CNN Tonight with Don Lemon on Bill Clinton & BLM

Re: CNN Tonight with Don Lemon on Bill Clinton & BLM

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Heartbreaking Crimes: Kids Without a Conscience? Rape, murder, a baby dead at a prom: A look at young lives that seem to have gone very, very wrong
Why are kids killing? Coincidence -- or scary trend? A spate of murders allegedly committed by teens leaves experts, family and police seeking answers

by Maria Eftimiades, Susan Christian Goulding, Anthony Duignan-Cabrera, Don Campbell, Jane Sims Podesta
People, 06/23/97, Vol. 47 Issue 24, p46. 8p. 16 Color Photographs, 2 Black and White Photographs.
6/ 23/ 97

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ACCUSED: Daphne Abdela, 15, of a Central Park murder
ACCUSED: Jeremy Strohmeyer, 18, of killing a 7-year-old
ACCUSED: Corey Arthur, 19, of murdering Jonathan Levin
ACCUSED: Amy Grossberg, 18, of killing her newborn
IN TROUBLE: Melissa Drexler, 18. Her baby was found dead at the prom


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DURING THE PAST DECADE THE NUMBER OF murders committed by teenagers has leaped from roughly 1,000 a year to nearly 4,000. Worrisome as that trend may be, a fleeting glance at recent headlines -- announcing that, in Texas, a teenage couple, formerly students at U.S. military academies, will soon stand trial for the carefully plotted murder of a girl who interrupted the smooth course of their love affair or that, in New Jersey, an 18-year-old high school senior delivered a baby while attending her prom, left the infant in the trash and returned to the dance -- suggests some teens these days are also committing crimes of incomprehensible callousness. "The young people involved in some of these violent acts are without the capacity to make the connection with another life," says Dr. David Hartman, the director of neuropsychology at the Isaac Ray Center for Psychiatry and Law in Chicago. "They need have no more reason for hurting another human being than they have for peeling an orange."

How they get to that point is a matter of heated debate. Poverty, broken homes and physical, psychological and sexual abuse are frequently cited, and clearly such factors do play a role. But New York psychologist Michael Schulman, the author of Bringing Up a Moral Child, observes, "Given the fact that most people who suffered similar kinds of abuse don't do these kinds of things, the explanations feel a little hollow." Indeed, as the following cases illustrate, kids accused of acts of casual violence come from a variety of backgrounds. For Schulman, the solution to the problem is both straightforward and daunting. "You need to teach the child that the family stands for goodness," he says, "not simply for comfort and intellectual achievement, but that moral excellence is honored."

Melissa Drexler, 18

Among members of the class of '97 at Lacey Township High School in New Jersey, Melissa Drexler, 18, was known as a quiet, diligent student—an aspiring fashion designer who dreamed of becoming the next Donna Karan. She seemed shy and opened up only to a few close friends. "When you get to know her, she can be exciting," says Jim Botsacos, 18, a longtime friend. "She likes to have fun."

But Drexler concealed more from her classmates than a desire to enjoy herself. Although it now appears that she was pregnant for most of her senior year, Drexler managed to hide her condition—from her classmates, parents and boyfriend, John Lewis, 20—by wearing baggy, loose-fitting clothes.

On June 6 she went to her senior prom. Dressed in a floor-length, black sleeveless velvet gown, Drexler arrived in a limousine at the Garden Manor banquet hall in Aberdeen, N.J., at about 7:45 p.m. with Lewis. She immediately retreated to the rest room with a classmate to freshen up. When her friend grew concerned that she was taking so long in one of the stalls, Drexler, Monmouth County prosecutors say, told her she was having a heavy period and to let their dates know she would be a while.

The girl returned to the rest room about 15 minutes later, and Drexler emerged, zipped her dress and touched up her makeup. A few minutes later, after asking the deejay to play a Metallica song, she hit the dance floor with Lewis, a Wal-Mart stockroom worker she had been dating for about two years. "She seemed normal," says fellow student Jeff Diab, 18. "All smiles." Meanwhile, a cleaning woman, summoned by school officials to clean up a blood-streaked stall in the ladies room, discovered the lifeless body of a 6-lb. 6-oz. baby boy in a tied garbage bag in a trash basket. After learning that Drexler was the last to use the rest room, teachers began questioning her. "She was not upset," says Monmouth County prosecutor Robert Honecker. "She indicated that she had delivered an infant." Such a blank response, though bewildering, is not unheard of, says Dr. Phillip Resnick, a professor of psychiatry at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. "[With] mothers who deny their pregnancy and don't form a bond, it's like a foreign body going through them—like a peach pit."

The incident has left Drexler's middle-class hometown of Forked River in shock. By all accounts, the teenager—who could face murder charges if prosecutors can prove the baby was alive at birth—was an indulged only child whose parents, John, a computer worker, and Marie, a bank employee, provided ample love and support. But Debbie Jacobson, a classmate's mother, says Melissa "is a child emotionally. She didn't make decisions on her own about things." Adds Botsacos: "Her family is almost too nice. They didn't want her to have a job. They bought her a car, paid for her gas, bought her clothes. She got what she wanted when she wanted it." This time it seems Drexler got something she didn't want—and cast it away.

[x]
Arriving at the prom with John Lewis, Drexler seemed untroubled

[x]
Melissa Drexler left her newborn in a trash can, then danced at her senior prom

Jeremy Strohmeyer, 18

Shortly before 4 a.m. on May 25, a security camera in a Primm, Nev., casino captured 7-year-old Sherrice Iverson-on her own as her father gambled nearby—playing hide-and-seek in a video arcade with Jeremy Strohmeyer, 18, a college-bound high school senior from Long Beach, Calif. Moments later, when Sherrice dashed into the women's room, Strohmeyer followed. There, allegedly, he raped and strangled her. He then continued celebrating the Memorial Day holiday weekend with best friend David Cash Jr., 18, and Cash's father. Police say the younger Cash had trailed Strohmeyer into the rest room but left after failing to persuade him to let the little girl alone. On his return to Long Beach, a friend says, Strohmeyer told him he'd had a great time.

