True Crime Tuesdays – “Two Strikes… Want to Make it to Three?!”

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I had a whole True Crime Tuesday post ready for this week but when I read a recent news article in our local paper, I knew I had to write about this woman. So here it goes:

The news article’s title intrigued me: Brookfield woman arrested twice in one day

How?! Just how does one accomplish this wondrous title?!

As I read on, I just kept smacking my head.

The woman in question, 23-year-old Elayna Kathleen Smith, was arrested for breaking a full no-contact order. Police took her in at a park-and-ride where she was found in a vehicle with the young man who took the restraining order out against her. The two were first caught driving a vehicle with no front license plate and then the young man was found to have an expired license. After discovering the expired license, cops asked for the young woman’s name. She first gave some fake name but was quickly found out.

So Elayna is hauled in. She is released on a $500 bond.

Well, Elena isn’t the brightest bulb…

Not minutes after she is released, she is caught by an officer in the police department’s parking lot getting into a truck with who you ask… the same young man she is supposed to legally have no contact with! She is released now after posting another $1,000 bond.

She was arraigned on September 30th, 2019 after pleading “Not Guilty” to the three charges against her. Not sure how she plans on getting away with this one!

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I have so many questions on this one:

  • Why was a no-contact order taken out on her?!
  • Why was the guy who took the order out on her with her?!
  • Why did she choose to break the order and get in the truck with the guy?!
  • Were there drugs involved?! Prostitution?!
  • Or… is she just that dense?!

True Crime Tuesday – “Paging Dr. Schneeberger”

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I have to admit, I jumped at the chance to cover this one based solely on this doctor’s last name… Schneeberger (can’t stop laughing, sorry). No offense to any of my readers if your last name is Schneeberger or if any of your relatives last name is Schneeberger. In fact, my maiden name is the last half of this doctor’s last name. But, come on, who didn’t giggle when reading this?!

Now where did I discover Dr. Schneeberger?

To fall asleep at night, I watch episodes of Forensic Files (no judgement please). I am currently on Netflix’s Collection 8 out of 9. Each “collection” has around 50 episodes. Forensic Files is America’s longest running True Crime show commencing in April 23, 1996 and airing through June 17, 2011. That is over 15 years! Within this collection, I fell upon Season 6, Episode 18 “Bad Blood“.

The episode starts out in Kipling, Saskatchewan with a woman named Candice. Candy, as she is called in the episode, had gone to see her doctor (paging Dr. Schneeberger!) for some sort of sedative to calm her anxiety. This is not the first time Candy has seen him. This man was her primary care physician and even delivered her child. But this time was different. This time the doctor got a bit happy with the wrong head on his body. 

The incident occurred on Halloween of 1992. Schneeberger gave Candy a sedative as requested. It knocked her out completely. When she came to, she was disoriented but remembered Dr. Schneeberger sexually assaulting her. She did not say a word to his nurses, but confronted the doctor about the rape. The wonderful doctor was already beginning to cover his story by telling her that the sedative he gave her, Versed, has a strong amnesic effect and can cause vivid dreams.

Candy wasn’t buying it.

She left the office, but drove to a clinic in another town and got a rape kit performed on her. After semen was found she then called the police to report the rape. After reporting the crime, we see Candy being interviewed by Forensic Files, then her mother and then her father. I lost count on how many times “Eh” was said. It must be very prevalent in Saskatchewan versus all other Canadian provinces (Canada readers, please weigh in).

But I digress. The police went to visit Dr. Schneeberger and asked for his blood. Voluntarily, the doctor allowed them to take it… as long as it was in his left arm. No problem, I understand. I am a righty and prefer to donate blood using my non-dominant arm. His blood is not a match to the semen in Candy’s rape kit. Dr. Schneeberger is off the hook… for now.

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Candice doesn’t quite understand how this happened. Prior to the rape she hadn’t had sex in weeks. Meanwhile, the whole town is beginning to gossip about her and frankly, hate her. She, finally, persuades the police to test it again a year later. This time, the nurse who drew the blood looks at the tube and is a bit perplexed stating that this looks like old blood. But once again, the doctor is not a match even though the sample is very degraded. The police close the case in 1994.

Seems like this is the end for Candy getting justice… or is it?

Several years later, Dr. Schneeberger (god I love his name!) is accused by his stepdaughter in 1997 of sexual assault. Schneeberger’s wife, who had remained by his side and loathed Candy, was now singing a different tune. Lisa, his wife, had him arrested and demanded a DNA test to be performed. Candy’s case was reopened. The Mounties weren’t playing this time. They not only took his blood but also a hair sample and a saliva sample. All 3 were a match to the semen in Candy’s rape kit.

