Thursday, December 27, 2007

Criminal Profiling Topic of the Day: The Assassination of Benazir Bhutto

It has been a while since any news item has brought me to tears, but today we have lost a great world leader to Islamic extremists and terrorism. Benazir Bhutto, ex prime minister of Pakistan and first female leader of an Islamic nation, was assassinated today during a campaign rally in Rawalpindi,leaving the best hope for democracy and reasonable thinking dead in Pakistan. Bhutto represented the kind of idealism, courage, and commitment we in the United States rarely see in our own leaders and citizens. Bhutto returned to Pakistan fully aware of the danger awaiting her and she was willing, for the sake of her people and the ideals of a democratic society, to put her life on the line.

Benazir Bhutto did not lead a life free of controversy and one cannot claim she was a perfect leader, but she offered the best hope for common sense and decency in a part of the world plagued by terrorism and oppressive mindsets. Peace, fair elections, democracy, equality for women - all of these concepts have been trampled on today and I cannot help but feel the whole world will suffer because of this horrific act of hostility against a woman who sought to make her country and the world a better place to live in.

May the people of Pakistan come out of this tragedy with a combined strength to fight back against extremism and not let the loss of Benazir Bhutto be the death knell of all freedom and decency, inshallah.

Criminal Profiler Pat Brown

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Criminal Profiling Topic of the Day: Mass Murderer Robert Hawkins - Music Lover

Hello everyone! I am back from holiday and doing a little catch up on crime news. I was running names through the Google search engine for updates and I came up with this interesting tidbit. It seems Robert Hawkins, the Omaha mall mass murderer, had a t-shirt in his car with a Mushroomhead logo. For those of you who aren't familiar with the band, Mushroomhead is a group of well-groomed young men wearing matching suits and ties who sing of love and kindness and the fellowship of mankind.

No, wait, I must have confused Mushroomhead with the Tijuana Brass or the Spinners. Mushroomhead is a nasty looking bunch of lads with faces painted as skulls who sing about hate and violence and death. Imagine that....Hawkins listened to negative, angry, vengeance filled music....what a surprise!

Of course, now that the news is out about Hawkins' taste in music, the supporters of this garbage are rolling their eyes and claiming the music is being unfairly targeted as violence provoking rather than just great riffs with thoughtful lyrics that have no negative effects on any of its listeners. I can't wait until some of these young men actually grow up and become fathers. I want them to send their kids music and videos that incessantly repeat the message, "Kill your stupid worthless parents" and let's see if they don't sleep with their bedroom door locked at night.

Well, that was a cheery return to the real world! Hope you all had a great holiday and the new year brings less crime and more peace on earth.

Cheers!

Criminal Profiler Pat Brown

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Criminal Profiling Topic of the Day: Cybersquatting

Pigs seem to be a recurring theme here.

I have my doubts about the big, bad wolf. But I have seen evidence of an annoying little Chihuahua.

It has come to our attention that someone has engaged in malicious activity against The Daily Profiler blog site, and created several deceptive misdirects of The Pat Brown Criminal Profiling Agency Web site to false web pages with the title, “Criminal Profiling Agency: Criminal Profiler Pat Brown” in an attempt to interfere with Google search results and Web site traffic.

SUCH INTERFERENCE SUBJECTS THE OFFENDER TO CRIMINAL PENALTIES AND CIVIL LIABILITIES.

An enigmatic screen name and intrusive software do not shield the violator from identification. The events have been fully documented and reported to the proper authorities. Further investigation is underway to determine if there have been intrusion attempts into the personal computers of staff members or associates of The Pat Brown Criminal Profiling Agency. Not only is this a violation of ISP and Google terms of service agreements, it is a violation of Federal law.

Possible relevant sections of the U.S. Code include, but are not limited to:

Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act

15 U.S.C. § 1125(D)

Sec. 1125. - False designations of origin, false descriptions, and dilution forbidden

(a) Civil action

(1) Any person who, on or in connection with any goods or services, or any container for goods, uses in commerce any word, term, name, symbol, or device, or any combination thereof, or any false designation of origin, false or misleading description of fact, or false or misleading representation of fact, which -

(A) is likely to cause confusion, or to cause mistake, or to deceive as to the affiliation, connection, or association of such person with another person, or as to the origin, sponsorship, or approval of his or her goods, services, or commercial activities by another person, or

(B) in commercial advertising or promotion, misrepresents the nature, characteristics, qualities, or geographic origin of his or her or another person's goods, services, or commercial activities,
shall be liable in a civil action by any person who believes that he or she is or is likely to be damaged by such act.

