Another Reason To Support Capital Punishment: The Murder of Gabriel Fernandez

The following includes descriptive acts of violence and counts of extreme child abuse. If at any point you feel distressed, there is a list for help lines at the bottom of this page.

Welcome back to Murder Monday.

Today we’re going to touch base on a little thing called capital punishment.

cap·i·tal pun·ish·ment
ˈkapədl ˈpəniSHmənt/
noun
1. the legally authorized killing of someone as punishment for a crime.

Where is capital punishment legal in the US?

The death penalty is legal in 31 states and illegal in 19 states (and DC). The “legal” and “illegal” designations in the “Death Penalty Status” column are based on the US Department of Justice’s “Capital Punishment” reports.

All 31 states with the death penalty provide lethal injection as the primary method of execution. Some states allow methods other than lethal injection, but only as secondary methods to be used merely at the request of the prisoner or if lethal injection is unavailable.

In the following states, death row inmates with an execution warrant may choose to be executed by:
* Electrocution in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Kentucky, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia
* Gas inhalation in Arizona and California
* Firing squad in Utah
* Hanging in Washington

Depending on the state, the following alternative methods are statutorily provided in the event that lethal injection is either found unconstitutional by a court or unavailable for practical reasons:
* Electrocution in Florida, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Tennessee
* Gas inhalation in Alabama, California, Missouri, Oklahoma and Wyoming
* Firing squad in Oklahoma and Utah
* Hanging in New Hampshire

As we all know, capital punishment/the death penalty is a popular topic of debate. There are many sides to this argument. Was the person proven guilty without a reasonable doubt? Was the evidence collected or presented enough to convict the suspect? What was the severity of the crime? And most importantly to me, was the crime committed enough for me to personally wish death upon this person? Or was it *just* shitty enough for me to be okay with them rotting in a jail cell, being fed daily and having basic privileges, while I ultimately end up paying for their care? Obviously, there are many many other factors that come into play on this topic. For me, personally, I support capital punishment. Especially when it’s sentence falls upon someone who damn well deserves to be put to death – rapists, murderers, sex offenders, and child abusers.

Meet Pearl Fernandez & Isauro Aguirre.

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Pearl Fernandez called 911 on May 22, 2013 to report that her son was not breathing. She told sheriff’s deputies who arrived at the apartment that Gabriel had fallen and hit his head on a dresser, according to testimony. When paramedics arrived, they found Gabriel naked in a bedroom, not breathing. His skull was cracked, he had three broken ribs and BB pellets were found embedded in his lung and groin. He died two days later.

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“It was just like every inch of this child had been abused,” – James Cermak, a Los Angeles County Fire Department paramedic

Gabriel died as a result of blunt force trauma and child neglect, but this was after months and maybe even years of pure torture. Gabriel’s 13-year-old brother testified against their mother and her boyfriend. The court has been struggling to figure out just exactly how this case had slipped through the cracks of child services for as long as it did. The couple allegedly hid the boy’s injuries through doctors notes and sent him to school with them. His school had called the authorities before when the young boy showed signs of being suicidal, so the couple began claiming that the boy’s injuries were all self-induced.

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Gabriel Fernandez was born in 2005, and shortly after his birth he was transferred to the custody of relatives due to his mother’s troubled history. In 2012, Pearl Fernandez reclaimed her children. Just two weeks later, while in the care of his mother, Gabriel demonstrated to his second grade teacher that he knew how to “snort cocaine.” His mother was already the target of six different child abuse investigations, one of which resulting from Gabriel telling a therapist that his mother forced him to perform oral sex on a family member, shot him with a BB gun, and then beat him with a belt until he bled. This was around the time that teachers discovered the child’s suicide letters. Again, this is an 8-year-old child… writing suicide letters.

I warned you before, and will warn you again – this is an extremely graphic case. Please do not continue to read if you are feeling emotionally distressed.

