Crime Time ~ Your Worst Nightmare ~ “When the Lights Go Out”

#CrimeTime with Alicia Dean ~ 

 

Your Worst Nightmare, Season 1 Episode 2, When the Lights Go Out

Pocatello, Idaho, September 22, 2006

Seventeen-year-old Cassie Jo Stoddart is house-sitting for her aunt and uncle one weekend. On Friday night, her boyfriend comes over to hang out with her, and he invites a few friends over. The friends only stay for a brief time, then decide to go to a movie. Later, Cassie and Matthew are watching TV, and the lights go out. Matthew searches the house but finds nothing amiss. The lights come back on, and the teens decide it’s just the wiring, since the house is old. Cassie is a little freaked out and wants Matthew to stay, but his mom will not let him. She tells him that Cassie can come stay at their house, but Cassie refuses. She’s made a commitment to her aunt and uncle, and she’s going to go through with it.

The family comes home on Sunday, and Cassie’s 13-year-old cousin discovers Cassie’s body in the living room. She has been stabbed repeatedly. The police begin the investigation. They start with her boyfriend, and he tells them the details of that night. The police then speak with the two friends, Torey Adamcik and Brian Draper, both sixteen. They state they were at a movie. The detective asks what actors were in the movie, they can’t answer. He asks what the plot was about, and they can’t answer. These two boys are obsessed with movies, especially horror movies, and it’s rather suspicious that they are clueless about a movie they supposedly watched two days prior.

The police turn up the heat and Brian Draper cracks. He comes into the station and begins crying, telling the police that they did it, but it was Torey, not him, and he thought they were just going to scare her. He takes them to a spot where they buried evidence. Police recover several articles of black clothing, three knives, two masks and a homemade videotape. When they play the tape, they are horrified to discover that it is of the teens, planning and laughing about the murder, then afterward, discussing it.

Here is a partial transcript of the tapes:

****************

Before the murder, Adamcik told Draper, “we’re not going to get caught,” to which Draper replies, “we’re going to make history,”

The transcript includes conversation between Adamcik and Draper referencing horror-slasher films like “Scream” and comparing themselves to serial killers like Ted Bundy, the Hillside Strangler and the Zodiac Killer.

“Those people were mere amateurs compared to what we are going to be,” Adamcik said.

In another segment of the transcript, Draper says “I feel like I want to kill somebody. Uh, I know that’s not normal, but what the hell.”

Adamcik replied, “I feel we need to break away from normal life.”

Adamcik and Draper were laughing while the camera was rolling, and during one segment, Draper said the two had tried, unsuccessfully, to kill on eight or nine previous occasions.

“But they’ve never been home alone,” Draper said.

And Adamick replied by saying, “Or when they have, their parents show up.”

Draper said he and Adamcik identified Stoddart as their victim the day before the murder, despite claiming she was their friend.

“We’ll find out if she has friends over, if she’s going to be alone in a big dark house out in the middle of nowhere. How perfect can you get?” Draper said.

“I’m horny just thinking about it,” Adamcik replied.

***************

How sickening is this? The sorry bastards. Catching these monsters most likely saved a lot of lives.

The two are arrested, tried and convicted of first degree murder. They are sentenced to life without parole. They have attempted over the years to have their sentences overturned. Adamcik claimed he had ineffective counsel and that his sentence was cruel and unusual punishment. What an evil little weasel. What about the cruel and unusual punishment Cassie suffered at his hands? It is irrelevant that they were only sixteen. They were certainly old enough to know what they were doing was so wrong. And, they did it with malicious glee.

The entire family has suffered so much. The aunt and uncle could not go back into the home. They moved away, and the house wouldn’t sell because of the horror that took place there. Cassie’s cousin who found her was a mess and later attempted suicide. Such a shame and a tragedy.

[I love true crime shows, and I watch them every night. (Since I write suspense, thriller, and mystery, it’s not a waste of time…it’s research, right? 🙂 ) I love Investigation Discovery and watch many of the various shows, although some are a little too cheesy. However, there are plenty of shows that are done well enough to feed my fascination with murder. Each week, I’ll blog about some of the recent episodes I’ve seen and I’d love to know your thoughts.]

 

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Author Interview with Kara O’Neal & New Release: Destiny’s Secrets

Please help me welcome friend and fellow author, Kara O’Neal with a fun interview and her brand new release…

 

What is your greatest temptation? Hmmm…well, I think right now it would be Emma Swan and Killian Jones’ love story in Once Upon A Time. I made a YouTube playlist of videos of them. Concerning, right? But I just love their journey to each other. It was wonderful to watch.

What is your greatest weakness? Netflix.

