People Magazine Investigates Premiered ‘Terror in Philadelphia’ on Investigation Discovery: Air Force SrA Troy Graves Serving Life Sentence for Rape & Homicide (November 12, 2018)

ID Go: In 1998, a gifted Philadelphia graduate student is found murdered in her bed. The hunt for her killer forces police to reevaluate a series of unsolved crimes, turning the city upside down. Will her killer be caught or will he strike again? -Terror in Philadelphia, People Magazine Investigates (S3, E2)

Date of Arrest: April 23, 2002
Offender: Troy Graves, 29, US Air Force service member
Victims: Shannon Schieber, 23, University of Pennsylvania student (rape/homicide), multiple rape victims in Pennsylvania & Colorado
Circumstances: Shannon Schieber was enrolled as a Phd. student at the Wharton School of Business, on May 7, 1998, Shannon was studying for exams when a neighbor heard what sounded like cries for help, he called 911 to report that his neighbor was asking for help, the police arrived but no one answered the door and the neighbor backed off his statement, they searched the property and the neighbor said it could have been outside so they left, Shannon’s brother showed up the next day and Shannon didn’t answer the door, the neighbor told her brother what he heard the night before, they broke into the apartment and found Shannon naked on her bed, Shannon was strangled to death and it appeared she tried to fight off her attacker, police found DNA at the scene, DNA ruled out those close to Shannon, Shannon’s parents were outraged that the man who killed their daughter was in the apartment when the police knocked on her door, but the police did their job right and by the book, a few days before the murder, Shannon reported being followed home one night, she was scared, so police started investigating the stranger angle, perhaps this is a serial rapist, they look into sex crimes in the area, they want to match the DNA to other sex crimes in the area, in February 1999, they got a DNA match, 2 other sexual assaults had occurred but they were coded as misdemeanors, the assaults occurred just a few blocks from Shannon’s apartment, in June and July 1997, two more sexual assaults were connected to the offender bringing the total to 5, the PPD coded these sexual assaults as misdemeanors as well, they downgraded the offenses because it lessoned the load for the police, and made the arrest rate look better than it was, Shannon’s case helped enact change in Philadelphia, if they had investigated these cases, everyone would have known there was a serial rapist, Shannon would not be dead if she knew what was going on, the DNA still didn’t have a match to the offender, in 1997, a sketch was drawn from the recollections of the first victim, they got a new composite, this offender would enter the home, hold the victim down on the bed, rape them or make them perform oral sex, it was about control and domination for this guy and he was also somewhat of a romantic, once they acquiesced, he would treat them like a date, he would get comfortable with the victims, they determined he was a light skinned black male based on information he shared with one victim about his life growing up with bi-racial parents, he was dubbed the Center City rapist, in August 1999, no other cases were reported since Shannon’s murder, the case went cold, the police got a bulletin in 2001 from Fort Collins, Colorado, the offenders modus operandi sounded familiar to the Philadelphia PD, on June 13, 2001, one victim was home when she was attacked from behind and raped, after she acquiesced, the rapist became gentle as if he was a boyfriend, after he left, she called 911, she was his third victim in Fort Collins, they were all blitz attacked, FC police were investigating a serial rapist, a fourth & fifth rapes were reported, he made a mistake and left behind a ball cap at the fifth victims home, Fort Collins DNA was matched to the rapes in Philadelphia, PPD gave FCPD the composite drawing, police received a letter in the mail from the suspect, he was taunting them, in the fall of 2001, the attacks in Fort Collins stopped, meanwhile the PPD started focusing on cross referencing names of suspects with the two geographic locations, they got a match for Air Force service member Troy Graves, he was in Philadelphia, Fort Collins, and now at Warren AFB in Cheyenne, Wyoming, in 2002, the police had the new suspect in their sites, the police learned that Troy was also investigated by the Office of Special Investigations, it was over charges of harassing a female colleague, the charges were dropped but there was still something suspicious there, Graves has a clean criminal record and no finger prints on file, the case was circumstantial, they reached out to Graves to come to the police department and do an interview, Troy Graves and his wife showed up to the Fort Collins PD, the police immediately separated the couple, his wife admitted that he had insomnia and went for walks and drives at night and that honestly she thought he was having an affair, meanwhile Troy denied knowing anything about the crimes, the police confronted him about the rapes in Fort Collins, he denied being arrested for any sex crimes, he denied being investigated by the Air Force, he did not want to provide his fingerprints but a warrant was issued to compel him, the fingerprints were a match, Troy Graves was arrested and booked into custody, this case changed the PPD policies on sexual assault to include how evidence is handled and how the victims are treated and interviewed
Disposition: Troy Graves feared a trial would not go in his favor in Fort Collins, Colorado, he pleaded guilty in exchange for a life sentence without the possibility of parole; Pennsylvania wanted to seek the death penalty but Shannon’s family did not want that because Shannon wouldn’t have wanted that, Graves entered into a plea agreement and got life in prison plus sixty years