(d) Cyberpiracy prevention

(1) (A) A person shall be liable in a civil action by the owner of a mark, including a personal name which is protected as a mark under this section, if, without regard to the goods or services of the parties, that person -

(i) has a bad faith intent to profit from that mark, including a personal name which is protected as a mark under this section; and

(ii) registers, traffics in, or uses a domain name that -

(B) (i) In determining whether a person has a bad faith intent described under sub paragraph (A), a court may consider factors such as, but not limited to –

(V) the person's intent to divert consumers from the mark owner's online location to a site accessible under the domain name that could harm the goodwill represented by the mark, either for commercial gain or with the intent to tarnish or disparage the mark, by creating a likelihood of confusion as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation, or endorsement of the site;

If these activities persist, expect criminal action. We will also pursue civil remedies to the fullest extent of the law, regardless the cybersquatter's employment status or lack thereof.

We know there’s a Chihuahua in our machine. What the Chihuahua needs to understand is that a Great Dane is watching, and it’s not Pat Brown. Word to the wise: Wrong is wrong and right is right. The government does not see in shades of gray—it’s only black or white.


Donna Weaver

Friday, December 14, 2007

Criminal Profiling Topic of the Day: When Pigs Fly!

Perhaps Corey Mitchell, editor of In Cold Blog, was thinking, quidquid Latine dictum sit altum videtur (everything sounds more impressive when said in Latin) when he wrote his Mea Culpa manifesto and posted it on ICB last week. Mitchell issued the formal apology in response to the protests, and ultimate defection, of several highly respected ICB contributors over his posting of a brutally violent video clip, which he labeled a “Thanksgiving Treat.“ (Please see Gore and Slasher Films Are No Laughing Matter to Victims of Violent Crime) However, this is what Mitchell had to say before finding out the victims' organizations he professed to be involved with had been contacted:


"…the site is far from sick or perverted because we post a FUNNY and FAKE movie trailer ABOUT A MOVIE that does not exist.

If you have problems with the site then you need to be professional enough to make a choice.

Meanwhile, I am more than happy to continue donating to charities, negotiating a deal with a syndicated news service to pick up our blog and pay our contributors, and also accept a job as a blogger for the Discovery Channel/New York Times.

If you do decide to quit over something so trivial as a fake movie trailer please let me know so I can find a replacement ASAP."
Mea Culpa? Ad astra per alia porci !!! (“When pigs fly!”) He might have been able to continue getting his jollies from getting as close to the real deal as he can, without actually participating in the horrific, degrading acts experienced by crime victims every day. That is, if he had only kept his mouth shut. But I am very glad you didn’t, Corey Mitchell. You had the gall to claim you donate part of the proceeds from sales of your books to support specific Victims' Advocacy organizations, who not only issued public statements to the contrary, but strongly denounced your self-proclaimed love of depictions of brutal acts of violence and murder for entertainment purposes. That was bad enough, but nothing could testify to your true nature better than your own words.

No matter how glibly stated, Mitchell’s incredibly bizarre, disturbed, and grandiose discourse leaves no doubt as to his arrogance, his egocentric perception of the world, and his place in it, as well as his confidence in his ability to manipulate others, and their perceptions of him and his behavior. But what gave him away more than anything else was his complete lack of empathy. It occurred to me that here was a successful author who had the skill to recreate the most despicable acts imaginable in such gruesome detail as to make some readers claim in their reviews that they are afraid to go to sleep at night. Yet there were parts of Mitchell’s little autobiography where expressions of empathy were appropriate- even expected- since he was attempting to convince people that there was nothing unusual about a man his age (41) proclaiming simultaneously to have both a love of gore and slasher films, and a genuinely deep concern for victims of violent crime. For example:

"My continuing love of all things horror has only increased after having experienced several tragedies of my own from being told at the age of 15 that my father would be dead in less than six months (he is still alive today – 26 years later) due to an enormous brain tumor. To say the least it always had me on edge and able to see that life could end at any moment."