So how did Dr. Schneeberger’s blood not match the semen the first two times it was tested? The sneaky doctor reveals this in his 1999 trial for sexual assault. The doctor took a 15cm tube and filled it with one of his male patient’s blood. Aha! Now remember when the nurse was a bit puzzled after the second test stating that the blood looked old? Dr. Schneeburger had left that tube in him for over a year. Not the brightest move. This is why he always wanted his blood taken from his left arm. In the episode, they even zoom in to his second voluntary blood donation and you can actually see the tube in his arm!

Well, because the doctor was now involuntarily demanded to give his DNA, there was no way he was getting away with this!

In 1999, he was sentenced to six years in prison (frankly not enough time if you ask me). He medical license was revoked. His wife divorced him and complained about his citizenship to the the Canadian authorities. You see, Dr. Schneeberger was actually born in Zambia, a country located in south-central Africa. When the good doctor was released four years later on parole, the authorities revoked his citizenship and began deportation procedures. It seems Dr. Schneeburger may have mislead the authorities on his citizenship application (What Dr. Schneeburger lie? No way!) On his 1993 application, he claimed he was not part of an active police investigation. It seems the doctor had “forgotten” about the case Candy had brought against him (maybe he took some Versed!)

Dr. John Schneeberger was deported to South Africa in July 2004.

Candy was elated that she finally got justice, eh.

True Crime Tuesday – The Prodigal Spoiled Brat Son

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This weeks true crime tale begins in West Virginia (no, get your minds out of the gutter, there is no incest in this story). There was a small family of three: a mother, a son, and a stepfather. This is the story of Donald Dunn and the murder and attempted murder of his parents.

I had no idea who Donald Dunn was before watching A Lie To Die For, Season 1, Episode 5, “Deadly Diploma”. I needed a new true crime show to binge watch and the title of the show intrigued me. Due to the fall lineup on the network stations not starting for another week or so, my husband and I decided to watch this show one evening. This is where I met the prodigal son, Donald.

Donald was by all means a typical child. He was loved by his mother, Johanna, and stepfather, Mark. Mark entered Donald’s life pretty early on. He loved the boy, always being there for him. His parents spoiled him. He never had to ask for anything. Johanna and Mark bought him whatever he wanted.

So here we are, a boy who is tremendously loved by his parents and given everything he could ever want. Why would he want to kill his parents?!

Well, as the title states, this millennial fits the stereotype that a lot of people have towards millennials. Donald became lazy. Selfish and lazy.

Donald started community college back in 2008 and then transferred to Marshall University in 2010. It wasn’t long after this transfer that Donald failed out of college. Like any “good” son, he decided not to tell his parents. He moved in with his long time girlfriend and her sister and pretended to go to class. According to them he would leave for 1-2 hours and come back. They didn’t think anything of it. Turns out, young Donald was going and getting high during this time frame. When he was back at the apartment he would play video games and watch movies with his girlfriend. Typical college student behavior. All this while keeping his parents money. He was living the lazy sloth-like life he always wanted… and one he would kill for.

Johanna calls 911 on May 25, 2013, the day that was supposed to be Donald’s college graduation. In this 911 call, Johanna tells police that she shot and killed her husband in self defense. Her son Donald had been in the shower but came upstairs to his mother once he was beckoned to do so. They arrest Johanna and question both at the police station.

Open and shut case, right?! Oh so wrong!

At the police station Johanna is quick to change her story. She tells police that Donald is the one who shot and killed Mark and that he attempted to shoot and kill her as well. He told his mother he had a gift for her and to sit at the dining room table and he’ll bring it to her. Instead he points the gun at the back of her head and shoots. Lucky for Johanna, the gun jams and she frees herself begging her son to turn himself in. Instead he forces her to call the police and tell them she killed Mark.

Now the police don’t know who the heck to believe. That is until…

… Donald breaks!

He fully admits to killing his stepfather and attempting to kill his mother. Then he explains why beginning with:

“First semester there, the classes went from, if you show up, you get an A, to actually having to put forth the effort and do the work,” Donald Dunn told police, “It was just beyond me. I just didn’t have the faculties to do it.” (But you have the faculties to use this word)

Hmmm… didn’t have the faculties to do it. So now Donald is trying to convince everyone he is a big dummy.

He continues by saying he enjoyed living the comfortable life he was living doing nothing and leeching off his parents. He figured to continue that life that he would need to kill his parents to inherit their money, because as he states, it was easier than telling them the truth about flunking out of college. What a typical millennial?! (Honestly, no offense to my millennial readers, he just fits the stereotype perfectly):

“It wasn’t really the thought of upsetting them, I guess it was the thought of losing a vehicle, losing a place to live, losing fancy custom shoes and junk like that,” Donald said. (What a spoiled brat?!)

