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Entries in Murder (3)

Monday
Nov122012

Software Genius Sought: McAfee Founder Wanted in Murder Probe

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(SAN PEDRO TOWN, Belize) -- John McAfee, the tech wizard who developed the McAfee anti-virus software in the 1980s and helped pioneer instant messaging in the 1990s, is wanted for questioning by Belize Police in connection with the murder of a neighbor and fellow American expatriate.

Police say 52-year-old Gregory Faull was found dead in his tropical island hacienda on Sunday -- discovered lying face down in a pool of blood by his housekeeper. Police say he was shot in the back of the head. Gang Suppression Unit commander Marco Vidal told ABC News that McAfee was one of several individuals wanted for questioning. Belize Police spokesman Raphael Martinez also said that McAfee is one of several "persons of interest" in the inquiry.

But McAfee told Wired magazine he was innocent, and that he watched police search his property from a hole he'd buried in the sand – covering himself with a cardboard box. "It was extremely uncomfortable," he told Wired, adding, 'You can say I'm paranoid about it but they will kill me, there is no question. They've been trying to get me for months."

He said Belizean authorities had targeted him, but killed the wrong American. Authorities in Belize denied any wrongdoing, telling ABC News they are just trying to investigate the murder and McAfee's possible connection.

McAfee and Faull lived in adjacent lots on the Belizean jungle island of Ambergris Caye and had traded barbs and nearly blows over McAfee's nine dogs. Faull's father, Arthur Faull, told ABC News his son had demanded that McAfee quiet them down. McAfee allegedly threatened Faull that the next time he set foot on his property he'd shoot him. Faull promptly filed a complaint. He was shot a few days later.

McAfee's life began unraveling in 2008, when he lost most of his estimated $100 million fortune in the combined collapse of the stock market and real estate market. He auctioned off everything he owned in an open auction filmed by ABC News Nightline.

He then moved to Belize, where he established a company that sought to transform jungle plants into modern medicine. That company began to fall apart in 2010, after an investor fled the country.

The combative McAfee kept running afoul of police. In May, said Vidal, his teams raided McAfee's home and lab, finding an unknown substance thought to be narcotics, which McAfee insisted was a natural antibiotic. He was not charged with a crime.

According to freelance writer Jeff Wise, who profiled McAfee's decline on the website Gizmodo.com, McAfee had become deeply enmeshed in the world of gangs, narcotics and arms. Wise told ABC News McAfee had become something of a prophet of "bath salts," crowing about the "super perv powder" and the drug's erotic effects on various hardcore drug message boards.

Bath salts, synthetic drugs that can mimic the effects of cocaine, have been linked to numerous bizarre and violent incidents in the U.S.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Nov072011

Websites Selling Murder Memorabilia

Hemera/Thinkstock(JACKSONVILLE, Fla.) -- Have you ever wanted to own a lock of Charles Manson's hair? Or a painting by John Wayne Gacy?

Probably not, but for those who have, there are six websites in the United States currently selling "murderabilia," or murder memorabilia, from almost any killer imaginable.

The starting bid on Manson's hair is $2,500, and the starting bid for a Gacy of an owl is $1,300 on MurderAuction.com.

In addition to top-sellers like Manson and Gacy, buyers can purchase items from infamous killers like Ted Bundy, Jeffrey Dahmer and Richard Ramirez.

The objects range from personal items such as letters, artwork, and clothing to manufactured items such as action figures, trading cards and comic books.

But the controversial business of selling murder memorabilia does not sit well with many people, including Andy Kahan, a victim advocate for the city of Houston who has been the leader of efforts to ban these sales for many years.

When Kahan discovered murder memorabilia being sold on eBay in 1999, he made it his mission to stop the sales. He eventually convinced eBay to outlaw the selling of the products, but the vendors had already tapped into a niche market and discovered there was demand for the objects, so a handful built their own websites.

One of these was Eric Gein, 42, who owns and operates Serial Killers Ink, one of the sites that sells murderabilia, from his home in Jacksonville, Fla.

Gein said he discovered that buyers have a fascination with "going to the source" and "holding something that an infamous monster has created," which led to his business.

The vendor befriends the prisoners by writing them letters and starting a relationship. He said that once they have developed a relationship, he is forthcoming about the fact that he is looking to sell items from them. Gein said that many of the criminals thrive on attention and see the products as a way to garner attention.

Gein's customer base is diverse. Buyers include "collectors of the macabre," university professors who use the items for teaching, college students looking for dorm decorations and military men and women.

Some of the most popular items on his site right now are a signed angel postcard from Charles Manson, on sale for $225, and a handwritten letter and envelope from Ted Kaczynski, better known as "the unabomber," for $250.

While Gein will not say how much he makes from these sales, he said he makes "a comfortable living." He and his girlfriend keep 100 percent of the profits and say none of the money goes to the inmates.

