Last Meals Part 5

I have some interesting last meal requests this week. I’m still fascinated by this topic and it seems like many of you are as well. I hope this week is entertaining.

(This post and series is not intended to cause controversy regarding capital punishment, and is only intended to discuss the final meals of those who have been judged in a court of law and sentenced to the death penalty.)

  • Who: Dobie Gillis Williams
  • Age: 38
  • Where: Louisiana State Penitentiary
  • How: Lethal Injection
  • When: January 8, 1999
  • His Crime: Controversial murder of Sonja Knippers in 1984.
  • Last Meal: Ice cream and 12 chocolate bars.
  • Who: Bruno Richard Hauptmann
  • Age: 36
  • Where: Trenton State Prison
  • How: Electric Chair
  • When: April 3, 1936
  • His crime: Kidnapping and murder of Charles Lindbergh Jr. https://amateurconnoisseur.com/2021/09/20/mystery-charles-jr/
  • Last meal: Celery, olives, salmon salad, corn fritters, sliced cheese, a fruit salad, and slice of cake, with coffee and milk.
  • Who: Peter J. Miniel
  • Age: 42
  • Where: Texas State Prison, Huntsville
  • How: Lethal Injection
  • When: October 6, 2004
  • His crime: Murder by stabbing 39 times of an acquaintance, Paul Manier in 1986.
  • Last Meal: 20 beef tacos; 20 beef enchiladas; 2 double cheeseburgers; a jalapeño pizza; fried chicken; spaghetti; fruit cake; half of a chocolate cake and half of a vanilla cake; cookies-n-cream and caramel pecan fudge ice cream; 2 Cokes; 2 Pepsis; 2 root beers; and 2 glasses of orange juice.

Swanky Franks

Quick meals are a requirement when you have kids who are in activities, sometimes running kids to three different places at the same time. This recipe is one of the easiest recipes I have, and it’s super easy to customize it to your tastes.

  • Ingredients
    • Hot dogs or any sausage you like
    • Mashed potatoes, real or instant
    • Cheese, any variety, sliced or shredded
  • Directions
    • Cut hot dogs in half lengthwise but do not cut all the way through. Place on a baking sheet.
    • Mashed potatoes can be prepared to taste either real or instant or leftovers. You do not want them ice cold so heat them slightly. Add them to the top of the hot dog until the length is covered by 1/2 – 1 inch of potatoes.
    • Grab your cheese and place on top of the potatoes. Do not be afraid to add as much as you like. If you do not want cheese leave it off.
    • Bake in a 350° oven for 15-20 minutes or until potatoes are heated, hot dog is hot and cheese is bubbly.
    • Serve warm with your favorite sauces.

Happy Eating!

Rosemary

Wednesday’s are for Wisconsin on this page, and today I wanted to talk about Rosemary. She lived in Wisconsin from 1949 until her death in 2005 at the age of 86. Almost everyone knows about her parents and siblings, but little is known of her. Who is Rosemary? She’s the eldest daughter of Joe and Rose Kennedy.

Rose Marie usually referred to as Rosemary or Rosie, was the eldest daughter and third child of Joseph Sr and Rose Kennedy. She was born in 1918 in Brookline, Massachusetts.

When her mother was in labor with her, the doctor was delayed and Rose was told to keep her legs closed until he arrived, the baby was in the birth canal for two hours and it is believed deprived of oxygen during part of this time.

During her early years Rosemary’s parents felt she wasn’t developing as she should as she was still trying to sit up, crawl, and walk at two years old. She was then labeled as intellectually disabled.

Rosemary was sent to boarding schools specializing in intellectually disabled children, she had specialists, private tutors and she would still struggle with learning to read and write.

Her elder brother, John, escorted her to a tea dance and helped give the impression that she wasn’t different at all.

Rosemary travelled with her family to the coronation of Pope Pius XII. And was presented as a debutante to King George VI and Queen Elizabeth at Buckingham Palace in 1938.

