Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Clark Elmore
Suspending Death
by Robert A. Waters

During my term, we will not be executing people.” Washington Democratic governor Jay Inslee.

On April 17, 1995, middle school student Kristy Lynn Ohnstad disappeared. The fourteen-year-old resided with her mother, Sue Ohnstad, and Sue's live-in boyfriend, Clark Elmore (AKA James Dickey) in Bellingham, Washington. At the time, Elmore had lived with Sue for ten years, and they'd had a child, Kayla, together.

Kristy's mother reported her missing when she didn't return home from school. The day after she vanished, a passer-by found Kristy's backpack in a ditch near Samish Way.

When questioned by investigators, Elmore denied knowing what happened to his stepdaughter. He stated that he dropped her off in front of a convenience store near her school on the morning she disappeared. Elmore stated that several “kids” were there waiting for school to start. (When interviewed, the students denied seeing Kristy that morning.) Elmore told investigators that he and his common-law wife had been having problems with the “rebellious” teen and that he thought she had been seeing boys behind their backs.

Detectives observed that Elmore was extremely “pale and shaky” during much of the interview, but after searching his van, they found no incriminating evidence and let him go.

Late on the evening of April 21, searchers located Kristy's body south of Lake Samish. Court documents state that “at 7:30 a.m., on Saturday, April 22, 1995, investigators from the Sheriff's Office and the Bellingham Police Department met to process the crime scene. They found Kristy's body laying face down on the ground beneath a plastic tarp. Her shirt was pulled over one shoulder and she had a plastic bag over her head. Other than the shirt and socks, she was naked. When investigators removed the bag, they found a black belt around her neck and a metal spike protruding from her ear. Animals had removed portions of her ears. Two red flecks of paint were recovered from the body. The flecks were eventually traced back to a red toolbox Elmore kept in his van.”

When Elmore was informed that Kristy's remains had been discovered, he fled to Oregon.

Two days later, Elmore returned to Bellingham and confessed to the rape and murder of Kristy Lynn Ohnstad.

Washington Supreme Court briefs described Elmore's confession: “Elmore explained that on Monday morning, April 17, he stopped Kayla off at daycare and returned home about 8:20 a.m. Kristy was complaining about going to school and had missed her bus. When Elmore told Kristy she was 'grounded forever,' she commented about Elmore molesting her. When detectives pursued the subject, Elmore acknowledged molesting Kristy when she was 5 years old. He said that after the incident, whenever he tried to discipline Kristy, she threatened to turn him in for molestation....

When Kristy mentioned the subject on this day, Elmore told her to 'shut up.' They got in the van and drove toward Kristy's school. Along the way, Elmore snapped. Instead of dropping Kristy off at school, he continued driving. Some 20 minutes later, he reached the far end of Lake Samish, where he pulled the van onto a secluded dirt road and parked. Elmore unbuckled Kristy's seat belt and warned her it was time she learned to do as he told her 'or she'd get seriously hurt.' Elmore grabbed Kristy by the shirt and pulled her to the back of the van. He told her to take off her clothes or she was going to get hurt. She refused and Elmore forcibly removed them. Kristy cried and pleaded but Elmore raped her...

After raping Kristy, Elmore placed his hands around her neck and manually choked her.  He then wrapped Kristy's belt around her neck and cinched it tightly. Afterward, he took a nine-inch metal, needle-like tool and forced it into Kristy's left ear approximately five-and-a-half inches, piercing Kristy's brain. Elmore thought Kristy was still making noises so he covered her head with a plastic bag and repeatedly bludgeoned her skull with with a sledgehammer until he was sure she was dead. Elmore then dragged Kristy's nude body into the woods, covered her with a plastic drop cloth, got back into his van and drove away.”

Elmore later pleaded guilty to aggravated first degree murder and rape. He was sentenced to death.

After 30 years, his appeals finally ran out.

But instead of an execution, Elmore received “leniency” from the governor.  For at least four more years, he can breathe safely.

Whatcom County prosecutor Dave McEachern met with Inslee in an attempt to get him to change his mind. The Washington Spokesman-Review reported that McEachern “implored the governor to focus on how the girl suffered.”

In the end, justice doesn't matter when philosophical ideology overrules the legal system.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Creating "How Great Thou Art"

How Great Thou Art
by Robert A. Waters

The song, "How Great Thou Art," is one of the most loved hymns of all time. Describing the majestic power of God, and the joy of knowing Jesus Christ as our Saviour, the song has touched millions of lives since it was written in 1859 by a Swedish poet named Carl Boberg. The lyrics were later set to the music of a Swedish folk song.

