Former NFL Player,Brian Carpenter Pleads Guilty to Fraud

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – A former National Football League (NFL) player pleaded guilty today to orchestrating a conspiracy to defraud the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) of over $300,000. 

Brian Carpenter, 59, of Centreville, played for the Washington Redskins, New York Giants, and Buffalo Bills in the early 1980s. According to court documents, Carpenter was the owner and operator of a Leesburg company called the Flintstone Group which facilitated the sale and distribution of janitorial products, including products that were specifically labeled and created from his time in the NFL, including an enzyme solvent named “Blitz” and degreaser citrus solvent called “DG-28.”

Carpenter established a relationship with at least two employees of WMATA who were assigned WMATA-issued credit cards as part of their roles as assistant superintendents for WMATA’s maintenance and custodial services division. Carpenter devised a scheme whereby the WMATA employees permitted him to charge their credit cards for supplies that were never in fact delivered. In these instances, Carpenter would retain a substantial portion of the amount charged from the sales for his own personal benefit and the employees received cash payments in exchange for permitting Carpenter to charge their cards. To make it appear that Carpenter ran a wholly legitimate business and to circumvent WMATA’s internal credit card controls, he used at least 10 different companies to process transactions from the credit cards, most of whom were not in the janitorial supply business and had never met the WMATA employees whose cards they charged. Carpenter then provided the WMATA employees with fake and fraudulent invoices representing that WMATA paid for and received all of the products it ordered.

When WMATA-Office of Inspector General began investigating the case, Carpenter provided investigators with altered invoices to make it appear that he had ordered or substituted all of the products that were charged to WMATA. In total, WMATA spent at least $310,000 on products that were never delivered.

Carpenter pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison when sentenced on December 15.

Masks With A True Crime Theme

Since so many countries are making it obligatory to wear masks in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic and probably that’s the reality we are facing for the next few months, I decided to hunt down some masks with a personality (or a multiple personality disorder.) Take a look and get yours too from an independent artist. There is no reason to not to look cool while protecting your fellow humans.

(Now there is also a 20% discount if you order 4 on RedBubble!)

John Wayne Gacy/Pogo the Clown

Or Ted Bundy, maybe John Wayne Gacy with his weird little moustache, or Richard Ramirez? They have it all if you plan on unleashing the nightmare on the tube. I’m not so brazen, but definitely send me a picture if you are, I will surely appreciate your sense of humour!

Criminal Minds

I think all true crime junkies were obsessed with Criminal Minds at one point or another. Then you realise that real life cases are rarely as straight forward as Spencer Reid and Co makes it out to be, but that doesn’t mean you wouldn’t look good wearing a mask with him on it. There are also masks with the team, or the classic “Wheels up in 30” quote. Take your pick!

Stay Sexy, Don’t Get Murdered

My Favourite Murder was the show which really got me hooked on true crime podcasts, so clearly one of my choices has to be something with Karen and Georgia involved. I lik the below one but there is just too many to choose, with Stay out of the Forest or just a simple SSDGM.

Spahn Ranch, home to the Manson Family

Okay, I promise this is the last one…. I just absolutely love these subtle insider jokes where you can have a little giggle with yourself and when someone asks… Then you can offload years of true crime documentary knowledge on them.

Joe Exotic and Fucking Carole Baskin

Okay, I lied. It wasn’t the last one. But what would 2020 be without Tiger King? So obviously there is a huge selection based on the Netflix documentary/obsession. You can have John’s amazing smile, or a simple – Vote Joe Exotic mask to spend the rest of the summer in.

5 Birthday Present Ideas for the True Crime Junkie

One of the girls in our My Favourite Murder Group had her birthday this week and I decided to pick out 5 presents which we (mostly me), true crime junkies, would love to find under the wrapping paper on our birthday.

Vintage Police Notebook

All true crime junkies dream of the day when they solve a cold case or a mysterious disappearance. Listening to Murder Squad, doing Google searches and waiting for a pattern to jump at you from looking at your searches, or maybe trying to crack the unsolved Zodiac Killer cyphers? This notebook might be the extra inspiration you needed.

Price: £6.00 and free delivery in the UK

Any Murder Squad Themed Present

My browsing through Etsy led me down the rabbit hole and I found some very interesting items relating to my new favourite podcast, The Murder Squad with Jensen and Holes. I would be lying if I would say that I don’t have a crush on these two fine gentleman with their huge knowledge and their desire to find the thruth, throw the bad guys in prison and get justice for the victim’s families.

