what was to come. In the late sixties, he moved to San Francisco and began recruiting. Him and his cult then moved to a ranch outside of Chatsworth.

Before his release from prison, he had spent most of his life behind bars of a sort–and he had asked permission to stay, suggesting there was no potential for him to adapt outside of prison walls. It turns out they should have honored his request.

Manson almost had a career in the music industry, but was turned down. When he didn’t get his way, he appears to have ordered his followers to slaughter a group of seven people connected–some, very loosely–to the man who denied him the opportunity to make music. Out of all those killed, the death of actress Sharon Tate caused the greatest stir.

When Manson first entered a courtroom to answer charges of murder, he had carved the letter “X” into his forehead. Later on while serving his inevitable sentence, he would have a swastika inked in its spot. Although he did have an attorney during the trial, he mostly defended himself. One of his followers, Kasabian, was rewarded with immunity for testifying against the rest of the Manson family. Although she did not commit a murder for Manson, she did accompany the rest in order to serve as a lookout while five people were slaughtered.

In January 1971, a jury took ten days to find each of the defendants guilty, and several of the Manson family were sentenced to death. The trial itself lasted seven months.

Having ordered the death of a pregnant woman–something seen akin to child molestation to those serving time in prison–it’s a shock that Manson has survived all these years. At least one failed attempt that we know about was made on his life.

Although Manson was originally sentenced to die and would have never received the opportunity for parole, the death sentence was abolished in the state of California, forcing the state to adjust his sentencing. This odd loophole allowed him to seek parole only seven years after his incarceration, and he has since had parole rejected twelve times. Although a couple of his followers had favorable parole hearings within the last decade, the push to approve these cases was denied by the governors who were serving at the time. As of now, Manson’s parole board hearings have gone so poorly that he will not be allowed to petition again until 2027 when he will have reached age 92.

He will almost certainly never see the light of day outside of a prison, and his current health is in question.

H. H. Holmes: A New-Old Celebrity

Though we had a revolution to claim our independence from England, the United States has had a generally positive diplomatic and trade relationship with Great Britain over the last two centuries.

But could we have inadvertently exported one of the more horrific American products?

That theory surrounds the renewed fame of America’s first known serial murderer, H.H. Holmes.

Holmes, who lived in the last half of the 19th century, is featured in a History Channel series called “American Ripper,” which looks into the possibility that Holmes may well be infamous British serial killer Jack the Ripper, who lived at the same time as Holmes.

Holmes confessed to as many as 27 murders during the latter part of the 19th century, though actually only less than 10 could be reasonably corroborated. In fact, it was believed that he had claimed to murdering some people who were actually still alive. Nonetheless, he was finally caught after being on the run and was executed for the murders in 1896.

Holmes was an interesting case. He was known to be very bright, and had built an elaborate house that later was called the “murder castle,” as it would have a maze of rooms and trap doors that Holmes would supposedly lure his victims into and they would disappear, not to be heard from again. In fact, he assumed the name Dr. H.H. Holmes to be a pharmacist in Chicago, where he eventually worked for a shop owner and ended up taking over the business when the owner mysteriously disappeared.

Then the three-story Holmes house was built, which had living quarters upstairs and a maze of rooms where victims would be killed, many of them by gas that was pumped into the rooms. Then, Holmes could move bodies to the basement through a system of trap doors and chutes, and he supposedly could then burn the bodies in the basement kiln.

When he was younger, he purportedly performed surgery on animals and was implicated in the death of a childhood friend, though it couldn’t be proven.

And there was something to be said for Holmes, as it was rumored that he actually wasn’t executed, and instead escaped and went into hiding. How? He had admitted when he was arrested before his execution that he had defrauded several insurance companies in college by using cadavers to “stand in” for people who were alive, convincing the companies that the people were dead.

He was actually arrested for insurance fraud, but while in custody, he confessed to the murders. He wasn’t arrested for the murders initially. Sounds a little like getting Al Capone, who directed the murder of countless people in Chicago, being thrown in jail for tax evasion, not murder.

Could he have convinced people that he was dead, while he escaped to England like Speedy Gonzalez and then became “Jack the Ripper,” the most notorious serial murderer of the last 200 years? One documentary series will apparently try to confirm or dispel those rumors.

Sacco and Vanzetti: Misplaced Justice?

Before McCarthyism, there was the Red Scare.

