MONDAY, DECEMBER 28 This week of celebrity psychopaths, spooky dolls, and ax-wielding intruders inflamed by religious fundamentalism kicks off with a couple of updates to horrifying holiday crimes. Horrifying holiday crime #1: the murder of 28-year-old Jennifer Morgan and her 13-week-old daughter, Ema, in Seattle's Beacon Hill neighborhood, where the pair was found shot to death in their home three days before Christmas. Since then, police have been hunting for 30-year-old Daniel Hicks, Morgan's longtime boyfriend and Ema's father, who was charged in absentia last Thursday with two counts of aggravated first-degree murder. (A relative of the murdered mother and daughter told Q13 News that Hicks may have been upset because he wanted a son.) Which brings us to today, when Hicks was arrested in Santa Cruz, California. As police captain Steve Clark told the Santa Cruz Sentinel, "He made a statement to our guys that he knew why he was being arrested and that he was 'a bad person.'" If found guilty of aggravated first-degree murder, Daniel "Bad Person" Hicks could face the death penalty.
••Horrifying holiday crime #2: the attempted bombing of a Northwest Airlines flight on Christmas Day, when Nigerian national Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab allegedly donned explosive underpants, got himself onto a flight from Amsterdam to Detroit, and attempted to detonate his junk bomb as the plane prepared for landing. Lucky for all, the alleged detonation attempt failed, igniting only Abdulmutallab's pants before he was wrestled into submission by passengers and crew members who refused to spend Christmas being exploded over Detroit. Which brings us to today, when President Obama took time away from his Hawaiian vacation to address the narrowly averted tragedy. "This was a serious reminder of the dangers that we face and the nature of those who threaten our homeland," said the president. "We will not rest until we find all who were involved and hold them accountable." As for who the involved-and-accountable parties might be: Soon after the foiled attack, Al Qaeda took to the internet to claim responsibility for arming and deploying the would-be terrorist, celebrating Abdulmutallab's ability "to penetrate all devices and modern advanced technology and security checkpoints in international airports bravely without fear of death." About that: As CNN reports, Abdulmutallab has been on the U.S. government's radar since last year, when his father alerted U.S. authorities to his son's increasing radicalization in Yemen. Despite being ID'd as a likely terror suspect by his own father, Abdulmutallab wasn't placed on the so-called "no-fly list," and therefore was allowed to board a flight bound for the U.S., which is ridiculous and terrifying. Abdulmutallab is being held in a federal prison near Detroit.
TUESDAY, DECEMBER 29 Speaking of terrorists on American soil: The week continues with Charlie Sheen, the American sitcom star arrested on charges of domestic violence after allegedly holding a knife to his wife's throat and threatening to kill her on Christmas morning. Further details come from the Aspen, Colorado, police report, parsed today by the Guardian: As Sheen's wife, Brooke Mueller, told cops, the 44-year-old Sheen became enraged on Christmas morning and wrestled her onto the bed, after which he grabbed her by the throat and held a pocketknife to her neck. "If you tell anyone, I'll kill you," said America's highest-paid sitcom star, according to his wife's account to police. "I have ex-police I can hire who know how to get the job done and they won't leave any trace." In his defense, Sheen told police he and his wife of 18 months had been having marital problems but denied assaulting Mueller or threatening her with a knife. Nevertheless, police hauled Sheen off on charges of assault, menacing, domestic violence, and criminal mischief, for which he could face up to eight years in prison.
WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 30 In lighter news, today brings a first-rate secondhand sighting from Hot Tipper Sarah, who writes: "My mom was in the Broadway QFC today when she noticed a woman carrying what looked like a newborn baby. She thought this was odd, because normally when people take babies shopping they put them in backpacks or in their shopping carts, but this woman was cradling her baby in her arms. My mom says the woman looked frail and had a large birthmark on her face. Later they ended up in the same checkout line. My mom glanced at the baby and realized it was not a real baby, but in fact a plastic Ronald Reagan doll. She says the experience was 'disturbing' and what bothered her the most was the doll's oversized plastic pompadour."
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 31 The week continues with the final day of 2009, commemorated all over America in a variety of ways, from blowout boozefests to celebratory church-going. Which brings us to an early forerunner for the worst story of 2010, straight out of Decatur, Georgia, where 20 minutes after midnight, a New Year's service at Decatur Church of God of Prophecy was disrupted by a stray bullet that pierced the church's roof and fatally struck a 4-year-old boy. As WSBTV .com reports, police believe the bullet was fired into the air "in celebration" and are canvassing the area for leads. Contacted by an irate Last Days, God said, "No comment."
FRIDAY, JANUARY 1 Meanwhile in Denmark: Tonight, a 28-year-old Somalian man with an ax and ties to Al Qaeda allegedly broke into the home of Kurt Westergaard, the 74-year-old Danish artist whose illustrated depictions of the Prophet Muhammad have kept him a target of death threats from outraged Muslims since the illustrations were published in February 2008. Details come from the Associated Press, which reports that despite around-the-clock protection by Danish police, tonight Westergaard endured a most terrifying ordeal in his own home as he heard someone trying to break in, pressed an alarm, then fled with his 5-year-old granddaughter into a ready-made panic room. As Westergaard told the Jyllands-Posten newspaper, the intruder shouted ''Revenge!'' and ''Blood!'' while trying to break into the room where Westergaard had sought shelter. Within two minutes, police arrived to find the aforementioned ax-wielding man, who threatened officers with his ax until one of them shot him. The would-be jihadist was hospitalized with non-life-threatening wounds to his hand and knee, and Westergaard escaped unharmed.
SATURDAY, JANUARY 2 Nothing happened today, unless you count the two counts of attempted murder filed against yesterday's ax-wielding Somalian man with suspected Al Qaeda links accused of breaking into the home of Danish illustrator Kurt Westergaard.
SUNDAY, JANUARY 3 The week ends with the Seattle Seahawks, who wrapped up their sorry 2009 season by losing (though not shamefully) to the Tennessee Titans. RIP, '09 Seahawks, and better luck next year. (It couldn't get worse.)
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