When asked if he feels guilty for what some would see as profiting off of heinous crimes, Gein insists he does not. He says he is aware that some family members of victims of these killers are hurt and angered about what he does for a living.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Aug272011

Online Love Triangle Ends in Murder

Medioimages/Photodisc/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The Internet is known as a breeding ground for illicit affairs between people often hiding behind fake names and handles. But most such virtual relationships are not as dangerous as when "Talhotblond" and "MarineSniper" struck up an online relationship that ended in murder.

MarineSniper was 46-year-old Thomas Montgomery, a married father of two. In May 2005, he posed as a young, handsome Iraq-bound Marine and entered a teen chat room on the popular game site "Pogo."

When 18-year-old Talhotblond started instant-messaging him, he decided to pretend he was 18, too.

"I kept thinking, well, we're never going to meet. I'll just play the game with her," he said.

Before long, the flirtation blossomed into a romance.

Talhotblond's instant messages revealed that her real name was Jessi, who was a softball-playing high school senior from West Virginia. She sent Montgomery photos that lived up to her racy screen name.

"There were some very provocative poses," he said.

In return, Jessi wanted to see what he looked like so he sent her his photo from Marine boot camp.

The picture was 30 years out of date. Montgomery's screen name, MarineSniper, was a nostalgic harkening back to the six years he spent in the military as a young man.

Instant messages recovered from Montgomery’s computer showed that the online relationship began to consume him. He told 20/20 that this relationship "became more real to me than real life."

The feeling appeared to be mutual. Jessi and "Tommy" exchanged gifts, phone calls and love letters.

"There was virtual sex going on in there between her and Tommy," he said.

While Montgomery said the virtual sex made him "feel kind of dirty," he was in too deep to sever ties with her.

Montgomery seemed to be losing touch with reality. He wrote a note to himself, "On Jan. 2, 2006 Tom Montgomery (46 years old) ceases to exist and is replaced by an 18-year-old battle-scarred marine. He is moving to West Virginia to be with the love of his life."

In March 2006, Montgomery told 20/20 that one of his daughters was using his computer when Jessi happened to instant message him. Montgomery's wife, alerted by her daughter, found a trove of love letters, photos and mementos from Jessi, including a pair of red panties. She sent Jessi a photo of her family and a letter.

"Let me introduce you to these people," she wrote. "The man in the center is Tom, my husband since 1989. He is 46 years old."

Montgomery said Jessi was horrified, and broke off the relationship immediately. "She sends me a text message and says, she hates me, you should be put in jail for this," he told 20/20.

Jessi also e-mailed one of Montgomery's co-workers, a 22-year-old attractive part-time machinist and college student named Brian Barrett to see if it was really true.

Brian, who went under the screen name "Beefcake," consoled Jessi online.

Before long, Jessi was sending Brian her photos and the two had become an online fling. MarineSniper was consumed with jealousy.

"Brian will pay in blood," Montgomery instant messaged Jessi at one point.

His messages became increasingly violent, as he was forced to watch their romance blossom in the same chat rooms he used to frequent with Jessi.

But the IMs that came from Talhotblond showed her to be torn—mad one instant and then desperate to return to loving a man who she knew didn't exist.

Jessi eventually rekindled close relations with Montgomery again.

Montgomery knew he was in way over his head, but he couldn't bring himself to end things with her again.

At one point, when his wife actually told him to get off the computer and talk to her, Montgomery couldn't. "I just told her I'll get off when I'm done," he recalled.

Jessi finally told Montgomery they were through, and returned to Barrett again while Montgomery began to go into a downward spiral.

"The obsession turns into jealousy, and then the jealousy turns into betrayal and revenge," said District Attorney Frank Sedita. "You really start to get a, a sense of this person going into an abyss. And it's kind of frightening."

The tipping point arrived when Barrett decided to meet Talhotblond in person.

Montgomery learned of the plan and was incensed.

On Sept. 15, 2006, Barrett was found dead in the parking lot where he worked, shot three times by a military rifle.

“At three in the morning,” Capt. Ron Kenyon told 20/20, “our first concern was talking to Jessi and making sure she was still alive.”

But when police arrived at her home, they were in for a surprise when a woman named Mary Shieler opened the door.

Shieler had been sending messages to Montgomery and Barrett under the name Talhotblond. The pictures she sent Montgomery were actually those of her daughter—the real Jessi—who had no knowledge of her mother's cyberlife.

Montgomery was charged and later plead guilty to the murder of Brian Barrett. He received a 20-year sentence.

Mary Shieler didn't come away unscathed. Her husband divorced her over her deception and her daughter Jessi cut ties too, moving in with relatives in Virginia, where she was attending college.

Mary Shieler also pursued an education at a community college in West Virginia.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio