Thursday, May 07, 2015

Joe Bellinger's Tragic Past

Sometimes we need empathy for why people choose to have crazy beliefs. In the case of Inconvenient History columnist Joe Bellinger, whose family history here matches his IH profile, the adoption of rabid Holocaust denial and antisemitism can perhaps be traced to the murder of his daughter in 1987. In 1990, his son shot two people, then escaped to New York.  When his son was sentenced in 1992, Bellinger and his wife "pleaded no contest to charges that they orchestrated the escape." Bellinger was "placed on three years probation and ordered to perform 200 hours of community service on a felony charge." The police explained in the earlier piece that "All the problems this family has seems to have . . . stemmed from the sister's death...Joey Jr. has never been the same, and daddy has never been the same since." A decade later Bellinger emerged as a nutty denier, as Sergey documented here.

This is the first story in full:
CASSVILLE, N.Y. — Escaping a police manhunt after the shooting of two deaf brothers on a San Fernando Valley street corner, 16-year-old Joey Bellinger sought refuge in this sleepy farming town of about 250 residents in the mountains of Upstate New York.
While news spread quickly in Los Angeles of the Jan. 28 shooting--which left Cesar Vieira, 30, dead and his brother Edward, 25, wounded--Joey spent his days in the home of a family friend on Cassville's Main Street. He shoveled snow for neighbors and read books from the public library.
Residents of Cassville, a sparse collection of little more than two dozen homes surrounded by barns and grain silos, knew Joey as a "quiet, good-looking kid."
Within a month of his arrival, however, residents watched as a team of FBI agents and Oneida County sheriff's deputies descended on their town to arrest Joey in several unmarked, but highly conspicuous, patrol cars.
"Nothing like this ever happens here," said Shelly Walker, 38, as she ate lunch at Cassville's only restaurant, the Engine House Diner on State Route 8. "That's why everyone was so flabbergasted; to think that a (suspected) murderer was living in our town."
Cassville residents didn't know it, but they had witnessed only the latest chapter in the violent and tortured history of the Bellinger family, who were born and raised in the small towns around Utica, living there for about 30 years.
Since coming to California about 10 years ago, the family of Joseph Bellinger Sr., 40, seems to have fallen victim to the mindless criminal violence that people in Cassville and other rural towns sometimes associate with Los Angeles.
The Bellingers settled in an attractive Spanish-style apartment in the Fairfax district. In 1987, the family's 16-year-old daughter was murdered. Joey is now in custody at Juvenile Hall in Sylmar, charged with the Vieira shootings. Last month, Joseph Sr. himself was arrested and placed in custody, charged with helping his son evade capture. And on Friday, Joey's mother, Phyllis Mary Goodman, 37, was also arraigned on similar charges. Both pleaded not guilty.
Even before the shooting of the deaf brothers, Los Angeles police had identified Joey as a member of a West Los Angeles street gang called KAOS, a name taken from the television comedy series "Get Smart." The youths said the acronym stood for Kids Against Our Society.
Residents of the 400 block of North Orange Grove Avenue in the Fairfax district said the gang harassed them to the point that they demanded that the Bellingers' landlord file a lawsuit to evict the family.
The suit, filed last September in Los Angeles Municipal Court, alleged that up to 15 young men hung out at the Bellinger home day and night, engaging in "public displays of sex/marijuana smoking/urinating." Neighbors were subject to "verbal abuse, curses, threats, filthy gestures and suggestive sounds, sexual harassment, and . . . physical battery," the suit alleged.
Last July, the Bellinger home was the target of a drive-by shooting in which the picture window of their second-floor apartment was shattered. According to neighbors, enemies of Joey's gang were responsible. Unknown assailants also attacked the Bellinger home with a Molotov cocktail, burning some shrubbery.
In an interview shortly after Joey was identified as the suspect in the shootings, Joseph Bellinger Sr. contended that the landlord's lawsuit was motivated by hate and paranoia.
Although none of the Bellingers were ever arrested or criminally charged in connection with the residents' allegations, the civil suit was settled out of court when the Bellingers agreed to move to Long Beach.
