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Gruesome lesbian chainsaw murder shocks US

Oh, man, is that a fabulous headline, or what? It should actually be “gruesome deaf lesbian interracial chainsaw murder shocks US.” Or it would shock the US, I feel quite sure, if any of us had ever heard of it.

Odd, that. If you do a Google News Search on “lesbian chainsaw murder,” you get hits on the Age (Australia), the Independent (UK) and the Australian. Plus the story’s local paper, the Sioux Falls Argus Leader. But that’s all. Lord, does the international community love rummaging through each other’s dirty laundry.

Here’s the opening paragraphs of the story in the Age:

The trial in South Dakota of a deaf, black lesbian accused of murdering a rival and dismembering her with a chainsaw has shocked the rural midwestern US state.

Daphne Wright, 43, could become the first woman sent to death row in South Dakota, which has not executed a prisoner in more than 60 years.

Wright is accused of kidnapping and murdering a heterosexual deaf woman, Darlene VanderGiesen, 42, whom she thought was spending too much time with her girlfriend.

Emotional testimony and gruesome exhibits filled the first week of her trial, and worse is to come: prosecutors are expected to show jurors a video of a pig being dismembered with the same type of chainsaw Wright bought two days after VanderGiesen disappeared.

VanderGiesen’s mother sobbed and stepped out of the courtroom as jurors passed around her daughter’s charred brassiere on Thursday.

But she managed to sit stoically as a maintenance worker described finding her daughter’s head and navel wrapped in bags and bed sheets that other witnesses linked to Wright.

A navel? How the bloody hell do you find a navel? That’s like finding a nostril! Surely what they found was a piece of abdominal skin including said object.

The Sioux Falls Argus Leader version is full of charming local color:

In the early afternoon of Feb. 3, 2006, Darlene VanderGiesen’s parents arrived at her eastside Sioux Falls apartment to search for their missing daughter.

Meanwhile, Daphne Wright bought a 1.5-horsepower electric chainsaw at an Ace Hardware and Hefty trash bags at a Walgreens.

It’s like you’re actually there, isn’t it?

The happy Sioux Falls reporter who filed this update pretty much used up his whole year’s irony quota in one cogent observation:

Jessica Lichty, forensic chemist at the Sioux Falls crime lab, observed the upper body at the scene. She told jurors she recognized the remains as VanderGiesen, who had gone missing Feb. 1.

Lichty said she could see the woman’s face through a clear, plastic bag, which carried a sticker that read, “Warning: Plastic bags can be dangerous. To avoid danger of suffocation, keep this bag away from babies and children.”

The trial is taking place in Minnehaha County.

Well, of course it is.

April 9, 2007 — 8:02 am
Comments: 9

Scary monster in the medicine cabinet


My house was built in 1942. You know how to tell? Take the lid off the toilet and look for a date stamped inside the tank. They don’t stockpile toilets, a builder told me; unless your home has been victim of a toilet-shattering catastrophe, it will have been built within a few months of the date stamped in the ceramic.

Nineteen fourty two jibes stylistically with the fixtures. Like my medicine cabinet. Inside, lurking behind the eyedrops and the cough syrup and the ten year old mystery prescriptions is the sinister object pictured above: a razor blade disposal…hole. I’ve used it myself; I once favored a safety razor.

Where do the old blades go? Down into the walls, I guess. You sometimes hear them tink once or twice on the journey. For all I know, that hole goes all the way down to the ground level.

So, maybe, somewhere in my foundations rusts a jagged pile of old razor blades.

Dear Powers that Be: in future, please be aware that I prefer my life metaphors with a little subtlety. Must try harder. Sincerely, S. Weasel.

— 7:19 am
Comments: 4