This show, “Michigan and other Mayhem”, is a sort of factual, slightly comical, always earnest podcast about interesting stuff in Michigan and around the world. It is done by two sisters-in-law (Ali and Jenn) that like to talk about random interesting stories. Expect cults, mysteries, murder, fast talking, and a couple of mental palate cleansers… and cuss words. Those happen on this show, a lot.
- Pretend podcast music because Jenn likes it.
- Ali has a weird laugh. It is often loud.
Today we are talking about ax murderers and throwing axes.
BATL in Novi
BATL is short of Backyard Axe Throwing League. The one we went to is located in Novi, MI. Jenn would like to now join a league because we had fun. Both Ali and Jenn had moments of ax throwing brilliance and ax throwing failures. They had no coffee but they did have alcohol. You can order food to be delivered to the building.
Anyone can throw an ax. The hard part comes in making it stick to the target. Mike (Ali’s husband and Jenn’s brother) and Jenn caught on right away. Ali was slower to catch on but more consistent at the end.
You need to call in advance if you want time on the weekends, but we found out that we couldn’t call too far in advance. (We think) It is about $40 an hour for a private axe throwing lesson (highly recommended by this podcast) and about $20 an hour for a lane once you’re ready on your own. Ali and Jenn are willing to go again and get private lessons. They have eight-week leagues if you are looking for a challenge.
Jenn is now willing to set up ax throwing in her backyard.
Only non-ax-related issue
In October 2018, two students at DaVinci Charter Academy in California brought sugar cookies to school. They shared the cookies with around nine other children. They had a secret ingredient. (Ali guessed it was weed.) One of the kids had put their grandfather’s ashes into the cookies. Unknown as to why. The students were cooperating with the police. The kids that ate the cookies said they tasted sandy. Police can’t figure out what law they broke.
Jenn’s Ax Murders
Jenn had found 34 ax murders online. She was surprised on how popular it was to kill someone with an ax.
In Connecticut, in 2012, Tyree Smith murdered a homeless man with a hatchet. He then ate parts of his body. Ali guesses mental illness and… he was found not guilty by reason of insanity. Tyree received a sentence of 60 years in a mental hospital.
Victor Licata killed his father, mother, two brothers, and his sister with an ax in 1933 in Tampa, Florida. Jenn couldn’t find information on how the murdered occurred. Victor was also found not guilty by reason of insanity and sent to a mental hospital. In 1950, Victor committed suicide.
Hatchet Death of Al-Yasari
On February 4, 2019, Ammar Al-Yasari was found dead in his home in mid-Michigan. He was 35-years-old. It was his wife, Bdour Al-Yasari, who was 28 years old at the time, that dialed 911. When police arrived at the Al-Yasari home, Bdour was screaming “help me, help me” to the police. She told them that her husband was inside and needed their help. Bdour told the police she wasn’t sure if her husband was breathing. When police officers entered the home, they found Ammar lying in a pool of blood. To the officers, he was obviously deceased.
When medical examiners searched his body, they found 24 individual chop wounds caused by an ax on his head, face, and neck. The injuries were so harsh that the roof of his mouth was broken off from the rest of his skull. His skull itself was in pieces, kept together by his soft tissues.
Bdour told the Ingram County Sheriff’s Office that she was having an affair in her first interview but would not tell who her lover was. Bdour and her lover had been seeing each other since the summer of 2018 and broke up once in November before restarting their relationship. Bdour had told her lover that she was going to get a divorce.
When Bdour wouldn’t name her lover, her phone was then confiscated, and detectives discovered calls from 27-year-old Jacob Ficher. The police officer also received multiple calls from other resources who confirmed the affair between Bdour and Jacob. The detectives found a text message from Bdour to Jacob that read “I love you, Jacob Ficher”. Jacob had also sent texts to Bdour that said things like, “This mother f—er needs to die”.
On February 6th, two days after the murder was committed, Jacob Ficher went out to eat at Rocky’s Roadhouse in Holt, MI with his roommate, Levi Thomason. Witnesses in the restaurant overheard Jacob telling Levi that he had committed a homicide and that he was the devil. Levi later testified that he had thought Bdour was single as Jacob had purchased a wedding ring and they wrote notes to each other about being together forever.
The police were able to use Jacob’s bus card as evidence. He rode the Number 8 bus from his home to the Al-Yasari home on the day of the murder. He also no-call/no-showed at work during the time of the attack. In a search of Jacob’s apartment, police found packaging for an ax, whose size and shape matched Ammar’s wounds. There was also surveillance tape of Jacob purchasing an ax at a Kroger, several days before the attack on Ammar. Levi also later admitted that he had overheard Bdour and Jacob talk about killing Ammar.
Jacob Ficher had been charged with murder and conspiracy to commit murder less than a week after Ammar’s murder. A few days later, Bdour Al-Yasari was charged with murder and conspiracy to commit murder. Bdour waived her right to a preliminary hearing, but Jacob is pushing forward. Both were due back in court April 4, 2019 but I wasn’t able to find an update.
Ali was confused when different articles about Ammar Al-Yasari’s death referred to the ax as a ‘camp ax’. There is no such thing. Yes, there are axes. Yes, you can take them camping. No, there are not any axes that are specific to campers.
- The axe is one of the oldest tools used by humans. The oldest ones are called hand axes and do not have handles.
- Modern axes are made of two parts. There is the axe head, the metal part that does the actual chopping, and the axe haft, also called the shaft or the handle.
- Felling axes cut across the grain, like when you chop down a tree.
- Splitting axes cut with the grain, like when you are chopping cords of wood.
Viking Axe Museum in Denmak: https://en.natmus.dk/historical-knowledge/denmark/prehistoric-period-until-1050-ad/the-viking-age/weapons/axes/
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