Immediately after the Boston Marathon bombing, a television reporter asked a detective, not associated with the case, why someone would commit such a terrible act. The detective replied that at this point “why” doesn’t matter because when they find out “who” then they will know why.
I recalled this advice during a recent murder trial in my area.
Last year I wrote a blog about a mysterious and unsolved death of a young woman: http://writerswhokill.blogspot.com/2012/06/unsolved-murder-mystery.html
On the afternoon of June 27, 2010, nineteen year old Vanessa Pham was found dead behind the wheel of her crashed car just off a busy highway. She had been stabbed to death. Thirty minutes earlier she had stopped by a beauty salon at a shopping center and there was video tape of her driving away. Who did this and why?
The truth was more shocking than anything I could imagine.
About two and a half years after the murder, police arrested a suspect, Julio Miguel Blanco-Garcia, at his construction job not far from where the murder took place. He had a short history of misdemeanor offenses and had recently stolen bottles of Moet & Chandon from a grocery store. When police ran his fingerprints from this latest theft, they made a match to prints taken from Vanessa Pham’s car.
After his arrest, Blanco-Garcia confessed and told his version of what happened. He had smoked PCP the morning of the murder and stopped Pham in the Fairfax Plaza shopping center. He was holding his infant daughter and said he wasn’t feeling well. He asked Pham to drive them to a nearby hospital. She agreed and they all got into her car. She began driving to the hospital, but made a wrong turn. Scared she would call the police or harm the baby, (I read two different accounts) he stabbed her repeatedly. Her car ran into a ditch and crashed. Garcia exited the car via the sunroof then reached down for his baby and ran off.
I never would have guessed correctly how or why this murder was committed or that a baby was at the scene. Outside experts who theorized she was killed by a female friend, were clearly wrong too.
On August 22, 2013 a jury found Julio Miguel Blanco-Garcia guilty of first degree murder and sentenced him to 30 years of jail time. They added 19 additional years—one year for each year of Vanessa Pham’s life. In November, a judge will formally sentence him. The judge can’t reduce the sentence the jury recommended, but can add years to it.
What fictional or real crime has surprised you?