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Dublin: 12 °C Thursday 17 October, 2019

Sitdown Sunday: Murdered in cold blood - but did their daughter do it?

The very best of the week’s writing from around the web.

IT’S A DAY of rest, and you may be in the mood for a quiet corner and a comfy chair.

We’ve hand-picked the week’s best reads for you to savour.

1. The bong next door

shutterstock_271769777 Source: Shutterstock/

This fascinating trip through the middle-and upper-class suburbs of Colorado brings us encounters with mums and dads for whom smoking weed is more common than having a glass of wine. One of them even set up Stoner Jesus Bible Study.

(NY Mag, approx 37 mins reading time)

“I was majorly conservative,” said Button, who was wearing a navy cardigan and jeans cuffed at the calf. Earlier this year, while going through a divorce, she’d tried an edible on a friend’s advice. This had proved a revelation. “I expected to see unicorns,” Button said. “But when I started smoking I just got so connected to God.”

2. The tragic end of Mickey Rooney

shutterstock_88667356 Source: Shutterstock/Christopher Halloran

The Hollywood actor Mickey Rooney had a shocking end to his life – his eighth wife is accused of abusing and humiliating him. The sad account of what is alleged to have happened makes difficult reading.

(The Hollywood Reporter, approx 37 mins reading time)

Mickey Rooney shrieks in pain. Is he OK? “No, I’m not,” he says, choking back tears. It’s July 2010, inside The Grill on the Alley in Thousand Oaks, and in the midst of an interview with one of the authors of this piece, the diminutive 89-year-old has been kicked under the table by his eighth wife, Jan, as confirmed by his stepson, Chris Aber, who also is at the table. “She kicked him real hard,” says Chris with a laugh. Rooney’s offense? Rambling in his answers.

3. Someone like you 

shutterstock_130518446 Source: Shutterstock/s_bukley

Adele is back with 25, her latest album, and after taking some time out to have a baby, she feels a little out of the loop. Here, the 27-year-old gets real about fame, parenthood and feminism.

(Rolling Stone, approx 33 mins reading time)

“People think I hate being famous,” Adele says. “And I don’t. I’m really frightened of it. I think it’s really toxic, and I think it’s really easy to be dragged into it.” Early in her career, she faced frequent musical comparisons to Amy Winehouse, whom she met only a few times: “Watching Amy deteriorate is one of the reasons I’m a bit frightened.

4. Satanic Panic 

shutterstock_132906731 Source: Shutterstock/Vera Petruk

The McMartin case involved accusations of satanic activity at a number of Los Angeles preschools. Over a decade, more than 12,000 recorded cases of satanic abuse were investigated – but no physical evidence was found.

(Believer Magazine, approx 38 mins reading time)

Over the course of seven years, all “Satanic” charges were eventually dropped, and the accusers were narrowed to eleven, the McMartin defendants to two. They both were ultimately acquitted on all counts—after a seven-­year trial that, at fifteen million dollars in total costs, is still widely considered the most expensive in American history. But long before the trial proved a disaster, the McMartin case set a pattern.

5. Terror and ivory

shutterstock_297050969 Source: Shutterstock/JONATHAN PLEDGER

This fascinating story looks at the links between the ivory trade and terror in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. A plan to embed a fake – but realistic-looking – ivory tusk with GPS is made to try and track the buyers of ivory.

(National Geographic, approx 36 mins reading time)

East Africa is now ground zero for much of the poaching. In June the Tanzanian government announced that the country has lost 60 percent of its elephants in the past five years, down from 110,000 to fewer than 44,000. During the same period, neighboring Mozambique is reported to have lost 48 percent of its elephants. Locals, including poor villagers and unpaid park rangers, are killing elephants for cash

6. Tale of a murder

shutterstock_271571168 Source: Shutterstock/

In 1985, Derek and Nancy Haysom were found brutally murdered in their Virginia home. Their daughter, Elizabeth Haysom, and her boyfriend Jens Soering were accused of their murder.

(New Yorker, approx 58 mins reading time)

The house revealed no indication of forced entry. On the dining-room table were place settings and the remnants of a meal. No weapon could be found, but there were footprints in the blood. One looked to have been made by a tennis shoe, and two more by a sock. Forensic study showed that the Haysoms had blood-alcohol levels of .22—exceedingly high. A vodka bottle nearby carried fingerprints, as did a shot glass. Four blood types were in evidence: the Haysoms’ A and AB, a bit of B blood on a damp rag, and, on the screen door and in the master suite, spots of O.


Australia Melbourne Cup Horse Racing Source: Andy Brownbill

Michelle Payne beat the detractors to win the Melbourne Cup this week – but her story is even more interesting than that. When she was six months old, her mother died in a car crash. Her father, Paddy, was left with 10 children to raise. Here’s their story.

(Sydney Morning Herald, approx 14 mins reading time)

Michelle’s toughness is not at issue. In 2004, aged 18, she fell headfirst from her mount at Sandown, fracturing her skull and bruising her brain. Sidelined for months and “in a pretty bad way”, she cried herself to sleep at night, fearful she would never be well enough to ride again.Her father feared that she would, and again questioned whether this was the life for her. She pressed on, albeit with a dash of her old man’s verbal trickery when her riding licence was reinstated.

More: The best reads from every previous Sitdown Sunday >

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