Little in Strohmeyer's apparently ordinary, middle-class background—his mother, Winifred, is a marketing executive; his father, John, a well-to-do real estate investor—seems to account for the callousness of the murder of which he is accused. When a Los Angeles TV station aired the surveillance tape on May 26, several stunned classmates recognized him and told their parents, who tipped off police. Two days later, Strohmeyer was arrested. (Cash, who turned himself in, was released and has not been charged in the killing.) Jean Matz, a neighbor of the Strohmeyers', was shocked. "The mother was working all the time. She is very successful," Matz says. "[John] ran the house." Once a top student and volleyball player at Woodrow Wilson High School, Strohmeyer dropped off the team two months ago and, friends say, began losing weight. His grades had plummeted. Volleyball coach John Crutchfield suspected he was using methamphetamines, but Strohmeyer denied it. Around the same time, his father threw him out of the house—for disregarding curfew, police say—though he was living at home again prior to the crime. "He would drink too much at parties to impress people," says one classmate. "Most of the time he seemed nice, but he could get obnoxious." And there was one other hint of a darker side. A friend, Andy Edling, says that earlier this year, Strohmeyer had showed him an extensive collection of pornographic photos culled from the Internet. "What struck me most was the little children," Edling says. "I thought it was gross, and he just laughed."

[x]
Strohmeyer (in custody May 30) "wanted no rules" at home, says a police officer. " Jeremy thought that he should have total independence after he turned 18."

[X]
Jeremy Strohmeyer allegedly killed a little girl playing hide-and-seek "Sherrice had her life plucked from her without having a chance to fulfill her destiny," says Carol Croghan, who sang at the little girl's funeral.

[x]
"We thought he was a great kid," says a family friend of Strohmeyer (modeling last year). "It's incomprehensible."

Daphne Abdela, 15
Christopher Vasquez, 15


For all the thousands of New Yorkers who venture into Manhattan's Central Park by day, few are aware of the hidden world that flourishes in the park after dark. That's when teenagers like 15-year-old Daphne Abdela, daughter of a millionaire businessman, come in their Tommy Hilfiger jackets and baggy pants to share the night with other would-be rebels in an odd subculture of privileged kids playing "gangstas."

On May 22 the playacting stopped; now, Abdela and her new boyfriend, Christopher Vasquez, 15, stand accused of one of the grisliest crimes in recent New York history. Police say Vasquez attacked Michael McMorrow, a 44-year-old real estate agent with whom the two had been drinking, stabbing him 30 times, almost cutting off his nose and a hand. Then, Abdela allegedly told police, she instructed Vasquez "to gut" McMorrow so "it would sink" when they heaved his body into a lake.

Since their arraignment on murder charges, a portrait has emerged of two troubled teens, adrift and desperately seeking acceptance. Abdela was known as a quiet rich kid who got loud once she started drinking. "She always tried to act like she was from a bad neighborhood," says a friend. Vasquez, meanwhile, slight and bespectacled, attended the exclusive Beekman School but hoped to prove his toughness by joining a gang. A longtime friend says that in the past year, Vasquez suddenly changed. "He was never in school," he says. "He punched my friend in the face at this party...for no reason."

Both teens have a long history of emotional problems. Vasquez was taking Zoloft, an antidepressant, and Lorazepam, an antianxiety drug. And Abdela has undergone treatment for her drinking. Clearly her parents—Angelo, an Israeli-born top executive in an international food company, and Catherine, a French-born former model—had an inkling she was once again heading for trouble. Only one week before McMorrow's murder, they had withdrawn her from the competitive Jesuit-run Loyola School she attended and wait-listed her at the Day Top Village drug treatment center. Still, friends and teachers of both teens find the violence of the crime unfathomable. "If you're looking for some pattern of behavior," says Richard J. Soghoian, her former headmaster, "it's just not there. In fairness, it's not."

[x]
"McMorrow" was a real sweetheart," says Glenn Golub, a coworker. "Everybody loved Mike."

[x]
Christopher Vasquez is charged with knifing a man, then gutting him on orders from Daphne Abdela

[x]
"Once in a while he would flash a knife to be macho, but he wasn't a tough guy," a friend says of Vasquez (center, in court on May 28). "When [Abdela] asked him to do something, he'd do it."

[x]
"[Abdela] had a drinking problem," says a friend, "but she wasn't a violent person."

Alex Baranyi, 18
David Anderson, 18


In Bellevue, Wash., a comfortable Seattle suburb, it's easy to miss the pockets of despair amid the prosperity. Yet the likes of Alex Baranyi are more common than some would admit. Baranyi, now 18, whose parents had separated when he was 8, had been taken to Pennsylvania by his father, Alex Sr., a software consultant, then sent back to Washington to live with his mother, Patricia, an educational assistant. Last November, Baranyi and his best friend, David Anderson, 18, who had left home and moved in with friends, dropped out of high school. At night they hung out with other kids at a local bowling alley and at a Denny's, where they would sit drinking coffee and killing time.

The void in their lives was filled with fantasy games. In recent years, Baranyi and Anderson had become followers of so-called goth—for gothic—subculture, in which devotees dress in black and wear white makeup to give themselves a spectral look. Baranyi was also a fan of Highlander, a TV series about an immortal sword-wielding hero; he owned a sword collection himself and talked often of death. "Sometimes I thought he might be sort of suicidal," says Dawn Kindschi, 17, an acquaintance who had filed a complaint against Baranyi last year after he allegedly beat her.

Despite his antisocial appearance, that was Baranyi's only serious brush with the law—until this year. On Jan. 5 the body of Kimberly Ann Wilson, 20, was found in a Bellevue park. She had been clubbed with a baseball bat and strangled. When police went to the Wilson home to deliver the news, they found Kim's parents, William, 52, and Rose, 46, and her sister Julia, 17, bludgeoned and stabbed to death.

Acting on a tip, police brought Baranyi in for questioning. He allegedly confessed to murdering Kim, a friend of Anderson's, then to killing her family in the belief they might have known she was meeting them. Later, authorities arrested Anderson as a partner in the crime. The choice of Kim Wilson as victim may have been arbitrary. Police say Baranyi told them he simply wanted to kill someone because he was "in a rut." According to King County prosecutor Norm Maleng, evidence suggests that Baranyi and Anderson, who will go on trial in October, had committed the murders "for the sheer experience of killing." To Kevin Wulff, principal at Bellevue High, the local outcry over the slayings is a case of too little, too late. "We ignore [these kids] and hope they go away," says Wulff, "and then we are horrified when they commit these crimes."

