The Assassination of an Atlanta-Area Teenager Leads to His Killer’s Controversial Claims of Mental Impairment.

(Photo source)

June 6, 1998

The biggest news story in Dunwoody before the summer of 1998 was the F2 tornado that tore across the metro area in April. Although it struck DeKalb, Fulton, Gwinnett and Cobb Counties, the…

The Author’s Seventh Book Leaves Me a Bit Cold

The UK and US editions (photo source)

I feel so cold
and I long for your embrace . . .

From “Every Breath You Take” by The Police

So let me just say right off the bat, I am a big fan of Peter Swanson’s. I’ve read all his books and this one, with its title taken from the ubiquitous 1980s song by The Police about an obsessive, stalker-ish love (which some folks have retconned into a wedding song, of all things) is perfectly suited to the story. And as the song says, I feel cold and I long for the embrace of Mr. …

The Black Widow of Alabama.

Marie Hilley at the Atlanta airport, January 20, 1983 (photo source)

The End at the Beginning

Sue Craft was driving home, hoping to be safely inside on this gloomy day, when she spotted . . . something on her neighbor’s patio. It was crawling across the patio deck and it alarmed Sue enough that she called…

The true story behind the first person exonerated by DNA

Cathleen Crowell Webb and Gary Dotson in 1985 (photo source)

It was Saturday, July 9, 1977, shortly before 11 p.m. A Homewood, Illinois police officer was making his normal patrol rounds when he happened upon a teenage girl standing beside a road located not far from a shopping mall. The girl, sixteen-year-old Cathleen Crowell, flagged down the officer and tearfully told him that she had been raped. According to Cathy, she had gotten off work at Long John Silver’s, where she was employed as a cashier and a fry cook, and begun walking home around 8:45 p.m. when she approached by a car that was occupied by three men. Two…

An In-Depth Look at the Deaths of Max Shacknai and Rebecca Zahau in the Wealthy Resort Town of Coronado

(Photo source)

“I got a girl. Hung herself in the guest house.”

So starts the investigation into the death of Rebecca Zahau, a beautiful young woman who was the live-in girlfriend of the wealthy and older Jonah Shacknai. According to friends and family, Rebecca was not the type to commit suicide, much less by hanging. She, like the crime scene, seemed to be a bundle of contradictions, from a smart, ambitious professional to an estranged wife with a tale of kidnapping in between the reconciliations with her husband. …

The True Story of Illinois’ Longest-Serving Female Inmate.

(photo source)

A Family Is Annihilated

Jim and Naomi Olive’s disappearance leads to a gruesome discovery.

Marlene Olive, 1975 (photo source)

No one stops
to step into my life
and those in it have long ago
fallen asleep.
I have been empty for so long.
- Marlene Olive’s poetry

Early on the morning of Sunday, June 22, 1975, a firefighter found a smoldering flame in a barbeque pit at China Camp State Park in Marin County, California. As it wasn’t uncommon for hunters to roast deer in the pits, he thought nothing of the bone fragments in the ashes. …

Flawed Forensic Science Leads to a 33-Year Long Wrongful Conviction.

Sailor Keith Harward (photo source)

Newport News

Lying on the southeastern end of the Virginia Peninsula and on the northern shore of the James River, Newport News is the fifth most populous city in Virginia. It’s nearly 120 square miles, which includes 50 square miles of water, is divided into segments: Uptown, Northern Newport News and Downtown (also referred to as Southeast Newport News or the East End.) The city has fostered its share of celebrities, including Ella Fitzgerald, author William Styron, and NFL siblings Michael and Marcus Vick.

Newport News is home to Christopher Newport University, as well as Thomas Nelson Community College and The Apprentice…

An estranged wife’s fury became a mother’s ultimate betrayal.

Kate, Tim and Kelly Farrar, 1989 (photo source)

The Fire

It was shortly after midnight on Tuesday, October 24, 1995 when Drs. John and Mary Forman were awakened from their sleep by their dog’s frantic barking. Their doorbell was ringing and someone was knocking on their side door. After urging from Mary, John woke up and went downstairs to investigate. Still half-asleep, he neglected to deactivate the home’s burglar alarm when he opened the door, which began to screech and blare.

The Formans’ neighbor, Dr. Debora Green, stood at their home’s side entrance. Debora and her husband, Mike Farrar, also a doctor, and their three children (Tim, Kate, and Kelly)…

In Search of Fame, Model/Actress Linda Sobek Instead Had a Deadly Run-In with Murder

Photo source

Thursday, November 16, 1995 started off as a great day for 27-year-old Linda Elaine Sobek. She had recently scored a role on the popular sitcom “Married With Children,” which she felt would kickstart the acting career she was yearning for. In the meantime, the modeling career she had begun after graduating from Cerritos Community College and during her five-year stint as a Los Angeles Raiderette cheerleader (in which she was named Raiderette of the Year during her third year) not only paid the bills but had…

Lori Johnston

Writer, reader, margarita drinker. Currently looking for a “dare to be great” situation.

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