"The street is so quiet now that they're gone," said Kathleen Doyle, one of about 100 Orange Grove Avenue residents who attended a neighborhood meeting to oust the Bellingers. "It's like another world."
Police said they believe that Joey may have been emotionally traumatized by the death of his 16-year-old sister, Michelle Bellinger, who was raped and murdered in 1987. Her body was found dumped in three plastic garbage bags on a Silver Lake hillside, her ankles and chest bound with duct tape.
"All the problems this family has seems to have . . . stemmed from the sister's death," said one police source familiar with the current investigation. "Joey Jr. has never been the same, and daddy has never been the same since."
Doyle, the Bellingers' neighbor on Orange Grove Avenue, added: "I knew Joey when he was a little kid. He was a nice kid. Everything that has happened to the daughter and the son I hold them (the parents) responsible for."
Shortly after Michelle's murder, the elder Bellinger began a one-man crusade to find his daughter's killer. He became an amateur pathologist, studying such things as patterns of rigor mortis and tissue decay to better understand police and coroner's reports. The case attracted media attention as Bellinger drove the streets of Silver Lake, scanning the hillsides with binoculars in a desperate search for clues.
Eventually, a 15-year-old youth was charged and convicted in the killing. Police credited Bellinger's detective work with helping to find the killer.
Joseph Sr. went on another media campaign last month, when Joey was identified as the suspect in the shooting of the Vieiras.
The elder Bellinger undertook a five-day hunger strike and arranged media interviews with people he said had witnessed the shootings and who said Joey fired at the brothers in self-defense.
Bellinger also briefly negotiated with police, saying his son would turn himself in if he received guarantees that he would be tried as a juvenile and not as an adult. Police refused. On March 5, three days after Joey's arrest in Cassville, the elder Bellinger was arrested and charged with aiding a felon.
"They want to crucify an innocent boy, who only fired in self-defense and in fear of his life," Bellinger said before Joey was arrested. "They want me to supply the nails and the cross."
Those who were with Joey Bellinger on the day of the shooting paint a very different picture of the youth, who was known to his friends by the nicknames "Thumper" and "Solo."
According to the witnesses, the trouble began when Joey and four other teen-agers were returning from watching the Super Bowl at a friend's house. The five were driving on Devonshire Street to the home of another friend when they encountered the Vieira brothers at Balboa Boulevard in Granada Hills.
Police say the two brothers could communicate only through sign language and they may not have fully understood what was about to unfold.
A 16-year-old witness, who was sitting with Joey in the back seat, told police that Joey flashed a gang sign at the brothers--a "K" for "KAOS." One of the brothers responded by flashing a middle finger. The brothers then became involved in a "stare-down" and spitting contest with the occupants of the car.
Both vehicles pulled into a parking lot. The teen-agers told police they had expected to get into a fistfight with the deaf brothers. But Joey produced a handgun. And when the gun jammed after he fired the first shot, Joey reloaded, at least two witnesses said. In all, Joey allegedly fired five shots at the deaf brothers.
Edward Vieira was struck in the shoulder and hip but survived. Cesar Vieira didn't. He lay on the parking lot with a single wound to the chest, bleeding to death. He died at Holy Cross Hospital.
Joey and his friends escaped in the Hyundai, speeding toward the San Diego Freeway. The 16-year-old witness said Joey shouted, "I smoked him. I smoked him."
A 17-year-old girl originally riding as a passenger took the wheel and drove the car away from the parking lot as Joey and one other passenger scrambled to jump back in.
"Joey Bellinger kept saying, 'I should have shot him in the head and killed him,' " the girl said. "Everybody started yelling at Joey that they were just supposed to fight. Joey said, 'Why should we go home with bruises and blood all over us when I made it simple and easy.' "
Within days, Joey had gone into hiding, police said. He fled to Upstate New York, to the home of a family friend who later said she was misled about the reasons for Joey's visit. According to phone records obtained by police, both parents apparently maintained contact with Joey.
In Los Angeles, investigators began following the father after he met with LAPD detectives Feb. 5 at the police station in Northridge, court records said.