Donald, trying to make off like he is this dumb-ass, admits to typing up a suicide letter supposedly written by his mom. In the letter he glorifies himself like any good psychopath would, how he is such a treasured son.

But he is not done.

He admits to planning these murders during spring break because his “graduation” was approaching. He started going to gun ranges to practice. He stole his mother’s gun and loaded it with the exact amount of bullets you would need for his “murder/suicide” plan with is mother as the shooter. He had been producing fake report cards from the school and continued to. He had everyone fooled.

The cops who interrogated him have said that he showed no emotion whatsoever after reiterating his story. He was cold and shocked that he didn’t feel anything after killing his stepfather.

In 2014, Donald was convicted of the first degree murder of his stepfather, Mark, and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. The irony is that even though he tried to kill his mother, she defended him at the trial saying that he was such a good boy growing up. She even went as far as to use the insurance money she got from Mark’s death to hire a lawyer for her son! I understand sticking by your child but he murdered your husband and then you took the victim’s money to pay for the guilty’s lawyer?! Just wrong.

In 2016, Donald appealed his case taking it all the way up to the West Virginia Supreme Court. In some not-so-shattering news, they denied his appeal.

Donald’s mother died not long after his sentence from cancer, an illness she had been suffering from for a while. There is no one left to visit him as the rest of the family has cut their ties. He will die in prison alone…

… as the man who “didn’t have the faculties to do it.”

He has never shown any remorse.

 

 

True Crime Tuesdays – “I Did It All For You, Jodie!”

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I don’t know much about John Hinckley Jr. All I knew prior to watching the recent Dateline episode (Season 27, Episode 52) was that he shot President Reagan. After all, I had just had my first birthday a month prior. My focus was on taking my first steps, not true crime. That would come much later.

When I saw the Dateline preview for the episode “Hinckley: Diary of a Dangerous Mind” I became intrigued. I never knew why he did what he did. I never knew that when he shot President Reagan, he shot several other people. And I never knew that the reason behind him shooting the president all lied with his tremendous infatuation with actress Jodie Foster.

Within the episode, they had interviewed some of Hinckley’s childhood chums. They described him as this nice kid, friendly, caring. And then something happened. He changed. He became paranoid. As his friends described him, I jumped up from the sofa scaring my husband as I shouted, “He has schizophrenia!” Leave it to my mentally ill mind to know. I, myself, am not a schizophrenic, but know several people who are and the one thing they all have in common is that their symptoms first appeared in their late teens/early 20s. I have to admit, I high-fived my husband when they did finally diagnose him.

But I digress. A little background on John Hinckley Jr.: He was born in Oklahoma in 1955 to well-to-do parents. Money was not an issue in their house. He grew up in Texas through elementary school on and even into his college years. Because of the symptoms of his mental illness, he wound up dropping out of college and moving back in with his parents who were then living in Colorado.

It was here that he came up with his plan, the plan to shoot (and hopefully kill) the president. Why? Jodie Foster. I know, I know, how are the two connected? My husband and I were greatly perplexed by this, sitting on the edge of the sofa about to fall off, staring at the TV with our faces in a puzzling look. Then the answer was given… the movie Taxi Driver.

Ah, yeah, Taxi Driver! I see the correlation. Totally! (Remember, I was a baby when Reagan was shot. I wasn’t even born when Taxi Driver was released).

So, to put all the points into perspective… Jodie Foster plays a prostitute in Taxi Driver (released in 1976). The lead, played by Robert DeNiro, is a Vietnam Vet who is now driving a taxi through the streets of NYC. He slowly becomes insane and starts to plan the assassination of the presidential candidate and Jodie Foster’s pimp.

Okay, now it is making more sense. Hinckley was obsessed with this movie. This movie was where his obsession with Jodie Foster was fostered (hah, like my play on words there?!). This movie’s lead goes insane. Hinckley was going insane. The lead plans to assassinate the presidential candidate… aha! Hinckley plans to assassinate a president.

Now I got it. All the dots are connected.

On March 30th, 1981, Hinckley fired 6 shots into a large crowd aimed at President Reagan. His first few shots hit police officer Thomas Delahanty, Secret Service agent Timothy McCarthy and press secretary James Brady. It wasn’t until the very last shot, that he hit Reagan. The bullet squeezed by through the small gap at the hinge of the car door and hit Reagan in chest. Reagan recovered as did the others shot, although some of them did not fare as lucky as others.