And just like McCarthyism, the Red Scare had all of America paranoid and on constant alert. And when paranoid, humans can be known to be over-vigilant and even irrational. One famous 1920s trial placed some of that hysteria into the American criminal justice system, and two men may have been convicted for their beliefs, instead of the crime for which they were charged.

Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti were Italian-born anarchists living in Red Scare America, just after the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia in 1917 that overthrew the U.S.-allied czarist government and instilled a communist regime. Communism then became seen as a real threat to the American way of life, so anything that was not seen as pro-America was seen to be “radical” and feared.

Such was the case with two anarchists in Massachusetts – Sacco was a shoe-maker, Vanzetti a fishmonger. In April 1920, a shoe factory was robbed of about $15,000 in payroll cash, and a paymaster and guard were both shot and killed during the robbery. A few days later, while police were heading to a location where the alleged getaway car was found, Sacco and Vanzetti were arrested and charged with the robbery and murder, as they were two “Italian-looking” men as described by witnesses, and were carrying loaded weapons at the time of their arrest.

The pair was found to have a gun that matched one carried by the murdered guard that was not found at the scene, and they had shell casings and bullets on them that were similar to those found at the crime scene. The pair also denied being anarchists, or even owning guns. After anarchist literature was also found on them, the pair was arrested and indicted for the robbery and double homicide.

In 1921, the trial itself did not gain much attention – but the result sparked controversy. Despite Sacco and Vanzetti having no prior criminal records, conflicting ballistic and forensic reports, and several key witnesses’ credibility being questioned during the trial, and police failing to recover the stolen money, the pair was convicted of murder and sentenced to death by the judge.

As details fo the trial came out in the weeks and months following, some communists and anarchists began speaking up in advocating for Sacco and Vanzetti’s innocence, and demanding their release. Noting that many witnesses were discredited, there was no money found, and there was no absolute connection between forensics and ballistics to the two men, the calls of innocence began to ring louder as the pair went through their series of appeals.

Over the next five years, opposition to the conviction began to take on a life of its own, and protests and violent demonstrations were held in several major international cities lambasting the American judicial system for its unfair and unjust treatment of what was believed to be two innocent men simply because of their anarchist, anti-government beliefs.

More and more people in the public became convinced that Sacco and Vanzetti were innocent, and demonstrations became more violent, including bombs being set off in New York and Philadelphia. However, despite the public outcry and several appeals, the two men were executed in the electric chair in August 1927.

In the decades the followed, Massachusetts thoroughly reviewed the case and looked at how forensic investigations were conducted and aimed to improve them so that biases could be better neutralized. In 1977, the 50th anniversary of Sacco’s and Vanzetti’s executions, Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis proclaimed that the pair was treated unjustly in a form of apology on behalf of the state, and urged that no “stigma” be attached to the names of the two men going forward.

Harry Thaw & The Very Public Murder

An estimated 1,000 witnesses. A jealous but wealthy husband. An equally wealthy man of society who has a propensity for taking young lovers.

Two plus two equals … not guilty.

There has always been a belief in two justice systems in America – one for the wealthy and well-connected, and one for everyone else. But you know what happens when two wealthy families are on opposite ends of a murder?

That depends, we suppose. In 1907-08, riches didn’t control the mind, and the mind proved to be a powerful defense.

It’s famously known as the “trial of the century” by American media at the time, as well-known architect Stanford White was shot and killed at the outdoor rooftop theater at Madison Square Garden in New York City, and coal and railroad heir Harry K. Thaw was put on trial for the very public murder in front of nearly 1,000 people who were watching a performance at the theater at the time of the shooting.

The setup is that Thaw had a lovely young wife named Evelyn Nesbit Thaw, who was a “supermodel” of the day, being featured on the covers of every major magazine in the country.  Thaw learned that her bride had been involved with the noted lothario Mr. White prior to the marriage, and Thaw became quite jealous of, and obsessed with, Mr. White. There was a report that White had raped Mrs. Thaw, but that was not definitively corroborated.

Thaw was charged with the June 1906, murder, and went on trial in January 1907 in what was called the “trial of the century.” Thaw claimed an insanity defense, saying that he shot White in a fit of jealous rage over the previous relationship. After much deliberation, including evidence that suggested that Thaw was not temporarily insane but had a history of mental instability that was consistent throughout his family, the jury was hopelessly deadlocked in deciding whether Thaw committed murder, as several on the jury were convinced of the insanity defense.

