10 Serious Crimes Committed for Bizarre Reasons
Many of our lists are concerned with the criminal element: the good, the bad, and the ugly. The serious crimes committed by the people on this particular list are no laughing matter—but the reasons they had for carrying out the crimes, on the other hand . . . well, you be the judge.
We may all be guilty, at one time or another, of accusing our significant others of being a pain in the neck. Well, one Utah man was convinced that his girlfriend was a pain in the head. A literal pain in the head; he believed she was causing his crippling headache, and that the only way to get rid of it was to shoot her.
So he did. Neighbors heard the gunshot and called police, who arrived to find the man hiding in a ditch, still clutching his 9 mm handgun. He readily admitted shooting his companion; according to court documents, “He stated that his head began to hurt, whereupon he believed that the only way to ease the pain in his head was to shoot (her) . . . (he) believed that by shooting (her) she would die, and the pain in his head would cease.”
The woman was hospitalized in critical condition, but survived. The man is awaiting trial at the time of writing, and is hopefully still suffering from the headache.
When Port Townsend, Washington, resident Michael Fenter was arrested for bank robbery in 2009, police could be forgiven for thinking they might have the wrong guy—even though he had been caught red-handed and was carrying an explosive device. Fenter had never been convicted of so much as a misdemeanor in his life.
A married father of three, he ran a farm with his wife; the family had even been recently profiled in a local paper. They were financially stable, and Michael was not a drug user, gambler, or involved in any illegal activities. Except, that is, for robbing banks. He had robbed four of them in recent months, and after his arrest, authorities couldn’t account for any of the money he’d stolen.
The only clue to a motive came when Michael identified himself as “Patrick Henry,” a famous revolutionary, upon his arrest. Interviews with bank employees yielded the fact that he had griped about government bailouts during the robberies; and he eventually explained that he had done it because he was a so-called patriot. “What I am for is real justice, real truth, and real accountability within our system of government,” he was quoted as saying in a local paper. “The money was used and is probably currently being used to get to the truth.”
What truth that is was never made clear, but Michael Fenter’s truth now involves a ten-year Federal prison sentence. Fenter insists that the money is being used in a “peaceful” way; but considering that this is a man who threatened innocent bank employees with real explosives, authorities are probably not too comforted.
Ashley Hunter and Orlando DeWitt were prison buddies who brought a girl home from a bar for some fun one night. Fortunately, this did not end as tragically as that sentence may lead you to believe.
It seems that (and we will tread delicately here) Orlando began getting intimate with the woman on a couch in the living room, and Ashley decided he wanted in. Everything was going hunky-dory, when Ashley presumably rang a bell and shouted “switch!”
Orlando apparently refused, and it was at this point that Ashley produced a huge butcher knife from inside the couch—which as far as we can tell is not a normal place to keep a butcher knife.
All hell broke loose: Hunter ended up stabbing DeWitt in the arm, and was arrested for assault. The police report goes into (probably totally unnecessary) detail, but then “stabbing over dispute during threesome” is likely not something they get the chance to write up every day.
Prison psychologist Laurie Martinez had a harrowing story for police when they arrived following her 911 call in April, 2011. She had come home to find a “male black adult” in her home, who punched her unconscious and raped her while she was passed out defenseless. He robbed her home of some electronics and disappeared into the night—and it quickly became apparent that this was all a bunch of baloney.
In reality, the “stolen” belongings were at the home of her friend Nicole Snyder, whom Laurie had enlisted to help pull off this scam. She had split her own lip with a safety pin, had asked Nicole to punch her in the face a few times, sandpapered her own knuckles to make it look like there had been a scuffle, and—we’re not joking—intentionally peed herself.
Perhaps it was the incredibly tired “a black guy did it” shtick that caused her story to unravel. Regardless, it turns out that it was all a plot to convince her husband that their neighborhood was unsafe, because she wanted to move to a nicer one.
Unfortunately for Laurie, her husband didn’t appreciate the gesture, and filed for divorce. Laurie got five years probation; she lost her job, her license to practice psychology, and the custody of her kids.
In March 2013, police responded to an incident involving a sixty-one-year-old woman who had tried to use a dollar-off coupon at the local Walmart. This may not sound too threatening—but then, most elderly Walmart patrons don’t start waving guns around when their coupons are rejected.
Mary Alday was told by a clerk that this particular store didn’t accept coupons that were printed online, and the assistant manager didn’t have much luck when she tried to explain the policy. Alday called her a five-letter word rhyming with witch, and hit her with a shopping cart. When the manager followed her out of the store, Alday produced the .38 from her car, threatening the manager and several employees with “I have something for y’all!”
Fortunately, no shots were fired; Alday was pulled over a short time later by sheriff’s deputies. She admitted to having a gun, refused to yield this gun, reached for something and promptly got tasered. Four counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon later, Walmart still hasn’t refunded her the dollar.
