The Lincoln Assassination
On April 14, 1865, President Abraham Lincoln is shot at Ford's Theatre in Washington, D.C. The assassin, actor John Wilkes Booth, shouted, "Sic simper tyrannis! (Ever thus to tyrants!) The South is avenged," as he jumped onto the stage and fled on horseback. Lincoln died early the next morning.
On April 13, 1984, mass murderer Christopher Wilder dies after a month-long crime spree involving eleven young women who have disappeared or been killed. Police in New Hampshire attempted to apprehend Wilder, who was on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted List, but Wilder apparently shot himself to death in a scuffle with state troopers to avoid capture.
On April 12, 1633, chief inquisitor Father Vincenzo Maculano da Firenzuola begins the inquisition of physicist and astronomer Galileo Galilei. Galileo was ordered to turn himself in to the Holy Office to begin trial for holding the belief that the Earth revolves around the Sun, which was deemed heretical by the Catholic Church.
April 11, 2013 Associated Press
LOS ANGELES (AP) — In his world of pretense, the little man in spectacles became many fabulous people from royalty to a Rockefeller until his charades finally ended with a conviction under his true name — Christian Gerhartsreiter — a German immigrant guilty of a cold case murder.
A jury found Wednesday that the past had caught up with him. He was no longer Clark Rockefeller, heir to a fabled oil fortune, or Chris Chichester, the 13th baronet of England or even Chris Crowe, a producer of an Alfred Hitchcock mystery TV show.
"I've never known anyone with the ability to become so many people," said jury forewoman Kristen Lee, an attorney. "But his character was his character. We were more concerned with the evidence."
She and other jurors found that Gerhartsreiter, who lived briefly in California in the 1980s, killed John Sohus, a 27-year-old computer programmer who was the son of the defendant's landlady. Sohus and his new wife, Linda, vanished under strange circumstances in 1985. No trace of her has been found.
But the discovery of a bag of bones in a pit being dug for a swimming pool at his former residence gave new life to the missing persons case in 1994. It took another nine years for authorities to put together the pieces of the baffling circumstantial case.
On April 11, 1947, Louise Peete is executed in the gas chamber of San Quentin Prison. She was one of only four women executed in the California gas chamber. She was born Lofie Louise Preslar on September 20, 1880 in Bienville, Louisiana. Her childhood was uneventful and she received an expensive education, but was expelled from school for inappropriate behavior.
April 10, 2013 Reuters
LOS ANGELES - Police arrested five men who sawed into Los Angeles-area banks through the roofs in meticulously planned heists that involved everything from walkie-talkies to matching sneakers and netted a total of $6 million, authorities said on Wednesday.
The arrests capped a year-long investigation of the men, who police say were involved in a scheme that targeted at least four southern California banks since August 2011.
"This is something out of a movie script," Los Angeles Sheriff Lee Baca told reporters. "We're talking about a rooftop serial heist crew. We're talking about a lot of money, about $6 million total."
The men, who had been under surveillance, were nabbed on Friday after they cut a hole in the roof of a Citibank branch in the Southern California city of Diamond Bar, Baca said. They were arrested when they tried to leave the site, police said.
Police said the men worked together as a crew. But the suspects were not each believed to have been present at every one of the four banks that were hit, with different members of the crew working together at various times, said Sheriff's Lieutenant Kent Wegener of the major crimes bureau.
They used power tools to gain access to banks through the roofs and busted into bank vaults, police said.