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Murders of Tammy Welch and Ricky Wiltrout subject of 48 Hours on ID: NCIS
Publisher:  Monsters and Critics
Friday, 10 July 2020 05:01

Tammy Welch and Ricky Wiltrout
Tammy Welch (left) was raped and murdered by a neighbor. Ricky Wiltrout was killed by his so-called friends. Pic credits: Family pics

On ID this week, 48 Hours on ID: NCIS investigates the murders of Tammy Welch and Ricky Wiltrout. Both these individuals had fathers who were navy men, and both had their lives taken from all too soon.

Tammy Welch was a ten-year-old girl who was brutally raped and murdered by her neighbor James Jackson, who then managed to escape justice for nearly 30 years.

Ricky Wiltrout was a 30-year-old store clerk who disappeared without a trace after a night drinking with his friends.

The murder of Tammy Welch

On August 27, 1984, Tammy Welch and her younger sister Jennifer were playing in their apartment complex in Jacksonville, Florida. Jennifer went back inside the apartment for a short time, and when she returned, she discovered her sister’s dead body.

Tammy had been raped, beaten about the head, and strangled to death. Her body was lying just feet away from the window of her killer. James Leon Jackson had been a suspect at the time, but the police didn’t have enough evidence to pin the murder on him.

In 2013, 29 years after the killing, advancements in DNA evidence meant that investigators were able to confirm Jackson as the killer, and he was arrested and charged.

In 2018 a jury spared the 66-year-old Jackson the death penalty, meaning he will spend the rest of his natural in prison. Jackson was suffering from severe cognitive decline at the time of the trial and also registered an IQ of only about 68. It is unclear what his mental condition was at the time of the murder.

The murder of Ricky Wiltrout

Ricky Wiltrout was the son of a naval officer living in Norfolk, Virginia, when the 30-year-old went missing while out drinking with some men he knew from the local area.

The grocery store clerk vanished in September 1997, seemingly without a trace. However, In February 1999, a surveyor sighting lines along a fence that ran through Navy property on the base found scattered skeletal remains.

The identity of the remains remained a mystery until Witrout’s brother, Scotty Wiltrout, telephoned NCIS officers after he saw a news report about the remains.

Using family DNA and dental x-ray records, investigators were able to identify the skeleton as Ricky Wiltrout. A proper investigation by NCIS was delayed by the bombing of the USS Cole in Yemen and the 9/11 terror attacks.

However, a breakthrough was finally made in 2003 when three men who had been out drinking with Ricky, Marcus Gilmore, Eddie Hughes, and Randy Shell, all pleaded guilty to his murder.

Investigators had discovered that Gilmore had purchased a gun just before Randy’s murder. The NCIS officers then learned through interrogations that Gilmore had shot Randy in the back of the head without provocation. The other two men had then helped him to cover up the killing.

More from 48 Hours on ID: NCIS

Follow the links to read about more murders profiled on 48 Hours on ID: NCIS.

Naval Officer Corey Allen Voss was brutally gunned at a gas station having been sent on an errand by his wife. It later transpired that Voss’s wife, Catherina, and her lover, Michael Draven, had orchestrated the killing in the hope of collecting on a life insurance policy.

Navy Police Officer Zachary Littleton was leading a double life and was cheating on his wife with Samira Watkins. When Watkins became pregnant, he decided to end the affair by strangling her to death.

48 Hours on ID: NCIS airs at 8/9c on Investigation Discovery.


After Pleas From Officials, Republicans Signal Openness To More Election Funding
Publisher:  NPR
Friday, 10 July 2020 05:01

Senate Republicans say they are open to sending states more money to make it easier to administer an election amid a pandemic after initial fears that no more federal money would be spent.


