Fulfill your true crime craving with the craziest stories from 2020
2020 saw plenty of celebrities, celebrity wannabes, and celebrity has-beens arrested & jailed for their true crime activities. From Tiger King to Florida Man, here are some of the most noteworthy from last year.
Big Names, Big Problems
Lori Laughlin, most famous for being married to Full House heartthrob Uncle Jesse, pleaded guilty to conspiracy in conjunction with “Operation Varsity Blues”, a scheme where the rich & famous paid to have their children’s college applications artificially enhanced.
Ghislaine Maxwell, former partner (and partner-in-crime) to the late Jeffrey Epstein, was finally arrested & charged with transporting a minor for the purposes of criminal sexual activity, conspiring to entice minors to travel to engage in illegal sex acts, and perjury. She had tried to evade arrest by wrapping her cell phone in tin foil.
“Tiger King” and leopard-print-underwear entrepreneur Joe Schreibvogel (Joe Exotic) was publicly outed as an animal abuser and arrested for trying to have rival Carole Baskin killed.
“Florida Man” has become Internet shorthand for weird true crime stories, but it’s not entirely inaccurate. This state boasts more than its fair share of crazy criminals, including Brian Montalvo Tolentino & Juan Burgo Lopez.
These two fellows were arrested after they stole human remains from Edgewood Cemetery in Orlando. The actual charges were disturbing the contents of a grave, abuse of dead bodies, and buying/selling/trafficking in dead bodies.
Lopez considers himself a Tata (religious leader) in the cult of Palo Mayombe and took the heads of veterans because his rituals demanded the skulls of heroes (they also apparently demanded drinking Bacardi and smoking cigars at the grave sites). In his YouTube videos, Lopez described cemeteries as “holy sites and shopping centers”. Palo Mayombe is an offshoot of Santeria and other traditional African religions.
It’s worth noting that “there is no way that true adherents to any form of African spirituality would rob graves and steal bones and say it was for or because of their religion. . . traditionally, the bones of ancestors were kept and revered because it was a way of keeping lineage and remembrance”, according to Oloye Ifa Karade, a priest of the Yoruba religion.
Not to be outdone by Florida Men, Florida Women have committed some crazy crimes in 2020 as well. Lisette Santis was arrested at a Holly Hill Walmart for opening a package of guavas, taking bites of them (without washing them first, ew!), and then spitting the chewed-up guava goo back into the produce bins.
And that wasn’t an entirely isolated incident, either. Sharon Turpin was arrested at the Largo Mall Publix for spitting on groceries and inviting other customers to fight in the store restrooms, in flagrant disregard for social distancing and social conventions.
Also in Florida, twenty-two-year-old Matthew Leatham was arrested for possession of marijuana. As far as true crime goes, that’s pretty banal, but we included it in the Florida Man section of this roundup because of the way that Leatham came to the attention of the Pasco County arresting officer.
Leatham called 911 twice because he needed a ride home (he declined the first offer of a taxi). And Leatham is so proud to be a Florida Man that he has the outline of the state tattooed right between his eyes.
He’s not the only Florida Man with a meaningful tattoo, either. Justin Couch, who sports a large machete tattoo above one cheekbone, was arrested after attacking another man with a machete at a gathering in Spring Hill, Florida.
Can’t Be Categorized
Some of 2020’s true crime just doesn’t fit neatly under any headline.
In Oklahoma, Bob Lee Allen & Thomas Evan Gates were charged with medical battery, maiming, desecration of a human member, aggravated assault and battery with a dangerous weapon resulting in great bodily injury, conspiracy, possession of a controlled substance or paraphernalia, and outraging public decency with gross injury.
Allen operated a free “underground sex-change clinic” and he & Gates allegedly consumed the testicles and other body parts that they removed from AMAB people who volunteered for castration.
In other true crime news, a naked man, believed to be on meth, stole the ambulance that attempted to provide medical aid. He then crashed the ambulance into the Portuguese Cultural Center in Winnipeg.
Christopher Ragsdale of Wichita Falls, TX became highly offended when his girlfriend complained that his farts smelled bad. He threw her to the ground, choked and head-butted her, and was charged with Assault Family Violence. We hope that jail food agrees with him.