Saturday, November 7, 2009

Chess-playing murderers and assassins

Thursday, November 5, 2009
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Frank “Boy” Pestaño

THIS article is about persons known to be avid chess players but at the same time, were assassins or murderers.

Generally, a person who murders restricts his or her act to one victim. A mass murderer or serial killer, however, slays three or more victims over a short period of time.

The most notorious serial killer is Alexander Pichushkin of Russia, 32, who has been nicknamed “Crazy Chess Player” as he had initially planned to commit 64 murders, one for each square of the chessboard . He boasted of killing 63 people--one short of filling up the chessboard--but prosecutors were able to find evidence only for 48. The killings were from 1996-2006.

He has been sentenced to life imprisonment as Russia has imposed a moratorium on the death sentence.

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John Christie was an English serial killer active in the 1940s and 1950s. He murdered at least six women—including his wife, Ethel—by strangling them in his flat in London. He was arrested, tried, and hanged in 1953 for his wife’s murder and those of the other women.

John Wayne Gacy, Jr. was an American serial killer. Between 1972 and 1978, the year he was arrested, convicted, and later executed, Gacy raped and murdered at least 33 young men and boys. Although some of his victims’ bodies were found in the Des Plaines River, he buried 29 of them in the small crawl space underneath the basement of his home. He became known as “Killer Clown” because he entertained children in a clown suit and makeup under the alias “Pogo the Clown”.

The Soham murder was a high profile murder case in August 2002 of two 10-year-old girls in Soham, Cambridgeshire, England. The victims were Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman. The convicted killer was a local school caretaker, Ian Huntley,who was sentenced to life imprisonment..

Charles Manson founded a hippie cult in the ‘60s known as “the Family” whom he manipulated into brutally killing others on his behalf.

He was convicted of conspiracy and sentenced to death, later commuted to life, for the Tate/LaBianca murders .

Sharon Tate (Valley of the Dolls) was one of the most beautiful actresses at that time, and was married to renowned director Roman Polanski (“Rosemarie’s Baby,” “Chinatown”) and was 8 1/2 months pregnant.

Tate, who was stabbed 16 times, pleaded to be allowed to live long enough to have her baby; she cried, “Mother... mother...” until she was dead.

Polanski is in the news lately with an arrest warrant for sexual assault on a minor in 1977.

Scott Lee Peterson is an American who was convicted of the murder of his wife, Laci Peterson, then eight months pregnant.

Peterson’s case dominated the American media for many months.

In 2005, Peterson was sentenced to death by lethal injection.

He remains on death row in San Quentin State Prison while his case is on appeal to the Supreme Court of California.

We now have the assassins--Lee Harvey Oswald ,Sirhan Sirhan and John Hinckley.

Lee Harvey Oswald was the assassin of US President John F. Kennedy who was fatally shot on Nov. 22, 1963, in Dallas, Texas. He was a Marine who defected to the Soviet Union and later returned. Oswald was shot and mortally wounded by Jack Ruby on live television.

Sirhan Sirhan is the convicted assassin of United States Senator Robert F. Kennedy who was killed on June 5,1968. He was sentenced to death but later commuted to life imprisonment. You would be surprised to know that Sirhan is not a Muslim but a Palestinian Christian.

John Hinckley, Jr., attempted to assassinate U.S. President Ronald Reagan in Washington, D.C, on March 30, 1981, in an effort to impress actress Jodie Foster. He was found not guilty by reason of insanity and has remained under institutional psychiatric care since then

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