Sunday, October 2, 2011

Catching a bear

There are individuals who don bear costumes for their art, like prize-winning British conceptual artist Mark Wallinger (video here) and American performance artist Nate Hill (video here, slow to load). There are people who become bears to be on television, whether appearing in a program, featured in an ad, or crashing a live news broadcast. And then there's this guy (pictured). Clyde Gardner of Malone, New York, is a 57-year-old junkyard owner and demolition derby driver. Clyde planned to kill a bear, skin it, and then dress up in the carcass to attack and kill his ex-girlfriend. Wearing the bear hide and using the claws as weapons, he assumed he would leave neither footprints nor fingerprints at the scene of the crime. He went so far as to hide in the woods with binoculars to familiarize himself with her routines and decide he would ambush her as she took out her garbage.

It would be funny if it weren't so disturbing. The man had a violent history with the mother of his child, and had recently been thrown out of the house again. He decided instead to hire a hitman to kill his girlfriend in a car wreck, cutting her throat with a shard of glass if she survived the impact of the collision. After he made a down-payment on the $15,000 murder-for-hire, he was arrested, tried, and sentenced to 5 to 15 years in prison. His girlfriend has been given an order of protection that prevents Clyde from contacting her until 2031.

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