You can find stickers, cross stich kits and even candles with their faces. At True Crime Idol Candles from every purchase 2 dollar goes towards the End The Backlog initiative which is absolutely awesome!

Billy Jensen and Paul Holes Cross Stitch Kit

Sassi Stitch Boutique has tons of modern designs – quite a lot with My Favourite Murder quotes as well, but these two side by side designs are absolutely hillarious. You can get all the designs as a kit or as just a downloadable design.

Billy Jensen and Paul Holes Stickers

Burnin’ for Billy or Hot for Holes? Pick your team and shop the holographic stickers on EwingsDesignArt on Etsy. There are also tons of My Favourite Murder inspired stickers too so worth ordering a bunch for £2.54.

Murderino Assymetrical Knife Earrings

I absolutely love assymetrical earrings and there is nothing more fun than shocking people with some of your accessories. I have a bloody meatcleaver handbag which this would match perfectly.

Price: £10.00 and free delivery in the UK

Lake Sammamish Mug

I’ve seen a couple of brilliant mugs – mostly loving the snarky Jeffrey Dahmer ones, but I don’t think I would get away with that in the office. This one is more subtle and you won’t be reported to HR while it’s quite likely that other murderinos will spot it and you find your office tribe where you can talk about serial killers as much as you want!

Price: £16.91 and free delivery in the UK

The Zodiac Killer Updates

The Zodiac Killer is an unenditified American serial killer who operated in Northern California from at least the late 1960s to the early 1970s. The killer originated the name in a series of taunting letters and cards sent to the local Bay Area press. The letters included four cryptograms (or ciphers). Of the four cryptograms sent, only one has been definitively solved.

He murdered five known victims in Benicia, Vallejo, Napa County, and San Francisco respectively between December 1968 and October 1969. He targeted young couples, with two of the men surviving attempted murder. He also murdered a male cab driver. The Zodiac himself once claimed to have murdered 37 victims.

Suspects have been named by law enforcement and amateur investigators, but no conclusive evidence has surfaced. The San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) marked the case “inactive” in April 2004, but re-opened it at some point prior to March 2007. The case also remains open in the city of Vallejo, as well as in Napa County and Solano County. The California Department of Justice has maintained an open case file on the Zodiac murders since 1969.

May 2018

In May 2018, the Vallejo Police Department announced their intention to attempt to collect the Zodiac Killer’s DNA from the back of stamps he used during his correspondence. The analysis, by a private laboratory, is expected to utilize an advanced new technique that is able to separate DNA from the glue present on the back of stamps. It is hoped the Zodiac Killer may be caught in a similar fashion to the Golden State Killer. In May 2018, a Vallejo police detective said that results were expected in several weeks. However as of December 2019 no results have been reported.

The Early 2000’s

The closest police have to Zodiac’s DNA are the stamps he used to post his letters and in the early 2000’s they developed a partial profile by testing that. Because the profile is incomplete, it cannot rule anyone in. But it did rule out long-time suspect Arthur Leigh Allen in 2002. Because of the incomplete profile it would be much harder to find a family match than it was in the case of the Golden State Killer.

1969-1970
The Murders

Although the Zodiac claimed to have committed 37 murders in letters to the newspapers, investigators agree on only seven confirmed victims, two of whom survived.

Lake Herman Road murders

The first murders widely attributed to the Zodiac Killer were the shootings of high school students Betty Lou Jensen and David Faraday on December 20, 1968, on Lake Herman Road. The couple were on their first date, they visited a friend before stopping at a local restaurant and then driving out on Lake Herman Road a known lover’s lane.

Quite possibly another car pulled into the turnout, just prior to 11:00 pm and parked beside the couple. The killer apparently exited the second car and walked toward the couple and possibly ordering them out of the car. Jensen appeared to have exited the car first, yet when Faraday was halfway out, the killer shot him in the head. The killer then shot Jensen five times in the back as she fled; her body was found 28 feet from the car.

