Friday, February 1, 2008

48 Hours Mystery: No Way Out

(Photos courtesy of Louise Bashi, press contact, CBS News: Top-Mabel and Sal Mangano decide not to evacuate the nursing home, leading to the deaths of 35 residents; Bottom-a lone wheelchair sits in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina at St. Rita's Nursing Home.)

Everyone remembers the numerous tragedies that resulted from Hurricane Katrina. This week on 48 Hours Mystery, they take a deeper look into the case of Mabel and Sal Mangano, caregivers at St. Rita's Nursing Home and their decision to not evacuate their residents.




Among the countless stories of catastrophe from Hurricane Katrina, perhaps one of the most horrific was that of St. Rita’s Nursing Home in St. Bernard Parish, where 35 elderly residents drowned because their caregivers decided not to evacuate the home.

In the days before Katrina hit, numerous evacuation warnings were issued in the New Orleans area, but over the years many residents had grown accustomed to storm warnings and were reluctant to leave. Among those who chose to stay were Sal and Mabel Mangano, who ran St. Rita’s. Their failure to evacuate resulted in the death of over half their patients. Subsequently, the Manganos were charged with 35 counts of negligent homicide for those that perished and 24 counts of cruelty to the infirm for those who survived. They faced over 200 years in prison if convicted.

“We lost people that we loved, but the decision is made and we can’t go back and change it,” says Mabel. “We have a stigma that’s going to follow us for a long time.”

The couple did not testify at their trial and until now, has refused to speak publicly about why they didn’t evacuate. In their first and only interview, Sal, 67, and Mabel, 65, tell 48 HOURS MYSTERY that, at the time, they believed they were doing the right thing by staying. In the absence of a direct evacuation order of St. Bernard Parish, the Manganos claim they considered the warnings to be just that – warnings.

“If it was mandatory, we felt like they would have come to help us, and we would have evacuated,” says Mabel.

“We don’t know how many would pass away by doing an evacuation. For 20 years we’ve never lost a resident during a hurricane,” says Sal.

The couple also claims that it was the breakage of the levees that killed their residents and not the actual hurricane. “The hurricane came that night and it was windy,” explains Mabel. “The parking lot didn’t have any water in it…So we felt real good the morning of the hurricane. We felt like, ‘God, it’s gone. We have made it. All of our residents are safe.’” Then, she says, “I heard them say, ‘The water is coming.’”

“Everything just happened so fast. Whoever was right there, you try and grab them,” Sal describes. “If they was in a wheelchair or the wheelchair turned over, as fast as it came in the building, they drowned within a matter of just a bit. It was horrible.”

Prosecutors maintain that the absence of a mandatory evacuation order was merely a technicality and that the Manganos were to blame for the deaths, a sentiment shared by the family members of those lost. “What’s sad is it could’ve been avoided,“ says Joe Galladoro, son of one of the victims. “We placed our faith and our trust in them...They betrayed that trust that we had.”

Now, two years after Katrina and five months after the trial many find it hard to forgive the Manganos. Others question whether the couple should still be held accountable for what was ultimately a larger breakdown among government officials and design mistakes by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineer, who built the failed levee system.

Harold Dow reports on the Manganos and their trial on 48 HOURS MYSTERY: "No Way Out," on Saturday, Feb. 2 (10:00-11:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. This broadcast is produced by Paul Ryan and Sara Rodriguez. Peter Schweitzer is the senior producer and Al Briganti is the executive editor. Susan Zirinsky is the executive producer
For a video preview of this episode, click here.
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Monday, January 28, 2008

48 Hours Mystery: Trigger Point

Drew and Jenny Eisenman, in happier days.
(photo courtesy of Louise Bashi, press contact for CBS News)

This week's 48 Hours Mystery is on a special night with an all new episode. The episode highlights the case of Jenny Eisenman and her side of the story regarding the murder of her husband, Drew. Thanks to Louise Bashi once again for sending all the details. The episode airs Tuesday, January 29th. Check broadcast times in your area.