In 1940, after returning from England, Rosemary became irritable and difficult. She would often fly into rages and become violent. Joe Sr attempted to distance her from the rest of the family so she wouldn’t impede their political careers.

Eventually she was sent to a convent school in Washington DC and the nuns reported that she would sneak out regularly. They feared she had sexual partners and would contract a sexually transmitted disease or become pregnant. This type of behavior would shame and embarrass the family and Joe Sr found a solution to help solve the problem.

In 1941, 23-year-old Rosemary Kennedy had a new psychosurgery performed called a frontal lobotomy.

The doctors who performed this mildly sedated her and made small incisions into the front of her brain. As they stated no more than an inch each. Brain tissue was cut and as they cut they would ask Rosemary to recite prayers, songs, or count backwards. When she became incoherent they stopped. Joe Sr never told his wife that this procedure was performed until after.

As a result of the lobotomy Rosemary regressed to that of a two year old. The procedure was not successful.

In 1949 Joe Sr learned of St Coletta’s in Jefferson Wisconsin. It was an institution that cared for people with disabilities. Joe had a cottage built for Rosemary near the Alverno House which was designed for those who needed lifelong care.

Rosemary was cared for by two nuns, a student and a woman who worked with her three days a week in ceramics. Eventually Rosemary relearned to walk, she had a dog that kept her company. She would not speak clearly again and her one hand was palsied.

For 20 years her siblings did not know her whereabouts and her father never visited her again. Her mother visited her after the death of Joe Sr in 1969.

At that time her siblings learned about her failed lobotomy, but claimed her absence was due to mental retardation.

Rosemary died from natural causes in 2005 with her remaining siblings, Jean, Eunice, Pat, and Ted by her side. She is buried near her parents at Holyrood Cemetery in Brookline, MA.

Last Meal Monday Part 4

Today is Monday, I feel like I have neglected you all for a couple days, but there is a reason. I am going through a divorce and I have had to do some major work at my house that has been consuming my time for several days. I vow to do better. So here is this weeks final meals of the condemned.

(This post and series is not intended to cause controversy regarding capital punishment, and is only intended to discuss the final meals of those who have been judged in a court of law and sentenced to the death penalty.)

  • Who: David Wayne Stoker
  • Age: 38
  • Where: Texas State Prison
  • How: Lethal Injection
  • When: June 16, 1997
  • His Crime: Murder of 1 man in 1986.
  • Last Meal: Two cheeseburgers, French fries, and ice cream.
  • Who: William Prince Davis
  • Age: 42
  • Where: Texas State Prison
  • How: Lethal Injection
  • When: September 14, 1999
  • His Crime: Robbing an ice cream store and murdered the manager.
  • Last Meal: 2 Bags of BBQ flavored potato chips, 6 cans of Coca Cola, 4 fried chicken legs, 4 biscuits, baked beans, and grated cheese.
  • Who: Timothy McVeigh
  • Age: 33
  • Where: Federal Correctional Complex, Terre Haute Indiana
  • How: Lethal Injection
  • When: June 11, 2001
  • His Crime: 1995 Domestic Terrorist responsible for the Oklahoma City Bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah building. Killing 168 people.
  • Last Meal: 2 pints of mint and chocolate chip ice cream.

Erik and Lyle

What would it take for a person to pull the trigger on a 12 gauge shotgun while it is aimed at their father? What about their mother? How about both? It’s impossible to say why a person would do that, let alone two sons in the same family.

Jose Menendez was originally from Cuba but moved to the United States in 1960. Mary Louise ‘Kitty’ Andersen was from Illinois and married Jose in 1963. They would eventually move to New York and welcome their son Joseph Lyle in 1968. In 1970 Erik Galen was born and Kitty was no longer teaching but raising their two children. Jose, as a corporate executive relocated his family to Beverly Hills in 1986.

