CLARKSVILLE, TENN. — Kristin Wilkerson described in court Thursday how her roommate, Shirley Beck, was hung up, gagged and continuously beaten for four hours, sustaining multiple kicks, punches and strikes with a metal pole, a rod and whip-like devices at the hands of three other roommates.
Clarksville Police found Beck, 39, dead in the back room of her home at 108 Wilson Court on June 26, and police have charged four of her six roommates with criminal homicide.
Thursday afternoon, preliminary hearings were held for Derek M. Vicchitto, 36, Matthew Lee Reynolds, 27, Cynthia Dianne Skipper, 46, and Alphonso Jay Richardson II, 24.
Skipper entered the courtroom in a wheelchair and was hooked up to an oxygen tank. The four sat with their attorneys during the almost three-hour hearing.
The biggest question was whether Beck was murdered during a BDSM session (bondage, discipline, sadism and masochism) that went too far, or if she was brutally beaten to death and murdered in cold blood at the hands of the people she’d shared a home with for only one month.
Robert Nash, assistant district attorney, called numerous law enforcement agents to testify, but Wilkerson, an eyewitness, offered a good deal of insight into what led to Beck’s death.
Wilkerson, who lived in the home for a year and a half, said Beck was known to be a “house slave.” She desired to get into the BDSM lifestyle, which Vicchitto and Skipper were involved in together.
Beck called Skipper her “mistress” and was tasked with cleaning the kitchen, taking out trash and walking the dogs. Beck was called “Tuna” by Vicchitto and Skipper.
Lead Detective Eric Ewing said during his investigation he learned that Beck was involved in BDSM to an extent and had previously been another woman’s house slave.
Reynolds and Beck had moved into the house a month prior to the her death, and Wilkerson said she had, on several occasions, seen Beck “punished” and “disciplined” by the couple and complying in a submissive manner. At other times, she’d seen Beck defend herself.
Beck was beaten on June 25 by her roommates, but on June 26 the motives were different, according to testimony.
Detective Ewing testified that Richardson admitted to him that he went into a rage after he suspected Beck was trying to kill him and his girlfriend.
“He described the victim as the house slave, and Cynthia (Skipper) was charged with punishing the victim,” Ewing said. “This particular night, Cynthia had charged him with watching over the victim during kitchen and dishes duty. He said he checked one of his cups and it had boric acid on it. He checked another one of his cups and another one.
“He said he snapped. His fiancee, Ashley, was blind, and he felt that the victim was trying to poison Ashley. He said it made him very angry and he snapped. He screamed and woke up the house. He was screaming, ‘Are you a trying to kill me?’ He told me he had anger issues and he had beaten the victim. He told me started hitting her with his hand.”
Richardson also described hitting Beck with his fist and a bamboo rod, and hitting her on the buttocks with a metal pole. ...
Steven Zelich allegedly told a Walworth County Sheriff’s detective that he accidentally killed the two women who were found in suitcases on North Como Road during a BDSM session.
Zelich said that he met both women on an online chat site for those with BDSM interests. BDSM stands for bondage, domination and sadomasochism. Zelich had been previously linked to a sadomasochism forum in which his user name is Mr. Handcuff.
Zelich, a 52-year-old former police officer from West Allis, has been charged with two counts of hiding a corpse in Walworth County.
During a preliminary hearing on Thursday morning, Detective Jeffrey Recknagel testified that he questioned Zelich on June 25 about the two suitcases and the two women who were inside of them.
On a chat forum, Zelich met then 19-year-old Jenny Gamez of Cottage Grove, Ore. The two met in person in late 2012 or early 2013 at a hotel in Kenosha County, according to the criminal complaint.
Recknagel testified that Zelich told him he and Gamez spent several days at the hotel.
“On a Sunday, they participated in a BDSM session,” Recknagel said. “During that session he ultimately took her life.”
After Gamez died, Zelich told Recknagel he transported Gamez back to his apartment in the suitcase.
Zelich told Recknagel that he also met Laura Simonson, 37, of Farmington, Minn., on a BDSM chat site, and in person at a hotel in Rochester, Minn.
At the hotel, the two participated in BDSM activities, and on a Sunday, during their last day at the hotel, they participated in a final BDSM session.
After killing Simonson, Zelich placed her body in a suitcase and transported it to West Allis. ...
