Fort Carson Army Spc. Tracy Spencer Sentenced to Life in Prison for Double Rape & Murder of Army Veteran Micki Filmore and Local Nurse Barbara Kramer (December 31, 1986)

ID Go: When 22 year-old Micki Filmore is found raped and murder in her apartment, detective Kenda focuses his investigation on her activities the previous night. Micki was seen dancing with a man who then paid a late night call to her door. -A Killer Always Rings Twice (S1, E3)

Colorado Springs is the home of five military bases made up of about 40,000 personnel. A lot of them live off-base in local apartment units. On July 19, 1986, as Army Spc. Tracy Spencer was walking by, he noticed his neighbor Micki Filmore was laying lifeless on the floor in her apartment. He was alarmed and ran to his wife Lisa to seek help. She claims she went through the window of the apartment because of her own concern for Micki and discovered that she was in fact dead. They called the police. Lt. Joe Kenda of the Homicide Unit at the Colorado Springs Police Department was assigned to investigate the case. Kenda deduced from the observation of the crime scene that there did not appear to be any struggle, the victim’s wallet and cash were present, and she was naked with her legs open and bruising around her neck. He suspected Micki Filmore was raped and strangled in a quick and brutal attack.

Joe talked about the crimes of rape and murder for a bit. He talked about how rape is unfortunately a very common crime but he also noted that rape and murder is not that common. Lt. Kenda educated the public about the fact that rape and sexual assault is mostly a punishment of women. And in this particular case, the perpetrator surprised Micki Filmore while she was in bed. His only purpose was to rape and kill her. While Joe waited on the results of the autopsy, he tried to figure out the modus operandi of this particular offender because he would strike again. Joe wondered why it was so important for this person to get in and out of the apartment quickly. Was he a local and making sure that nobody saw and recognized him? Neighbors Lisa and Tracy Spencer reported they saw Micki the night before; she was happy, eating pizza, and nothing appeared out of the ordinary.

Joe canvassed the neighbors in the apartment complex and learned that Micki was having troubles: he heard from neighbors that her fiancé left her, she was pregnant, and broke but nobody knew who the father of the child was. One neighbor told Lt. Kenda that he went to a night club with her the night before. He claimed that while they were there, she saw someone she knew. She left the club with her neighbor around 2 a.m. but she did give a piece of paper to the friend she ran into at the club. The neighbor claimed they talked for a little bit and then went their separate ways. After lying down, the neighbor heard knocking on her door. He looked out briefly and saw the same man from the club standing there. Another neighbor said she was awoken by a loud scream and then a thumping noise around 3:45 a.m. She assumed whoever it was they were fighting. Joe still had little evidence to go on but the autopsy helps tell a story.

The autopsy revealed that Micki Filmore’s last moments were met with violence, anger, and rage. And she had engaged in sexual relations within the last twelve hours. Despite what her neighbors said, she was not pregnant and there were no drugs or alcohol in her system. Lt. Kenda learned Micki was twenty-two years old and originally from a rural community in North Carolina. She joined the Army straight out of high school, did a three year tour of duty, traveled the world, and her service ended in December 1985. She was looking forward to leaving to be with her fiancé in a few weeks. Lt. Kenda contacted the fiance and learned that he had not abandoned Micki. The fiance was finalizing a divorce so he could marry Micki and he could verify his whereabouts at the time of the murder. The fiance shared he asked his friend Frank Lynch to look out for Micki while he was gone; but now he had concerns that maybe he was involved. This gave Kenda a new lead and potentially a new suspect.

Kenda met with Frank Lynch who denied any involvement in the murder and could account for himself on the night in question. As a result, Kenda closed out Lynch and in the meantime got a phone call from DiCarlo Dowden. DiCarlo was the man at the club that Micki gave a piece of paper to and the same man suspected of showing up at her apartment the night of the murder. DiCarlo admitted that he ran into Micki at the club, they chatted, they danced, she told him she was not ‘with’ her neighbor (he was an escort), and then gave him her number. She also gave him her address which to him was an invitation so DiCarlo dropped by her apartment but no one answered the door so he left. DiCarlo noticed that a neighbor did see him after looking out their window, which also matched the neighbor’s story. DiCarlo denied any involvement in the crime and there was no probable cause to arrest him, he did volunteer to provide biological evidence for testing.

