Weird Criminal Law Stories # 533: Hannibal the cannibal?

PENNSYLVANIA: Hannibal the cannibal? A man has been ordered to stand trial on charges he threatened a judge by sending her a letter with a picture of Hannibal Lecter – the cannibal played by Anthony Hopkins in “Silence of the Lambs.” Gregg Tchirkow, of the town of Monessen, told the court at his preliminary hearing that the cinematic threat against Westmoreland County Judge Meagan Bilik-Defazio was really only a “cry for help.” We learn that a motive for the threat may have been because the judge had sent Tchirkow to prison in 2005 on a drug possession conviction.


CALIFORNIA: Child’s Play? A driver was caught using a “Chucky” doll as a fake passenger in the carpool lane. The driver had seat-belted the creepy toy – from the horror movie “Child’s play” – in a car sear on a highway in Contra Costa County. “A for effort,” the highway patrol teased on Twitter. “Here’s your carpool ticket.”


CALIFORNIA: Can you hear me now? We learn a brawl broke out at a pizzeria over a missing cellphone – which had been sitting in the shop’s lost and found all along. More than 20 people at John’s Incredible Pizza Company in the town of Newark began yelling, throwing punches and firing pepper spray after a mother accused a woman of stealing her daughter’s cellphone. The restaurant manager later found the phone safe in the lost and found. There is no information as to whether arrests were made.


FLORIDA: Back to jail you go my friend… It was recently reported that Richard Powell, 57, was sent back to jail for his 334th arrest. Mr. Powell pleaded guilty in the third week of January of the new year after he was arrested in South Beach, whiles screaming in traffic, with a beer in one hand and marijuana in his shoes, according to police report. This was also Mr. Powell’s fifth conviction in the past 12 months.


IRELAND: The headline read, “He hit the bottle, a ditch, and himself.” Police said they found Brian Fogg, 27, behind the wheel of a car stuck in a ditch in Belfast. However, when they asked him to take a blood-alcohol test, he hit himself in the face three times, causing himself to bleed so police would have to give him first aid.  Nevertheless, Mr. Fogg was charged with criminal mischief and operating a motor vehicle while under the influence.


UTAH: The headline read, “Any way you slice it, that’s wrong. We learn that at least four Salt Lake City parking-compliance officers were fired in December 2017 for allegedly letting restaurant workers park illegally – in exchange for free pizza. An “unusual pattern” of voided tickets near the Sicilia Pizza Kitchen prompted a city probe that reportedly found that workers mostly ducked tickets by displaying Sicilia Pizza menus on the dashboards of their cars.


FLORIDA: The headline read, “Help, police, I’m drunk! Polk County Sheriff officials report a New Year Eve’s situation wherein the police dispatcher did a wonderful job of urging Michael Lester to park his truck and wait for officers to find him. Mr. Lester called police and advised them that he had been driving around all night “trying to get pulled over.” At another point in the call he said, “I’m driving on the wrong side of the road.” After deputies caught up with him, they said Mr. Lester admitted drinking several beers and swallowing some crystal meth. He also confided that he had barely slept for several days. Happy New Year?


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