Monday, June 11, 2007

Judge releases Genarlow Wilson

A judge has overturned the sentence of Genarlow Wilson, a 17-year-old convicted of aggravated child molestation for having sex with a 15-year-old classmate.

Wilson, an honor student and football star, was sentenced to 10 years in prison and a lifetime of being registered as a sex offender. His case had become a rallying point for people who believe he was wrongly convicted. A Monroe County, Ga., judge today (Monday) reduced that sentence to 12 months -- time Wilson has already served. He also voided the requirement that Wilson register as a sex offender.

The judge's ruling basically mirrors a Georgia state law passed earlier this year in response to Wilson's case. The legislature approved the law because of the outcry over Wilson's sentence, but did not make it retroactive.

Wilson, now 21, was one of six high school boys who rented a motel room, stocked it with liquor and marijuana, and invited female classmates to join them for a New Years party. The party came to light after a 17-year-old girl awoke the next morning naked except for socks. She called her mother saying she could remember nothing about the night before and thought she had been raped.

When police investigated, they found the motel room littered with condoms and a videotape showing the 17-year-old girl having sex with several of the boys, including Wilson, and a 15-year-old girl performing oral sex on Wilson and some of the others. The 15-year-old said she did not drink or smoke pot, and performed the acts willingly. All of the boys except Wilson pleaded guilty. Wilson stood trial, was convicted and received a mandatory 10-year sentence.

UPDATE 6/12/07 8:20 a.m.
Attorney General appeals; Wilson still in prison

Georgia Attorney General Thurbert Baker has appealed the judge's decision to release Wilson. Rather than being released, Wilson remains in jail pending the appeal. Wilson has turned down an alternative plea bargain offered by Baker because it would require him to plead guilty to a felony. Though the proposed plea would remove the charge from his record and take him off the sex offender list once a post-release rehabilitation program was completed, it would also subject him to a 15-year sentence if he was found to have violated the conditions of his early release.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Wheelchair off to the races

How fast can a wheelchair go? It depends on whether it's being pushed by an 18-wheeler.

Ben Carpenter, a 21-year-old man with muscular dystrophy, was crossing the street in Paw Paw, Mich., when the light turned green and a semi pulled slowly away from the stop line. The driver didn't see Carpenter, who was apparently so close to the truck that he was hidden behind the high hood.

The handles of the chair got caught in the truck's grill, and Carpenter was off to the races. The truck drove two miles down a two-lane highway before it turned into the parking lot of the trucking company, and a police officer stopped the driver. Carpenter wasn't hurt, but his wheelchair was a little worse for wear. It seems wheelchairs really weren't designed to hit 50 miles per hour on asphalt.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Book signings were fun, successful

I'd like to thank the folks at Waldenbooks in Ashland, Ky., and Borders Books and Music in Huntington, W.Va., for making Saturday such a great day. I'm including employees and the people who stopped to buy Precious Blood or just to chat. I hope and be back in the tri-state area soon.

While I was in Ashland, my old friends and fellow writers G. Sam Piatt and George Wolfford stopped by. The three of us were reporters together at The Daily Independent, but I haven't seen much of them lately. That's George Sam, Sam and George in the picture at the right. I saw a lot of old friends from my days in Ashland, and I made some new friends while I was there.

Paul at Waldenbooks has invited me back again, and the people who work at Borders were super, super nice. Both stores have signed copies of my book in stock, as does the Barnes & Noble in Lexington, Ky., where I signed books on May 18.

I also had the pleasure of meeting an 11-year-old New Yorker who has written his first book and is looking for a publisher, and a young man who has written a book of poetry to help him get through the death of his mother. It's good to see kids and teens who are interested in writing, and actually write without being told to by their teachers.

True crime has a new home on the web

I wrote last week that our new true crime blog was about to launch. I'm happy to report that the launch was successful.

Last Friday (June 1) marked the first day for In Cold Blog, a blog devoted specifically to true crime. I had the honor of being the first to blog.

The new blog features 30 true crime experts. The lineup includes 22 true crime authors and eight others., including a police officer, a prosecutor, crime victims, forensic artists, editors, and television and Internet reporters. Each blogger will be featured one day a month, but may also post at other times.

In Cold Blog is the brainchild of best-selling true crime author Corey Mitchell, who recruited the other bloggers to join him in the venture. Bloggers will write about cold cases, current crimes, and other subjects related to true crime. Readers are welcome to comment, and we'll try our best to answer.

The complete roster of bloggers is as follows:

Sam Adams, author of Precious Blood

Pat Brown, criminal profiler & author of Killing for Sport

Andrea Campbell, forensic artist and aspiring true crime author

Kathryn Casey, author of Die My Love, The Rapist’s Wife, A Warrant to Kill, She Wanted it AllCarol Anne Davis, author of Sadistic Killers, Women Who Kill, Couples Who Kill, Children Who Kill

John Ditmars, Travis County Sheriffs’ Deputy and Senior Corrections officer and aspiring true crime author of The Candy Man

Joseph Foy, witness who put serial killer Coral Watts behind bars for life

Ron Franscell, author of Fall

Michaela Hamilton, Executive Editor of Kensington True Crime

Steve Huff, true crime blogger

Laura James, Editor of CLEWS Historic True Crime Blog

Aphrodite Jones, author of The FBI Killer, Cruel Sacrifice, A Perfect Husband, Red Zone, All She Wanted and more

Andy Kahan, Director of the Crime Victims Assistance of the Mayor’s Office of Houston and leading voice against murderabilia

Joyce King, author of Hate Crime, Forgotten Hurricane, Growing Up Southern: White Men I Met Along the Way

Paul LaRosa, author of Tacoma Confidential & Nightmare in Napa and producer of CBS' 48 Hours

Gary Lavergne, author of A Sniper in the Tower, Bad Boy from Rosebud, Worse Than Death, Lives of Quiet Desperation

David Lohr, featured true crime writer for CourtTV’s Crime Library

Steven Long, author of Out of Control, Every Woman’s Nightmare, Death Without Dignity

Dennis McDougal, author of Blood Cold, Angel of Darkness, In the Best of Families, Mother’s Day, The Yosemite Murders and more

Corey Mitchell, author of Strangler, Evil Eyes, Murdered Innocents, Dead and Buried, Hollywood Death Scenes + more ***Editor of In Cold Blog***

Gregg Olsen, author of Starvation Heights, Cruel Deception, Mockingbird, If Loving You is Wrong, Bitter Almonds and many more

Donna Pendergast, Michigan Assistant Attorney General

M. William Phelps, author of Murder in the Heartland, Every Move You Make, Lethal Guardian, Sleep in Heavenly Peace, Perfect Poison

Dr. Katherine Ramsland, author of The Science of Cold Case Files, Inside the Minds of Serial Killers, Inside the Minds of Mass Murderers, The Human Predator, The C.S.I. Effect and many more

Simon Read, Author of In the Dark, On the House, The Killing Skies

Fred Rosen, author of Lobster Boy, Body Dump, Needle Work, Did They Really Do It?, The Historical Atlas of American Crime and many more

Harriett & John Semander, mother and brother of Elena Semander, a victim of serial killer Coral Watts (Harriett was instrumental in keeping Watts from being released from a Texas prison. John is a freelance writer and film producer living in Los Angeles)

Suzy Spencer, author of Wages of Sin, The Fortune Hunter, Wasted, Breaking Point

Mike "Necrolagnia" Stinski, Drummer/lyricist for death metal band Divine Pustulence and hardcore true crime fan

Carlton Stowers, author of Open Secrets, Innocence Lost, Scream at the Sky, Sins of the Son, Careless Whispers and many more.