MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 22 Hello! This week kicks off with the amazing story of the Walmart text messages that drove a man to confess to murder. Our protagonist: Matthew Gibson, a 55-year-old North Carolina man who, as police told the Charlotte Observer, embarked on “a frantic, sleepless trek to Arizona, where he confessed to a murder that happened 17 years ago.” Details come from Detective Alicia Marquez of Arizona’s Winslow Police Department, who today told the Observer how she met Gibson last June, after she found him sobbing in the police department’s lobby. “He told Marquez a bizarre tale,” reports the Observer. “He met a woman in Bullhead City, Ariz., late one night [in 1997]. They went back to his trailer. She became loud and obnoxious. He told her to leave and she wouldn’t. He finally bludgeoned her to death with a Maglite flashlight, dumped her body by the Colorado River and kept quiet for years.” Flash forward to 2014, when Gibson—now a resident of Watauga County—says he began receiving text messages and voice mails from Walmart, informing him that Anita Townshed’s prescriptions were ready for pickup. “Gibson later received an envelope with a Walmart advertisement in it but no return name or address,” reports the Observer. “Gibson’s conclusion: Townshed must have been the woman he killed.” (Helpful fact: The Observer describes Gibson as “a former cocaine and methamphetamine addict.”) Certain he was being hunted for the long-ago killing, Gibson drove from North Carolina to Arizona, where his paranoia drove him into the Winslow police department, where he confessed to the nearly two-decades-old killing. “Gibson didn’t know the name of the 38-year-old woman he’d killed in Bullhead City in 1997,” reports the Observer. “But it wasn’t Anita Townshed. It was Barbara Brown Agnew.” In closing, police say they never would’ve found Gibson had he not confessed, and Gibson told police he’s ready to plead guilty to manslaughter and eager to begin his 10-year sentence. Congratulations to the crime-busting butterfingers working at that North Carolina Walmart, and condolences to the loved ones of Barbara Brown Agnew.
>>In better news, today Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes announced that he’s “dropping all tickets issued for the public use of marijuana through the first seven months of this year, because most of them were issued by a single police officer who disagrees with the legal pot law,” as KOMO reports. “His office also said it would be seeking a refund for those who have already paid their $27 ticket.” The ticket-happy officer—Randy Jokela—is currently under investigation by the SPD’s Office of Professional Accountability.
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 23 In worse news, the week continues with an awful story out of the Seattle neighborhood of Fremont, where a man was thrust into a living nightmare by some crazy lady with a syringe. As KIRO reports, the incident happened shortly after midnight last Wednesday, when a man was standing outside a bar and “felt a sharp prick and stabbing puncture to his left tricep.” The source of the stabbing puncture prick: a syringe, held by a woman in her late 20s with shoulder-length dirty blonde hair, who reportedly looked the man in the eye and said “Welcome to the HIV club” before scurrying off into the night. “Neither the victim nor his girlfriend could find the suspect or the man she was walking with,” reports KIRO. “The victim’s girlfriend also heard the comment about HIV. Police believe the incident was unprovoked.” As for the victim: He received treatment at Harborview, and police say they don’t know yet about his HIV status. “We’ve never heard of anything like this in Seattle before,” Seattle Police Detective Patrick Michaud told KIRO. Best of luck to the victim and his girlfriend.
WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 24 Last week, Last Days shared the story of the two gay men in Philadelphia attacked by a group of people on the street. We also shared the saga of the internet sleuths who used the surveillance tape released by police to identify a number of the alleged suspects. Today we provide an update on all of this, starting with this morning’s surrender of three suspects in the vicious beating. Identified as 24-year-old Philip Williams, 26-year-old Kevin Harrigan, and 24-year-old Kathryn Knott (who happens to be the daughter of Chalfont, Pennsylvania’s police chief), the suspects were booked on charges of aggravated assault, simple assault, reckless endangerment, and conspiracy. Meanwhile, a lawyer for one of the accused told NBC that the case was a "mutual confrontation" in which his client "was not the aggressor." Stay tuned.
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 25 In grosser news, the week continues in Montana, where authorities are struggling to figure out what to do with trailer containing 18 tons of rotting chicken abandoned at a western Montana truck stop. As the Associated Press reports, “The driver left the trailer containing approximately 37,000 pounds of frozen chicken near the Flying J Truck Stop west of Missoula after the company refused his requests for more money….The chicken was worth $80,000. The truck was discovered Tuesday. It may have been left there more than a month ago.” Which brings us to today, when the rancid-chicken-juice-dripping truck was “surrounded by sawhorses, crime-scene tape, and flies as temperatures threatened to reach the 90-degree range for a second straight day.” As Montana authorities are learning the hard way, it is not easy to dispose of 18 tons of rotting chicken, which is ultimately scheduled to rest in an under-construction landfill. As for the disappearing driver: He’s been identified as 42-year-old Christopher Hall, and tomorrow he’ll be apprehended by the Greater Idaho Fugitive Task Force on an outstanding parole violation. As for what he did with the chickens, authorities are mulling a theft charge.
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 26 Speaking of misplaced meat, the week continues in a Canadian man’s sweatpants, where US authorities recently discovered not one, not two, but 51 turtles taped to the man’s legs and groin. As The Guardian reports, the man was captured on August 5 near the Detroit border crossing, where US Fish and Wildlife Service agents were conducting a surveillance operation aimed at curbing an increase in turtle smuggling, which agents attribute to demand in Asian food and collector markets. “These turtles, by the time they get to the end-collector, they can be worth anywhere from $1,300 to $1,500 a turtle,” said Ed Grace, deputy chief law enforcement officer with the US Fish and Wildlife Service, to The Guardian. The would-be turtle smuggler/fetishist has been charged with illegal smuggling and violations of the endangered species act. (At least one of the turtles found by agents was a protected spotted turtle.)
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 27 Meanwhile in South Korea, today the visiting athletes of North Korea—in the region to compete in the Asian Games—stopped their sportmaking to publicly vent their misery about being separated from their dear North Korean leader. As the Associated Press reports, tonight's evening of longing for Kim Jong-un—from whom the North Korean athletes had been separated for roughly one week—involved songs such as "We Cannot Live Without You" and "Warm Feelings," tribute poetry, and rigorous confirmation that, as the North Korean sports minister put it, "the minds of all members of the delegation and players are running to him, whom they long to see, awake or asleep."
SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 28 Nothing happened today, unless you count the monster truck rally in the Netherlands where a monster truck earned its name by careening off course, knocking down a guardrail, and driving into the crowd, where three people were killed and a couple dozen were injured.
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