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Archive for the ‘Friends’ Category

Running Away With Murder . . .

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Valentine’s Day, when most women were being showered with adoration, affection and endearment, Reeva Steenkamp crouched behind a locked bathroom door, seeking refuge from the man, whom professed to love her, as he fired four shots at it.

The bullets from Oscar Pistorius’s unlicensed gun tore through the door fatally wounding Steenkamp as she sustained injuries to her head, hips and arm.

The double amputee South African Paralympian sprinter has received international acclaim for his prowess on the racetrack, but his celebrity status will no doubt be tarnished, for his incredulous account of the events that led to Steenkamp’s death.

In a sworn affidavit, Pistorious states that his girlfriend’s death was a tragic accident.

Pistorious would have us believe that fearing for his life, he fired in the dark, at what he mistakenly thought was a burglar hiding in the bathroom.

Steenkamp’s family are still searching for answers to make sense of their tragic loss, but perhaps the truth of what really happened on that ill-fated Valentine’s Day morning will never be known  . . .

Will justice prevail in Steenkamp’s death or will Pistorious, national hero status, allow him to run free?

Bradley Booth/Freelance Commercial Writer/Author

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Have You Seen Her?

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Toni Enclade cannot bring herself to think that her daughter is dead.

Although almost three weeks have passed since Terrilynn Monette disappeared in New Orleans, her despondent mother still clings to hope that somehow her daughter is still alive.

The 26-year-old elementary teacher was last seen leaving a parking lot near the Lakeview neighborhood bar, Parlay’s, where she had been celebrating her nomination for teacher of the year with a group of friends.

If the accounts of what happened on that ill-fated night are true, then Monette should have never been allowed to get behind the wheel.

Monette allegedly was so inebriated that the bartender felt compelled to cut off her alcohol consumption. Furthermore she told friends that she was going to sleep in her car because she knew she was too intoxicated to drive home.

This is where I am completely baffled.

If I am in the company of friends, and I see that one of them has drunk themselves into stupor, would it not be incumbent on me to make sure they get home safely?

Yet in the case of Monette, no one offered. Not the bartender, who clearly could have called her a cab, and not her friends, who readily accepted the fact that she would try to sleep it off in her car.

This act of concern for Monette’s well-being would have surely made the outcome of that night on March 2nd entirely different.  What their inactions have caused is a mother’s mournful plea that someone would come forth with any information that could shed a modicum of light on her daughter’s whereabouts.

Although the investigation is still ongoing, as each day passes, the prospect of finding the Long Beach, California native grows dim.

Equusearch, the rescue organization headquartered in Dickinson Texas, have suspended their efforts after an intensive and exhaustive search of the bayous failed to produce Monette or the 2012 black Honda Accord she was driving.

Enclade does not believe the accounts of what happened that night. She claims her daughter would never sleep in her car. She steadfastly believes that her daughter was abducted, although surveillance cameras show her driving out of the parking lot alone.

“Where is my daughter,” she cries. “Where is her car?”

Police have questioned a man last seen talking to Monette in the parking lot, but for now he is not a suspect.

What has happened to Monette? Have you seen her?

Terrilynn Monette

If so please reach out to the New Orleans Police Dept at  (504) 821-2222 or to Texas EquuSearch at (281) 309-9500.

Whatever information you have, no matter how inconsequential it may seem, may help solve the mystery of this beloved teacher’s disappearance.

Bradley Booth/Freelance Commercial Writer/Author

An Act of Cowardice . . .

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Self-preservation is the core of humanity’s existence. It is this natural instinct that allows us to flee whenever we perceive danger.

There is however an unnatural trait, in which we sacrifice our own safety for the sake of another.

Whether this trait is learned or overtakes us instinctually is subject to debate, but one thing is abundantly apparent, those who possess this redeeming quality are labeled as “heroes”.

This is not the case of the person, who convinced or was swayed to partake in a lascivious encounter in the bushes.

Sharai Mawera and her boyfriend were copulating in the village of Kariba, near Mahombekombe primary school in Zimbabwe when a lion approached them. The unidentified fisherman realizing the lion’s presence ran off leaving his girlfriend behind.

He turned around long enough to witnessed Mawera being mauled. No one heeded is impassionate plea for help. Most thought he was deranged since he was attired with only a condom.

He was finally able to convince local authorities about what happened. When they returned to the place where he and his girlfriend had been having their sexual encounter, all that remain was Mawera mauled body.

Mawera is dead because the person she gave herself to cared more about saving himself, rather than dying with honor as he fought to protect her.

Bradley Booth/Freelance Commercial Writer/Author

Forgive Me, Dexter . . .

