Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Armed Bandit Dies in Attempted Holdup

Pharmacist outguns robber…
by Robert A. Waters

Working behind the counter at Good Family Pharmacy in Pinch, West Virginia, pharmacist Don Radcliff noticed a strange man walk in.  The man’s head was covered with a hoodie, and his face masked by a white bandana.  Since the weather was freezing outside, Radcliff didn’t feel comfortable with the man’s unusual attire.

Attempting to crack a joke, Radcliff asked the man if he was there to rob the store.  The man didn’t respond, and that suddenly struck Radcliff as strange.  “He didn’t say anything,” Radcliff said.  “He didn’t reply.  He didn’t laugh or joke with me.  He didn’t pull his hood or mask down and that gave me an uneasy feeling.”

Surveillance videos inside the store recorded what happened next.


The masked man, later identified as Terry Gillenwater, reached into his pocket and pulled out a handgun.   Radcliff later said:  “As soon as I saw [Gillenwater’s] gun, I went for mine.  You can’t hesitate and I didn’t.  I tried to close the distance between us because there was another student and an employee there and I definitely didn’t want them between us in a gunfight.  If there was going to be a gunfight, it was going to be between me and him.”

The pharmacist fired three rounds from his .45-caliber pistol.  Each bullet struck home.  The first round hit Gillenwater in the chest while the second hit the robber’s gun, disabling it.  Radcliff’s final round struck the robber in the abdomen.  Gillenwater fell to the floor, mortally wounded.

While Radcliff attempted to treat the robber’s wounds, pharmacy staff dialed 911.  Gillenwater, however, died on his way to the hospital.

Investigators concluded that Gillenwater’s intent was to steal prescription drugs.  He had a history of drug abuse, and had recently entered a treatment center after pleading guilty to conspiracy to distribute Oxycontin.  Kanawha County Prosecutor Chuck Miller stated that “Mr. Gillenwater had done some preliminary efforts to case the pharmacy.  He had done some search[es] on his iPhone with respect to drugs in the pharmacy.”

Miller later told reporters that “it took a great deal of courage for Mr. Radcliff to pull his weapon and fire in the face of a weapon being pointed at him that was fully loaded with a round in the chamber.  That takes a lot of nerve, but he was completely justified in doing so.”

The pharmacist, who had a concealed carry permit, will not be charged with any crime.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Notes about my blog…

A few days ago, my blog, “Kidnapping, Murder and Mayhem,” surpassed 1 million page views.

Influenced by Laura James’ outstanding blog, “CLEWS,” I wanted an online outlet to publish short true crime stories, as well as narratives about any other subject that struck me.  I decided to stay away from political discussion since there are thousands of websites that cater to every nuance of the political spectrum.  Two exceptions were the gun issue (I’m obviously pro-gun) and the death penalty (in certain narrow instances, I’m obviously pro-death penalty).

Here are a few facts about my blog.

I refuse to allow any advertisements since I loathe pop-ups and side-ads that distract from the content.  In fact, I refuse to read the content of websites that have distracting ads.

I get many comments from readers, and I generally publish them whether the reader agrees with me or not.  But I personally do not use profanity either in speech or prose and will not publish comments that contain foul language.  I am exceedingly grateful to readers of my blog and always feel blessed when hearing from them.

I enjoy writing reviews about good books that I’ve read.  For the last two decades, I’ve read almost no novels.  To me, real life trumps fiction every time.

In my blog, I publish only material that appeals to me.

I’m interested in American history, particularly the history of my native Florida; the War Between the States; World War I; and World War II.  I also enjoy learning more about unsolved cases.  Some of these include the kidnapping of Dorothy “Dee” Scofield from my hometown of Ocala, Florida; the abduction of Amber Hagerman from Texas; and the kidnapping of Jennifer Kesse from Orlando.  The brazen, senseless murder of Linda Raulerson, a convenience store clerk in Lake City, Florida, is another case I’d like to see solved.  I’ve written two blogs about the Canadian kidnapping and murder of Sharin’ Morningstar Keenan, and her killer Dennis Melvyn Howe.  How a career criminal who had never been out of jail for more than a few weeks at a time could escape police and remain undetected for more than 30 years leads me to believe that Howe died shortly after his escape, but I have no proof of that.