If you could have any kind of car, what would it be? A 1950s Ford Truck with a Dodge engine

Your dream home – mountains or ocean? Neither. I want to live in the Texas Hill Country where the bluebonnets grow.

What inspired you to become a writer? I love stories. I soak them up. They have the ability to teach, to inspire, to warn and to relieve stress. I wanted to tell them, too. And I loved the Little House series. I wanted to create my own town with its quirky, imperfect and loveable characters.

Do you have a daily writing routine?  If so, please share.  Not really. I just sit down and write. It’s not helpful, I know. But the scenes play in my head while I am at work, and I can’t wait to get to my computer so I can write them down. It’s a release for me.

What is your favorite book? Pride and Prejudice

What is your favorite movie? It’s Pride and Prejudice. Ha! I am a creature of habit!

Who is your favorite historical figure? Joshua Chamberlain. He is the reason the Union Army won the Battle of Gettysburg. I also love Sam Houston, Davy Crockett, and John Henry.

In your books, who is your favorite hero and please introduce him? My favorite hero is Lonnie Davis. He is in several books, but he is the hero in Love’s Redemption. He’s calm, steady, smart and unbreakable. He’s tough. And very loyal. If I could compare him to another fictional character, it would be Captain America.

Who is your favorite heroine and please introduce her? Oh, goodness. I have several. But if I have to pick one, I really enjoyed writing Sherry Forrester. She is a no-nonsense lady who loves life and lives it on her terms. She’s tough, as well. And funny. I had a lot of fun writing her.

What do you have out now?  My newest release is book 11 in the Pike’s Run Series – Destiny’s Secrets. It came out on January 22nd.

New releases anytime soon?  I hope to release book 12 – Mr. Pierce’s Hero – in the summer.

Where can eager fans find you?

My website: www.karaoneal.com.

My facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/KaraONeal84/

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/karaoneal7/

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Kara-ONeal/e/B00FL19TH8/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1465007993&sr=8-1

Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/kara+o’neal?_requestid=845025

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7278350.Kara_O_Neal

Twitter: https://twitter.com/KaraONealAuthor

Blurb:

Andrew and Ben Lonnigan, brothers and private investigators, have accepted an important case—to reunite the long-lost DuBois daughters with their rightful inheritance. Abducted from their childhood home in New Orleans when they were three and two-years-old, Jo and Charlotte were adopted by separate families.

Andrew heads north to find Josephine Tatum—a pants-wearing, spitfire veterinarian who challenges his mind and captures his heart. Ben travels south to find Charlotte Ryan—the financial mind behind her father’s ranch, with a sweet disposition and, unfortunately, a fiancé.

As the sisters journey toward destiny, Charlotte must guard her heart against Ben, a man too daring to ever return her love. And Andrew must hide his feelings from Jo, a woman determined to carve her own path. While the foursome battle feelings, they must also war with a villain from the sisters’ past, one with the will and the means to destroy everything the DuBois daughters hold dear.

Excerpt:

The moonlight shining through the window above the sink bathed the dark room in a silver glow. He wished he’d brought a lantern in order to better see her face. Quiet settled around them, and he cleared his throat. “Did…Did you have a good time?”

“Yes.” She leaned against the counter, putting several feet of space between them.

“You weren’t scared?”

“I was.”

His mouth tipped up at the corners. “But you went anyway?”

“Yes.”

He tried to imagine her sitting in a saloon and couldn’t wrap his mind around it. “What’d you do?”

She pushed her hands behind her back. “Played cards.”

“Poker?”

“Yes. The owner found us spots, and we used some of Jo’s money. I only played two hands because I wasn’t comfortable betting.” She waited a beat. “That’s not a game someone should learn while using someone else’s coins.”

He had no reply and ached to move closer to her. He wished he could gather her in his arms. The last several hours had been pure torture, and his pulse raced at finally being in the same room with her.

“I also drank some whiskey.”

Her statement had him gaping. “Really?”

She didn’t expand and asked a question of her own. “Is this what you wanted to speak to me about?”

“No, I…” How in the hell did he begin? Why bring this up when she so obviously wanted to avoid it? But he couldn’t handle a chasm in their friendship. Even though he might not see her after Tuesday, he had to fix the tension between them.

“I’m sorry for what I did,” she blurted. “I shouldn’t have done it, especially without asking for permission.”

Permission? Her sweetness punched him in the gut. Before he could respond, she went on.

“I have feelings for you, Ben. Strong ones. I didn’t want you to know because I’m very aware I’m not a lady you’d ever be interested in, but I don’t want to hide my regard anymore.” She pushed away from the counter. “I love you.”

His breath caught at her honesty. Her courage.

