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terça-feira, 30 de março de 2010

Nuns face guns, impunity in trying to save Amazon

By BRADLEY BROOKS, Associated Press Writer Bradley Brooks, Associated Press Writer – Tue Mar 30, 6:04 am ET

CARLINDA, Brazil – The gunmen arrived in the Amazon dusk, circling the house where Sister Leonora was hiding, rifles and pistols poking out the windows of three muddy pickup trucks.

A violent death was meant for the diminutive 64-year-old Roman Catholic nun, who has spent decades defending poor, landless workers — and collecting countless threats from ranchers she blocked from stealing Amazon land.

Leonora Brunetto faced the fate of Brazil's renowned rain forest protector Chico Mendes and American nun Dorothy Stang, whose accused killer is scheduled for retrial Wednesday in the jungle city of Belem.

But before the gunmen could put her among the 1,200 activists, small farmers, judges, priests and others killed over preserving the rain forest since Mendes' murder in 1988, a car full of landless workers pulled up to defend Brunetto.

The gunmen left, opting to take their shot at the gray-haired woman another day. One of those who came to her rescue, though, was shot dead the next afternoon. As in many of the cases, his killer still walks free.

Impunity in the Amazon because of a weak judicial system and corruption among local officials is endemic, a problem not only for people like Brunetto, but for the Brazilian government trying to preserve a rain forest the size of the U.S. west of the Mississippi. More than 20 percent of the forest already has been destroyed.

Rancher Vitalmiro Moura, who is accused of ordering Stang's murder in 2005, served three years in prison before being acquitted in a retrial. Now prosecutors are trying to get a conviction again in a third trial, which his defense team is seeking to delay.

Among hundreds of cases of activist killings, Moura is the only accused mastermind imprisoned while he awaits retrial, according to the Catholic Land Pastoral, a watchdog group that tracks rural violence in Latin America's largest nation.

He has said he had nothing to do with Stang's killing and had no involvement with the land dispute that led to her death.

Stang prosecutor Edson Souza said bringing killers to justice and stopping the bloodshed is the only way Brazil will halt the destruction of the jungle.

"Without a doubt, leaders like Dorothy are targeted," Souza said. "If they get away with killing leaders like Dorothy, the poor rightly assume they could easily be murdered as well."

The main cause of deforestation, the government says, are ranchers who illegally clear jungle to graze cattle and grow soy — often using threats and violence to remove the poor farmers eking a living there.

The Brazilian government aims to give land titles to poor farmers, who some argue are less destructive to the forests because they have small plots and do less clearing. But the process has required people like Stang and Brunetto, who help locals stand up to intimidation against their claims on unused land.

The episode in 2007 of gunmen circling Brunetto's safe house was just one of many brushes with death she recounted as she showed The Associated Press around an area of Mato Grosso state where she works, raising the spirits of those who camp on unused property and wait years for titles.

A Brazilian who studied to join the convent from age 12, Brunetto used to travel only with armed military police. But she has stopped.

"I have many friends under death threats, but they have no protection," she said. "How can I lead people if I have protection and they don't? Besides, it's the people who protect me most."

Mato Grosso — "thick jungle" in Portuguese — was once rain forest but is now the breadbasket of Brazil with its vast soy plantations and cattle ranches.

The ranchers and farmers who rule the state live well, employing legions of landless farmworkers for a pittance. Those workers face hunger and disease in makeshift shelters built from scrap wood and black plastic, with no electricity or running water.

"A few with much, and many with so little," Brunetto said. She spoke at a dusty camp of squatters, who live at the edge of a local farmer's land they say is unproductive — and thus, according to Brazil's constitution, available for redistribution. "How can you fold your arms in front of this injustice? I can't."

Brunetto, 5 feet (1.5 meters) tall and 110 pounds (50 kilograms), walks through the camps in jeans and leather sandals, firmly shaking hands and giving hugs. She patiently listens as a shirtless man tells her about hothouse-grown plants residents sell for 50 cents each, then turns to a nearly toothless woman who worries about getting enough food to eat.

The squatters are star-struck.

"Sister Leonora is a warrior for the people," said Linda Maria de Jesus, a 59-year-old camp resident who was on the verge of tears at seeing Brunetto. "She is threatened; she is in a battle just like us. It raises our spirits to have her here."

Brunetto is rarely out of the watchful gaze of one hulking — though unarmed — poor farmer or another. They pick her up at bus stations, drive her 100 miles (160 kilometers) then hand her off like a sacred package to another rural worker, who will take her on to her destination.

She meets with local, state and federal officials to press the numerous cases of small farmers fighting for land. She helps impoverished, illiterate people work their way through the onerous process of winning a title to a piece of property.

"I'm always looking over my shoulder wherever I go," Brunetto said after offering the squatters praise for their makeshift plant nursery.

Souza, the prosecutor, has seen numerous killers walk free in neighboring Para, the Amazon region's most violent state, where the 73-year-old Stang was gunned down on a muddy dirt road. He argues she was ordered killed by Moura and fellow rancher Regivaldo Galvao because she was blocking them from obtaining land the government had given to a group of poor farmers.

The confessed gunman who shot her is serving a 27-year sentence in prison. Two other men were convicted as accomplices in 2005 and given 17-year sentences. Galvao has managed to remain free — but is scheduled to go to trial at the end of April.

Brazil is trying to bring law to the Amazon, mostly through increased environmental agent patrols the government says resulted in the lowest recorded levels of deforestation in 2009.

What remains to be seen is what can be done to protect those protecting the forest.

"I cannot lie and say I'm not scared," Brunetto said. "But at the same time I know God is with us. My two great protections are God and these people we help."


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Atom smasher will help reveal 'the beginning'

By ALEXANDER G. HIGGINS and SETH BORENSTEIN, Associated Press Writers Alexander G. Higgins And Seth Borenstein, Associated Press Writers – 1 hr 5 mins ago

GENEVA – The world's largest atom smasher threw together minuscule particles racing at unheard of speeds in conditions simulating those just after the Big Bang — a success that kick-started a megabillion-dollar experiment that could one day explain how the universe began.

Scientists cheered Tuesday's historic crash of two proton beams, which produced three times more energy than researchers had created before and marked a milestone for the $10 billion Large Hadron Collider.

"This is a huge step toward unraveling Genesis Chapter 1, Verse 1 — what happened in the beginning," physicist Michio Kaku told The Associated Press.

"This is a Genesis machine. It'll help to recreate the most glorious event in the history of the universe."

