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True Crime, Dec. 5, 2007


Demolition Derby on Lover's Lane

Lonnie Scott Fenton just had too many damned warrants. The 30-year-old was wanted on six charges in Ada County alone—a felony count of leaving the scene of an accident, three felony probation violations and two misdemeanor failure to appear—and that's without taking into account Fenton's contemporary contributions to Boise County's proud historical tradition of disorderly conduct. But disregard these charges as he might—and it appears, by their abundance, that he indeed disregarded them—it's reasonable to imagine that the collective legal weight they put on Fenton's shoulders contributed to his jumpiness last Thursday morning.

And jumpy Fenton was, even at that most un-jumpy hour of 2 a.m., when Ada County Sheriff's deputy Ron Mace spotted a Kia Spectra with Fenton in the driver's seat at the parking area of remote Bonneville Point. According to a department release, Fenton and a female passenger were inside the car, probably discussing Major League Baseball off-season trade rumors, when Mace approached the car and identified himself as an officer—probably intending to ask whether they thought the Yankees were really willing to offer super-prospect Philip Hughes to the Twins for Johan Santana. Fenton responded—as most Yankee fans will once Hughes inevitably is traded—by blowing a gasket. He sped away, spitting gravel all the way to Blacks Creek Road, but lost control and flipped the Kia—we're talking a full curveball rotation, not some knuckleball half-spin—less than half a mile from the park. Upon pulling alongside the wreck, Mace observed Fenton bleeding profusely from a cut on his head, and the officer provided first aid until paramedics arrived. As of Monday, December 3, Fenton was still being treated at St. Alphonsus Regional Medical Center for head and neck injuries. County prosecutors say they will decide how to proceed with his case after Fenton's medical condition is clear.

But Does He Get to Keep the Rug?

If the rest of society policed itself as well as hunters do, this column wouldn't be nearly so easy to write each week. For the second time in the last month (see: BW, True Crime, "CSI: The Deer Edition," Oct. 31, 2007), a well-timed tattle, er, "tip" from a sportsman to Idaho Fish and Game has led to jail time for a poacher. He of the itchy trigger finger is Royce Tanner of Star, who will be cooped up for 10 days in the Boise County clink after illegally "taking" a bear—and then taking (no irony quotes necessary) said bear's hide—on private property owned by the Hoffman Timber Company. The hide reportedly ended up in a local taxidermy shop, where Fish and Game officers seized it and matched DNA from the hide to the naked carcass from the kill site. In addition to his coop-time, a Boise County judge also sentenced Tanner on Friday to two years probation and an equivalent suspension of his hunting and fishing privileges. A final tip to Tanner himself: If you make believe that you're in a deer blind—or a bear blind, if such a thing exists—the time will go by a lot faster.

Pull the Trigger, Pull a Larry

Judy Gough is pulling a Larry Craig. (Pause for effect.) The 61-year-old Nampa resident and accused murderer pleaded not guilty on Friday to a crime that media outlets both local and national (if bloggers count as national) have been describing in intricate hypothetical detail for months. According to published reports in both valley dailies, Gough allegedly drugged her reportedly abusive ex-husband Lloyd Ford in 1980 by doping his caramel sundae with sleeping pills, then plugged Ford with a deer rifle and folded him into a trunk before burying his body in the couple's back yard. By casting Ford's disappearance as abandonment, Gough filed successfully for divorce in 1981, and for the past 27 odd years, no one—including Ford's own two children—filed a missing-person report. Gough's daughter from a previous marriage, Kimberly Wright, reportedly tipped police to the family secret and helped them wrangle a confession from Gough in a taped phone conversation. Details about the plan behind Gough's plea are sketchy, but they'll surely be headline fodder once the trial commences next summer.

In Which the Author Betrays his Hunger

Mexican national Sergio Chavez-Cruz received a hard lesson in American-style culinary justice last Tuesday, when U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill sentenced him to marinate for 30 months in federal prison for possessing an unregistered sawed-off shotgun. Chavez-Cruz, 32, was snatched up by the Caldwell Police Department street crimes unit just this summer, though he reportedly admitted to investigators to chilling illegally in the United States for the past eight years. Upon reaching proper tenderness—at least enough to make some kick-ass bistec encebollado—Chavez-Cruz will be wrapped up and dished out to the nation of Mexico.

Gone, Then Back A-Garren

With 928 days left to serve in a minimum security facility until he would have become eligible for parole (remember, 2008 is a leap year), Tony Garren reached the Popeye point. Not to be confused with "pulling a Larry Craig" (see: above), the Popeye point is that momentous juncture—in the cartoons, it generally occurs when Bluto has Popeye on the rack or some similar implement of national security—when our protagonist looks around and decides that he's had all he can stands, and he can't stands no more. For Garren, that moment came last Tuesday, November 27, while the 29-year-old was on a work crew at an Idaho Transportation Department shop in New Plymouth. Just before noon, according to Department of Corrections releases, Garren simply walked—or maybe skipped—away, not to be seen for the rest of the day. Almost exactly 24 hours later, after getting a "Hello, McFly!" telephone call from IDOC sergeant Amo Angeletti, Garren turned himself in without incident. Garren will now face disciplinary sanctions and possible new criminal charges in addition to the burglary, weapons, drug and eluding-an-officer charges that he was already serving. Here's hoping he had a nice dinner on the outside.