So a huge THANKS to those who have clicked into my blog, and particularly those who read it on a regular basis.  I hope to continue writing it for many more years.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Family Needs Solution to Sharon Marie Gill’s Unsolved Murder

25 years and counting…
by Robert A. Waters

Unknown to forty-two-year-old Sharon Marie Gill, a two-man crime-wave lived just yards away from her new home in Deep Creek, Florida.  She and her husband, Percy, were missionaries who planned to retire in the Sunshine State.  Sharon and daughter Krista, 17, had moved south a few months ahead of Percy (who was still working in Detroit) to get their new house ready.

On the afternoon of Wednesday, March 21, 1990, the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office responded to a call from Krista.  The distraught teen sobbed into the phone that she’d returned home from school and found her mother dead.  A report from the sheriff’s office stated that “[Sharon Gill] was found partially nude, stabbed multiple times, lying in a pool of blood on the master bathroom floor of her residence.”  In addition to having sustained 38 stab wounds, Sharon had been brutally raped.

Investigators learned that she had been speaking on the phone with her travel agent when she heard a knock at the door.  Before hanging up, Sharon informed the agent that she thought landscapers had arrived.

A few yards behind the Gill home, another family of transplants resided.  Shawn Edward Malsky and his brother Scott hailed from Massachusetts—each had been in and out of trouble since their early teens.  In Florida alone, Shawn had been arrested 30 times.  In one case, he was convicted of injecting heroin into his girlfriend’s 4-year-old daughter.  According to the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, “Malsky landed behind bars again Oct. 31 after he allegedly shot heroin into preschooler Rylee Nantell and put a lighted crack pipe in her mouth.  He reportedly told Rylee that smoking crack would give her energy, a sheriff’s report states.”  Shawn is currently serving out a 16 year sentence for that crime.  He had previously served prison time for crimes such as forgery, aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, grand theft, and burglary.

Shawn Malsky is the older brother of Scott Christopher Malsky, who is currently serving a life sentence for raping and killing Pauline Farrington, an elderly Port Charlotte widow.  Scott was also convicted of abducting, raping, stabbing, and setting on fire a 14-year-old girl.  He is currently serving a life sentence for murder.

Immediately after Gill’s murder, investigators took a close look at the Malsky brothers, particularly Shawn.  He was arrested and charged with her murder.  However, after spending two years in jail awaiting trial, he was released.  Investigators cited a lack of evidence, although to this day they continue to view him as a suspect.

In November, 2014, WBBH TV reported that “Sharon [Gill], 42, was stabbed multiple times in her home on Rampart Blvd. in Deep Creek on March 21, 1990.

“One very strong suspect, Shawn Edward Malsky, was eventually arrested for this murder.

“Malsky was living in the same neighborhood with his grandparents at the time.  The charges were eventually dropped against Malsky because of an alibi.

“Cold Case detectives have recently discredited the alibi.  Detectives are currently re-examining all evidence and witness testimony.”

Although it’s been 25 years since Sharon Gill’s murder, the family still grieves her loss.  Family members have stated that DNA is available, but that no match has been made to any suspect.

If you have information about this case, please call the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office Cold Case Unit at 941-575-5361 or after hours call 941-639-2101, or email them at coldcase@ccso.org.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

When Will Pamela Butler’s Killer be Executed?

Justice overdue…
by Robert A. Waters

The federal government has a poor record of carrying out executions.  Only three men have been put to death since 1988: Timothy McVeigh, terrorist mass murderer; Juan Raul Garza, mass killer; and Louis Jones, rapist, kidnapper, and killer.

Hell impatiently awaits another 59, including Keith Duane Nelson.

The U. S. Court of Appeals published a summary of his crimes: “On October 12, 1999… ten-year-old Pamela Butler was rollerblading in the street near her residence in the same area.  Nelson parked his vehicle at the side of the street and lay in wait.  As Pamela skated near the slightly ajar door of the truck, Nelson quickly jumped out of the truck, grabbed her around the waist, and threw her into the truck.  Pamela’s sister, Penny, observed the kidnapping and saw her sister struggling with Nelson in the cab of the truck.  Several witnesses also observed the kidnapping, one of whom gave chase in his own vehicle.  Although Nelson eluded him, the witness was able to write down the license plate number of the truck—Missouri plate number 177-CE2.  Several other eyewitnesses verified the truck license plate number.

“Later that evening, the custodian of the Grain Valley Christian Church in Kansas City, Missouri, and his wife saw a suspicious white truck with Missouri license plate number 177-CE2 parked in the church lot.  The custodian’s wife wrote down the plate number and noticed an afghan in the front seat of the truck.  They contacted the police after seeing the kidnapping story on the ten o’clock news and informed them of the location of the truck.  When the police arrived at the church, the truck was gone.

