Living in Sin
Now the sky only sags: Regarding your feature on Satan's Angel, or whatever her name is ("Hell's Belle," Benjamin Leatherman, September 28), what has the world come to when New Times considers it a cover story to profile an aging stripper?
I remember when New Times only did big articles on subjects that actually meant something. These were stories that made the sky fall for corrupt politicians, for example. These were stories that made the world a better place.
A story like the one on Satan's Angel, which profiled a fallen Catholic who has done nothing but sin and come short of the glory of God all her life, isn't making the world better. It's just tempting people to sin. It's saying that if you sin, you will be a glamorous person, you will get to make love to people like Clint Eastwood.
I guess we can take heart that this lady has wound up in a trailer park in the middle of nowhere, not in some glittery Hollywood mansion.
Sara Carroll, via the Internet
Don't Shoot the Messenger
Super duper: I would like to start off with huge kudos to Paul Rubin for a wonderfully written piece of journalism with his "I Dunnit" article (September 21). Now that the back-end kissing is over, how in God's name could a veteran homicide detective with 20 years of experience get duped into a confession as fake as my left eye (I do in fact have a prosthetic left eye)?!
I read the article with amazement that a city so bent on capturing a woman's murderer could overlook the need for competent police investigation. I would also like to thank the city of Tempe for a colossal waste of taxpayers' money.
Joshua C. Friedman, via the Internet
False confessions: Your "I Dunnit" article points up a disturbing trend in law enforcement, and I should know because I'm a cop in the Phoenix area myself. Maybe I'm being generous by calling it a trend, because it has probably gone on since the dawn of police forces. It just seems to be happening a lot in the news in the United States these days.
I'm talking about the tendency of police to believe a bird in hand is the jailbird they are looking for. The Tempe cops and Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas' office were so desperate to solve a high-profile local murder that they believed an obviously false confession. Come on, when a seasoned detective can get duped so undeniably by some dumb, dirt-bag criminal, that's just pathetic. Not to mention just a waste of money for taxpayers.
Also, the real danger is that the real killer goes unpunished because the cops and prosecutors are so intent on nailing the wrong guy and clearing their books: "See, folks, we're doing our jobs!"
Makes you wonder how many times this has happened, when fruitcakes or criminals trying to get a better deal confess to something and authorities are more than happy to believe them so that the public will get off their asses. This kind of behavior by cops and prosecutors gives all of us in law enforcement a bad name.
Name withheld by request
Presumed guilty: The statement by former Arizona attorney general Grant Woods in your "I Dunnit" story was amazing. That is, where he said that even though cops and prosecutors came to know that James Mullins was lying about killing Georgia Thompson, the County Attorney's Office still could have convicted Mullins of the crime. No problem.
Fucking chilling is what this really is, because these guys (Woods had been named special prosecutor in the trumped-up Mullins case) could convict anybody if they set their mind to it, and probably have, even when they know the dude didn't do it.
I believe my brother was in a similar situation and went to prison as a result. For that reason, I'm asking that you keep his name secret. I don't want harm to come to him in jail. In his case, he didn't confess to anything, but was high on meth when a crime was committed and got accused of the crime because he was the only person around when the cops arrived.
I will always believe that the police went after him because it was easier than trying to figure out who really did it. It's sad that this kind of thing must happen a lot in our criminal-justice system.
Name withheld by request
Mustn't-see TV: Your amazing story about James Mullins' false confession is the talk of our town, as I'm sure it is out there in Phoenix. It's like something you would see on TV.
I just want your readers in Arizona to know that most of us in this part of the country are law-abiding and that our police force is for the most part honest and trustworthy.
Billy Rollins, Paducah, Kentucky
Big city, not-so-bright lights: Your "I Dunnit" story was first-rate. It read like a TV whodunit, for sure.
I never thought I would see the day that our local police in Kentucky are portrayed so much better than those in a big city like Phoenix. Well, Tempe, actually, but you know what I mean. So much for big-city detective work!
Betty Johnson, Paducah, Kentucky
Brother's keeper: I read and enjoyed your story on my brother James Mullins and the way the police from both Arizona and Kentucky conducted themselves. I completely agree with every stitch of it, and it was very interesting the way your writer handled the story.