The father went to his Long Beach home but then left to make long-distance calls from a nearby pay phone, according to records. Officers watched as Bellinger dropped quarters into the phone every three minutes. One undercover officer overheard him discussing details of the police meeting with a person presumed to be his son, records say.
Los Angeles police said the Bellinger family may have been planning to join Joey in the area around Cassville. Susan Alguire, a high school friend of Joey's mother, Phyllis Goodman, allowed Joey to stay in her home for three weeks. Alguire said Goodman, an employee at a parole office, had told her that the family was planning to return to New York because of financial difficulties they faced in California.
"My understanding is that they were relocating," Alguire told the Utica Observer-Dispatch. "What she said was that they were planning to come back home. . . . She was in the process of trying to transfer back out here and she wanted to send Joey out first."
Joey pleaded not guilty to charges of murder and attempted murder Tuesday in Juvenile Court and remains in custody pending a May 16 hearing to determine if he will be prosecuted as an adult. His parents are free on bail. They were ordered to return to court April 18 for a preliminary hearing.
On Orange Grove Avenue, residents expressed relief at the news of Joey's capture. Some said they feared that Joey was hiding in the neighborhood. Few expressed surprise at allegations that Joey shot the two brothers.
"Everybody knew it was coming," said neighbor Kathleen Doyle. "People felt for a long time that Joey was an accident waiting to happen." Indeed, two months before the shooting, attorney Houston Touceda, who represented the residents, wrote a letter of warning to Los Angeles police and the city attorney.
The letter said: "Please do not ignore this cancer before it metastasizes and kills."
Times staff writers Carlos Lozano, Michael Connelly, Aaron Curtiss, Philipp Gollner and Leslie Berger contributed to this story.
This is the second story in full:
A Long Beach teenager who shot two hearing-impaired Palmdale brothers after a traffic incident, killing one of them, was sentenced Tuesday to 12 years in prison but could be free in four years.
As part of a plea bargain, San Fernando Superior Court Judge Howard J. Schwab allowed Joey Paul Bellinger, 19, to serve his time in a California Youth Authority facility.
"This is a tragic case," Schwab said. "There are no winners, only losers."
Bellinger's attorney, Ezekiel P. Perlo, said Bellinger will be given credit for the nearly three years he has already been in custody and more than a year for good behavior. That means that Bellinger will be eligible for parole after serving about four years.
Perlo said the sentence was reasonable considering that Bellinger faced a maximum sentence of 30 years to life if convicted by a jury. However, he and the teen-ager's parents maintained that the shooting was in self-defense.
Bellinger's parents, Joseph Paul Bellinger Sr. and Phyllis Mary Goodman, were in the courtroom for sentencing but declined to comment.
Deputy Dist. Atty. Phil Halpin said he agreed to the settlement because some witnesses could not be found, making it more difficult to obtain a conviction if the case went to trial.
Bellinger, who was 16 at the time of the Jan. 28, 1990, incident, originally was charged with murder and attempted murder for killing Cesar Viera, 30, and wounding Edward Viera, then 25. The charges were reduced to voluntary manslaughter and assault with a firearm in exchange for Bellinger's no-contest plea, which is the equivalent of a guilty plea for criminal court purposes.
Prosecutors said Bellinger was among a group of youths in a car that stopped for a traffic light at an intersection in Granada Hills, and exchanged glares and insults with the Vieras, who were on a motorcycle.
Both groups pulled into the parking lot of a nearby shopping center, where Bellinger fired several shots at the brothers. Edward Viera recovered.
After the shooting, Bellinger fled to the home of family friends in Upstate New York with the help of his parents. He was arrested March 2, 1990, after an intensive search by Los Angeles police and the FBI.
Bellinger's parents later pleaded no contest to charges that they orchestrated the escape. Bellinger's father was placed on three years probation and ordered to perform 200 hours of community service on a felony charge. His mother was sentenced on a misdemeanor charge to two years probation and ordered to perform 100 hours of community service.