Tuesday's smashup transforms the 15-year-old collider from an engineering project in test phase to the world's largest ongoing experiment, experts say. The crash that occurred on a subatomic scale is more about shaping our understanding of how the universe was created than immediate improvements to technology in our daily lives.

The power produced will ramp up even more in the future as scientists at the European Organization for Nuclear Research, or CERN, watch for elusive particles that have been more theorized than seen on Earth.

The consequences of finding those mysterious particles could "affect our conception of who we are in the universe," said Kaku, co-founder of string field theory and author of the book "Physics of the Impossible."

Physicists, usually prone to caution and nuance, tripped over themselves in superlatives praising the importance of the Large Hadron Collider and the significance of its generating regular science experiments.

"This is the Jurassic Park for particle physicists," said Phil Schewe, a spokesman for the American Institute of Physics. He called the collider a time machine. "Some of the particles they are making now or are about to make haven't been around for 14 billion years."

The first step in simulating the moments after the Big Bang nearly 14 billion years ago was to produce a tiny bang. The most potent force on the tiny atomic level that man has ever created came Tuesday.

Two beams of protons were sent hurtling in opposite directions toward each other in a 17-mile (27-kilometer) tunnel below the Swiss-French border — the coldest place in the universe at slightly above absolute zero. CERN used powerful superconducting magnets to force the two beams to cross; two of the protons collided, producing 7 trillion electron volts.

It's bizarrely both a record high and a small amount of energy.

It's a record on the atom-by-atom basis that physicists use to measure pure energy, Schewe said. By comparison, burning wood or any other chemical reaction on an atom scale produces one electron volt. Splitting a single uranium atom in a nuclear reaction produces 1 million electron volts. This produces — on an atom-by-atom scale — 7 million times more power than a single atom in a nuclear reaction, Schewe said.

The reason this is safe has to do with the amount of particles in the collider. Tuesday's success involved just two protons making energy, instead of pounds of uranium, Schewe said.

Kaku, a professor at City College of New York, described the amount of energy produced as less than the total energy made by two mosquitoes crashing.

The successful collision was viewed by scientists watching monitors, who cheered the results.

"That's it! They've had a collision," said Oliver Buchmueller of Imperial College in London.

Across the world at the California Institute of Technology in Los Angeles, researchers and students watched reports from Switzerland.

"It marks the beginning of a new era of exploration in a new range of energy," said physics professor Harvey Newman.

"Experiments are collecting their first physics data — historic moment here!" a scientist tweeted on CERN's official Twitter account.

"Nature does it all the time with cosmic rays (and with higher energy), but this is the first time this is done in Laboratory!" said another tweet.

Now the beams will become stronger, more densely packed with hundreds of billions of protons, and run daily for two years to give scientists many more chances to find elusive particles. Even then, the particles are so tiny that relatively few protons will collide at each point where the beams cross in front of cathedral-sized detectors.

The data generated is expected to reveal even more about the unanswered questions of particle physics, such as the existence of antimatter and the search for the Higgs boson, a hypothetical particle — often called the God particle — that scientists theorize gives mass to other particles and thus to other objects and creatures in the universe.

The collider also may help scientists see dark matter, the strange stuff that makes up more of the universe than normal matter but has not been seen on Earth.

Those particles are the missing piece from a "jigsaw puzzle with thousands of pieces" that explain the physics of the universe, Kaku said. It could help in the elusive theory that explains everything.

"In the past, every time we unraveled a force (of physics) it changed human history," Kaku said. "Now we're talking about all forces."

He compared it to events such as the Industrial Revolution, the electric and the nuclear age. Such events followed breakthroughs made by Isaac Newton, Thomas Edison and Albert Einstein.

It won't happen immediately, maybe centuries down the line, but it could answer questions about the Big Bang, alternate universes and whether time travel is possible, Kaku said.

"It would change people's philosophy," he said.

The atmosphere at CERN was tense considering the collider's launch with great fanfare on Sept. 10, 2008. Nine days after its inauguration, the project was sidetracked when a badly soldered electrical splice overheated, causing extensive damage to the massive magnets and other parts of the collider some 300 feet (100 meters) below the ground.

It cost $40 million to repair and improve the machine. Since its restart in November 2009, the collider has performed almost flawlessly and given scientists valuable data. It quickly eclipsed the next largest accelerator — the Tevatron at Fermilab near Chicago.

Future experiments will follow over the objections of some who fear they could eventually imperil Earth by creating micro black holes — subatomic versions of collapsed stars whose gravity is so strong they can suck in planets and other stars.

CERN and many scientists dismiss any threat to Earth or people, saying that any such holes would be so weak that they would vanish almost instantly. In the universe, where black holes collide, this is nothing, Kaku said.

"From Nature's point of view, she laughs and says 'this is a peashooter'," Kaku said.

Bivek Sharma, a professor at the University of California at San Diego, said the images of the first crashed proton beams were beautiful.

"It's taken us 25 years to build," he said. "This is what it's for. Finally the baby is delivered. Now it has to grow."

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Why the Large Hadron Collider Experiment Matters

Why the Large Hadron Collider Experiment Matters Sean Gallup/Getty Images After a series of setbacks, scientists have done it. They've mashed protons together at 99 percent of the speed of light and at a record-high energy level of 3.5 trillion electron volts. The experiment took place at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) near Geneva, Switzerland but scientists around the world watched excitedly via live feed. What does this mean for the field? Science buffs revel in today's news:

  • This Is a Big Deal! exclaims Geoff Brumfiel at Nature: "I can't think of another case where the future of an entire field hinges on the success of a single experiment...It could verify current theories of particle physics, most notably the Higgs mechanism, which endows all matter with mass. It could also discover new physics beyond the current 'standard model', and explain some current mysteries in physics like 'dark matter', a mysterious form of matter that makes up around 85% of all matter in the universe."
  • Why Scientists Are Excited Melissa Franklin, Professor of Physics at Harvard, explains what this means for the scientific community in an interview late last year:
  • Don't Expect Instant Results, cautions LHC Spokesman Guido Tonelli to the BBC: "Major discoveries will happen only when we are able to collect billions of events and identify among them the very rare events that could present a new state of matter or new particles. This is not going to happen tomorrow. It will require months and years of patient work."
  • This Is What Science Is All About, rejoices Stacey Higginbotham at Gigaom: "The LHC built by CERN represents why I spend my days writing about technology — not because I’m excited to play with the latest gadgets, but because I value the spirit of curiosity and discovery that leads scientists to spend $16 billion to build something that may (not will, but may) give us an inkling about how the universe works."
  • Happy First Physics Day, declare the editors of Big Think: "Now there is a new March holiday, First Physics Day, which is being celebrated today because the particles in the Large Hadron Collider are finally being smashed together at super high energies that mirror conditions after the Big Bang. The physics community is aflutter over the potential of bagging the elusive Higgs boson, and the rest of us are grateful that, improbable as it seemed, the collider did not create a fatal black hole."