After that hung trial, Thaw was re-tried a year later, in January 1908, and much of the same media circus followed along. Thaw remained in jail during this time, and maintained his insanity defense, despite all the witnesses to the shooting who all corroborated the story seeing Thaw shoot White in cold-blood leading to this death.

The second trial went much the way of the first, with Thaw’s defense team presenting him as a man mentally disturbed and especially triggered by the relationship of the woman he loved with a man who was the toast of New York society at the time.  With the second jury, a verdict did come back – and Thaw was found not guilty by reason of insanity.

But instead of being freed, he was declared criminally insane and was sent to a mental institution until he was released in 1924, 16 years later.

Of course, there would be a couple more “trials of the century,” in the 20th century, but it is said that the Harry Thaw murder trial signaled the “end” of what was called the Gilded Age in America.  It was known as one of the first great celebrity trials in America, and it was one of the early successful insanity defenses.

The Genesis Of The Term “Bobbit”

If social media existed in the early 1990s, this would have been a viral meme.

And a term would be in the current Urban Dictionary and would be used thousands of times, maybe even in contexts that don’t fit – but might be scary.

In the 1990s, it was about “Don’t get Bobbitted.” Or it was, “Before you go all Bobbitt on him …”

Guns are considered dangerous weapons, but not kitchen knives in the hands of a crossed woman?

You’d want the gun, if there was a chance that woman was as ticked off as Lorena Bobbitt. She became a verb in the English vernacular.

For those not in the know, Lorena Bobbitt was the husband of John Wayne Bobbitt in 1993, who infamously sliced off her husband’s – um, membership – while he slept in their home in Manassas, Virginia. Lorena had enough of John’s abuse, including a claim that he had raped her earlier that night while he was drunk.

After verbal, physical, emotional and sexual abuse through most of their marriage, Lorena finally had enough. She waited for John to fall asleep, then she went to the kitchen, grabbed a knife and cut off the entirety of John’s membership and took off in her car with it, finally throwing it into a nearby field.

A short time later, Lorena came to her sense and called 9-1-1, and authorities searched for the appendage and put John through more than 9 hours of surgery to re-attach it. John later appeared in an adult movie in an effort to prove that his membership was still functioning.

The trial in 1994 was a media circus and a ratings bonanza unlike any seen to that point (until the O.J. Simpson murder trial a year later), as many were glued to the reports about the details of the incident and the backstory. Lorena’s defense brought forth many witnesses to John’s character and his abusive nature toward Lorena, showing justification and a self-defense angle to what she did.

Lorena was found not guilty due to insanity, but she was put in the national media for weeks as a poster woman for victims of spousal abuse, and in some circles hailed as a hero or stepping up in favor for abuse victims who often don’t have a voice.

One of the legal issues that came to the fore as a result of the trial was the topic of spousal rape, whether it was a thing and the penalties for such a charge. There was a quick push across the country for spousal rape to be added to criminal codes as a charge related to, but separate from, domestic and sexual abuse.

For a while there, men were much more tentative around women who seemed weak but had an inners strength and passionate emotion that could drive them to do such an act. Men who seemed dominant suddenly were perceived as being equalized by a crossed woman and a kitchen utensil.

And it went to show how powerful the “fight or flight” instinct can be, even in those who are perceived as being too weak to have their own voice.

And it made some men afraid of going into their kitchens for a while.

Sandy Drummond Has Scotland Perplexed

Even a TV documentary couldn’t help.

One of the more frustrating cold cases in Scotland’s long history has been deemed so “unsolvable,” that even a television documentary series that highlighted this case, didn’t generate enough new leads to break the case open.

Nearly 15 years after the documentary aired, and more than 25 years since the act took place, the murder of 33-year-old Sandy Drummond is as mysterious as ever.

Drummond, a laborer, was found dead in June 1991, on a farm road just outside his cottage home in the village of Boorhills in Scotland, and investigators have reviewed the case several times over the years with no successful prosecution of a suspect.

There was a claim made by an investigative reporter in the UK a few years ago that he had seen some investigative notes about the case and noted that the police did have a suspect in mind, but by the time they went to him to question and/or arrest him, the person was already dead – also murdered, it turned out. That event changed the direction of the investigation, in that the murder suggested that there may have been accomplices to the murder, or that this suspect was an accomplice of the actual murderer.