“You’re probably confused because I was engaged only a short time ago, but…” She shook her head. “I didn’t love him. Not like I should have. I agreed to marry him to give my family some happiness after the death of my mother.”

Her words came with authority, shocking him into further silence.

“You came into my life, and you dazzled me. You’re so kind,” she said with reverence. “So caring. So…handsome. I’m glad I met you. I don’t regret losing my heart to you, but it’s going to take some work to get it back, and I need your help with that.”

What did she want of him?

“I need space. Distance.” She took a moment. “I’d appreciate it if we just said goodbye now.”

Already? Rebellion reared its head like a fire-breathing dragon.

When she said no more, he realized she waited for his agreement. How could he give her what she wanted?

But why would he hesitate? Her request should be easy to grant. He understood it. Respected it.

“Ben?” she prodded.

“Yes,” he rasped.

“Yes? You’ll honor what I’m asking?”

The hopeful, grateful note in her tone was like a knife to his heart. “Of course.”

Even in the darkness, he easily detected the slump of her shoulders. “Thank you.”

He couldn’t respond. It was impossible.

She shuffled forward a few steps, and he sensed her looking at him expectantly.

“So,” he uttered. “This is goodbye, then.”

“Yes.”

He heard her heartache, the tears she tried hard to hold back. He didn’t want this. He couldn’t lose her already.

“Goodbye,” she said softly, her voice breaking.

He swallowed. “Goodbye.”

One second more, then she swept past him, and he quaked with the force it took to keep from yanking her into his arms. He didn’t turn as she walked out of his life.

Bio:

Born and raised in Texas, the state had to be the setting for my first series. From the food to the fun, like floating the rivers, it is the fire in my blood that inspires me. My family and friends take center stage in my books. My sisters and best friends are my heroines, and my husband created my favorite hero. Love and family are the point of my stories, and I seek to entertain, relieve stress, and inspire people. Books can take one on a journey that one can relive over and over. I am extremely grateful to those authors who did that very thing for me. I learned and I fell in love with their words and characters. From the bottom of my heart, thank you. Please visit me at www.karaoneal.com.

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Crime Time ~ Murder Comes to Town ~ “He’d Do it Again”

#CrimeTime with Alicia Dean ~ 

 

Murder Comes to Town, Season 2 Episode 5, He’d Do it Again

South Bend, Washington November 2, 2010

On the morning of November 3, 2010, Tim Moore’s best friend receives a call from Tim’s son, Devon, saying he doesn’t know where his father is. The friend searches for Tim but is unable to find him. They call police, who cannot consider him missing until he’s been gone 24 hours. Once that deadline passes, police begin investigating. They learn that Tim is a stable, good man and a loving, single father. Devon lives with Tim, and Tim supports Devon’s mother, Tim’s ex-girlfriend, because he is afraid if he doesn’t, she will go after custody of Devon, and Tim wants his son to live with him. From what police can gather, Tim has no enemies and no one has a reason to wish him harm, nor would he just disappear and abandon his son.

The police question Tim’s son, his friends, his ex, but receive no information that leads them to Tim’s whereabouts. They use a sniffer dog to try to pick up Tim’s scent. The dog leads them to a garage where he appears to get a hit. The garage belongs to a known drug offender with a record. The police think they have a solid lead, but it turns out to be a dead end.

The investigators are slightly suspicious about Devon’s manner. He doesn’t seem distraught that his father is missing, but they are aware that people, especially teenagers, don’t always show the expected emotions. When they question Devon, he tells them that he and his father had watched TV together the night before he discovered him missing until 11:30, when Devon went to bed. When he awoke the next morning, his father was gone, and his bed was made, leading Devon to believe he hadn’t slept in it.

The police learn that Devon’s ex has moved into the house with Devon, which seems a little suspicious. They go to the home to speak with her again, but since she doesn’t own the home and Devon isn’t 18, neither of them can give permission for the authorities to search the house. This fact surprised me. I wasn’t aware that was a law, or would even be an issue. I suppose it’s different in various jurisdictions.

A few weeks after Tim’s disappearance, hunters find remains in the woods near his home that turn out to be his. It’s apparent that the victim was shot in the head. Once the body is found, police are able to get a warrant to search the home. They find blood droplets in the garage and when they enter Tim’s bedroom, they see sheets that match the ones found with the body. They turn over the mattress and find a large blood stain. They speak to Devon once again, and ask if he heard the shots the night before his dad disappeared. The coroner determined he’d been shot four times. The police don’t understand how Devon could sleep through that. He states that he’s a heavy sleeper. The police determine that a silencer was used, so it would make sense that the boy hadn’t heard the shots. The blood in the garage turns out to be deer blood, but the blood on the mattress belongs to Tim.

