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Governor admits to laundering



Last August, Shane Hedges, a member of the staff of Montana Gov. Judy Martz, was involved in a fatal auto accident while presumptively drunk, and later resigned and pled guilty to vehicular homicide. However, just after the crash, with police still seeking evidence from the accident, Hedges went to see the governor while still wearing the clothes that were bloodied from the dead body in the front seat. Gov. Martz promptly washed them. When the laundering became public knowledge in January, the local prosecutor let the governor off the hook by declaring that Hedges' clothing was not important evidence in the case. Of her impulse to launder, Martz said that the "mother in me did it. A mother does that kind of stuff."

Survival of the thickest

Human evolution is basically over because modern medicine assures that virtually all genes, and not just the "fittest" ones, are making it through to the next generation. That's according to University College of London professor Steve Jones, speaking to the Royal Society of Edinburgh in February. Despite modern improvements in health care, Jones said, human brain size and musculature are stagnating.

High-decibel discrimination

Frances Escalera, cited for the third time by authorities in Allentown, Pa., for excessive loudness of her TV set and thus in danger of being evicted from public housing for violating municipal regulations, charged that the city's rule on TV noise is illegal because it obviously targets Latinos, who like to turn up the volume.

Words speak louder than action

Police in St. Peter, Minn., arrested Olga Esquivel Ramirez, 32, in August after an automobile chase that started when an officer observed Ramirez's car veer over the center line several times. Despite sirens and emergency lights, Ramirez did not stop for about four miles, until pinned in by several cruisers. However, she said she was not trying to outrun the police; rather, she said she thought that if they wanted her to stop, all they had to do was give her a call on her cell phone.

Blame Canada

Canada's National Parole Board is being sued for about $960,000 (U.S.) by a twice-convicted robber who has been in jail since 1993, according to The Globe and Mail in Toronto. Mark Turner had been released by the board in 1987 but found himself back in prison after another bank-robbery conviction. He now claims the parole board should not have released him in 1987. His court case argues that he was not ready to deal with the outside stresses, and if the parole board had forced him to serve out his full sentence (until 1994), he would have been more mature and better prepared to resist the temptation to return to a life of crime.

And the dog ate their homework

Donald S. Guthrie of Lock Haven, Pa., accused of robbing a local bank in January, said he did it to pay the bailbondsman's bill from his previous arrest. Maurice Gladney, 21, accused of a street robbery in St. Louis, said he did it to deal with his distress at the Rams' surprise loss in the Super Bowl. Robert Fremer, 48, of Inverness, Fla., accused of robbing a convenience store in January, and Douglas Lloyd Harrison, 48, of Salem, Ore., accused of robbing a bank that same month, said they did it because they needed to get back into jail where it felt like "home" to them.

Gut-wrenching romance

In January, a 42-year-old Vancouver, Wash., chiropractor, upset at the deteriorating relationship with his girlfriend, apparently disemboweled himself in his home. The man, a health-conscious former bodybuilder, was found by police (responding to the girlfriend's call that the man was harassing her) lying on his bed, bloody, with his shirt off and a quantity of his intestines resting on his stomach. He was hospitalized, but his condition was not life-threatening.

Two-time loser

Bryan Allison, 24, was hospitalized in Buffalo, N.Y., after falling 20 feet to the ground while tossing a television set off a second-floor balcony at his home. According to police, Allison was watching a videotape of a 1989 National Hockey League playoff game with his brother and got angry (once again) that his team had lost. He picked up the TV set and attempted to toss it off the balcony but apparently failed to let go of it in time. ... Speaking of the boob tune, returning to New York City screens on Christmas morning was the WPIX-TV "Yule Log," a two-hour "program" consisting of a shot of a log burning in a fireplace; the holiday special managed to garner a 3.1 rating (10 percent of all TVs on at the time) and helped the station to a day-long victory in the local race for ratings.

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