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¿Yo me muero como viví?


Foto tomada de eldia.es

Foto tomada de eldia.es

Me costó esfuerzo convencer a mis amigas del preuniversitario que me dejaran escuchar en sus grabadoras rusas algunas canciones de Silvio Rodríguez. Nací en un barrio que vibraba al ritmo de la salsa, la rumba y el guaguancó, donde las imágenes poéticas de este cantautor no eran muy bien recibidas. Sólo podía alcanzar a escuchar un trozo de Ojalá antes que viniera una de ellas a cambiar el casete y poner un tema de los Van Van o de NG la Banda. Los medios oficiales, sin embargo, sí que transmitían constantemente “El unicornio azul” y se especulaba si detrás de la metáfora se encontraba una mujer o un jeans robado de la tendedera.

Justo en el momento en que empezaba a emocionarme con las composiciones de este trovador, todo se derrumbó alrededor mío. Llegó la crisis, los golpes respondieron a la desesperación del Maleconazo y los balseros zarpaban del trozo de mar que se veía desde mi persiana. Chocaba que tantos quisieran largarse, mientras Silvio seguía cantando aquello de “vivo en un país libre, cual solamente puede ser libre en esta tierra y en este instante”. Aún así, algo me dejaron los temas del juglar de San Antonio, especialmente aquellos que tocaban fibras personales pues los de corte social y político me resultaban demodé. Después llegó la universidad y apareció en su voz la canción “El Necio” y con ella terminé por identificarlo con el sistema, el gobierno, el status quo, “la cosa”, en fin, el grupo en el poder.

Sólo hoy he podido leer las declaraciones completas hechas por el autor de “Por quien merece amor”. La prensa oficial las solapó, pero rebotaron en los medios extranjeros para finalmente llegar hasta nosotros. Sus palabras parecen negar aquel estribillo de “yo me muero como viví”, donde anunciaba su renuencia a aceptar los cambios que los cubanos estamos pidiendo a gritos desde hace décadas. Se le escucha ahora con ese nivel de crítica que trae el desencanto, pero con el sigilo del que tiene demasiado que perder si declara todas sus opiniones sobre el desastre nacional. Sabe que ante nuestros ojos él es “un hombre de ellos”, triste encasillamiento para un trovador que en sus inicios rasgó las cuerdas de la indocilidad.

Durante el lanzamiento de su último disco, Silvio aventuró un juego lingüístico para superar “la erre de revolución” y que primara en su lugar “la evolución”. Como en lugar de excluir a un nuevo inconforme es mejor acogerlo en el bando de los que clamamos aperturas, voy a seguirle la rima y eliminaré la incómoda letra que da entrada a “represión”. Con cierta ligera metamorfosis este vocablo y todo lo que le cuelga podría mutar hacia el de “expresión” libre, que estamos tan necesitados de utilizar. Una “r” muy sonora –instalada en el nombre de quien nos gobierna– también debe salir de escena y dar paso, cuanto antes, a otras consonantes de nuestro plural abecedario.


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Caso Isabella: sociedade aceitaria absolvição do casal Nardoni?

William Maia

Se estivesse vivo, Ayrton Senna teria completado 50 anos no último domingo. Sua trágica morte deixou o país desconsolado, em estado de choque. Multidões foram às ruas de São Paulo acompanhar o cortejo que levou o corpo do ídolo ao seu descanso final. O tema da vitória e a Canção da América de Milton Nascimento foram os hinos de 1994.
Tenho poucas lembranças daquele dia, também um domingo, ainda era muito pequeno. Só sei que aquela foi a primeira vez que vi meu pai chorar. Lembro de vê-lo atônito em frente à televisão e não compreender bem como ele poderia chorar por alguém que nunca havia visto na vida.

Tragédias como essa têm o poder de tocar e mover as pessoas, tirá-las de seu estado natural de passividade, dar a elas uma sensação de pertencimento e união difíceis de explicar.

Mas, se por um lado a comoção popular têm a capacidade de despertar solidariedade e fraternidade; por outro, pode trazer à tona aquilo que há de mais primitivo e irracional em cada um de nós.

Aqueles que comemoraram a condenação do casal Nardoni tocando o tema da vitória de Senna aceitariam uma absolvição?

Nesta segunda-feira (29/3), completam-se exatos dois anos do dia em que a menina Isabella Nardoni foi atirada do 6º andar do prédio em que o pai e a madrasta moravam. Na noite de sexta-feira, já adentrando a madrugada de sábado, seus algozes, Alexandre Nardoni e Anna Carolina Jatobá, foram considerados culpados por um júri formado por iguais e um juiz de direito os sentenciou a longas penas. “A justiça foi feita”, nas palavras da mãe de Isabella, Ana Carolina de Oliveira.

Enquanto o juiz Maurício Fossen lia a sentença, transmitida ao vivo pelo rádio, rojões estouravam em frente ao Fórum de Santana. O tema da vitória, que automaticamente remete à imagem do capacete amarelo e dos punhos cerrados de Senna, dessa vez era a trilha sonora de um cenário medieval.

Não era só por justiça que a multidão que estampava a foto de Isabella em suas camisetas gritava. Em ritmo de funk, eles pediam: “Pega lá, pega lá, pega lá, o casal pra nós linchar (sic)”. Berros de “joga pela janela” e “cadeira elétrica neles” também eram facilmente ouvidos. Só faltaram as tochas, as foices e uma forca na frente do tribunal.

O que definitivamente não faltou foram carros de TV, câmeras, um emaranhado de cabos, fotógrafos e jornalistas, muitos jornalistas —incluindo o autor destas linhas.

O advogado Roberto Podval, alvo de frequentes hostilidades da massa ensandecida —inclusive tentativas de agressão— não conseguiu provar a inocência do casal. Era mesmo uma tarefa difícil. Mas propôs uma reflexão importante ao perguntar aos jurados: Será que chegaríamos ao mesmo resultado [a condenação dos réus] se a cobertura da imprensa tivesse sido diferente?

O promotor Francisco Cembranelli garantiu que não, que os réus já chegaram condenados ao julgamento não pela mídia ou pela sociedade, mas pelas provas.

