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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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