A break comes when the police chief, who is a friend of the missing man, is having dinner with his family. His son mentions a friend of his who has this awesome shotgun with a silencer. The chief asks him if he’s sure, and the son says definitely. The chief goes to talk to the friend and asks if he can see the shotgun. The kid shows it to him, and it indeed has a silencer. The chief asks him how long he’s had the gun, and he tells him a week. By now, it’s been five months since Tim Moore was murdered. The chief asks where he got the shotgun. The kids tells him he got it from a friend. The chief asks for the friend’s name, and the kid tells him it’s Devon Moore.

Police bring Devon in for questioning once more and tell him they know what happened, now is his chance to tell his side of it. At first, Devon sticks to his story, although he does mention that he and his dad argued. But, he insists he went to bed and awoke the next morning to find his father gone. With a little more pressure by police, Devon finally tells the truth. He says he and his father argued, his father had told him he could drive the truck as long as he was on the honor roll. He fell off the honor roll, and his dad took his driving privileges away. He said that, after his father went to bed, he got the shotgun and went into his room. He placed the barrel near his dad’s skull and pulled the trigger. It was a bolt-action shotgun, so he had to manually open and close the breech, eject the spent casing and load a new one. He had to do that three more times, which shows slow, deliberate calculation. The police asked if he had any remorse and he said no, and if he had it to do over again, he’d do it again. They ask him why, and he says that his dad wasn’t the great guy everyone thought he was, he’d been abusing him his entire life. However, there was no indication at all of the abuse. No marks whatsoever on Devon, no medical reports, no complaints to officials, nothing, ever. It appeared that Devon simply was tired of his dad’s parental control.

Devon was tried as an adult, found guilty of first degree murder and sentenced to the max, which is 31 years. I’m always baffled when a first degree murder charge does not result in a life sentence, if not the death penalty. How can you cold-bloodedly murder your own father, a father who loved you and sacrificed for you, and be able to walk out of prison when you’re fifty years old? It’s so disturbing when a child kills a parent. What is missing from their humanity that they would do something so heinous?

A question I have that wasn’t answered in the episode is why the sniffer dog hit on the garage. I don’t know if Tim had been there for some reason, or if the dog had a false hit. It bugs me when there are unanswered questions. 😊

 

[I love true crime shows, and I watch them every night. (Since I write suspense, thriller, and mystery, it’s not a waste of time…it’s research, right? 🙂 ) I love Investigation Discovery and watch many of the various shows, although some are a little too cheesy. However, there are plenty of shows that are done well enough to feed my fascination with murder. Each week, I’ll blog about some of the recent episodes I’ve seen and I’d love to know your thoughts.]

 

 

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Crime Time ~ Murder Calls ~ “Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing”

#CrimeTime with Alicia Dean

 

Murder Calls Season 1, Episode 1, Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing

May 28, 2007, Ogden, Iowa

A 911 call comes in to Boone County dispatch. The caller is a man who identifies himself as Michael Hill. The actual 911 call was played on the show. It was eerie and sad.

Hill: “I shot myself.”

Dispatcher: “Where?”

Hill: “I don’t know, I can’t move.”

Dispatcher: “How were you shot?”

Hill: ”I don’t know, I shot myself, the gun just went off. ”

He said he was going after a wild dog that was killing sheep. He worked for the farmer and was taking care of the sheep. He was trying to scare off the, but he said the gun went off and shot him. He tells them that he is at the back of the sheep farm, by a John Deere tractor. Then he says, “Please hurry, I can’t feel my legs. Oh, I gotta go. Going out.”

His friend, John Blair races to the farm. Michael, who they call Shane, had called him. John told him to call 911 then heads to the farm. When he arrives, the EMTs are working on Shane. John said he was working about 20 miles away and Shane called him. John told him to call 911, then heads over. John calls Shane’s mom, who goes by to pick up Shane’s wife, Jessica. The two women speed to the scene.

As they watch, the EMTs announce he’s gone.

He was shot in the center of his back and in the shoulder and leg. A loaded handgun was lying beside him. It’s the same type of gun that he told the dispatcher he’d shot himself with.

The next day, it was discovered that, six minutes after the first call, Shane calls 911 again. He doesn’t know it, but this time, his call was routed through Green County. He says his phone went dead and asks for the person he spoke with before, but that person is not at that location. Shane has to tell the story over again.

During that call, another shot can be heard. Shane says, “Oh F—. This thing went off again. I just blew a hole in my F—- arm. Oh my God, Oh my God.”

The investigating detective listens to that second call again, over and over, and realizes that second shot was from a rifle, not a handgun and that it came from a distance. He now knows there is more to the case than it first appeared.