Drummond was found strangled, oddly just a few days after he reportedly withdrew all his money from the bank and quit his job. There is no evidence of this being a robbery or mugging gone bad but the timeline was certainly curious.

In 2003, a TV documentary series was created to highlight some of the most prominent unsolved cases in Scotland, and the Drummond case was one that had an entire episode of the series devoted to it. While some leads were generated from airing the details of the case, nothing concrete came of them, and it faded back into obscurity.

But then, about 10 years later, as forensics have evolved at an ever-increasing pace, Fife Police in Scotland began a full review of the case, taking another look at the evidence and facts. With that scrutiny, they were hopeful to use more advanced forensics – such as being able to establish DNA from small skin or blood samples even 20 years old and somewhat decomposed –

The investigative reporter stated that in his research of the facts, the forensics seemed to indicate that Drummond was killed by some “ju-jitsu stranglehold,” claiming the the injuries suffered were consistent with some kind of martial-arts move. These usually do not use hands, which means forensic evidence like hand prints, fingerprints and dirt or blood under the nails would be reasonably ineffective according to the website.

As we are writing about this being an unsolved mystery even 10 years after a review, probably tells you that the Sandy Drummond murder remains high on the list of the most mysterious unsolved crimes currently on the books, one of the bigger mysteries in recent history – now moving ahead of Al Capone’s vault. So maybe the Fife Police should finally send Geraldo Rivera a thank- you card.

Too bad that won’t solve the mystery that is so mysterious, even massive public awareness didn’t solve it.

The Serial Killer Sergei Ryakhovsky

At least nineteen people died at the hands of a skilled serial killer in Moscow between 1988 and 1993. His name was Sergei Ryakhovsky, and he would eventually be caught, tried, and convicted for his crimes. He was slammed with a life sentence for the string of murders, and died of untreated tuberculosis at the age of 42 while he was serving his time. Some would say it wasn’t nearly enough of a punishment for what he did, and others would agree.

He was likely addicted to the adrenaline rush provided by sexual encounters, himself claiming “an irresistible desire for intimacy with a woman.” Age was apparently just a number for Ryakhovsky, as he repeatedly tried to rape elderly women before he was sent to prison for four years after a “hooliganism” conviction. It’s sort of a light charge for attempted rape, as hooliganism is more of a catch-all in Russia and other parts of the world for immoral behavior that most don’t approve of. While technically accurate, hooliganism is not a stiff charge.

Ryakhovsky discovered his love for killing in 1988, when he murdered a gay man on the outskirts of Moscow. He went on a quick killing spree that same year, killing three more gay men. When asked why, he suggested that he wanted to cleanse society of homosexual abominations and prostitutes.

It turned out that it wasn’t so important who they were.

He murdered men, elderly women, and teenagers before he was caught–and they’re just the ones we know about for certain. The murders became progressively more brutal as time went on. Most of his killing was done by stabbing, but he also liked to strangle victims to death with just his bare hands. Sometimes he used a bit of rope. He mutilated many of their bodies, sometimes performing sexual acts on the corpses to gratify himself. Mostly the mutilation involved the genitalia of the victims.

He started mutilating victims in other ways toward the end of his run. One elderly man was decapitated and had his leg cut off the next day. An elderly woman was eviscerated with some sort of firework or other pyrotechnic device. His second-to-last victim was only sixteen years old, but Ryakhovsky wasn’t any nicer to children. He hanged the young boy, then disemboweled and decapitated him.

When detectives were examining one of the crime scenes, they came upon a shack. Inside the shack was an unused noose. They decided that the killer must be readying another victim for hanging, and so they lay in wait. When Ryakhovsky stumbled into the shack, they arrested him. When asked why he did not resist, he suggested that he was afraid of their weapons. That’s the mind of a killer for you.

While he initially confessed to the murders and explained in grisly detail, he was eventually diagnosed with a biological malfunction that led to his necrophiliac impulses. Even so, he was deemed competent to stand trial, and went on to do so. He discovered his recent diagnosis at this time, and stopped cooperating with the legal system. He recanted his previous confessions, but at this point it didn’t matter.

He was to die by firing squad after being sentenced to death in 1995, but Russia began the process of ending the death penalty before it was carried out. Instead, this cold-blooded killer received life in prison.