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Author Archives: D.P. Lyle, MD

About D.P. Lyle, MD

Author, Lecturer, Story Consultant

The Black Dahlia: The Cold Case That Even 70 Years Later Won’t Go Away

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Elizabeth Short

The shocking and graphic murder of Elizabeth Short (The Black Dahlia) has never been solved and likely never will be. Seventy years ago yesterday, on January 15, 1947, the nude body of a young woman was found in a vacant lot on Norton Avenue in the Leimert Park area of Los Angeles. She had been bisected (cut in half) and her two body parts displayed in a spread eagle fashion.

The victim was identified as Elizabeth Short and she soon became known by the moniker The Black Dahlia. Her death has remained one of the truly iconic American crimes. It’s hard to believe that after 70 years little progress has been made in solving her murder.

During the initial investigation, the police were at a loss as to who could have and would have killed Elizabeth, and since then many theories about the killer’s identity have been postulated. But none have ever been proven. Still many are intriguing.

An excellent article from Crime Magazine by Stephen Karadjis was published in 2014. It summarizes the case, its investigation, and the various theories that have circulated about this murder.

 

 

First Successful Insanity Plea in the US

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Philip Barton Key

“Key, you scoundrel, you have dishonored my house—you must die!”

This words were shouted by US Congressman Daniel Sickles just before he shot Philip Barton Key, a US Attorney and the son of the author of the “Star-Spangled Banner.” And true to his words Sickles shot Key with three different pistols in broad daylight in direct view of the White House. It seems that Sickles had discovered, or at least believed, that Key was carrying on a affair with Sickles’ wife Teresa.

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Daniel Sickles

At the trial, his attorneys employed the insanity defense. In his two-day opening statement, attorney John Graham put it this way:

It may be tragical to shed human blood; but I will always maintain that there is no tragedy about slaying the adulterer; his crime takes away the catcher of the occurrence….the fact is now proved in this case that Philip Barton Key seduced the wife of Daniel E. Sickles, and that for that, in a transport of frenzy, Daniel E. Sickles sent him to his long account.

“Transport of frenzy”? I guess that’s sort of like “going postal.” Temporary insanity as it were.

And of course in that state the only logical action would be to send the scoundrel “to his long account.”

Regardless, Graham’s ploy worked and Sickles was acquitted, served out the rest of his term in the House of Representatives, became a Major General in the Civil War, and was later an ambassador to Spain under US Grant—where he supposedly was the lover of Spain’s deposed Queen.

 
1 Comment

Posted by on January 11, 2017 in Forensic Psychiatry, Interesting Cases

 

Crime and Science Radio: Car Crashes and “Crime Hot Spots” — Studying Patterns To Prevent Crime

Join Jan Burke and me on Crime and Science Radio Saturday 1-7-17 as we welcome Greg Collins and Dr. Kevin M. Bryant to discuss Car Crashes and “Crime Hot Spots.”

Planning & Research Manager

Greg Collins

Greg Collins is the Research and Analysis Manager for the Shawnee, KS Police Department.  He is primarily responsible for CALEA accreditation, policy review and updating, grant management, overseeing the Crime Analysis function, and managing police department volunteers.

Greg joined the Shawnee Police Department as a sworn officer in 1991.  In addition to road patrol duties, Greg has worked as a D.A.R.E. officer, detective, patrol sergeant, training sergeant, and traffic safety unit supervisor.  Greg has also been a member of the department’s Special Tactics and Response team, and a field training officer. Greg transitioned to his current civilian position in June 2008.

Greg holds a B.A. in Management and Human Relations from MidAmerica Nazarene University and is an IACP Associate member.

Dr. Kevin M Bryant is a professor and chair of the Department of Sociology and Criminology at Benedictine College in Atchinson, Kansas. Bryant completed training and was certified in advanced crime mapping by the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) in 2011 and is currently working toward recertification.