Notable Quotes: “We have to change the system but not put people to death.” -Vicki Schieber (Shannon’s mom)

Source: ‘Terror in Philadelphia’ People Magazine Investigates

Shannon Schiebercredit: Courtesy Schieber Family

Shannon Schieber (Photo: People Magazine Investigates)

Related Links:
U. student killed in Center City
Family, friend mourn Schieber’s death
Grief, Questions After Student is Slain
DNA tests clear ex-boyfriend in Schieber murder
Airman arrested in sexual assaults
Center City rapist suspect arrested
Suspected Serial Rapist Arrested
Colo. airman arrested on sex charges suspected as Center City Rapist
Colorado Suspect Is Believed Tied to Other Attacks
Airman trained at VAFB arrested in Colorado sex assaults
Airman’s DNA Linked to Slain Md. Woman
Officials: DNA Evidence Links Colorado Man to Philly Rapes, Murder
Airman Awaits Hearing in Rape Case
Troy Graves: I did it… and ‘I’m sorry’
Serial rapist says he’s sorry
Remorseful airman admits murder, rapes
Admitted serial rapist now will face a charge of murder
USAF content with civilian prosecution of Graves
Serial rapist pleads guilty in Colorado
Graves Pleads Guilty In Philadelphia Rapes, Murder
Victims speak out; Graves gets life
Colorado: Life Sentence For Airman
Airman gets life sentence in string of sexual assaults
A baffling case: The women who loved Troy Graves
The story of Shannon Schieber
Why two mothers back death penalty repeal
A Place of Peace | Bethesda Magazine
Death Penalty Vs. Life: An Issue Of Closure Vs. Peace
Victim’s family moves “from pain to peace”
Investigating rape in Philadelphia: how one city’s crisis stands to help others
Woman advocates repeal of death penalty as part of unconditional pro-life policy
What are Fort Collins’ most infamous moments?
Rape is Rape, Isn’t It? | ProPublica
Rape is Rape, Isn’t It? | The Marshall Project
The Annual Ritual Shaping How the Philadelphia Police Department Handles Rape, Abuse Cases
How one woman changed the way Philly police handle rape
Why is the death penalty discussed in religious terms?
How do you fix a broken system? One U.S. city offers a model for handling sex-assault cases
How a Business Student’s Dying Cries of ‘Help Me’ Eventually Led to a Serial Rapist
Death penalty: Parents of murder victim oppose killer’s execution
Mom of Wharton Student Found Raped, Murdered in 1998 Still Wonders: ‘How Could Somebody Do That?’
Troy Graves | Murderpedia, the encyclopedia of murderers
Terror in Philadelphia | People Magazine Investigates | Investigation Discovery (S3, E2)
All Charged Up | Forensic Files | FilmRise

Snapped Premiered ‘Martha Ann McClancy’ on Oxygen: Martha McClancy & Charles Kaczmarczyk Staged Bob McClancy’s Death as a Suicide (August 13, 2017)

Robert McClancy was found dead in his home, but was it suicide triggered from his PTSD, did his best friend who found him turn out to be the one who killed him, or was it his seemingly loving wife behind it all? -Martha Ann McClancy, Snapped (S21, E2)

Charles ‘Chuck’ Kaczmarczyk called the police after finding his friend, Robert McClancy, dead in his home from what appears to be suicide, but something didn’t seem right. -Martha Ann McClancy, Snapped (S21, E2)

Actual footage from the sentencing of Martha McClancy. -Martha Ann McClancy, Snapped (S21, E2)

