Charles Darwin at a green chalkboard.

1999 Darwin Awards

Honoring Charles Darwin, the father of evolution, Darwin Awards commemorate those who improve our gene pool--by removing themselves from it in the most spectacular way possible.

Maine Chainsaw Romance
1999 Darwin Award Winner
Confirmed True by Darwin

(5 July 1999, Maine) An internet romance blossomed then faded, after a Missouri man traveled to Maine to meet his destiny. In a bizarre merging of "You've Got Mail" with "Texas Chainsaw Massacre," James swung a chainsaw and severed his own neck, in a futile effort to prove his love to the woman who had spurned his face-to-face romance.

He began his relationship with "Beth" over the internet a year ago, and moved from Missouri to Topsham, Maine on June 23 to further the affair. Instead, she insisted upon ending the relationship. Distraught, James drove to her house on River Road, knocked on the door, and asked her adult son to get his mother. The son refused and locked all the doors. James pulled a chainsaw from his trunk, stood on the lawn, and performed his macho act in a vain attempt to impress the depth of his feelings upon the woman.

Police arrived to find him barely alive. "There was blood all over. I couldn't see where the wound was," explained William Robbins of the Sagadahoc County Sheriff's Department. James died in the hospital shortly thereafter.

Debra, a friend of the deceased, believes that "Beth" abused James' affection. "He spent thousands of dollars on calls, email, computers," she said, "and also helped that woman pay her bills." Debra received a desperate phone call just hours before he took his life. She reported that he begged, "Tell me you forgive me." She did, and then the phone went dead. She attempted to alert authorities but had insufficient information regarding his whereabouts.

James had attempted suicide five years earlier, and had seemingly recovered his equilibrium. He purchased the chainsaw in Maine a week prior to his sensational death.

One last oddity: James has two brothers also named James, and the three are distinguished by middle names. Is this clear sign of parental lunacy a coincidence, or the cause of his insanity? You be the judge! © 1994 - 2022
ubmitted by: Jeremy Fletcher, Matt Piechota,
Gabriel Chapman
, Stewart Bushman, Jeff Vier
Reference: San Jose Mercury News,,
CNN, Portland Press

Simon Mermelstein says, "James having two brothers also named James, distinguished by different middle names, is not a sign of stupidity but rather an Amish tradition, in which all boys are named after a family member and called by their middle names."
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