It takes several weeks for the comparative analysis testing to be completed at the labs. Joe reiterated that DiCarlo was not off the hook yet. On August 12, 1986, another body was discovered in the same apartment complex. Lt. Joe Kenda knew this was not a coincidence. The victim was twenty-four year old Barbara Kramer who was a nurse at Eisenhower Hospital in Colorado Springs. She didn’t show up to work so her sister and a friend went over to her apartment to check in on her. They discovered the newspaper outside her door, signs of a struggle in the apartment, and the friend found Barbara Kramer dead in her bedroom. The family was devastated because they were already worried about her safety after the first murder in that apartment complex but they reported that Barbara was cautious and playing it safe. Kenda was horrified by what he saw at the crime scene because he immediately knew it was the same guy.

The modus operandi of both crimes was exactly the same aside from one woman was black and one woman was white. Both were displayed with their legs open after they were murdered; both were attacked in the middle of the night between the hours of 4 and 7 a.m.; both were single females living alone; both were strangled; and both were living in the same apartment complex. Lt. Kenda was feeling an even more heightened sense of urgency because this guy was a serial killer and was not going to stop; he wanted to prevent a third victim. He also deduced that the killer probably lived in the area and he was carrying on as if nothing mattered. He questioned DiCarlo about his whereabouts and DiCarlo was cleared as a suspect because his girlfriend could alibi him. Kenda knew DiCarlo wasn’t his man because the person he was looking for killed Micki Filmore and Barbara Kramer.

Lt. Kenda knew these murders were similar offenses; they were the same crime, different targets. He wondered how many more had to die before the Colorado Springs Police Department could stop him. Kenda theorized that the perpetrator most likely stalked his victims before the attacks. He did not feel that these crimes were random and he believed that the perpetrator surveilled his victims. This offender simply waited for the right place and right time. Kenda noted that these guys are not as intelligent as one would think but they are cunning. He knew the guy made mistakes and he had to be the one to find them. After interviewing more neighbors about the night before, Kenda learned that one neighbor was awakened to screams around 6 a.m. and another neighbor saw Tracy Spencer banging on Barbara’s door with a piece of paper in his hand around 6:25 a.m. She saw the door open, Spencer enter the apartment, and then the door slam.

This new information intrigued Lt. Kenda because now Tracy Spencer not only found Micki Filmore’s body but a witness saw him knocking on Barbara Kramer’s door around the time that she died. Kenda looked into his criminal history and found only minor offenses, nothing to indicate a propensity for violence. But Kenda was going to apply for a warrant regardless and arrest Tracy Spencer based on the evidence he had. But first he wanted to talk to Tracy’s wife. Lisa was still claiming that Tracy was with her the night of the murders so Kenda told her that a witness saw him and she began to cry. Kenda did not understand why she would protect him and told her she could be arrested next. She told him she did lie and that Tracy was not with her all night. As a matter of a fact, she admitted that he left the apartment in the middle of the night often and went for walks. She claimed Tracy told her he kept finding Barbara’s mail on the ground and wanted to return it to her, despite locked mailboxes at the apartment complex.

Lisa Spencer also admitted to finding an empty envelope with Barbara’s name on it so she threw it away. She observed Tracy get angry when he couldn’t find it but she never told him she threw it away. She also confessed that she did not go through the Micki’s apartment window like she originally shared with the police; she went into the apartment to help Tracy cover up the crime. When Kenda asked her why, her response was that she loved him. Kenda learned that Tracy was on the move so he made a decision to arrest and take him to the station before he hurt someone else. Kenda got a search warrant for his apartment and found the letter he couldn’t find right in the trash where his wife said she put it. And it did in deed have Barbara Kramer’s name on it. Kenda questioned Tracy at the station and even after he was told there were witnesses, Spencer stuck to his story. Eventually he folded some and admitted to taking mail to Barbara but said he didn’t go inside her apartment.