“The truck was found abandoned the next day in Kansas City, Missouri.  A police dog that had been provided with some of Pamela’s clothing was dispatched to Nelson’s mother’s house and alerted to an afghan found inside the residence.  That same day a large manhunt for Nelson commenced.  On October 14, a civilian employee of a police department spotted Nelson hiding under a bridge.  After he was spotted, Nelson went into the river and attempted to get away.  When he made it back to shore, he was surrounded by railroad workers who detained him until the authorities arrived.  After the authorities arrived, an onlooker shouted, “Where is the little girl?”  Nelson turned to an officer and stated, “I know where she’s at, but I’m not saying right now.”  His capture was broadcast live on television.  The next day the police found Butler’s body in a wooded area behind the Grain Valley Christian Church.  That discovery was broadcast on local television, and the United States Attorney held a live press conference from the discovery site.  Subsequent investigation revealed that Pamela had been raped and then strangled to death with wire.  The DNA in seminal fluid obtained from Pamela’s underpants matched Nelson’s DNA.”

A few days before snatching Pamela, Nelson had attempted to abduct Michanne Mattson, 20.  The pretty medical student fought for her life, refusing to enter his truck even though she had been handcuffed.  After hand-to-hand combat that seemed to go on forever, Mattson escaped.

Nelson, a career criminal who had recently been released from prison, was tried in federal court because of the Lindbergh Law—the kidnapping took place in Kansas but the murder was committed in Missouri.

KMBC.com reported that Nelson’s execution has been delayed because the government claims it has a “lack of funds to pay for the [appeals] of poor people charged with federal crimes.”

(Imagine that—the U.S. government can spend $175,000 “to determine if cocaine makes Japanese quail engage in sexually risky behavior,” but they summarily delay executions because, as KMBC.com reports, “federally funded lawyers don’t have the money to pay for travel and witness fees.”)

Pamela’s mother, Cherri West, figures it’s time for the Feds to quit playing around and execute this monster.  “This has gone on long enough,” she said.

I agree.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Tim Tebow

Still making news…
by Robert A. Waters

Larry Flynt has a bounty on Tim Tebow.  If you can catch the former quarterback and practicing Christian in a flagrant sex act, you’ll win a cool million dollars.  Flynt, owner of Hustler magazine, seems to think everyone is as twisted as he is.  So he’s prepared to pay big bucks to prove that Tebow is a hypocrite.

In another round of recent news, Patrick Schmidt, a writer for SI.com, took issue because someone wore a Tim Tebow New York Rangers jersey to a Pittsburgh Penguins game.  In fact, Schmidt wrote an entire column describing his outrage, including this gem: “I don’t think I’ve ever seen a cross-sport jersey in my lifetime, but I suppose there is a first (and last) time for everything.  It is hard to disagree…about it being the worst jersey on the planet.”

I mean, really!  Who cares?  On a scale of one to a million (with one million being the least obnoxious thing going on in sports), I’d rank a Tebow “cross-sport jersey” at one million.  Schmidt needs to get a life.

In case you missed it, there’s other news about Tebow.

The Tim Tebow Foundation, in partnership with CURE, has opened an orthopedic hospital in Davao City, Phillipines.  His foundation reports that “the Tebow CURE Hospital in the Philippines will provide life-changing surgeries for hundreds of children with curable disabilities each year.”  All medical treatments are free to patients.

In 2012, Tebow opened his first Timmy’s Playroom, which is for children battling life-threatening illnesses.  The brochure advertising this innovative approach to medical rehabilitation reads: “Through allowing children to take their minds off of their medical treatments, a Timmy's Playroom provides them with a place to smile, draw, create, play video games, and enjoy a positive atmosphere.”  Nearly a dozen more Timmy’s Playrooms have opened since 2012.

In addition to Tebow’s CURE Hospital and Timmy’s Playrooms, the former football star has launched the W15H (WISH) program and an Orphan Care program.

Tebow spends much of his time making a difference in the lives of children.  His latest project is to fund 45 prom nights in the United States, Uganda, and Kenya for special needs teenagers.

And yet some reporter has nothing better to do than criticize a “cross-sport jersey” with Tebow’s name on it.

How about an article on all the good works Tim Tebow is doing?