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Online Gambling Sites Lead to Murders, Kidnappings, Perversions

Written by:
Alejandro Botticelli
Published on:
Oct/22/2008
Online Gambling

A 14-year old girl from the state of Maryland allegedly kidnapped. A gentleman from Great Britain was savagely murdered after moving to Miami to be with his lover.

What do the two cases have in common?

They are part of a growing trend of murders and perversions originating from the Internet.

Online poker rooms can be fun and the payouts rewarding. Just look at recent big money tournaments and a slew of new millionaires, most of whom are regulars on some of the world's biggest poker sites.

But online poker websites also act as a quasi mating venue where individuals with similar likes can join together and ultimately engage in torrid sexual intimacy.

The Garrett County District Court in Oakland, Md., has dismissed a kidnapping charge against a Pennsylvania man who was found living in his car with a 14-year-old New York girl he allegedly met in an online poker room.

Twenty-eight-year-old Andrew Pettitt of Arnot, Pa., still faces trial next month on charges of third-degree sex offense, second-degree assault and perverted practice involving the alleged victim.


(pictured: Paul Winter and alleged killer, Cristobal Palacio)

Paul Winter, 42, of Great Britain also entered into a relationship with a woman stateside he met via an Internet poker room. He would later move to Miami to marry her.

Winter would later be shot dead in front of the woman and her seven-year old twins.

Before Cristobal Palacio was charged with murdering his ex-wife's husband, he obsessed about wrecking her new life, she says.

The former Citibank executive left his job to avoid paying child support for their 7-year-old twins, Jennifer Winter believes.

In Miami-Dade court, Palacio applied for a restraining order, claiming Jennifer threatened to kill him, once hurling a magazine at his head. A judge dismissed the claim. He also claimed that Jennifer and her new husband abused their kids.

It is alleged that Palacio emerged from his house and began yelling, before shooting Mr Winter, a graphic designer, six times in the chest.

His wife tried to revive him but failed. He later died in Miami's Jackson Memorial Hospital.

These are the latest crimes involving couples with strong ties to the world of online gambling.

This past summer Gambling911.com reported extensively on the murders of Yang Zhen Xing, his girlfriend and presumably their pet cat in their Newcastle West End flat. Both allegedly had ties to an Internet gambling scam.

(pictured: Artist renderings of individuals found lurking outside murdered couple's home)

Chinese sources in Newcastle told The Times at the time that Yang Zhen Xing, 25, had placed advertisements on UK-based Chinese-language websites to recruit people to watch and report on football matches around the world just prior to his murder on August 9.

Police said Mr Zhen was "assaulted for more than an hour" before being stabbed. They believe passers-by may have heard his screams.

Examinations also showed his girlfriend, Xi Zhou, also 25, may have been asphyxiated as well as stabbed during the attack. A cat was also found drowned to death in a water basin.

This murder remains unsolved though officers have now been able to complete artists' impressions of all three men who were spotted standing outside the home.

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Alejandro Botticelli, Gambling911.com

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