Hinckley is quickly tackled and arrested after the shooting. It is at this point where they have a psychiatrist see him. He was then given the diagnosis of schizophrenia. Throughout this whole time (prior to the shooting and after) he is in constant contact with (who else?) Jodie Foster. He created this romantic relationship in his head. Called her dorm room. Wrote her letters. He was in love, the obsessive, stalker kind, but in love nonetheless. Meanwhile, Jodie thought the complete opposite. Frankly, he was nothing to her but an annoying man.

Hinckley is brought to trial in 1982. Everyone is 100% positive that he will be found guilty. I mean, there are over dozens of witnesses. The courtroom is waiting with baited breath as the jury files in and reads the verdict…

“Not guilty by reason of insanity!”

The courtroom was in shock! No jail time for someone who shot the president?!

It isn’t that Hinckley got off Scott-free. He was sent to St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Washington D.C. During his hospital stay, he decided that conversing with other criminals would be a really good hobby. He and Ted Bundy became good pen pals. He wrote with one of Charles Manson’s women, Lynette Fromme. He tried to get Manson’s contact info but never received it (I guess Manson swiped left on Tinder).

Hinckley did fall in love while in the hospital. He fell for a woman 10 years his senior who was taking up residence there because she shot and killed her 10-year-old daughter. During this tragedy, she cut her arm off as well. The two were crazy about each other and would meet outside, walk together and even enjoyed some sexual escapades. They were so in love that when this woman was released she took a job at St. Elizabeth’s to remain near him. I am not sure how this was allowed by the staff…

In 1987, Hinckley made his first attempt at freedom. He applied to the court for periodic home visits. Because of his correspondence with mass-murderer Ted Bundy, and his continued obsession with Jodie Foster, he was denied.

He was given supervised home visits in 1999. A year later, 2000, the hospital decided he was ready to see the world and suggested unsupervised visits. Not sure what they were thinking, but they quickly realized this was a bad idea and changed their minds.

Throughout 2004 and 2005, Hinckley regained supervised visits with his parents. September of 2005, he requested expanded privileges. He received multi-night visits with his parents, who were now living in Williamsburg, VA. In 2007, Hinckley wanted more. He was denied.

In 2009, he was allowed longer visits with his mother (his father had passed away) and he was allowed a driver’s license. With this he had to have a GPS enabled cellphone to which he had to carry all the time.

In 2011, the hospital deemed him safe and not a danger to himself or society. The Department of Justice disagreed.

In 2013, he received longer visits with his mother, now allowing him 17-day stretches.

After over 30 years at St. Elizabeth’s, John Hinckley Jr. was released on September 10, 2016 into the hands of his aging mother who was 90 at the time. He had a whole bunch of conditions he had to keep in order to stay free and seemed to maintain them all. As of November 2018, the court allowed him to move out of his mother’s house and is live on his own.

I know for a fact that he still resides in Williamsburg, VA as I have a friend there who has seen him. He lives a normal life, goes shopping, has a girlfriend.

But what would a good true crime story be without a good humorous twist?! Am I right?!

As of September 10, 2019, Hinckley is seeking permission to move to California. Why? To enter the music business. The judge is reviewing and requesting additional information.


An interesting side note: Hinckley didn’t care which president he tried to assassinate, there was no democrat/republican angle. He is seen in a photograph standing in a crowd behind President Carter. He just never had the right angle. So Reagan was next.

Okay, okay, so what do I think about Hinckley living a “normal” life?
As a person with mental illness, I think he deserves a second chance at a “normal” life. He spent many years, decades, at an institution. He sees a therapist and a psychiatrist. He is what I like to call “in remission”. Why shouldn’t he deserve another chance at life?!
But to play devil’s advocate… he shot a president! He shot other people as well. No, none of them died (although Brady’s death was ruled a homicide 33 years after the shooting). I often wonder what would’ve happened if he succeeded. But, what ifs are pointless.

 

If you enjoyed this installment, please check out last week’s: “I’m Gonna Be A YouTube Sensation!”

 

True Crime Tuesday – “I’m Gonna Be a YouTube Sensation!”

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A tale as old as time…

Boy meets girl. They fall in love. Boy marries girl. Girl hires hit man to kill boy… whoa, wait a minute!

This is the story of Dalia Dippolito, of Boynton Beach, FL who met her husband Michael Dippolito when she first appeared on his doorstep one day as a hired escort in 2008. Four months later (yes, I said four months) they were married. Hmmm… how much do you really know about a person in 4 months?! Their quick-to-the-altar marriage started out euphorically. All sunshine and roses, until it wasn’t, you know a few months after that. Why do I say a few months? Because Dalia started to plan Mike’s murder in 2009!

