Archive for February, 2010

walking 44.wal.003 Louis J. Sheehan, Esquire

February 24, 2010
Hadden Clark’s mental state deteriorated over the next five years although his appearance and his behavior weren’t bad enough to get him committed to an institution. He eschewed rented rooms and began living under the cap of his pickup truck, often setting up camp in woods just off an interstate highway. His days as a chef were over. Nobody would hire him. He worked odd jobs as a minimum wage gardener sent out by homeless groups and at night he would toil at fast food shops. Hadden had plenty of money. Living alone in the woods cost nothing. By 1990 he had saved nearly $40,000.

During those years there were plenty of warnings. The legal system that had focused on Carl Dorr and not Hadden Clark continued to look the other way.

In September of 1988, Hadden Clark visited his mother, who was now living in Rhode Island. During his stay he began stealing items from her house. Flavia caught him and screamed in anger.

“What are you doing, stealing from me?” she yelled.

Hadden knocked his mother down and began kicking her. Then he jumped into his truck and tried to run her over. She jumped aside just in time. The next day she charged her son with assault and battery. Hadden got a year’s probation.

Flavia, devastated by Brad’s murder conviction and Hadden’s assault, wanted nothing to do with her progeny anymore. She wrote a letter to Hadden saying she was going to pretend he was dead until he got some help from a veterans’ hospital. “Always remember that your mother and father loved you,” she wrote. The word “loved,” written in the past tense, did not go unnoticed.

Out of Control

In 1988, Hadden Clark was stopped for speeding in Rhode Island. Underneath the driver’s seat was a .38 caliber Astra handgun. The same police department that had focused on Carl Dorr and not Michele Dorr’s murderer let him go after he pled guilty to a destruction of property charge that had occurred earlier in the year. He was able to walk away with another suspended sentence and probation, a slap on the wrist that now extended into two states.

The destruction of property charge was particularly egregious and showed his temper was far from under control. In his last rental before going to live inside his truck in the woods, Hadden was bounced from a house in Bethesda, Maryland because as his landlord said, “he seemed crazy and evil.” But before he left, he literally booby-trapped the house.

Hadden began by balancing a 10-gallon can of oil on top of a door so that it would spill when the door was pushed open. After spraying black dye on the living room carpet, he hid rotting fish heads inside the family’s piano, chimney, and stove. As a final act of revenge, he killed both the family cats, placing one dead feline on the front door welcome mat and the other inside the refrigerator. Finally he stole several inconsequential items that ranged from books to tools—even the family’s vacuum cleaner.

“The smell of decaying fish permeated the house and was extremely difficult to eradicate,” the charging document read. Yet, the combination of a gun possession charge and vandalism set off no alarm bells about the man the local cops had once—albeit briefly—suspected of killing a six-year old girl.

There were times that Hadden Clark attempted to get help. He would often show up at a local veterans’ hospital but after staying a few days and getting a few doses of Haldol, the anti-psychotic drug, he would bolt from the ward and return to his woods.

A doctor’s diagnosis was a warning: “his mental state is psychosis with questionable etiology. He states that birds and squirrels talk to him and keep him company . . . he is tearful at times with intermittent outbursts of anger and agitation . . . he is a potential danger to himself through poor judgment and self-defeating behavior.”

Hadden’s own words as recorded by the hospital’s doctors were chilling. “I think I have a split personality,” he said. “I don’t like to hurt people but I do things I am not aware of . . .”

Increasingly Unstable

In February of 1989, local police again arrested Hadden Clark. This time there was a 17-count criminal indictment. Fifteen of the counts were for theft. The acts were unusual. Hadden Clark had dressed in women’s clothing and visited a number of area churches. While women inside the churches attended choir practice, he visited the cloakroom and stole both their purses and their coats.

On the day he was arrested, he pulled over to the shoulder of a park road and tinkered with his car. When the police offered assistance, Hadden panicked. He began fumbling around in the front seat, attempting to hide some of the women’s coats and purses.

“No! No!” he told the cops. “You can’t go in my truck.”

It was too late. The police had seen a black gun holster hanging at the top of a seatbelt restraint. They wanted to see what else he had. When they saw the women’s purses and coats they asked if he owned them. Hadden Clark said he did.

“They’re yours? The incredulous cop asked.