The idyllic family existence was shattered on August 20, 1989. Lyle and Erik had been out to a movie and the annual Taste of LA Festival, and upon their return home they discovered the bodies of Jose and Kitty, shot to death.

Lyle called police yelling that “Someone killed my parents!”

When police arrived, Lyle and Erik were not suspected and they were never tested to see if they had handled or fired a gun recently. Jose had been shot once in the back of the head from where he had slept on the sofa. Kitty who was next to him rose from the first gunshots and was shot in the leg. She fell from this and was shot several more times in the arm, chest, and face. This left her unrecognizable.

In the months after the deaths of their parents, the Menendez brothers spent lavishly, but not according to other relatives. They did go on vacations, purchased a new home each and even bought other property and luxury items. The police suspected this spree was connected to the murder of their parents.

In March 1990 the brothers were arrested days apart for the murder of their parents. The pre trial proceedings took over two years and their brothers were tried separately and both ended in a hung jury.

The second trial, they were tried together. The brothers claimed that they had murdered their parents because they feared for their lives. They had lived with emotional, physical, and sexual abuse by their father their whole lives. Their mother enabled their father and was drug addicted, an alcoholic, and mentally unstable.

The sexual abuse had started again and weeks before the murder their father had threatened to kill them if they didn’t keep it a secret. In his first trial Erik had been accused of being homosexual and that the alleged sexual abuse was in fact consensual. While in Lyle’s trial the prosecution stated that “Men could not be raped because they lack the necessary equipment to be raped.”

The two brothers learned their parents had rifles hidden in their bedroom, and fearing for their lives they purchased two shotguns. On that day in August, a final confrontation would occur.

The Menendez brothers fired their shotguns at their parents killing them both. Was it justified? Would they have been better off contacting police about the abuse instead? We will never know.

At the second trial the judge did not allow much defense testimony on the abuse allegations and never instructed the jury that they could vote on manslaughter charges instead of murder charges. The jury felt that the brothers killed their parents not out of fear, but out of greed for the inheritance that was almost $15 million.

As a result Lyle and Erik Menendez were convicted of first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder. They were both sentenced to life without the possibility of parole. The brothers are now housed in the same prison after 22 years of being in different institutions. They are in the Richard J Donovan Correctional Institution in San Diego CA.

Be strong, make good choices, be safe

Last Meals – Part 3

It’s Monday again! And that means we get Last Meal Monday! So tuck in your napkin, pull up a chair and dig in to these last meals by some of the most notorious criminals.

(This post and series is not intended to cause controversy regarding capital punishment, and is only intended to discuss the final meals of those who have been judged in a court of law and sentenced to the death penalty.)

  • Who: John Wayne Gacy
  • Age: 52
  • Where: Stateville Correctional Center, Crest Hill, IL
  • How: Lethal Injection
  • When: May 10, 1994
  • His Crime: Murder and Rape of at least 33 young men and teenage boys in the 1970’s.
  • Last Meal: Dozen deep fried shrimp, a bucket of original recipe chicken from KFC, French fries, and a pound of strawberries.
  • Who: Ted Bundy
  • Age: 42
  • Where: Florida State Prison
  • How: Electric Chair
  • When: January 24, 1989
  • His Crime: Kidnapping, Rape, Murder of at least 30 young women, it’s believed to be more.
  • Last Meal: He declined a last meal so he was given the standard last meal option: Medium-rare steak, eggs over easy, hash browns, toast, milk, coffee, juice, butter and jelly. He did not eat it.
  • Who: Aileen Wuornos
  • Age: 46
  • Where: Florida State Prison
  • How: Lethal Injection
  • When: October 9, 2002
  • Her Crime: Murder of 7 men.
  • Last Meal: A cup of black coffee.