The autopsy indicated that the shot came from above him. And, they pulled out a 30 ought 6 slug from Shane’s body.

They question John Blair, his friend who arrived just after police. They ask why he didn’t just call 911 himself. He said he was freaked out and just rushed over. John’s alibi checks out.

John was being interviewed during on the show, and he, along with his brothers, told what a good person Shane was, that he would give you anything you needed. Everyone also said that Shane loved his wife and children very much, that he was a doting husband and father.

The police interview with Jessica is shown on the episode. One of the detectives knows Jessica personally. He asks about Dan Blair, John’s brother. Dan was a good friend of Shane’s and a few years before, when Dan was down on his luck, Shane let him move in. Shane was working out of state, and did some work in Oklahoma for a period of time. He didn’t like leaving his family but felt they were in good hands with Dan.

Before long, Dan and Jessica begin having an affair. In the police interview, Jessica says, “Don’t every leave your best friend to take care of your wife and children, because the bond grows very, very quickly.”

Six months into the affair, Shane grew suspicious. One night, he pretended to leave for a job but parked his truck down the road and walked back. He caught them in bed together and went nuts. He kicked Dan out. He and Jessica split up

Jessica said in the interview that they were closer than brothers and she came along and screwed it up

Shane still loved Jessica and was broken hearted being away from her and the kids. They got back together. Over the next two years, they worked on their marriage. She told the police that the affair had been over with for some time and she made the right decision to go back to Shane. Shane forgave Dan and they tried being friends again.

They interview Dan. They ask if they’d ever had physical altercation with Shane and he said when I slept with his wife. Police ask about Dan’s roommate, Aron Moss. He said the day of the murder, the two of them had gone to a bar to shoot pool. The police interview Aron and he said he doesn’t know Shane and wouldn’t have any reason to hurt him.

The police were going to release the 911 calls to media and wanted Shane’s family to hear them first. His mom lost it and couldn’t keep listening. I don’t blame her, no way could I stand to listen to that.

After the murder, Jessica is staying with Shane’s mom. She’d been using the laptop. His mom got on the computer and saw a message from Dan to Jessica, which said, “You don’t have to worry about it, he’s not ever coming back.”

Shane’s mom takes the laptop to police. Several back and forth messages are found between Dan and Jessica, a lot of ‘I love you, I miss you’ etc, even though Jessica had said things were over between them.

Police call Jessica back in. When they tell her they found the messages between her and Dan, her tone changes. She admits that it wasn’t over with Dan. She said she complained to him about Shane, about him only wanting her for sex and not being grateful. She told Dan she wished he wouldn’t come home, then she wouldn’t have to worry about him anymore. She said it was just one of those things you say, you don’t think anything will come of it. The police ask her if she texted Daniel that morning. She said yes, she told him when Shane left, what he was driving, where he was going. She said she didn’t ask Dan to kill Shane, she just said she wished he was no longer around. The cops said, “Did you know that he would do anything for you?” She said, “He always said he would.”

They call Dan in and tell him that they know he was involved in Shane’s shooting. He says, “How?” They say, “We don’t think this is something you saw yourself involved in, but you allowed your love for Jessica to drive you. You love her, right?” Dan says, “I’ve always loved her.”

When he realizes that they have more information, he starts to provide details. He says he couldn’t shoot Shane, because even though they had their problems, he loved him like a brother. The police say, “Then who did you have shoot him? Who was with you that day?” He finally tells them it was Aron Ross. He gives a full confession.

He and Shane were hiding in a barn, watching Shane. When Shane pulls the trigger, they do the same. Shane’s shot masks their shot. Shane thought he shot himself. They see Shane lying on the ground and that he’s still alive. They move closer and shoot him again. Aron never admitted to anything. Authorities had trouble figuring out why he did it but they assume it was because Dan was his friend and he had a problem. Aron helped him make the problem go away.

They were both charged with first degree murder. The detectives arrested Jessica at Shane’s funeral. She is charged as well.

Dan is sentenced to life, and Aron and Jessica were each sentenced to fifty years. She appeals and her charges are reduced to conspiracy and accessory after the fact. Her sentence is changed to 12 years and she was released on parole in 2012.

I feel Jessica deserved to spend much longer in prison. Without her involvement, Shane would still be alive. What do you think?

 

[I love true crime shows, and I watch them every night. (Since I write suspense, thriller, and mystery, it’s not a waste of time…it’s research, right? 🙂 ) I love Investigation Discovery and watch many of the various shows, although some are a little too cheesy. However, there are plenty of shows that are done well enough to feed my fascination with murder. Each week, I’ll blog about some of the recent episodes I’ve seen and I’d love to know your thoughts.]