Kenda realized Tracy Spencer was a prolific liar. He denied everything. Kenda confronted him with the semen he said matched him (which was a lie) and then Tracy admitted that he was lying to him because he was having an affair with Micki and did have consensual sex with her that night. He had an explanation for everything. The bottom line was that he was going to commit the crimes regardless of the consequences and then lie about it. That’s what they do. The lab results came back and showed that both Tracy’s blood and hair samples matched those at the crime scenes. Tracy Spencer was arrested for the first degree murders of Micki Filmore and Barbara Kramer. On December 31, 1986, Tracy Spencer was found guilty and sentenced to life in prison plus twenty-four years. He is eligible for parole in 2032. Lt. Kenda ended the show with the fact that Spencer overpowered, raped, and killed two girls he didn’t even know for no real reason. Two women paid the price for his crimes and there could have been more, and that scared him.

Source: ‘A Killer Always Rings Twice’ Homicide Hunter

Related Links:
Homicide Hunters: Lt. Joe Kenda Episode 3- Double Murder In Mayberry
Violent Crime, Suicide & Non Combat Death at Fort Carson, Colorado
A Killer Always Rings Twice | Homicide Hunter | Investigation Discovery (S1, E3)

Army Pvt Laura Vickery-Clay Raped & Murdered by Fort Bragg Soldier; Ronald Gray Sentenced to Death by Military Courts for Two Murders & One Attempted Murder (1986)

US Army Seal

Pvt. Laura Vickery-Clay, US Army

On December 15, 1986, Army soldier Ronald Gray abducted, raped, sodomized, and murdered Private Laura Lee Vickery-Clay, 18, of Fort Bragg, North Carolina. According to reports, witnesses saw Laura at a local store with Ronald Gray the night she disappeared and Gray’s finger print evidence was found on the hood of Laura’s vehicle. About a month later on January 17, 1987, a soldier discovered Laura’s half-naked, decomposed body in the woods on Fort Bragg. She had been raped, sodomized, and shot in the neck, forehead, chest, and back of the head. She had also suffered blunt force trauma to various parts of her body. The murder weapon was found in close proximity to the victim’s body. In 1988, Ronald Gray was found guilty by the military courts of the premeditated murders of civilian Kimberly Ann Ruggles and Private Laura Lee Vickery-Clay, and the attempted premeditated murder of Private Mary Ann Lang Nameth. On April 12, 1988, Ronald Gray was sentenced to death, given a dishonorable discharge, total forfeitures, and a reduction to Private E-1. In 2008, President George Bush gave the final approval for the military execution of Ronald Gray. In December 2016, media reports indicated that the military is moving forward with the lethal injection execution of Ronald Gray.

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According to CNN, the US military could soon execute someone for the first time since 1961. Ronald Gray, a former Army soldier, has been on military death row at Fort Leavenworth since 1988 when he was convicted of killing five women and raping several others in 1986 and 1987 while stationed at Fort Bragg in North Carolina. A civilian court gave him eight life sentences, but a military court sentenced him to death. Last week, a judge ruled Gray’s stay in prison was no longer in effect and denied any further stays. Following the ruling, an execution date for Gray could be announced as soon as next month. –Wochit News

Ronald Gray, US Army, Sentenced to Death by Military Courts for the Rape & Murder of Army Private Laura Vickery-Clay & Civilian Kimberly Ruggles (1986)

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Ronald Gray, US Army

Ronald Gray, US Army, was sentenced to death in 1988 by a military court for the rape and premeditated murders of Army Private Laura Lee Vickery-Clay in December 1986 and civilian Kimberly Ann Ruggles in January 1987. He was also convicted of raping Army Private Mary Ann Lang Nameth and leaving her for dead in January 1987. Ronald Gray’s scheduled execution is one of two scheduled in the military since 1961. Army Private John Bennett was the last soldier to be executed by the US military. Bennett was convicted of rape and the attempted murder of an 11 year old Austrian girl. He was hanged in 1961 at Fort Leavenworth prison in Kansas. Ronald Gray joined Timothy Hennis, another Fort Bragg soldier convicted of rape and the murders of Air Force spouse Kathryn Eastburn and two of her three daughters in 1985. In 2008, President George Bush granted the final approval necessary for the military to execute Ronald Gray. After Gray’s execution was delayed for eight years, media reports indicated in December 2016 that the Armed Forces courts will no longer grant stays of execution and the federal government made an announcement that they plan to move forward with the lethal injection execution of Ronald Gray. Gray is one of six service members on death row at Fort Leavenworth. He joins Timothy Hennis, Dwight LovingAndrew Witt, Hasan Akbar, and Nidal Hasan.

Learn more: Nidal Hasan, and the 5 other men on the military’s death row

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