Boberg explained how he came to write the song.  "It was that time of year," he said, "when everything seemed to be in its richest colouring; the birds were singing in trees and everywhere. It was very warm; a thunderstorm appeared on the horizon and soon there was thunder and lightning. We had to hurry to shelter. But the storm was soon over and the clear sky appeared."

The first verse of "How Great Thou Art" describes the above scene:

"Oh Lord my God, when I in awesome wonder

Consider all the worlds thy hands have made,

I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder

Thy power throughout the universe displayed." 

In 1949, British missionary Stuart K. Hine translated the song into English, updated the lyrics, and added two verses. It was published in the 1973 edition of The Covenant Hymnbook. "How Great Thou Art" was popularized in America by George Beverly Shea and Cliff Barrows during the Billy Graham Crusades of the 1950s.

As Christian faith wanes in modern society, "How Great Thou Art" remains a musical lighthouse for many. Atheism, many of whose adherents view faith as a "poison," threatens to become the new religion. Richard Dawkins wrote: "[Christian] faith is an evil precisely because it requires no justification and brooks no argument."

Yet faith is the stone on which atheists use to hammer out their own theories of the origins of the universe. After trillions of years, they allege, a great explosion rocked the void of nothingness and the universe suddenly formed.  Scientists tell us that never before or after has something come from nothing, but here we are.

Atheists have faith that after the big bang, or whatever generated the universe, complexity arose out of chaos and the vast network of solar systems, stars, and planets formed. It seems almost miraculous.

Patrick Buchanan once wrote that atheists believe "reason came from irrationality, that a complex universe and natural order came out of randomness and chaos, that consciousness came from non-consciousness and that life emerged from non-life."

On Planet Earth, everything developed exactly as needed to form life.  Scientists estimate that every human being is made up of about 37.2 trillion cells. It takes a great deal of faith to believe that the human body formed by itself, out of the blue.

"How Great Thou Art" reminds Christians of the Creator who formed us.

As for atheists, they're free to believe whatever they wish.

"How Great Thou Art" has been sung by hundreds of artists. This version is by Alan Jackson.


Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Snake vs. Wolf

Chip Jacobs has published several books, mostly about crime in the Los Angeles area.  This excerpt from a story in the recently published book, LA in the 1970s, describes one of the most bizarre cases you'll ever read.  "Snake vs. Wolf" chronicles the true story of crusading lawyer, Paul Morantz, whose efforts to bring down the drug recovery cult Synanon nearly led to his murder at the venom-tipped fangs of a mailbox-dwelling rattlesnake.  I highly recommend this book and have included a link at the end of the this excerpt.

by Chip Jacobs

Everybody, it seems, was watching the little white house on Bollinger Drive: pretty divorcĂ©es and kids on bikes, electronics whizzes and the Westside LAPD. Everybody was keeping a lookout for suspicious activity at the request of the owner, a feather-haired lawyer sleeping with a shotgun by his bed after the creepy sect he helped expose threatened to pay him a visit. Sure, it sounded melodramatic—killers skulking about a coastal town of rustic stores and quiet streets. And still there was that lurking, green Plymouth carrying two men up front and three friends in the trunk.

A real estate appraiser, who’d just stopped at a nearby corner market for a frosty drink, was the first to be flummoxed by it. Here he was, idling behind the sedan at a Pacific Palisades red light, unable to decipher its newfangled vanity license plate: 27 IVC. What narcissistic gloat could that represent? At twenty-seven I varoomed to California? Something about Ventura County? His puzzle-solving brain worked the variations. Then, by looking closer, Les Rahymer knew.

This wasn’t cutesy, aluminum-engraved conceit. This was deception. Lamely applied blue tape—tape the same ubiquitous hue as the plates’ background—concealed a “4” before the “27” and blurred the “G” into a “C”. Rahymer, a dark-haired thirty-something, sat in his black Datsun 280Z, prickled with goose bumps. What was he supposed to do when the Plymouth motored nonchalantly down Baylor Avenue: tail it like a real-life Jim Rockford (whose series filmed blocks away)? No, he was supposed to glimpse into his rearview mirror, where, by sheer happenstance, a Los Angeles Police Department patrol car was whipping left onto Sunset Boulevard like him.

“Did you see that car with the altered license plates?” Rahymer blurted, after waving the officer over. “Write down these numbers before I forget them.” David Ybarro jotted as told and even sketched passengers’ likenesses from the good samaritan’s account. It was a wickedly hot October afternoon, a day before the World Series opened at Dodger Stadium amid bunting and beer commercials.

