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True Crime Headlines, 4/03/08

The following are links to some crime stories currently in the news. Feel free to discuss any of them in the comments on this entry. Please be clear as to the story you’re talking about when you do. I may add to this entry throughout the day today.

(If this looks a little Fark-like, well — that is one of my favorite websites. Heck, I even have a TotalFark subscription…)

Death of UW-Madison student from Marshfield likely homicide


The lede: “Police are investigating the death of a 21-year-old Marshfield woman as a homicide…”

The victim was 21-year-old Brittany Sue Zimmermann, who was majoring in medical microbiology and immunology. According to police, Zimmermann’s murder may have been “a random act.” I’ll be watching this story with an eye to writing a longer post if enough information becomes available. Watch for growing coverage of the murder in the national media if there isn’t a quick resolution to the case.

Extra: Brittany Zimmermann’s MySpace page:


Quote from Brittany’s page: “My interests include my boyfriend, my cats, hanging out with friends, reading books and articles about infectious diseases, cooking, and running the UW-Madison branch of Global Wardrobe.”

Zimmermann had one friend on her MySpace profile aside from the ubiquitous “Tom.” That friend’s own page is private, but her headline reads, “I love you Brittany. We will be together again, RIP.”

Related story: “Unsolved deaths rattle Wisconsin college.”

Burned body looks like homicide

The lede: “A man’s badly burned body was found behind a house near the Florida Mall on Wednesday and was likely a homicide victim, Orange County investigators said…”

Don’t “burned bodies” absent a source of burning like a house fire usually look like homicides? Not necessarily, I guess. I had an acquaintance who committed suicide by setting himself on fire in 1988, so I’ll cut that headline writer some slack.

Linehan sentenced to 99 years

The lede: “Just before a judge sentenced her to 99 years in prison, former stripper Mechele Linehan fought back tears and spoke for the first time in court…”

The story of the exotic dancer who became a presentable soccer mom before a murder plot from her stripper days came back to haunt her sounds like good fiction, but this deadly tale was true. If there isn’t a book or documentary out about this case in the next year or so, I’ll be amazed. At the very least, it has “Lifetime Movie of the Week” written all over it. Check out the Wikipedia stub article on Linehan for a brief overview of the case.

Experts Doubt 3rd-Graders Would Have Carried Out Waycross Attack

The lede: “Criminal and child psychiatry experts say it’s doubtful third-graders in south Georgia accused of plotting to attack their teacher would have executed their plans…”

When stories like this hit the news I feel like I want to remind anyone who knows that I live in Georgia that I was actually born and raised in Tennessee. That said, the now-infamous 3rd-grade death plot happened in Waycross, and I do live just north of Atlanta, a long ways away. Yeah. That makes me feel better.

Former Thai refugee held in girl’s death

The lede: “A former Thailand refugee was held Thursday as the killer of a 7-year-old girl found slain only a few feet from her South Salt Lake, Utah, home…”

Hser Nay Moo, the 7-year-old daughter of immigrants from Myanmar, disappeared last Monday. She was found Tuesday inside a residence not far from her family’s apartment. There isn’t much else to say. As is always the case when a child is murdered, the story is too sad for words.

Man Accused of Cover-Up in Ricin Probe

The lede: “The cousin of a man who may have been sickened by the deadly toxin ricin has been accused of failing to report that the substance was being illegally produced…”

I wrote about the very strange case of graphic artist Roger Bergendorff and his unfortunate experience with toxic ricin here. I’m still amazed at how people wanted to spin this odd story into some sort of politically-charged tale about a potential terrorist attack. With the arrest of Bergendorff’s cousin Thomas Tholen (detailed in the article linked above), it seems more obvious than ever that this was a weird but completely domestic story.