A pioneering US research programme called “K-9 Artefact Finders” has been set up in response to alarm over cultural heritage trafficking.
The author Martin Smith, is the Principal Academic in Forensic & Biological Anthropology in the Department of Archaeology, Anthropology and Forensic Science at Bournemouth University. Prior to becoming an academic he spent 10 years working as a registered nurse in surgery and accident and emergency departments. He is the author of a number of books and book chapters as well as numerous journal articles focusing primarily on the archaeology of human remains.
On This Day – 23 November 1859
Henry McCarty (17 Sept 1859 – 14 July 1881), better known under the pseudonyms of Billy the Kid and William H. Bonney, was a 19th-century gunman who participated in the Lincoln County War and became a frontier outlaw in the American Old West. Continue reading “1859 – Billy the Kid, American criminal, born (alternative date)”
The Rayleigh bath chair murder occurred in Rayleigh, Essex, England in 1943 when Archibald Brown, aged 47 was blown apart by an explosion. Continue reading “1943 – The Rayleigh bath chair murder”
The Armenian Genocide was the Ottoman government’s systematic extermination of its minority Armenian subjects inside their historic homeland, which lies within the present-day Republic of Turkey. Continue reading “1915 – The Armenian Genocide begins”
James Earl Ray (10 March 1928 – 23 April 1998) was an American convicted of the assassination of civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. Ray was convicted on his 41st birthday after entering a guilty plea to forgo a jury trial. Had he been found guilty by jury trial, he would have been eligible for the death penalty. He was sentenced to 99 years in prison. He later recanted his confession and tried unsuccessfully to gain access to a retrial. In 1998, Ray died in prison of complications due to chronic hepatitis C infection. Continue reading “1968 – James Earl Ray assassinates Martin Luther King Jr.”
Jesse Woodson James (5 September 1847 – 3 April 1882) was an American outlaw, guerilla, gang leader, bank robber, train robber, and murderer from the state of Missouri and the most famous member of the James-Younger Gang. Jesse and his brother Frank James were Confederate guerrillas or Bushwhackers during the Civil War. They were accused of participating in atrocities committed against Union soldiers, including the Centralia Massacre. After the war, as members of various gangs of outlaws, they robbed banks, stagecoaches, and trains. The James brothers were most active as members of their own gang from about 1866 until 1876, when as a result of their attempted robbery of a bank in Northfield, Minnesota, several members of the gang were captured or killed. They continued in crime for several years, recruiting new members, but were under increasing pressure from law enforcement. Continue reading “1882 – Jesse James is killed by Robert Ford”
The North Hollywood shootout, sometimes also called the Battle of North Hollywood, was an armed confrontation between two heavily armed and armoured bank robbers and members of the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) in the North Hollywood district of Los Angeles on this day in 1997. Both perpetrators were killed, eleven police officers and seven civilians were injured, and numerous vehicles and other property were damaged or destroyed by the approximately 1,750 rounds of ammunition fired by the robbers and police. Continue reading “1997 – The North Hollywood shootout takes place”
The Wah Mee massacre was a gang-related multiple homicide that occurred on this day in 1983, in which Kwan Fai “Willie” Mak, Wai-Chiu “Tony” Ng, and Benjamin Ng gunned down fourteen people in the Wah Mee gambling club in Seattle. Thirteen of their victims lost their lives, but one survived to testify against the three in the high-profile trial. It remains the deadliest mass murder in Washington state history. Continue reading “1983 – Thirteen people die and one is seriously injured in the Wah Mee massacre in Seattle”
Albert Henry DeSalvo (3 September, 1931 – 25 November, 1973) was a criminal in Boston, Massachusetts, who confessed to being the “Boston Strangler”, the murderer of thirteen women in the Boston area. Continue reading “1967 – Albert DeSalvo, the “Boston Strangler”, is convicted of numerous crimes and is sentenced to life imprisonment”
Gary Mark Gilmore (4 December, 1940 – 17 January, 1977) was an American criminal who gained international notoriety for demanding the execution of his death sentence for two murders he committed in Utah. After the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a new series of death penalty statutes in the 1976 decision Gregg v. Georgia, he became the first person in almost ten years to be executed in the United States. These new statutes avoided the problems under the 1972 decision in Furman v. Georgia, which had resulted in earlier death penalty statutes being deemed as “cruel and unusual” punishment, and therefore unconstitutional. (The Supreme Court had previously ordered all states to commute death sentences to life imprisonment after Furman v. Georgia.) Gilmore was executed by firing squad in 1977.
The Kingsland Explosion was an incident that took place during World War I at a munitions factory in Lyndhurst, New Jersey, United States. On this day in 1917, a fire started in Building 30 of the Canadian Car and Foundry Company in Kingsland. In 4 hours, probably 500 000 pieces of 76 mm (3″) -high explosive shells were discharged. The entire plant was destroyed. An arbitration commission in 1931 determined that, “In the Kingsland Case the Commission finds upon the evidence that the fire was not caused by any German agent.” Continue reading “1917 – The Kingsland munitions factory explosion occurs as a result of sabotage”