Police are investigating the death of a woman over the weekend and have seized recording devices and materials related to sadomasochism from the home where she was found.
Officers went to the condo in the city's Newtown section just before 9 a.m. Sunday, after the woman's fiance called 911, according to an affidavit for a search warrant filed in Circuit Court.
They found her dead on the living room floor with bruising on her face. The woman's fiance told police she had been drinking at a bar, and while there, the two had an argument. Once home, he said, she took the drug clozapine and asked him not to call 911 but instead engage in sexual-bondage relations with her when she passed out, according to the affidavit.
Clozapine is used to treat schizophrenia, according to a National Institutes of Health website.
The fiance, who had bite marks and scratches on his body, gave inconsistent statements to police, the affidavit said.
A police spokesman said officers are still investigating. According to the search warrant, items seized included a "fetish box," a camera, a towel, a pink dog leash, tape and a plastic gun. ...
Make your own fireworks this holiday at the 2nd Annual Touch of Flavor kink conference, July 4-7 in Baltimore. Headed by kink instructor and sexpert Madam Cassie, the conference offers more than 55 educational seminars and courses, live demonstrations and interactive play events like the Dungeon Gala. Whether you’re dabbling into "Shades of Grey" scenarios or are a hard-core S/M enthusiast, this conference has something for every level.
"I had worked within the BDSM community, which is very tight knit, and spread education amongst small groups, but with the push of ’Pink’ and "50 Shades’ and Rihanna’s new S/M song, we felt that trying to get this education to the mainstream was very important," said Madam Cassie in a recent interview. "It’s important to be fun and exciting, but we want to make sure it’s safe. So we decided to market it to the mainstream so that people would be able to get this education."
The conference features a wide array of 101 classes to introduce people to basic safety issues, plus interactive classes on topics ranging from kink, female ejaculation, strap-on play, piercing, flogging, electrical play, tantric sex, polyamory and basic dominance/submission.
Madam Cassie is no ingenue; she is a professional who has been teaching kink education and sexual techniques since 2008. She currently leads a non-profit social group for kinksters in the Mid-Atlantic region, and is a prominent voice in other organizations throughout the area. She will lead many workshops, and has tapped other seasoned educators to share their expertise.
"We have a lot of starter classes and introductions to things," said Cassie. "They’re not necessarily ’vanilla,’ but we make sure that they’re a good place for people to start, so that someone with no knowledge could leave here feeling like they learned something, and not like they’re in over their head."
She recommends that newcomers take the Kink 101 class, the only one which runs multiple times over the course of the weekend. It covers basic safety stuff, the terminology and protocols, what you should do at a BDSM party and basic negotiations with a partner.
"People are really bad negotiators, so we go over how to negotiate a scene with a partner to make sure everyone’s desire and safety is negotiated correctly," said Cassie. "We teach terminology so that you know the words, for example, dominant and submissive are not the same as top verses bottom."
In the vein of negotiating your best match is the course "Dating Your Species," in which you will learn how to get started finding a person who meets your desire and is a good match for you, because as Cassie notes, "dogs and cats shouldn’t be dating."
Other highlights include a class about African Americans within the BDSM community, an introduction to polyamory for those thinking of opening up their relationships, flogging and caning for beginners, five different classes just on rope, and Tantric sex for the pragmatic, which Cassie explains as being "about the connection during sex, without the spirituality behind it. It’s a good starter class for anyone interested in the Kama Sutra."...
The 2013 conviction of a former New York City police officer in a plot to kidnap, torture, kill and eat women was overturned late Monday by a federal judge who said there was not sufficient evidence to support it.
The judge, Paul G. Gardephe of Federal District Court in Manhattan, granted the former officer, Gilberto Valle, a verdict of acquittal on the most serious count that he faced, kidnapping conspiracy. He could have faced life in prison on that count.
“The evidentiary record is such that it is more likely than not the case that all of Valle’s Internet communications about kidnapping are fantasy role-play,” Judge Gardephe said in a 118-page opinion issued late Monday night.
Mr. Valle, who was convicted in March 2013, had not yet been sentenced, and his federal public defenders had asked Judge Gardephe to grant him a new trial, arguing that the Constitution granted people — including police officers — “the right to fantasize about whatever and whomever they like, free from government interference.”
