Michael Thomas Barry's blog

Funeral is Held for Namesake of Infamous Execution Machine - 1814
Mar 28, 2014, - 0 Comments

by Michael Thomas Barry

On this date in crime history - March 28, 1814, the funeral of Joseph-Ignance Guillotin, the namesake but not the inventor of the infamous execution device, takes place outside of Paris, France. Guillotin, a member of the General Assembly had what he felt were the purest motives for proposing the use of the device. The machine was intended to show the intellectual and social progress of the French Revolution; by killing aristocrats and journeymen the same way, equality in death was ensured. 

First Use of Finger Print Technology Solves British Murder case - 1905
Mar 27, 2014, - 0 Comments

Finger Prints
By Michael Thomas Barry

On March 27, 1905, neighbors discover the badly bludgeoned bodies of Thomas and Ann Farrow in their South London shop. Thomas was already dead, but Ann was still breathing, but died four days later without regaining consciousness. The brutal crime was solved using the newly developed fingerprinting technique. Only three years earlier, the first English court had admitted fingerprint evidence in a petty theft case. The Farrow case was the first time that the cutting-edge technology was used in a high-profile murder case in Britain.

Heavens Gate Cult - Mass Suicide or Murder? 1997
Mar 26, 2014, - 0 Comments


by Michael Thomas Barry

On March 26, 1997, police enter a mansion in Rancho Santa Fe, an exclusive suburb of San Diego, California, and discover 39 victims of a mass suicide. The deceased were all found lying peaceably in matching dark clothes and Nike sneakers and had no noticeable signs of trauma. It was later revealed that the men and women were members of the "Heaven's Gate" religious cult, whose leaders preached that suicide would allow them to leave their bodies and enter an alien spacecraft hidden behind the Hale-Bopp comet.

U.S. Supreme Court Hands Down Decision in the Scottsboro Nine Rape Case - 1932
Mar 25, 2014, - 0 Comments


The Scottsboro Nine


by Michael Thomas Barry


On March 25, 1932, the United States Supreme Court hands down its decision in the case of Powell v. Alabama. The case arose out of the infamous Scottsboro case. Nine young black men were arrested and accused of raping two white women on train in Alabama in March 1931. The boys were fortunate to barely escape a lynch mob sent to kill them, but were railroaded into convictions and death sentences. The Supreme Court overturned the convictions on the basis that they did not have effective representation.

Jonesboro School Shooting - 1998
Mar 24, 2014, - 0 Comments

by Michael Thomas Barry

On March 24, 1998, Mitchell Johnson and Andrew Golden shoot and kill five and wound 10 at the Westside Middle School in Jonesboro, Arkansas. Golden, 11, the younger of the two boys, asked to be excused from his class, pulled a fire alarm and then ran to join Johnson, 13, in a wooded area 100 yards away from the school's gym. As the students streamed out of the building, Johnson and Golden opened fire on students and teachers.

McMartin Preschool Teachers were Indicted - 1984
Mar 22, 2014, - 0 Comments


by Michael Thomas Barry


On March 22, 1984, seven teachers at the McMartin Preschool in Manhattan Beach, California were indicted on molestation charges by the Los Angeles County grand jury after hearing testimony from 18 children. Included among the charged are Peggy McMartin Buckey, the head of the school and her son Ray Buckey.

Alcatraz Prison was Closed - 1963
Mar 21, 2014, - 0 Comments


by Michael Thomas Barry


On March 21, 1963, Alcatraz Prison was closed. At its peak period of use in 1950s, "The Rock” housed over 200 inmates at the maximum-security facility. Alcatraz remains an icon of American prisons for its harsh conditions and record for being inescapable.