It may not be the biggest story of the week so far. It may not even be the most interesting — Brian Nichols’ taped confession will be hard to top. But the voodoo curse story out of Cobb Co. was certainly appealing for its mix of political mischief, desperation, alleged criminal behavior and flat-out Southern gothic weirdness. Though WSB downplayed it in its 6pm news, it appears WSB’s Ross Cavitt broke the story Monday. With the exception of the Marietta Daily Journal, it seems nobody else has touched him. (LAF readers who can cite URLs that prove us wrong are encouraged to chime in.)
The story is about Annette Kesting, a Cobb county commissioner who found herself locked in what was ultimately a losing battle with a challenger in the July primary and August runoff. A South Carolina woman named George Ann Mills filed a complaint with the Cobb PD, claiming that Kesting had bounced two checks while employing her services as a voodoo priestess. From WSB’s web site:
“…according to the voodoo priestess she wanted challenger Woody Thompson to either develop cancer or be involved in a car wreck.
The woman claims Kesting gave her pictures of Thompson and wrote her $3,000 worth of checks, but those checks bounced. The voodoo rituals were apparently never performed.”
Kesting told WSB that somebody had stolen her checkbook. She denied visiting the SC priestess.
Cavitt wryly concluded his carefully worded coverage thusly: “Bouncing checks is one thing. It’s unclear if asking for a voodoo ritual to be performed against any one person is against any state law.” The AJC printed a piece Tuesday and credited WSB.
But today the MDJ reports: “According to the Richland County, S.C., Sheriff’s Office, payment for a death ritual is illegal and would be considered a ‘solicitation of hire for murder.'”
Could it be the story was too good to be true? The MDJ’s coverage suggests not, reporting that the priestess “convincingly” described Kesting, her husband and her car. The priestess also showed the MDJ a receipt for a money order with Richard Kesting’s name on it.
This story certainly doesn’t explore any of the day’s great issues. We’re guessing that legions of newscast producers would have loved to see this story in their shows — for its tease-worthiness, if nothing else. We’ve scanned the TV websites and some of their newscasts. This story doesn’t appear anywhere else.
Perhaps the story is cursed.