In another case of Walmart stores apparently inducing psychosis in certain people, a Walmart manager in Anchorage, Alaska, received an unexpected response to his request that a disabled patron leash up his service dog.
Daniel Pirtle rode into the store on a motorized cart, his dog trotting alongside, and store manager Jason Mahi received him with the common (and totally understandable) request to please put it on a leash. Pirtle produced a gun and shot Mahi in the stomach. Amazingly, there does not seem to be much that happened in the period of time between these two incidents.
An off-duty police officer detained Pirtle while an Army combat medic who happened to be in the store rendered aid. Mahi survived; Pirtle was charged with first-degree assault and weapons misconduct and is awaiting trial at the time of writing. He has stated his intention to defend himself—and we wish him the best of luck with that.
Bryan Paul Smith, a resident of Leavenworth, Kansas, had a few surprises up his sleeve when he was contacted by police in July 2012. Nothing that could help him in any way, we should add; merely useless surprises, like the fourteen-year old kid hiding in his closet.
While it’s unclear which crime Smith was initially contacted for, it is known that he acted as a lookout for another man during a series of car burglaries. His strangest crime, however, was holding a spider hostage. Apparently, an acquaintance had given Smith the spider to take care of (we don’t know what sort of care spiders require—and we’re not asking). But when Smith was asked to return it, he countered with a different offer: give me a hundred dollars, or the spider gets it.
During the investigation it was revealed that he may have also threatened to shoot the spider-owner at some point, that he was in possession of a stolen Siberian Husky, that he was involved in the burglaries, and—oh yeah—that there was a kid for some reason hiding in his closet. Smith was sentenced to about five years in prison for these crimes of varying degrees of oddness.
When Anthony Miller robbed an Ephrata, Pennsylvania, bank in 2007, tellers noticed something a little odd about him. He displayed a gun, but didn’t threaten anybody—and he didn’t seem very nervous. He kept asking them if they’d called the police yet, and after they’d given him the money he still loitered about for several minutes.
Similarly, when the police arrived, he didn’t seem surprised and didn’t put up a fight. He went along quietly, and in fact told them that he had wanted to be caught. He would gladly go to jail if it meant that he could get away from his wife.
When brought before a judge, Miller explained that she was very controlling, threatened suicide if he were to leave, and was often abusive—and the poor guy figured that jail was his only way out. Despite using an unloaded BB gun for the bank robbery, he was sentenced to three to six years in prison. But there was a silver lining: his wife filed for divorce. Miller’s attorney told the local paper that he had met the wife when she had come to pick up the car after Miller’s arrest.
After about twenty minutes in her presence, said the attorney, “I was ready for jail, too.”
In addition to having a serious aversion to last names, Kent Craig is a man who expects you to return his stuff when you borrow it. If you do not, then you will be made to pay. Oh, Kent won’t do anything about it personally—such as ask for the stuff back, for example—but if you keep him waiting long enough, he just might take out a hit on you.
Craig Corle had the misfortune of sharing Kent’s other first name, and also of having borrowed some stereo speakers from him. A friend of Kent’s, Cesar Guzman, was also owed a hundred bucks by Corle, so they hatched a plan: call him up and ask him politely to make good on his debts. Actually, scratch that—they instead hired a random thug to beat him up for fifty bucks.
At least, that’s what Cesar thought was the plan. Supposedly unbeknownst to him, Kent gave their thug-for-hire the green light to kill Corle instead, which he did. Corle was shot ten times and his computer was stolen; the thug was arrested, and Guzman and Kent Craig quickly followed. Guzman served six years for voluntary manslaughter for his part, and has been released; Craig got twenty-six years to life in prison—which wouldn’t seem worth it, even if the speakers had been made of diamonds.
In March 2008, thirty-nine-year-old Robert Lyons savagely attacked and killed his mother in their condominium, by bludgeoning her with a cognac bottle and stabbing her. At his trial, prosecutors said that he snapped; the two were prone to profane arguments on a fairly regular basis, and Robert had a lot of anger against his mother. But what had finally pushed him past his limit?
It turns out that it was his mother’s failure to call a friend who had Skybox-seating tickets to an upcoming concert Robert wanted to see.
We’ve all been disappointed when we couldn’t see a much-anticipated show, but we can’t imagine a more severe overreaction than this. What dark forces swirled inside this man? Who did he want to see so badly that his mother’s failure to procure tickets could have driven him to a murderous, bloody rage? Slayer, perhaps? Cannibal Corpse? Napalm Death?
Nope. He had wanted to see Avril Lavigne. And although it would be more plausible that a middle-aged man would kill his own mother to avoid an Avril Lavigne concert, we stand by our sources.