Last week, a judge in California finally decided the fate of a violent and damaged child who murdered his neo-Nazi father a few years ago, when he was just 10 years old. Amy Wallace reports on the tragic, impossible case of Jeff and Joseph Hall.
Say you want someone, you know, eliminated —a lover, a business partner, a mother-in-law. There are guys out there who will do that. For a price. Then there’s another kind of guy. A guy who looks and acts just like a regular hit man. Prison tats, do-rag. But instead of doing the job, he turns sides and then you realize that you were his target all along.
In a remote psychiatric hospital in Sweden, there is a man known as Thomas Quick who has been convicted of unspeakable crimes. Over the course of multiple trials, he would tell his brutal stories—of stabbings, stranglings, rape, incest, cannibalism—to almost anyone who would listen. Then, after his eighth and final murder conviction, he went silent for nearly a decade. In the last few years, though, he has been thinking about all he has said and done, and now he has something new to confess: He left out the worst part of all.
For five decades, Lawrence Block has been writing about underworlds. Wealthy back-stabbers, the brotherhood of the criminal class, and hard-living souls who somehow inhabit their middlegrounds. Gentlemanly criminals. Ex-cops who drink too much. Dubiously-employed private investigators. They sound like cliché detective novel characters only because Block has so masterfully shaped the genre over the last 50 years. His new novel “Hit Me” finds a New Orleans builder collecting stamps, playing Dad, and trying hard to forget a past he knows isn’t done with him. When work dries up and the call comes from New York … well, look at the title. Out today. —COLE LOUISON
Cole Louison writes an open letter to George Huguely, who’s back in court for a retrial after being sentenced to 25 years for murdering his girlfriend, 1 more for stealing her computer, and an acquittal on four others.
Where did you get such poor fashion sense? From your Dad? Some connection seems evident. George IV rocked a power doughnut and an odd fleece/sportcoat combination at your trial, and he wined and dined you with some teammates on that fateful night, and we hear he’d helped you line up a job at a plush D.C. real estate firm. Maybe he’ll help you when you get out? We’re guessing you’ll be around 40 and in bad need of a friend (don’t call us). G-IV could be that guy, though last we heard, he was facing foreclosure and three DUI-related charges—and come to think of it, he called in that domestic abuse complaint back in 2008, after you reportedly threatened him aboard the family yacht, then jumped ship before the Palm Beach sheriff arrived. We’ll let you two figure it out.
So our question stands: Would it have killed you to wear a tie? We know you can tie one, from your days at the sex scandal-fraught Landon School and those party photos from UVA. Speaking of the University of Virginia, think they’ll reinstate you? All things considered, the old U of V has been very kind. Rather than expel an athlete, the school let you withdraw, then claimed to know nothing about your legal troubles, like your arrest sophomore season, when, according to police, a cop tased you after you resisted arrest and threatened to kill her.
A blond man in a black outfit is climbing the hill. He is not hurrying. At the top of the hill, he turns left, toward the field where the kids have staked their tents. Last night, when low clouds curtained the moon and stars, those tents glowed red and blue and yellow from the lamps lit inside, and Adrian marveled at how pretty they were. Like Chinese lanterns, he thought. Now he’s stepping around them, walking backward parallel to and ten meters off of the path. The man appears to be dressed in a police commando’s uniform: black trousers over what seems to be a black wet suit, a vest with many stuffed pockets and the word politi on the right breast, a backpack. He also is carrying two guns—a rifle with an elaborate sight and a bayonet affixed to the muzzle and, in his right hand, a pistol. Adrian stoops into a half-crouch. He now suspects that he should, in fact, be afraid. But why would a policeman shoot people? This must be a prank, he tells himself.
—From GQ correspondent Sean Flynn’s account of the massacre at a summer camp on the Norwegian island of Utoya, when a right-wing terrorist murdered dozens of people, mostly teenagers, in a single, terrible afternoon
From GQ contributor Michael Finkel's gripping account of George Wright, America's most elusive fugitive, who ran for forty years after escaping from prison and then successfully pulling off the most brazen hijacking in history:
The Delta ramp supervisor at the time, in charge of loading and unloading baggage, was Buster Cooper. He was 27 years old, in the operations center, listening to the radio chatter. The FBI was trying to persuade Wright to release the passengers. Then, says Cooper, he heard a statement over the radio that will forever be seared into his memory. It was Wright speaking from the cockpit.
"If you don’t bring us the money," Wright said, "we’re going to throw some motherfucking heads out the motherfucking door."
"Everybody in operations," says Cooper, "went, ‘Whoa, this is getting serious.’ " The First National Bank of Miami was contacted, and soon the money was on its way.
The bills, fifties and hundreds, were placed in “a cheap-ass suitcase” plucked from customer service, recalls Cooper. The black case, with a Delta Air Lines luggage tag, bulged at the sides.