One doesn’t hear of such miracles everyday, and I am very happy for Corey Mitchell and his family that his father is still with them 26 years later. Mitchell doesn’t say he is grateful for this miracle, but claims the experience is one of the reasons he finds solace in gore and violence. I just lost my second husband to cancer 3 months ago, and I would give almost anything to have even just 1 more day with him. Corey Mitchell’s father survives a brain tumor and he thinks directing “Blowtorch Lobotomy” is fun?

"Then I counseled my first wife, Lisa, in regard to her first sexual experience, which was being gang-raped by two paint-sniffing high school dropouts. I saw what being a victim of violence and violation did to her. Then I had Lisa die unexpectedly to Sudden Arrhythmic Death Syndrome at the young age of 38 in 2002."

My deepest sympathies to Corey Mitchell and to Lisa’s family for her sudden death. To be so horribly raped as a young girl is tragic. Mitchell’s words make me feel her pain, but not his own. He “counseled” her?


As a survivor of a homicide victim, I am offended by you, Corey Mitchell. As someone who has worked for many years on behalf of the missing and murdered, I am offended by you-as are the victims' organizations you claim to support.

Let’s drop all the pretentious Latin crap, and I will put this in the simplest possible terms:

What Corey Mitchell is saying to victims of violent crime is, “I am very sorry that your child or wife was so brutally raped, tortured, and dismembered and I care about you and your loss, but I love to watch that stuff on the screen –it’s so funny!”

Mea Culpa, my ass…


Donna Weaver

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Gore And Slasher Films Are No Laughing Matter To Victims Of Violent Crime

Last Thanksgiving Day, families throughout the United States gathered around the dining table holding hands in prayer giving thanks that they had the blessing to come together once more to celebrate this special day.

Some families, however, had to stretch their arms across a gap in the circle where one chair sat empty. That empty seat had once held a daughter, a son, a husband, a wife…..until an act of violence took them away. For their loved ones left behind, Thanksgiving Day gatherings would never again be quite so joyous.

On this same Thanksgiving Day, a behind-the-scenes battle of morals and ethics broke out among the contributors of In Cold Blog, a crime blog hosted by Corey Mitchell, a true crime author who has written a number of successful books on rape and murder. One can only imagine Corey Mitchell's moment of sadness as he sat at his Thanksgiving table remembering his first wife, Lisa Collete Popp Mitchell, who had been brutally raped by two men at the tender age of seventeen and then died unexpectedly before she reached the age of forty.

Or did he? On this particular holiday, Mitchell took time out of his family day to post Eli Roth’s short fake slasher film trailer "Thanksgiving" from the movie, Grindhouse released earlier this year. This misogynous, vile piece of work depicts a cheerleader stripping off her clothes as she jumps on a trampoline, doing a split in the air and coming down on a knife shoved up through the material; a woman performing oral sex on a bloody, headless corpse; and the bottom half of a naked woman, roasted and served on a plate in the shape of a turkey. I later discovered that Mitchell had directed a gore music video called “Blowtorch Lobotomy”, a repulsive depiction of a killing spree, for a death metal group called “Divine Pustulence,” a group Mr. Mitchell says, “Gives death a good name.”

Mike Stinski of Divine Pustulence: “Criminal profiler Pat Brown (notoriously Anti-slasher film), about In Cold Blog and our video Blowtorch Lobotomy. She claims a FICTIONAL gore music video brings pain to victims of violent true crime. We had fun making it, so it brought joy, not pain.”


A number of female contributors to the blog, all highly respected true crime authors and criminal justice professionals, were horrified, sickened, and offended that this video clip was posted as Mitchell labeled it, as a “Thanksgiving treat.” We knew that some readers, especially victims of violent crime and their families, would be highly upset that this video clip was included on a blog with a number of well respected and high profile contributors.

We asked Mr. Mitchell to remove the video clip explaining our concerns and positions. He refused. In an email to me, he said, “I am sorry you have no sense of humor whatsoever.” Then, he challenged me to contact victims’ organizations to prove that I was out of line and overly sensitive.

