Saturday, April 2, 2016

Skeegie Cash

Teasers from The Kidnapping and Murder of Little Skeegie Cash: J. Edgar Hoover and Florida's Lindbergh Case by Robert A. Waters and Zack C. Waters

I spent years researching the Skeegie Cash case. It was a labor of love. Fortunately, I was able to drag Zack, my award-winning co-author and brother, away from his beloved Civil War genre to assist me with the writing of the book. Here are a few passages that show our writing style. Hope you enjoy.

“At about nine o'clock in the evening, Vera Cash gave five-year-old Skeegie a bath, then dressed him in white and rose-colored one-piece pajamas. Placing her child in his crib, she read to him from the Miami Herald. Stories about Adolph Hitler's occupation of Austria and Josef Stalin's latest Five-year Plan might portray human suffering on a grand scale, but Skeegie normally went to sleep quickly when his mother began reading.”

“In 1938, the Depression still festered, like a sore that wouldn't heal.”

“By now, Hoover was seething. He'd come to this one-horse town to make a statement to his detractors, and now his best leads had dried up.”

“After stalling for a long as possible, [Sheriff Coleman] slammed the lever down. A loud bang sounded, followed by the crackle of electric static. Twenty-four hundred volts roared through McCall's body. The smell of burning flesh flooded the room and a smoky haze drifted toward the ceiling. No sound came from the prisoner, but the audience gasped as they watched him straining against the straps.”

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

10 Facts about Slavery that aren't Taught in School

10 Facts about Slavery that aren't Taught in School

Human slavery is as old as time. It is still practiced today in many variant forms in countries all across the globe, including the United States. In this age of political correctness, some of these facts reveal inconvenient truths. I've listed a few sources I used for this article, and invite anyone who has an interest in this subject to check my statements for accuracy.

1 – Human Slavery has Likely Existed Since the Beginning of Time.

The Code of Hammurabi (1760 BC), refers to slavery as an established institution. In the Bible, Joseph's jealous brothers sold him into slavery. The Israelites were enslaved by the Egyptians for 400 years and finally freed by Moses in his famous Exodus. In the New Testament book of Philemon, the apostle Paul enjoins a Christian slave-owner to treat his runaway slave, Onesimus, like a brother. In the book of I Corinthians, Paul tells the church that “bond and free” Christians are to be treated equally. Roman society, which flourished in Biblical times, was built on the backs of slaves. The famous Roman Coliseum, for example, was constructed primarily by slave-labor from captive Jews.  Beginning in 793 A.D., Vikings from Scandinavia captured thousands of Irish and Scottish civilians, enslaving them.  The women were used for sex and as domestic workers while the men were used for manual labor.  The Viking culture was built on slavery.

2 – Millions of White Europeans were Enslaved by Muslims.

Christopher Hitchens wrote: “How many know that perhaps 1.5 million Europeans were enslaved in Islamic North Africa between 1530 and 1780?” For centuries, the so-called Islamic Empire (a loose federation of countries now known as Egypt, Algeria, Tunis, and Libya) enslaved millions of white Europeans. In fact, the Empire grew wealthy due in part to the slave trade. Pirates from these and other Arabic countries raided coastal villages in Europe (France, Spain, Portugal, England, etc.) in search of slaves. They also captured thousands of ships, selling the cargo and enslaving the crews. It is estimated that about 2.5 million Europeans were enslaved by the Empire from 1450 to 1830. Conditions endured by these victims were brutal to the extreme—women were used as concubines while many men were forced to become eunuchs. The Barbary Wars, fought in the early 1800s by the Americans and some European allies, effectively ended the practice of enslaving and ransoming crews of American ships. In 1830, France conquered Algiers, making it a colony and ending the rampant slave trade there.

3 – Africans Traded Slaves to Arabic, European, and American Slave Traders.