 

 

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Crime Time ~ Ice Cold Killers ~ “Hitchhike to Hell”

#CrimeTime with Alicia Dean

 

Ice Cold Killers  Season 2, Episode 4, Hitchhike to Hell

February 1994, Thornton, Colorado

This show, Ice Cold Killers, holds an extra appeal for me, because of my love of cold, snowy weather. Things are even creepier when it’s dark and icy. All of the episodes I’ve watched so far have been interesting.

In the early morning of February 1994, Jaquie Creazzo is on her way to pick up her father for breakfast. She sees two cars pulled off to the side of the road with a man and woman standing outside them. She slows, and the woman runs toward her car. The woman isn’t screaming, but she has a look of desperation and fear on her face. Jaquie picks her up, and the woman says the guy rammed her car and kidnapped her and raped her for two hours.

Jaquie speeds off as fast as she can on the icy roads. The man comes after them. They are almost to the Thornton Police Department when he pulls up beside Jaquie’s car and fires several shots, hitting Jaquie in the knee, spine, and face. She loses control of the car and swerves across the median onto the lawn of the police department. The man parks and approaches the car. He and Jaquie exchange looks, but she is paralyzed and can only move her eyes. He is out of bullets so he can’t kill Jaquie, but he warns her that if she tells anyone what happened, he’ll kill her. He pulls Rhonda from the car and drags her away. Police and EMTs arrive and begin giving Jaquie aid. She tries to tell them about Rhonda, but they are focused on saving her life. Later, in the hospital, she is able to tell the police about the kidnapped woman, and they begin searching for Rhonda and her abductor.

Rhonda Maloney is a married mom, working at a casino and planning to become a police officer. The authorities question her husband, however, in addition to not fitting the description of the suspect—a young, clean-cut black male—he is genuinely distraught. He has a solid alibi and is quickly eliminated as a suspect.

One of the detectives who wasn’t available during the initial visit to the crime scene wants to check it out.  While there, the officers hear a buzzing sound and locate a pager in the snow. It contains a pre-recorded message with instructions to turn the pager into the Denver PD if found. Authorities are shocked as they consider the possibility that a police officer might be behind the murder. As it turns out, the owner of the pager is a twenty-year veteran and does not fit the description Jaquie gave. The detectives look into his background and discover a prior incident where he shot his wife in the stomach, but she survived and it was ruled an accident. He has a son and a nephew who have both been in trouble with the law. His son, Robert Harlan, had shot a man to death but only served five years. Police bring him in for questioning. At first, he claims he knows nothing about Rhonda. Then he finally admits he was with her. He states that she bought cocaine from him. They partied and did the cocaine together, then parted ways, and he has no idea what happened after that.

Detectives bring a photo lineup to Jaquie that includes Harlan. She identifies him without hesitation. She tells the detective that she survived so she could help stop him. She says that, when she was in surgery, she saw a white light. A voice said she could go into the light or stay. She said she knew she had to stay because she could identify the killer.

They continue to investigate, looking for evidence to tie Harlan to the crime. His father turns in a bag of evidence, including a gun. The search for Rhonda continues. They still don’t know if she is alive, but in the ice cold weather, her chances of survival are slim. A week after the incident, Rhonda’s body is found. She has been badly beaten and shot three times. The ballistics are a match to the gun Robert’s father turned in. Autopsy reveals no drugs in her system, proving Harlan lied about the two of them doing cocaine together.

Harlan is found guilty of the kidnap, attempted first degree murder, and first degree murder of Rhonda Maloney, and the attempted murder of Jaquie Creazzo. During deliberations on the sentencing, some of the jurors brought Bibles into the jury room, consulting the passage from Leviticus about an “eye for an eye,” that says: “He who kills a man shall be put to death.” They determined that the death sentence was an appropriate sentence. Later, the Colorado Supreme Court ruled 3-2 that bringing in Bibles was improper. It overturned the jury’s verdict, sparing Harlan the death penalty and leaving him to serve life in prison without parole.

Jaquie is a hero. Not only for risking herself to try to help Rhonda, but for fighting to survive so she could stop a killer. I’m not sure how many of us would have put our lives in jeopardy to help a stranger. Do you think you would have stopped for Rhonda?

Isn’t it crazy how lucky the police were? What if the detective hadn’t wanted to go back to the scene and/or the pager hadn’t buzzed while there? They might never have found it and never been led to Harlan. It is believed that Harlan is responsible for other murders and no doubt he would have killed again had he not been caught. Poor Rhonda was not so lucky. Can you imagine how it must have felt for her to think she’d been rescued, only to be dragged back into hell and further tormented before she was killed?