Blue Rock Springs murder

Just before midnight on July 4, 1969, Darlene Ferrin and Michael Mageau drove into the Blue Rock Springs Park in Vallejo, four miles (6.4 km) from the Lake Herman Road murder site, and parked. While the couple sat in Ferrin’s car, a second car drove into the lot and parked alongside them but almost immediately drove away. Returning about 10 minutes later, this second car parked behind them. The driver of the second car then exited the vehicle, approaching the passenger side door of Ferrin’s car, carrying a flashlight and a 9 mm Luger. The killer directed the flashlight into Mageau’s and Ferrin’s eyes before shooting at them, firing five times. Both victims were hit, and several bullets had passed through Mageau and into Ferrin. The killer walked away from the car but upon hearing Mageau’s moaning, returned and shot each victim twice more before driving off.

Ferrin was pronounced dead at the hospital. Mageau survived the attack despite being shot in the face, neck and chest. Mageau described his attacker as a 26-to-30-year-old, 195-to-200-pound (88 to 91 kg) or possibly even more, 5-foot-8-inch (1.73 m) white male with short, light brown curly hair.

First letters from the Zodiac

“I like killing people because it is so much fun it is more fun than killing wild game in the forrest because man is the most dangeroue anamal of all to kill something gives me the most thrilling experence it is even better than getting your rocks off with a girl the best part of it is thae when I die I will be reborn in paradice and the I have killed will become my slaves I will not give you my name because you will try to sloi down or atop my collectiog of slaves for my afterlife ebeorietemethhpiti”

The Solution to Zodiac’s 408-symbol cipher

On August 1, 1969, three letters prepared by the killer were received at the Vallejo Times Herald, the San Francisco Chronicle, and The San Francisco Examiner. The nearly identical letters took credit for the shootings at Lake Herman Road and Blue Rock Springs. Each letter also included one-third of a 408-symbol cryptogram which the killer claimed contained his identity. The killer demanded they be printed on each paper’s front page or he would “cruse [sic] around all weekend killing lone people in the night then move on to kill again, until I end up with a dozen people over the weekend.”

The Chronicle published its third of the cryptogram on page four of the next day’s edition. The threatened murders did not happen, and all three parts were eventually published.

On August 7, 1969, another letter was received at The San Francisco Examiner with the salutation “Dear Editor This is the Zodiac speaking.” The Zodiac included details about the Faraday, Jensen and Ferrin murders.which had not yet been released to the public.

On August 8, 1969, Donald and Bettye Harden of Salinas, California, cracked the 408-symbol cryptogram. It contained a misspelled message in which the killer seemed to reference The Most Dangerous Game. He also said he was collecting slaves for the afterlife. No name appears in the decoded text, and the killer said that he would not give away his identity because it would slow down or stop his slave collection.

Lake Berryessa murder

On September 27, 1969, Pacific Union College students Bryan Hartnell and Cecelia Shepard were picnicking at Lake Berryessa on a small island connected by a sand spit to Twin Oak Ridge. A white man approached them wearing a black executioner’s-type hood with clip-on sunglasses over the eye-holes and a bib-like device on his chest that had a white three-by-three-inch (7.6 cm × 7.6 cm) cross-circle symbol on it. He approached them with a gun and the hooded man claimed to be an escaped convict where he had killed a guard and subsequently stolen a car, explaining that he now needed their car and money to go to Mexico,

He had brought precut lengths of plastic clothesline and told Shepard to tie up Hartnell, before he tied her up. The killer checked, and tightened Hartnell’s bonds after discovering Shepard had bound Hartnell’s hands loosely. Hartnell initially believed this event to be a weird robbery, but the man drew a knife and stabbed them both repeatedly, Hartnell suffering six and Shepard ten wounds in the process. The killer then hiked 500 yards (460 m) back up to Knoxville Road, drew the cross-circle symbol on Hartnell’s car door with a black felt-tip pen, and wrote beneath it: “Vallejo/12-20-68/7-4-69/Sept 27–69–6:30/by knife.”

At 7:40 p.m., the killer called the Napa County Sheriff’s office from a pay telephone. The caller first stated to the operator that he wished to “report a murder – no, a double murder,” before stating that he had been the perpetrator of the crime. The phone was found, still off the hook, only a few blocks from the sheriff’s office, yet 27 miles (43 km) from the crime scene. Detectives were able to lift a still-wet palm print from the telephone but were never able to match it to any suspect.

Cecelia Shepard was conscious when Sheriff deputy Collins arrived, providing him with a detailed description of the attacker. Shepard lapsed into a coma during transport to the hospital and never regained consciousness. She died two days later, but Hartnell survived to recount his tale to the press.