From prehistoric times, slavery thrived in Africa. The practice likely began when warring clans captured rivals, enslaving them. For thousands of years, slavery was a major part of the African economy. Beginning in the 7th century, clans and wealthy families sold hundreds of thousands of slaves to Arab traders. In addition, Islamic pirates captured millions of Africans and sold them into slavery. In the 12th century, Europeans began to trade for black slaves that were carried back to Europe. Beginning in the 16th century, English ships transported African slaves to the New World. Soon New England slavers established their own slave routes to and from Africa. These slaves were not hunted down by whites, but obtained through trading with local clans and warlords. In “Slavery in Africa,” Donald R. Wright states that “West and west central African states, already involved in slave trading, supplied the Europeans with African slaves for export across the Atlantic.” Today, UNICEF reports that slavery still exists in Africa.

4 – Millions of “Indians” Were Enslaved by Whites.

Christopher Columbus took Indians (natives misnamed because he thought he'd found India) back to Europe where they were enslaved. The Spanish conquerors of South America captured millions of Indians and used them to perform manual labor. In Florida alone, Hernando de Soto seized thousands of natives which he used as slaves. In the 1600's, New England colonists enslaved hundreds of troublesome Pequot Indians who objected to encroachment on their territory. Since these Indian slaves were considered “dangerous and revengeful,” many were transported to the West Indies and exchanged for “Negro” slaves, thought of as more compliant. John Winthrop, governor of Massachusetts, kept American Indians as slaves, and doled others out to those who requested them. Winthrop also helped write the first law making slavery legal in the United States.

5 – Agriculture was a Driving Force for Slavery in the South.

As the fledgling United States began, all Southern and Northern states codified their laws so that individuals could legally own slaves. (Georgia was the last Southern state to do so since James Edward Ogelthorpe, one of its founders, opposed slavery.) Approximately twelve million Africans were brought to the Americas, but most were shipped to Brazil and the West Indies, where sugar plantations were plentiful. The 1793 invention of the cotton gin, a machine that sped up the process of removing seeds from cotton fiber, jump-started slavery in the South. According to the 1860 census, one year before the start of the War Between the States, 8% of Americans, including southerners and northerners, owned slaves. The total number of slaves in America in 1860 was listed as 3,950,528. Of 31 million Americans, nearly 400,000 owned slaves. At the time, 476,748 free blacks were listed. The vast majority of southerners did not own slaves, and many opposed the institution.

6 – Thousands of Freed Blacks Owned Slaves.

Yes, Virginia, blacks owned slaves. This fact has been suppressed by historians because it does not fit the politically correct narrative. For example, in 1830, two South Carolina blacks (Justus Angel and Mistress L. Horry) each owned 84 slaves. In the 1830 census, 3,775 blacks owned 12,740 black slaves. In 1860, in Charleston, South Carolina, 125 free blacks owned slaves. In New Orleans, approximately 25% of slaves were owned by freed blacks. Antoine Dubuclet was a black sugar planter in Louisiana who owned more than 100 slaves. William Ellison, a former slave freed by his owner, became one of the largest and wealthiest slave-owners in South Carolina. He was also a slave-breeder, something looked down on by both blacks and whites. Ellison supported the Confederacy during the Civil War, and one of his sons, Buckner, fought in the 1st South Carolina Artillery. Buckner Ellison was wounded in action in 1863. From the early 1800s to the defeat of the Confederate States of America, thousands of freed blacks owned slaves.

7 – Slavery Existed in the Northern States Even After the Civil War.

Slavery in the northern states began long before the American Revolution. Many of those instrumental in the creation of the United States owned or sold slaves. For instance, Dudley Saltenstall, progenitor of many New England politicians and governors, made much of his money as a slaver. William Penn, who wrote Pennsylvania's then-liberal constitution, owned slaves. Slavery in many New England states was not abolished until long after the Revolutionary War. In the late 1700's, nearly twenty percent of New York City's population were slaves. The City Council passed a law appointing a place where “all Negro and Indian slaves” should be sold. This was near today's Wall Street Stock Exchange. While slavery became illegal in New York in 1827, it continued on. In 1857, the New York Journal of Commerce wrote: “Downtown merchants of wealth and respectability are extensively engaged in buying and selling African Negroes and have been, with comparatively little interruption, for an indefinite number of years.” Slavery was still legal in some northern states (i. e., Delaware, Maryland, Kentucky, and Missouri) until December, 1865, nearly a year after the end of the Civil War.