É provável que Cembranelli tenha razão. Mas aqui cabe uma outra pergunta: a sociedade —ou a parte dela que ficou vidrada na TV, no rádio, nos jornais e na internet por cinco dias, e que aguardava há quase dois anos uma resposta para aquele crime bárbaro — aceitaria um resultado diferente? Uma absolvição, caso os jurados não tivessem ficado 100% convencidos da culpa dos réus?

A julgar pelo número de pessoas que correram atrás do camburão que levava o casal Nardoni de volta à prisão, mesmo após terem sido condenados dentro da lei, é difícil acreditar.

A defesa já adianta que tentará anular o júri. Se existirem razões júridicas para tanto e o Judiciário reconhecer que os réus tem o direito de serem julgados novamente, qual será a reação da massa?

É absolutamente compreensível que um caso atroz de violência como o de Isabella gere revolta e provoque nas pessoas uma sede por justiça. Mas foi exatamente para aplacar esse impulso de conseguir a justiça pelas próprias mãos que as sociedades conferiram ao Estado o monopólio do uso da força, criando um órgão imparcial —o Judiciário— para mediar os conflitos sociais.

Nesse contexto, o papel da imprensa não pode ser desconsiderado. Desde o início, por possuir características únicas, o caso Isabella tomou dimensões gigantescas. Os defensores da cobertura feita pela imprensa nos últimos dois anos, dizem que o jornalismo apenas entregou aquilo que o público demandava.

O jornalista Carlos Eduardo Lins e Silva, ex-ombudsman da Folha de S. Paulo, tem uma visão relevante sobre o tema: "Será que o jornalismo sério precisa mesmo entregar o que o público quer, ou diz querer?". Para ele, além de atender à demanda do público, o jornalismo precisa liderar. "É preciso haver uma troca entre o meio de comunicação e seu consumidor para que o jornal atenda os desejos dos leitores, mas também ajude a melhorar a qualidade desses desejos".

Na época da morte de Isabella, o Rio de Janeiro passava por uma grave epidemia de dengue. O número de mortos passou de 100 no Estado, grande parte delas, crianças. A tragédia do edifício London ofuscou a catástrofe da saúde pública no Rio.

Na semana que passou, os olhos do país estiveram concentrados no pequeno fórum da zona norte de São Paulo. Enquanto isso, chegou a 16 o número de crianças mortas por falta de UTI no Maranhão.



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Júri de Alexandre Nardoni e Anna Carolina Jatobá: decisão que enoja

Sidio Rosa de Mesquita Júnior

Evidente o descabimento da substituição da pena privativa de liberdade por restritiva de direito. Porém, foi forçada a fundamentação para recomendar os réus na prisão que se encontram. Melhor seria ter assegurado o direito de apelar em liberdade.

É pacífica a jurisprudência do STF de que a gravidade do fato, por si só, não é suficiente para ensejar prisão cautelar. Outrossim, é pífio o argumento de que a comoção social recomenda manutenção da prisão para prestigiar a vontade popular. Pior é dizer que a prisão constitui meio de defesa a direito fundamental. Desse modo, caso a vida dos sentenciados fique em risco pela soltura, deverá o estado propiciar segurança aos mesmos, não determinar a privação da liberdade sob o manto de estar protegendo suas vidas.

Direito é ciência. Embora deva concordar com Luigi Ferrajoli, no sentido de que o Juiz não pode ser considerado apenas a "boca da lei", [09] a intervenção cautelar, que é o caso, só se justificaria se existisse elemento suficiente para dizer que presente algum dos fundamentos do art. 312 do CPP, os quais poderiam evidenciar o periculum in mora. Qual seria o fundamento da prisão, assegurar a aplicação da lei criminal, em benefício da instrução criminal ou garantia da ordem pública?

O esforço do magistrado para demonstrar a necessidade da prisão para garantia da ordem pública, confirma aquilo que Luigi Ferrajoli denomina de fatores externos ao garantismo. Entretanto, espero que a pena não seja apenas aquilo que Tobias Barreto dizia ser, vingança popular. [10]

Tratando dos aspectos externos ao garantismo, diria que o caso vertente evidencia a elevada influencia do clamor público, trazido pela imprensa, sobre o Juiz. Depois do julgamento, vejo colocações absurdas, como a Revista Veja, a qual anuncia que, agora, a criança morta pode descansar em paz, [11] como se a condenação fosse a única conclusão possível. Data venia, Alexandre Nardoni e Anna Carolina continuam com o status de inocente.


A sentença contém vários equívocos no tocante à dosimetria da pena, ensejando recurso e reforma pelo próprio tribunal. Outrossim, ela falha ao estabelecer dois regimes diferentes para início do cumprimento, defeito que pode ser sanado pelo Juiz da Execução. Finalmente, são extremamente frágeis os fundamentos contrários a conceder aos réus o direito de recorrerem em liberdade.

Isabella Nardoni está morta e assim irá continuar. Rir e comemorar com fogos de artifício e aplausos à sentença evidencia que o povo se satisfaz com a vingança pura e simples. Ainda que os réus sejam efetivamente culpados (por enquanto eles tem o status de inocentes,) fiquei e continuarei pesaroso em saber que uma criança linda, como era a vítima, morreu gerando extrema dor no seio familiar. Também, sinto nojo de sentenças que demonstram ser o Poder Judiciário, em muitas situações, passional ao extremo. E, desde a leitura de Lombroso, passei a ter certeza que o "louco por paixão" representa um risco à sociedade.



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'Doctor Shock' charged with sexually abusing male patient

Canadian police investigate dozens of allegations against psychiatrist nicknamed for use of electricity to 'cure' gay soldiers

A leading Canadian psychiatrist who kept accusations of gross human rights abuses in apartheid-era South Africa hidden has been charged in Calgary with sexually abusing a male patient and is being investigated over dozens of other allegations.

Dr Aubrey Levin, who in South Africa was known as Dr Shock for his use of electricity to "cure" gay military conscripts, was arrested after a patient secretly filmed the psychiatrist allegedly making sexual advances. Levin, who worked at the University of Calgary's medical school, has been suspended from practising and is free on bail of C$50,000 (£32,000) on charges of repeatedly indecently assaulting a 36-year-old man.

The police say they are investigating similar claims by nearly 30 other patients. The Alberta justice department is reviewing scores of criminal convictions in which Levin was a prosecution witness.

Levin has worked in Canada for 15 years since leaving South Africa, where he was chief psychiatrist in the apartheid-era military and became notorious for using electric shocks to "cure" gay white conscripts. He also held conscientious objectors against their will at a military hospital because they were "disturbed" and subjected them to powerful drug regimens.

