Category crime and punishment

Sacramento Serial Killer — Profile of a Second Chance

Digging around in Sacramento’s history isn’t for the faint of heart. The Gold Rush town was lawless and bloody with a reputation for quick frontier justice. Yet on a few occasions, the hand of mercy reached out and offered a second chance to a killer. Ida Brewer was a sex worker in the 1850’s who […]

Sacramento Serial Killer – Ted Kaczynksi

Depending on the definition used, a serial killer is one who murders two or more victims, in separate instances (FBI Serial Murder Symposium – 2005). Theodore “Ted” Kaczynksi meets this standard as a serial killer in the classic sense–three victims were killed during his sixteen bomb, seventeen-year long domestic terror campaign as the Unabomber. One […]

Killer Mom

Sacramento has experienced more than its share of notorious murders and serial killers. This one often slips under the radar, but is one of the most brutal cases I’ve come across. I’m always amazed by the media interviews after a murderer is discovered living next door. It’s always some form of, “He was such a […]

Sacramento Unsolved

Another year gone and another silent anniversary without answers. Twenty-eight years have passed since the 1991 slaying of an entire family in the upscale Land Park neighborhood of Sacramento. On January 15, 1991, Marcy Jacobs didn’t show up to work as a data processing technician at the Department of Justice. A concerned co-worker called the […]

SHU Basics for the Crime Writer

Recently, I attended ThrillerFest in New York and the Public Safety Writers Association Conference in Las Vegas. Both great venues for talking the craft of writing and picking up a few tips on making your crime fiction true to life. During conversations at both of these very different gatherings, the topic of solitary confinement and […]

To Pee or Not To Pee…

Family squabbles can be downright testy affairs. When family members pretend not to know one another, the outcome is a long blessed silence. When they take too much interest in the goings-on of a sibling, or an adult child, the results can take a nastier turn. From the “Things Criminals Do” files, we have the […]

Local Police Use of Spit Mask Comes Under Fire

Sacramento is once again in the spotlight for an incident with a citizen. Fresh off the unrest from the officer-involved shooting deaths of Joseph Mann, and Stephon Clark, the media and the ever-circling attorneys feeding on the seeds of racial unrest, were quick to condemn the officers for excessive force. This time the citizen in […]

Death Penalty Deception

I do solemnly swear to support and defend the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of California against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the Constitution of the United States and the State of California… I took this oath a few times in my career. […]

Serial Killers in Sacramento–Why here?

News headlines and social┬ámedia feeds were buzzing after the long-awaited death of notorious serial killer, Charles Manson. His personal role as the mastermind of the 1960’s murder spree in Southern California has been long debated, as he is quoted saying that he didn’t personally commit any of the crimes. Manson and his dysfunctional “family” of […]

Solving 40 Year Old Cold Cases

The unmasking of the Golden State Killer came by unusual means. Unusual in that Joseph DeAngelo Jr. wasn’t caught through surveillance, or from a tip that came through a jail house snitch, or from an eyewitness account of the crime. The murders and rapes suddenly ended decades ago and the trail went cold. When a […]