Monday, May 28, 2007

The Knoxville Murders

I first heard about the Knoxville Murders (not to be confused with the murder in the Louvin Brother's song, Knoxville Girl)when rec.gambling.poker gadfly Paul Popinjay posted about it.

He quoted some heavily footnoted wiki entry that described extensively a bunch of horrific stuff. And of course the wiki had a picture of the pretty white girl and pictures of the thuggish black guys accused of doing all this horrific stuff.

One of the wiki links is to a Grand Jury indictment. Two murders. Four defendants with 46 counts each. That's close to 200 indictments for two murders. That's a big number. In some circles that might even qualify to be described as overkill. They even brought separate indictments for oral rape, anal rape and vaginal rape. Why? It looks to me like no other reason than to demonize the defendants. Maybe they are demons, I don't know. But, is that the purpose of a Grand Jury?

Anyway, whenever I see that kind of overkill I start wondering about what the underlying truth actually is? I never think overkill accurately represents truth, I think the whole purpose of that kind of overkill is to obscure the truth. I know such overcharging is common in the US. But the reason it's common is that it's common for police and prosecutors to try to "win" by misrepresentation and intimidation, irrespective of truth.

Also, all the horrific details described in Paul's original wiki quote came from reports of a deputy US marshal. This was a local murder? There's no federal jurisdiction. The thoughts I expressed at the time were
Why is a deputy US Marshall involved in this?

It's a serious question. Without an explanation for that you can't find
anything about the report reliable. Nothing in this story indicates any reason
at all for the US Marshall's office to be involved, so clearly some part of the
story is being left out.


I just don't trust any of those sonsofbitches.


Also, language like "It has been suggested" is a huge red flag that it's all
bullshit.


Are you sure this isn't something Irish Mike got in an email?


The sonsofbitches I referred to was cops, I don't trust anything cops say. Cops are trained to lie and misrepresent things. It's a standard tool in interrogation and police work in general. I just see no reason to trust anything a trained liar says.

Irish Mike is one of the denizens of rec.gambling.poker who often reports urban myths someone sent him via email as factual.

After a web search I found that the US Marshall was involved because of a federal warrant that the ATF got for some weapons charge. Initially a charge of felon in possession of a weapon was the only actual criminal charge they even had probable cause sufficient to get a warrant. To me that sounded like more grasping and stretching truth.

I didn't know what happened but was reasonably convinced that the reports circulating were probably not fully accurate. Here's what I said in the rgp thread
The only charge that's been made that I could find was that one was charged with
felon in possosion of a firemarm, which explains the US Marshall. The ATF filed
a complaint in a federal court and Marshalls would serve the arrest warrent for
that.

They havn't been charged with the murders or rapes, apparantly there's not
enough evidnece even to arrest them on those charges.

Just as I suspected, the story you reprinted was overblown and a
misrepresntation.


http://www.knoxnews.com

Now my early suspicions have been validated by the Knoxville News (via Glenn Reynolds at Instapundit)
The victims were white. The suspects are black.


Authorities said the case began as a carjacking but wound up a kidnapping, rape and murder. They have said little else, however, tightlipped on every aspect of the case, from where it occurred to how Christian died.


It didn't take long for details -- horrific ones -- to eke out. The problem is, many of them are wrong.

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