South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission heard that Levin was guilty of "gross human rights abuses" including chemical castration of gay men. But after arriving in Canada in 1995 he managed to suppress public discussion of his past by threatening lawsuits against news organisations that attempted to explore it.

Following the arrest, other male patients have contacted the authorities. One, who was not identified, told CTV in Canada that he had gone to Levin for help with a gambling addiction and alleged he had been questioned about his sex life and subject to sexual advances.

The arrest has raised questions about how Levin was allowed to settle in Canada. Canada admitted other South African medical practitioners accused of human rights abuses, including two who worked with Wouter Basson, known as Dr Death for his oversight of chemical and biological warfare experiments that included the murder of captured Namibian guerrillas.

Levin, who made no secret of his hard rightwing views and was a member of the ruling National party during apartheid, has a long history of homophobia.

In the 1960s, he wrote to a parliamentary committee considering the abolition of laws criminalising homosexuality saying that they should be left in place because he could "cure" gay people.

His efforts to do just that in the army began in 1969 at the infamous ward 22 at the Voortrekkerhoogte military hospital near Pretoria, which ostensibly catered for service personnel with psychological problems. Commanding officers and chaplains were encouraged to refer "deviants" for electroconvulsive aversion therapy.

The treatment consisted of strapping electrodes to the upper arm. Homosexual soldiers were shown pictures of a naked man and encouraged to fantasise, and then the power was ratcheted up.

Trudie Grobler, an intern psychologist on ward 22, saw a lesbian subjected to severe shocks.

"It was traumatic. I could not believe her body could handle it," she said later.

One gay soldier claimed to have been chemically castrated by Levin. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission was told by investigators that he was not alone. It also heard that at least one patient had been driven to suicide. Levin refused to testify before the commission.

Levin also treated drug users, principally soldiers who smoked marijuana, and men who objected to serving in the apartheid-era military on moral grounds, who were classified as "disturbed".

Levin subjected some patients to narco-analysis or a "truth drug", involving the slow injection of a barbiturate before the questioning began. In an interview with the Guardian 10 years ago, he did not deny its use but said it was solely to help soldiers suffering from post-traumatic stress.

Levin said he left South Africa only because of the high crime rate, and denied abusing human rights. He said electric shock therapy was a standard "treatment" for gay people at the time and those subjected to it did so voluntarily.

"Nobody was held against his or her will. We did not keep human guinea pigs, like Russian communists; we only had patients who wanted to be cured and were there voluntarily," he told the Guardian in 2000.


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Brasil gana ocho de los diez primeros oros de la natación

Medellín (Colombia), 26 mar (EFE), (Imagen: Marisol Larrahondo).- Brasil exhibió hoy una enorme superioridad en la primera jornada de la natación de los IX Juegos Sudamericanos 2010, al capturar ocho de los diez oros entregados en la piscina del Complejo Acuático de la Unidad Deportiva 'Atanasio Girardot', de Medellín.

Los brasileños sólo perdieron el oro en los 50 metros mariposa hombres, que ganó el venezolano Albert Subirats, y en los 200 metros libres hombres, que ganó el argentino Federico Grabich.


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El profesor Neira se ratifica en las declaraciones de antes de entrar en coma

El profesor Jesús Neira acudía esta mañana a los Juzgados de Majadahonda para ratificarse en las declaraciones que hizo en ese mismo lugar días después de la agresión de la que fue víctima y antes de entrar en coma.


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Salute to a Legendary Space Artist

Long before his passing in February at age 90, famed space artist Bob McCall had mastered painting his unrivaled vision of the Universe. His paintings have appeared in films and on television, and continue to be displayed in galleries and museums, including the Smithsonian's National Air & Space Museum in Washington.


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Coincidiendo con la muestra que le dedica el Museo de Traje, revivimos el estilo del maestro.

La exposición -de lo más recomendable- que durante estos días y hasta el próximo 10 de junio dedica el Museo del Traje a la figura de Mariano Fortuny nos sirve de inspiración para reeditar su estilo pero, sobre todo, su sello -el plisado Delphos- en clave nupcial.

La herencia del maestro granadino queda patente en los vestidos y las joyas que esta temporada se cuajan de ondas diminutas, que se abren como si de un pay-pay se trataran para abrazar la figura femenina en un día tan señalado como es el de la boda.

La repostería e incluso los productos cosméticos más especiales también sucumben al influjo del genial diseñador en un evocador juego de formas art decó.

Realización: Isabel Moralejo
Más información en el último número de Vogue Novias.


Foto: © Lusha Nelson/Condé Nast Archive/Luca Lazzari/D.R.


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'Lost' Series Finale to Make a Killing


The only thing crazier than Claire's weave on "Lost": The insane amount of money advertisers are willing to throw out for 30 seconds of airtime during the show's final episode.

According to AdAge.com, ABC has been seeking between $850,000 and $950,000 for a 30-second TV spot during the series finale -- which is just shy of the price tag for advertisements during the Oscars.

The spots for a regular episode go for an average of $213,563.

FYI -- Ad space for the "Friends" series finale cost up to $2.3 million.


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Apple's iPhone on Verizon: 4 Reasons to Think Twice

JR Raphael, PC World

Mar 30, 2010 7:51 pm

Verizon iPhoneCrank up the rumor machine, kiddos -- it's déjà vu all over again.

In case you haven't heard, one of the tech world's favorite on-again, off-again topics has been resurrected. Yep: It's the seemingly immortal "iPhone on Verizon" buzz, back in the news yet again.

This time, a report in The Wall Street Journal is reigniting the Verizon-iPhone flame. The story, originally published on Monday, cites the always-popular "people briefed by the company" as saying Apple will produce a CDMA-ready version of its iPhone sometime this year. The new iPhone, the Journal suggests, will be aimed directly at Verizon.

Hang on, though: Before you roll out the nearest welcome mat, there are a few things you may want to consider.

iPhone on Verizon: A Skeptic's Perspective

When a story quotes nameless people and provides no further evidence, it's tough to evaluate the reliability of its information. Sure, it could be dead-on -- but, as we've seen plenty of times in the past, it could also be complete hogwash.

Me, I like to treat these types of speculative stories with a healthy dose of skepticism. Until there's any concrete reason to believe something, it's ultimately all just hearsay.

In the case of the new Verizon-iPhone scuttlebutt, there are four ideas I'd raise for your critical contemplation. Any one of them could be right or wrong, but again, the point is that we really just don't know.