“As for victims' rights advocacy, feel free to call up the Parents of Murdered Children group and ask them why they invited me to be a guest speaker this past summer --- only the second true crime author ever asked to be a part of the annual conventions, the other being Anne Rule. Also, feel free to contact the following organizations that I donate a portion of my books' proceeds to including: Rape, Abuse, Incest National Network (RAINN), the Doris Tatefoundation, Parents of Murdered Children-Houston Chapter, parents of Murdered Children - Heights Chapter, Crimestoppers, SAJE (Sarah/Amy/Jennifer/Eliza), and the charities which receive donations from ICB.”

An excellent suggestion! I called Parents of Murdered Children (POMC) and left a message inquiring if they were aware of Mr.Mitchell’s predilections for gore and slasher films when he was asked to be a presenter at their last conference. Office manager, Beverly Warnock called back on behalf of executive director Nancy Ruhe-Munch and told me that POMC had not been aware of any such thing. To be entirely clear on the matter, POMC issued the following statement:

"The National Organization of Parents of Murdered Children (POMC) strongly objects to any gratuitous violence that is used as a form of entertainment and/or for profit. There are approximately 3000 people murdered each week in the United States. Each murder, whether in a shopping mall, or on a playground is seen as a tragedy. But when a murder is reenacted in film or for the internet it is called entertainment. What degree of acceptability would society put on these crimes if their loved one had become a victim of murder?

POMC established its
Murder Is Not Entertainment (MINE) program to help instill the same empathy for murder victims and their families as we afford to other types of tragedies; to prevent the re-victimization of survivors of homicide victims, and to heighten the awareness of the marketing of such products, internet videos, etc. that are based on violence and murder and the effects they have on today’s youth.”

MINE states on their website:

POMC strongly objects to any product, promotion, film or print media which features one or more of the following:
• Graphic photos of crime scenes and dead bodies of victims
• Graphic illustrations of actual murders and victims, such as in comic books and trading cards
• Unauthorized photos of grieving family members and friends of victims

• Material solely focused on murder for purposes of entertainment, instruction, promotion or profit
• Content focused on murder, violence or stalking in materials intended for children
• Products which seek to entertain by featuring facts and stories about the lives of infamous killers
• Any media or product which depicts murderers as heroes, or elevates murderers to celebrity status
• Any product distributed as entertainment which causes further pain and grief to victims'families and friends

It seems that had POMC known of Mitchell's interest in gore, rape, and violence for entertainment purposes, he likely would not be invited to speak about the weather, let alone the tragic, devastating impact of this same type of violence on victims of horrific crimes. If you were a parent experiencing the utter horror and grief of a murdered child, how would you feel about the director of Blowtorch Lobotomy, getting up on stage professing to care about you, your child, and your loss?

I then contacted the Rape, Abuse, Incest National Network (RAINN). Lynn Parrish, VP of Communication for RAINN stated:

“We do not have a relationship with Corey Mitchell. We do not condone films which feature gratuitous violence against women, men, or children - as they may desensitize viewers to the harsh reality of sexual assault: One in six women,and one in thirty-three men are victims of sexual assault in America today."

In February of 2007, RAINN released the following statement when The Central Connecticut State University ran an article that was said to be a satire about rape and this “satire” led to protests on campus and in the local community.

"The newspaper's decision to publish the column is appalling and irresponsible. The FBI ranks rape as the second most violent crime that exists, trailing only murder. The trauma of sexual assault is far too devastating to be a suitable subject for ridicule.”

I guess that means videos that depict woman being knifed through the vagina and served on a plate for dinner wouldn’t qualify as suitable subject for ridicule either.

Christine Ward, executive director of The Doris Tate Foundation, founded in 1992 as a California-based crime victims organization focusing on victims rights and criminal legislation and one of the charities Mitchell claims to donate a portion of his proceeds stated:

“Our response to this claim of Mr. Corey Mitchell supporting our foundation is that we are unaware of any financial contributions that he has made to our organization; as a matter of fact we had never heard of him until you wrote to us. Donations made to and accepted by the DTCVF are used to assist victims of violent crimes – accepting a donation does not by any means stand as an endorsement of any other individual, organization or agency.

We do not condone violence of any kind. Our agency is based on assisting victims of violent crime and families of those who have lost loved ones to violence.”

