Dread Pirate #BrettKimberlin, Media Critic


Recently, TDPK has increased his notoriety (and infamy) by attempting to use lawfare to silence bloggers who write truthful things about him. Reading Mark Singer’s book Citizen K, it seems that his media relations have had their ups and downs. The attention he received for outlets such as NPR when he claimed to have sold dope to Dan Quayle is one of the high points. The coverage he received from his hometown papers at the time of the Speedway Bomber trials was a definite low. From page 174 …

Three days after the verdict, the Indianapolis Star published a story that described Kimberlin’s encounter with Ben Niehaus in Corpus Christi following his arrest in February 1979. This conversation, according to an investigative report filed by Niehaus, lasted five hours—or, according to Kimberlin, about five minutes. Niehaus noted that Kimberlin “stated that if we wanted to find out who murdered Mrs. Scyphers, we should consider Sandra Barton’s brother-in-law [Jack Crosby] in Austin, Texas, who Kimberlin said was a CIA agent.” The Star reporter, Joe Gelarden, paraphrased Niehaus’ written report: “According to sources, Kimberlin knew the [Crosbys] were helping the police with the Julia Scyphers murder probe. He once tried to get Niehause to investigate the [Crosbys], who took in Sandi Barton’s daughters after their grandmother was murdered. Informants reported Kimberlin left the bag at the [Crosby] residence to frame them for the Speedway bombing.”

The 1979 arrest was the bust for drug smuggling. Ben Niehaus was an investigator in the Speedway Bombing case. The bag in question was a trash bag containing bomb-making materials and an AR-15 rifle. Continuing from Citizen K

The treatment Kimberlin received from the Indianapolis media often provoked his outrage, and he was most offended by the Star. Gelarden, he explained, was a government stooge who would print anything the prosecution fed him. Complaining about this lack of integrity, he referred to “an article written by Gelarden saying that I had told Niehaus that the Scyphers murder weapon was buried in the Crosby’s backyard.”

This was a startling remark. I had read and indexed all the Indianapolis newspaper clippings about the murder and the bombings, but I’d never come across any reference to the murder weapon buried anywhere. A rereading of Gelarden’s clippings confirmed this for me. I had, however, recently heard from a government source that Kimberlin had indeed made the remark to Niehaus about the murder weapon. My bewilderment deepened: If I had never mentioned a buried weapon to Kimberlin, and if no such detail had ever been reported in the newspapers, what had prompted his denial? When a person claims to know where a murder weapon is buried, even if he’s trying to finger someone else, what does that imply?

Gentle Reader, that’s not the only time one of TDPK’s narratives has run aground on the shoals of reality. He tells so many stories that it seems he loses track.

Well, as Mark Twain once wrote, “If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember what you said.”

2 thoughts on “Dread Pirate #BrettKimberlin, Media Critic

  1. It would be an interesting post to apply Occam’s Razor to the murder of Julia Scyphers. One hypothesis is that Brett Kimberlin solicited her murder. Another hypothesis is that Brett Kimberlin had absolutely nothing to do with her death. Applying Occam’s Razor we would simply ask, which hypothesis requires fewer assumptions?

    The guilt hypothesis merely requires that we assume that when the only eyewitness to the murder died of natural causes before the assassin’s trial the state lost all leverage against the trigger man, and, as a result, the trail went cold. That is it.

    The innocence hypothesis requires a series of assumptions. First, we have to make assumptions about someone having a motive to kill her. We would have to assume something such as Julia Scyphers flirted with some jealous woman’s husband playing bingo, she welched on a drug deal, or was killed by another cheer mom years after Sandi Barton was elected head cheerleader. Second, we would have to make assumptions about someone having the means to killing her. You just don’t look up “assassin” in the Yellow pages. You have to know some scummy people. Third, you have to make assumptions that someone has the willingness to kill her. Very few people settle scores by murdering others, and, those that do usually do so in a fit of rage.

    I would note that we would not have to make any of these assumptions about the guilt hypothesis. The reports indicate that Kimberlin was angry about Sandi Barton’s younger daughter being taken from his home. Other reports indicate that the arrested trigger man was caught in a drug deal in Texas involving Brett Kimberlin. And, media reports indicate that while in prison Brett Kimberlin solicited the murder of a list of people that were either witnesses against him, or involved in his prosecution.

    The innocence hypothesis requires assumptions explaining away certain odd facts. As you mentioned here, if Brett Kimberlin was not responsible for the killing of Julia Scyphers, then how could he possibly know where the murder weapon was?

    The innocence hypothesis also requires assumping a number of coincidences are merely coincidences. You have to assume that if Brett Kimberlin was correct then you have to assume that after killing Julia Scyphers Jack Crosby chose to bury the gun, but, decided to transport it back to Texas rather than disposing of it in Indiana. And, you would have to assume that either 1) the person he hired to assassinate her happened to be an associate of Brett Kimberlin; 2) looked enough like him to result in his being falsely accused; or 3) the state was framing the alleged hitman. You would have to assume that the fact that the murder of one custodial parent of Sandi Barton’s daughter, and, the incarceration of the next custodial parent would further Brett Kimberlin’s attempts to gain access to Sandi Barton’s daughters is just a coincidence. And, you have to assume Jack Crosby had some motive for killing his sister-in-law.

    I’m sure Brett Kimberlin can spin a tale explaining away all of the above. He might even be capable of spinning a tale that is completely internally consistent. What he can’t do is articulate a theory that Occam’s Razor wouldn’t reject.

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