Neighbors Believed Murderer Only Capable Of Rape

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Vol 36 Issue 15

Ammonia-Factory Leak Exposes Texas Town To Mexican Working Conditions

BROWNSVILLE, TX–A toxic-chemical leak at a Brownsville ammonia plant sent workers running for their lives Monday, exposing the city to deadly Mexican working conditions. "I smelled pure, concentrated ammonia leaking from one of the tanks, and for a second, I thought I was in the wrong country," plant foreman Dick Shriver said. "I mean, my God, Americans work here." Investigators noted with relief that shortly after the leak, a brisk wind came in from the north, blowing the lethal fumes out of the U.S.

Boyfriend Vows To Try Harder

BREMERTON, WA–Area resident Len Wallace made a solemn vow Monday to girlfriend Mindy Ellis that he would try much, much harder. "I've just been going through so much crazy stuff these days, baby," Wallace said. "From here on out, I'm gonna be the best boyfriend in the world." Wallace added that they're going to spend so much time together, he swears to God.

Pyramid Scheme 'Not A Pyramid Scheme'

HARTFORD, CT–Despite its expansion-driven profit structure and multilevel-marketing format, the "Cash-4-All" pyramid scheme is not a pyramid scheme, electronically dispatched literature touting the scheme boasted Monday. "Don't fall for those ripoff pyramid scemes [sic]," read an e-mail sent to Hartford resident Larry Grosvenor, "This is the real deal!!!" "This opportunity looks interesting," Grosvenor said of the pyramid scheme, which asked him to add his name to the bottom of a list, then send that list to six other people. "And the best part is, it's not some pyramid scheme."

Teen Male Vaguely Unnerved By Nude Pantyhose Rack At Kmart

OWINGS MILLS, MD–Unable to pinpoint the precise source of his disquietude, 13-year-old Brian Wilmot was "kinda creeped out" by a local Kmart's "nude" pantyhose rack Monday. "There's these plastic, pantyhose-covered legs sticking out of the rack, and the word 'nude' is there in big letters," said Wilmot, who was dragged to the store by his mother. "I don't know what it was about it, but it was just sorta unsettling."

Country Singer Trying To Think Of Rhyme For 'Shove You'

GREEN BRIER, TN–Country singer Ricky Lee Dean, nearing completion of a new song, reported Monday that he is struggling to find a rhyme for "shove you." "It's a tune about a fella who gets drunk and mistreats his gal, and he's trying to explain to her why he acts that way," Dean said. "The line goes, 'Just because I shove you/That don't mean I don't...' but I can't seem to finish it." Dean is also trying to come up with a rhyme for "down a flight of stairs."

Federal Troops Seize Neglected Child In Pre-Dawn Raid

YPSILANTI, MI–Acting under orders from U.S. Health And Human Services Secretary Donna Shalala, a battalion of heavily armed federal officers seized custody of neglected 9-year-old Jeffrey Boyd in a dramatic pre-dawn raid of his Ypsilanti home Monday. "Jeffrey is finally safe and out of harm's way," Shalala said of Boyd, whose parents were written up by Michigan's Department of Child and Family Services last month for "failure to consistently provide proper supervision and nutritious meals." Shalala added that the extreme measures were regrettable, but were necessary to enforce the law.

Third World Debt Relief

An estimated 10,000 people descended upon World Bank and IMF meetings in Washington last week, demanding debt relief for impoverished Third World nations. What do you think?
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Neighbors Believed Murderer Only Capable Of Rape

BEDFORD, VA–John Smith's April 25 murder of local teens Amy and Emily Dutler has sent shockwaves through this tight-knit community in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, its 6,000 residents struggling to comprehend how the man was capable of a crime so severe.

The house where John Smith (inset) admitted to shooting teens Amy and Emily Dutler.

"I've known John Smith since grade school," said Deborah Sykes, 38, Smith's next-door neighbor. "I'd never have suspected for a second that he had it in him to murder two innocent girls. Rape them, sure. But murder? No way."

"When I heard about how John shot those girls in cold blood, all I could think was, 'This can't be,'" said Rodney Wilshire, owner of the grocery store Smith frequented. "I could see John taking them out to the woods, tying them up, and having his way with them–he always seemed like the type–but killing them? That's not the man I thought I knew."

According to his confession to police, the 39-year-old Smith broke into the Dutler home at 1 p.m. on the day in question and discovered Amy, 17, and Emily, 15, in the kitchen. Holding the girls at gunpoint, he led them to the basement, where he shot each of them once in the back of the head with a .38-caliber revolver. Smith was seen exiting the rear of the house by a neighbor, who called the police. He was arrested several hours later at his home three blocks away.

"Living in a small town, you feel like you know the people around you and what they're capable of," said Father Randolph Logan, who has set up a grief-counseling center in the basement of St. Michael's Church. "And from the sick things John would tell me during confession, I definitely felt he was capable of rape–we're talking about some seriously impure thoughts here. But at no point did I ever pick up on any homicidal impulses from him."

"With John around, you always expected some girl to eventually turn up, bruised and naked, in the janitor's closet at school," Logan continued. "But then something like this happens, and all your preconceptions are shattered."

While Smith's neighbors said they had always felt there was "something definitely wrong in the head" with the quiet bachelor, they now realize that they underestimated his mental problems.

"When you have someone living right near you and see them every day, you never think, 'That person is a killer,'" neighbor Randy Weber said. "Once in a while you think to yourself, 'I bet he's diddling little boys.' But cold-blooded murder? It just goes to show, you can never predict the human capacity for evil."

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