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On January 22, 1998, Theodore J. Kaczynski pleads guilty to all federal charges against him, acknowledging his responsibility for a 17-year campaign of package bombings attributed to the "Unabomber." Born in 1942, Kaczynski attended Harvard University and received a PhD in mathematics from the University of Michigan. He worked as an assistant mathematics professor at the University of California at Berkeley, but abruptly quit in 1969.
On January 21, 1959, Carl Dean Switzer, the actor who as a child played "Alfalfa" in the Our Gang comedy film series, dies at age 31 in a fight, allegedly about money, in a Mission Hills, California, home. Alfalfa, the freckle-faced boy with a warbling singing voice and a cowlick protruding from the top of his head, was Switzer's best-known role.
On the morning of January 20, 1867, Julia Bulette's partially nude body was found by her maid in her bedroom of her Virginia City brothel. She had been strangled and bludgeoned to death, and robbed of her valuable jewel collection, clothing, and furs. Julia Bulette was an English-born American prostitute and madam in Virginia City, Nevada. After her violent death, she was described as proprietor of the most elegant and prosperous brothel in the City and various films and books took inspiration of her real or purported biography.
On January 15, 1974, the BTK Strangler struck for the first time, when he murdered four members of the Otero family. Six more victims, all female, followed, the last one in 1991. Throughout the 1970s, the BTK killer, or BTK strangler, as he was also known, sent letters to the media in which he claimed knowledge of the crimes.
On January 18, 1990, Washington D.C. Mayor Marion Barry is arrested and charged with drug possession and the use of crack cocaine. Barry was caught at the Vista International Hotel in downtown Washington smoking the substance on camera with Rahsheeda Moore, a woman who had agreed to set up Barry in exchange for a reduced sentence in an earlier drug conviction.
On January 17, 1950, a team of eleven thieves, in a precisely timed and choreographed strike, steals more than $2 million from the Brinks Armored Car depot in Boston, Massachusetts. The Great Brinks Robbery, as it quickly became known, was the almost perfect crime. Ironically, only days before the statute of limitations were set to expire on the crime, the culprits were finally caught.
On January 16, 1936, Albert Fish the infamous “Moon Maniac” is executed at Sing Sing prison in New York. Fish was one of America's most notorious and disturbed killers. Authorities believe that Fish killed as many as 10 children and then ate their remains. Fish went to the electric chair with great anticipation, telling guards, "It will be the supreme thrill, the only one I haven't tried."
On the morning of January 15, 1947 Betty Bersinger and her three year old daughter were out for an early morning stroll when they came across the bisected torso of a naked woman in a vacant lot in Leimert Park, Los Angeles. When police examined the remains of the woman they noted that the face had been slashed and the mouth cut on each side, so that it resembled a grin.