Posts Tagged ‘true crime’

Short takes: ‘The Last Stone,’ ‘Bird Box’ and ‘The Lost Causes of Bleak Creek’

March 27, 2020

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
March 27, 2020

Lloyd Lee Welch, the prisoner at the heart of Mark Bowden’s 2019 true crime book The Last Stone, is a repellent figure. A seventh-grade dropout who spent years abusing alcohol and drugs, Welch is a chronic liar who insists that the lengthy sentence he’s serving for child molestation is largely the result of bad luck.

And yet it’s almost impossible to turn away from Welch, a member of an impoverished Southern clan rooted in the Virginia mountains. As an 18-year-old, Welch had spoken to police about what he’d seen on March 25, 1975, at a popular Maryland mall from which 12-year-old Sheila Lyon and her 10-year-old sister, Kate, had vanished. The disappearance, presumably a kidnapping, remained unsolved for more than three and a half decades.

Near the start of The Last Stone, members of the Montgomery County, Md., police department travel to Dover, Del., in the fall of 2013 to speak to the then 56-year-old Welch. Although local police had deemed the information they got from Welch on April 1, 1975, to lack credibility, the county’s cold case squad now wanted to question him about the man with a limp whom he’d reported seeing at Wheaton Plaza on the fateful day. And after some initial evasions, Welch indeed confirmed to questioners that Ray Mileski, a known pedophile and murderer with a permanent leg injury, had been at the mall the day the Lyons were abducted.

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Cheeps and Chirps for Aug. 27, 2016

August 27, 2016

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
Aug. 27, 2016

Some Twitter for you!

• Comedy!

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Recent Readings for July 8, 2016

July 8, 2016

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
July 8, 2016

I spent a great deal of Independence Day reading. Here’s a selection of worthwhile #longreads for you to enjoy!

• “The Devil on Paradise Road.” Bruce Barcott tells the gripping story of a fatal shooting on New Year’s Day 2012 at Mount Rainier National Park in Washington state. After an Iraq war veteran with a history of domestic violence and alcohol abuse shot a park ranger and disappeared into the wild, authorities attempted to rescue their wounded colleague and to protect numerous park visitors without knowing where or when the next bullets might be fired.

• “A Short-Order Murder.” In 1969, newlyweds Helen and Peter Menicou moved to America. In 1997, she was shot to death by a cook whom she’d worked with amicably for years. Lisa Davis’s feature article, published a few months after the slaying, vividly conjures the atmosphere of San Francisco’s Pinecrest Diner and sketches the universally beloved victim:

Sometimes the topic was money — fortunes were made and lost in the Pinecrest stock market — but whatever the subject, the discussion always occurred underneath the smell of bacon grease, sweet, sticky syrup, brewing coffee, and grilled meat all mixed together.

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Recent Readings for Sept. 29, 2015

September 29, 2015

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
Sept. 29, 2015

• The next Supreme Court term. Ian Millhiser of ThinkProgress has a useful primer on three cases that the Supreme Court is scheduled to consider in its next term, which starts on Monday. One of the cases could result in depriving public-sector unions of what are called agency fees or fair share fees, a vital funding stream. Another could change how state legislatures draw their districts. A third case, Fisher vs. University of Texas, which the court already considered in 2012, could affect the future of affirmative action. Millhiser also notes that the court is likely to agree to hear two major reproductive health rights cases.

• Skeptical police response to sexual assault allegations ultimately costs a young child his life. Katie J.M. Baker’s feature article about Virginia authorities’ questionable handling of a possible rape electrified my Twitter feed Sunday evening. Police didn’t believe the complainant and ended up filing charges against her and her sister — charges that were used as leverage against the sister in what turned out to be a fateful custody hearing. The next time someone is tempted to ask why a potential rape victim didn’t contact the authorities, he or she would do well to remember Baker’s chronicle.

• Can the brother of a victim in the Lockerbie bombing help bring perpetrators to justice? Patrick Radden Keefe describes the many ways in which an obsession with the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 has forever changed Ken Dornstein’s life. Only one man was ever convicted for his involvement with this act of terrorism, but after finishing Keefe’s story, I was persuaded that at least one other individual likely got away with mass murder.

Author’s note: Dornstein’s film, My Brother’s Bomber, will be broadcast in three parts on the PBS documentary series Frontline beginning tonight; the second and third segments will air on Oct. 6 and Oct. 13. MEM

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