HUNTER: Women play bigger role in gangs and murders

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Elmore Leonard knew a thing or two about women.

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The Detroit Dickens, who wrote gems like Out of Sight, Get Shorty and Change was a master at portraying strong, cool women. Like U.S. Marshal Karen Sisco, drug-dealing flight attendant Jackie Brown, and wealthy housewife Mickey Dawson.

They were tough, lively, smart, funny – and sometimes criminal.

Of course, reality doesn’t work quite the same way.

In recent years, women have been stepping up to the plate in the world of crime. And their antics are getting more and more outrageous – and deadly.

Carita Jackson, 37, of Toronto, is charged with second degree murder in the death of Varsha Gajula, 41.
Carita Jackson, 37, of Toronto, is charged with second degree murder in the death of Varsha Gajula, 41.

Dozens of people are now being caged awaiting trial for things like murder, accessory after the fact and other miscellaneous criminal acts. This phenomenon did not go unnoticed by the cops.

Det.-Insp. Toronto Police Homicide Hank Idsinga noted the growing presence of women in the criminal world.

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“I think we’ve definitely seen an increase over the last two years with women being charged with homicide-related offences,” Idsinga said. The Toronto Sun . “Complicity after the fact has been more common over the years than murder or participation in the offence.”

Many young women have now joined gangs involved in drug trafficking, sex trafficking and murder.

Charlotte Koehler has been arrested in connection with a shooting in Yorkdale.
Charlotte Koehler has been arrested in connection with a shooting in Yorkdale. Photo by CHARLOTTE KOEHLER /FACEBOOK

Here are some examples from the past year. None of the charges have been proven in court and they are presumed innocent.

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– Cops have alleged that 29-year-old MTV ready Charlotte Koehler was involved in a savage shooting in August 2021 at Yorkdale Mall. Thankfully, no one was hurt, but she was charged with discharging a firearm with intent to injure and occupying a motor vehicle with a firearm.

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– Carita Jackson, 37, was arrested and charged with second-degree murder in the death of Varsha Gajula, 41, of Caledon, whose remains were discovered in a suitcase in a dumpster near the old stockyards from Keele St.-Hillary Avenue. region. In a twist, two men were charged with complicity after the fact.

– Heidi Bahler, 29, of Scarborough was charged last summer with aiding and abetting murder and obstructing justice in connection with the horrific double murder of Juliana Pannunzio and Christine Crooks on January 19, 2021 at an Airbnb in Fort Erie. Aspiring rapper Christopher “El Plaga” Lucas, 22, is charged with two counts of first-degree murder.

– And in Toronto’s latest homicide of 2021, on New Year’s Eve, Elsabet Yitayew, 37, of Toronto, was stabbed to death in the West End. Temeka Dorsett, 32, charged with first degree murder, wasn’t hard to find. She was arrested at the scene.

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American master Elmore Leonard.
American master Elmore Leonard.

But not all the charges are gang-related, Idsinga said. Many of the deadly peaks and troughs of the past two years can be traced to a spike in pandemic-triggered mental health issues and subsequent lockdowns that began in March 2020.

“Unfortunately, many of the murder charges against women are linked to mental health issues,” Idsinga said. “Other than that, men accused of murder still far outnumber women.”

Wise old Elmore Leonard saw the winds of change coming before any of his contemporaries. Probably not exactly what he had in mind, but still…

“Sometimes female characters start out as a wife or girlfriend, but then I realize, ‘No, that’s the book,’ and she becomes a main character. I give the book back to her,” said the late writer.

Welcome to the streets of Toronto, Elmore, circa 2022.

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@HunterTOSun

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