By Chris Lane
By Jeff Balke
By Aaron Reiss
By Angelica Leicht
By Dianna Wray
By Aaron Reiss
By Camilo Smith
By Craig Malisow
Check out our interactive website of the crazy-ass crimes perpetrated in both states, and see how Texas stacks up to Florida.
It's the ultimate showdown: Which state has the crazier criminals, Texas or Florida? Both claim to lead the nation in dumb/horrifying/hilarious perps, but only one can rule.
So we found ten categories, picked Texas's best in each and stacked them up against candidates chosen by our sister paper Miami New Times. Pete Kotz, former editor of True Crime Report, did the judging. Unfortunately, as it turns out.FACEBOOK FOLLIES
INTERACTIVE GRAPHIC: Texas vs Florida
Florida: Farmville Horror
A 22-year-old Jacksonville mom was so pissed off when her crying three-month-old interrupted Facebook's über-addictive Farmville game that she shook the kid, stopped for a smoke break and then jostled him again. The baby died, the mom got 25 years in the slammer and Farmville continued clogging news feeds with inane updates about cow production.
Texas: Shrooms for Sale!
It's never smart to continue your criminal ways when you are on probation. Dumber still is to advertise those shenanigans on Facebook, but that's just what Juggalo Jason Merksamer did. On his public wall, he admitted to getting drunk as a minor, inquired into the availability of Xanax bars and advertised mushrooms for sale. He is now in the pen.
Ruling: While Jason Merksamer admirably upholds the exalted Juggalo tradition of relentless moronocity — and would probably be fabulous to party with if he agreed to have his face taped shut — he really needs to hike his game if he wants to overcome a mom who murders her baby for interrupting her playdate with cartoon cows. Winner: Florida.METH MANIACS
Florida: Cooking and Driving
When Lakeland cops found Clifford Ellison dead in a submerged car, they figured he'd had a routine accident. But then they discovered why the 36-year-old had crashed: A passenger had been cooking meth until, predictably, the volatile chemicals exploded, rocketing shards of glass into Ellis's neck and sending the car into the drink.
Texas: Cookie Ray's Downfall
Backwoods meth freak "Cookie Ray" Anderson concocted a most cunning plan: He would steal a mess of copper wire from a work site and make his getaway on an ATV over the dirt logging trails that led to his home. Unfortunately, he didn't take into account all the heavy rain that had fallen. Cops were able to follow the ATV's trail all the way from the site of the copper theft right to his home, where Cookie Ray was found to be cooking meth.
Ruling: Surely everyone agrees that explosions are a must in any respectable meth crime. But when a guy named Cookie uses a motorized toy to lead police to his combination meth lab/stolen copper stash, he's just reached the first two steps of a White Trash Holy Trinity. Bless you, my son.
Winner: Texas.FAST FOOD
Florida: Taco Emergency
A classic dilemma: You're so drunk only a Cheesy Gordita Crunch can save you, but it's so late only Taco Bell's drive-thru is open. Fifty-year-old Terry Kimball solved this problem — and avoided a DUI — by simply walking up. Alas! Those Taco Bell elitists refused to serve the drunken pedestrian. So Kimball called 911 to report the fast food forbiddance, spent 11 minutes abusing the operator and was promptly arrested for his rudeness.
Texas: Drunkaburger: A Texan Rite
Corpus Christi is the home of Whataburger, a fast-food chain that is open all night. Over the course of about five days in March, cops found people passed out behind the wheel in Whataburger drive-thrus no fewer than three times. It's a Texas rite, somewhat protected by case law: A couple of years ago, the Third District of the Texas State Court of Appeals upheld our right to pass out behind the wheel at a Whataburger without fear of arrest, so long as we have the snap to come to before the fuzz shows up. (If you're still snoozin' when the law arrives, that's probable cause for DWI, and you're on your own.)
Ruling: While his colleagues in Texas selfishly pass out, Terry Kimbell is taking it to the man. He's fighting Taco Bell's naked discrimination against hammered guys whose only wish is to exercise their inalienable right to eat shitty food in the small hours of the morning. Without patriots like Kimball, this country would be little more than France Jr.
Florida: Five-Fingered ATM
All John Robin Whittle wanted was another beer. Problem: He had no more cash. Solution: Whittle walked around the corner, robbed a Wells Fargo, then sauntered back into the Hayloft Bar for another round. Cops hauled him off the bar stool and to the slammer ten minutes later.
Texas: How to Convict Yourself of DWI in Seven Words or Less
Things not to say to a highway patrolman after you have drunkenly rammed your car into a life-flight chopper that had landed on the scene of an earlier DWI accident: "Why was the helicopter flying so low?"
Ruling: John Whittle deserves applause for the innovation he brings to replenishing his Keystone Light fund. But it's not particularly fresh. It's just called Kansas on a Tuesday. What is fresh is hammered goobers on a lonesome Texas highway ramming into medevac choppers in the middle of an accident scene, an inspirational moment for inbreds everywhere. Winner: Texas.SEXY TIMES