If you watch as many crime documentaries as I do, then you’ll draw two conclusions: if you so much as sneeze at a crime scene then they’ll catch you, and if you lie enough and have a good enough lawyer, you can get away with anything.
It’s a contradiction, to say the least. The truth is probably somewhere in between. Criminal law is complicated. That’s why lawyers earn good money; it’s why they wear such nice suits and it’s why OJ Simpson never served time for murder. But for all the cases that are hard to crack, all the criminals who mastermind brilliant escapes and foolproof plans, there are a group of Darwin award wannabes who seem to do everything in their power to end up behind bars.
This is a list of said idiots, people who blatantly displayed their stolen wares on TV, perhaps forgetting how this magical electronic box worked.
Indian Jerry Springer
If you thought Jerry Springer and Jeremy Kyle was the epitome of shock-inducing, car-crash TV, then spare a thought for viewers of Solvathellam Unmai, an Indian chat show hosted by Lakshmy Ramakrishnan.
In 2012, this show featured a 16 year old girl and her boyfriend, with whom she planned to elope. On the other side of the argument was the girl’s parents. Simple enough, right? That’s what the host thought as she set about trying to convince the girl to go back with her parents.
Arguments followed and then the girl gave her reason for not going back. She didn’t have an issue with school, it wasn’t that her parents didn’t let her watch what she wanted on TV or let her use the internet late at night, but that her father was a multiple murderer and she couldn’t stand to be anywhere near him.
The announcement came as a surprise to everyone and the family eventually returned home, closely followed by the police who then discovered 3 dead bodies in their garden. All three had been poisoned after having their precious jewelry stolen.
Killer Gives Aggressive Interview
In 2011 a journalist was reporting on the disappearance of Lauren Giddings, a Mercer University School of Law graduate in Macon, Georgia. The journalist interviewed a member of the school and a former classmate of Giddings, Stephen McDaniel. Except for the fact that the interviewee looked a little out of it, the interview was standard and seemed to be going as normal.
But when the interviewer announced that a body had been found, McDaniel’s disposition changed. It was the first time he had heard of a body being discovered, but his reaction was not one of a grieving friend. He was shocked at first, as you might expect, but he instantly embarked upon an aggressive OTT rant, fighting back accusations that never actually came and instantly giving the police a prime suspect.
He finally gave a statement admitting to killing her, after video of him spying on her was found. Due to the investigation into Lauren’s death, police also discovered other illegal acts and made other charges against him. Sadly, Lauren’s complete body was never found, only her torso. Her family hopes that someday, the rest of her body will be discovered.
McDaniel was sentenced to life in prison and is not eligible for parole for nearly 3 decades.
Crocodile Tears from Child Murderer
Mick Philpott is every bit a despicable human being. Not because he had over 15 children to several different women, not because he was proud of his benefit-scrounging ways, but because he manipulated the women that had his children, he used his kids for fame and profit and, eventually, he killed most of them for the same reason.
Philpott started a fire at his own home, with some believing that he did it in order to play the role of a hero, others suspecting that he just wanted the government to give him a new house, and others believing that he had always set out to kill his children. Six kids died in that fire while Philpott and his wife escaped.
Kind hearted neighbors tried to help while the couple stood back and watched. The neighbors and friends were broken by the event, yet the mother and father of the children didn’t seem at all bothered. It was that apathy that led many, the police included, to believe that foul play was involved. When Philpott organized a press conference, their suspicions were confirmed.
He put on a show for the press and the TV cameras. With his wife faking tears next to him, Philpott played the role of a broken father, and he played it quite badly. His lies were obvious to everyone watching and enough to turn the nation against him. He was a sociopath, a man who faked his emotions for the cameras; she was likely codependent, but nevertheless still culpable for the crime.
Following the conference, police bugged his hotel room and listened in as the twisted couple discussed their crimes. Eventually, Philpott was sentenced to a life sentence, with an order that he serve at least 15 years. His wife was sentenced to 17 years.
The scary thing is, if they had kept their mouths shut; if they had not played the role of broken parents so badly for the TV cameras, then a conviction never might have been made.