The $64 billion art market is embracing blockchain and cryptocurrencies to sell paintings worth millions of dollars by the likes of Picasso
Publisher:  business insider
Friday, 10 July 2020 05:01

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  • Cryptocurrencies and their underlying technologies are becoming increasingly popular in the world of fine art.
  • Contemporary artist Lincoln Townley and established auction house Christie's both now accept cryptocurrency as payment.
  • Platforms like the Blockchain Art Exchange are also using distributed ledger technology to try and guarantee authenticity and protect ownership in the million-dollar market for digital art. 
  • The pandemic has accelerated adoption: the Blockchain Art Exchange says it has seen month-on-month sales increase to 400% in June from 47% pre-pandemic.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

In June, a Picasso painting was sold for cryptocurrency for the first time.

Swiss luxury goods firm Idoneus acquired the painting "Danse du ventre devant homme impassible" (or "Belly dance before impassive man") for an undisclosed amount. Idoneus used its own "IDON" token to make the purchase, and said it is pioneering the use of its cryptocurrency for luxury purchases.

Picasso Idoneus

The sale of a Picasso for cryptocurrency exemplifies its widening acceptance in the art world, estimated to be worth $64 billion globally in 2019 by Art Basel and UBS.

Now, artists and collectors are not only trading in cryptocurrencies but using the blockchain tech that underpins them to try and determine authenticity and ownership.

Reduce fraud in the art world

One platform trying to digitally guarantee the provenance of art is the Blockchain Art Exchange.

Launched by crypto enthusiast and art curator Sascha Bailey, son of the famous fashion photographer David Bailey, at the end of 2018, the platform allows artists to tokenize their digital artwork.

The theory goes like this: By tokenizing the work using blockchain's distributed ledger technology, the transaction is permanently recorded on a shared database without any need for third parties to authenticate it. Once recorded, no one can alter the entries. 

This means that collectors are not just trading a digital image, but a virtual certificate of authenticity, according to Bailey. The main appeal of this is that it helps to protect buyers against fraud. Experts estimate that around 20% of the paintings in major galleries could be fraudulent. 

Another potential advantage is protection of the ownership of the artwork beyond the lifetime of the platform. 

"Even if the gallery that you bought it from shuts down, then you still own the artwork," explained Bailey. "You wouldn't expect a gallery to come to your house and burn your artwork after they close down. Whereas, with digital artwork, until now, that's kind of what happened."

This is currently only around a million-dollar industry, according to Bailey, but it has grown rapidly and he expects this to continue.

The pandemic has accelerated adoption.

The Blockchain Art Exchange saw month-on-month growth in sales of 400% in June, compared with only 47% pre-pandemic.

Many people in the traditional world of fine art who were previously on the fence about the technology have now decided to buy in, according to Bailey.

Contemporary artist Lincoln Townley is creating his own 'art coin'

Contemporary artist Lincoln Townley, who is famous for his figurative portraits of Hollywood stars like Meryl Streep, also sees potential for blockchain in the art market. 

"This hasn't even scraped the surface yet," Townley told Business Insider. "It's very, very deep waters that no one seems to be that happy to set sail in. Well, I certainly am. I look at myself as having the biggest ship out there."

He added: "There's a very big market for people that are looking now into alternative investment, but asset-based. The ones that take on the cryptocurrency as an investment are, I wouldn't say they were gamblers as such, but they take on more risks."

Townley first sold a painting for bitcoin in 2017 and is working on his own blockchain-encrypted 'art coin'. His entire new collection, Universe, can be bought using cryptocurrency.

Embracing blockchain has been part of a wider digital transformation undergone by Townley's studio. He is about to launch a virtual reality gallery that will exhibit his works and studio online in their entirety, with information on the process of creating and curating his art.

This way, he can cut out the middle man — the art agents and galleries — who take 50% commission on sales and are often responsible of upwards of 40 artists. When he wants to sell a piece, he sends the details to curated WhatsApp groups of his collectors. From the first message to receiving payment, it can take less than 24 hours. 

According to Townley, this is all evidence that the traditional "stuffy" art world is in decline. He said: "The model doesn't work anymore; it's dead, it's over, it's gone."

