SOMEWHERE IN CENTRAL PENNSYLVANIA, IN THE NOT-TOO-DISTANT FUTURE — State law-enforcement officials have charged a drug-addicted vagrant with the brutal murder of a local fur trapper.
Responding to an anonymously placed telephone call, police say they found 26-year-old Jim Pat Stuasy “rummaging through a dead man’s belongings” on a piece of heavily wooded private property in central Pennsylvania.
“The suspect was stretched-out on crystal meth in a cabin owned by Tom Rennsam, whose mutilated corpse lay just outside,” a police spokesperson said.
The state medical examiner’s report indicates that Rennsam, a lifelong fur trapper, was missing his left foot, “which appears to have been removed premortem.”
Police say Stuasy was “thoroughly soaked in the victim’s blood” when they arrived at the scene, and that Rennsam’s “severed appendage was not recovered.”
“We believe that the suspect stumbled upon the deceased, who was caught in one of his own leghold traps,” the police spokesperson said. “The evidence suggests that the deceased was separated from his appendage during the incident and then bludgeoned to death.”
Stuasy’s public defender, Lonny Bladuck, claims that his client “was preyed upon and framed by a ghoulish animal advocate named Monty Gelstein, whom federal authorities have been chasing for years.”
According to Bladuck, Stuasy was “lured to the crime scene by the promise of more crystal methamphetamine than he could ever smoke” and “forced to watch Mr. Gelstein place Mr. Rennsam in the leghold trap, saw off his left foot, make him dance on his remaining leg to Richard Strauss’ Burleske, and destroy him with several ax-handle blows to the temples.”
Proof of his theory, Bladuck says, was found in Mr. Rennsam’s shirt pocket, in the form of his will, which names Gelstein as the sole beneficiary of the deceased’s property.
“Given that Messrs. Rennsam and Gelstein couldn’t possibly have been friends, and that – rather conveniently – the deceased had no living relatives, I think that document tells us exactly what happened here,” Bladuck said with visible frustration.
Police, though, say there’s no evidence whatsoever that Gelstein was anywhere near the crime scene at the time of the murder.
“As much as some of us would like to believe the suspect, we just can’t tie Mr. Gelstein to the crime,” the police spokesperson said.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, an FBI investigator who’s been trying for months to pin a number of animal-advocacy-related murders on Gelstein told The Daily Maul that he “absolutely believes Mr. Stuasy” and plans to “search high and low for Mr. Rennsam’s foot,” which police assume was taken by any one of many species who call central Pennsylvania home.
“I don’t believe that for a goddamned second,” the FBI investigator said. “Monty Gelstein kept the deceased’s foot as a trophy, the sick bastard. I’m sure of it.”
Reached by telephone at the Château Schadenfreude, in the French Alps, where he’s making preparations for a June 26 event called the Karmic Balance Festival, Gelstein told The Daily Maul that Stuasy and Bladuck “don’t have a leg to stand on,” and that he plans to use the property Rennsam bequeathed to him to “add a measure of karma to the balance.”