[x]
Alex Baranyi and David Anderson may have killed for the thrill of it

[x]
Blood was found at the Wilson home that apparently did not belong to the victims.

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Like Baranyi, Anderson liked playing the fantasy game Dungeons & Dragons.

[x]
"She was nonjudgmental and caring," says one friend of Kim Wilson. "She never noticed anything wrong with anyone."

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Now being held on $10 million bail, Baranyi (in court in January) and best friend Anderson face life in prison without parole if convicted of killing Kim Wilson, her parents and her sister.

Corey Arthur, 19

Kids like Corey Arthur were the reason Jonathan Levin got into teaching, so the irony was heartbreaking when New York City police arrested him for Levin's murder on June 7. Since Levin, 31, was the son of Time Warner CEO Gerald Levin, some thought his family's wealth had played a role in his death. In fact, police say Arthur, a dropout who was often absent from Levin's English class at William H. Taft High School three years before, chose his former teacher as a victim without knowing who Levin's father was.

Raised in New York's harshest neighborhoods, Arthur, 19, barely knew his own father, who died in April. An aspiring rapper, he had, by the age of 16, been charged with heroin and cocaine possession and had been sent to a boot-camp program for young offenders. "He felt nobody cared about him," says ex-girlfriend Crystal Jacobs. "The only love he got was from people [on the street]. He would tell me, 'You got to do right.' " A friend told The New York Times, "He always wanted to have money, but he never wanted to get a job."

Levin had a reputation for helping students in need. According to police, he was at his modest Manhattan apartment on May 30 when Arthur phoned asking to see him. Police say Arthur and Montoun Hart, 25 (who had seven arrests on his record), went to Levin's place late that afternoon and tortured him with a knife until he revealed his PIN number; they also say Arthur killed Levin with a bullet to the head and that $800 was withdrawn from his account at a nearby ATM machine.

Police began an intensive pursuit that ended when one of Arthur's ex-girlfriends turned him in. Charged with first-degree murder, Arthur could face the death penalty.

[x]
A teacher who took needy kids under his wing, Levin apparently welcomed Corey Arthur to his apartment.

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A large delegation from William H. Taft High, where Levin taught, attended his June 4 memorial service in New York City.

[x]
Arthur's fingerprints were reportedly found on tape used to restrain Jonathan Levin.

[x]
Corey Arthur is accused of preying on his former teacher Jonathan Levin, killed for his bank card and PIN number

Amy Grossberg, 18
Brian Peterson, 19


To their parents and neighbors in the suburban enclave of Wyckoff, N.J., Amy Grossberg and Brian Peterson are simply a couple of kids who got into trouble, then made a tragic mistake. Of course the "mistake" the then 18-year-old sweethearts are accused of making involved nothing less than the murder of their newborn son and the depositing of his body in a Dumpster outside a Delaware motel last Nov. 12. Nevertheless "there's enormous support for the couple," says Joyce Harper, owner of a Wyckoff toy store where Peterson often buys Beanie Babies for Grossberg.

In an apparent attempt to explain themselves nationwide, Grossberg and her parents, Sonye and Alan, appeared on ABC's 20/20 on June 6 with interviewer Barbara Walters. "I would never hurt anything or anybody, especially something that could come from me," said Amy. Her mother, an interior designer (her husband is a furniture store owner), praised Amy's "very special" relationship with Peterson, who works part-time for his parents' wholesale video sales business and sees Amy weekly. Though Amy said nothing about her pregnancy all summer while she was home, and her parents were apparently unaware of it, Sonye characterized her relationship with her daughter as very close. "She's always so giving and caring," she said of Amy, who volunteers as an art teacher for children at Wyckoff's Temple Beth Rishon. "I can't believe that people don't see that about her."

What many viewers thought they saw instead was the Grossbergs' apparent detachment from a deeply disturbing crime. While defense lawyers argue that mitigating circumstances will become clear in court, Jerry Capone, a Wilmington, Del., attorney who represents many disadvantaged clients, says he is especially alarmed by teenagers like Grossberg and Peterson. "These kids from strong family backgrounds should have the proper moral background," he says. "That really frightens me. It means this lack of respect for human life cuts across all economic classes."

[x]
New Jersey sweethearts Amy Grossberg and Brian Peterson stand accused of killing their baby, then placing his body in a Dumpster

[x]
Peterson (with his mother, Barbara Zuchowski) reportedly told a college staffer that he disposed of his newborn son.

[x]
For months, Amy Grossberg hid the pregnancy that ended with the death of her baby

[x]
Brian Peterson lives a mile from the Grossbergs' Wyckoff, N. J., condo ( above).

[x]
Sonye and Alan Grossberg (leaving court with their daughter in March) borrowed to post Amy's $300,000 bail.

MARIA EFTIMIADES in Forked River, SUSAN CHRISTIAN GOULDBING in Los Angeles, ANTHONY DUIGNAN-CABRERA in New York City, DON CAMPBELL in Bellevue, JANE SIMS PODESTA in Washington, and bureau reports
© Time Inc., 1997.
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Re: CNN Tonight with Don Lemon on Bill Clinton & BLM

Postby admin » Fri May 27, 2016 11:43 pm

New Jersey Charges Woman, 18, With Killing Baby Born at Prom
by Robert Hanley
June 25, 1997

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FREEHOLD, N.J., June 24— The New Jersey teen-ager who gave birth in a bathroom stall at her senior prom was charged with murder today after the authorities concluded that she had delivered a healthy boy, cut the umbilical cord, choked him and put him in a plastic bag that she knotted and threw away.

The woman, Melissa Drexler, 18, of Forked River, was charged after an autopsy determined she had choked the baby and smothered him either with her hands or with the plastic bag, said John Kaye, the Monmouth County Prosecutor.

In the midst of it, Mr. Kaye said today, a girlfriend who had heard sounds from the bathroom stall asked Miss Drexler if she felt ill. The Prosecutor said she replied: ''I'll be done pretty soon. Go tell the boys we'll be right out.''

