Everyone has the best intentions to have a great time on New Year’s Eve. You can put on a nice dress, buy a fancy bottle of Champagne, and book reservations for a classy celebration — but sometimes you still end up crying with your head in the toilet while everyone else is watching the ball drop.
Legend has it that what you find yourself doing at midnight sets the tone for your next year. Let’s take a lesson from these cautionary tales and try to stay on the right side of the law and out of prison in 2017. Be careful out there!
- Last year, just as partygoers were ringing in the New Year, a volunteer firefighter was stabbed to death. Just this month, 20-year-old Juntae Brown, a college student, has been charged with the death of 20-year-old Justin Speights, who had been attempting to break up a fight. Although Brown is facing the most serious charges, reports say two others are accused of tampering with evidence [Fox News]
- Also in 2015, a 54-year-old man pointed a gun into a group of New Year’s Eve revelers, and fired five shots. A bullet struck an 11-year-old girl, killing her. Although Roland E. was charged with her murder, he says he had “limited control” over his actions due to depression, and his sentence was reduced. [DW]
- Mark Huffman, 58, crashed his car into an SUV on New Year’s Eve 2015, killing 24-year-old Ella McNay and 31-year-old David McNay. Police found he was driving with a blood-alcohol level of three times the legal limit, and additionally was impaired by Oxycodone, other opiates, and benzodiazepines. Huffman was charged with two counts of murder. [Lex18.com]
- It was a fight over a Christmas present on New Year’s Eve 2014 that led to the death of 42-year-old Gloria Resto. As police approached the murder suspect he reportedly screamed, “Shoot me! I have nothing to live for! I just killed my wife!” Julio Resto, 52, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and turned himself into the Waltham Police. [Boston Globe]
- Charles Rodriguez was found guilty for killing a 22-year-old man on New Year’s Eve in 2007. After a four-day trial, the motive for the murder was revealed. Rodriguez believed the victim was “messing” with the mother of his children. The victim was shot in the back as he was running away from a Dairy Mart. [Toledo Blade]
- WAVE 3] Julie Boyd, a 26-year-old Louisville woman, was beaten to death with a hammer on New Year’s Eve in 2005. Boyd was seeking help at a church support group for women dealing with divorce. Reports say it’s believed she crossed paths with her killer at the counseling group. Harvey Edward Scaggs was eventually convicted of the brutal killing, and was sentenced to life in prison. He also got 20 years for robbery, for taking a ring from Boyd’s finger to give to his girlfriend. [
- It wasn’t a murder that killed a man in New York on New Year’s Eve in 2015, but an unmaintained elevator. Residents inside a Broome Street building could hear people counting down to midnight just as the elevator crushed Stephen Hewett-Brown. Hewett-Brown is credited with pushing a woman out of the stuck elevator to safety while telling her “Happy New Year,” just as he was pinned between the ceiling of the car and the building’s third floor. He was heard saying, “I can’t breathe” before losing consciousness. Hewett-Brown’s pregnant girlfriend and family members remained stuck in the elevator with the lower half of his body while emergency responders worked to free them. The building reportedly had a number of open violations with the Building Department involving the elevator. [People]
- Terry and Kathy Watts were found shot to death on December 31, 1986. The couple’s infant son was found at the scene unharmed, sleeping between the legs of his dead father. The man convicted of killing the couple, Steven Victor Wertz, has been on Death Row until this year. Thirty years after the killing, the killer’s sentence has been reduced to life without parole. He was originally supposed to be killed by lethal injection in 2007. [Area Wide News]
- Although five men have pleaded guilty to beating 20-year-old Dale Creighton to death on New Year’s in 2014, his parents say they will never be able to forgive the suspects responsible. During a victim-impact statement, Rhonda Smith said her son had gone out to celebrate New Year’s Eve. Smith said the last words she ever heard from her son were in phone call that night, when he said, “I love you.” [98fm]
- A cage fighter has been found guilty of a brutal New Year’s Eve attack on a homosexual man in an incident last year. Kevin Moult, 35, was found guilty of assaulting David Ryan and was sentenced to 18 months in jail. Reports say Moult yelled homophobic insults before he kicked and assaulted the victim on the freezing street, leaving him “15 minutes from death.” Luckily, a Good Samaritan stopped to help the victim and take him to the hospital. [Pink News]
Main photo: New Year’s Eve in Times Square [Anthony Quintano via Wikimedia Commons]