The torture performed on this child, as testified in a court of law by his own siblings, is as follows:

Gabriel Fernandez’s 16-year-old brother, who was identified in court as Ezequiel C., told jurors he recalled his little brother being hit by his mother, Pearl Sinthia Fernandez, and her boyfriend, Isauro Aguirre, and frequently being kept in a “box” in the couple’s bedroom. Photos of their bedroom showed two beds, room for Gabriel to sleep comfortably. His two older siblings would sleep in the same room where he was forced to sleep in a box.

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Other records of statements made by witnesses stated that the boy had been repeatedly pepper sprayed in the face at direct range, forced to eat cat feces, burned with lighters, forced to eat his own vomit, forced to perform sexual acts on unnamed family members, starved, shot with a BB gun, and other heinous acts I don’t feel the need to share. His death was caused by blunt force trauma to the head.

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Last week, in California, Isauro Aguirre, 37, was sentenced to death. Pearl Fernandez, 34, was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

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There is a special, special place in Hell for child abusers. Pearl Fernandez will rot in a jail cell paid for by our tax dollars, which makes me sick. But, if she is in prison surrounded by women who miss their children, I will rest assured knowing that she will feel the torture that her son felt behind those prison walls. Isauro will either die from lethal injection or gas inhalation. From what I’ve heard, lethal injection shuts down your brain and your body while you feel your insides burning until your heart stops. Although he will die quickly, for a brief moment before that motherfucker slips his last breath in, he will feel the the pain of being burned alive, just like Gabriel Fernandez did – and he fucking deserves it.

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See you next week.

Sources:

https://www.dailynews.com/2018/02/15/mother-of-gabriel-fernandez-8-pleads-guilty-to-first-degree-murder-in-his-beating-death/

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.nbclosangeles.com/news/local/Brother-of-Slain-8-Year-Old-Boy-Recounts-Harrowing-Tale-of-Abuse-451532973.html%3famp=y

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Yet Another “Florida Man”: The Mental Break of Austin Hauroff

For those of you who weren’t scarred by last week’s topic, welcome back to Murder Monday! If I failed at making you uncomfortable last week, well, you’re probably a sociopath. I’m going to try a little harder this week, and if this doesn’t bother you, you’re definitely a sociopath. Or maybe that just makes me a sociopath… but anyways.

These week, were going to touch base on a little thing called cannibalism.

Cannibalism is the consumption of another human’s body matter, whether consensual or not. In the United States, there are no laws against cannibalism exactly, but most, if not all, states have enacted laws that indirectly make it impossible to legally obtain and consume the body matter.

For whatever reason, cannibalism seems to be the highest form of betrayal against humanity. Not only are you murdering someone, which is by far the worst thing you could do, but you’re consuming them. It seems to be glorified in headlines, like some sort of phenomena. Cannibalism is considered taboo in basically every place except for China, where it is often considered gourmet. Going all the way back to Hannibal Lector, to Jeffrey Dahmer, to Cannibal Cop — these people caught attention. Silence of the Lambs crushed the box office. Jeffrey Dahmer, well, we all know who he is. And Cannibal Cop actually got SYMPATHY of all things after numerous specials and documentaries came out about him (cry me a river, you fucking freak).

You may remember a series of incidents involving bath salts and a drug called “flakka” being associated with symptoms of cannibalism. All of the above are also, not surprisingly, associated with Florida… if you live in America and you have not yet realized that the most absurd crimes happen in Florida, you probably live in a cave. Flakka is a designer drug that can be snorted, smoked, injected or swallowed. It may also be combined with other, softer drugs such as marijuana. Flakka is most typically made from the chemical alpha-PVP, which is a synthetic version of the amphetamine-like stimulant cathinone. Cathinones are chemicals derived from the khat plant grown in the Middle East and Somalia, where the leaves are frequently chewed for a euphoric buzz. It is made from the same chemical family as “bath salts,” which were thought to be responsible for a man chewing another man’s face off in Miami in 2012. Turned out Rudy Eugen, the attacker in this incident, was not high on flakka. He was shot dead by police after an 18 minute rampage ending in him eating a man’s face from the beard up, even consuming his left eye. Rudy Eugene’s toxicology report only showed positive results for marijuana. Oddly enough, he was not the only “Florida Man” headline associated with cannibalism that was not positively linked to flakka, and not even the most bizarre.