Opening it up to a new wave of investors who are interested in the tech as well as the art, is transforming the industry. 

Crypto is highly risky, highly variable and not regulated

As with much of the wider crypto space, the people advocating for blockchain-led change in the art world are often driven by an ideological affinity with the movement.

For crypto artist Vesa Kivinen, his initial interest in blockchain came from a disillusionment with the handling of the global 2008 financial crisis and what he sees as the failure of the existing monetary system.

Like most crypto adopters in the art world, he sees blockchain technology as a way of democratizing art. 

"It's giving an opportunity to new voices to come into the industry that would otherwise have a very terrible time trying to get in with their expression into the legacy art world," said Kivinen.

Bailey, Townley, and Kivinen are all aware of the risks of relying on a technology that is largely unregulated. With the market still very much in its infancy, it's a "bit like a gold rush of the Wild West," said Kivinen.

As with cryptocurrencies, buyers using these platforms put themselves at risk of being scammed.

"At the moment, everyone in the industry is incredibly well-behaved because everyone is early adopters," said Bailey. "I do think there is a potential for misuse as with all technology. But I think the pros for the people who want to use it legitimately outweigh the cons massively."

Bailey says platforms like Blockchain Art Exchange are still accountable to customers. "We still hold the responsibility of what comes on [the platform]," he said. "Unlike with bitcoin, where there is no party to hold accountable."

And traditional art institutions are buying in.

In December 2018, British auction house Christie's auctioned the Barney A. Ebsworth Collection, the first art auction of its price level to be recorded on the blockchain.

"Christie's leadership is reflected and supported by continued investment in digital platforms and initiatives that work for our clients," a Christie's spokesperson told Business Insider. "It is early days and this was a pilot blockchain project for this reason. We'll see where this might lead but this sale has been a great starting point for us all."

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: We tested a machine that brews beer at the push of a button


7 out of 10 Americans believe grocery shopping will permanently change due to coronavirus pandemic
Publisher:  FOXNews
Friday, 10 July 2020 05:00

Nearly seven in 10 Americans believe that the traditional grocery store run will be a thing of the past due to COVID-19, according to new research.

7 steps you can take now to lower your internet bill
Publisher:  FOXNews
Friday, 10 July 2020 05:00

Now more than ever, the internet is our lifeline to what’s going on in the world. We’re all scrolling social media, streaming, and reading the news more than ever before.

Keisha Lance Bottoms, A Possible Biden VP Pick, Sees Profile Rise Amid Crises
Publisher:  NPR
Friday, 10 July 2020 05:00

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms addresses a Democratic National Committee event in June 2019 in Atlanta. The mayor is considered a contender for Joe Biden

The first-term Atlanta mayor has spoken out against the state of Georgia's Republican-led pandemic response and spoken forcefully to protesters in her city.

(Image credit: Dustin Chambers/Getty Images)


Perfect honeymoon road trips for newlyweds
Publisher:  FOXNews
Friday, 10 July 2020 05:00

Weddings are looking different recently – so it’s no surprise honeymoons are, too.

Joe Biden’s Running Mate News Should Come Soon, Says A Campaign Expert
Publisher:  Bustle
Friday, 10 July 2020 05:00


On a mid-July morning in 2016, then-presidential candidate Donald Trump turned to his social media platform of choice, Twitter, to announce Mike Pence as his pick for vice president. A week later, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced Tim Kaine in equally 21st-century fashion, via a text to her supporters. Four years later, the coronavirus has practically mandated that former Vice President Joe Biden follow suit and make his announcement over the interwebs. The driving question now — along with whom he’ll choose for vice president — is when.

There’s no mandated timeline for candidates, so predictions rely primarily on precedent. In recent election cycles, candidates have announced VP picks directly before their respective national conventions. In 2016, both candidates announced their choices three days prior. (Trump announced Pence on Friday, July 15, and Clinton announced Kaine on Friday, July 22.) In 2012, Mitt Romney announced Paul Ryan would join his campaign on Saturday, Aug. 11, roughly two weeks before the Republican convention. And in 2008, Barack Obama tapped Biden on Saturday, Aug. 23, two days before the Democratic convention.

