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 V.16 No.43 | October 25 - 31, 2007 

Odds & Ends

Dateline: England—Charles Law, a 48-year-old self-employed financial advisor from Borehamwood, promised a British judge he would shave off his oversized Edwardian-style mustache after assaulting a 13-year-old boy who teased him about the facial accessory. St. Albans Crown Court heard how Law pretended to have a knife and lashed out at a group of teenagers who made fun of his mustache on Christmas Eve last year. One of the boys was also kicked in the knee. The court was told that Law had been in trouble before for “mustache-related incidents.” Julia Flanagan, who defended Law, admitted her client has a tendency to overreact when teased, but assured a judge that he would shave off the offending ’stache. Law was given a two-year conditional release and ordered to pay 75 pounds ($150) damages to the three boys for their “frightening” ordeal. “I have mixed feelings about his decision to give up his mustache,” Judge John Plumpstead told BBC News. “It is plainly a matter of pride, and it must have taken a great deal of time and work to develop.”

Dateline: Pennsylvania—The ACLU will be lending legal assistance to a West Scranton woman who was cited last week by police for cursing at her commode. Mother of four Dawn Herb is facing a disorderly conduct charge after she started swearing at a backed-up toilet in her home. Unfortunately, Herb’s neighbor, an off-duty Scranton patrolman named Patrick Gilman, heard the outburst through an open bathroom window. “The toilet was overflowing and leaking into the kitchen and I was yelling [for my daughter] to get the mop,” Herb told the Scranton Times-Tribune last week. “A guy is yelling, ‘Shut the fuck up,’ and I yelled back, ‘Mind your own business.’” Shortly after the brief exchange, Gilman called police headquarters to complain. “It doesn’t make any sense. I was in my house. It’s not like I was outside or drunk,” said Herb. If convicted, Herb could face a maximum sentence of 90 days in jail and a $300 fine. “This is an extreme example of the government trying to intrude into a place it has no business being, your bathroom and your home,” Mary Catherine Roper, an attorney with the Pennsylvania ACLU told the Times-Tribune. “You can prosecute somebody for bad language in Iran. This isn’t Iran.”

Dateline: Florida—A bank robbery suspect returned to the scene of his alleged crime to berate the tellers who snitched on him after police quickly converged on the bank’s parking lot to arrest him. While leaving the Washington Mutual Bank in Miami Springs with a gun and a bag full of loot, the unnamed suspect stumbled across a swarm of police officers. He responded by dashing back inside the bank and complaining to the tellers who had tripped the bank’s alarm. “You ruined my life! I told you not to call police,” witnesses report the man yelled in Spanish. Shortly thereafter, the man gave himself up to the officers who surrounded the building. Police arrived so quickly because they were at nearby Miami Springs Middle School doing an inspection of school buses.

Dateline: North Carolina--The saga of the severed leg continues. Southern gentlemen Shannon Whisnant and John Wood will now be going to court to decide who gets to keep the somewhat mummified remains of Wood’s severed leg. In keeping with the sordid details of the case, the two men flew up to Chicago last week to settle the question of ownership on the nationally syndicated TV court show “Judge Mathis.” The leg in question was originally attached to John Wood, who had it amputated above the knee after a 2004 plane crash. Wood kept the limb in hopes of being cremated with it. He stored it in his freezer for a while, then hung it on a fencepost to dry and finally stowed it away in a barbecue smoker that ended up amid his belongings in a Maiden Plaza Mini Storage unit. Wood landed in financial trouble and, earlier this month, the contents of the storage unit were sold at public auction. Whisnant purchased the smoker and discovered the severed limb inside. He quickly surrendered the leg to authorities, who gave it to a funeral home, where it was embalmed. Wood eventually returned from his current home in South Carolina to retrieve the leg. The ensuing publicity caused Whisnant to have second thoughts, however. He started charging adults $3 and children $1 to see the empty smoker in which he found the leg and demanded that police return his inadvertent purchase. Whisnant told The Greenville News he wanted to “write some books and do some movies”—presumably involving the leg. Judge Mathis’ decision regarding custody of the leg will be kept secret until the show airs.

Compiled by Devin D. O'Leary. E-mail your weird news to devin@alibi.com.

 
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