Legally Weird: Strange Crime Archives
Legally Weird - The FindLaw Legal Curiosities Blog

Recently in Strange Crime Category

A Mississippi man who was previously declared legally dead was sentenced to death on Friday. No, he's not a zombie (that would be "undead"), he was just missing for so long that a court declared him dead.

Thomas Sanders, 57, was declared dead in 1994 after he'd abandoned his family in 1987. However, that wasn't to say that he was exactly lying low. The Associated Press reports that a federal jury convicted Sanders for the kidnapping and death of a 12-year-old Las Vegas girl in 2010.

How did lawyers resurrect Sanders, only for jurors to return the death penalty?

A New York postal carrier is accused of hoarding 40,000 pieces of mail in his apartment, car, and post office locker.

Joseph Brucato, 67, admitted that he had been hoarding the undelivered mail since 2005, reports the New York Post. It took postal agents five hours to remove more than 2,500 pounds of mail that Brucato had squirreled away, including letters, magazines, and coupon books.

How did authorities discover Brucato's stash, and what kind of charges might he now face?

A Florida man who raped his puppy was sentenced to five years in state prison on Friday.

James Guy Bull, 62, a real credit to the Sunshine State, was sentenced on two counts of felony cruelty to animals and various misdemeanor charges related to sex with and cruelty to animals, reports USA Today. Bull pleaded guilty to the charges based various incidents where neighbors had seen him "fondling" or "in the act of having sex" with his 8-month-old female pit bull, Coco.

How did prosecutors deal with this puppy rapist case?

An Oklahoma City man was arrested for washing his hair in a public fountain with something unexpected... mayonnaise.

Jorge Perez, 23, explained to the arresting officer Tuesday that he was soaking wet because he had "been washing his hair with mayonnaise in the Bricktown fountain," reports NewsOK.com. Perez only spent one day in jail and is now free to enjoy what other condiments he might use for bathing (perhaps olive juice?).

But what about his mayo-shampoo stunt was illegal?

A Texas teen has been arrested and charged with rubbing his scrotum on a customer's pizza after a customer caught him in the act.

Papa Murphy's employee Michael Symonds, 18, was allegedly caught dabbing his testicles all over a customer's family-size stuffed crust pizza, topped with pineapple and Canadian bacon. According to Austin's KEYE-TV, Symonds apologized after he was caught with his genitals out.

What criminal charges are appropriate for such a ballsy pizza stunt?

A California man has been arrested after being accused of cooking and serving his ex-girlfriend's dog.

Ryan Watenpaugh of Shasta County was arrested last week after his ex-girlfriend called police. She said Watenpaugh had left the severed paws of her missing Pomeranian on her porch after sending her harassing messages, reports the Redding Record Searchlight. Among the messages was one in which Watenpaugh allegedly asked the women "how her dog tasted," according to police.

Though certainly the most bizarre, animal cruelty is just one of the multiple criminal charges Watenpaugh is now facing.

How does simulating oral sex with a statue of Jesus turn into a potential two years in juvie?

Start by examining the case of a 14-year-old Pennsylvania teen who has been charged with the "desecration of a venerated object." In July, the young man posted pictures to Facebook of him straddling a statute of a kneeling Jesus in front of an Everett, Pennsylvania, Christian organization, reports The Huffington Post.

What's going on in this Jesus statue oral sex case?

A heated fight over a (possibly spicy) meatball led to one Maryland man allegedly stabbing the other -- mamma mia!

On Thursday, the assault suspect, 31, reportedly stabbed his coworker, 36, because he believed his colleague had eaten a meatball from the assailant's lunch. It is unclear if this meatball was from a Subway sandwich or even something homemade, but The Baltimore Sun reports that the alleged meatball menace "fled the scene" shortly thereafter.

What happens when the meatball of friendship turns into the sour marinara stain of stabbing?

A Texas teacher was sentenced on Wednesday to three years of probation after pleading guilty to giving a teen a lap dance during class.

Felicia A. Smith, a 42-year-old former Aldine ISD middle school teacher, admitted to giving her 15-year-old student an inappropriate birthday "performance," which included her dancing on and around him while he was seated in a chair. The Houston Chronicle reports that the Spring, Texas, woman was accused of getting on her knees near the end of the lap dance and putting her head between the student's legs.

What was going on in this "hot for student" case?

The owner of five drive-thru coffee stands featuring bikini-clad female baristas has pleaded guilty to prostitution and money-laundering charges.

As part of her deal with prosecutors, Carmela Panico, the 52-year-old owner of espresso huts in Everett, Washington, agreed to cease operations and hand ownership of her coffee stands over to the city, reports The Daily Herald. Panico also agreed to testify against a former police officer who allegedly helped Panico avoid detection in exchange for sexual favors from Panico herself.

What do authorities say was going down at these coffee cathouses?