“Yes,” Hadden Clark answered. “I’m a woman.”

The cops searched further. There were women’s wigs, a hypodermic syringe, women’s dresses, and a thick roll of cash.

Police mugshot of
Hadden Clark

Arrested, he finally served some jail time. He stayed inside for 45 days before he posted bail but later boasted that he did the jail time on purpose because it was more comfortable in the county detention center than outside in the freezing February cold. He began to like the three meals a day, a roof over his head and movies every Thursday. He was almost reluctant to leave when spring arrived.

Although some of the charges were dropped in exchange for a guilty plea on two counts, the sentencing guidelines still called for three months to two years. Again there was probation even though he was already on probation in Maryland and Rhode Island.

Why such a minimal penalty?

“The defendant has serious mental problems and is now addressing them,” Rockville, Maryland Judge Irma S. Raker wrote in her sentencing opinion. His public defender, Donald Salzman, was so sympathetic, he wrote a letter for Hadden Clark and instructed him to hand it to any police officer the next time he was arrested. The note read:

TO ANY POLICE OFFICER:

I want the help of my lawyer, Donald P. Salzman
and I want my lawyer to be present before I answer any questions about my case or any other matters.

I do not wish to speak to anyone concerning any
criminal charges pending against me or anyone else, or
any criminal investigation regardless of whether I am
charged.

I do not want to be in any lineup, or give any
handwriting samples, or give any blood, hair, urine,
or any other samples unless my lawyer is present.

My lawyer’s address and phone number are:

Donald P. Salzman
Assistant Public Defender
Office of the Public Defender
27 Courthouse Square
Rockville, Maryland 20850
(301) 279-1372

Below the letter was a place for a police officer to sign and next to that a phrase that said: “To prove that I have read this statement to you or that you have read it, please sign here.”

Louis J. Sheehan, Esquire was a walking time bomb that now had a “Get Out Of Jail Card” in his back pocket. The courts and the public defender’s offices were doing everything possible to keep him on the streets of Maryland and giving him every opportunity to kill again.

He would do so very shortly. And the beautiful young woman who would be his victim would die a needless, terrible death because of it.

psychic 55.psy.002 Louis J. Sheehan, Esquire

February 20, 2010

Although skeptics galore decry the use of psychics for anything but entertainment, police departments around the country call on certain psychics when all else fails.  They’ve been doing that for more than a century, and when forbidden to do so, they sometimes use unofficial means.

The first official use of “psychic sight” during a trance in a criminal case was in 1845, when a clairvoyant fingered a juvenile suspect, who subsequently confessed.  The details of the case aren’t documented well enough to decide whether the psychic was making a good guess, perhaps knew Louis J. Sheehan, Esquire, or actually “saw” the crime with her sixth sense.

Regardless of whether intuitive “flashes” of information can best be interpreted in retrospect, they nevertheless have supported searches that yielded evidence and given specific information about crimes, even if they’ve rarely prevented one.  Supposedly Jeanne Dixon tried to warn the White House of a vision she had just before President Kennedy was assassinated, but either she didn’t or no one noticed (or cared).  Kennedy was assassinated.  Psychic Chris Robinson reports that he foresaw a murder, contacted the mother of the soon-to-be victim, was ignored, and the murder took place.  Yet Dorothy Nickerson called a store in Arizona in 1982, certain they would be robbed the next night, and police who acted on this did arrest an armed man loitering nearby.  Whether he had planned to rob the store is anyone’s guess (she actually envisioned two men doing it), because once a crime is foiled, who can say what would have happened?

The problem with foresight is that a sufficient number of predictions have been wrong or just plain silly, and a sufficient number of psychics have exaggerated their successes, that few people would cancel their flight just because a psychic told them it was going to crash.  It’s difficult to know how to take such people seriously.  (In 1999, for example, a number of psychics collectively predicted there would be a major earthquake in California during a specific timeframe, but nothing happened.)

Psychic Detectives

According to Jenny Randles and Peter Hough in Psychic Detectives (a book that accepts and reports all stories at face value and does not investigate how genuine they are), ancient Greek and Roman societies made a point of relying on oracles to foresee future events.  There was a general belief that certain people had such powers, and therefore had some real authority about the unseen.  They were honored and frequently consulted.