8 – Slavery in the United States of America Only Ended After the Civil War.

The 13th Amendment, ratified on December 6, 1865 (eight months after the end of the Civil War), abolished legalized slavery in the United States of America. NOTE: By the time of the passage of the 13th Amendment, slavery had already ended in the former Confederate States of America. Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation, issued on September 22, 1862, applied only to Southern states. In fact, states that in 1863, “there were an estimated 800,000 slaves in border states and some 3 million more in Confederate states.” On April 8, 1864, during the war, the United States Congress voted NOT to ratify the 13th Amendment.  Slavery in the South ended on April, 1865, when the war ended, but legally continued in northern states until December, 1865.

9 – Many Famous Northerners Owned Slaves.

This is a partial list of a few famous northerners who owned slaves: Union General and U. S. President Ulysses S. Grant; Benjamin Franklin (bought, sold, and traded slaves); Cornelius Vanderbilt; John Hancock (bought, sold, and traded slaves); William Penn; President Martin Van Buren; President William Henry Harrison; President James Buchanan; John Jay, signer of the Declaration of Independence; and Union General William Tecumseh Sherman. Like President Abraham Lincoln, Sherman was vocal in his belief that blacks were inferior to whites.

10 – Slavery Still Exists in the United States Today. 

Slavery today is generally called “trafficking.” It occurs all over the world, including America. It can take many forms, including sex trafficking, labor trafficking, debt bondage, and, in some countries, organ transplant trafficking and military trafficking. In the United States, pimps routinely search out young white blond girls, called “snow bunnies,” because they bring more money from sex-hungry johns. By addicting these girls (many underage) to drugs, the pimps are able to control them and coerce them to do anything, including to sell their bodies. In addition to sex trafficking, many foreign-born individuals are smuggled into America and forced to labor for little or no pay. Chinese, Africans, Mexicans, individuals from the post-Russian countries, and many others also become victims of trafficking. According to recent data, an estimated 100,000 to 300,000 young people are trafficked in this country at any given time.  Many American-born victims are from poverty-stricken homes, or are runaways.

Recommended Reading

The Manor: Three Centuries at a Slave Plantation on Long Island by Mac Griswold.

Complicity: How the North Promoted, Prolonged and Profited from Slavery by Anne Farrow.

Digital Collections/New York Public Library (Online). Many images and articles discuss the extensive slavery institution in New York.

“Slavery in Africa” by David R. Wright.

Thomas Jefferson and the Tripoli Pirates: The Forgotten War that Changed American History by Brian Kilmeade and Don Yaeger.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Short Family Murders

Friday, March 18, 2016

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Monday, February 8, 2016

The February 9th Killer

Sonia Mejia
10 Years Later, Serial Murderer is Still Unknown
by Robert A. Waters

Even though police have his DNA, a serial murderer whose three known victims died on February 9 has never been identified.

On February 9, 2006, Sonia Mejia was raped and strangled in her Taylorsville, Utah apartment. Six months pregnant, her unborn child also died. Police informed reporters that a Hispanic male had been seen talking to Mejia in her doorway. Investigators think he either talked his way into her apartment or forced his way inside. After killing her, the murderer also robbed Mejia, taking a ruby ring, a diamond ring, and a Lady of Guadaloupe medallion.

According to the Salt Lake Tribune, Taylorsville police has “ruled out family members and [has] been advised by the FBI to look for a suspect with a history of abusing animals.”

Exactly two years later, Damiana Castillo, 57, was found sexually assaulted and strangled in West Valley City. She lived less than three miles from Mejia's old apartment. Like Mejia, Castillo's apartment showed no signs of having been broken into.

A West Valley Police spokesperson said, “It was very unusual for [Castillo] not to be in church on a Sunday morning. She would typically attend church on Sunday morning. She was very prompt and for her not to be at church was very concerning not only for her congregation but for her family as well. Her son came over and subsequently found his mother lying dead on the floor in her apartment.”

At first, police concluded that the two crimes were not connected.

But DNA linked the rapes. Investigators, surprised to learn the evidence matched, determined the same killer had murdered both women and Mejia's child.