Wait! Did he say a drab, early-seventies-model Plymouth Executive? If so, Ybarro himself had noticed the car earlier while serving an unrelated subpoena, figuring it for an undercover narcotics vehicle pursuing stoners and snow-white tans. Dispatch reported the car was registered to the group Synanon at its Marin County outpost.

Shazbot, as the kids said: not good. Especially after the dude in the Japanese import took off before Ybarro learned the driver’s name.

Ybarro, who walked a beat in this sun-glistened suburb a few minutes from Will Rogers State Beach, whistled for backup. Two LAPD colleagues, who arrived to hear him out, left, apparently unconcerned. Another pair drove past the lawyer’s range-style home on Bollinger with bougainvillea out back, observing nothing afoul. But Ybarro couldn’t shake the eerie butterflies. A few minutes later he was on Bollinger, telling a bike-riding boy to holler if he spotted the Plymouth. At shift’s end, he logged his experience.

Only the next day would the report surface—in a department trash can, ignored.


Wednesday, November 16, 2016

A Must-Read Defensive Shooting Story

Law-abiding Citizen Saves Deputy's Life

At Exit 123 on I-75 in Florida, a savage attack on Lee County Sheriff's Deputy Dean Bardes ended with gunfire. The assailant lay dead, beside the injured cop.

It started with a traffic chase when Edward Strother almost hit Deputy Bardes as he conducted a traffic stop. Bardes began pursuing Strother and soon the cars were speeding at more than 100 miles per hour. Strother eventually pulled over, but quickly attacked the deputy. Knocking him to the ground, Strother began beating Deputy Bardes.

It was then that a citizen with a concealed carry permit stopped to help. Pulling his gun, the Samaritan ordered the assailant to stop. In the meantime, Bardes screamed for the unidentified permit holder to shoot. Three shots later, Strother lay dead.

Yesterday, Lee County Sheriff Mike Scott released this statement about the shooting:

"Earlier this week, two heroes met on I-75 and while they had never met before, one would save the others life. I was at the hospital when the ambulance arrived, the rear doors opened, and my Deputy Dean Bardes was unloaded on a stretcher. Bloody from a vicious attack by a driver Bardes had stopped for endangering the lives of other innocent citizens in our community, the Medics wheeled him into a treatment room. Joined by others from our team, I was there when his wife and family arrived with fear and concern for their loved one as the E.R. team worked on him. Ironically, this was the first day in a while that Deputy Bardes was alone on patrol because as a Field Training Officer, he typically has a recruit riding with him to learn the business. A business that has seen an increasingly alarming rise in attacks and killings perpetrated on cops. A business that has fallen victim to false narratives like Ferguson where the good guys have been painted as the bad guys by a vocal minority that refuses to allow facts and evidence to get in their way. A business that is the last line of defense between good and evil.

"On behalf of the men and women of the LCSO, I thank Deputy Dean Bardes for his bravery and pray for a full recovery. I thank the E.R. staff and E.M.S. for their immediate attention to Dean, and I thank the many witnesses to this event who stopped to assist our Detectives. I thank my good friends at “Shoot Straight” who realized that the hero’s gun was taken as evidence and immediately gave him a brand new firearm. Above all, I thank the hero that recognized the imminent threat, rushed to Deputy Bardes’ aid, and ultimately stopped that threat. In a day and age where race is a near instant focus for media and other pundits in police incidents, the fact is that this hero happens to be a man of color who stopped another man of color from further harming or killing a white cop; thereby reminding us that black lives matter, blue lives matter, and indeed all life matters. We at your Sheriff’s Office remain proud to serve and focused on the mission."

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Sherri Papini Missing

Friday, November 4, 2016

Amber Alert for Kayla Gomez

Kayla Gomez
Amber Alert for Kayla Gomez

On Tuesday, November 1, 10-year-old Kayla Gomez vanished from the First Assembly of God Church in Bullard, Texas. A massive search for the missing girl is currently underway by local, state, and federal law enforcement officials.

There is a reward of $13,000.

Gomez is four-feet tall, and weighs 90 pounds. She has brown hair and brown eyes, and was last seen wearing a peach-colored skirt and black "Racquet and Jog" T-shirt.

If you have any information regarding the whereabouts of Kayla Gomez, please call the FBI Tip Line at (972) 559-5711; the Cherokee County Sheriff's Office at (903) 683-2271; Bullard Police Department at (903) 894-7788; or Cherokee County Crime Stoppers at (903) 586-7867 (STOP).