1. The Verizon-iPhone History

The simple reality is that we've heard the Verizon-iPhone rumor many times before. The talk swept through the blogosphere again and again in 2009 -- in fact, we saw it surface as far back as 2008. That alone is a powerful reason to remain cautiously skeptical about any new "definitely true" gospel.

2. The Verizon-iPhone Technology

Verizon iPhone and AppleFollowing an earlier set of Verizon-iPhone rumors last spring, the carrier's CEO told reporters Apple wouldn't likely want to bring the iPhone to the company until its 4G network was in place; the CDMA technology Verizon currently uses, he stated, was too dated and limited in scope for Apple's interests.

Verizon is still relatively early in the development of its 4G network. The carrier has said it doesn't expect to reach even a 66-percent coverage level in America until sometime in 2012.

Could Apple have altered its position on the Verizon CDMA issue? Sure; in fact, an updated version of the WSJ's story suggests the company "changed its mind as it realized Verizon's upgrade would take longer than expected."

Believe whichever side you will, but it's one more potential obstacle to bear in mind when evaluating the latest Verizon-iPhone rumor.

3. Verizon-iPhone and the Exclusivity Issue

Apple iPhoneApple's exclusivity contract with AT&T has long been shrouded in mystery. Recent reports have guessed that the deal expires sometime in 2010, but there's never been any official confirmation.

Assuming the deal is set to expire this year, though -- a move that could clear the way for a happy Verizon-iPhone union -- some believe the odds of it actually ending are still rather low. Just last month, multiple analysts suggested the launch of the iPad likely included an extension to Apple's exclusivity arrangement with AT&T (or, as the satirical paparazzi put it, "Celebrity power-couple Apple and AT&T is anything but over").

4. The Benefits of a Verizon-iPhone Rumor

This last one may sound a bit on the paranoid side, but the truth with any "leaked info" is that there's always someone who stands to benefit from the buzz. Consider the fact that since this latest Verizon-iPhone story broke, the stocks of both Verizon and Apple have shot upward, while the finances of Research in Motion, Palm, and AT&T have all taken a hit.

iPhone CompetitionThen there's the competition side of the equation: Android-based phones are simply exploding right now, and the slew of newly released options is increasingly eating away at Apple's mobile market share. A report released just this week finds Android creeping dangerously close to the iPhone's American stronghold -- and with slick new handsets like the HTC EVO 4G and Samsung Galaxy S on the way, sales of Android phones are only going to climb higher in the months to come.

With the possibility of a shiny new iPhone on a slightly less evil-seeming carrier, consumers considering an Android phone might instead wait it out -- meaning competitors' sales would suffer at least through the start of summer.

I'm not suggesting some kind of massive conspiracy theory here. All I'm saying is that one way or another, there are ample ways investors can benefit from a well-placed "leak." As a cautious news consumer, this is crucial information to keep in mind.

Remember: Apple-oriented rumors are a dime a dozen. Only time will tell whether this one proves to be true, but in the meantime, treat the talk for what it is. Until some convincing facts are tossed our way, it all amounts to little more than high-profile speculation.


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Protesters Rally Against Sarkozy

Hundreds of protesters gathered in Paris to demonstrate against French President Nicolas Sarkozy. His conservative party was recently trounced in regional elections by resurgent leftists, the last nationwide voting before the 2012 race.


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Serial Killer Rodney Alcala Sentenced to Death

SANTA ANA, Calif. (March 30) -- A judge today sentenced serial killer Rodney Alcala to death for the strangling and beating deaths of four women and a 12-year-old girl in the 1970s.

The sentence was announced three weeks after a jury recommended death for the 66-year-old amateur photographer who was convicted last month of five counts of first-degree murder after a bizarre and sometimes surreal trial.

The hearing continued as several members of the victims' families waited to address Alcala in court.

Rodney Alcala sits in Orange County Superior Court in Santa Ana,  Calif., Jan. 11.
Nick Ut, AP
A California judge on Tuesday sentenced Rodney Alcala, a 66-year-old amateur photographer convicted last month of five counts of first-degree murder, to death.

Alcala acted as his own attorney and unveiled a rambling defense strategy that included questioning the mother of one of his victims, playing an Arlo Guthrie ballad and showing a clip from the 1970s TV show "The Dating Game."

After the verdict, authorities released more than 100 photos of young women and girls found in Alcala's possession in hopes of linking him to other unsolved murders around the country. Authorities from New Hampshire to Washington are now trying to determine whether Alcala may have killed in their states.

Alcala has been sentenced to death twice before in the 1979 murder of young Robin Samsoe, but those verdicts were overturned on appeal. Prosecutors refiled charges in that case and added the four other murders in 2006 after investigators linked them to Alcala using DNA samples and other forensic evidence.

Those cases, which had gone unsolved for decades, went on trial for the first time this year.

The 12-year-old Samsoe disappeared on June 20, 1979, while riding a friend's bike to ballet class in Huntington Beach in Orange County. Her body was found 12 days later in the Angeles National Forest, where it had been mutilated by wild animals.

Alcala was arrested a month after Samsoe's disappearance when his parole agent recognized him from a police sketch and called authorities. He has been in custody ever since.

He was first tried in Samsoe's murder in 1980. Prosecutors added the murders of the four women after investigators discovered forensic evidence linking him to those crimes, including DNA found on three of the women, a bloody handprint and marker testing done on blood Alcala left on a towel in the fourth victim's home.

The jury convicted Alcala of the murders on Feb. 25 and also found true special-circumstance allegations of rape, torture and kidnapping, making him eligible for the death penalty.

During the guilt phase of trial, Alcala played a seconds-long clip of himself on a 1978 episode of "The Dating Game." He said the grainy clip proved that he was wearing a gold-ball earring almost a year before Samsoe was killed.

Prosecutors said the earring, found in a small pouch with other earrings in a storage locker Alcala had rented, belonged to Samsoe and that Alcala had taken it as a trophy. They also found the DNA of another of Alcala's victims on a rose-shaped earring in the same pouch.

During the penalty phase, the trial took another bizarre twist when Alcala played Arlo Guthrie's 1967 song "Alice's Restaurant," in which the narrator tries to avoid being drafted for the Vietnam War by trying to convince a psychiatrist that he's unfit for the military because of his supposed extreme desire to kill.

"I wanna see blood and gore and guts and veins in my teeth," the song's narrator sings. "Eat dead burnt bodies. I mean: kill, kill, kill, kill."

The song prompted Samsoe's brother to stalk out of the courtroom.