Meet Austin Haurroff.

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Harrouff was born December 21, 1996 in Palm Beach Gardens. Neighbors and friends said that despite being a child of divorced parents, he had a good upbringing and a great childhood. The son of a dentist and pharmacist, Austin Harrouff hoped to enroll pre-med at a four-year university and one day earn a doctorate, according to his test reports in high school. He even took a test three times to improve his scores to meet college-prep benchmarks. In high school, Haurroff thrived in science, and later his passion shifted towards art. He attended Florida State University, and while studying exercise science and participating in the Alpha Delta Phi fraternity, records show Harrouff had no disciplinary history at FSU. He had a 3.2 GPA at FSU, just shy of a B+ average.

Notes and lists found in Haurroff’s phone from his freshman year at Florida State University showed that he was having strange thoughts.

“keep running even when they say you crazy”

“I don’t want to be worshipped but I know that I will be.”

Friends and family started noticing a shift in his attitude and behavior around this time. His parents said he became obsessed with helping people, so much so that he was losing sleep at night. His “notes” and poems got darker, his sleeping patterns worsened, and his friends distanced themselves out of fear. They said he started making claims of being “half-animal” (specifically half-horse) and bragging about his immortality. His own sister was looking her door at night out of fear that he may hurt her. It got so bad that his parents thought that they should take him for a mental evaluation, but they never did.

August 15, 2016

On August 15, 2016, Austin Haurroff’s parents grew more concerned than ever. According to his sister, Harley Haurroff, he seemed receptive to a conversation they had about therapy this day. “He always says weird shit,” she told Dr. Phil in a September 2016 interview. Later that day, while on a walk with his father, Austin Haurroff saw two turtle shells on the sidewalk, pulled out his pocket knife, and told his dad “something is gonna happen.”

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He was right, something was definitely going to happen.

He went to a local Duffy’s restaurant with his father and step-mother later that night, and he became irritated. He got up abruptly, left the restaurant, and walked twomiles to his mother’s house. When he arrived, he helped himself to dinner. At his mother’s house, his bedroom had been moved to the garage because he was convinced that there were demons in her house. He sat down and ate a bowl of olive oil full of parmesan cheese (what in the actual fuck) before his mom came in. His mother arrived at the home and found him drinking cooking oil out of a bottle, stopped him, and drove him back to Duffy’s. She then called police, and reported that she was concerned her son was showing signs of schizophrenia and “delusions”. When he got back to the restaurant, he started an argument with his father. His father grabbed him by the shirt, and questioned his behavior. Austin positioned himself to punch his father, but gave up and left the restaurant yet again.

“I’m so sick and tired of doing what I’m told,” Harrouff had written in a note on his phone 10 days earlier, according to records of his phone. “I’m going to leave my mark before I get old.”

This time when Austin Haurroff left Duffy’s restaurant, he walked 4 miles reportedly running from a “dark figure”, and ended up in the garage of John Stevens, a 59-year-old landscaper, and his wife, Michelle Mishcon, 53. He claims to have no recollection as to how he ended up here, but that he was “scared as hell” – as if John and Michelle weren’t.

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He stabbed Michelle Mishcon and her husband, John Stevens, in their garage. A neighbor witnessing the attack was also attacked while trying to help the couple. He was stabbed in the back before calling 911, but survived. When police arrived on scene, Austin Haurroff was crouched over John Steven’s body, spitting chunks of flesh out of his mouth and laughing. He reportedly drank a bottle of motor oil in their garage during the attack also. Austin Haurroff ate peices of John Stevens’ face before being taken into custody.

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Haurroff was charged with two counts of murder, one count of attempted murder, and burglary. It was oringinally assumed that he was under the influence of “flakka” or bath salts, but toxicology reports only showed minimal traces of THC and drugs that were administered to him upon treatment in the hospital after the attack. There was a small amount of alcohol in his system, but it is thought that this could just be from the oil that he drank in the garage.

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SO, no drugs, no booze, no diagnosed illness – after “weeks/months” of “irratic behavior” documented and reported by his own family, Austin Haurroff became a murderer, and he could have been stopped. He could have, and should have, recieved psychiatric attention or treatment – but he did not.