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If you happened to have read the article that preceded this one (In Search of a Diamond), then you know the events that surrounded my romantic weekend getaway.

What I did not mention since it really had no bearing on the aforementioned article was the events that occurred prior to my wife and I leaving, and how it made me appreciate and spoke volumes about my eldest daughter.

Permit me to provide a little history, to better clarify, exactly what led to the events that transpired on that morning.

I took the entire family on vacation, which consisted of visiting Water Country and Busch Gardens in Williamsburg, Virginia. Prior to us leaving, my wife and I decided to ask our next-door neighbor, to look after our three cats and our resilient pleco every other day.

My daughter wanted her pet hamster, Dexter to be cared by one of her friends. I knew this particular friend of hers, and was hesitant about leaving, Dexter, with her, since she was the owner of two very large dogs.

My daughter insisted that Dexter would be fine, and pleaded with me not to second-guess her decision.

While we vacationed, my daughter was excited about the pictures of, Dexter that her friend sent. We arrived back home at 10:30p.m. on Friday. I wanted to go and pick up, Dexter, but my daughter felt it was too late.

The following morning, my wife and I wanted to leave early to start our romatic weekend getaway. My daughter said that wouldn’t be possible because her friend’s family were not early risers on the weekends. In fact she explained that it was almost impossible to raise them before noon.

I told her that simply would not do. I instructed her to text her friend every half an hour commencing from nine until she received a reply that Dexter could be picked up.

Two hours later, my daughter told me she still had not received a reply. I started thinking the worst. I confided in my wife that perhaps something happened to, Dexter, and that is why our daughter’s friend could not be reached.

Around noon we received word that Dexter could be picked up in thirty minutes. The house was on the corner. I parked slightly before it. I grew impatient since fifteen minutes had elapsed and there was so sign of my daughter.

She finally emerged from the house ten minutes later, empty-handed.  As she approached the car I wondered what fabulous tale would she tell me. I knew the occupants of the house were home, since I had seen my daughter’s friend’s brother departing from the back door.

She got in the car without uttering a single word.  When I queried about, Dexter’s whereabouts, she started crying. I was able to make out through the avalanche of tears, that the friend presented, Dexter, in a closed box.

She told my daughter that sometime around midnight, Dexter somehow had gotten out of his cage and died when her dogs were playing with him.

I was flabbergasted.

I wanted to know why didn’t they inform us earlier. Why wasn’t a phone call made from the morning? Why kind of parents would let their child handle the situation in such a manner?

My daughter said that her friend’s mother had come out and apologized. She also offered to pay for a new hamster.

“Why didn’t you take him?” I demanded.

“I just couldn’t,” she cried. “I don’t want to remember him like that.”

I drove home in disgust. I was fuming at how my daughter’s friend’s parents had handled the situation. To them it was only a hamster . . . something that could easily be replaced with money.

Never mind the pain and anguish my daughter was suffering. Never mind that their daughter had been irresponsible in taking care of a friend’s pet.

My daughter agonized over Dexter’s death for several days.

As for me, it was the proudest I have ever been of my daughter. The hamster was purchased to teach her responsibility. The first one had died from pneumonia because of an open window in her room.

We purchased, Dexter a year later, and counseled her on the need to protect and care for her pet. He had been with us for a full year before this incident happen.

My daughter had grown attached to this simple animal, and although he perished through no fault of her own, she learned an invaluable lesson . . . no amount of money could ever take his place.

So I echo the sentiment of my daughter, forgive me, Dexter . . . I should have never allowed you to be put in harm’s way.

Bradley Booth/Freelance Commercial Writer/Author

In Search of a Diamond . . .

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I took my wife on a romantic weekend getaway. I have tried to plan a different venue each time we do this, but given the proximity of where we live, and our affinity to the history of this particular city, we find ourselves time and time again coming back to Philadelphia.

I normally reserved a corner room at the Hyatt Regency in Penn’s Landing, and a table close to the window at the Chart House, so that from both vantage points, we can take it the breath-taking view of the Delaware River.

Several events prior to the abovementioned weekend prevented me from making reservations, as I had grown accustomed to, and how fortuitous it was, since what transpired led this story.

First, I was unable to get a room at the Hyatt, and second, my wife elected that we should dine trying to unravel a mystery.

I made reservations at the Marriott Courtyard, ensuring that we at least had a view of the skyline, and for us to be guests at the Romano Bistro, where our proficiency as sleuths would be put to the test in solving a murder.

The murder mystery turned out to be anything but, since the clues that were given in no way indicated that the person they claimed committed the murder could have done it. They did however notify the audience that the killer changes with each show.