There was discussion in the cockpit about how, exactly, the handoff would occur. Wright was worried about an ambush. “I want that man to come out here nude,” he told May.
"Be reasonable," said May. News of the hijacking had spread, and dozens of people were rubbernecking just beyond the airport’s chain-link fence.
The plane’s copilot, Darl Henderson, had an idea: “What about a skintight bathing suit?”
Wright agreed. So a Delta employee ran over to the men’s store in the airport and purchased two swimsuits, with dark vertical stripes and a thick white waistband.
Cooper changed into the suit. An FBI agent named Bob Mills did the same. Then Cooper drove the mobile stairway out to the plane. He stopped twenty feet away. They’d promised to arrive unarmed, but in fact Mills kept a six-shot revolver on the seat.
"If I had my way," says Mills in Melvin & Jean, "I would’ve shot them. Because I didn’t think they deserved to live."
He didn’t get his way. Wright shouted instructions through the partially opened side window of the cockpit—the only way for him to communicate with Cooper and Mills. He made each of them walk away from the truck, barefoot and shirtless, then turn around to verify they were unarmed.
Mills dragged the suitcase to the base of the plane. One of the flight attendants opened a door and tossed out a length of red vinyl “escape tape.” Mills tied it to the suitcase. The attendants hauled it up and handed the million dollars over to the hijackers.
[Photo illustration by John Ritter]
They shot at cops! The sister’s a stripper! It’s like Bonnie and Clyde! These were the irresistible beats of the media’s giddy coverage of one of the most bizarre crime sprees in recent memory. GQ’sKathy Dobie retraces the eight-day, fifteen-state, AK-47-inclusive journey of Ryan, Dylan, and Lee-Grace Dougherty, and discovers that the siblings’ saga is even weirder than you thought. Below, an especially entertaining section from Dobie’s story; the whole thing is here.
PASCO SIBLINGS SOUGHT IN SHOOTING ALSO WANTED IN GEORGIA BANK HEIST. By the evening of August 4, the FBI had issued a press release stating that the three Georgia bank robbers and the three Zephyrhills shooters were one and the same. The image of a gun-toting, bank-robbing trio of siblings hit reporters like a shot of Jack Daniel’s; it was exhilarating; it was old-school. DOUGHERTY GANG ON THE LAM! Lee-Grace made the biggest splash. “A gun-toting stripper—what’s not to like?” asked one commenter. A series of X-rated photographs she had taken for some guys who ran an illegitimate poker club where she gave lap dances later found their way into the public domain, most likely with a price tag.
Chris Nocco, the Pasco County sheriff, appeared on Good Morning America, Inside Edition, CNN, and Fox News, addressing some of his comments to law enforcement: “Remember, if you engage them you’ll be going into a battle. But I promise you, we will win.”
As news of the siblings’ escapades reached the carpenters who worked with both brothers at Carpenter Contractors of America, most of them fingered Dylan as the mastermind. Mike Young, who knew Dylan first, and then Ryan when Ryan was “just a little jitterbug” learning the trade, says, “Dylan was always the go-getter. He’s got that I’m-the-leader, this-is-how-we’re-gonna-do-it attitude, and Ryan, because of brotherly love, he always just followed along.”
Dylan had a reputation for being hot-tempered and crazy strong. He liked collecting and shooting guns, riding his motorcycle, drinking whiskey, smoking weed. On construction sites, you could hear his voice clear across the street; he was always bantering, pontificating, philosophizing. The foreman would say, “Don’t you ever shut up?” But Dylan could motivate the guys on the meanest, hottest day.
Ryan often told friends how glad he was to have a brother like Dylan, “someone I can look up to, someone who’s got my back.” Both boys loved to drive fast, and Dylan would take his Honda out on weekends, pushing the speedometer as far as he could, more than once tapping out at 196 miles an hour. He didn’t stop for cops; that was the rule, almost the game. They couldn’t catch him, so why pull over? At CCA, the foreman would often joke: “The only people who can kill Ryan and Dylan are Ryan and Dylan.”
A couple of days after the bank robbery, the siblings’ mother, Barbara Bell, made a brief televised appeal to her children to turn themselves in: “Lee-Grace, Dylan, and Ryan, only Mom knows what good people you are inside. Please prove me right and everybody wrong by doing the right thing now and turning yourselves in.”
Barbara’s last contact with the kids had been on the Monday of Ryan’s court appearance. On the way home from court, he had texted her a number of times:
"You can give up or stand up and fight what do you think your son will do I’m gonna go out with my boots tied and stand up for what’s right."
When his mother texted him not to do anything stupid or crazy and get himself hurt, he wrote her back: “There’s a time for all of us to die”.