May 2018

Harrouff, 21, has been inmate No. 896298 since his arrest Oct. 3, 2016. He has pleaded not guilty to two counts of murder and single counts each of attempted murder, resisting an officer without violence and burglary of a dwelling while armed. His divorced parents have both showed unwavering support towards their son’s innocence. His father, Wade, has visited 61 times, and his mother, Mina, has visited 75. He is also visited bi-weekly by a minister. Harrouff has also been seen at least 34 times by his trio of attorneys, Nellie King, Robert Watson and Jordon Showe.

“Harrouff’s parents generally deposit about $200 every two or three weeks into his jail commissary account, which reports show has a running total of around $500.

Since October 2016, Harrouff has received $7,998 from his family. He’s also spent $7,679 on food, toiletry and paper items, and he pays a $3 daily fee to the jail administration, records confirm.

Harrouff spends most of his cash on a wide variety of snack foods — sour neon worms, Oreo cookies and Doritos cool ranch are particular favorites, along with Ramen noodles, chicken breast, honey buns, coffee and drinks.

Specifically, Harrouff spends between $75 and $95 per week on a routine list of commissary items that he often reorders week after week.

A typical order might include 10 honey buns, 10 packs of Doritios spicy sweet chili, five “jalapeño cheese sque’ezers,” 10 “double beef sticks” and a variety of candy bars.”

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Austin Haurroff’s trial date has not been set. With an apparent 240 witnesses in the case and a more than 3,700 pages of discovery from his defense team, there still appears to be pieces of evidence missing in the eyes of the court. To be acquitted, Harrouff’s legal team must convince a judge or jury he didn’t know what he was doing at the time of the murders, or didn’t know it was wrong and couldn’t appreciate the consequences of his actions. He could face the death penalty, or he could get off on an insanity plea. In court this past May, Haurroff claimed he “just wanted to be a normal kid again.”

So, stay tuned… I guess.

If you, yourself, or anyone you know is showing side effects of delusions or mental illness of any kind – please do not hesitate to contact local authorities. Mental illness is a delicate monster, a creature in itself, to be handled with care and precision. This child could have been stopped, like many others. You can choose to argue with me on the topic of rehabilitaton all you want, but how would you feel if this kid ate your loved one alive and was then able to return to society? I hope this kid rots in prison, as sad as it is. Once mental illness has hit this sort of peak, there is no coming back. Help is readily available for mental illness in today’s world, so please do something.

See you next week.

Sources:

http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/florida/fl-austin-harrouff-past-20161129-story.html

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3965962/Cannibal-frat-boy-killed-couple-ate-man-s-face-NOT-influence-bath-salts-flakka-toxicology-report-reveals.html

https://www.tcpalm.com/story/news/crime/martin-county/2018/03/09/parents-stand-son-accused-brutal-killing-martin-county-couple/311380002/

The Yates Family

Welcome back to Murder Monday, ya’ll.

Before you dive in, I’m going to give you all the courtesy of some trigger warnings. I don’t think anything I have posted on here is for the faint of heart, but this case is especially morbid. If you have sensitivity to violence involving children, mental illness, abuse, etc, please do not continue. If at any point you feel uncomfortable during this read, go ahead and close the page. Put on some fluffy bullshit sitcom and move on with your day, or something. This is the case that sparked my fascination with homicide. This is the first murder case I Googled on my giant Dell computer monitor in middle school, praying my parents wouldn’t realize that I cleared the Google search history. This is the one case that truly, deeply, shook me to my core. I was a kid when I heard about this case, and I was scared of bath tubs for years after (oh yea, if you like taking bubble baths good fucking luck with the mental images I’m about to give you). Anyways… you have been warned.

Meet Andrea Yates.