  1. Wow; that's some real nasty shit spreading there Harrison.

    You did fail to show—or even bother attempting to—that Bellinger *chose* to be a "nutty denier" as a result of what happened to his daughter. But that wasn't really the point of this post was it? The point was to shit spread.

    The original LAT piece says what effect it really had on Bellinger:

    "Shortly after Michelle's murder, the elder Bellinger began a one-man crusade to find his daughter's killer. He became an amateur pathologist, studying such things as patterns of rigor mortis and tissue decay to better understand police and coroner's reports. The case attracted media attention as Bellinger drove the streets of Silver Lake, scanning the hillsides with binoculars in a desperate search for clues."

  2. You missed the part where I express empathy for the guy. There's no doubt that he suffered greatly. The shit is in the public domain already.

    The quote in your comment shows him to have become an obsessive to a pathological degree; even if that obsession helped find his daughter's killer, it had negative, criminal consequences later.

    It also started a pattern where Bellinger was willing to lie to a criminal degree to get his own way. This pattern continued into his HD activities, as Irving showed here:

    "Markus H. recoommends to me the book by Joe Bellinger on Heinrich Himmler's death. I reply that I am familiar with the work's existence. In fact I paid the author an advance of eleven thousand dollars for the world rights in 1999 -- he kept on asking for more -- then gave up on him as the manuscript he delivered was unpublishable. "Bellinger unfortunately was not quellenkritisch" -- careful about his sources.

    Markus then sends me some of Bellinger's extraordinary vapourings about me on the Internet, where he even claims credit for finding Himmler's two hundred letters to his mistress: "Although I did not use these letters in my book," writes Bellinger grandly, and indeed how could he have, "David Irving latched upon them and is apparently including them in his upcoming Himmler book. Whether he gives me the credit for their discovery in the archives remains to be seen." I tell Markus:

    That alone is a gross untruth. The owner of the letters, J S, contacted me in Chicago one day in 1999 and brought them all for me to read; I spent a whole morning reading them all. They were never in any archives, always in private hands.

    "In regards to Mr. Irving, I know the man fairly well," continues Mr Bellinger on the Internet. "I spent days with him whilst conducting research at Stanford prior to beginning my work on "Himmler's Death."

    Yes, Joe, I remember that drive with you from Los Angeles to Palo Alto well. (I had to drag the man away from his girlfriend in Rodeo Drive, Beverley Hills -- he was literally crying ! -- and drove him against his will up to Stanford at my expense to look at their Himmler materials. He cannot read German, let alone Sütterlin script. He had never researched in an archive in his life. I then began to realise that my $11,000 was a totally wasted investment. He never visited the archives in Washington or London either, which was what I paid him the advance for.)

    "You will now understand," I tell Markus, "why I shall not venture to open B's work. Otherwise it will be said I've stolen it all from him." [Du versteht jetzt weshalb ich es nicht wagen werde, das Werk von B aufzumachen. Sonst heisst es, ich habe ihm alles geklaut.]"

  3. @Daft Rabbit

    Wow. I actually thought you were one of the trickier second tier denier-liars out there for a bit but you clearly have shit for brains son.

    Your post is indicative of the fact that you did not take the time to do so much as scan the article you claim to critique. That's pretty lame, especially for someone who throws around shrieks of "PWAGAWISIM" so much.

    Mr. Harrison's article actually made me feel sorry for the poor man. he may be an insane Neo-Nazi freak but he's human, like me and you.