LISTEN: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/suspensemagazine/2017/01/07/crime-and-science-radio-with-special-guests-greg-collins-and-dr-kevin-bryant

Link Goes Live Saturday March 4, 2017 at 10 a.m. Pacific

LINKS:

National Institute of Justice: http://www.nij.gov/Pages/welcome.aspx

Hot Spots Policing: https://www.crimesolutions.gov/PracticeDetails.aspx?ID=8

Data-Driven Approaches to Crime and Traffic Safety: https://www.crimesolutions.gov/ProgramDetails.aspx?ID=479&utm_source=Eblast-GovDelivery&utm_medium=Email&utm_term=LawEnforcement&utm_content=CSprog479-07112016&utm_campaign=CSreleases

Smart Policing Initiative: http://www.smartpolicinginitiative.com

Evidence Technology Magazine: http://www.evidencemagazine.com

 

DEEP SIX One of Suspense Magazine’s Best Books of 2016

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Suspense Magazine’s Best Books of 2016

Cozy:

“Death at the Day Lily Café” by Wendy Sand Eckel
“Crime and Poetry” by Amanda Flower
“Michelangelo’s Ghost” by Gigi Pandian
“The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper” by Phaedra Patrick

Debut:

“Murder in G Major” by Alexia Gordon
“Behind Closed Doors” by B.A Paris
“Blood on the Tracks” by Barbara Nickless
“IQ” by Joe Ide
“Summit Lake” by Charlie Donlea

 Romantic Suspense:

“Tripple Six” by Erica Spindler
“Shadow Rider” by Christine Feehan
“Into the Whirlwind” by Kat Martin
“The Obsession” by Nora Roberts

Horror:

“A Time of Torment” by John Connolly
“Adam Frankenstein: A Collection of Short Stories” by Sheila English
“Hex” by Thomas Olde Heuvelt
“The Hatching” by Ezekiel Boone

 Dark Urban Fantasy/Paranormal:

“Night Shift” by Charlaine Harris
“Kill Switch” by Jonathan Maberry
“Feverborn” by Karen Marie Moning
“Prince Lestat and the Realms of Atlantis” by Anne Rice

Indie:

“The Seven Year Dress” by Paulette Mahurin
“A Wild Fright in Deadwood” by Ann Charles
“Thirty-Six and a Half Motives” by Denise Grover Swank
“The Saints of the Lost and Found” by T. M. Causey

Historical:

“Ruler of the Night” by David Morrell
“This Was a Man” by Jeffrey Archer
“The Last Days of Night” by Graham Moore
“The Murder of Mary Russell” by Laurie R. King

 

Anthology:

“The Thrill List” by Catherine Lea and Others
“The Big Book of Jack the Ripper” Edited by Otto Penzler
“Echoes of Sherlock Holmes: Stories Inspired by the Holmes Canon” Edited by Laurie R. King and Leslie S. Klinger
“Nightmares: A New Decade of Modern Horror” Edited by Ellen Datlow

 

True Crime:

“Possessed” by Kathryn Casey
“Framed: Why Michael Skakel Spent Over a Decade in Prison for a Murder He Didn’t Commit” by Robert. F. Kennedy
“A Mother’s Reckoning” by Sue Klebold
“A Killing in Amish Country” by Gregg Olsen and Rebecca Morris

 

YA:

“Isabel Feeney: Star Reporter” by Beth Fantaskey
“Girl on the Brink” by Christina Hoag
“The May Queen Murders” by Sarah Jude
“Crooked Kingdom” by Leigh Bardugo

 

Thriller/Suspense:

“When Shadows Come” by Vincent Zandri
“Right to Kill” by Andrew Peterson
“Deep Six” by D.P. Lyle
“The Steel Kiss” by Jeffrey Deaver
“The Woman in Cabin 10” by Ruth Ware
“A Great Reckoning” by Louise Penny
“Backblast” by Mark Greaney
“Dark Matter” by Blake Crouch
“Strong Cold Dead” by Jon Land
“The Obsidian Chamber” by Preston and Child

http://suspensemagazine.com/blog2/2016/12/14/the-best-books-of-2016/

 
3 Comments

Posted by on December 22, 2016 in Writing

 