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Andrea Yates is one demented little shit. I’m not going to waste my time by looking into her background story for you or trying to dig deep into what made her snap. She doesn’t deserve to have her story told, because she robbed five innocent children from the chance of even having a life story. She brought five precious, loving, innocent, beautiful children into this world – and she took them right back of of it, all by herself. Now, I can sympathize with mental illness, and I probably do so a little more than I should. I have also been close with someone who has experienced postpartum depression, and can sympathize with how truly terrible it must be to experience it first hand. But there is nothing in the world that could justify what Andrea Yates did, not even a pathetic cry for an insanity plea.

Some people just should not have children. 

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In the summer of 1989, Andrea met Rusty Yates. They quickly moved in together, and the two married in 1993. They were living in Houston, Texas when they had their first child, Noah, in 1994. They then relocated to a small trailer in Florida. They had their second child, John, in 1995. By the time they had conceived their third child, Paul, the couple purchased a GMC motor home and moved back to Houston for Rusty’s job. Following the birth of their fourth child, Luke, Andrea fell into a depression. In 1999, Rusty knew something was deeply wrong with her when he starting catching her vigorously chewing on her fingers and shaking. Yates had been struggling with bulimia and depression, and on June 17, 1999, she attempted suicide by overdosing on pills. She was put on antipsychotics, antidepressants, and mood stabilizers and she seemed stable for quite some time. The family then moved into a small house for the sake of her health.

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In July of 1999, Andrea suffered from a severe nervous breakdown which resulted in two attempts at suicide. She was hospitalized, and diagnosed with postpartum psychosis.

Postpartum Psychosis: a rare illness that occurs in approximately 1 to 2 out of every 1,000 deliveries, or approximately .1-.2% of childbirths. The onset is very sudden, usually occurring up to two weeks after delivery.

Symptoms of this illness include:
Delusions and strange beliefs
Hallucinations
Feeling very irritated
Hyperactivity
Paranoia and suspiciousness
Rapid mood swings
Difficulty with communication at times

The most significant risk factors for postpartum psychosis are a personal or family history or bipolar disorder, or a previously psychotic episode.

There is a 5% suicide rate for mothers suffering from postpartum psychosis, and a 4% infanticide rate associated with the illness. So nearly the same amount of mothers who kill themselves while suffering from this also kill their children.

Seven weeks after her latest suicide attempts and hospitalization, Andrea Yates, who was diagnosed and taking Haldol, among other medications, conceived her fifth child against doctors’ suggestions. Her psychiatrist had warned her that if she gave birth again, her chances of a break in reality were very high.

She did it anyway.

She gave birth to her fifth child, Mary, in November of 2000, and she seemed to be coping well until the death of her father in March of 2001. After his death, Andrea became obsessed with the Bible. She stopped feeding Mary, her newborn child. She started mutilating herself, and tried to drown herself on multiple occasions. She was caught in a suicide attempt around this same time, and when she was admitted to the hospital she was described as “catatonic.” She told the doctors that the bathtub was full at home because she had intended to drown her children that day, but changed her mind.

Red fucking flag.

Andrea Yates’ psychiatrist, Dr. Saeed, suggested that Andrea no longer be left alone with her children. She should have been under supervision at all times. She was not in control of her own mind, and she needed assistance with the children for their well-being and for her own. Rusty went against the doctor’s orders and left his wife unattended with their five children. He did so because his mother was supposed to arrive to assist her within the hour, but in that hour, Andrea Yates murdered her children, all five of them, one by one – in the bath tub.

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She started with John, then Paul, then Luke. After drowning them, she laid them on her bed. She then drowned 6-month-old Mary and left her floating lifelessly in the bathtub. Noah walked in and asked her what was wrong with Mary. He then ran away when he noticed she was lifeless. His mother chased him, caught him, and drowned him. Noah’s body was left floating in the tub and Mary’s body was taken and positioned in the arms of her brother, John. She positioned them like fucking puppets. She then called the police numerous times, but would not give them a clear explanation. She also called Rusty, telling him to come home immediately.

(Side note: she also locked up their dog while she murdered her children but left the dog unharmed. She had the guts to murder all of her children, but spared the life of her dog.)