In addition to Samsoe, Alcala is charged with killing Jill Barcomb, 18, who had just moved to Los Angeles from Oneida, N.Y.; Georgia Wixted, 27, of Malibu; Charlotte Lamb, 32, of Santa Monica; and Jill Parenteau, 21, of Burbank.


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Unsolved Murders of Young Lovers Get New Focus in Va.

David Lohr

David Lohr Contributor

(March 30) -- The victims, eight in all, came in pairs. Many were young lovers who apparently met their fates mid-assignation. Each of the homicides occurred along the scenic 23-mile route between Jamestown and Yorktown in Virginia, giving them a ready name: the Colonial Parkway murders.

Due to the shared location and other similarities among the deaths, law enforcement officials viewed them as the work of a possible serial killer. But since the first one took place in October 1986, the murders have all remained unsolved.

Now, the cases are getting renewed attention, and officials say that new tools give them a shot at finally solving the two-decade-old puzzle.

"We are very hopeful that today's technology -- advancements in DNA testing and analysis -- and a fresh look at the evidence will lead to a successful conclusion," Alex J. Turner, special agent in charge of the FBI's Norfolk, Va., division, told AOL News. Along with sending fingerprints and trace evidence for testing, the bureau has doubled the reward it is offering for fruitful tips.

The Virginia State Police are also re-examining the cases and the pathological agenda that may link them.

"Any time you have multiple crimes within close geographic proximity and there are similarities between those crimes, you have to be open to the possibility that those crimes are related," said Virginia State Police Special Agent Keenon Hook. "You pursue every reasonable hypothesis and logical conclusion, and that is what we are doing."

When investigators first started digging into the Parkway Murders, said Turner, they put together a suspect list that eventually ran to 100 people. "Many of those were eliminated initially. But we are starting with the entire list of individuals and going back through them again," he said, as officers search for the killer, or killers, responsible for the chilling crimes that took place two decades ago in a historic corner of the Old Dominion State.

Bodies One and Two

Cathleen Marian Thomas was a 27-year-old native of Lowell, Mass. She had graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy and was working as a stockbroker in Norfolk.
Cathleen Marian Thomas.
Handout Photo
Cathleen Marian Thomas

"I know people use the expression 'the best and the brightest' pretty frequently, but my sister was that kind of person," Cathleen's brother, Bill Thomas, told AOL News. "She was brilliant and beautiful."

According to Bill, Cathleen had recently started dating Rebecca Ann Dowski, a 21-year-old business management major and standout softball player from the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg.

"Rebecca was a lot like Cathy," Bill said. "She was very attractive, very accomplished."

On the evening of Oct. 9, 1986, Cathleen and Rebecca had been hanging out with two friends at a computer lab when they left to spend some time together. What happened to them after that remained a mystery until three days later, when a jogger running along the York River by the Colonial Parkway spotted Cathleen's white Honda Civic on the edge of an embankment.

"When the first officer on the scene reported there, he thought they were dealing with a traffic accident," Bill said. "So he went down and smashed the back window. It was then that he saw the mess inside the car."

Rebecca was found in the back seat. Cathleen was stuffed in the hatchback's storage area. Both women had been strangled, and their throats were cut. The injuries to Cathleen were so extreme that she was nearly decapitated.

The perpetrator had attempted to set the Honda on fire using kerosene or diesel fuel -- several matches were found scattered around the car -- and when that failed, he apparently tried to push the vehicle over into the river, only to have it snag on the brush.

Both victims' purses and money were found inside the car, and the county medical examiner found no signs of sexual assault.

The possibility that they had been targeted for their sexuality led to speculation that the killing might have been a hate crime. But less than a year later came evidence that another motive could have been at play.

"That Was How We Found Out: Watching TV"

Virginia authorities found themselves in the middle of a second double homicide when the bodies of David Lee Knobling, a 20-year-old man from Hampton, and Robin M. Edwards, a 14-year-old girl from Newport News, turned up in the Ragged Island Wildlife Refuge the following fall.

"On Sept. 19, 1987, my sister had gone out on a date with David's cousin," Janette Santiago, Robin's sister, recalled in an interview. "They were supposed to go see a movie, so I guess David volunteered to take them. He had a little truck, so the boys let Robin sit upfront. They must have hit it off, because David dropped her off at the house and then came back to pick her up after he took everybody else home."

As in the case of Cathleen and Rebecca, a jogger alerted police to the scene.

David's pickup was found near the wildlife refuge at the foot of the James River Bridge. The keys were in the ignition, and David's wallet was on the dashboard. Items of clothing belonging to both David and Robin were also in the car.

There was no sign of struggle at the scene, and it was unclear whether the couple had met with foul play until their bodies washed ashore downstream. Both had been shot in the back of the head.

"Earlier that day, my parents had given an interview to the media, asking my sister to return home, so we were all sitting around the TV expecting to see that interview," Janette recalls. "Then, boom, here comes the headlines. ... That was how we found out: watching TV."

While there were some differences between the killings of Thomas, Dowski, Knobling and Edwards -- particularly in the killer's methods -- the commonalities meant a connection could not entirely be ruled out.

A Tragic First Date and a Deepening Mystery

Roughly six months later, the headlines would once again be dominated by another, and similar, case.
Handout Photo
Richard "Keith" Call

Richard "Keith" Call was a 20-year-old college student on April 9, 1988. He had big plans for the night: He was embarking on his first date with Cassandra Lee Hailey, an 18-year-old woman from Grafton.

"They shared a class or two at college," said his sister, Joyce Call-Canada. "Keith picked her up, and they headed over to a cookout in Newport News. They stayed there until sometime between 1 a.m. and 2 a.m."

Approximately eight hours later, on April 10, Call's vehicle was found abandoned at the York River Overlook on the Colonial Parkway.

Keith and Joyce's father, Richard W. Call, was one of the first people to spot the car as he passed it on his way to work. Not noticing anything overly out of the ordinary, he figured Keith might have left it there to jump into a friend's.

"His mind just didn't go to something terrible, and he went ahead to work," Call-Canada said.
Cassandra Lee Hailey.
Handout Photo
Cassandra Lee Hailey

Later that day, Keith's father received a call from park rangers, who had encountered a very different scene.

"The rangers said the door was wide open and the keys were lying in the car," Call-Canada said. "They also found Keith's wallet, glasses and watch in the car, along with Cassandra's purse, bra and just one of her shoes.

"We just don't know how that stuff got back in [the car]. The only thing we could think of was that the killer came back and put them there," she said.

Multiple searches were conducted for Keith and Cassandra, but no other trace of them has ever been found.

Less than two years later, two more families would lose loved ones in the same area.