Fitness

Or lack there of. I type this while eating Mexican food. I love food. I am not exercising. Therefore I’m gaining weight, and not meeting any of my goals. An then when I gain weight, I get depressed and what do I do? I eat. It’s a horrible cycle and I wish I had the strength to break it.

Each day I wake up and plan to eat healthy and then by time I get to work, all of my good intentions have floated out the window. And I seem to find more and more excuses to not go to the gym and I am mad at myself for that. Life happens but as my therapist will tell me, I have to make time for me and focus on keeping boundaries and a balance in my life.

So far I am losing. I need to find a way to break the cycle and start becoming more healthy. I may consider some extreme measures if I can’t get myself on the right path.

Please send encouraging thoughts to me and any tips that you have found that will break the cycle.

Be strong, be beautiful, be you

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Over Night Oats

Recently I discovered the delight of having Over Night Oats. And it’s opened up a new avenue of options for me. Over Night Oats are a great way to eat healthy but take it on the go with you. The base recipe is customizable and so is what you put into the oats. Here is currently my base recipe and my favorite option to make. Enjoy!

  • Over Night Oats:
    • Ingredients:
      • 1/2 Cup of Steel Cut Oats
      • 3/4 Cup of Milk (any milk you prefer)
      • 1 Tsp Chia Seeds (Optional)
      • 1 Banana sliced
      • 1-2 Tbsp Peanut butter, I use creamy but any variety that you like
      • Jar or container with a tight lid
  • Directions:
    • The night before, you will add the oats, chia seeds, milk and the toppings you like, for me I use banana and peanut butter, into the jar/container.
    • Layer the ingredients as you like, and pour the milk in last.
    • Seal the jar and put into the refrigerator overnight.
    • In the morning, when ready to eat, you simply mix the contents with your spoon and enjoy.
  • Alternatives: The only limitation is on your preferences
    • Strawberry and Banana
    • Blueberry
    • Chocolate
    • Apple Cinnamon
    • Mixed Berry
    • Maple

Happy Eating!

Jan’s Health Studio

One of my favorite movies is Clue the movie based on a board game and has a group of six dinner guests trying to find a murderer based on very random clues presented after dinner by the butler. After we uncover more and more murders in a locked mansion, we are finally told how it all happened by no other than the butler. But wait, it could have happened that way, but what about this second option. And we are told yet another probable solution to the crimes but wait there is one more final option that was actually how it happened. This case in Wisconsin reminds me of that movie where it has multiple solutions, but no title card saying this is how it actually happened.

Madison Wisconsin, 1970’s, you wouldn’t have to look far to find a selection of massage parlors in the capital city. They had names such as “This is Heaven”, “The Geisha House”, and “Genie’s Magic Touch”. They all hinted at the types of massages they offered, dicks and balls and happy endings. One parlor that was located in a strip mall, Jan’s Health Studio, had more of a clinical name, but it was offering the same services as the other studios with less discreet names.

Jan’s Health Studio had a masseuse named Barbara Hoffman, and she had a regular client, a shipping clerk named Gerald Davies, and Gerald was in love with Barbara.

Barbara had been a student at UW-Madison, majoring in biochemistry and had a 3.9 GPA and was a National Honor Society scholar. She spoke three languages and was trying to leave the skin trade as that industry attracted some unsavory characters like a cocaine kingpin, Sam Cerro.

Does this story seem invented to garner sympathy from her clients? Everything up to this point is 100% true. Being hired by an insurance company, Barbara was able to leave the Health Studio. Oddly enough, Gerald and Barbara kept a relationship going after she left.