A few minutes later, leaving blood on the floor of the bathroom stall, Miss Drexler went to the dance floor with her boyfriend and prom date, John Lewis, ate a salad and danced one dance.

The case -- which recalled that of another New Jersey teen-ager, Amy Grossberg, and her boyfriend, Brian Peterson, who were charged with killing their newborn son in a motel and discarding his body -- stunned Miss Drexler's friends and relatives and attracted headlines across the country. Those who knew her said they had no idea the high school senior was pregnant.

In her hometown in southern New Jersey, there was little sympathy for Miss Drexler. Most people agreed with the sentiments of Michelle Donally, a 20-year-old neighbor, who said, ''My heart goes out to her parents, but not to her.''

On June 6, the night of the prom, Miss Drexler initially denied giving birth when teachers came up to her and others who had been in the women's bathroom to ask about the blood in the bathroom stall.

Miss Drexler replied that she was having a heavy menstrual flow, Mr. Kaye said.

A few minutes later, after the baby's body had been found in an outside trash bin at the prom site, the Garden Manor in Aberdeen, Miss Drexler told teachers she had given birth.

Mr. Kaye said Dr. Jay Peacock, an assistant county medical examiner, had established the cause of death as ''asphyxia due to manual strangulation and obstruction of the external airway orifices.''

Dr. Peacock was unable to determine if the baby was dead or alive when he was placed inside the bag and a knot was tied at the top of the bag, Mr. Kaye said.

''We are certain the baby was alive after it was born,'' Mr. Kaye said. ''When it ceased to be alive, we cannot say.''

Besides the murder charge, which carries a sentence of 30 years to life, Miss Drexler was accused of endangering the welfare of a child, a second-degree crime in New Jersey with a penalty of 5 to 10 years.

Mr. Kaye dismissed suggestions that the endangering charge was a fall-back position for his office, and said it would be merged with the murder charge when the case was presented to a Monmouth County grand jury in about a month.

Mr. Kaye said it was unlikely that his office would seek the death penalty, because of Miss Drexler's age, her lack of a criminal record and what he called ''the stress and extreme emotional disturbance'' of the birth.

In early afternoon today, Miss Drexler, a senior at Lacey Township High School, made a five-minute appearance in State Superior Court and was released on a $50,000 property bond by Judge John Ricciardi. She said little as the judge explained her legal rights.

After Miss Drexler left the courthouse with her father, her lawyer, Steven Secare, said his client was not guilty.

He declined further comment because, he said, his own investigation was not yet complete. He said Dr. Michael Baden, a forensic pathologist in New York, had conducted a separate autopsy on the baby's body at the request of the Drexler family. In addition, he said, a Pennsylvania psychiatrist, Dr. Robert Sadoff, had examined Miss Drexler. Mr. Secare said he is awaiting both reports.

Dr. Baden said in an interview later today that ''the autopsy findings are ambiguous as to whether the baby was alive, because of all the resuscitation that was performed.''

The resuscitation efforts caused changes in the baby's body, he said, and the birth process might have caused additional changes. ''It's a very difficult type of death to determine, whether a baby was born alive or not,'' Dr. Baden said.

Miss Drexler, an only child, arrived home with her parents shortly before 4 P.M. A crowd of reporters, some with television cameras, on the otherwise quiet street of neat ranch houses called out to her. But Miss Drexler, wearing a sun dress and dark glasses, merely threw her hands in the air, then went inside, bending down to pet her dog on the way.

At a news conference this morning, Mr. Kaye said Dr. Peacock was satisfied that the baby was alive and breathing after the birth because Dr. Peacock had found air in the baby's lungs and intestines.

''The doctor says this is a very significant finding, amongst others,'' Mr. Kaye said of the air in the intestines. The Prosecutor said the medical findings were critical to the state's case, because investigators had not found any witnesses who saw the birth, heard any screams from Miss Drexler or cries from the baby, or saw who placed the bag containing the baby in the bathroom's trash receptacle nine feet from the stall where the birth occurred.

Mr. Kaye said he was convinced that only Miss Drexler knew of her pregnancy. He said the baby was born at full term, without any congenital defects or deformities.

While driving to the Garden Manor with her boyfriend and another couple, Ms. Drexler complained of stomach cramps, the Prosecutor said. He said she went to the bathroom at the catering hall as soon as they reached it about 7 or 7:30 P.M. and gave birth almost immediately, 20 minutes after she had complained of the cramps in the car.

''She got no assistance,'' Mr. Kaye said of the birth. ''She did this herself.''

A girlfriend was in the bathroom during some of the time Miss Drexler was in the stall, heard sounds of scraping metal and saw Miss Drexler trying to wipe her foot across blood on the tile floor, Mr. Kaye said.

Exactly how the child's umbilical cord was cut is uncertain, the Prosecutor said. But he said the authorities suspect that Miss Drexler dislodged a metal container for sanitary napkins from a wall in the stall and severed the cord with the container's serrated edge. He said the cut in the umbilical cord was jagged.

The authorities suspect that the scraping noises the friend overheard were caused by Miss Drexler's removing the napkin container.

After Miss Drexler and her friend left the bathroom, a matron cleaned the bloody stall, placed soiled towels in a plastic bag in the bathroom's trash receptacle and took the bag to an outside trash bin. As she carried it, she noticed that it was heavy and called a maintenance worker. He looked inside the bag and found the knotted bag containing the baby's body.

If the matron had not been curious about the bag's weight, Mr. Kaye said, the body might never have been found.

''No one knew this woman was having a baby,'' he said.

[x]
Photo: Melissa Drexler and her lawyer, Steven Secare, entering a courtroom at Monmouth County Courthouse in Freehold yesterday. She was charged with murder in the death of her newborn boy at her senior prom June 6. (Associated Press)(pg. B4)
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Re: CNN Tonight with Don Lemon on Bill Clinton & BLM

Postby admin » Fri May 27, 2016 11:45 pm

The Picture of Ordinary: Before Prom Night, a Suspect Was the Girl Next Door
by Abby Goodnough and Bruce Weber
July 2, 1997

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LACEY TOWNSHIP, N.J., June 29— A month ago, 18-year-old Melissa Drexler was just a quiet, somewhat introverted high school senior who wanted to graduate from Lacey Township High School here, get on with her summer job at a retail store on the beach and hang out with her boyfriend. By all accounts, hers was an undistinguished life, she an ordinary girl. ''Really mellow,'' one friend called her. She'd gone to dancing school. She wanted to be a fashion designer. She liked club music. She was looking forward to the prom, trying on dresses with her friend Rebecca.