Needless to say, my wife will not be requesting that we dine at any more mystery murder shows in the near future.

The following morning while my wife was still asleep, I decided a visit to the pool was in order. I noticed a family of five splashing around in the pool as I entered, and decided to spend some quiet time, if possible, soaking in the whirlpool.

As guests came and went, I spent my time between the pool and the whirlpool. Finally settling on the whirlpool, since a gentlemen decided to read the paper and ignore his younger son’s vociferous request to teach him to swim.

I was resigned to the fact that this weekend would conclude with no intriguing events taking place when a stout man came in carrying a rubber rocket toy.

I had been paying close attention to everyone in the area and was quite sure none of the children in pool belonged to him. My curiosity however was abated when a woman and a young boy, perhaps no older than twelve came in.

I took a cursory glance as she approached the whirlpool, and immediately noticed she had two the band-aids. I wondered what kind of injury could she have sustained that would require a bandage on each leg in different locations.

She sat near me and began expounding to herself how hot the water was, and that she had no desire to do anything else but remain in the whirlpool. I smiled and looked at the clock, calculating how much time would elapse before the timer would turn off again.

Her husband and son soon joined her. The father became insistent that his son should go back to the pool, but he seemed intent on enjoying the extreme temperatures and kept diving into the pool and then entering the whirlpool.

The serenity of the moment lost, I decided to vacate the whirlpool before the timer went off, when I noticed a change in the woman’s facial expression. She stared intently at her ring.

Curious as to what had happened, it didn’t take me long to realize that she had lost the main stone in the cluster of diamonds of her engagement ring.

“Honey, what’s the matter?” her husband asked.

She hesitated looking at sadly at the water. “I lost one of my diamonds.”

“Where did you see it last?”

“I can’t remember,” she said, her eyes gazing at the bottom of the whirlpool.

Her husband try to appease her by asking if she wanted the stone replaced. She looked at him somberly, and asked if it could be at the bottom of the whirlpool’s filter.

“Diamonds don’t float,” he edged.

She asked him to look into the filter. He hesitated. She pleaded. He opened the filter, but found nothing.

“Perhaps it fell out in the room,” he said, trying to console her.

No longer content to remain in the whirlpool, she left without uttering a single word.

Overspread on her husband’s face was a look of total bewilderment and helplessness. In what would appear to be one of his wife’s most distressing moments, there was simply nothing he could say or do to right the situation.

I wanted a better vantage point to see what the husband would do, so I went back into the pool.

He stared intently at the bottom of the whirlpool, unaware that his son was beside him.

“Daddy, what’s wrong?”

“Your mother lost one of her diamonds, he answered, his gaze fixated upon the water.

His son shrugged his shoulders and went back to playing in the pool.

The father stepped out of the whirlpool long enough to retrieve his swim goggles. Over and over again he explored to the bottom of the whirlpool.

Exhausted that his search proved futile, he finally rested on the side of the whirlpool.

His son finally realized that something was wrong. He went and stood next to his father. Both stared painstakingly at the water.

I left and related the aforementioned events to my wife.

“How sad,” she said. “The husband’s biggest mistake,’ she continued, looking at her own ring, “was suggesting so quickly, replacing the stone.”

“Why?” I asked, not wanting to appear insensitive.

“It would make me feel,” she said, giving me her full attention. “That you thought our marriage held no significant value, and thereby anything attributed to our union, could easily be replaced.”

Perhaps I did underestimate the woman’s husband. Surely he must have understood the folly of his statement. Why else would he discard the embarrassment of appearing foolish and kept searching the bottom of the whirlpool?

I drew my wife closer to me. Whispered how much I loved her.

“What brought all this on?” she asked.

“Nothing really,” I answered. “I was just thinking how fortunate I was ten years ago to have found my diamond, and how no one could ever take your place!”

Bradley Booth/Freelance Commercial Writer/Author

Left To Die . . .

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It’s every parents’ nightmare, when the child you sent off to college to further their academic endeavors, in order to contribute and have meaningful impact on society is found dead on campus.

Just weeks before she would have graduated from the University of Virginia, Yeardley Love was found face down in a pool of blood, allegedly beaten and left to die by her on-again, off-again, ex boyfriend, George Huguely V.

Shortly before 2:30 am on May 3, 2010, Love’s roommate, accompanied by a friend found her and called 911. Love was unresponsive and declared dead at the scene.

Huguely, whom friends admitted had been on a drinking binge the day before Love’s death, waved his Miranda rights and confessed to police that he kicked in the door leading to Love’s bedroom.