Murder of Paul Stine

Two weeks later on October 11, 1969, a white male passenger entered the cab driven by Paul Stine at the intersection of Mason and Geary Streets (one block west from Union Square) in San Francisco requesting to be taken to Washington and Maple Streets in Presidio Heights. For reasons unknown, Stine drove one block past Maple to Cherry Street; the passenger then shot Stine once in the head, took Stine’s wallet and car keys, and tore away a section of Stine’s bloodstained shirt tail. This passenger was observed by three teenagers across the street at 9:55 p.m., who called the police while the crime was in progress. They observed a man wiping the cab down before walking away.

The Stine murder was initially thought to be a routine cabbie-killing, a robbery that has escalated. However quickly, on October 13, the San Francisco Chronicle received a new letter from Zodiac containing a piece of bloody shirt and taking credit for the killing.

This was the last officially confirmed kill by the Zodiac Killer.

More Reading Material about the Zodiac Killer Case

Robert Greysmith: Zodiac

“This is the Zodiac speaking. I like killing people because it is so much fun…the most thrilling experience…”

The Zodiac terrorised Northern California and taunted the police for years with his mocking notes. It is still one of the biggest mysteries in the true crime world and any book or movie on the topic is an inerest of mine, so obviously it had tobe on the list.

The Zodiac Killer was never caught. Author Robert Graysmith tells the inside story of the hunt for the hooded killer, and finally reveals his possible true identity. It’s an essential book for all true crime junkies.

Price: It’s FREE on Audobook and the paperback is £7.99

Zodiac Killer FBI Files

Essentials For The Perfect Night In With Your Favourite True Crime Documentaries

In the last couple of weeks, we all spent more time on the couch than we thought it’s even possible and unfortunately the end is still far away. So it’s time to face it – we all need to turn our flats into the perfect place for a comfortable night in with your favourite documentary. The Danish already perfected Hygge, it is our turn now! 

Weighted Blanket

We can all use something which helps ease our stress and anxiety and helps us fall asleep. Weighted blankets provide a sensation of being hugged which shown to increase the level of serotonin (happy hormones) and melatonin (hormone that regulates sleep-wake cycle), and also releases cortisol (stress hormone). 

Keep in mind when picking out the blanket that it has to be as heavy as 10% of your weight to be see the change in your sleep and anxiety. 

Price starts from £69.99 but the heavier the blanket you need, the priciew it gets.

Popcorn maker

What is a good movie night without some popcorn? I have one of the hot air corn poppers for years and I love it. It doesn’t require any fats so it’s a low calorie treat for the evenings.

A Favourite Wine Tumbler

I don’t know about you but I regularly manage to spill my bevarage on the couch while tryint to get cosy. Plus hugging my glass gets my wine warm too quickly, so having an insulated wine glass with a LID on saves quite a bit of washing and cleaning. It’s also great for picnics, the beach or in the office when you want to pretend that you are having coffee – not like would ever do that!

These unicorn styleinsulated wine tumblers only go for £12.99

Booze Scented Candles

Are you going alcohol free for the night? I commend you! But is there anything better than the smell of a lovely gin and tonic or a glass of wine? I thought so. Luckily there is a solution to have your cake and eat it too – Bottled Up wine scented candles!

These yummies start from £8.00

Joseph James DeAngelo, The Golden State Killer Case Updates

I was listening to an old My Favourite Murder episode (Episode 111 – Figure It Out Kevin) where they were discussing the Golden State Killer It’s Not Over documentary and the book “I’ll Be Gone In The Dark” by Michelle McNamara.

I remembered to something reading on him being caught a few years back but my true crime obsession didn’t reach the current levels yet so I thought it is time I do my research and check up on the case. You could imagine my surprise when I read that there were significant developments in the case of Joseph DeAngelo.

Aug 21, 2020
DeAngelo Sentenced to Life in Prison

The life sentence came after 3 days of hearings where the survivors and family members of the victims were subjected to relive the horrific crimes committed between 1975 and 1986 by DeAngelo.

“When a person commits monstrous acts, they need to be locked away so they can never harm an innocent person,”

Sacramento County Superior Court Judge Michael Bowman

DeAngelo also admitted to dozens more sexual assaults for which the statute of limitations had expired. Prosecutors called the scale of the violence “simply staggering,” encompassing 87 victims at 53 crime scenes spanning 11 California counties.