In May 2004, Jenny Eisenman shot her husband Drew six times, killing him instantly, an act she claimed was self-defense. Drew was handsome, athletic and fun, while Jenny was slender, pretty and sweet. Living in Houston , both shared an interest in children and education – Jenny was an elementary school teacher, while Drew was a high school basketball coach. But behind the scenes, their fairytale relationship was quickly deteriorating. Jenny discovered that Drew was having an affair while she was pregnant with their first child. Worse, when their son was born, Drew brought his mistress to Jenny’s hospital room to hold the baby. Jenny and Drew separated a few months later.

Both Drew and Jenny attempted to maintain a civil relationship for the sake of their son, but all that changed one night in May 2004 when police were summoned to Jenny’s apartment after a frantic 911 call in which she admitted to shooting Drew. Expecting to find a homicide scene, police were in for two surprises – a pristine apartment with no sign of struggle or blood and the discovery of Drew’s body outside on the curb stuffed into a storage tub, the same one used to store the family Christmas tree.

Jenny claimed the shooting was an act of self defense against a brutal beating, and told police that Drew had abused her repeatedly in the past. Despite numerous bruises on her legs, police were convinced otherwise. They discovered there was something Jenny didn’t tell them: about an hour after the shooting she had gone to Wal-Mart to pick up spackle and paint to hide the bullet holes. But it was a series of provocative and sexual emails that Jenny sent Drew during the time that he was allegedly abusing her that helped convince a jury that this was not an act of self defense.

Although it would seem that this would be the end of the story, it is far from it. Did Jenny kill Drew in self defense or was it a calculated murder? Jenny Eisenman speaks on camera for the first time and tells her story to 48 HOURS MYSTERY.

Richard Schlesinger reports 48 HOURS MYSTERY: "Trigger Point," on Tuesday, Jan. 29 (10:00-11:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. This broadcast is produced by Marcelena Spencer and Jenna Jackson. Judy Tygard is the senior producer and Al Briganti is the executive editor. Susan Zirinsky is the executive producer.
For a preview of the broadcast, please click here.

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Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Wouldn't You Like To Know?

A convicted murderer is set free because of a Supreme Court ruling. He's spent most of his life in and out of the prison system. He's free and clear to go where he chooses. He will have no supervision, no rehabilitation.

He's moving to your state.

Do you want to know? Do you think you have the RIGHT to know that a man who killed a single mother in 1977 -resides in your state? Do you think you have the RIGHT to know that this same man, who attempted to molested his stepdaughter during a prison visitation and attempted to ellicit phone-sex from her on another occasion-could potentially be your neighbor?

Ross Renecker could very well become your neighbor, if you live in Arizona.

Some people may say Renecker has served his time, and a man-supposedly dying from cancer-should be able to live out the rest of his life in peace. If you were to ask Frances Stubberfield's family, and hear her story-you may change your mind.

I only heard of this case because of Mark Horner and his blog "Beyond 90 Seconds". If not for him, I may have never heard the potential danger that Arizona residents like myself could face-until it was too late. In order to get the bigger picture- especially if you live in Arizona-you should listen to his interview with the victim's son, Scott Stubberfield.

Then answer the question:

Wouldn't you like to know?

Sources: Mark Horner-Beyond 90 Seconds
Yakima Herald-Republic
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There's Still Time To Vote!

If you haven't voted yet for your favorites in true crime, there's still time!

You can find all the details on the 2007 Capote Awards at Los Angeles Times best selling author Corey Mitchell's blog- In Cold Blog.

I was not nominated this time around, but I have to say that it is such an honor to be listed alongside of so many tremendously talented authors and bloggers!

Go Vote!

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Friday, January 18, 2008

48 Hours Mystery: "Secrets In Palm Beach"

Top- Linda Fishman
Bottom- Michael Jamrock, Linda's nephew and suspect in her murder.

