Salt Lake City’s police investigators aren’t too happy with Richard Albert Ricci, now that he went and died on them. His recent brain hemorrhage and subsequent coma put a cloud over their case against him. His Aug. 30 death has really blown things.
Offically, the 48-year-old handyman and ex-con who worked in Elizabeth Smart’s house was not a suspect in the 14-year-old’s kidnapping. But privately, investigators have surmised that he either did it or knows who did. Unfortunately, they don’t have any physical evidence implicating him. And even before he fell gravely ill, Ricci, who also has been charged in an unrelated bank robbery, wasn’t talking.
Authorities appeared ready to roll up Ricci on the bank robbery charge as a “career criminal” in an effort to land him a life sentence. Then, even without a conviction in the Smart case, they could clumsily claim they got their man. Ricci’s natural death at this point has made that even easier, given Chief Rick Dense’s remarks that his demise “will have an impact that we can never clear him.”
• Chaos is coming, chaos is coming, warned the Deseret News in a recent front-page “new analysis.” Chicken Little lawmakers warned the afternoon paper that a recent Utah Supreme Court ruling could give back to voters too much power making law. Egad, that is frightening.
Justices recently struck down a law—passed by the state Legislature—that made it more difficult to get voter initiatives on the ballot. The law that required 10 percent of the voters to sign petitions in 20 of Utah’s 29 counties is unconstitutional, they ruled.
“Initiatives often aren’t drafted well, they conflict with existing law, they are a mess to administer, and they result in the courts ruling on these confusing laws,” whined state Sen. John Valentine, R-Orem.
What a coincidence—it sounds just like the Legislature.
• Speaking of heinous crimes, here’s something from SmartBomb’s exclusive “Undies”-file: A Lower Southampton, Pa. man will stand trial on attempted murder charges after a friend gave him a “wedgie.”
The Associated Press reports that Daniel Strouss, 19, was attending a Phish rock concert when Eric Kassoway sneaked up behind him and yanked up his underwear. Strouss was so peeved by the incident that he later shot Kassoway at his home. It is believed that Strouss will use the so-called “Wedgie Defense” at trial.
• Here’s an item from SmartBomb’s Foreign Affairs Desk: The struggling economy in Hong Kong is having a devastating effect on so-called “Second Wives Villages” on the Chinese mainland. The AP reports that wealthy Hong Kong businessmen who have kept mistresses in the nearby province of Shenzhen have endured harsh pay cuts in recent years and have cut out on their mistresses. One 47-year-old businessman who used to keep two mistresses lamented that now he must settle for prostitutes. It’s a real case study in “Trickle Down” economics.
• And finally this: Tens of thousands of men and women stripped off their shirts in Bunol, Spain and hurled tomatoes at each other in the annual Tomatina food fight. The AP reports that the world’s largest tomato fight drew a record 38,000 people who pitched tons of tomatoes at each other, creating rivers of tomato sauce—what some in this small Spanish village call the running of the juice. Earnest Hemingway, eat your heart out.