Catch up with the key players after the verdict. -Martha Ann McClancy, Snapped (S21, E2)

A churchgoing southern woman loses her husband to tragedy, but a cloud of suspicion haunts her new marriage and leads investigators to a new conclusion. -Martha Ann McClancy, Snapped (S21, E2)

Robert ‘Bob’ McClancy, 47, and Martha Ann McClancy worked in the Manatee County Sheriff’s Department in Florida. Martha was a secretary and Bob was a detective. They fell in love later in life and Bob decided to take an early retirement from his job. The two decided to move away from the fast paced life in Florida and settled in Tellico Plains, Tennessee which is nestled in the Smoky Mountains. Bob suffered with severe stress after years of working as a detective and his time in the Marines. Bob was a highly decorated Vietnam veteran and Purple Heart recipient who was also diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Bob went through some very traumatic combat experiences and was on strong medications. Bob would often take the wrong dose so Martha Ann decided it was time for her to take control.

In the meantime, Bob was grateful for his friend and fellow veteran Charles Kaczmarczyk because he understood what Bob was going through. Chuck said he had seen combat as well and was also awarded the Purple Heart. The pair had a lot in common. Over the course of time, Martha Ann quickly warmed up to Chuck, the “military hero.” Their relationship blossomed beyond a friendship over time and Bob was never aware of their ongoing affair. Martha Ann and Chuck frequently got together in Bob’s home. They fell in love and soon Bob was looking increasingly like a troubled third wheel. Martha often told Chuck things would be better if Bob went away. One night, Martha claimed to find Bob barely conscious after he had taken an accidental overdose of his medications for PTSD. When she got to the hospital, she claimed Bob was always messing up his medications.

Robert McClancy

Robert McClancy, US Marine Corps Veteran

On May 15, 2006, Chuck said he discovered Bob dead after another accidental overdose on his medications. Chuck found his friend dead in his chair with an empty pill bottle in one hand and a 38 revolver in the other hand. Chuck appeared distraught after finding his friend as did  the sobbing Martha Ann after she found out. Everything pointed to a tragic suicide and Martha Ann leaned harder on her friend Chuck. Five months later, Martha and Chuck got married and embarked on a new life with a whole new look. They didn’t even look like the same people when they started their new careers as fraudsters. Martha Ann took on the role of a veteran pretending to be a Purple Heart recipient and claimed she earned it after the 9/11 attack on the Pentagon. And Chuck doesn’t have PTSD, he was faking it for the veteran benefits. Chuck had been in the military but he never saw a day of combat.

Martha Ann and Chuck both faked permanent injuries and had this whole scam going at the Department of Veterans Affairs. They used a wheelchair or a cane to make it appear they had physical injuries as well. Over six years, the two defrauded the federal government of nearly $800,000 dollars until Chuck told one war story too many. Other veterans came forward and said he was lying because what he was describing was not what happened as they were there. Martha Ann and Charles both ended up behind bars and their criminal history was over. And then one day, Martha Ann’s son made a surprise discovery on her computer. Martha Ann’s son found pictures of his step-father, Bob, dead in a chair. In each picture, Bob was in a different position. There were pictures of Bob with the gun in his hand, then there were pictures of Bob without the gun in his hand.

Martha Ann’s son knew the photos would implicate his mother in the murder of his step-father Bob but he loved Bob and didn’t hesitate to contact authorities. Martha Ann’s son cooperated with the police fully in a sting operation to nail his mother. Martha Ann asked him to get rid of all the photos. The police knew where to find the person who took the pictures because Chuck was spending 30 months in jail for his part in the disability fraud. Chuck immediately wanted to know what was in it for him so the police agreed to tell the district attorney that Chuck cooperated with them in the investigation. Chuck confessed that Martha Ann had crushed up Bob’s pills and put them in his drink and then confessed to the entire twisted tail. Martha called the crushed pills her “magic dust.”

The police would learn that Martha Ann crushed up the medication and put it in Bob’s drinks in an effort to slowly kill him. And on May 15, 2006, Martha gave Bob a lethal dose of “magic dust” and then went to work to create her alibi. Chuck was supposed to check in on Bob later that afternoon and it was his job to pretend to find him dead. Martha Ann was sure Bob would be dead by then. But when Chuck arrived to check in on Bob, he was laying on the floor and wasn’t dead yet. So Chuck lifted him up, placed him in the chair, and fed him more of the crushed pills. Then Chuck sat there and waited until he died. Martha Ann told Chuck to keep it simple and make it look like a suicide. But Chuck went overboard, placed a gun in his hand, and took pictures of Bob in various positions. Martha wanted to see the pictures.