It could have all gone differently if James hadn't confessed, but he did and it hurt a lot of people. It also held up solving the case; the police could have been working on a reliable lead instead of following up on that horrible story from that crazy brother of mine.
I'm sorry for Georgia Thompson's family to have been put through this. Thank you again for publishing this story. The truth needed to come out.
Cindy Mullins Goad, Lacenter, Kentucky
Bash a Mexican: I usually love your articles in New Times, but one of your columns I find absolutely offensive. I'm a Latina, and I and my co-workers, who are mostly Mexican nationals, think your "Ask a Mexican!" column can be just plain mean.
You ask the people to write in for help. And in a recent column, a gabacho (gringo) letter-writer asked for help fitting in with his girlfriend's family in Mexico. He seemed to want real assistance. Then, all your writer did was bash him with things that were completely not about what he asked ("Dear Skinny Gabacho in Iowa," September 21).
Your writer needs to try to have some compassion for people who are asking him for real help. Instead of "Ask a Mexican!," your column should really be called, "Let Me Bash You."
Crystal Castillo, Cottonwood
Lien machine: Why would you spotlight a brand-new band with only two shows under its belt? And a totally crappy band at that ("Garage A Go-Go," Niki D'Andrea, August 24)!
Have you heard the Love Me Nots' MySpace songs? Seen them play? They are horrible! Nicole cannot sing, or is trying too hard to be someone she is not. The whole thing smacks of effort. The songs are contrived and rudimentary. Michael Johnny Walker is an ass and always has been. Christina Nuñez is okay. She's bland, but an effective mate to Nicole's singing. The only band member worth watching is Jay Lien (who loses cool points for even being in this band).
There are hundreds of great bands in town that have been playing for much longer and truly deserve a five-page article written about them. There is actually real talent out there, not just these wankers trying to be something they clearly are not.
Brian Dees, Phoenix
This letter writer must know the person who wrote the above letter: Holy shit! What a load of crap! What do these fools know about garage? Michael Johnny Walker is a hair-metal fag and always has been. Nicole's other band, Blue Fur, is a horrible funk band. Christina's other band is fun, but nothing worth writing home about.
The only one with any idea about garage music is Jay Lien. Why he would want to associate with these losers is beyond me. He's already in two great bands and doesn't need this crap to bring him down. Run, Jay, run!
Jon Abbott, Mesa
Do these letter writers all hang out together?: I was halfway through the article on the Love Me Nots when I realized that it wasn't a joke. But then I found it funny that both mouthpieces for the band, Michael and Nicole, were so serious about their faux garage band. I also noticed how the other members of the band, Jay and Christina, were scarcely mentioned or quoted.
I happened to glance over the Letters to the Editor section in a later issue, and the letter from the supposed fan from Paris who traveled to Arizona to see this band at the Paper Heart was downright silly ("Rock On," Letters, September 7). First, Nicole does curse, did that night (I was there), and second, who in the world says things like, "Nicole is the Audrey Hepburn of punk rock"?! What a crock! The letter leads me to the conclusion that it was, in fact, written by none other than Michael or Nicole. Come on, an avid fan from another country travels thousands of miles to see a local band and can only rave about two of the four members?
Did these "Parisians" watch Jay Lien play the drums? He is, by far, the most exciting member of that band. And, judging from their outfits, the only member with any clue about style. Thanks for the many laughs!
Meghan Sumritz, via the Internet
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I'll be . . . taking issue with your review: I can appreciate that everyone has an opinion and a right to it, no matter how obviously one-sided it might be. However, I do take offense to your representing Edwin McCain fans as swooning women who are living in trailer parks ("For Love of Country," Niki D'Andrea, July 20).
While you find some of his lyrics, as you wrote, "over the top," there is much evidence that there are many, many people who don't. And they don't all live in trailer parks! And the bit about the "bleeding heartland tunes and lover-man lyrics" might be said of just about any male performing artist who has ever dared to pen or sing a love song.
Your writer obviously has an ax to grind concerning Edwin's gifts and his unique and well-appreciated work. That, or she decided that saying something nasty about someone's work will somehow make her look more knowledgeable.
Either way, I don't think that this review represented Edwin, his work, or his fans fairly and realistically. I guess it's a good thing that this writer's employer appreciates obviously jaded reviews.
Debra Watson, via the Internet