But on the evening of June 6, shortly after she and her boyfriend, John Lewis, arrived at the Garden Manor in Aberdeen, some 40 miles north in Monmouth County, Melissa gave birth to a boy who was found shortly afterward by a maintenance worker in a bag of trash. At that moment she ceased being a normal teen-ager and began her new life as the focus of an agonizing mystery.

Was the baby born dead, as friends of Miss Drexler said she had told them, or alive, as John Kaye, the Monmouth County prosecutor who has charged Miss Drexler with murder, contends?

It is also unclear who, if anyone, knew Miss Drexler was pregnant. Her parents have said they did not. Her boyfriend, Mr. Lewis, who is the likely father, has said he did not. There are even some friends of Miss Drexler's who wonder whether she herself knew.

''As far as I know, she did not know she was pregnant,'' said Sarah Dorrick, who, like Miss Drexler, graduated from Lacey Township High School last month and said the two ate lunch together daily. ''She never said anything, and there was no change in her behavior in school to indicate she was.''

Lynn Ganelli, the mother of Miss Drexler's friend Rebecca, said that Rebecca had suspected nothing when the girls went shopping for Miss Drexler's prom dress a few weeks before the event.

''She was trying on small sizes,'' Mrs. Ganelli said. ''There's no way she looked eight and a half months pregnant.''

And finally, the prosecutor's account of what happened on June 6 has been disputed by friends of John and Melissa's. According to Mr. Kaye, the six-pound baby was born alive, then was either strangled by Miss Drexler or suffocated after being tied up in a plastic garbage bag. He says that afterward, Miss Drexler returned to her table, ate a salad and danced at least one dance before school officials questioned her about the bloodstained bathroom stall.

The Drexler family, Mr. Lewis and everyone connected with Lacey Township High School declined to comment on the case. But Tim Hoban, a close friend of Mr. Lewis's who also knew Miss Drexler well, said that according to what both Mr. Lewis and Miss Drexler told him in the days after the prom, she had no idea she was going to deliver a child that night.

''She went into that bathroom to go to the bathroom,'' Mr. Hoban said.

Both Mr. Lewis and Miss Drexler told him that the baby had been born dead, he said, and that Miss Drexler had disposed of the tiny corpse in a panic.

''The reason she did what she did was the color of the baby really scared her when it came out,'' Mr. Hoban said. ''She told me the umbilical cord was wrapped around its neck when it came out and the baby was blue.''

Still, even Mr. Hoban, obviously shaken by the events and speaking in full support of his friends, indicated that neither version satisfied him. In the prosecutor's account, an unnamed friend of Miss Drexler's accompanied her to the bathroom, waited for her outside the stall, then left when Miss Drexler assured her she was fine. But Mr. Hoban, along with some others, wondered how she could have delivered the baby on her own.

In any case, Mr. Hoban said, ''John told me nobody would ever really know the truth, except Melissa, and someone else, if someone else was in there with her.''

It is this combined sense of horror and incredulity that has gripped the residents of this unassuming, pleasant and ordinarily friendly town of 23,000, where teen-agers are hard to find on the street because they are in supermarkets and fast-food shops working summer jobs. Ambiguity reigns; though it is not hard to elicit pro-Melissa or anti-Melissa sentiment, the majority of people seem to be simply thunderstruck. And the reporters and television cameras that have overrun the place have made many people withdraw in disgust.

The Drexlers, by all accounts, are decent, ordinary people, stunned by the events of June 6 and their sudden notoriety.

''My heart goes out to these people,'' said their lawyer, Steven Secare. ''This is their first encounter with the criminal justice system.''

The case is to go to a grand jury in a few weeks. If Miss Drexler is indicted, goes to trial and is convicted, she could face 30 years to life in prison.

''These are very unsophisticated, very humble people,'' Mr. Secare said. ''These people don't have a disingenuous bone in their bodies. There is nothing special about them. They are religious, they are well liked in their neighborhood. Now they are prisoners in their own house. They just don't understand what has happened to them. They are bewildered.''

Melissa Ann Drexler, an only child, has lived most of her life in a cedar-shingled ranch-style house on a shady street.

Until the night of June 6, nothing about the Drexlers made them stand out, friends say. Mr. Drexler works as a shipping clerk at an importing company in Lakewood, about 15 miles up the Garden State Parkway. His wife works in a local bank. The family belongs to St. Pius X Roman Catholic Church, although friends said they do not attend regularly.

''There is nothing intriguing about them, nothing mysterious,'' said John Parker, who has known Mr. Drexler for years. ''They are absolutely wholesome.''

By all accounts, Miss Drexler is an even-keeled, quiet young woman who expresses her feelings with smiles and frowns, nothing more. Friends describe her as sensitive and supportive, willing to listen when they have a problem and offer soothing advice. ''She was always there for me,'' said Miss Dorrick. ''She was a caring person.''

Miss Drexler herself, though, was not one to bare her soul, according to friends.

''Nothing got her upset much,'' Miss Ganelli said. ''She was really tough like that.''

Miss Drexler did not mix with the popular crowd at Lacey Township High School, clinging instead to Mr. Lewis and a small circle of friends. One of them was Miss Ganelli, who said she befriended Miss Drexler in fourth grade. They became inseparable, Miss Ganelli said, spending weekends at each other's homes and taking dancing lessons together. Rebecca liked ballet because it was graceful. Melissa liked jazz because it was fast.

They quit dancing lessons when they started high school, turning their attention to shopping and boys, Miss Ganelli said. They would comb the Ocean County Mall in Toms River for stylish jeans and T-shirts, she said. They would go bowling, paint their fingernails and occasionally wander the boardwalk in Seaside Park, a resort town nearby. On nights when there was nothing to do, they would sit at the Ganellis' kitchen table and chat.

On one of those nights, when Miss Drexler was in 10th grade, Miss Ganelli introduced her to Mr. Lewis. He was two years older, and he lived down the highway in Barnegat. He was quiet, like her. They started spending all their time together.