Was it a coincidence that the same killer attacked two women on the same day two years apart. Or was it a pattern? Were the crimes random, or did the killer know his victims? Has he committed other rapes or murders? Why isn't his DNA profile in a database somewhere?

Police stated that they have reason to believe the killer is Hispanic, in his late teens or early twenties, and stands between five-feet-three inches and five-feet-five inches tall. He has short black hair and at the time weighed between 135-150 pounds.
Damiana Castillo

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Travis Clinton Hittson (pictured) is scheduled to be executed on February 17 for the murder of Conway Utterbeck. For those who wish to read a detailed account of this horrific, senseless crime, I'm publishing a transcript of the Georgia Supreme Court ruling.



Supreme Court of Georgia.

Decided October 31, 1994.
Reconsideration Denied December 1, 1994.

Stephen N. Hollomon, Williams, Sammons & Sammons, Walter G. Sammons, Jr., for appellant.

Edward D. Lukemire, District Attorney, Michael J. Bowers, Attorney General, Susan V. Boleyn, Senior Assistant Attorney General, Paige M. Reese, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee.

THOMPSON, Justice.

Travis Clinton Hittson was convicted of the malice murder of Conway Utterbeck, as well as counts of aggravated assault, theft by taking and possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime. The jury found that the murder was outrageously or wantonly vile, horrible or inhuman in that it involved depravity of mind, OCGA § 17-10-30 (b) (7), and recommended that Hittson be sentenced to death. The trial court sentenced Hittson to death for the murder and to terms of years for the remaining convictions.

On April 3, 1992 Hittson, his co-defendant Edward Vollmer, and the victim, Conway Utterbeck, left Pensacola, Florida, where they were stationed on the U. S.S. Forrestal, and they drove to the home of Vollmer's parents in Warner Robins, Georgia. The elder Vollmers were out of town, and the three men spent the first night in a shed on the property. They obtained a key to the house from a family friend the following day. According to statements Hittson subsequently made to law enforcement officers, on the second day of the trip he and Vollmer went to several bars, leaving the victim at the Vollmers' home. As they drove back to the house, Vollmer stated that the victim planned to kill them, and they should "get" him first. Vollmer gave Hittson an aluminum baseball bat and the two entered the house to find the victim dozing. Hittson stated that, at Vollmer's direction, he struck the victim several times in the head with the baseball bat, then dragged him into the kitchen where Vollmer waited. According to Hittson, the victim screamed, "Travis, whatever have I did to you?" While Vollmer stepped on the victim's hand, Hittson shot him in the head. Hittson stated that he was "cold" and "had no emotion" when he shot the victim.

According to Hittson's statement, approximately two hours later Vollmer stated that they needed to dismember the body in order to get rid of the evidence. Hittson stated that they used a hacksaw to remove the victim's hands, head and feet, but that he became sick after he removed a hand, and Vollmer completed the dismemberment. Hittson stated that Vollmer acted alone in removing the victim's genitals and carving out his rectum. Vollmer and Hittson then packed the victim's remains in numerous garbage bags. They buried the victim's torso in Houston County, cleaned up the Vollmers' home, and hid the baseball bat in the Vollmers' shed. Subsequently they drove back to Pensacola where they buried the rest of the victim's remains.

On April 5, 1992, Louise Davidson observed a black Thunderbird with Florida license plates emerging from a seldom used dirt road in Houston County. Two people were in the car. Suspicions were aroused, and she noted the license number. When the victim's torso was discovered two months later by loggers in an area off the same dirt road, police determined that the car previously observed by Davidson belonged to Edward Vollmer.

Relying on information that the victim had gone to Warner Robins just before his disappearance, the Navy contacted the Houston County Sheriff's Department. Representatives of the Sheriff's Department travelled to Pensacola, Florida, and, along with agents from the Naval Investigative Service (NIS), interviewed a number of the victim's shipmates, including Hittson. Hittson subsequently confessed and gave information leading to the discovery of the rest of the victim's remains.

At Hittson's trial the medical examiner testified that, in his opinion, the victim died from a single gunshot wound to the head, but that it was not possible to determine whether the dismemberment occurred before or after death.