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Yates confessed to drowning her children. After a lengthy case, where her sentence was repeatedly overturned and questioned due to her insanity plea and record of mental illness, Andrea Yates was found not guilty by reason of insanity on July 26, 2006. She was then committed to the North Texas State Hospital-Vernon Campus and later moved to a low-security state mental hospital in Kerrville. Although doctors for both the prosecutors and her defense team agreed that she was severely mentally ill with several diagnosed psychotic diseases at the time of the murders, the state of Texas asserted that she was by legal definition aware enough to judge her actions as right or wrong despite her mental defect. The prosecution also further implied spousal revenge as some sort of motive for the homicides, but there was no support for this claim.

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During her trial, Rusty Yates held strong to her claim of innocence by fault of insanity. He had fantasies of continuing to have more children with her. He thought she could get better.

“All depressed people need is a swift kick to the nuts to get motivated.” This is what Rusty’s brother-in-law told Larry King that Rusty had said while visiting Andrea in the hospital.

Andrea was 450mg of Effexor among many other mediations at the time of the murders. The warning label at the time for the drug Effexor stated a warning for experiences of “homicidal ideation” and yet…

By the fault of every doctor that came across this woman, her husband, and her own god damn parents – this woman was prescribed and handed a medication to take on a daily basis that could cause homicidal tendencies with a warning right on the god damn label AFTER THE FACT that she had ALREADY threatened to DROWN HER CHILDREN.

Every single person in contact with Andrea Yates at the time of the murders should be held accountable. This woman was not in control of her actions, and everyone who knew her was thoroughly aware of this. Child protective services was not involved. Her husband held hope. Her parents were not closely involved. Andrea Yates murdered her 5 children, all under the age of 7 – and she could have been stopped.

Andrea Yates is still currently being treated for severe psychosis, and is expected to be let back into the community upon rehabilitation.

If you or anyone you know is suffering from depression, harming themselves or others, or posing a threat to others or risk to themselves at any time – please, fucking do something. Things like this happen every day, and sadly, in most cases, they could have been stopped.

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See you next week.

Sources:

Murderpedia

Wikipedia
http://www.postpartum.net

Don’t Drink the Water: A Hometown Murder

People often ask me why it is that I am so interested in such sad stories. How I’m not depressed after watching hundreds of hours of ID Discovery channel and horror films, or listening to True Crime podcasts when I wake up every morning. I’ve often wondered myself why I just don’t find certain things disturbing, or how I can tell a story that I think is fascinating while watching the person I’m telling it to crawl in their skin. How can I stomach my dinner while watching Autopsy footage, and fall asleep while scrolling through Murderpedia. Horror movies never bothered me, I was never scared of the dark, I never worried about monsters or ghosts, and I’ve got the pain tolerance of an Ox. The only things that have ever scared me, are the things that are real. I can close my eyes and wish the ghosts and monsters and pain away, but no wishing in the world will stop a human from hurting you if they really want to. It can be your lover, your family member, your friend, a daily acquaintance. If you have ever experienced being physically abused or assaulted, it is a feeling you never want to experience again, and it is the truest fear you will ever know. For me personally, I turned that fear into fascination – to learn how to understand why nothing else in the world scares me as much as the human mind. I researched my fear so thoroughly that I became desensitized to terror. I wanted to learn everything I could about why our minds work so differently, and how someone’s mind could truly believe that such heinous acts are normal. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from my favorite murder podcast Sword and Scale – it is that “The worst monsters are real.” And that, to me, is fascinating.

On this weeks edition of Murder Monday – I’m going to tell you the story of the closest I’ve ever been to a murderer.

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The morning of Tuesday July 19, 2016 –

I walked into work like any other day, I had been working at a barber shop in my home town in South Jersey. The shop was on a small block, with a hometown feel. Every business owner knew one another, and all of the families nearby. The local public school was in walking distance, and the kids would wave hello as they passed the store fronts. I’d stroll into work around 10:15 every day, I’d set up my station, and cross the street to the Quick Stop Deli – where I would get scratch off lotto tickets, a pack of cigarettes, and a coffee, every day. But this day was a little different.

Quick Stop used to open in the early morning hours, and I’d never seen them closed before. I grew up in town, my family lived in walking distance, and the couple that operated the business had been running on a timely schedule for nearly 20 years. I looked through our adjacent store front and noticed that the lights in the deli were off.