Despite Chuck’s confession, Martha Ann claimed Bob took the wrong medication and she had nothing to do with it. She never admitted to any involvement whatsoever. The detectives said she was one of the coldest people they had ever interviewed. In 2013, Charles Kaczmarczyk pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit first degree murder and was sentenced to twenty-five (25) years in federal prison. Nine years after her husband’s death, Martha Ann McClancy was convicted of attempted first degree murder and conspiracy to commit first degree murder. She was sentenced to the maximum of fifty years in prison and is eligible for parole in 2028. Those involved with the investigation claimed Martha Ann never showed an ounce of regret or remorse or guilt for what she did to her husband.

Source: ‘Hit and Run’ Deadly Women

ID Go: Two can keep a secret, if one of them is dead. These Deadly Women think they’ve committed the perfect murders when they “Hit and Run.” -Hit and Run, Deadly Women (S11, E6)

Editor’s note: With a cable subscription, you can download the free ID Go app and watch all of the Investigation Discovery programming at your convenience. And for those who do not have cable, you can watch “unlocked” episodes on the ID Go app including the latest premieres. Download the ID Go app and binge away. For those who prefer commercial free programming during your binge session, Prime Video has an ID channel: ‘True Crime Files by Investigation Discovery” available for $2.99 a month. It’s a compilation of older seasons but totally worth the cost if you are a true crime addict.

Related Links:
Disability Day of Mourning: Robert McClancy
FBI: Husband and Wife Indicted for Conspiracy to Steal Public Money from Two United States Government Agencies
Knoxville couple charged with conspiracy to steal money from U.S. government agencies
Ex-New Boston residents face federal charges over claims about veteran status
Couple lies about PTSD, fakes military records to receive benefits
Couple charged with faking military service injuries to receive benefits
Honoring our military medalists the right way
SSA OIG: Bogus War Hero Sentenced to 30 Months in Prison for Social Security Fraud
Charles Kaczmarczyk, 59, pleads guilty to 2006 murder
Bogus war hero pleads guilty in conspiracy to murder friend
Federal prisoner pleads guilty in 2006 Monroe County murder
Federal Inmate Pleads Guilty To Murder Plot 7 Years Ago With Victim’s Wife
Knoxville woman arraigned in husband’s 2006 death
Wife Faces Monroe County Murder Charge of Husband
Woman indicted in TBI case surrounding husband’s 2006 killing
Woman indicted for 2006 murder of husband in Monroe County
Knoxville Woman Moves From Federal Custody To Face Charges Of Plotting To Kill Husband And Murdering Him
Trial date set in murder mystery
Woman found guilty in husband’s death
McClancy sentenced to 50 years for killing husband
Monroe County woman sentenced to 50 years in husband’s murder
Wife Who Murdered Decorated Combat Vet For His Benefits Gets 50 Years
VA OIG: Investigation Leads to 50-Year Sentence
Fake 9/11 First Responder Killed Her Husband for His Real VA Check
NBC explores Tellico Plains murder staged as suicide
NBC’s Dateline revisits murder mystery in Monroe County
Robert ‘Bob’ McClancy: ‘Dateline NBC’ Ex-military man murdered in fake PTSD suicide by wife Martha Ann Kaczmarczyk and her lover, Chuck in Tennessee
Who is Sean Michael? An Adoption Mystery: Part 1, Meet Sean
Remembering Bob McClancy: “He just always took care of us”
Fake War Hero Charles Kaczmarczyk (YouTube)
The Murder of Bob McClancy (YouTube)
Dateline Episode Trailer: Secrets in the Smoky Mountains | Dateline NBC
Snapped: Sneak Peek – Martha Ann McClancy (Season 21, Episode 2) | Oxygen
Snapped: Sneak Peek – Suicide or Murder (Season 21, Episode 2) | Oxygen
Snapped: Bonus Clip – Martha McClancy Sentencing (Season 21, Episode 2) | Oxygen
Snapped: After The Verdict – Martha McClancy (Season 21, Episode 2) | Oxygen
Martha Ann McClancy | Snapped | Oxygen (S21, E2)
Hit and Run | Deadly Women | Investigation Discovery (S11, E6)
Hit and Run | Deadly Women | Investigation Discovery (website)
Deadly Women Premiered ‘Hit and Run’ on Investigation Discovery: Martha Ann McClancy & Charles Kaczmarczyk Killed Marine Vet Bob McClancy for Cash (October 6, 2017)

