Dateline: Russia—The U.K.’s Daily Mail reports that a Russian judge handed a more lenient sentence to a cannibal who killed and ate his mother because the defendant was “hungry.” Sergey Gavrilov was given reduced jail time after confessing, “I did not like the meat very much. It was too fatty. But I was hungry, I had to eat it.” The judge in the case said the 27-year-old was starving and had little choice but to cook and eat parts of his dead mother after spending all his money on vodka and gambling. Gavrilov hit his 55-year-old mother over the head with a brick and strangled her to death with an electric cord after she refused to give him her pension money so he could buy more alcohol. A court heard how he put her body on the balcony of the family apartment near Samara, in southern Russia, and took her money before going on a two-day drinking and gambling binge. Returning to the apartment, he soon ran out of food and started slicing meat from his mother’s body. “She was frozen, like meat in the freezer,” he later told police. Gavrilov snacked on his mother’s corpse for more than a month before local police officers, investigating a cell phone theft, located the body. Russian criminal code dictates 15 years in jail for Gavrilov’s various crimes, but the judge reduced his sentence to 14 years and three months, stating that the drunken cannibal “was not keen to eat the meat, he just was hungry.” Psychiatric tests found the man to be “normal” and fully aware of what he was doing.
Dateline: Canary Islands—More than $2 million worth of counterfeit cigarettes were confiscated by Spanish officials after it was revealed the smokes were filled not with tobacco, but with Chinese rabbit droppings. The bogus cigarettes were discovered after British tourists visiting the Canary Islands purchased some and lit up. “They stunk,” said one customs official on the island of Tenerife. “They smell just as you’d imagine burning poo to smell.” Police and customs agents arrested 12 smugglers in a subsequent undercover operation, intercepting a huge shipment of the poo sticks as they arrived on a boat from China. The crappy smokes were expected to be sold on the black market as famous brands.
Dateline: Maryland—Operators of the National Shrine Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes say a woman quietly left more than $40,000 worth of rare gold and silver coins sitting next to the Catholic shrine for safekeeping while she was out of town. Initially, shrine operators thought the coins were an anonymous donation. They were found in two plastic freezer bags stashed in a pile of leaves near the shrine, which is located on the campus of Mount St. Mary’s University in Emmitsburg. The treasure trove was discovered by a groundskeeper who was raking up the leaves. Shrine Director William Tronolone said a woman approached him after a noon mass last Sunday to ask whether anyone had found any coins. The woman said she left the coins because she was going out of town and was afraid to leave them at home, so she dumped them at the shrine for the Virgin Mary to watch over. The coins, located six days before the woman returned to claim them, had already been appraised by university officials and were sitting in a campus safe. After the school’s security director returned the coins last Monday, he accompanied the owner to a bank and persuaded her to put them in a safe deposit box. “Up here at the grotto, you get a lot of people that are very, very faithful,” Tronolone told reporters. “They do things you and I would never even attempt to do.”
Dateline: Chicago—A 15-year-old boy called 911 in Buffalo Grove to tell police that his parents had taken away his Xbox as punishment. The teen, who made the call at 12:50 p.m. last Sunday, wanted to know if they were within their rights to do so. Officers, who arrived at the house shortly after the call, assured the teen that they were. The teen was also advised to listen to his parents. Cmdr. Steve Husak told the the Chicago Tribune he did not know why the boy was being punished.
Dateline: Texas—An enterprising teenager’s scheme to sell marijuana door-to-door came to a quick end when he knocked on the apartment door of a Brownsville police officer. Anthony Carrazco, 19, was arrested at approximately 3:30 a.m. when he tried to sell the off-duty officer three ounces of marijuana, police spokesman Jimmy Manrrique told the Brownsville Herald. The teen was allegedly intoxicated when he started knocking on doors in the downtown Brownsville area looking for someone interested in purchasing illegal drugs. “[Carrazco] asked him if he wanted to buy marijuana,” Manrrique said. “This person he approached is a Brownsville police officer. The officer said he would be right back and went to go get his badge and handcuffs.” Carrazco is in jail on a $100,000 bond, charged with one count of possession of marijuana and one count of possession of a prohibited weapon