Once again, I am pleased to present this preview of another episode of 48 Hours Mystery. This week's episode highlights the case of murdered Florida socialite Linda Fishman. All preview information, photos, and video provided by Louise Bashi, press contact for CBS News-unless otherwise noted.



Palm Beach, Fl invokes images of wealth, sun and beauty, but on February 7, 2003 a sinister side of this town exposed itself when Linda Fishman, a beloved socialite known for her kindness, generosity and outgoing personality – who spent a lot of time there – was found murdered in her nearby home.

After working for years as the chief court administrator in Hartford , CT , where she met her husband Judge Milton Fishman, Linda moved to Boca Raton when he died unexpectedly of heart failure. Determined to make a fresh start Linda inserted herself in to the Palm Beach social scene, where the vivacious socialite developed a reputation as a caregiver to everyone from her nephew to her hairdresser.

It was this benevolence that police believed was the ultimate cause of her death. But who would want Linda dead? At first, they suspected her nephew, Michael Jamrock, a popular DJ at local radio stations. With a shaky alibi and questionable financial situation compounded with his odd behavior in the wake of his aunt’s death and a failed lie detector test, authorities had a powerful case. So powerful in fact that Michael’s own family began to question his involvement too.

As police dug deeper, however, they discovered that this socialite had a secret life – one filled with dubious younger men. But Linda’s murder remained unsolved until investigators received a bombshell anonymous letter that would turn this case on its head.

Troy Roberts reports 48 HOURS MYSTERY: "Secrets in Palm Beach ," on Saturday, Jan. 19 (10:00-11:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. This broadcast is produced by Mary Noonan. Anthony Batson is the senior broadcast producer and Al Briganti is the executive editor. Susan Zirinsky is the executive producer.

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Saturday, January 12, 2008

Finally Some Relief For Chandler

Finally, the community of Chandler, Arizona can rest a little easier knowing that a violent sexual predator allegedly responsible for the sexual assaults of 5 girls between 12 and 14 years old has been arrested. He is believed to be the elusive "Chandler Serial Rapist".

A press conference that took place about 2 1/2 hours ago with the Chandler Police Department confirmed that they arrested 39 year old Santana Batiz Aceves in the attacks. Aceves, an illegal immigrant from Mexico, had similar clothing in his vehicle that matched descriptions by victims. Also, DNA swabs matched evidence taken from the attacks. Aceves was living under the alias "Ricardo Ramirez Lopez".

Aceves, an illegal immigrant, was working as a heavy equipment operator, and living in the same area as an attempted attack on November 8, 2007. He has a wife, a son, and a daughter. I'm unaware at this time of their legal status. Surely, Aceves' legal status adds more fuel to the fire regarding the hot-button issue of immigration.

No matter what Aceves' legal status is, this case is about one thing only: The victims. The young girls who have been violated in their own homes. The focus should be on what this creep allegedly did, and on justice for the victims. While I can certainly agree that his legal status is an important element in the case, it usually ends up overshadowing the issue of the major aspect of the crime, and the victims.
I can only imagine the relief of this community that this creep has finally been caught and is off the streets. Tonight, they will rest a little bit easier.

Additional Information: [] Press Conference Video; Chandler PD press release [pdf]

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Friday, January 11, 2008

He Needs A New Girlfriend Now.

Looking a man? Okay, well he's not exactly a "man", other than the chronological sense, but he's back on the market, nevertheless.

Matthew Henry Fleming, 22, may be just the guy you're looking for. Of course, you may have to get used to him blaming you for leading the police on high-speed chases. You would also have to be understanding of his twenty-some prior charges and convictions. Here's a snip from azcentral: [full article]

Chandler police have arrested a man they believe fled from officers while driving drunk in south Chandler - then crashed the vehicle, jumped into his girlfriend's lap and told police she was the driver, court records show.

Police arrested Matthew Henry Fleming, 22, Wednesday on suspicion of unlawful flight, endangerment and DUI, police said.

You never know, he could be a great catch. Then again, there may be a long wait....

Sorry, ladies.

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