MONDAY, MARCH 14 This week of ridiculous sickos, criminal verbiage, and astounding human tenacity kicks off in exactly the same way as last week—with a hoarded corpse. This week's alleged corpse hoarder comes from Tombstone, Arizona, where earlier this year authorities interviewed 34-year-old Timothy Fattig about the whereabouts of his 68-year-old mother, Jill. As the Daily Mail reports, Mr. Fattig initially told investigators his mother was in a hospital in Tucson. "When authorities found this was untrue, Mr. Fattig admitted his mother had died a year ago, and with a search warrant, deputies discovered her skeletal remains inside the house. Mr. Fattig told deputies that when he found his mother's body, he was so overcome with grief he never reported her death." Arrested on suspicion of negligent homicide, Mr. Fattig was booked into Cochise County Jail. Should his mother's autopsy reveal death by natural causes, charges will likely be downgraded to failure to report a death. (Personal to Last Days readers who are parents: Does reading stories about a child's hoardy love give you even the tiniest flash of comfort or satisfaction? Or is the whole point of being a good parent to raise a kid who won't hoard your corpse?)
TUESDAY, MARCH 15 Following the Supreme Court's constitutionally mandated defense of Westboro Baptist Church comes another, much more emotionally gratifying story on the limits of free speech. Our setting: Faribault, Minnesota, where a 48-year-old former nurse is facing prison time after being found guilty of talking two people into committing suicide. Details come from the Associated Press, which identifies the former nurse/suicide whisperer as William Melchert-Dinkel, who, lest anyone engage any romantic euthanasia notions, conducted his suicide whispering outside of his former life as a medical professional. As prosecutors testified in Rice County District Court, the suicide-obsessed Melchert-Dinkel spent his leisure hours seeking out despondent people online, after which he'd pose as a female nurse, feign compassion, and then offer step-by-step instructions for suicide. "Minnesota authorities began investigating in March 2008 when an anti-suicide activist in Britain claimed someone in the state was using the internet to manipulate people into killing themselves," reports the AP. "[Melchert-Dinkel] acknowledged participating in online chats about suicide with up to 20 people and entering into fake suicide pacts with about 10 people, five of whom he believed killed themselves... He told police he did it for the 'thrill of the chase.'" Having declined a jury trial, Melchert-Dinkel today faced Judge Thomas Neuville, who found him guilty of aiding two suicides: Mark Drybrough, a 32-year-old Englishman who hanged himself in 2005, and Nadia Kajouji, an 18-year-old Canadian who jumped into a frozen river in 2008. Sentencing is scheduled for May 4, when Melchert-Dinkel faces a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison and a $30,000 fine.
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 16 After two days of depressing death stories, the week continues with two stories about life, glorious life. Unfortunately, the lives in question are distressingly connected to charges of horrifying sex crimes. The first story concerns Delbert E. Hoggard, a 58-year-old businessman from Georgia arrested earlier this month in Renton after allegedly and inadvertently sharing his stash of violent child pornography over the network of the Renton Towne Place Suites. Details come from Seattlepi.com, which reports authorities allegedly tracked the videos to Hoggard's hotel room, which they obtained a warrant to search and found "numerous videos of child pornography... includ[ing] some of the most disturbing images the undersigned has ever had the misfortune of viewing," as King County prosecutor Charles Sergis wrote in charging papers. "The fact that the defendant would seek out and view these types of images, presumably for his sexual gratification, shows that he is aroused by the sexual abuse of children and is a danger to commit such an offense." Charged with possession of child pornography, Hoggard remains free on bail.
••Story two is even worse, and features James Phillip Edwards, the 61-year-old Kansas City man who today pleaded no contest to charges of serving young girls ice cream laced with sleeping pills and then molesting them on camera. "Prosecutors said Edwards admitted giving 13 girls ages 6 to 13 years old Ambien and other sedatives between July 2001 and June 2005 and creating multiple videos of him molesting them," reports the Associated Press. "Edwards was found guilty of 12 counts of producing child pornography, one count of attempting to produce child porn, and five counts of giving the victims a controlled substance without their knowledge to facilitate a crime of violence. He also was found guilty of one count each of advertising child pornography over the internet, attempting to distribute child porn over the internet, and possessing child porn." The remainder of the AP report featured a number of upsetting sentences, including: "Other material found on Edwards's computer included 'How to Molest Young Girls,' a guide with specific information about dosage amounts and other instructions for drugging and molesting children, prosecutors said" and "Prosecutors said that during forensic interviews, some of the victims recalled having ice-cream-eating contests at Edwards's house." But here's the only one that matters: "Under federal guidelines, Edwards could be sentenced to mandatory minimum sentences of 15 years in federal prison for each of the  counts of producing child pornography and the one count of attempting to produce child porn."
THURSDAY, MARCH 17 Speaking of the intersection of drugs and ice cream: Today brings a story from Staten Island, where a man stands accused of using his ice cream truck to sell drugs. Details come from the Associated Press, which identifies the ice cream man as 29-year-old Louis Scala, and his alleged drug product as the prescription painkiller oxycodone (aka St. Joseph baby heroin). Prosecutors allege Scala trolled Staten Island in a Lickety Split ice cream truck: "After serving ice cream to whatever children appeared, Scala would invite the adult pill customers" to climb into the truck, officials said. After pleading not guilty, Scala was released on $15,000 bail.
FRIDAY, MARCH 18 Speaking of convenient drugs: The week continues with Diet Coke, which was today confirmed as the second-most-popular soft drink in the United States. As the Wall Street Journal reported and industry data confirmed, Diet Coke finally succeeded in overtaking Pepsi for the next-to-top spot. Holding on to number one: regular old Coke—probably forever, but only because of the votes split between Diet Coke and (superior) Coke Zero.
SATURDAY, MARCH 19 The week continues with the eighth anniversary of the US-led war in Iraq, which was commemorated by the American people with antiwar protests across the nation (including Washington, DC, where over 100 protesters were arrested while demonstrating outside the White House). It was commemorated by the US military with the bombing of Libya, as "American and European forces began a broad campaign of strikes against the government of Colonel Muammar el-Qaddafi, unleashing warplanes and missiles in a military intervention on a scale not seen in the Arab world since the Iraq war," reports the New York Times, identifying today's action as a "mission to impose a United Nations–sanctioned no-fly zone and keep Colonel Qaddafi from using air power against beleaguered rebel forces." Stay tuned.
SUNDAY, MARCH 20 The week ends in Japan, where, after a full week of post-earthquake/pre-nuclear-meltdown horror, today brought a small but amazing victory, as an 80-year-old woman and her 16-year-old grandson were found alive after nine days buried in rubble. Putting today's mini-triumph in proper perspective: The final death toll of the earthquake/tsunami is expected to reach roughly 20,000.
Send Hot Tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.