Evil Lives Here Premiered ‘She Made Me Do It’ on Investigation Discovery: Teenager Eric Witte Kills Abusive Father Paul Witte for Mother Hilma Marie Witte (January 9, 2017)

Preview: Growing up, Eric Witte’s father taught him to protect his family. But when his father became increasingly violent, Eric realised that his father was the evil his family needed protection from. -She Made Me Do It, Evil Lives Here (S2, E2)

Eric Witte was 15 years old when he shot and killed his father Paul Witte while he lay sleeping on the couch. His mother Hilma had been poisoning him for years but her plan was not working so she elicited the help of her oldest son Eric to kill him. Although Eric has good memories of his father, he also has scars from the regular physical abuse he received if he made the slightest mistake. It wasn’t hard to convince Eric to kill his father so he could make the physical abuse stop. Eric and his mother Hilma were able to convince the police that it was an accident and they all went about their lives. Then Eric noticed that Hilma was poisoning his grandmother Elaine Witt as well.

FullSizeRender

Eric Witte, US Navy

Eric wanted no part in her murderous plans so he joined the US Navy to escape his mother’s relentless pressure to kill. Eric thought that if he left, she would have no one to kill Elaine. But Hilma pressured her youngest son John to kill Elaine instead. John shot her with a crossbow and then they dismembered her body and put it in a refrigerator. Elaine and John then asked Eric to come home from the Navy to help them deal with the body. Eric wanted no part in his mother’s plan and left to go back to San Diego, California where he was stationed. Unbeknownst to him, his mother put his grandmother’s dismembered body in his vehicle and he didn’t notice until it was too late. He panicked and brought the body to California and put it in a storage locker.

It wasn’t long before other’s demanded to know where Elaine was. Hilma panicked and drove from Indiana to California to seek out Eric’s help. Eric left with his family and went Absent Without Leave (AWOL) so they could figure it out together. Eric was taught as a child to always protect his family and it was natural for him to do it again. In a bizarre twist, Hilma was arrested for forging Elaine’s signature on a social security check she stole from her. It was this arrest and investigation that led to the stories behind both murders. John and Eric admitted to investigators that their mother manipulated and pressured them to kill their father and grandmother. Hilma Witte was convicted and sentenced to 90 years in prison for murder. John and Eric Witte were given 20 and five year sentences for their roles and were released in 1996.

Source: She Made Me Do It, Evil Lives Here

Full Episode: Hilma Marie Witte Documentary – Female Killers | Mommy’s Little Helpers | Deadly Women (S6, E15)

The mother-son relationship is a dynamic one. Mothers are role models, teaching self-worth, respect, and the value of healthy relationships. But these Deadly Women teach their sons to hate and kill when they enlist the support of ‘Mommy’s Little Helpers’. -Mommy’s Little Helpers, Deadly Women (S6, E15)

“As a boy, Eric Witte’s father taught him to protect his family. But as his father grows increasingly violent, Eric realizes that he is the evil his family needs protection from.” -She Made Me Do It, Evil Lives Here (S2, E2)

Editor’s note: With a cable subscription, you can download the free ID Go app and watch all of the Investigation Discovery programming at your convenience. And for those who do not have cable, you can watch “unlocked” episodes on the ID Go app including the latest premieres. Download the ID Go app and binge away. For those who prefer commercial free programming during your binge session, Prime Video has an ID channel: ‘True Crime Files by Investigation Discovery” available for $2.99 a month. It’s a compilation of older seasons but totally worth the cost if you are a true crime addict.