Here’s How It Could Have Happened

December 23, 1977, when Gerald was at Barbara’s, she told him about an odd occurrence in her home the day before, she stated that when she had returned home there had been a dead body in her bathtub. She didn’t know who it was and assumed it was left there to frame her for murder from the organized criminals from the Studio. body

Barbara Hoffman

Barbara claimed she panicked and dragged the nearly nude body outside and hid it in a snowbank. She said she needed Gerald’s help and he informed her “What you need is to call the police.” Barbara said she couldn’t do that, there was no way they would believe her. He agreed to help her, and they took the body from the snowbank and put it into Gerald’s car. They ways to dispose of the body came full circle back to being placed into another snowbank. But this time they found the largest one they could, and it happened to be at the entrance to Blackhawk Ski Club, about 20 minutes away. The couple agreed to keep their adventure secret and planned to spend Christmas with their respective families.

Gerald kept secret the adventure on December 23 for approximately 30 hours. On Christmas Day he went to the police and told them everything. The story was less than believable coming from Gerald, but they did go to Blackhawk to check the burial site. When they dug into the snowbank, they found a dead man dressed in his underpants and tied up with rope. Gerald had told the truth about the body. However, it was possible that Gerald had killed the man himself and made up a crazy story about it appearing at his girlfriend’s house.

The police issued a warrant and examined Barbara’s apartment. There was no evidence of a corpse but there was evidence of bleach having cleaned up the bathroom floor. Crime scene investigators searched the snowbank where Gerald said the body was before they moved it. They were able to find blood and hair in the snowbank.

But who was the dead man who was only clad in his underpants?

The police discovered the man was Harry Berge, a 52-year-old single man who worked at a tire company in Stoughton. He lived alone after his mother passed away a few years before. He had a life insurance policy for $30,000(approximately $140,000 today) and the beneficiary was Linda Millar. The police didn’t know who Linda Millar was. But Gerald did. Gerald stated that Barbara was Linda Millar.

Gerald continued by stating that after she left the massage parlor Barbara tried to cut all ties to her former life and used the new name, Linda Millar. Barbara now had a motive for killing Harry Berge, who she claimed she didn’t know.

Prosecutors went forward with a case against Barbara Hoffman. Their chief witness was Gerald and since he had been lied to by his girlfriend as she was carrying on with another man, he had good reason to testify against her.

But then letters were received by the police, the defense lawyer, and the local paper. The handwriting was authenticated as being written by Gerald Davies. In his letter he stated that “Barb is innocent and I wrecked her life,” he wrote. “All those stories I told about Barb are false.” However, he never stated what the true story was. Before anyone could question Gerald Davies, he was found dead in a bathtub after Easter. His cause of death was unclear but suspected he had overdosed.

Here Is Another Way To Look At It.

If we believed Gerald’s dying confession that Barbara was not guilty, then there is only one other suspect who killed Harry Berge, Gerald Davies himself, the man the police suspected initially.

Gerald Davies

Gerald made more sense than Barbara. If Barbara did want to kill Harry for the insurance money, killing him while he was in his underwear, hiding his body in the snowbank so nobody could find it was a poor way of committing the crime.

The medical examiner said that Harry Berge died from trauma to the head, and although a woman could be responsible it was more of a man’s handiwork. The police postulated that Gerald entered Barbara’s apartment, caught the two of them together and immediately killed Harry to death. But something didn’t make sense.

The body had been kept in the snow near Barbara’s apartment dumpster, the blood confirmed this. Originally this was as far as Barbara could drag the body. IF Gerald had killed Harry and then was responsible for taking the body to Blackhawk, there was no reason to keep the body near the dumpster.

Barbara’s Apartment

But then another possibility became apparent. What if Gerald entered Barbara’s home, found Harry there alone, and then Gerald killed him but left the body in the tub for Barbara to find. That would explain why Barbara would drag the body to the dumpster and buried under snow. And she did wait a day before talking to Gerald about it. Gerald helped her move the body, and she never suspected her boyfriend had killed her lover. She claimed she feared being framed for murder from the massage parlor criminals, when really it was Gerald.

When the court trial came, the district attorney announced they were dropping charges against Barbara as they were missing their main witness. Barbara’s lawyer was triumphant and accepted this. As she was walking out of the courtroom, police arrested her again, this time for double-murder. She was now accused of killing both Harry Berge and Gerald Davies.