That timing is by design, says Dr. Lara Brown, Ph.D., an associate professor and the director of the Graduate School of Political Management at George Washington University. “Campaigns run all the way through the first six months of the year with the primary process,� Brown tells Bustle. “Then they typically go dormant during the summer, and reemerge with the conventions, [which] are resets of the election race. There’s [a] new wave of excitement that can create unity.�

This year’s Democratic National Convention begins on Monday, Aug. 17, and will be held at least partially online due to coronavirus concerns. (The Republican National Convention is currently scheduled for Jacksonville, Florida from Aug. 24 to 27.)

Brown expects the news during the first two weeks of August. In late May, Biden told CNN that he hopes to announce his pick for vice president a bit earlier, by Aug. 1. If past cycles are any indicator, it will likely happen on a Friday or Saturday. (For what it’s worth, Aug. 1 is a Saturday.) But 2020 has thrown us for a loop, and the coronavirus and Trump’s volatile antics could upend precedent. “The conventions are not going to exist as they did,� Brown says. “So there is an advantage for Biden to do this a little bit earlier.�

Regardless of whom he chooses, voters are still looking at the top of the ticket. According to data compiled by The Wall Street Journal, in presidential elections between 1988 and 2016, the majority of polled voters said that the vice presidential choice had no effect on their ultimate decision. “Political science research shows that the vice president doesn't matter,� Brown says. “What it does do is tell voters how the nominee will make decisions.�


'Down To Earth' Host Darin Olien Shows Zac Efron How To Save The World
Publisher:  Bustle
Friday, 10 July 2020 05:00


As Zac Efron adventures around the world in his Netflix show Down to Earth with Zac Efron, he'll have a companion who is well versed in sustainability. Efron and co-host Darin Olien will travel to different countries to talk to eco-innovators and help audiences rethink consumption as a whole. Olien is billed as a "wellness expert" by the series, and he has roots in the health and sustainability fields.

He's also a bit of an eco-innovator himself, having helped found the company that sells Barukas, a "super" nut from Brazil. On the Barukas website, Olien claims that they're the "healthiest nuts on the planet" since they're filled with protein and micronutrients. And for every five pounds of nuts sold, the company plants a tree back in the wild.

Healthy, sustainable foods are Olien's passion. His website says he has a degree in Exercise Physiology and Nutrition and he considers himself an "exotic superfoods hunter." He's taken that expertise to try to help others adapt to his lifestyle. In 2017, he wrote a book called SuperLife: The 5 Simple Fixes That Will Make You Healthy, Fit, and Eternally Awesome. Earlier this year he launched the app 121 Tribe, which he says gives users "21 days of optimal living" as they get a crash course in how Olien eats, works out, and achieves his goals.

In addition to those projects, Olien also launched a podcast in May called The Darin Olien Show. There are nine episodes so far, and Olien wants the show to be "packed with honest, inspiring and enlightening conversations with extraordinary people from all walks of life." He's hoping that he can help "to save the planet one conversation at a time." Many of the topics he discusses on the podcast are similar to those he tackles in his book and app, like plant-based eating, boosting the immune system, and properly fueling the body.

Though Down to Earth show will be Olien's first venture into TV, he's intimately involved in the production, also serving as an executive producer. And as he teaches Efron about superfoods and sustainability, the audience will learn a whole lot about what Olien thinks it will take to save the planet and ourselves.


Missouri summer camp closes after 82 kids, staffers infected with coronavirus: reports
Publisher:  FOXNews
Friday, 10 July 2020 05:00

Summer camp officials in Stone County, Mo., took precautions against the coronavirus – but 82 campers, counselors and staff tested positive for the virus anyway, according to reports.

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