He went on to say that he shook Love, and her head repeatedly hit the wall. Huguely said that he ended the confrontation by pushing Love on the bed, and when he left, all she had was a bloody nose.

The defense contends that Huguely had no intention of killing Love.

The two lacrosse players had been involved in a torrid and acrimonious relationship, which led to Huguely’s lawyer, Francis McQ. Lawrence, claim that Love’s death was an unintended and tragic accident.

Lawrence, no doubt faces an uphill battle in convincing the jury of Huguely’s innocence. His use of the following courtroom tactics only serves to validate Huguely’s guilt:

  1. The chair in which Huguely sits in court is on its lowest setting and makes him look a foot shorter than his lawyer.
  2. Clean-shaven and a more conservative hairstyle. Used to portray Huguely as passive rather than aggressive.
  3. His oversized sports coat and shirt worn to give Huguely the appearance of being much smaller.

These tactics will prove futile however given Huguely’s admission that he kicked in Love’s bedroom door, his subsequent lies about her leaving with her with only a nose bleed, and taking her laptop after their confrontation as a way of forcing her to continue to talk to him.

The preponderance of evidence puts the prosecutors in an enviable position:

  1. Huguely’s own admission that he kicked Love’s door in.
  2. Huguely’s statements shortly after his arrest that he shook Love, and that her head repeatedly hit the wall.
  3. Huguely had two prior run-ins with the law, and was arrested on alcohol related charges.
  4. Members on the lacrosse team that testified that Huguely became aggressive when he was inebriated.
  5. Huguely had fought publicly with Love, weeks before her death.
  6. Huguely had sent threatening emails to Love, for several months regarding infidelity with a teammate of his, on the lacrosse team.

Love’s death was tragic and unfortunate, but as the defense would like us to believe, it was not unintended.

Huguely’s email to Love, “I should have killed you,” validates that this was a premeditated act.

Huguely’s drinking binge the day before Love’s death, gave him false courage to batter the defenseless young woman, abscond with her laptop that contained the incriminating evidence, (which he discarded in the trash) and leave her lying in a pool of blood to die.

As the two-year-old case winds down to a close, hopefully the verdict will provide a modicum of solace for Sharon Love, and the national attention given to her slain daughter will prevent another woman from suffering a similar fate.

Bradley Booth/Freelance Commercial Writer/Author

We Heard The Screams . . .

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Jayna Murray is dead.

Brittany Norwood, Murray’s coworker at the Lululemon Athletica store in Bethesda, MD has been sentenced to life in prison, without parole, for bludgeoning her to death.

Although the preponderance of evidence in the savage and gruesome beating Norwood inflicted on Murray is overwhelming, there are three other individuals, who share a modicum of culpability in the 30-year-old woman’s death.

Three managerial blunders, if none had been made, perhaps Murray would be alive today.

Prosecutors intimated that this horrific crime was the result of Murray being asked by her manager, Rachel Oertli, to check Norwood’s personal bag.

Why a manager would have an associate confront another on the suspicion of theft is hard to fathom, especially when the two of them are the only ones in the building?

Worse, how could Apple Store Manager, Ricardo Rios, who testified that he heard panting noises at the wall that connects the two stores, did not call police or alert security guards to investigate, borders on sheer ineptness.

Medical examiners stated that the vicious assault Murray suffered at the hands of Norwood lasted about 16 minutes.

Jana Svrzo, another manager of the Apple Store, testified that she and two other employees heard screams, and someone yelling, “God help me. Please help me.”

Forensic experts testified that Murray was savagely beaten in a myriad of positions. They further stated that out of the 332 wounds she suffered, 105 of them were of a defensive nature, meaning that she put up a futile attempt to flee her attacker.

So obvious was the action of any sane person upon hearing the pleas of mercy uttered by Murray, that neither the prosecutor nor defense attorney asked the Apple Managers why they did not summon police.

Apple declined to comment on this tragic event.

Perhaps it is best that they do not. Any statement the company could make would just add injury to insult, and give credence that both of their managers, by their inaction, cannot be counted on to do the right thing.

9 minutes of Murray screaming, yelping, pleading for Norwood to stop, did not move Apple’s employees to do anything that would have saved her life.

One simple phone call is all it would have taken . . .

Lululemon is far from reproach through all of this. A former employee claims that Norwood should have been fired for theft at one of their Georgetown location, but due to her good salesmanship was sent to the company store in Bethesda.

Three months after the brutal slaying, Lululemon reopened the now infamous store with a stained pane glass etched with the word, love, but as I looked upon it, I couldn’t help but think . . . it was paid for by Jayna T. Murray’s blood.

Bradley Booth/Freelance Commercial Writer/Author

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