Tuesday, December 23, 2014


     This week in the national news, we hear of the ambush shooting of two NYPD police officers.  Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos were shot and killed while sitting in their patrol car on duty.  Ismaaiyl Brinsley then turned his gun on himself when cornered by police in pursuit.  Brinsley reportedly had a prior criminal record.

     In state news, the pre-trial maneuvering in the case of the Aurora theater shooter continues.  James Holmes is charged in the mass shooting that resulted in 12 dead and over 50 wounded in 2012. There is little room for doubt of his guilt, and in fact his own parents, in a letter to the Denver Post implicitly acknowledge that he committed the shooting and should be locked in a psychiatric institution for life.  “He is not a monster. He is a human being gripped by a severe mental illness.”  I can understand parents going to great lengths to help their adult children, but even parental tolerance has its limits.

     In local news, the prosecution rested late last week in the trial of Daniel Bessey, accused of murdering two Monte Vista residents back in 2012.  Bessey had initially been a person of interest in the case but was not charged.  He fled the state and was later apprehended in Oklahoma and returned to Colorado for trial.

     In personal news, the man suspected of killing Jack Gordon had a prior criminal record, was living under an assumed name as a non-registered sex offender in violation of terms of his prior conviction and received material aid from his mother before eventually leaving the state in the wake of Jack Gordon's disappearance.  It must really be galling to live with the constant knowledge that someone will drop a dime on you and that it could happen at any time.  I don't know, this is all just speculation.  Maybe he will whisper a confession in the wrong ear at the wrong time in a drug-fueled haze of self pity and remorse.  Maybe an under-aged tranny hooker will get tired of his boozy breath and rat him out.  Maybe mom or stepdad's tolerance will run out. Maybe they will blame his actions on mental illness.  After all, he is not a monster...

*   *   *   *   *
     Columnist Kevin Williamson writes this morning in National Review Online in an article titled "What Causes American Murders".  He makes the point that attempting to assign political motivation, or for that matter any particular motivation to a criminal such as Brinsley misses the larger point of the type of people who commit violent crime in America. 
If we could eliminate all the American murders rooted in political ideology, there would be (almost) no effect. If we could eliminate all the American murders committed by people with prior criminal records, there would be (almost) no murder. The relevant question in the matter of Ismaaiyl Brinsley isn’t what he was doing on Instagram but what he was doing on the street.

     Jack Gordon wasn't murdered because of his political beliefs.  He was murdered because a murderer determined that Jack's life was worth less than his own.  But some would say he's not a monster. 

Monday, December 15, 2014


There was some news last month about the Paige Birgfeld case.

Lester Ralph Jones, 63, was arrested in Grand Junction on November 21, 2014 at his workplace. He had been named as a person of interest at the time of the original investigation into Paige Birgfeld's disappearance in 2007.  In 2012 her body was discovered in a gulch near Delta, CO.  Here is a link with more details about the arrest.  Jones has been identified as a client of Paige Birgfeld's escort service.

  Interestingly, investigators had obtained a court order for a GPS tracking device to be placed on Jones' car, but he discovered the device and returned it to investigators at some point in the intervening years.

   Jones has been charged with two counts of murder (first and second degree) and additional charges of arson and kidnaping.

[UPDATE TO ORIGINAL POST-- Denver Post Cold Case reporter Kirk Mitchell gives a detailed review of the facts of the case and the key pieces of the police investigation in his column at the Denver Post.]

   Sometimes the wheels of justice turn slowly, and the case still awaits trial, but it is good to know that there has been some movement in this highly publicized case.  Hopefully the person responsible for Jack Gordon's death is still looking over his shoulder as well.

Saturday, December 13, 2014


[Editorial note: Although there are some obvious differences between the case of Jack Gordon and the case I am about to relate, there are also some astounding similarities. Reading some of the accounts of Kristi Richardson's disappearance we were struck by the emotions expressed by her family, to a degree that brought back memories of thoughts that passed through our minds when we were searching for Jack, back in 2008.  Our prayers go out for Kristi's family, asking that they find some answers.]

Disappeared without a trace-  On October 7, 2014, 61-year-old Kristi Richardson of Casper, WY did not show up for work at the family trucking company.  Her daughter and son-in-law went to Kristi's nearby house fearing that she may have taken ill.  What they found was an unoccupied house. Kristi's cars were in the garage.  Her purse was on the counter (with $800 cash still in it).  Her cell phone was in the bedroom.  However, Kristi was nowhere to be found.  She was last seen by family on October 6 2014, when she dropped by her daughter's house to deliver a birthday card. Over two months later, the curious disappearance of Kristi Richardson remains a mystery.

Here is the full story as told by Kristi's daughter to the Casper Star-Tribune. An excerpt:

   The phone rang as Amber ate breakfast with her husband, Pete, in the kitchen of their Casper home. On the other line was a dispatcher from Richardson Trucking, the business started by Amber’s parents, Kristi and Ron, in 1979. Kristi, the dependable boss who arrived at 7:15 every morning, hadn’t shown up to work.  Amber and Pete drove the half mile to Kristi’s home on East 24th Street, an affluent neighborhood where the homes have pillars and three-car garages. Amber opened the garage and noticed none of the cars was missing.
   “I started screaming for her,” Amber said. “When I first went in, I thought I would find her in bed, ill, or the thought of her taking her life came across my head, just because I didn’t have any other explanation.”  Pete went straight to Kristi’s bedroom. Amber found her mother’s purse on the kitchen counter, a cellphone missing from the bag. She used her own phone to dial her mom and heard Pete shout from her mother’s room.  The phone was in Kristi’s bed, which police say was stained with what appeared to be blood and urine. Police have not confirmed what caused the stains.

  • Ron and Kristi Richardson were married in 1972.
  • They founded a family business- Richardson Trucking Inc. in 1979. 
  • Based in Casper, the company's major business involved support for the oil fields, hauling camphouses, drilling rigs, pipe, etc.
  • The Richardsons were big boosters of University of Wyoming Cowboy athletics. 
  • Ron Richardson died in April, 2013, and Mrs. Richardson remained involved in running the business
  • A mysterious fire broke out at Richardson Trucking Inc. in November 2013. 
  • Mrs. Richardson's father died at age 88 in June, 2014. According to his obituary, he spent much time in his later years hanging around the trucking company offices and was well-liked.
  • Kristi lived in a nice neighborhood in Casper, a short distance from her daughter.
  • Afternoon of Oct. 6 -- Kristi drove to her daughter's nearby home to drop off a birthday card for her daughter.
  • 7:45 p.m. Oct. 6 -- Richardson took a routine phone call from one of her drivers.
  • 11:00 p.m. Oct 6 -- A call from a business contact went unanswered.
  • 7:45 a.m. Oct. 7 -- Richardson does not show up for work, daughter contacted
  • ~8:00 a.m. Oct. 8 -- Richardson's daughter and son-in-law arrive at Kristi's house to find her missing.

Mrs. Richardson is described as 5'4" tall, weighing less than 100 lbs.  She may have been wearing a University of Wyoming sweatshirt at the time of her disappearance.
Casper, Wyoming is a town of 55,000 in central Wyoming.  Interstate 25, the major north-south interstate in the Rocky Mountain region passes through Casper. There has been a boom in oil and gas exploration and production in the last few years.
Anyone with information regarding the mysterious disappearance of Kristi Richardson is urged to call Casper Police Department at 307-235-8278.