''They were alike, and they just started hanging out,'' Miss Ganelli recalled. ''I don't think it was love at first sight. They liked each other.''

Miss Ganelli and others described Miss Drexler's relationship with Mr. Lewis as steadily affectionate. Mr. Hoban said the couple would bicker and sometimes even call it quits for a day or two.

''They would get into a fight for one day, break up for six hours, then they'd be back together,'' Mr. Hoban said. They loved each other, he said, adding that while they had apparently never discussed marriage, Mr. Lewis began to talk about it after the traumatic prom night. He remains a frequent visitor to the Drexler house.

Miss Drexler wanted to design clothes, and mornings she attended fashion merchandising classes at Ocean County Vocational-Technical School in nearby Brick Township. She would occasionally, though not often, show her drawings to friends.

''She wanted to get her future together, go somewhere, instead of staying in Lacey or Barnegat,'' Mr. Hoban said. ''She wanted to go up to New York and leave her fashion statement on the catwalk.''

Mr. Hoban said she spent most of her free time during her senior year with Mr. Lewis. She would finish her classes around 1 P.M., then spend the rest of the day at Mr. Lewis's house, he said. When Mr. Lewis left to work the late shift at Wal-Mart, around 8 P.M., Miss Drexler would go home, he said, where her lawyer said she ate dinner with her parents every night. If she went out during the week, she was expected to be home by 10 P.M., Mr. Hoban said.

The only indication that something was out of the ordinary, Mr. Hoban said, came in November, when Mr. Lewis confided in him that Miss Drexler's period was late. But a few days later, he reported that it had been a false alarm.

Mr. Lewis was unaware of his girlfriend's condition, Mr. Hoban said, until the night of the prom. He was sitting alone at a banquet table when school officials approached him. ''He was waiting for her to come out of the bathroom and the principal pulled him aside into a room,'' Mr. Hoban said. ''He said, 'John, your girlfriend just had a baby.' And he said 'What are you talking about?' ''

Mr. Secare, the Drexlers' lawyer, said that Miss Drexler's parents learned about the pregnancy only on the night of the prom, when the authorities called to inform them that their daughter had been admitted to Bayshore Community Hospital in Holmdel. Friends of the family said that Miss Drexler was close to her parents and that John and Marie Drexler would have helped their daughter if they had known the truth.

''It seemed like Marie and Melissa shared everything,'' said Mrs. Ganelli, who said the mother and daughter would visit shopping malls and amusement parks together. ''Marie must be dying inside.''

For the most part, the few townspeople who are still willing to discuss the case say that while they find it hard to believe that Miss Drexler played no role in the baby's death, it is not so hard to feel compassion for her. Over nine months, they say, she lost her way.

''She was not a violent girl, not a nasty girl,'' said Mrs. Ganelli, who added that her family would support Miss Drexler no matter what a jury decides. ''Something had to go wrong in her little brain.''
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Re: CNN Tonight with Don Lemon on Bill Clinton & BLM

Postby admin » Fri Aug 26, 2016 2:51 am

Partners in POWER: The Clintons and Their America: Excerpt
by Roger Morris

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However compelling Hillary's love for Bill Clinton, her postgraduate work in 1972-73 was more than just a convenience. Under a special program of Yale's law and medical schools and its Child Study Center, she was assigned to review the legal rights of children in terms of public policy as well as legal doctrine and judicial practice. Her interest in the subject dated from her study of child psychology at Wellesley and had been furthered by her shocking exposure to migrant children with the Mondale subcommittee and in her study of family law at Yale. The postgraduate project would result in three articles published between 1973 and 1979 in the Harvard Educational Review, the Yale Law journal, and an academic anthology entitled Children's Rights: Contemporary Perspectives. It was the beginning of a long career of speaking out on children's issues.

Unlike later speeches or lectures, her writing at Yale was unaffected by Bill Clinton's electoral career, and thus they stand alone as rare documents, glimpses of what Hillary Rodham then believed about the society she and Clinton were one day to lead.

Her studies were prompted and funded amid a wave of discussion of children's rights arising out of the political and intellectual ferment of the late 1960s. For a time she worked as a research assistant to Yale law professor Joseph Goldstein, whose edited collection with Anna Freud and Albert Solnit, Beyond the Best Interests of the Child, was one of the prominent volumes of the moment, along with social psychologist Kenneth Keniston's All Our Children, which she also helped research.

Hillary Rodham's articles from the 1970s, written as the skeletal legal briefs they were, would seem to many relatively ordinary. She stopped short of advocating the emancipation sanctioned by some at the time and appeared to suggest only that the courts stop automatically regarding minors as legally incompetent until eighteen or twenty-one and that instead judges or other arbiters decide on a case-by-case basis if younger children might be competent to make certain specific, defined decisions about their parents, at least on the gravest matters. "I prefer that intervention into an ongoing family," she wrote, "be limited to decisions that could have long-term and possibly irreparable effects if they were not resolved." Her views likely would have been destined only for footnotes in the field had the words not been written by a future First Lady.

Behind the pages were flesh-and-blood choices and family drama -- issues such as abortion, surgery, selection of residence or schools, often the well-being and emotional or physical survival of a child. She had already witnessed agonies of abuse and deprivation firsthand while working during 1971-72 in the local federal Legal Services program for the poor and for the New Haven Legal Assistance Association, an organization then litigating with Connecticut over the state's gruesome bureaucratic neglect of foster children. The work left her critical of figures like her former employer and ostensible children's advocate, Senator Walter Mondale, for often casting such human agonies in fiscal terms. Mondale "upset her at times," remembered a New Haven colleague.

Like her experience with the subcommittee on migrant labor and in voter registration in the Texas barrios, this was exposure to another America. Yet later critics would find a disturbing absence of human reality in what Hillary Rodham recommended as legal practice and public policy. "There is something overly abstract and unsatisfying about these articles," wrote one; in them, this critic said, "functioning families are not organisms built around affection, restraint and sacrifice. They seem to be arbitrary collections of isolated rights-bearers chafing to be set free. And there is no indication in her writing that what children want and what they need are often quite different." Some, like Margaret O'Brien Steinfels, writing in Commonweal, judged the most important of her writing "historically and sociologically naive." Though Steinfels and others do not, of course, suggest as much, it is not hard to see the shadows of Park Ridge and Hillary Rodham's oppressive father behind the young woman lawyer of the 1970s who is sometimes angrily "opposed to the principle of parental authority in any form," seeing advocacy of children's rights as "another stage in the long struggle against patriarchy."