Maybe the sex wasn’t good, she didn’t like him anymore, who knows?! But he had to die! Why? Because the easiest most profitable way to get out of the marriage was to have him killed.

Detour here… I don’t understand what goes on in the criminal mind. You want out of a marriage and you want money. Ah, let me murder my spouse! Okay, I see that train of thought, BUT, and a big, BUT, criminals are stupid. They seem to get stuck on greed, that they don’t realize they will be caught and then instead of seeing all this insurance money & freedom, you’re seeing the inside of a prison. Just mind-boggling to me.

Back to the story. So Dalia wants her husband dead so she can collect his life insurance. Not original by any means. Greed is the #1 instigator of murder. Money talks. While she is planning his death, she starts stealing his money, $100,000 of it.

She begins with plans that only involve herself… poisoning his drink with antifreeze, attempting to steal a gun, trying to get him back behind bars on a probation violation (yes, Michael was not a saint by any means). All this backtracked her. She had to bring in reinforcements.

Enter her boyfriends.

She went first to Mike Stanley telling him that they could be together if they got Michael out of the picture. He helped put a townhouse Michael owned into Dalia’s name only. He aided in making phone calls to the U.S. Department of Treasury reporting Michael for fake money scams. This wasn’t enough.

She then enlisted Mohamed Fawzi Shihadeh. With this, Dalia makes the biggest mistake of her life… she tells Mohamed that she wants her husband dead. Oh Dalia, you broke one of my rules, disclosing your plan to someone else.

Well, at least the boyfriend isn’t as dumb as Miss Dalia. He takes his smart thinking directly to the local PD where he informs them of Dalia’s statement. The officers and Mohamed strike up a deal. Mohamed, now an informant, is to tell Dalia that he has found a hitman for her. Of course, this soon-to-be hired hitman is actually an undercover cop. This plan is the beginning of Dalia’s demise.

Dalia meets with the uncover cop, I mean hitman, in his car. Naturally, being an undercover cop there is not only sound recording devices in the car but video as well. Oh Dalia… She can be heard on the recording stating, “I’m positive, like 5,000 percent sure I want it done!Well, at least she is, like 5,000% sure and not only 100% sure. The video became an internet sensation.

But not as much as a sensation as her “grieving wife” video.

She goes back and forth texting the hired hitman. After the time and date is decided, the cops disclose to Michael Dippolito his wife’s plans for him. He was a bit shocked but not “Oh my God! No way!” shocked. He decides to play along to the cops plan… fake his death. Good thinking Michael! When no one was home, the cops went in and staged a murder scene and then waited for their prey to show up.

Soon enough, they get their wish. When Dalia arrives home, the cops tell her that Michael is dead. Without hinting to her involvement, she starts dramatically sobbing, falling into an officers arms. It is an absolutely fabulous performance. She is then taken back to the precinct for questioning. They bring in the ‘hitman’ and tell her he is an undercover cop. Then they bring in Mike, back from the dead. Dalia is utterly shocked, in tears and begs him to come to her. (Watch all this in the video below)

Well, if the story hasn’t brought you to tears of laughter yet, it is about to. Remember, criminals are stupid. Dalia’s defense at trial is that it was all fake. The murder plot was a sham. She wanted to become a YouTube sensation because, she thought, YouTube would lead her to her own reality show. (Insert head smack here). Her defense didn’t work and she was found guilty, sentenced to 20 years in 2011. (The texts and the video didn’t help your defense Dalia… not one bit)

But, in an unforeseen turn of events, her conviction is overturned. (Gasp!) A 2nd trial in 2016 wound up having a hung jury. Because of this, she was sent home on house arrest until the start of trial #3. In this short period of time, she gets pregnant and has a baby. Her 3rd trial happens in June of 2017 and she is found guilty once again and sentenced to 16 years in prison. Her ex-husband, Michael Dippolito, expresses his joy with a little play on words, “I am 5,000% happy with the result.

At this point the residents of Florida, and frankly anyone who has been following this case, is so exhausted about hearing about Dalia Dippolito. But, sadly, we are not done. A few days ago, her name appeared in the news once again. She filed for an appeal. In the smartest decision of the Florida Supreme Court, they rejected it.

She is due to be released in 2032 at the age of 50.

So much for living that carefree life with all that insurance money!

 

Seen on:

Snapped, Season 8, Episode 20, Dalia Dippolito,

Dateline “The Sting” Season 25, Episode 13

Cops, 20/20, American Greed & Crime Watch Daily