June 15th, 2004

flavored with age

And through the wires...

Man Held in Calif. Beheading, Slaying

Okay, AP, I hate to tell you how to do your job or anything, but is this headline really necessary? I mean, you don't run into a lot of non-fatal beheadings, you know.

LOS ANGELES - A homeless man suspected of beheading a 91-year-old screenwriter and stabbing the man's neighbor to death was arrested outside a Hollywood studio minutes after his photograph was broadcast on television.

There are probably mental illness issues involved here, because, I mean, what's the point of killing a 91-year-old man? To paraphrase Wayland Smithers, couldn't you just wait for nature to assassinate him for you?

Kevin Lee Graff, 27, was arrested Monday after guards at Paramount Studios recognized him from a televised news conference and called authorities, Police Chief William Bratton said.

This may mark the first time in the history of the universe that a security guard actually helped stop, solve, or effect a crime in any way. And, of course, they did it by watching television.

He was arrested in the deaths of screenwriter Robert Lees, whose credits included several Abbott and Costello movies, and retired physician Hal Engelson.

Okay, I'll admit, those Abbott and Costello movies weren't great, but...

Paramount guard Isaac Macias said the suspect had been turned away at the studio gates, where he had asked guards for the telephone number of a female employee and acted strangely.

"So, can I call you sometime? After the hearing? No, I might be released on bail. I only cut the one guy's head off. It's not like it's a habit or something."

Guards kept their surveillance camera trained on Graff, who had been talking to himself and making obscene gestures at passing cars, security Sgt. Craig Phillips said.

Uh, and this distinguishes him from hundreds of thousands of other street crazies in L.A. how, exactly?

In the rear of the home they found the severed head of Lees, a neighbor, Bratton said. Lees' longtime girlfriend, Helen Colton, found his headless body in his home. "It was unreal, but I couldn't believe it," said Colton, 86. "I was befuddled for a moment. It was like a movie, not real life."

Man. Dude was ninety-one, and she's eighty-six. I wonder how longtime this girlfriend was? Sixty years? Seventy?