Crime watch.

Eric Delacruz and his buddy Fernando Romero were convicted of the murder of Sonia Rios Risken yesterday. Why is this noteworthy? Well, when the LAT article begins

The prosecutor and defense attorneys agreed on at least one thing: Sonia Rios Risken was a loathsome person.

That kind of makes you take notice. At the time of her death, Risken was being investigated by the FBI in the death of her second husband, who was killed while visiting Risken’s relatives in the Philippines.

Her first husband, a retired Marine, was shot to death 19 years earlier under suspiciously similar circumstances.

And then Risken herself was capped; Delacruz was her grandnephew, and apparently expected to inherit Risken’s estate.

It turned out Risken had no will, so much of her money went to her closest living relative — her son.

By way of Balko, we learn that Charles Stobaugh has been convicted in the murder of his wife, Kathy Stobaugh. Ms. Stobaugh disappeared the day before her divorce became final in 2004. I can’t work up the indignation of Balko over this: “despite no body, no physical evidence of a crime, and no proof the alleged victim is actually dead.” All of these things are true, but a murder conviction without a body is not unheard of (see Anne Marie Fahey). In addition:

Witnesses testified that Kathy Stobaugh disappeared Dec. 29, 2004, after meeting Charles Stobaugh at his farm northwest of Sanger to discuss their pending divorce.

If she had a plan to leave that night, [prosecutor Cary] Piel said, her plan had to have started with a phone call. The farm is secluded and Kathy Stobaugh couldn’t have walked. She was 12 hours away from a default divorce, yet she would have had no money, no credit cards and no vehicle.


Cary Piel reminded the jury of all the testimony that showed she had not accessed her bank account, credit cards and cellphone, and had not tried to contact anybody since that night.

Yeah, the evidence is circumstantial. But, to quote Thoreau, “Some circumstantial evidence is very strong, as when you find a trout in the milk.”

In other news, the LAPD apparently has a lead in the 2002 murder of two men in Studio City.

As they delved into the case, detectives uncovered an intriguing back story that included a Playboy cover model, a $40-million Wall Street investment ponzi scheme and an ill-fated bid by Tardio to sell as much as $700,000 worth of jewelry purchased with ill-gotten proceeds.

If the $75,000 reward being proposed in this case isn’t enough, surely the chance to see it dramatized on Law and Order: Los Angeles is an additional incentive.

Speaking of Ponzi schemes, we neglected to note the alleged Amish Ponzi scheme yesterday, so let’s fix that now. (This also gives us a chance to tell our favorite Amish joke: “What sounds like this: Clip clop clip clop clip clop clip clop BANG! Clip clop clip clop clip clop clip clop…” “An Amish drive-by.”)

And, finally, it was anarchists who burned down the Texas Governor’s Mansion in 2008. At least, that’s what the Texas DPS is saying now. Hey, at least it wasn’t nihilists. We would post a Crimestoppers!, but the DPS claims to know who at least three out of four of the anarchists are.  So we’ll ask some questions instead:

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