“There’s a lady taking photos out front, maybe they’re selling the place.” Said a coworker.

“They would never sell that place.” I replied.

I walked across the street and approached the woman with the camera, asking her why she was taking photos. She glanced up from her camera, and said “You know a lady named Seema?” …. “Yes, I do. What happened?” I replied. Next thing I knew, Bob Brooks from 6 ABC news came strolling around the corner with a camera man and asked me to answer a couple questions. “Questions about what?” I asked

“They won’t be open today, something has happened.” said Bob Brooks

“What, did Pal kill his wife or something?” I replied…

He didn’t find this funny.

He rolled the camera, and restated that Pal had murdered his wife, as if he wanted some reaction from me on camera… I scratched my head, wished their family well, and cut the interview as short as I could. (It aired that night, and my phone rang off the hook.) I returned to work, made a few phone calls, and went about my day. None of us really acted any differently. Costumers came and went asking for the scoop on the murderer across the street, and we all had the same response –

that we were not surprised.

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(Photo by Matt Skoufalos)

Nitin (Pal) Singh and his wife Seema, owned and operated the Quick Stop Deli for nearly 20 years. Interestingly enough, they had taken the business over from another family with a haunting past. The couple bought the building from the Knox family. Who, as it turns out, sold the business after their son David Knox was convicted for the rape and murder of a 10 year old girl in 1993.

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But anyway…

Pal and Seema were well known around the town, and for a small corner store they had quite the good reputation thanks to their sandwiches. Seema was known for rounding down and letting you slide with change, (ex. charging 3$ instead of 3.25) – and Pal was always helpful and kind. He kept dark chocolate Peanut Chews in stock for me and would stash them aside for me if they were running low. They had three children, and we all watched them grow. Their oldest, Richie, was known to brighten anyone’s day. Richie was 16, but had a learning disability, his siblings were 5, and 6. He would often run the counter for his parents, and sometimes he would sneak me my scratch offs and cigarettes even though he would say “I’m too young for this bad stuff” – Richie was a good kid.

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In early December of 2015, the couple was robbed at gun point in their store. During dinner hour on a Monday, a man on a bike wearing a ski mask entered the store. He passed two costumers, approached the lottery counter, and showed Pal a weapon.

”He showed me what looked to me like a semi-automatic with a silencer.” “He said, ‘Get down, get everybody down.” Said Pal in an interview with Matt Skoufalos for NJ Pen shortly after the robbery.

The masked man emptied two cash registers, and got away on his bicycle.

Ever since this incident, something changed in Pal. We all saw it happening, and we all knew something was wrong.

Pal went from being helpful and kind, to paranoid and creepy. He would follow me around the store, as if I were going to steal the peanut chews he had been watching me buy for ten years. When he would give me change, he would caress my hand. My  Mother actually stopped going to the store because he was so creepy towards her. He got in a verbal altercation with my boss, and then a physical altercation with our local homeless pest, Joey. Pal used to wear his hair long, and colored it black to maintain his appearance at the age of 46. He was always clean shaved, and dressed somewhat decently. But that all changed, and it changed quickly.

Something was wrong with Pal.

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Just months later, in the early morning hours of Tuesday, July 19, 2016 – Nitin Pal Singh brutally murdered his wife Seema with an assortment of kitchen utensils while his three children were sleeping, at their home in Pennsville, NJ. He then called he police on himself.

5:30am – the 911 call

“Yeah, can you send help to 144 North Broadway?” – Pal to emergency responder

“My wife is not breathing.”

The responder repeatedly asks Pal if she is breathing, why she is not breathing, and he repeatedly answers their questions with “I don’t know.” And “I don’t think so.”

 “Do you know how to do CPR? Do you want to do CPR?” – 911 operator

“No, can you send help please?”

The line is then disconnected from Singh’s end.

