by Joyce Tremel
They say that truth is stranger than fiction. Anyone who reads police reports or even the local newspapers knows how true this statement is.
Donna Sturkie-Anthony of North Huntingdon, PA was arrested recently for aggravated assault, simple assault and recklessly endangering another person. She allegedly took her sister’s prosthetic leg and beat her with it. When police arrived at the Lincoln Mobile Home Trailer Park, they found Donna outside the trailer. She told them she wanted her sister removed from the residence. When the police went inside they found the woman beaten and bleeding. She also faces charges for threatening to burn down her neighbors’ mobile home if they testified against her. To top it all off, Sturkie-Anthony is a former homecoming queen.
Honest. I couldn’t make this up if I tried. If I wrote anything even close, I’d hear members of my critique group screaming, “Cliché! Cliché!” And they’d be right. Can you get any more clichéd than a former homecoming queen living in a trailer park?
Another story that caught me eye was the murder trial of Patrick Jason Stollar. Stollar is accused of the beating death of a 78-year-old woman in 2003. Stollar is representing himself in his murder trial and last week he objected to showing the jurors the autopsy photos. He said “they denoted the appalling, horrific nature of this crime.” His objection was overruled. On Wednesday morning, Stollar gave an hour and a half long closing statement in which he compared his circumstances to Helen of Troy, the Crusades, and the Civil War. He said he wasn’t himself. I think he was hoping to convince the courts he was nuts. The jury didn’t buy it. They convicted him of first degree murder in less than an hour.
The police have to deal with nitwits like the above all the time. In a way, people like this make their jobs a whole lot easier. The cops get to know the local criminals so well, that half the time they don’t even have to do an investigation. We had a few burglaries recently and our detectives knew right away who did it. They had a description of a tan car with parts hanging off the front end. The car is owned by one of our locals who just happened to have been released from prison not long ago. You’d be surprised how often crimes are solved this way. It’s not always because of great investigative skills. Sometimes they just get lucky.
Speaking of lucky, a firefighter in South Carolina was leaving a Waffle House when two men came in who were fighting over a gun. The gun went off and the firefighter found out later that a DVD he was carrying in his pocket had stopped a bullet. When he was talking to police he realized he had a bullet hole in his coat and when he looked, he found the DVD case shattered with a piece of the bullet in it.
Have you run across any truth is stranger than fiction stories lately? Any dumb criminals? Crimes solved by pure luck? Do tell!