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Murder Libs

Take a load off and fill out this spooky Murder Libs story about a mysterious marauder and their unlikely arrest! For more goofy true crime fun, check out our first edition.

The True Story Behind The Murder Lib

In March of 2017, Jeremy Putman dressed up as The Joker and walked around Winchester, Virginia at night while carrying a big sword. The 31-year-old cosplayer spooked the sleepy town’s residents and the police were eventually called on him. However, instead of arresting Putman for possessing a sword, officers took The Joker into custody for wearing a mask that concealed his identity. Although it’s hard to imagine now, wearing a mask in public was apparently illegal in Virginia via the Virginia Code 18.2-422. (Of course, wearing a mask for the purpose of preserving the health and safety of the public would not actually be a violation of the law.)

According to the code: “It shall be unlawful for any person over 16 years of age, with the intent to conceal his identity, wear any mask, hood, or other device, whereby a substantial portion of the face is hidden or covered, so as to conceal the identity of the wearer, to be or appear in any public place, or upon any private property in this Commonwealth, without first having obtained from the owner or tenant thereof consent to do so in writing [. . .] The violation of any provisions of this section is a Class 6 felony.”

Putman appeared in court in April of 2017 but eventually had his charges dismissed in Winchester General District Court in August of that year. Local media allegedly reported that Putman’s charges were dropped based on his good behavior and his lack of appearing in public as the fictional Batman villain during the months that followed his arrest. Winchester Commonwealth’s Attorney, Marc Abrams, also stated that the Virginia law was simply too ambiguous to actually prosecute Putman and send him to jail for five years (as is standard for Class 6 Felony charges).

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