Related Links:
Double Murder: A Family Affair?
Woman Charged in Crossbow Death Appears in Shooting Case
Family Plot Police Say Wife Had Sons Kill Husband, Mom-in-law
Mother Told Me To Murder Grandmother, Boy Tells Jury
Hilma Witte v State of Indiana (1987)
Hilma Witte v State of Indiana (1990)
Woman convicted for role in murders seeks early release
Murder conspirator to remain in prison
Witte Denied Modified Sentence
A teenage boy murders his father
This Day in History: Paul Witte murder 9/1/1981 Michigan City, IN
‘Deadly Woman’: Mother Manipulated Sons Into Killing Their Family Members
Hilma Marie Witte Documentary | Female Killers (YouTube)
‘Mommy’s Little Helpers’ | Deadly Women | Investigation Discovery (S6, E15)
Eric Witte | Evil Lives Here | Investigation Discovery UK
She Made Me Do It | Evil Lives Here | Investigation Discovery (S2, E2)
Eric Witte Manipulated by Mother Hilma Marie Witte to Murder Abusive Father at Age Fifteen; Joined Navy to Prevent Grandmother Elaine Witte from Dying (September 1, 1981)

Nightmare Next Door Premiered ‘The Unwelcome Wagon’ on Investigation Discovery: Michael Severance and Wendi Davidson (September 9, 2016)


Preview: When Staff Sgt. Michael Severance goes AWOL the community of San Angelo rallies around his new bride. But there is something more sinister behind his disappearance, and investigators uncover a saga of treachery and passion as big as the state of Texas. -Nightmare Next Door, Investigation Discovery (S10 E2)

Air Force SSgt. Michael Severance was poisoned with animal medications by his veterinarian wife Wendi Davidson on January 15, 2005 in San Angelo, Texas. SSgt. Severance enlisted with the United States Air Force in 1998 and was a flying crew chief stationed at Dyess Air Force Base. He met Wendi at a local club and they hit it off right away. Shortly after meeting, she got pregnant with his child. Michael wanted to do the right thing so he eventually married Wendi and moved in with her in a small apartment attached to her new Veterinarian Clinic. He commuted 90 miles one way to the base where he worked. Michael was reported missing to the local police on January 16th after his wife Wendi informed Michael’s parents that she wouldn’t make the flight to Maine with him for a visit with their child because he was nowhere to be found. She cancelled the flights for all three of them. Michael’s parents also called the base to report him missing but Air Force leadership informed them that their hands were tied until he was considered Absent Without Leave (AWOL). After Michael’s leave was up 8 days later and he didn’t return to duty, he was officially considered AWOL. This prompted the Air Force Office of Special Investigations (AFOSI) to join forces with the local civilian authorities. Wendi led all the investigators to believe that Mike had deserted the military. She claimed that he didn’t want to go back to Iraq and was thinking about heading to Canada. Michael, Wendi, and their child were planning a trip to visit his parents in Maine because Mike was scheduled to deploy to the Middle East after returning from the trip.

The San Angelo police department investigators visited Wendi at her veterinarian clinic on January 17, 2005. Wendi told them Mike had been drinking lately and was out all the time, but investigators observed that all of his personal belongings were still at their shared apartment. On January 18th, Wendi filed divorce papers and attempted to get a restraining order against Mike. Civilian investigators were suspicious of Wendi and believed that she was cold and calculating. They gave her a polygraph test but the results came back inconclusive. Once Mike’s leave was up and he was considered officially AWOL, AFOSI joined the San Angelo police department investigation. AFOSI doubted that Michael was a deserter and would just up and leave. In the meantime, the San Angelo police department put a GPS tracking device on Wendi’s car. They learned that on February 7th, Wendi traveled to a remote area owned by a friend of hers. Because investigators considered Wendi a person of interest, they traveled to the location where she had been and found a large retaining pond on the property. In March 2005, investigators were able to look at the search history on Wendi’s computer and learned that Wendi had done a search for ‘decomposition of bodies’ and ‘how to pass a lie detector test’. Investigator’s confronted Wendi but didn’t buy her story so they started turning up the heat. Wendi appeared to dismiss the investigators and then after the interview left the vet clinic in a hurry. She traveled back to her friend’s remote property but this time the police were there to make sure she wasn’t able to disturb a potential crime scene while they worked on obtaining a search warrant.