Crimestoppers disseminated my email on listserve and other victims’ organizations have been equally appalled by Mr. Mitchell’s cavalier attitude toward the portrayal of rape, violence, and murder as a form of entertainment. Karen Tronsgard-Scott, director of the Vermont Network Against Domestic and Sexual Violence wrote me:

“While Mr. Mitchell's donations to organizations that serve victims is admirable, those donations do nothing to negate or absolve him from the lurid contribution he is clearly making to misogyny and the oppression of women - the roots of violence against women. And while he might be considered to be "a good guy" by the organizations to which he donates, his response to you was shockingly unsophisticated and was representative of his belief system - a belief system that is in opposition to the end of violence against women. I might be wrong about my understanding of Mr. Mitchell's beliefs - and he could certainly prove me wrong by critically thinking about your comments, learning more about violence against women and the reinforcing role that media plays in these acts and the institutional oppression of women, and walking his talk instead of using donations as a smoke screen for his nefarious activities.”

But, wait, maybe we are just a bunch of thin-skinned females who are misinterpreting slasher and gore films as misogynous and vile works when in reality most people think these films are simply slightly scary, not at all gory or repulsive, and just silly.

Why not take the words of the avid watchers of these films for fair and equal commentary?

“Despite its failings, Murder Set Pieces is shocking, sickening, misogynistic, brutal, and gory. Every horror fan should see it at least once.”

Hmm….this horror fan says he likes the stuff because it IS misogynistic, brutal and gory. I guess that means I am not unfair if I say this slasher film is misogynistic, brutal and gory, am I?

"Wes Craven's Last House on the Left has been praised as "disgusting and depraved." Whether viewed as a case study in horror-film misogyny or as a "fun" sadistic gorefest, it pushed the envelope in its day, & it would still upset anyone who'd never seen at least a samurai film disemboweling.. It's a disgusting film worth watching in order to be disgusted. I would also praise it for its ability to disturb even fans of splatter films.”

Yes, this gore freak critic says, “Last House on the Left” is a misogynist, sadist, gorefest and disgusting! And this is a fan!

And, now what about, Eli Roth, the maker of the “Halloween Treat” Corey Mitchell claims is just funny, not sick.

Eli Roth - him again! - packs a host of sex and gore into his three-minute trailer for a potential film called Thanksgiving, including an image of a cheerleader peeling off her clothes while bouncing on a trampoline, before apparently being impaled with a large, gleaming knife - through the vagina, no less. Unsurprisingly, the cheerleader scene in Grindhouse attracted some attention from the Motion Picture Association of America, the US ratings board, and Roth was forced to change it to make the imagery much more suggestive than explicit. Addressing this at the American press junket for Grindhouse, he commented that "when I shot that trailer for Thanksgiving, I really thought there was no problem with anything - it just shows you how genuinely out of touch I am! I was like ... a full frontal labial shot, to camera, of a girl landing on a knife seemed like no problem to me ..."

You are right, Mr. Mitchell. Eli Roth thinks it is “bloody” funny too! Except those annoying MPAA folks had a smidgen of sensitivity left because at least the scene made them wince and think perhaps that was just a bit beyond the pale.

Let me end with a clear statement from one very concerned criminal profiler:

Our country is suffering from a huge problem with violent crime, much of it coming from male teenagers: School massacres, serial rapes and homicides, brutal beatings of the homeless as group entertainment, and eradication of one’s family or one’s girlfriend’s family simply because they annoy the killer or killers. Gore videos, slasher films, brutal rape web sites, and violent video games all contribute to a negative, sadistic, cruel mentality toward all human beings. There is nothing admirable about liking, making or promoting depictions of torture, death and destruction. You, Corey Mitchell, may write a readable true crime book, but you have no business calling yourself a victims’ advocate when you represent the very evil they are struggling to eradicate.


Criminal Profiler Pat Brown

December 8, 2007

If you are a victim of violent crime and need assistance, or if you wish to show your support for the work done on behalf of crime victims, please contact:

The National Organization of Parents of Murdered Children (POMC)
Contact info
National Office:
(888) 818-POMC (toll free)
(513) 721-5683 (phone)
(513) 345-4489 (fax)
natlpomc@aol.com (e-mail)

RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network
National Sexual Assault Hotline
1.800.656.HOPE (4673)

Membership Inquiries
Chelsea Bowers
202.544.3561
membership@rainn.org

For More Information or to Volunteer
Candice Sample
202.544.1034
candices@rainn.org

To volunteer on the National Sexual Assault Hotlines, please visit rainn.org/ohlvolunteer.