Found Side by Side

"My sister, Annamarie Phelps, had just turned 18," Rosanne Phelps said. "She had a boyfriend who was a little younger, and he had a sister who lived at the beach, and they wanted to move to her house."

A friend of Phelps' boyfriend, 21-year-old Daniel Lauer, was also moving into the beach house, and over Labor Day weekend in 1989 she helped him pack up his belongings.

"We didn't hear anything from them the next day," said Phelps. "We tried to contact them, [and then] we learned that Daniel's car had been found parked at a rest area on the westbound side of I-64."

The case fit a pattern investigators had encountered before: Lauer's keys were found in the ignition, and items of clothing belonging to both of them were found inside the car. Annamarie's purse was left untouched.

Several searches were conducted but failed to uncover any signs of the young couple.

"I remember the weather was really bad, and there was a lot rain," Phelps said. "I remember praying and crying, 'Please don't let my sister be out there in the rain.'"

That October, a hunter came upon the couple's skeletal remains less than a mile from the rest area where Lauer's car had been found.

"They were found side by side," Phelps said. "My sister was wrapped in a blanket. They had been stabbed, and my sister had defensive wounds, suggesting she had fought very hard for her life."

Controversy Yields New Momentum

As the Colonial Parkway Murders went unsolved, they became a source of controversy.

In 1997, Phelps' parents filed a lawsuit against best-selling author Patricia Cornwell, who at one time had worked at the medical examiner's office that had handled the killings of Lauer and Phelps. They claimed that she'd obtained a copy of the autopsy report and included previously unreleased details of their daughter's death in her novel "All That Remains," which Cornwell's Web site describes as the story of a killer who targets "attractive young couples whose bodies are inevitably found in the woods months later."

The couple said the book violated their privacy and caused emotional pain. A judge later dismissed the case.

The unsolved slayings made headlines again in 2009, when authorities were notified that a number of crime scene photographs regarding the Colonial Parkway homicides had been "inappropriately taken" from the FBI's Norfolk office. The photographs were being used as a training tool for a security company, and a number of the images had been leaked to the media.

"There were 84 graphic photographs in all," Bill Thomas, brother of Cathleen Thomas, said. "This security school, for whatever reason, apparently felt that students in their security program could benefit from viewing them."

An investigation was launched, and in December 2009, Special Agent Turner held a press conference during which he said the photos had been taken without approval by a "former non-agent" employee. Turner added that the employee had since died but that the FBI had seized all copies of the photographs from his estate, the civilian training agency and two other individuals.

As unsavory as the crime scene photos revelation was, it appeared to kick the investigation of the homicides back into high gear. Almost immediately, Special Agent Philip J. Mann announced the FBI was conducting a "top-to-bottom" review of the cases in its jurisdiction: those of Cathleen Thomas, Rebecca Dowski, Richard "Keith" Call and Cassandra Lee Hailey.

Other Gruesome Connections Explored

Over the years, some have speculated that there could be a link between the eight Colonial Parkway murders and still other killings.

One is the Route 29 stalker case from 1996, in which a man in a pickup truck flagged down young women, told them something was dangerously wrong with their cars and offered them a ride. One, Alicia Showalter Reynolds, apparently accepted, and wound up murdered.

A second -- and, experts say, more credible -- candidate is the Shenandoah Park murders.

"There are striking similarities," said Chris Yarbrough, a computer programmer who operates a Web site devoted to the Colonial Parkway murders.

In 1996, the bodies of two women, Julianne Williams, 24, and Lollie Winans, 26, were discovered in one of the park's campgrounds. As with Dowski and Thomas, their throats had been slit. As with the earlier victims, both were strong athletes, yet there were no signs of struggle.

Special Agents Turner and Hook won't comment on individual cases, but both agree anything is possible.

"[It] is purely conjecture," Turner said. "[But] I will tell you [that] our investigator, along with the investigator from all of these homicides, have and will continue to share notes and determine whether or not there are any ties."

Profiling the Possible Killer

In an effort to determine if all of the Colonial Parkway cases are indeed connected and whether some of the other cases could be tied in, AOL News asked an expert to look them over and share her opinion.

"What I find particularly unusual about the murders is that, each time, there were two victims," said criminal profiler Pat Brown. "This is quite rare for serial killers; they usually pick one isolated, smaller individual whom they can overpower. This killer or killers had to deal with two, which is much more work.

"Clearly, the killer was armed. Even if we did not have evidence that anyone was shot during the assaults, a gun would be necessary to control two people. One person can control two people with the right words, weapon and tools."

Brown said an important clue in the cases is that in some of them, the driver's window had been rolled down.

"This would indicate someone approached the vehicle and was likely thought to be a police officer," she said. "It would seem, considering the cars were pulled off the road in isolated places and the victims were in various stages of undress, that the killer liked to pull up to cars he believed had couples in them, involved in some manner of lovemaking."

Since rape does not appear to be a motive, Brown said she believes the perpetrator wanted to "teach the couples a lesson."

"Most likely, the killer was jealous of their activities," she said. "The couples were killed because they were having too much fun, and the murderer put a stop to it. This kind of ideation, this anger toward the trysts of lovers, the lack of robbery or rape, indicates that the crimes were more likely committed by one person with a very specific focus. If two [killers] were involved, the other individual would likely offer more criminal expressions than simply eliminating the couple."

Brown said the perpetrator could be involved in law enforcement or, more likely, "wished he were."

"He wanted authority and probably did not have it," she said. "His crimes gave him this feeling: He was able to surprise, control and punish 'wrongdoers.'"

The only one of the other Virginia killings Brown finds potentially related is the Shenandoah Park case, because it involved "an individual noting two persons engaging in a physical relationship and moving in to stop the action."

Holding Out Hope, Together

It has been 20 years since the last Colonial Parkway murders. The renewed investigative push, aided by advances in DNA, may finally bring some answers. But Special Agent Turner said it will take at least six months for his office to get the results of the materials it is having tested -- and even then, the mysteries may remain unsolved. And so the wait continues.

Meanwhile, Joyce Call-Canada said her hopes aren't pinned on new technology but on an old-fashioned bout of morals.

"My hope is that someday, somebody will get a conscience," she said. "Somebody has to know something. If it is not the person who did it, then somebody that knows that person and knows they did it."

In their shared losses, the families of the victims have been forever bonded. With the renewed investigation, they have been reunited again.

"The [victims'] families have been brought back together again," said Janette Santiago. "Unfortunately, the murders are the reason, but we are together, and we are all united in hope. Even if we can get just one case solved, it would be a great victory for all of us."


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