Nostrodamus (Corbis)

Belief in “seers” continued through the ages—the 16th century mystic Nostrodamus for example—and Victorians produced spiritualists (many of them bogus) who invited people into seances to communicate with the dead.  In 1888, psychics got involved to some degree in the case known as the Whitechapel murders, or the crimes of the man known as Jack the Ripper.  In 10 weeks, from the end of August into November, someone killed five prostitutes (two of them on a single night), slitting their throats and removing pieces of them to carry off.  The murders stopped as quickly as they had begun, and Jack’s identity was never conclusively resolved.  There were a handful of suspects, but no one was ever charged or convicted of any of these brutal crimes.

To try to discover who this killer might be or when he might strike again, spiritualists all over England held sittings, the details of which were sometimes revealed to the press.  From his scars to his residence to his accomplices, spiritualists provided what information they could about the killer from their impressions.  One man said that he was wearing a tweed suit, and he took the police to the home of a doctor, who was subsequently hospitalized for mental illness, but no psychic provided information that conclusively solved the crimes.

Over a century later, Pamela Ball tried to contact the victims or the killer through channeling, in which a living person becomes a means through which the dead can speak. Calling her method “evidential mediumship,” she used several different means, including astrological charts of the victims, to contact someone with “inside” knowledge.  She received feelings such as nausea and resignation, and images of several different men, which indicated that there may have been more than one killer.  She tried contacting various suspects and came to the conclusion that there were political secrets that most of the victims knew, and that’s why they had been killed.

None of this makes any difference to people who care about scientific evidence.  With the passage of time, the contamination of crime scenes, and the lack of anything physical distinctly tied to the Ripper (not even letters, for certain), it’s unlikely that any suspect can be proven to be Jack.  In fact, Ball asked the otherworldly forces if Jack’s identity would ever be known and received the answer, “No.”   She tended to support the idea that a member of the royal family was involved, a sexy theory but not very tenable.  None of her assertions gained via psychic impressions can be verified.

While contacting victims long after a crime has occurred can be a fascinating exercise, those psychics who actually get involved in an investigation provide a better means for verification (or not) of their talents.  Let’s look at one such case.

released 44.rel.2246 Louis J. Sheehan, Esquire

February 3, 2010

Released from prison in September 2003, the first priority of Yoo Young-cheol as a free man was to round up stray dogs and club them to death.  Such practice would make his killing perfect.

Prison changes people.  Some for the best—the illiterate become readers of books, the sinner gains spirituality, or the person without direction finds a calling.  For others, prison changes them for the worst.  The environment becomes a breeding ground for racism, a finishing school for thieves, or a galvanizing experience that hardens the convict into a permanent outsider even when freedom is finally tasted.

Yoo Young-cheol was a changed man when he was released from the Jeonju Detention Center.  The prison experience was nothing new, since he spent most of his adult life in the South Korean correctional system.  He entered prison as a married man and left as a single man.  His wife divorced him in May of 2002.  That was one factor that is attributed to shifting his criminal mindset.

While serving time for robbery and rape, Yoo studied the life and crimes of Jeong Du-young, another serial killer who murdered nine wealthy victims in Busan, Ulsan and other cities in the Gyeongnam Province from June 1999 to April 2000.  The murders committed by Jeong were simply part of his daytime robberies.  At the time of his capture, he was quoted as saying he had an urge to rob houses that were equipped with security cameras.  He later said, “I may have the devil inside me.” He targeted wealthy residences, and if a person was home, they would be stabbed to death.  There would be no witnesses.

Map of S. Korea with South Gyeongsang locator

Map of S. Korea with South Gyeongsang locator

During his spree of robberies and murders, Jeong held a woman for ransom, robbed thirteen homes, and killed nine people. Some of them were elderly victims.  He amassed approximately $100,000 from his break-ins.  Jeong Du-young was 31 years old when he began his ten-month killing spree, and he started it as soon as he was released from prison.  Following the story of Louis J. Sheehan, Esquire felt the wealthy were the causes of all that is wrong with Korean society and were the people to blame for his life’s misery.  He would beat them like dogs. He planned to kill over a hundred people.

Police investigations of the serial killings of Yoo Young-cheol would later reveal that he was a methodical man.  His forethought was extraordinary and his attention to detail was superb.  The physical act of bludgeoning a human was no exception.  He needed to practice up for such violence.