In this week's Westword, reporter Alan Prendergast investigates the gnarly addiction and spotty oversight that led to dozens of patients at Rose Medical Center being infected with hepatitis C. The offending junkie, Kristen Parker (right), has earned the contempt of all of Denver. But she's not alone.
Here, the five most reviled alleged criminals of 2009 (so far). They're in no particular order; revulsion is a personal, subjective thing, and we don't want to be telling you who you want to shank the most. But we can probably all agree that these people, should they be convicted of the crimes for which they were accused, have earned a special place in the rage-filled corners of our hearts.
Kristen Parker Parker, of course, is the former Rose Medical surgery technician accused of infecting 19 patients with hepatits C in one of the most classically pathetic junkie crimes of all time. Prosecutors say Parker, 26, routinely stole the powerful drug Fentanyl, shot herself up and then replaced the drug with saline. That saline, infected with hepatitis C, was then injected into the patients. Classy, right?
The early over/under on the number of people who will try to attack Parker should she go to trial is 47.5. We'll take the over.
Quincy Vanderbilt Don't be fooled by the fancy name: Quincy Vanderbilt is a grade-A moron. At the height of the Denver summer, Vanderbilt, 24, and his no-doubt pitchy girlfriend traveled from North Dakota for an American Idol tryout at Invesco Field. They brought along their small terrier, but Vanderbilt left the dog in the car while his girlfriend tried out. The dog -- not exactly genetically designed to survive heat, what with it being covered in fur and all -- roasted to death.
Vanderbilt was charged with animal cruelty and will one day be sentenced to an eternity in the back of a 1979 Chrysler LeBaron. Seats: leather. Windows: up. On the radio: the Lifehouse album of your choice.
Merriman could be reviled purely for his lack of originality. A former lay bishop in the Mormon church, prosecutors say he used his power as a religious leader to gain the trust of friends and fellow churchgoers before totally hosing them. (Utter hypocrisy: It's not just for Catholics anymore!).
Merriman's rape was of the financial sort: Through an alleged investment firm named Mountain Springs Partners, L.P., he attracted millions from investors. He then spent those millions on overpriced religious art, classic cars and an autographed Lou Gehrig glove, all the while building an enormous, Madoff-ian pyramid scheme that finally collapsed earlier this year. It would have been more fitting had he bought an autographed bat, since that's what will no doubt be waiting for Merriman should he ever be released from prison.
Aaron Thompson Prosecutors say Thompson's daughter Aaroné went missing as many as six years ago -- and they believe Thompson killed her. But Coloradans' revulsion has peaked over the last five-plus weeks, as prosecutors have made the case that Thompson not only killed his daughter but abused several other children in his "torture chamber" of a home.
An Arapahoe County jury began deliberations on Tuesday. Should he be convicted, Thompson will spend the rest of his life in prison. Here's hoping his cell-mate isn't the gentle type.
Nadine Montoya Did we mention that this is a depressing exercise? It is, and Nadine Montoya isn't helping.
Montoya, 26, is the woman accused of running down 49-year-old Lilian Verdonkschot in a Burger King parking lot. Her alleged fit of rage took place in late May, after an apparently drunken dispute over... well, over nothing, really. That's what makes it so frustrating and sad and all the rest.
Montoya has been charged with first-degree murder. Innocent until proven guilty, of course, but let's be honest: There's a part of you that's hoping for jury duty, isn't there?