News of the Weird

Lead Stories
*Kurt Irons, age 28, was arrested in December in Wausau, Wisconsin, and charged with vehicular homicide. Reportedly, Irons was driving a stolen truck after drinking heavily and crashed into another truck, killing a 37-year-old woman. According to the Marathon County sheriff's report, Irons was surprised that he was arrested, saying, "Dudes, it's just a girl, man. It's a girl, nothing but a girl."

*In March the New York Times reported on a recent spate of what it called really bad Japanese television shows, among them one in which bikini-clad young women attempted to crush aluminum cans by squeezing them between their breasts, and another in which a young child was brought on-stage and told that his mother had just been shot to death -- the producers wanted to see how many seconds would elapse before he started crying. Said a leading TV critic: "The more nonsensical the programs are, the more interesting I find them."

*Larry Bottone, a coach, teacher, and private tutor of kids for almost twenty years in Norwalk, Connecticut, pleaded guilty in October to a charge of child pornography based on a videotape of himself with a teenage boy. According to the police, other videos showed Bottone whipping nude boys, sticking objects under their fingernails, and rubbing their bodies with hot olive oil. Bottone contended that he was conducting serious research into how much punishment someone could endure when requested to do so by an authority figure.

*Jason Christopher Zepeda, age nineteen, in a holding cell following his arrest for graffiti vandalism in Fremont, California, in February, was booked on new charges when sheriff's deputies noticed that he was writing his name all over the cell.

*Carlton Bradley, age 56, was indicted in November in Plattsburgh, New York, for stealing underwear from a neighbor woman. Stealing one item at a time over a three-year period, he amassed 42 bras, 41 pairs of underpants, and 14 negligees.

*In a radio interview in February, a woman in London, England, said treatment at a children's hospital had finally cured her seven-year-old son of his three-year habit of eating nothing but jam sandwiches (strawberry or raspberry on white bread). His fear of other foods was such that he would tremble, sweat, and become nauseated at the mere sight.

Not My Fault
*In February credit union manager Cathleen Byers, charged with 83 counts of embezzling a total of $630,000, told a Eugene, Oregon, jury that her hands may have taken the money but that her "heart, mind, and spirit" were innocent because another personality within her did it. According to the prosecutor, only a handful of multiple-personality cases has ever been diagnosed in Europe, as opposed to "tens of thousands" in the U.S.

*Jeremy Dean and his parents, of Burney, California, filed a lawsuit in January against Shasta County for at least $700,000 for Dean's total disability that resulted from a car crash. Dean and some friends had been out drinking. He was in the back seat of a car and had stuck his head out the window to vomit just as the driver veered off the road, ramming Dean's head into a tree. The lawsuit claims that it was the county's fault that the tree was so close to the road.

Undignified Death
*According to police in Dahlonega, Georgia, ROTC cadet Nick Berrena, age 20, was stabbed to death in January by fellow cadet Jeffrey Hoffman, age 23, who was trying to prove that a knife could not penetrate the flak vest Berrena was wearing.

-- By Chuck Shepherd