News of the Weird

Lead Stories
*In October Miriam Flores, serving six years for robbery in Mexico City, was selected Miss Mexico Jailhouse in a pageant that featured fourteen of the city's foxiest female inmates. A week later Pham Ngoc Tam won first place in a nationwide beauty contest of female jail guards held near Hanoi, Vietnam. (A press report said she is "probably best described as 'handsome.'")

*In October Richard Evans, a member of the Australian Parliament, proposed that the country eliminate all cats within 25 years. Evans offered evidence that cats have killed off nine native species of wildlife and proposed that a fatal virus be introduced to feral cats. He said all domestic cats should be neutered until they die out; in the interim cat curfews and a registry should be instituted.

*Construction worker Sidney de Queiroz was hospitalized in Sorocaba, Brazil, in October when a barroom fight left a five-inch-long knife blade protruding into his brain after he was stabbed close to his right eye. The blade remained in his head for a week while doctors pondered how to get it out without causing more damage. It was finally removed in nine hours of surgery.

*In Huntsville, Alabama, in November, Justin Lee McKinney, age 24, whose truck rammed a chainlink fence, was impaled on a three-inch-wide, twenty-foot-long steel pipe. Surgeons successfully removed it, but Dr. Russ Jaicks said, "If anyone [at the accident site] had pulled that pipe out, he would have died [of blood loss]."

*In July in Denver, a machine that packs explosive devices into car air-bag detonators blew up in the face of Nicolas Villarruel, age 29, lodging one explosive in his nose. The device was removed by surgeons in lead-lined gowns and with Villarruel's head under water because the explosive is activated by air.

*Paul Stiller, age 47, was hospitalized in Andover Township, New Jersey, in September after a quarter stick of dynamite blew up in his car. While driving around at 2:00 a.m., he and his wife lit the dynamite and tried to toss it out the window to see what would happen, but they apparently failed to notice that the window was closed.

*Jimmy "Jim Dog" Williams, Jr., was arrested in New Haven, Connecticut, in October and charged with killing a nineteen-year-old man in a brawl. Police found a set of gold-plated teeth inscribed "Jim Dog" at the scene of the fight.

*Perhaps America's most dysfunctional family, the Sextons of Ohio and Florida, made "News of the Weird" in May 1994 when sex abuse charges were filed against the mother, Estella, in Canton, Ohio, alleging that she sexually assaulted one or more of her kids, either alone or with her husband Eddie. Son Jamie Sexton, age twenty, was charged in November 1996 with aggravated murder in Canton after allegedly setting a fire to kill a former friend. The month before, Jamie had testified against Estella, helping to convict her on those thirteen sex-abuse counts. Eddie is on death row in Florida, convicted of killing a son-in-law who knew that Eddie smothered the man's baby because it cried excessively. (The paternity of the deceased baby is in dispute; the Sexton offspring say that their sister's baby was actually fathered either by Eddie or by one of the brothers.)

-- By Chuck Shepherd

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Chuck Shepherd