Interesting side note; in 2002, Jaquie was at her daughter, Hannah’s, house. Hannah’s former fiancé showed up, a gun in each hand, waving them around at Jaquie and her daughters. Jaquie told her daughters to get in the house and pulled out a gun she kept in a bag in her wheelchair and shot him in the leg. He survived and was arrested.

[I love true crime shows, and I watch them every night. (Since I write suspense, thriller, and mystery, it’s not a waste of time…it’s research, right? 🙂 ) I love Investigation Discovery and watch many of the various shows, although some are a little too cheesy. However, there are plenty of shows that are done well enough to feed my fascination with murder. Each week, I’ll blog about some of the recent episodes I’ve seen and I’d love to know your thoughts.]

 

 

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Crime Time ~ Evil Stepmother ~ “Not My Mom”

#CrimeTime with Alicia Dean

Evil Stepmother,  Season 1, Episode 1, Not My Mom

September 8, 2002, Dickson, Tennessee

Kimberly Mangrum became stepmom to two children when she married their father, Terry Mangrum, Sr.  During the episode, Kimberly’s stepson, Terry, Jr. is interviewed. He spoke about life with his stepmom. In the beginning, Kimberly worked hard to win his and his sister’s affection. But she soon begins to exhibit mood swings, lashing out for no reason. Kimberly’s main source of contention is the children’s mother, Lee Ann Mangrum, who had full custody. The kids visited their dad on the weekends, but Kimberly wanted full control. She insisted that she begin doing the drop-offs to limit the contact her husband had with his ex. Kimberly uses those dropoffs to taunt and start arguments with Lee Ann.

Lee Ann is a loving mother, but Kimberly engages in conflict with her and tries to undermine her role as a mother, every chance she gets. Somehow, and this I never understood, Lee Ann ends up losing custody to the children to Terry and Kimberly. This gives Kimberly even more of an opportunity to terrorize and abuse them. She would have the kids phone their mother and call her awful names and tell her she was a horrible mother. One day in September, Terry Sr. receives a notice to appear in Court. Lee Ann is filing to get custody of her children. Kimberly is enraged.

Lee Ann Mangrum

The next day, a fisherman finds a body and a vehicle submerged in Turnbull Creek. Police learn that the dead woman is Lee Ann Mangrum. Authorities speak to the family and are told by Kimberly, Terry Sr. and the kids that Lee Ann came over the night before,  with a man named Bob. She was drunk and demanding that Kimberly give her Klonopin. Kimberly did so, and Lee Ann finally left.

The police discover Lee Ann’s trailer has been ransacked. They find her son’s DNA in the house and they find cigarette butts outside that contain Kimberly’s DNA.  When police question Terry, Jr, he says that when his mom was at the house that night, he wanted to talk to her. After she left, he took Kimberly’s car and drove to her house. She flips out on him and attacks him. In self-defense, he kills her.

Believing there is more to it, the police push him. He finally tells the entire story.

The night that Kimberly receives the letter that Lee Ann is filing for custody, she goes into the children’s rooms (the daughter was 11 and the son, 15) and wakes them. She tells them to ride with her to the store to get cigarettes. Kimberly drives to the convenience store and after she gets the cigarettes, she tells the kids they are going to make one more stop. She drives them to Lee Ann’s. Terry Jr. is relieved when his mom isn’t home, but as they are leaving, a car passes. It’s Lee Ann. Kimberly turns around and parks behind her. She grabs a bat from behind the driver’s seat and tells the kids to get out of the car. She then begins screaming at Lee Ann. Lee Ann locks the doors, but Kimberly breaks the window with the bat. She pulls Lee Ann out of her vehicle and begins beating her with the bat. She hands Terry Jr. the bat and tells him to finish her. He then beats his mother. Kimberly holds a knife to his side and tells him to help get his mother into her car. Afraid for his life, he does as she says. She instructs him to drive Lee Ann’s car and follow her, and he does. She leads them to a creek. They pull Lee Ann from the vehicle and Kimberly drives it into the water. She orders Terry Jr. to kill his mother and threatens to kill him and his sister if he doesn’t. He places his foot on his mother’s body and holds her underwater until she drowns.

They head back to Lee Ann’s trailer. Kimberly forces her stepdaughter to call her grandmother from Lee Ann’s phone, saying, “I’m scared, please help me.” I’m not sure for what purpose, unless it’s to make it appear she is being attacked. Kimberly holds a knife to the children’s throats and tells them if they ever tell anyone what happened, she’ll kill them both, and their entire family.

After Terry Jr.’s confession, police arrest Terry Sr. and Kimberly. Terry Sr. is convicted of accessory after the fact and sentenced to 10 years. Terry Jr. is sentenced to 8 years and Kimberly is sentenced to life. The daughter, Alyshia, is not charged.