Stagger Lee: A Most Famous Christmas Killing

A Most Famous Christmas Killing: Stagger Lee Shoots Billy and an Iconic Song is Born

The night was clear and the moon was yellow
And the leaves came tumbling down


I was standing on the corner when I heard my bulldog bark
He was barkin’ at the two men who were gamblin’ in the dark
It was Stagger Lee and Billy, two men who gambled late
Stagger Lee threw seven, Billy swore that he threw eight
Stagger Lee told Billy, “I can’t let you go with that”
“You have won all my money and my brand new stetson hat”
Stagger Lee started off goin’ down that railroad track
He said “I can’t get you Billy but don’t be here when I come back”
Stagger Lee went home and he got his fourty-four
Said “I’m goin’ to the barroom just to pay that debt I owe”
Stagger Lee went to the barroom and he stood across the barroom door
He said “Nobody move” and he pulled his fourty-four
Stagger Lee shot Billy, oh he shot that poor boy so bad
Till the bullet came through Billy and it broke the bartender’s glass.

 

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Lordy, what a great song. Can’t tell you how many times I’ve listen to it or played it on the guitar. It just never gets old.

You have to admit, the words are intriguing. Who the heck is Stagger Lee? And Billy? And did Lee kill Billy over a hat and some cash? Does this song have any basis in reality?

You bet.

Some say it was Christmas Eve, others say Christmas Day, but most all agree it was 1895, that the events that spawned an iconic American song went down. So did young Billy Lyon who was shot and killed by Lee Shelton, a cab driver and pimp who went by the moniker Stag Lee, or Stack Lee, the story has many iterations. Apparently they had been drinking, gambling, and arguing politics, and of course the money on the table and the turn of the dice. Alcohol, gambling, and guns make a toxic mix.

Stag Lee apparently shot Billy in the stomach, took his hat, and walked away. He was quickly arrested, and then tried, convicted, and sent to prison where he died in 1912. There was nothing special about this murder, just another shooting on the mean streets of St. Louis’s tenderloin district, but it was the stimulus for many songs that recounted the events of that day. A song that is truly iconic in the history of the blues and rock and roll.

I bet you can hear it in your head right now.

The song has been recorded under many names: Stagger Lee, Stagolee, Stackerlee, Stack O’Lee, Stack-a-Lee, and the list goes on. It is estimated that over 400 versions have been recorded over the last century, each with its own take on the story.

The version that most people know is the 1959 recording by Lloyd Price, which contrasts starkly with the version recorded by the great Mississippi John Hurt in 1928. It has also been recorded by The Fabulous Thunderbirds, Johnny Otis, The Grateful Dead, RL Burnside, Keb Mo, and many others.

 

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Mississippi John Hurt

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Lloyd Price

Want to know more? Here are a few links:

Lee Shelton: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lee_Shelton

Stagger Lee: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stagger_Lee

Lloyd Price: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lloyd_Price

 

Listen to two great versions of this song. You will all remember the Lloyd Price version for sure:

Mississippi John Hurt’s Version: http://www.staggerlee.com

Lloyd Price’s Version: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rxv4m7oiuvQ

 

Originally Posted on Le Coeur De l’Artiste: http://www.djadamson.com/lartiste/-doug-lyle-a-most-famous-christmas-killing

 

 
6 Comments

Posted by on December 19, 2016 in Crime Scene

 

DEEP SIX Suspense Magazine’s BEST OF 2016

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Just learned that DEEP SIX has been selected as one of Suspense Magazine’s

Best Books of 2016

(Thriller/Suspense Category)

Details: http://www.dplylemd.com/book-details/deep-six/

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2 Comments

Posted by on December 6, 2016 in Writing

 

Crime and Science Radio: NAMUS: Naming The Unidentified, Finding The Missing: An Interview With J. Todd Matthews

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NAMUS: Naming The Unidentified, Finding The Missing: An Interview With J. Todd Matthews

BIO: Todd Matthews is the Director of Case Management and Communications for NamUs. He  joined the NamUs management team in 2011 as the program transitioned to the UNT Health Science Center. In his current role, he manages the NamUs Regional System Administrator staff, oversees quality assurance and quality control of NamUs data, performs outreach and training, coordinates all NamUs print and broadcast media, and serves as the media spokesperson for NamUs.