Her proposal for children's legal competence "amounts to a defense of bureaucracy disguised as a defense of individual autonomy," concluded the eminent historian Christopher Lasch, who thought her an unoriginal echo of earnest reformers of the early twentieth century. "Only trying to help," as Lasch described their unctuous credo, the "child savers" of the Progressive era left behind a structure of arbitrary state power as prone to its own abuses of children as any torturing family was.

But what may have been most revealing about Rodham's Yale writing was not so much psychological or historical as political. Behind her explicit indictment of "incompetent" families was a looming reality no juvenile court or earnest social program could touch. If families were disintegrating, if there were cruel deficits in neighborhoods, schools, and institutions, the havoc could be traced to the very heart of the nation's society and culture -- and to a political system that served the special-interest arrangements that made the country what it was.

America's children were the most naked results of those values, that array of power and priorities. Theirs was the highest toll under the rule and example of the political fixers' market, in which corporate giants gorged while schools and other public institutions starved, in which vast official subsidies and exemptions to wealth were only good business while public day care and health insurance and free higher education were insidious dependence and state interference. It was children who suffered most the destructive, stunting bondage to rampant commercialism and material consumption. Most of all, there was the immutable lesson that American children sooner or later learned so graphically, that in the "real world" money and power -- and their inevitable companion, hypocrisy -- are what prevail and endure, nowhere more plainly or cynically than in politics and government.

"Unless we have a family policy in this country," Rodham wrote in the mid-1970s, "then whatever we do on behalf of children in relation to their families will continue to be band-aid medicine, lacking clear objectives and subject to great abuse." At no point in her deeply felt advocacy of children, then or later, did she come to grips with the larger system responsible for their plight -- the national ideology of private gain and the political culture of collusion and complicity in Washington and in state capitals. No more now than in her Wellesley study of poverty did she seem to see politically beyond the obvious symptoms of that deeper problem. As it was, the system she ignored continued to make her own advice "band-aid medicine."


***

Their last weeks together in New Haven in the spring of 1973 were fraught with the tensions of Dorothy Rodham's unanswered question, "What about my daughter?" Several people remembered Clinton's genial possessiveness toward the fiercely self-possessed woman with whom he lived. To everyone he bragged about what a "star" Hillary was, "a little like he owned her," said a friend. For her part, she was completing one struggle for independence only to face a new dilemma of love and ambition. It was not easy to follow Bill Clinton back to Arkansas. "He was from somewhere. . . . He knew what he wanted to do there," she once told a reporter. Her own place and purpose, if she went to Arkansas with him, were far less clear. He obviously wanted her to like and adopt the place. Picking Hillary up at the Little Rock airport on her first visit, Clinton had taken eight hours to drive the fifty miles to Hot Springs, boyishly squiring her to every scenic overlook in the soft green hills, every favorite haunt and drive-in.

"She's a feminist and she's just wonderful," he told his Democratic Party friend Brownie Ledbetter, a Little Rock activist involved, like her, in family issues. She would need a local job that was "not just some make-work thing," maybe something in her field of children's rights. In Arkansas, though, there was little choice in work of that sort -- or in suitable work for a woman connected to an ambitious politician.

In the early 1970s, in fact, Arkansas was just awakening to the possibilities of public-interest law. There were only the first grass-roots consumer movements and community action, the first steps toward holding local governments accountable, the first broader civil rights, labor, and gender challenges to the oligarchy that ruled the state. Lawyers and activists who did that work stood to be low-paid, operating out of dingy offices and run-down houses, often unappreciated by their own constituencies, dismissed or grinningly despised by the regime and social elite. They were a lonely remnant facing long odds against the money, lawyers, and politicians of the Little Rock power structure.

"It was a job to help people and maybe make a difference, but not in any conventional sense, somewhere to help yourself or make your husband governor," remembered one public-interest lawyer who knew both. "The name on those letters and briefs," another said about public-interest challenges to Arkansas power, "was never going to be Hillary Rodham Clinton."

How much the couple recoiled from local public-interest law as a sacrifice to Clinton's ambitions, how much was her personal choice, was never clear, though friends believed the implicit decision as much hers as his. They had agreed on her career independence and the political imperative as well. "There certainly was a period of time when they were working out how they might do this. And I don't think there was any problem in terms of their personal relationship about her independence -- he was perfectly open to that -- but perhaps her feeling was that she might somewhat harm his political career, which was so clearly what he was aiming to do," Brownie Ledbetter told a writer later. "That relationship was a lot more complex than a lot of people say."

They left Yale in May without undergoing the ritual graduate interviews with prestigious law firms. As he had always promised he would, Bill Clinton simply headed home. He stopped along the way to call almost casually for a job teaching at the University of Arkansas Law School at Fayetteville, where he had once told Colonel Holmes he would be a student, impressing them now with his Oxford and Yale credentials, charming the dean with his apparent guilelessness. "You might want me to come teach up there a year because I'll teach anything, and I don't mind working," Clinton told him, "and I don't believe in tenure, so you can get rid of me anytime you want."

Using earlier Washington contacts as well as her research project patrons, Rodham went back to work with Marian Wright Edelman, now as an attorney for Edelman's fledgling Children's Defense Fund, a foundation-and corporate-financed Washington group that lobbied and litigated at national and state levels on behalf of poor, minority, and handicapped children. It seemed to her friends a natural, defining choice, though in the summer of 1973 she also took the bar exam in Little Rock.

"What in the world are you doing here?" asked Ellen Brantley, an astonished Wellesley acquaintance whom she ran into at the test. She explained that in her Washington job she was required to pass a state bar, could take it anywhere, and had simply "chosen Arkansas," as Brantley remembered.