Terry Mangrum Jr.

What a crazy, messed up, tragic story. I am a little reluctant to totally defend the boy. He was 15 or 16 at the time, and a big kid. I’m sure the stepmom had some psychological control over him, but that’s a bit extreme. Surely, he could have driven his mother to the hospital instead of following Kimberly. He’d have had protection from police. Regardless of all that, there is no punishment too severe for the evil Kimberly Mangrum.

What are your thoughts?

[I love true crime shows, and I watch them every night. (Since I write suspense, thriller, and mystery, it’s not a waste of time…it’s research, right? 🙂 ) I love Investigation Discovery and watch many of the various shows, although some are a little too cheesy. However, there are plenty of shows that are done well enough to feed my fascination with murder. Each week, I’ll blog about some of the recent episodes I’ve seen and I’d love to know your thoughts.]

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Crime Time ~ A Crime to Remember, “Bye Bye Betty”

#CrimeTime with Alicia Dean

A Crime to Remember,  Season 3, Episode 8, “Bye Bye Betty”

Odessa, TX, 1961:

One of the most captivating and disturbing cases I’ve watched on IDGo is that of Betty Williams. She was a high school girl who was reputed to be promiscuous and dated a lot of different boys. One of those boys was Mack Herring. After Mack broke up with her, Betty spiraled into depression. She began making comments to her friends about wishing to die so she could leave this world for a better place. She said she would take her own life, except she didn’t have the courage. She asked a few of the boys to kill her, but they refused. None of this was taken seriously by her friends.

One morning in March, 1961, Betty’s parents reported her missing when she didn’t show up for breakfast or for school. Police began interviewing her classmates. A boy named Ike Nail stated he had driven her home from drama rehearsals the night before her disappearance and dropped her off at around ten. Betty asked him to return in half an hour and meet her in the alley behind her house. He did and she climbed into his car, wearing pajamas. In a few minutes, Mack Herring pulled up behind them. Betty said, “I didn’t think he’d come. I’ve got to call his bluff, even if he kills me.” She got out of Ike’s car and into Mack’s.

Police interviewed Mack, who claimed he’d dropped Betty off at home later that night. Some of the story was inconsistent and the details did not quite add up. The detectives pushed him, and he finally broke down and told them what had happened—or at least what he claimed had happened.

He led the police to a stock pond in a secluded spot on the outskirts of the city. Once they arrived, he waded into the water. Shortly, he headed back toward them, dragging Betty’s body with him.

He claimed he had shot her because she begged him to. He said that when he picked her up that night, they drove out to the pond where they parked the car and discussed the killing. She then exited the vehicle, seeming to be happy Mack had agreed to her request. “Give me a kiss to remember you by,” he had said to her. They kissed and when she pulled away, she got down on her hands and knees and told him ‘Now’. Mack Herring raised the shotgun and fired, killing her instantly. After she was dead, he wrapped her body up, weighed it down with a heavy object, then dumped it in the stock pond.

At the hearing for Mack Herring, the defense showed Betty’s letter, which was written in her own handwriting.  This is a transcript of the letter:

“I want everyone to know that what I’m about to do in no way implicates anyone else. I say this to make sure that no blame falls on anyone other than myself. I have depressing problems that concern, for the most part, myself. I’m waging a war within myself, a war to find the true me and I fear that I am losing the battle. So rather than admit defeat I’m going to beat a quick retreat into the no man’s land of death. As I have only the will and not the fortitude necessary, a friend of mine, seeing how great is my torment, has graciously consented to look after the details. His name is Mack Herring and I pray that he will not have to suffer for what he is doing for my sake. I take upon myself all blame, for there it lies, on me alone!—-Betty Williams.”

Mack was found not guilty by reason of insanity. Some people say that Betty’s request to Mack was actually a ploy to make him see how much he cared for her. She hoped he would refuse to kill her and instead declare his love. How sad and tragic. Young girls that age can be dramatic and immature. In Betty’s case, it cost her her life.

What do you think? Should Mack have been found not guilty, or should he have been punished for his crime?

To read more, check out this fascinating, detailed article that shares other notes by Betty and further information.  https://www.texasmonthly.com/articles/a-kiss-before-dying/

[I love true crime shows, and I watch them every night. (Since I write suspense, thriller, and mystery, it’s not a waste of time…it’s research, right? 🙂 ) I love Investigation Discovery and watch many of the various shows, although some are a little too cheesy. However, there are plenty of shows that are done well enough to feed my fascination with murder. Each week, I’ll blog about some of the recent episodes I’ve seen and I’d love to know your thoughts. Let me know if you’ve seen the episode and, if so, what you thought about it.]

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