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Friday, Dec. 23, 2011

Chuck Shepherd's News of the Weird

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Bad Shots: (1) A 20-year-old woman was shot in Vilas County, Wis., in July; deputy sheriff Ty Peterson (a relative of the woman) thought he was shooting at a cougar. (2) An 85-year-old man was shot in the face in Augusta, Ga., in September; a female acquaintance thought she was shooting at an opossum. (3) A 22-year-old man was shot in the face on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, in September; his companion on the camping trip thought he was shooting at a bear.

Undignified Deaths


Thinning the Herd: (1) In October, a 30-year-old woman and her unidentified boyfriend were killed as they carried their domestic brawl from their car onto Interstate 485 near Pineville, N.C., and were struck by separate vehicles. (2) A 27-year-old man was killed in a one-car crash in Broward County, Fla., in October.  The man (a passenger in the car) had punched his wife (the driver) in the face, causing her to lose control and careen into a lake. (The woman and the couple's 3-year-old daughter, who was in the back seat, survived.)

The Pervo-American Community


Convicted sex offender Charlie Price, 57, was arrested in Pittsfield, Mass., in October, this time for disturbing the peace—because the "victim" was merely made of cardboard. Price, spotting a sunglasses display in a Rite Aid pharmacy, had begun kissing and licking the face of the pictured model, and then groping her.

Fine Points of the Law


  • Former CEO Michael Peppel, 44, was convicted of defrauding shareholders by overstating revenue in a company. The company went on to lose $298 million, and 1,300 employees lost their jobs. Sentencing guidelines recommended an 8- to 10-year term, but Dayton, Ohio, federal Judge Sandra Beckwith ordered Peppel to jail for just seven days.
  • In October, Kimberly Zakrzewski was found not guilty of violating the poop-scooping ordinance while walking another woman's dog in Fairfax County, Va., despite photographic "evidence" of dog piles submitted by neighbors Virginia and Christine Cornell (who had been feuding with Zakrzewski). The jury chose to give greater weight to testimony by the dog's owner that the photographed piles were bigger than anything she had ever seen from her dog, Baxter. The owner also revealed that she had brought to court one of Baxter's actual piles but decided to leave it in her car.


Least Competent Plans


Paul Moran—who possessed "considerable intellectual ability," according to his lawyer—attempted a procedure to turn his own feces into gold. In October, he was sentenced to three months in jail in Enniskillen, Northern Ireland, after accidentally setting his apartment on fire in the process.

Can't Possibly Be True


  • In October, the super-enthusiastic winners of a radio-station contest in Kingston, Ontario, claimed their prize: the chance to don gloves and dig for free tickets to a Buffalo Bills football game (value: $320), buried in buffalo manure in a child's plastic inflatable pool. The show's host, Sarah Crosbie, reported the digging live (but, overcome by the smell, vomited on the air). More curious was a runner-up contestant who continued to muck around for the second prize, even though it was only tickets to a local zoo.


  • Math teacher Paul LaDuke, 75, was fired in November from Schaumburg (Ill.) Christian School after a student reported seeing him masturbate as he stood behind a podium in a full classroom. LaDuke had been at the school for 26 years, and police believe (according to a Chicago Tribune report) he had "committed similar acts at the school several times a year for a decade or longer."

© 2011 Chuck Shepherd