QUIRKY WORLD ... Former inmate wants to go back home — to jail

USA: A long-time inmate who was recently released from prison pleaded guilty in federal court to robbing a bank in Wyoming and asked a judge to impose the maximum sentence, saying going back to prison would be like going home.

Just a week after the robbery, Linda Thompson, aged 59, waived her right to a grand jury proceeding and entered the plea to a bank robbery charge.

Thompson said she had already spent about 18 years in prison for various crimes.

“Prison is home to me so I’m just going back home,” she said. “I’d like as much time as possible.”

Thompson pleaded guilty as part of a plea bargain that did not contain a recommended sentence. A bank robbery conviction generally carries a maximum 20 years in prison, though the term can be lengthened when previous convictions are considered.

David Weiss, defending, said outside court that it is unusual to represent a defendant who wants to go back to prison and “exceptional” to have one who wants so much prison time.

He described Thompson as competent and intelligent and an advocate for transgender prison inmates.

She was featured a decade ago in a documentary, titled Cruel and Unusual, that examined the lives of transgender prisoners.

Taxi straight to jail

ENGLAND:

Two bungling thieves robbed a terrified taxi driver at knifepoint before getting him to drop them almost at the doorstep of one of the pair.

Michael Johnson, aged 29, and Tony Walker, aged 23, were jailed at Birmingham Crown Court after admitting robbing their victim of his takings and satnav in Solihull on June 29.

Walker, who wielded the knife, was spotted running into the block of flats where he lives, and when police searched his home they recovered the satnav.

Both men had been picked up in Audley Rd, Birmingham, where Johnson lives, before deciding to threaten the driver.

Tapir totters out

ENGLAND:

The only Malayan tapir calf to be born at Chester Zoo has taken his first steps outside.

Solo, who was born on July 7 and named after the longest river on the Indonesian island of Java, revelled in his outdoor adventure under the watchful eyes of his mother, Margery.

Malayan tapirs are an endangered species and less than 2,500 are thought to exist in the forests and rainforests of their native south-east Asia, largely due to the destruction of their habitat.

New Ball in park

USA:

A new statue of Lucille Ball is being unveiled in the late actress’s home town to replace one that was so hated it was dubbed Scary Lucy.

Sculptor Carolyn Palmer hopes her tribute will please fans who demanded that another artist’s unflattering version be banished through a Facebook campaign with the name, We Love Lucy! Get rid of this statue.

Palmer’s statue is to be unveiled tomorrow in Lucille Ball Memorial Park in the western New York village of Celoron. As for Scary Lucy, mayor Scott Schrecengost said she is too popular to remove altogether, and will get another spot in the park.

Dance off

PORTUGAL:

The car park of an open-air music and dance festival resembled a vehicle graveyard after a wildfire gutted 422 cars.

Authorities said there were no casualties in the blaze, which forced the evacuation of 4,000 people at the Andanças festival site in Castelo de Vide, Portalegre,

Musician Pedro Mestre said the cars exploded one after the other — “like popcorn” — as the fire spread through the car park.

Leaf me alone

USA:

An assault suspect tried to avoid police in Colorado by climbing a tree and staying there for hours.

The 30-year-old man camped out in the Colorado Springs tree for about five hours, climbing down after police used tear gas and sprayed him with water. Lane Malouff was wanted on suspicion of assaulting the mother of his children and trying to strangle her in June in the small southern city of Alamosa.

Wading for a wedding ring

USA:

Jamie Kennedy needs to make room for another wedding guest: The man who found her engagement ring in the bottom of Lake Michigan.

John Dudley, president of a metal detector club in Michigan, fought strong waves and scooped up the ring after getting a signal.

His reaction? “Oh, my gosh.”

The discovery was made two days after Kennedy lost the ring while trying to wash sand off her fingers at the beach in South Haven. She says she was “sad, sick, and disappointed”.

Dudley reached out to Kennedy and offered his services. Kennedy says she “practically walked on water” when Dudley gave her a thumbs-up to indicate he had found it. She says “miracles can happen”.


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