Interviews and Media Inquiries
Katherine Hull
Communications Manager
202.544.3075
katherineh@rainn.org

National Sexual Assault Online Hotline
Penelope Hughes
Director of Online Hotline
202.544.2348
penelopeh@rainn.org

Business Office
Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network
2000 L Street NW
Suite 406
Washington, DC 20036

202.544.1034
800.656.4673, extension 3
202.544.3556 FAX
info@rainn.org

The Doris Tate Crime Victims Bureau
Contact Information
(916) 273-3603 phone
(888) 235-7067 toll free/fax
1809 S Street, Suite 101316, Sacramento, CA 95814 (mailing address)
email us at - getinfo@doristate.com

Vermont Network Against Domestic and Sexual Violence

Domestic Violence
24-hour Hotline
1-800-228-7395

Sexual Violence
24-hour Hotline
1-800-489-7273

CrimeStoppers

Monday, December 3, 2007

Criminal Profiling Topic of the Day: The Parking Lot MO

I am guessing criminal justice student, 24-year old Stanley Cole, hadn’t taken the class yet in the Modus Operandi of criminals or he studied for the exam and promptly forgot the content of the textbook chapter. When his ex-girlfriend, Latasha Norman, a 20-year-old student also attending Jackson State University in Mississippi went missing, all one had to do was connect the MO dots and send an officer over to pick up Cole.

Prior to Norman’s disappearance, Cole had met her in the “parking lot” and punched her in the face. Apparently, this control freak didn’t like the idea of her moving on without him in the picture. Around that same time, someone slashed her tires and stole her license plate from that very same “parking lot.” Then, with Cole out on bond (another violent man gets a pass to go back and finish the job) Latasha Norman leaves class and goes to the “parking lot” to drive to her part-time job. She is never seen again until Cole tells police where to find her body.

Stanley Cole had a 3.5 grade average but didn’t seem to realize that “parking lot,” “parking lot,” “parking lot,” was a rather bad pattern to establish if he didn’t want to become a suspect in a New York minute. Thank god he was a fool so he can be put away for the rest of his life (hopefully) and no other woman will have to suffer the same fate as Latasha Norman.

Speaking of MO, ladies, here is a suggestion about dating: don’t. Dating is a good way to become familiar with other MOs of the fellow you are getting to know, but by the time you realize he has repetitive concerning behaviors, it may well be too late to get away from the creep. Instead, get to know men in groups and in social activities involving many people so you can weed out the ones whose actions raise red flags. If you get to know someone well enough through group activities to feel you would like to get to know them even better, don’t get into a sexual relationship until the man has proven himself to be an honorable gentleman who treats you like gold. I guarantee most control freaks and psychopaths won’t be very interested in a girl who takes that long to get to get into an intimate relationship. The right man is worth waiting for and the right man will wait for you as well.

Criminal Profiler Pat Brown

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Full Disclosure

*******by Kathryn Casey*******

It seems to me that it’s time to change the rules. A total revamp is in order. We’ve got to trust jurors to set firm guidelines for how long an inmate serves. They, after all, are the ones handing down the conviction. They’re the ones who sit through mountains of testimony and sort through piles of physical evidence. So why do we ban judges from telling jurors the truth, that the sentence they hand down is only a suggestion, and that the guilty parties will most likely spend only a fraction of their sentences behind bars?

This comes to mind because of the book I just finished, “Descent into Hell: an altar boy, a cheerleader, and a twisted Texas murder.” It’s on Austin’s bizarre Colton Pitonyak case. Pitonyak was a charismatic, handsome kid from Little Rock, Arkansas. He’d had all the advantages: loving, well-to-do parents, a private school education, an intellect so spectacular that his teachers predicted he’d one day make a name for himself in the world of international business.

That course took a detour, however, when Pitonyak left Little Rock for Austin, to attend the University of Texas’ esteemed McCombs Business School. Pitonyak was so bright, he brought along with him a $150,000 scholarship. Pretty nice. Of course, that didn’t prevent him from soon using his entrepreneurial skills in a vastly different way. Within two years of his UT arrival, Pitonyak was a druggie, and a gangster-wanna-be drug dealer, supplying other students with everything from ecstasy to meth to heroin. Enter Jennifer Cave, a pretty, smart young woman from Corpus Christi. Jennifer had her own battle with drugs even before she met Pitonyak, but once they became friends, her life began to disintegrate. Still, she was the type of kid who kept trying, and she was just finally beginning to turn her life around, get off the drugs and refocus her life, when the worst happened.