But wasn’t Gerald’s death an overdose? Police learned that Gerald had a life insurance policy, and the beneficiary was Barbara Hoffman. This policy wasn’t for $30,000, it was for $750,000 (over $3,325,000 today). This was a reason to consider Gerald’s death a murder, not to mention him being the star witness on a different murder trial.

Medical examiners ran more tests than usual on Gerald and discovered that he did not die of an overdose but from cyanide poisoning. Knowing this they reexamined Harry Berge and discovered that he too had died from cyanide poisoning and not head trauma as originally believed. Harry Berge had over 40 times the lethal dosage in his system.

Sam Cerro

Police were looking into some of the organized criminals that frequented Jan’s Health Studio, like Sam Cerro. When police arrived at the studio they met an associate of Sam’s, the manager of Jan’s Health Studio, William Grover Garrott. William eventually would state that when Barbara worked at the studio, she had planned to marry a man, put a large life insurance policy of $750,000 on him and the take a Mexican honeymoon, and then poison him. She planned to then cremate his remains and return with his ashes leaving nothing for the police to analyze.

William agreed to testify against Barbara.

Barbara’s trial is the first one to be fully televised. Barbara’s lawyer, who had previously worked with both Sam Cerro and William Grover Garrott but chose to continue defending Barbara even with a conflict of interest, for which he would be disbarred and reinstated in 2000. Her lawyer had hoped to have two separate trials as he wasn’t confident that he could defend her against both murders together, separate he was confident he could win.

During the trial it was learned that with her biochemistry knowledge, and that she had purchased enough cyanide to kill both men, she was only convicted for murdering Harry Berge. She was sentenced to life in prison.

Since 1978, Barbara has not given an interview or any other statements besides one; “I did not commit the crime of which I have been accused and for which I have been convicted. And that’s all I have to say.”

Even though she has been tried, convicted, and sentenced, the police still question the finality of the case as their earlier misgivings remain.

But How About This?

We know that Barbara wanted to poison a man during a honeymoon and cremate him for a large insurance payout. Harry’s death lined up poorly with this. It is possible that William was trying to get a plea deal for Sam Cerro and told the police whatever they wanted to hear. If that is true, then the organized criminals really did frame her as she suggested.

What if William told the truth? Gerald and not Harry was the one with the large insurance policy, if she was looking to kill someone it would have been Gerald. Getting away with two similar crimes and benefitting from them would have attracted suspicion. And it’s less likely that Gerald killed Harry, since he had died by cyanide poisoning, Barbara’s weapon of choice.

But then the question is posed with her knowledge of cyanide poison, why did Harry have such a high amount in his system? Nobody would use that much if they knew anything about poison, it too would raise questions if detected by the coroner. The victim as well would detect the bitter almond smell and reject whatever you were giving them.

Here’s The Theory Of What Really Happened

On December 22, Harry had attended his Christmas Party and then went over to Barbara’s apartment. As was normal he brewed some instant coffee and taking a tin from the cabinet added several spoonsful of sugar to the coffee. It wasn’t a sugar tin. It was crystalized potassium cyanide. After taking a sip, Harry collapsed and died.

Barbara did panic and drag Harry to the snowbank before Gerald came and agreed to move it. Then he betrayed her to the police. Later when she was released on bond, Barbara went to visit Gerald and fed him something laced with the correct dosage of cyanide while he was in the bathtub.

Barbara didn’t know or didn’t believe that Gerald had loved her and recanted his statement and no longer planned to testify against her. Barbara killed Gerald to save herself from being convicted for Harry’s murder. Instead, this ensured she would be convicted even though Harry was not the man she intended to kill, nor did she directly poison him.

She herself even said, “I did not commit the crime of which I have been accused and for which I have been convicted,” after all.

Stay Weird Wisconsin