    Happy VE Day, I'm sure it's a day of mourning for you and your would-be "kamaraden"

  4. Hello Jonathan,

    Do you have a email I can send you a private mail?

    Best regards

  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

  6. Jonathan Harrison, this is Joe Bellingers son, and no, I'm not the criminal. I have to say, out of all the slander against my father through the years, this the worst and most despicable I've come across. Seriously, don't you have a life? You went so far as to snoop through my genealogy just to dig dirt on my father?

    I'll have you know that criminal half brother of mine was estranged from me and my father. You try and use the actions from his son to discredit my dads work? That makes no sense whatsoever, and is a tactless cheap shot at best. And to even go so low as to use his daughters murder? If anything it shows his intelligence for solving the crime where the LAPD failed. It also gave him the knowledge to prove that Himmler was murdered by the Allies. But I'm not here to debate that, but I'll have you know too Harrison, that neither me nor my father, need or want your so called "empathy," that's coming from a bloodsucking, carrion feeding scumbag such as yourself.

  7. There's no digging dirt because the information is already in the public domain, easily available via Google. The motive of the article was to explore some possible reasons how a person came to be a denier. It was not an attack piece or an attempt to discredit Bellinger; most people would assume Bellinger was already discredited by his denial activities (such as documented by Irving above). I believe considerable sympathy was expressed in the article for Joe's bereavement and the clear pain he endured for many years. The pros and cons of his police work are covered in the quotes I provided.

    If you've chosen the path of denial yourself, then you obviously have a motive to see hidden agendas that are not there, and I cannot help you with that. I clearly believe that Holocaust denial is a deluded activity and the evidence of that delusion is documented throughout the hundreds of articles we have written on this site. There is not much chance of us having a fruitful dialogue if one of us is mired in pro-Nazi falsifications of history. The personal abuse in your last sentence will not persuade people that you have a strong case.

  8. This comment has been removed by the author.

  9. Oh please, for a so called professor you conduct yourself like common tabloid trash! Your a disgusting liar and a lousy one at that! Anyone who has eyes can see this is slander. My father was a World War Two writer but never denied the Holocaust. Furthermore, your quoting that hack Irving? Thats ironic your using him as ammo since he's the liar and criminal, being imprisioned some years back for Holocaust denial, and he was recently sued for falsely selling Hitlers hair. That's your proof? An obvious liar and disreputable man and a revisionist to boot, whom you hate! But you take whatever dirt you can take and fling eh Harrison? Furthermore, I have no hidden agendas, and I don't want your "help." And the fact you resort to hit below the belt like this won't exactly convince people for your case either, I see others even commented that this was just mud raking, regardless if the info is public or not.

  10. "From 2009 through 2013 he served as a member of the Editorial Advisory Board for INCONVENIENT HISTORY."

    That makes him a Holocaust Denier according to the definition commonly accepted (except by deniers themselves)

    My colleague Sergey also linked to Joe's activities back in 2006:

  11. Oh I see, guilt by association... So just because my dad wrote for a site that had some deniers he automatically is one? If one actually read his writings they would see there was no actually Holocaust Denial, only writing on the subject matter itself of Holocaust Denial. If he ever denied the Holocaust, he would never have been published in France and Germany by reputable publishers! Tell me something, is your "colleague" another lifeless mud raking hack like you? And that's your proof? That cesspool link you put that was just childish name calling? Oh what a revelation! Me and my dad already saw that trash years ago and had a good laugh at it on account of how pathetic it is! It looks like all you do is just slander people in your spare time. :

    What is it with you anyway? I'm not a Holocaust denier but have you ever heard of freedom of speech? You harass and slander people just because they have a different opinion/viewpoint as you. Do you agree with imprisonment for denying the Armenian Genocide on the island of Cyprus? It sure as hell happened and it's foolish to deny it but I don't think one should be in arrested and tarred and feathered for it!

    1. Everything they wrote about your now-dead father was accurate. Hopefully you're saner now than you were in 2016, but if not, TFB.


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