Todd Matthews previously served as a NamUs Regional System Administrator and was a member of the NamUs Advisory Board for the development of the NamUs database and program. In those roles, he piloted efforts to coordinate data exchanges between NamUs and the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children.

He has also served as the Media Director for two important volunteer programs related to missing and unidentified persons: The Doe Network and Project EDAN. He has worked as a blogger for Discovery ID and served as a consultant for Jerry Brukheimer on “The Forgotten” and Dick Wolf on “Lost & Found”, two scripted series related to missing and unidentified persons

LISTEN: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/suspensemagazine/2016/12/03/crime-and-science-radio-with-special-todd-matthews

Link will go live Saturday 12-3–16 at 10 a.m. Pacific

LINKS:

NamUs: National Missing and Unidentified Persons System http://www.namus.gov

University of North Texas Health Science Center’s Center for Human Identification/Forensic Science Unit  http://www.untfsu.com/index.html

Todd Matthews on UNT site: http://www.untfsu.com/Staff/ToddMatthews.html

Crime and Science Radio 2015 Interview With Todd Matthews https://crimeandscienceradio.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=615&action=edit

Billy’s Law http://lostnmissing.org/billys-law/

The Dead Unknown: Part 1 Mountain Jane Doe (Reveal Films)  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C0vNQXsvrRU

The Dead Unknown: Part 2 The Exhumation https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tN4ZsjgUO-4

The Dead Unknown: Part 3 What Secrets Lie Beneath https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=05KRjEqEcl8

The Dead Unknown: Part 4 She Always Had a Name https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eRK7muHRXJ4

Mountain Jane Doe Identified https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hugiLiKi-RA

NY legislators want unidentified dead in federal database, Daily Freeman (from the Associated Press) July 6, 2016

http://www.dailyfreeman.com/general-news/20160706/ny-legislators-want-unidentified-dead-in-federal-database

“Who Killed Jane Doe #59? The Case of Reet Jurvetson – the fifth estate https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CTyQhn1MjX8

Project EDAN http://www.untfsu.com/forensicArt.html

“Missing Persons and Unidentified Remains: The Nation’s Silent Mass Disaster,” NIJ report by Nancy Ritter. http://www.nij.gov/journals/256/pages/missing-persons.aspx

“Identifying Missing Persons and Unidentified Decedents” NIJ Website Law Enforcement topics http://nij.gov/topics/law-enforcement/investigations/missing-persons/Pages/welcome.aspx

The Doe Network: http://doenetwork.org

Black and Missing Foundatation  http://www.blackandmissinginc.com/cdad/

National Center for Missing and Exploited Children http://www.missingkids.com/home

PBS Frontline‘s “Post Mortem” series map of death investigation in the U.S. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/post-mortem/map-death-in-america/

“Uniform Protocol to Address Unidentified Human Remains and Missing Persons,” Marzena H. Mulawka, Ismail M. Sebetan, and Paul C. Stein, in The Journal of Forensic Identification, available through NCJRS https://www.ncjrs.gov/App/Publications/abstract.aspx?ID=254866

“Resolving Missing and Unidentified Person Cases Using Today’s Technologies,” Dustin Driscoll, National Missing and Unidentified Persons (NamUs) Analyst, in The Police Chief Magazine, May 2013 http://www.policechiefmagazine.org/magazine/index.cfm?fuseaction=display_arch&article_id=2925&issue_id=52013

Unidentified remains: What’s known about some of the nameless dead (database); Cleveland Plain Dealer August 8, 2016http://www.cleveland.com/metro/index.ssf/2016/08/unidentified_remains_whats_kno.html

How Kathy Thornton solved her sister’s 39-year-old murder case; Miami Herald, November 23, 2016 http://www.miamiherald.com/news/nation-world/national/article116796023.html

 
 
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