Category Archives: Crime

The Deafening Silence of Nicole Brown Simpson’s Akita

By John Geluardi

akitaI was pleased Sunday night when “O. J. Made in America” won the Academy Award for Best Documentary. It is by far one of the most thorough documentaries I’ve seen and it recasts the killings of Simpson’s ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman and the subsequent murder trial into a powerful context for those who watched the documentary’s five remarkable episodes.

While watching the documentary, I was struck by a scene that occurs about half way through episode 3 when Al Cowlings, at the end of the infamous low-speed chase, pulls the white Bronco into the driveway of Simpson’s Rockingham estate. In the vehicle’s backseat, the fallen sports hero and suspected murderer is supposedly suicidal and resting his chin on the barrel of a handgun while clutching family photographs.

During the scene, taken from helicopter-shot news footage, Cowlings gets out of the Bronco and a standoff between Simpson and the Los Angeles police begins. The scene is tense. Everybody is wondering if the police will shoot Simpson who is emotional and armed. Simpson’s family, the crowds who had poured into Brentwood to be part of celebrity history, the helicopter pilots hovering just overhead and the millions of Americans who watched the scene unfold on live television, all are holding their breath

But it wasn’t the noisy drama of the scene’s central focus that fascinated me. I was drawn to a very short, but compelling scene within the scene. About 10 feet in front of the Bronco, Nicole’s white and brown Akita, Kato, stands looking directly at the Bronco’s wretched occupant. The dog’s presence stuck me because the Akita — who by coincidence had the same name as the quirky human houseboy Kato Kaelin — was the only witness to the brutal murders of Nicole and Goldman.

On that June night in 1994, it was Kato who began to bark and wail “plaintively” at 10:15 p.m., which set the condemning murder timeline that showed Simpson had time to butcher his ex-wife and Goldman and still make it back to the Rockingham estate in time meet limo driver Allan Park who drove Simpson to the airport for an 11:45 flight to Chicago. It was also the Akita who went to the street, his paws soaked in Nicole’s blood, to alert neighbors that two bodies were lying on the walkway of Nicole’s home at 325 Gretna Green Way.

While there are no known human witnesses to the deadly attack, the Akita saw who killed his beloved owner and the young waiter whose only crime was being in the wrong place at the wrong time. The dog was never interviewed by police nor did he give testimony at trial, but five days after the killings, Kato was there waiting when Simpson pulled into his driveway with a dozen police cars in tow. Like Dr. T.J. Eckleberg overlooking the Valley of Ashes, Kato stood in front of the Bronco silently looking at Simpson while chaos surrounded man and dog.

Bred in Japan’s remote northern mountains, the Akita is the most ancient of Japanese dogs. We can only guess what Simpson experienced when afixed by the dog’s primordial eyes set deep in the dog’s bear-like head. Kato was the one being who knew beyond a shadow of a doubt of Simpson’s terrible transgression. I like to think the sports hero and pitchman was at that moment inescapably confronted with his abhorrent crime and, for at least a moment, slipped deeper into a morass of oppressive guilt. I also like to think that Kato’s knowing gaze leveled at him all those years ago still occasionally wakes Simpson from fitful sleep in his high desert prison cell at the Lovelock Correctional Facility

Like many involved in the trial, Kato became a minor celebrity. He even had his own spoof autobiography:“O.J.’s Dog Daze,” which was published in 2001 and came with a paw print autograph.

Fortunately Kato landed well. Once the trial was over and the media frenzy died down, Kato ended up in the beach town of Dana Point where he was cared for by Nicole’s parents, Judi and Louis Brown. After a long life, Kato died in October, 2004. The Browns are said to keep his ashes under the family piano, which was Kato’s favorite spot to curl up and watch over family activities with those deep-set, Akita eyes.

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Filed under Academy Awards, Akitas, Crime, Dogs, Ezra Edelman, Murder Trial, Nicole Brown Simpson, O.J. Made in America, Uncategorized

Conflict Breeds Corruption

 

corruption

By John Geluardi

819cab198a0b83ce288b2cdd6afe483f_400x400Public corruption is a negative force that has an impact far beyond any single act of paying for favors and privilege. Public corruption cost taxpayer millions of dollars annually and casts a shadow over government ability to make sound policies, assert the rule of law and the citizen’s ability to pursue economic prosperity.

It’s for that reason the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and other law enforcement agencies, makes it a priority to investigate allegations of public officials who use their positions to enrich themselves. But suppressing corruption once it has occurred is expensive and not effective. It is also important for government officials to be  proactive by not enacting policies that foster corruption, rent seeking and extortion. That’s why it is critically important that the conflict between state and federal marijuana laws are resolved as soon as possible.

In those states that have legalized the sale of medical and recreation cannabis, the industry is flourishing. State and local laws have done great work in creating policies and laws that give such businesses a sense of stability that allows them to make business decisions with some confidence. But federal laws still regard cannabis as a schedule 1 narcotic and have not only closed access to reliable banking, the U.S. Postal Service and fair tax laws, but there is also the constant threat of law enforcement raids, lengthy and expensive court battles and prison.

Even in the states that have legalized cannabis, federal law has created a climate of fear and uncertainty among cannabis entrepreneurs and some politicians and law enforcement officers are exploiting that fear to enrich themselves. There are numerous examples of this type of corruption. In fact, The Daily Chronic, an online news source that covers the cannabis community, has a pages-long section devoted to cannabis related police corruption nationwide.

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Filed under California ballot November, Corruption, Crime, politics, Pot and Politics, Uncategorized

Victim Reaches Out To Serial BB Gun Sniper Who Shot Her

By John Geluardi

The victim of a BB gun sniper attack last weekend is now working to get help for the man who shot her above the eye while she was hiking with her husband in Wildcat Canyon Regional Park in the East Bay hills. The victim, Cori Pansarasa, a clinical psychologist, said the man who shot her is mentally disabled and she wants to work with his family to get him help.

“His family has been trying for many years to get help for him and since I work as a psychologist, I want to see if there’s something I can do,” Pansarasa said two days after the man shot her with a BB gun.
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East Bay Regional Park police arrested 21-year-old Filberto Alvidrez Sunday evening shortly after Pansarasa was shot. Police suspect Alvidrez of at least two previous BB gun attacks that occurred in the same area. The first was in early May when a man was shot in the face and another was shot on September 27 — although Jones said there were no immediate details about the second incident.

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Filed under Crime, Restorative Justice, Sniper, Wildcat Canyon