No women were ever abducted or harmed in the plot, but prosecutors told the jury that Mr. Valle had “crossed the line” while immersing himself in a fetish website where he communicated electronically with others about how he wanted to abduct women, butcher and cook them, and eat them.
Mr. Valle’s lawyers had argued that his plot was all part of a twisted fantasy — “no more real than the alien invasion” featured in the 1938 radio drama “War of the Worlds,” one defense lawyer, Julia L. Gatto, said in her closing argument.
But federal prosecutors argued that Mr. Valle had taken “concrete steps” to further his plans, including illegally looking up potential victims in a law enforcement database, carrying out surveillance of them, and using the Internet to research ways to abduct, subdue and cook potential victims.
“He left the world of fantasy; he entered the world of reality,” one prosecutor, Hadassa Waxman, said in her closing argument.
But Judge Gardephe wrote that “once the lies and the fantastical elements are stripped away, what is left are deeply disturbing misogynistic chats and emails written by an individual obsessed with imagining women he knows suffering horrific sex-related pain, terror and degradation.
“Despite the highly disturbing nature of Valle’s deviant and depraved sexual interests, his chats and emails about these interests are not sufficient — standing alone — to make out the elements of conspiracy to commit kidnapping.”
The case had drawn widespread attention both because it involved a police officer and because it raised the question of when does a virtual crime, discussed and plotted in Internet chat rooms, cross over into actual criminal activity, including what kinds of additional steps are needed to create an actual crime.
The judge said in “the unique circumstances of this extraordinary case,” he had concluded that the evidence offered by prosecutors at trial was not “sufficient to demonstrate beyond a reasonable doubt that Valle entered into a genuine agreement to kidnap a woman, or that he specifically intended to commit a kidnapping.” ...
Some couples say hooking up with strangers together, instead of cheating, helped their marriage.
And next, it's the young and the restless. We're going to meet some couples who say their unions are more secure and more honest because they don't believe in mog nothing my. They swear the secret to staying together is not having secrets at all.
I have been dying to wear this skirt. I have just been wanting to wear it. These sexy guests are all dressing to impress for a top secret invitation-only party.
They're all in committed relationships, but tonight, they're hoping to hook up with the other party Goers. They're swingers, who find passion with strangers. We're excited.
Yes. Finally here. Our story begins two years ago with these two curious couples.
Ginelle and Steven. Stuff that people do they want to try. Do you think we can do that?
And Michael and Sara. How did this all start for you? We made a bet for the super bowl.
If the patriots won, I got a free fling with another guy and if the giants won -- I got a threesome with another girl. And needless to say, the giants won. Call me old fashioned, but isn't there something odd about seeing your mate with somebody else?
I mean, we're not really the jealous type. We believe that sharing is caring. Welcome to behind closed doors.
Attending a posh swingers party like this is a first for both our couples. And here, the party Goers are strictly V. I. P. ...
The former owner of a private club in Fayette County wants the man who rents the property cited for allegedly permitting on-site camping during events that cater to alternative sexual lifestyles.
Thomas Wajda, who said he no longer operates the clothing-optional Mountain Retreat along Route 40 in Redstone, said he rents the property to Ray Como, who has addresses in Pittsburgh and Redstone.
Online advertisements indicate the retreat hosts events through Pittsburgh Bridge, a self-described BDSM peer group. BDSM, according to UrbanDictionary.com, is an abbreviation for bondage and other sexual activity.
Como could not be reached for comment on Friday.
Wajda waged a three-year battle with the county and nearby residents to operate his club on the property, which is zoned for agricultural use. In 1998, he obtained a zoning certificate that allows a bed and breakfast to operate at the site.
Sara Rosiek, the county director of zoning, planning and community development, said the bed and breakfast zoning certificate does not permit camping.
Wajda, who has an ongoing landlord-tenant civil case against Como, said he went to county officials when a neighbor showed him photos of visitors camping on the property. The neighbor, whom he identified by first name only, did not return a Tribune-Review phone call.
Court documents do not list an attorney for Como. He could not be reached through a telephone number listed for him.
Wajda said the county has not yet acted.
Rosiek said that, because of the kind of activity detailed in online advertisements, she has not required anyone from her staff to visit the property to investigate the camping claim.
She said she is working with the county's solicitors to see if a citation can be issued based on the ads.
There are no plans to send an employee to a “June Play Party,” an event advertised online for Saturday, she said. ...