She had been with the Children's Defense Fund less than six months when she was recruited by John Doar, the new chief counsel to the House Judiciary Committee for its historic 1974 inquiry and hearings on articles of impeachment against Richard Milhous Nixon. A Wisconsin Republican who joined the Justice Department during the Eisenhower era, Doar stayed on under Kennedy and Johnson, conducting dramatic civil rights prosecutions before leaving to head Robert Kennedy's Bedford-Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation in New York. He was a vanishing breed, an old-fashioned GOP moderate, incorruptible, someone reflexively associated with integrity and intellectually respected on all sides. To assemble a staff he had called his old Justice Department colleague, Burke Marshall at Yale, who gave him the names of both Bill Clinton and Hillary Rodham -- the latter, Marshall thought, "very smart, very articulate ... an organized mind." Already absorbed in his congressional campaign, Clinton turned down the chance but quickly recommended his girlfriend. "I'd have called her anyway," Doar said drily.

In mid-January 1974 Hillary Rodham started work with the new impeachment inquiry staff. She was at the lowest rank among forty-four lawyers, who were joined by some sixty investigators, clerks, and secretaries. Most of the attorneys, both junior and senior, came from corporate practices in Doar's circle in New York and Washington. "We were considered the radicals," said Fred Altshuler, a westerner whose legal background was not corporate and who soon befriended the young woman from the Children's Defense Fund. "I think we were both somewhat affirmative-action choices." More typical among her other young associates was the well-connected William Weld, a future Republican governor of Massachusetts. "This was a very conservative, gold plate-law firm kind of group," said a member of Doar's staff, "mostly an establishment posse out to hunt down the heavy-handed Mr. Nixon."

The inquiry staff moved into the slightly seedy old Congressional Hotel, across the street from the Rayburn House Office Building. The job also meant implicit, if not overt, gender discrimination. "Capitol Hill in general was incredibly sexist," Altshuler recalled. Rodham would be one of only three women on the professional staff. Subjected to the usual slights and remarks, she often bristled but was careful here as elsewhere not to appear the zealot. "She was sensitive to the issue, and without being shrill at all," an older male colleague would say afterward in his own telling terms.

In this, her first taste of government, Hillary Rodham was literally surrounded by dirty little secrets, immaculately kept. Doar turned the staffs floor of the hotel into a grated, guarded, wired fortress, sealing off the mounting evidence of the inquiry. He insisted on an air of scrupulous nonpartisanship among his staff and on mute confidentiality with respect to the media and the public. "We're so damned secretive," complained one Missouri congressman on the Judiciary Committee, "that we're going to impeach Nixon in secret and he'll never know it."

She told stories later of being assigned to hear some of the infamous Nixon tapes, saying she listened to one they termed the "tape of tapes" as the haunted president was recorded reviewing his own Oval Office conversations, muttering exculpatory interpolations of what he really meant at the time. But young staff attorneys rarely if ever had such privileges or responsibility. The traditionalist Doar relied principally on documentary evidence and testimony from other hearings, distrusting computers or other electronic "gimmicks," as he called them, painstakingly compiling material on some 500,000 index cards in "a cross-filing system," noted one observer, "with a level of precision that approached life." Nor in the strict staff hierarchy did junior lawyers have any appreciable contact with the politicians or politics of the Judiciary Committee, a grave role reserved to the chief counsel and his most senior men.

Instead, she was assigned under other male attorneys down the line to tend the process of the inquiry, dealing with subpoenas, submission of evidence, the role of White House defense counsel, and similar questions of form. Procedural work, it held her largely on the fringes and was never the sort of exposure that some others received to Watergate's seething evidence of political abuse. Even under Doar's imposed secrecy, however, the staff constantly talked about the scandal among themselves, and, whatever her duties, Rodham had an exceptional vantage point.

Into that spring and summer they worked grueling hours, their lives consumed. Like most of the others, she lived a spartan existence in a single room at a friend's place not far from the Capitol. Doar himself slept in the shabby basement apartment of an old rowhouse a block from the Congressional Hotel. She and Bill were "in constant touch by telephone," wrote Donnie Radcliffe. At one point Clinton scheduled a trip to Washington, and Hillary told a more senior staff attorney, Bernard Nussbaum, who was already in politics, that she wanted him to meet her "boyfriend," as Nussbaum remembered it. "He's really good," she pronounced with casual certainty one night driving home. "He's going to be president of the United States." At that Nussbaum "went a little crazy," as he put it. "We're under a lot of pressure on the impeachment, and here was somebody telling me her boyfriend is going to be president." They apologized to each other the next day and Nussbaum went on to stay in touch with Hillary Rodham over the years, passing legal business her way and, eventually, for a brief and ill-fated tenure, becoming White House counsel.

By midsummer 1974 Doar's methodical work from his index cards reached a climax. The committee pored over more than forty loose-leaf notebooks with their innocuously named "Statements of Information" detailing the generic beast of Watergate. It was John Doar's inquiry, resented and ridiculed by the regular House judiciary Committee staff, publicly overshadowed by special prosecutors Archibald Cox and Leon Jaworski, that in the end constitutionally dealt with Richard Nixon. Its work brought the formal House vote of articles of impeachment, forcing the president's resignation before a convicting Senate trial.

Despite Doar's precise accounting, the larger and more ominous dimensions of the abuses were publicly understood only after Nixon's resignation and subsequent pardon by Gerald Ford. The political process that disposed of a corrupt president by moving toward veritable impeachment also, in a sense, closed in around the corruption rather than cleansing it. The tainted political money exposed by Watergate, and even some of the more thuggish political methods, would survive the era's superficial reforms in new forms and new places into the 1990s.

For the young woman who handled Doar's procedural issues there were special ironies. Two decades later, as First Lady, Hillary Clinton would witness Richard Nixon's triumphal return to Washington as an honored elder statesman welcomed by the Republican leadership on Capitol Hill and admired even by the Democrats. When Nixon died in the spring of 1994 her husband would lead a national chorus of eulogy and homage. At the lavish funeral in Yorba Linda, California, they would hear Watergate's unindicted coconspirator canonized as a hero and statesman. It was as if the inquiry staffs grim "Statements of Information" had never been published.
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Re: CNN Tonight with Don Lemon on Bill Clinton & BLM

Postby admin » Fri Nov 11, 2016 9:55 pm

The Clinton Chronicles

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