Before sentencing, DeAngelo rose from a wheelchair, took off his mask and said to the court: “I listened to all your statements, each one of them, and I’m truly sorry for everyone I’ve hurt.”

Applause erupted when DeAngelo was remanded to the custody of sheriff’s officials for transfer to the state prison system.

“The defendant deserves no mercy,” the judge said.

June 29, 2020
DeAngelo Pleads Guilty in Court

The Golden State Killer admitted to his crimes and in unusual fashion 87 of his living victims will be speaking on his sentencing.

DeAngelo pleaded guilty in Sacramento County Superior Court last week to the 26 crimes he was formally charged with. He also admitted to 161 offenses he was never formally accused of because the deadline to prosecute them had long since passed, Temple said. 

Including the admissions, the guilty pleas guarantee the 87 people have the opportunity to give a victim impact statement at the August sentencing hearing, she said. This includes Jennifer Carole, the daughter of prominent Ventura attorney Lyman Smith. 

Katharine Tinto, a clinical law professor at UC Irvine School of Law, said typically there’s no incentive for defendants to plead to additional crimes because it tends to carry a longer sentence. DeAngelo was already facing the harshest punishment in the criminal justice system. In his case, his defense attorneys were likely trying to spare DeAngelo’s life.

There were other practical considerations to agree to DeAngelo’s guilty plea. The crimes occurred in the 1970s and 1980s, an era when DNA forensic evidence did not yet exist. DNA testing done years later in the case offered investigators a major break. However, by the time an arrest was made in 2018, many of the witnesses were older, and some had died.

The case could have taken 10 years to get to trial, and the remaining witnesses are in their 90s. Plus, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has significantly stalled the courts. 

June 16, 2020
DeAngelo to Plead Guilty to 88 Charges to Avoid the Death Penalty

In court, DeAngelo currently faces 26 counts in Sacramento Superior Court, including 13 murder counts, with one tied to Tulare County.

A new expected plea deal which would help DeAngelo avoid the death penalty requires him to admit responsibility for another 62 crimes attributed over the years to assailants variously known in California as the Visalia Ransacker, Original Nightstalker and Diamond Knot Killer, The Sacramento Bee reported.

Details of the agreement, which has not been formalized in court documents filed in the case, still are being worked out, as is the final decision on where the hearing will take place on the 29th June.

But with hundreds of spectators expected officials are looking for a setting large enough to allow for social distancing because of COVID-19 concerns.

April 22, 2020
Preliminary Hearing for Suspected Golden State Killer Delayed by Coronavirus

According to an article on Noozhawk the Coronavirus has delayed a preliminary hearing for the prime suspect in the Golden State Killer case.

The probable cause hearing for Joseph DeAngelo, 74, has still not occurred nearly two years after he was arrested on April 24, 2018. DeAngelo was scheduled to appear in Sacramento County Superior Court to argue about several motions filed by the defense team.

Joseph Deangelo is facing is facing 26 felony charges— 13 of which include murder— for crimes allegedly committed in Ventura, Santa Barbara, Orange, Sacramento, Contra Costa and Tulare counties.

The charges stem from crimes reported in the 1970s and 80s by suspects known at the time as the East Area Rapist, Original Nightstalker, Visalia Ransacker and Golden State Killer. Authorities have decided to seek the death penalty.

The case will contunue on June 29.

April 24, 2018
72-year-old Joseph James DeAngelo is arrested and charged in relation to the unsolved Golden State Killer cases

Of course after that episode I had to go and listen to the MFM Episode 118 – Golden State Serial Killer Caught to catch the excitement of when this was happening live.

James DeAngelo was arrested after months of investigation based on DNA evidence. Detectives got a hit when they uploaded an udentified sample to a genomics website and they found relating matches to it. From then on they worked on the family to trace back the matches to DeAngelo. On April 18, a DNA sample was surreptitiously collected from the door handle of a car DeAngelo had been driving at the Roseville Hobby Lobby. Soon after, a sample was collected from a tissue found in DeAngelo’s curbside garbage can. Both samples were consistent with the Orange and Ventura County suspect profiles.

The 72-year-old U.S. Navy veteran and former police officer Joseph James DeAngelo was charged with eight counts of murder with special circumstancesin Sacramento County and with four counts of first degree murder in Santa Barbara. He is also facing 13 counts of kidnapping and abduction attempts.

Books about the Golden State Killer:

Films about the Golden State Killer