RICHMOND, Va. — Yesterday afternoon police were called to the scene of a fire at the Puritan Cleaners on Staples Mill Road and discovered a ten-foot wooden pole ablaze in front of the store with a woman tied to the stake.
Firefighters quickly extinguished the fire and rushed the woman to the VCU Medical Center where she was pronounced dead on arrival.
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Officers determined that Puritan Cleaners employee Josias Ezekiel Ames, 62, of Salem, Massachusetts bore responsibility for the woman’s murder. According to their accounts, the suspect was standing near the foot of the stake holding matches and wearing breeches, clogs, and a capotain.
The incident began when the woman brought a miniskirt in to be dry cleaned. Jonas Cotton, the front cashier, recounted that, “Mine eyes nearly failed me when she lay that accursed garment before me. I was overcome with lustful thoughts such as I had not felt since I gazed upon the elbow of the local scullery maid.”
He alerted Ames to the presence of the skirt and, upon seeing it, Ames declared, “the rag, scant as it is, bears a marker of the Devil himself: H&M. No doubt this stands for ‘Hell and Malevolence.’”
In a statement from Henrico Police Detective Carlos Valenzuela, Ames claimed his actions were justified. “He said that he arrived in this country to purify the Church of England from the influence of Roman Catholicism,” Valenzuela revealed. “He also mentioned that this type of clothing arose from the ‘whorish’ fashions of the Italians who ‘don the garments of harlots’ before engaging in what he called the disturbing behaviors of ‘revelry,’ ‘dabbling in popery,’ and, what he called the most disturbing of all, ‘dance.’”
“Take me thither to thine stockade then,” witnesses reported hearing Ames say while being handcuffed. “I spake the word of the Lord upon heaven high and shall pray for the soul of that altiloquent strumpet who dare display flesh at my counter.”
Ames was arraigned on one count of first degree murder and one count of kidnapping. Several religious leaders have offered to pay Ames’s bond, including Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, Jr., and that guy who sings hymns outside of the Planned Parenthood clinic on Hamilton Street.
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