In August 2005, Pitonyak murdered Cave in his West Campus apartment. That’s when Laura Ashley Hall (photo above) entered this tragic picture. Eager to ingratiate herself to Pitonyak, not only her dealer but the target of her warped affections, Hall helped Pitonyak mimic his favorite gangster flicks. How does a made guy get rid of a body? Hey, we’ve seen it dozens of times, on everything from “The Sopranos” to “Goodfellas.”

Got a body to dispose of? No sweat. Cut it up and throw it away.

That’s what Hall helped Pitonyak do, cut up Jennifer Cave’s body to get it ready to throw away. Yeah, sick, I know, but what else would you expect of punk like Pitonyak and a delusional wanna-be girlfriend like Hall?

Hall and Pitonyak’s plan fell apart when Jennifer’s mom, Sharon, discovered her daughter was missing. Sharon and her fiancée, Jim Sedwick, quickly went searching for Jennifer, and their path led to Pitonyak’s apartment. With Jennifer’s family and possibly the police on their way, Hall spirited Pitonyak away to Mexico in her green Cadillac, telling friends, “That’s just the way I roll.”

It was Jim Sedwick who discovered what was left of Jennifer, her headless, handless body, in Pitonyak’s bathtub.

There’s obviously a bunch more to this case, all of which I detail in the book. The result, however, was that Pitonyak was caught and later convicted of murder, sentenced to 55 years. Hall was convicted of misdemeanor hindering apprehension and felony tampering with evidence, for a sentence of five years. Pitonyak is in a Texas prison, and should remain there for at least a couple of decades, Hall, however, is another matter.

Although she's served only a little more than six months in the Travis County Jail, Hall is already eligible for parole.

Yes, ladies and gentleman, this fine, upstanding young woman, who was totally unrepentant at her trial, who was overheard still calling the victim, “a total bitch,” in the courtroom hallway, is being considered for parole after serving little more than six months of a five-year sentence. Not much punishment to be metered out for a horrendous crime, and I’d be willing to wager, not much opportunity to impress upon Hall the need for reform.

Of course, at her trial, as at all trials, the judge wasn’t allowed to tell jurors how little time Hall could actually serve. In the judge’s orders to the jury, it was legally banned from considering the likelihood of parole. This isn’t an isolated case. To the best of my knowledge, in nearly all states where jurors set punishment, they are prevented by law from considering the effect parole can have on a sentence. It’s like saying: Come up with a fair sentence, and remember to banish from your minds the reality that they’ll probably only serve one-eighth of that time.

Here’s another example. In my first book, “The Rapist’s Wife,” in 1992, serial rapist and psychopath James Bergstrom was given four 99-year-sentences. Fifteen years later, this past March, Bergstrom was up for parole. The jury never wanted him to be a free man, but once he became eligible, they no longer had a voice. The decision on Bergstrom’s freedom would be made by a parole board who heard none of the testimony, including the painful recounting by the victims of their terrible ordeals and the chilling after-effects on their lives.

To keep Bergstrom behind bars, his ex-wife, Linda, and I began a letter writing campaign. We went on television, and I wrote a plea for letters on my website, resulting in thousands of folks writing the Texas parole board to protest Bergstrom’s release. That worked and he was denied, but every three years from this point forward, Bergstrom will have another chance to walk out those prison doors, and we’ll have to fight again. We can’t rest, because if James Bergstrom is free, no woman he comes in contact with is safe.

Just this past week, Sharon Cave mounted a similar campaign to keep Hall behind bars. If you’d like to help, it’s easy, just visit my website and click on the guestbook, where you’ll find directions to file a parole protest. The process is as easy as an email or a fax.

The bottom line, however, is that it’s time we allowed juries to consider all the facts, including the likelihood of parole. Let them truly have a voice in determining how long convicted felons stay locked up. The jurors who sentence are in the best position to understand that a deranged kid like Hall needs a real lesson and that a sicko like Bergstrom can’t be trusted on public streets.