True Crime, Jan. 16, 2008 

In Your Person Counts as On Your Person

Amidst the usual fare of Boise's drug-related headlines over the last week—a pound of pot here, a few grams of meth-mouthery there—was a cameo by none other than Senor Cavallo himself. As in, the horse. Heroin. Smacky-wackums. Injecticus betweenyourtoesicus. Admittedly, the part was only a walk-on, since Jeffrey Johnson, 37, allegedly swallowed his small stash almost as quickly as the BPD officers searching his car spotted it. Johnson's gambit earned him a trip to the hospital and a felony charge of evidence destruction, according to a department release, but it also gave officers the idea to visit Johnson's residence and check on his children, ages 2 and 4. After being let into the home by 29-year-old Tia Nelson, Johnson's live-in ladyfriend and the kids' mother, officers reportedly discovered both another small stash of heroin and pokey metal paraphernalia. They arrested Nelson and charged both her and Johnson with felony injury to a child. Officers placed the children in the care of state Health and Welfare.

Next Time, Use the Phone

As anyone who took Coach Gregory's sixth-period health class at Nampa High in the spring of 1995—and who didn't ditch during the weeklong "Scare The Little Bastards Into Celibacy" unit—can attest, watching a video of a strange woman giving birth is a traumatic cinematic experience not soon forgotten. We were different people after class that day—after the screaming, the writhing, the sickly sepia tone of the film, the way it kept going and going and going and, oh my god, what the hell is that? A head? Turn it off, Coach, man ... please make it go back in.

Let's not be too quick, then, to stamp "DUMBASS" across the forehead of Idaho's latest Internet news celebrity, the burglar who taped over his victim's birth-film with a ransom message that didn't include instructions for how to deliver the ransom. The suspect, according to a now well-circulated AP story, pinched an assortment of electronics and clothes from the backseat of a woman's car in Idaho Falls in November. The next day, the victim found a familiar-looking video in her mailbox, but upon finally watching it last week, she discovered a revised first scene: a man in a handkerchief mask, making the holiday film season's most pathetic attempt at a threatening ultimatum. In response, Idaho Falls Police Lt. Joe Cawley did his duty by delivering the two requisite stupid-criminal story quotes: "We're not dealing with brain surgeons here," and "We'd really like to catch this guy."

Have You Seen My GetDownInTheGroundPunk?

Faced with a standoff right out of the best type of unscripted television—Cops—police in Weiser concocted a dramatic skit just clever enough that they'll probably get picketed by the Writer's Guild.

The characters in this one-act, staged on the morning of December 14 in Clifford's Trailer Park, were as follows: an intoxicated 30-something male in full breakdown mode, pointing guns at himself, his wife, himself again, and threatening to use his extensive arsenal to take a few officers with him into the great beyond; his wife and the other trailer park residents, all of whom were quickly herded offstage by the ushers from the Weiser P.D., Idaho State Police and Washington County Sheriff's Office; and a small cast of local flatfoots led by chief Greg Moon. Moon has most likely acted in this kind of performance a few times, judging by the charitable description he offered of the antagonist to the Argus Observer: "He was mentally disturbed, but he really just needed to talk to somebody."

Ah, but how to get that dialogue rolling, when our male lead refuses to answer the telephone? The answer is to deliver a performance so heartwrenching, it breaks through an audience's homicidal facade and. According to Moon's recap in the Argus, two officers swapped their unis for plain clothes and approached the trailer, pretending they were looking for a lost child. The suspect obeyed the unwritten First Law of Trailer Park Inertia—"When an intoxicated trailer-dweller sees a group of strangers who aren't wearing police uniforms standing outside his trailer, he will come outside and ask what in the Sam Hill they want"—and the officers held character long enough to sneak closer and pin him on the ground. He was transported to the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare in Boise for a mental evaluation.

Of Alfalfa and Pedophiles

Ah, life in the country. The air is clean, workers earn an honest wage for honest labor and skyrocketing hay prices promise good times to come for farmers.

UPDATE: Upon further review, the air smells like a crap-and-silage, the dairy deliveryman has been downloading child pornography in the company truck and hay bandits are terrorizing the countryside.

To the last point: yes, people steal hay. In a recent incident, thieves made off with eight tons—157 bales, give or take—on or around New Year's Day from a shed along Highway 20/26 just over the Oregon border. The Malheur County Sheriff's Office told the Argus Observer later in the week they expect plenty of similar reports in the coming months.

More encouragingly, the deliveryman is no longer downloading illicit nastiness while piloting a tanker truck. On Friday, Judge B. Lynn Winmill sentenced Andrew Tennant, 30, of Jerome, to serve 12 years and change in federal prison for collecting and distributing child pornography, following a yearlong investigation by local, state and national investigators. According to court documents, Tennant was fired in 2004 from Micron for looking at child pornography on a work computer. At his new job, Tennant explained after being caught last May, he used his personal laptop but "frequently" looked at porn by piggybacking on wireless signals broadcast by the dairies on his route. While chatting with a Secret Service agent last year—he went by "ican9669," she was "miamimisswith2"—Tennant offered up his future in the form of some bondage-themed pictures and videos involving 4-year-olds. He also offered to fly both the agent and her fictional 9- and 12-year-old daughters to Boise for a tryst. The visit, Tennant later claimed, was just cyber-prattle, but he copped to storing thousands of illegal images and videos on his laptop and thumb drive. Upon his release, Tennant will not be allowed to have contact with minors or use the Internet for 30 years.

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