Pennsville police officers were the first to arrive on scene. They entered through the rear of the brick multi-unit building where they lived, and found Pal standing over his wife’s body, face up, covered in blood. The children were taken out through a side door, to save them the grief of seeing their Mother’s lifeless body. One of my costumers at the barber shop told me he was a responder on scene, and that he heard Pal had wedged door stoppers outside of the children’s room before the murder to prevent them from witnessing the act. He was taken into custody immediately.

An autopsy showed that Seema had been stabbed more than 30 times in the abdomen, chest, and face. All wounds were inflicted with several kitchen utensils that were taken in as evidence, that of which including numerous knives and two kitchen forks.

Nitin Singh was placed in the Salem County Correctional Facility on 1 Million full cash bail. He was initially charged with first degree murder, second degree aggravated assault, fourth degree unlawful possession of a weapon, and fourth degree possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose.

After the news of Seema’s death spread, I watched locals drop off candles, balloons, and flowers, to the dreary closed down deli. Every client that sat in my barber chair faced the window and stared, and asked me questions that I could not answer. I crossed over and left a bundle of Sunflowers by the door.

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The day of her vigil we saw Richie, their oldest son, walking around the neighborhood. I waved him over, and he came and sat with me in the shop. (Again, this is a child with learning disabilities who’s Mother had just been murdered by his Father…) He called me “barber girl Tess.” Richie seemed happy, and started talking about how cool it was that so many people brought “presents” for his Mom.

I asked him if he was okay, to which he replied –

“My Mom is in heaven, she turned into an angel because she was a good lady. I’m sad for my Dad, but now no one else can get hurt. Maybe I’ll go see him someday, they let you do that ya know.”

I held in tears as I listened to him explain to me how cool it was that he gets to live with his best friend for a while. (At the time a family from their church had taken the children into their care.) When he left the shop we all agreed that we were glad none of the children were old enough to fully comprehend the horror that befell their family.

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(articles.nj.com)

After being set free for 2 days in June 2017 when his elderly father posted $350,000 for his bail, Nitin “Pal” Singh was ordered back to jail because prosecutors felt he was a threat to himself and to others. Singh appeared in court with relatives and his defense attorney Ron Helmer, Helmer said the relatives were there to translate if needed. During the court hearing, Helmer urged Nitin not to speak, but his outbursts went on and on. The suspect continued to rant on about Obamacare, border security, terrorism, and Donald Trump’s victory. It was in this time of investigation that the court disclosed that he had spent time in a psychiatric hospital in Trenton prior to the incident, but no other details were given. Singh refused to listen to his lawyer, or to the judges advice, and went on to another outburst where he stated that in the killing of his wife he was “fighting for his country.” The court ordered that he be held until a court-approved psychological examination was completed and approved by court. Following this, he was sent back to jail and denied bail.

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In his most recent hearing, Singh entered a guilty plea to one count of first degree man slaughter, and all other charges were dropped. He also continued to tell the judge that his wife had been having an affair with a close friend of his, and that she was planning to “leave and take everything.” None of this can be proved. Sing is expected to face 20 years in state prison, and will be eligible for parole in 17 years with 5 years probation when he is inevitably set free.

“I do not want to put my children through a murder trial”

Says the man who stabbed his wife 39 times, ten feet away from his children.

Anyways…..

The point of this story (because I always have one) was intended to remind you that the worst monsters are among us. Mental illness can take over even some of the best people. It was a shame to see how many people watched this crime unfold and simply mumbled “I’m not surprised.” Well, were you surprised by any of the shootings this year done by young adults with winding psychiatric records? No. None of us were. If you or someone you know is in need of psychiatric care – please do not hesitate to offer help or alert your local authorities of alarming or threatening behavior. The human mind is the most terrifyingly complex thing, and it must be handled with care.

Also, hopefully whoever opens up this building next doesn’t turn into a murderer too – Because if they do, ya girl is going to go hard at some town meetings to get this place burned down.

3 strikes, you’re out…. Quick Stop.

See you next week.

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Sources:

http://www.njpen.com

http://www.nj.com/salem/index.ssf/2017/06/outbursts_convince_judge_to_send_accused_wife-kill.html

http://www.nj.com/salem/index.ssf/2017/08/affair_threat_to_take_everything_sparked_fatal_att.html