Carl Denaro was twenty years old in 1976 when he was ambushed while in a parked car in Flushing, NY. At first the police thought it was a drug deal gone wrong. Then he was told he was shot by David Berkowitz, the Son of Sam. Carl talks about his story of survival and why he believes Berkowitz wasn’t the one who shot him. Show notes at johnstampwriter.com.
I wonder what I could do to make my wife want to have me killed. I could ask her I guess but I’d hate to find out I had already driven her to murder, and she just hadn’t wound up the courage to pull the trigger yet. She had a Snapped obsession for a little while there and I never got a good explanation out of her as to what the draw was.
This lady, Wendy, at fifty-two years old, finally had enough (of something) and decided she was done. Or maybe she just happened upon a lucky Google search and got inspired. She found Rent-a-hitman.com, not kidding, that was the real website. She tried to be a smooth criminal (Shout out to Alien Ant Farm-yes, I like their version better) and used a pseudonym while filling out the page’s interest form. But she put in her real deets in the contact information. Close Wendy, but oh so far away. I’ll give her a 3 out of 10 for effort given she was smart enough to not use her real name while shopping for a killer. In the end though this seems like the equivalent of the points you get on the SAT for spelling your name right. After her inquiry, Wendy is contacted by the rentable hitman and meets him in a diner to talk business. She agrees to pay five thousand dollars for the job and puts two hundred dollars in earnest money down to show she’s serious. Then she’s promptly arrested when she finds out the hitman for hire is actually an undercover cop.
Turns out the website was originally set up by a cyber security guy as the front for his legitimate, if not oddly named, business. After he setup the website he realized his branding mistake when he started getting weird messages from people like Wendy. Instead of re-naming his site he decided to keep it and forward the requests for homicide to the local police as they came in. I was never any good at undercover work, and I never got to play hitman, but, what a fun op that would be.
After reading this article here are my questions: A: (The obvious) why do you want to kill your husband? And B: How did the conversation go when the detectives had to explain to him why his wife was in jail?
Luckily, since this is my fictional version of events, I have answers to both questions.
The interrogation room was stark. Only bare, concrete walls in drab flat white finish. The fluorescent lights blared overhead, illuminating only a laminate topped table and three chairs. In the chair opposite the only door sat Wendy, two detectives, Riggs and Murtaugh. Murtaugh held the file open in front of him so Wendy could see the statements, and screenshots in plain view. He had a notebook open and clicked his pen repeatedly on the table.
“Let’s start with why.” He said, “Why kill your husband, Wendy?”
“Do I need a lawyer?”
Murtaugh slouched in his chair, “If you want a lawyer, we will make that happen. But remember, you paid that guy,” he pointed at Riggs, “to kill your husband. You did it under audio and video surveillance. No lawyer on the planet will ever let you go to court on this. You’re going to take a plea and you’re going to go to prison. We just want to know why.”
Wendy squirmed in her seat. She chewed her bottom lip like a coyote gnawing on a trapped leg. Then she froze and her eyes seemed to clear.
“You ever sit next to someone, and the sound of their breathing makes you want to hit them with a car?” she asked.
Riggs looked at Murtaugh, “Yes,” he answered.
Wendy smiled, “Yes, me and Richard have been together thirty-three years. Raised two kids, kept a fine house. I’ve cooked and cleaned up after that slob for decades.” She huffed, “In all that time I never asked for anything for myself. Never asked for fancy vacations, days at the spa, nothing like that. Now the kids are grown. I’m retired. He’s been retired for years, laying around getting fat. The other night during Jeopardy I said I think we should go on a cruise. You know what he told me?”
Riggs and Murtaugh shook their head in unison, no.
“He told me to go get him another beer before final Jeopardy started.” Wendy went silent.
“No to the cruise huh?” asked Riggs.
“That was it?” asked Murtaugh.
Wendy looked at him and stuck up her nose.
“You decided to kill your husband because he didn’t want to go on vacation.” Said Riggs.
“That was just the last straw.”
“Did you get him his beer?” asked Riggs.
Wendy grinned, “I did, I even opened it for him.”
“There’s more to that,” commented Murtaugh.
Wendy snickered, “Before I gave it to him, I dropped a bunch of contact solution in it. He had the shits all night long.” She continued laughing. “I slept like a baby that night. Had the place all to myself.”
Riggs and Murtaugh looked at each other. Before Riggs could comment Wendy’s phone buzzed on the table in front of her. They looked at the screen, then at Wendy. She wasn’t laughing any more. Her eyes were bugged out. Her skin pale, or paler than usual.
Her husband was calling.
“You wanna get that, or should I?” asked Riggs.
She looked like she was trying to swallow a boulder. Her eyes were glued to the phone.
I know I’ve written about car thieves before, but I really liked watching this guy somersault fifty feet off a bridge.
These are old sayings and kind of played out but:
“Go big or go home.”
“If your gonna do it wrong, do it right.”
“You’ll never catch me, copper!”
All seem to apply here.
Fort Myers, (Yup) Florida, was the spot recently where a suspect in a stolen van lead police on a chase before biting it spectacularly while crossing the Edison Bridge. The video (below) is FLIR but our suspect Bryan ***** looks to lose a right front tire, or maybe he dropped his cigarette, I’d like to think he was distracted trying to find the right song for running from the police (East Bound and Down by Jerry Reed, or Mr. Policeman by Brad Paisley would be my choices) when he bounced his stolen van of the right and left guardrails before coming to a literal screeching halt in the middle of the bridge.
Bryan did look good though in his utterly ungraceful, arms and legs splayed corkscrew he did flopping into the water. Maybe he had a good plan but just lost his footing and that threw off his form which in turn foiled his escape? I imagine in his head he saw himself doing the whole straighten out, toes pointed, arms crossed thing that seems to work for cliff divers on YouTube. Unfortunately, he turned out to be a dead ringer for the falling mannequin trick you see in underfunded action movies. I realize I’m giving a guy who steals vans and jumps off bridges a lot of credit here.
Nice try Bryan, but you never had a chance. Enjoy your Grand Theft, Fleeing, and Eluding charges.
Don’t forget to check out my new Jackson Cole thriller, Acquisitor
Detective Miles Otis pointed, “That’s an arm…”
Detective Jackson Cole sighed, “Yeah.”
Otis studied the random severed limb for moment, “You ever miss the good old days, dope and drive bys…?”
You catch one strange case and suddenly they call you the Freak Police behind your back. If the case is even remotely weird Cole and Otis get the call. Now they find themselves in a vacant lot staring at a forearm.
Fingerprints give them a name. Hardnosed police work generates a suspect. She’s a witch, so was the guy who’s forearm sits in a cooler at the coroner’s office. The witch says a hellhound killed her friend. And its hunting the homeless of Charleston.
Witches, magic, and a…hellhound?
Any other two detectives would laugh at a story like that. But Cole and Otis have faced the supernatural before. It almost killed them.