The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Crazy People Are Dangerous

Posted on | January 12, 2019 | No Comments

On Dec. 28, sheriff’s deputies in Stevens County, Washington, responded to the report of a shooting at a home near Colville, about 70 miles north of Spokane. They arrived to find that Mark Leland, 51, had been shot with a .357 revolver by his father-in-law, James Gates, 72, as the result of an apparent domestic dispute. Leland died later than night in a nearby hospital. He and his wife had been visiting her father, and this shooting in Washington state made headlines in the Portland Oregonian because Leland’s wife — Gates’s daughter — was one of the most notorious killers in Oregon history. In 1980, when she was 13 years old, Michele Gates drowned a 4-year-old girl she had been babysitting. While being questioned by police, Michele Gates confessed that two years earlier, she had drowned her 3-year-old cousin by shoving her into a pond at the zoo. The case spent years in the juvenile justice system:

Psychiatrists deemed the girl a sociopath, incapable of controlling short-term impulses. She almost avoided prosecution because of debate over her mental state. She spent time at a home for troubled kids in Maine, and at one point before the case was resolved, police were alarmed to learn she had gotten a job as swimming coach at the local YMCA.
Finally, in January 1985, when she was 18, Gates was convicted of the juvenile equivalent of murder. She avoided prison because state law at the time forbade incarcerating female juvenile offenders past the age of 18. That conviction was later expunged, allowing her to legally say on job applications that she’d never been convicted of a crime.
That lasted until 1992, when Gates, then 26 and using the last name Shorthouse, was indicted in federal court on charges of arson and solicitation to commit murder. She was accused of hiring one of her ex-boyfriends to kill her fiance’s ex-girlfriend.
Gates had blamed the woman for telling others of her criminal past, and Gates wanted to help her fiance win back custody of his young son, prosecutors alleged. She pleaded guilty that year to lesser charges of abetting arson and interstate travel with intent to commit murder, and was sentenced to 15 years in federal custody.

To recap: Sociopath killed two children and later attempted to kill another woman, and now her father shot her husband to death.

Crazy people are dangerous.

(Hat-tip: Kirby McCain on Twitter.)

 

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