News of the Weird by the Editors at Andrews McMeel Syndication



Student Sarah Sevick filed a formal complaint in September with the U.S. Department of Justice, accusing Our Lady of the Lake University in San Antonio, Texas, of violating the Americans With Disabilities Act by not letting her keep her "assistance animal," which is Lilly, her ferret. Sevick says that she suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, including panic attacks, and that Lilly "soothes" her, but the school said it was concerned with other students' safety. (In other ferret news, the British upscale clothing firm Burberry threatened to sue a pet-accessories shop in Dudley, England, in October, for selling outfits in the familiar Burberry "check" pattern, including a cap and cape designed for ferrets.)

Straight From the Police Blotter

-- From the Minneapolis Star Tribune: "(Carver County) Aug. 24: Hostility. A door-to-door salesman complained about the attitude of the people in the neighborhood in the 100 block of W. Shasta Circle." And from the Union Democrat (Sonora, Calif.): "(Tuolumne County, Oct. 13) 1:13 p.m., Sonora, A man came to the Sheriff's Department to 'find out how to legally kill' a person who was harassing him."

-- From the University of Utah Department of Public Safety report for October (2005-22280): "Unwanted Guest. A security officer from Primary Children's Medical Center called to report a man in that hospital who had no legitimate business there and wouldn't leave. University Police responded and were told by the man that he comes to Primary because he can find longer cigarette butts there because the doctors and nurses at Primary don't smoke their cigarettes all the way down like everyone else does. The man left when ordered to do so by the police."


-- Adam Taylor, a quite-proper executive at Strathclyde University in Glasgow, Scotland, was charged with illegally (and apparently motivelessly) firing several shots from an air rifle in a city park, but swears that he has no recollection of the incident and is totally baffled by the apparently accurate witness-reports of his guilt. Said his lawyer in September, "There is absolutely no reason on Earth why a 38-year-old man with his background would suddenly take an air rifle and fire it in the park ..."

-- Tyler Ing, 20, told the London (Ontario) Free Press in October that his parents "looked at me real weird for a few minutes" but that now "they're proud. My mom shows the (Guinness Book of World Records) to all her friends." The entry that she shows is her son's honor, recently achieved, for having the world's longest nipple hair, certified at 8.89 cm (3.5 inches).

Cliches Come to Life

In a September rape trial in New York City, witness Roberto Suarez testified that he saw two men in the room with a waitress just before she told him that she had been raped, and then when asked by the prosecutor to identify the two men, Suarez looked past the defendants and pointed to, respectively, Juror No. 8 and Alternate Juror No. 3. The New York Daily News reported that some jurors laughed so hard that they cried.

Well, Of Course!

-- (1) Transsexual convicted prostitute Monica Renee Champion, 37, was finally picked up by police in Richmond, Va., in August; there had been arrest warrants for indecent exposure against her in the city's South Side as a male and in the city's North Side as a female. (2) Tyrone D. McMillian, 33, who was arrested after a high-speed chase through three New York towns in August, told the arresting officers: "I've been playing a lot of Grand Theft Auto and NASCAR on PlayStation. I thought I could get away."

-- (1) Paris Satine, 46, the madame of a legal brothel in Maroochydore, Australia (north of Brisbane), who was a nominee at an awards banquet for Excellence in Business (which was being held at a local hotel), was arrested for soliciting clients during the event. (2) London's Sunday Telegraph reported in July that, because of the shortage of military supplies caused by troops deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq, British Army soldiers on training exercises were ordered simply to shout "bang bang" rather than fire practice rounds.

The Poor Dears

In August, convicted child murderer Mark Allen Harris was awarded $50,000 by a jury in his lawsuit against Kanawha County, W.Va., jail officials after he fell out of the back of a van transporting prisoners, breaking bones in his face and knocking out some teeth. Also in August, in Albuquerque, N.M., a filthy and disheveled John Hyde, 48, being arraigned in the murders of four people, including two policemen, complained to the judge about police behavior, "Your honor ... I have been put in a red jump suit like Elvis Presley ... My hair looks ridiculous ... I was not allowed to groom myself."

People Different From Us

In July, police in Lawrence, Kan., gave Ezekiel Rubottom's foot back to him, convinced that, contrary to a neighbor's inquiry, it wasn't evidence of a crime. Rubottom, 21, had tried to explain that he'd had his clubbed left foot amputated and merely wanted to keep it as a memento in a bucket of formaldehyde on his front porch. A spokesman for Lawrence Memorial Hospital told the Journal-World newspaper that there have been "women that want their uterus ... people take (home) tonsils ... they take (home) appendixes." Rubottom added a porcelain horse and a can of beer to his bucket to make it what he called "a collage of myself."

Least Competent Criminals

In September, Anthony R. Martin, 52, of Belleville, Ill., became the latest person to call the police and complain that someone had stolen his illegal drugs. But there was more: Martin told the investigating officer that a hostile neighbor had taken his marijuana plants, but when he showed the officer the room where he usually kept them, the plants were actually still there. Martin then said whoever took them must have returned them. He was charged with growing marijuana. (He also admitted that he had been drinking that night.)

The Classic Middle Name (all new)

Arrested recently and charged with murder: Kenneth Wayne Keller, Denton, Texas (August); Ronald Wayne Lail, Burke County, N.C. (September); Timothy Wayne Condrey, Caroleen, N.C. (September). Sentenced for murder: Tyler Wayne Justice, Alice, Texas (September). Committed suicide while suspected of murder: Michael Wayne Baxter, Edgewater, Md. (October). And in February, convicted double-murderer Russell Wayne Wagner was found dead in his cell in Jessup, Md., of an apparent heroin overdose, but in July, at the request of a sister, he received an official military burial at Arlington National Cemetery because he had been honorably discharged after his Army service in Vietnam. (Current law blocks from national cemeteries only criminals with death sentences.)

Unclear on the Concept

(1) Maria Julia Mantilla, recently crowned Miss World, denied a plastic surgeon's boast that he had given her buttock implants and trimmed her ears, protesting that "I'm not the creation of a surgeon. He just did my bust and my nose." (2) Wailing loudly and apparently incredulous at being ordered to jail, a scantily dressed Natalia McLennan, 25, was taken directly to a lockup from a New York City courtroom in September, after being charged with prostitution; McLennan had recently posed for the cover of New York magazine, proclaiming herself to be the city's top-grossing "escort" and acknowledging that she provided sex for clients.

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