In the meantime, Wendi confided in her brother Marshall. She told him that she came home and found Mike dead. She said she was scared so she disposed of his body. But her brother didn’t buy her story either and reported her to the police. On March 6th, law enforcement searched the pond on her friend’s property and found Michael Severance’s body anchored down with cinder blocks. When they searched Wendi’s home and business, they found a knife, rope, drug log book, and bottles of medication. Wendi was arrested for the murder of Mike Severance and after 32 days behind bars, her parents raised the $500,000 bond to get her released. Investigators learned that they had only been married for four months when she murdered him. Wendi gave birth to her first child in October 2001. In December 2003, she met Michael and eventually got pregnant but Michael wasn’t ready to settle down or get married quite yet. And Wendi’s parents apparently didn’t like Mike and labeled him lazy and disrespectful; they did not want Wendi to marry him. In September 2004, Wendi gave birth to their son and they were quietly married twelve days later at the courthouse. Two weeks later, Wendi purchased a veterinarian clinic and Mike moved in with her, despite the commute 90 miles one way to work at the base. Shortly after moving in, Mike was sent to Airman Leadership School in Wichita Falls and then he got orders to go to the Middle East. Mike planned a vacation to Maine in January 2005 so his parents could meet his new wife and child, their grandchild, before he was deployed overseas. After Mike returned from Airman Leadership School shortly before their trip to Maine, he observed that Wendi was cold towards him and her mother made it clear that she didn’t like Mike and she didn’t want Wendi going to Maine.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Michael Severance, US Air Force

The coroner was not able to determine if there was physical trauma to Mike’s body due to decomposition. But an autopsy revealed that Michael overdosed on drugs usually found in an animal clinic. They found Phenobarbital and B-Euthanasia in his system and he was stabbed 41 times after he was dead. Investigators learned from Wendi’s google searches that Mike was most likely stabbed post mortem so his body wouldn’t float to the surface in the pond. Wendi was arrested again on April 15th for evidence tampering after police learned she falsified log records at the animal clinic so she could justify taking the medication she used to kill her husband. Her bail was now $100,000 per tampering. In the meantime, her family arranged for her to have a privately administered polygraph. On May 24th, a grand jury indicted Wendi for murder and shortly after she was released on bond again. While awaiting trial, on August 20th, Wendi was arrested for child endangerment. One of her children got lost while looking for her; she was out at a night club. She spent another night in jail. In preparation for trial, prosecutors theorized that Wendi concocted her homicidal plan on January 14th. She asked Mike out to dinner on January 15th and then afterwards they went to a bar where they drank and danced. Upon return to their residence, prosecutors believe that Wendi mixed Phenobarbital in his drink. After he was unconscious, she plunged a syringe full of B-Euthanasia into his chest. Then she had to get rid of his body so she drove him out to the pond on her friend’s property and used fishing line to tie cinder blocks to his body. From google searches she learned that gases will make the body float so she went back to the retainer pond and stabbed him 41 times to release the gases; she attached more weight to his body.

Wendi Mae Davidson was looking at 9 to 99 years in prison so instead of going to trial, she plead ‘no contest’ which also left things open for appeal. Her lawyers argued the validity of the search warrants and believed that the GPS tracker was placed in an illegal manner; the resulting evidence was fruit of the poisonous tree. Wendi Davidson was found guilty of first degree murder and sentenced to 25 years in prison. She also received an additional 10 years for evidence tampering. Investigators and prosecutors were somewhat baffled with the motive for this crime and because Wendi plead ‘no contest’, we may never know the real reason she murdered Mike. Authorities theorized that maybe Wendi was motivated to kill because Mike Severance wanted to leave her. They theorized that Wendi’s mother didn’t like Mike so instead of divorcing him, she killed him. They also theorized that Wendi and her family wanted custody of the child with no incident. It’s important to note that Michael’s family believes Wendi also wanted the $500,000 life insurance payout. This was an unusual case because Wendi never had any known predisposition or tendency for violence but Mike’s family believes that her mother specifically had something to do with Wendi committing the murder. The question remains why didn’t she just divorce him instead of killing him?

Wendi may have made this decision because control and financial motive is a common motive for murder. It was noted that Wendi met Mike at a bar and shortly thereafter became pregnant; he may have been targeted for exploitation. It was noted that Wendi was in debt after purchasing a new animal clinic providing the motive for financial gain. It was noted that the crime was premeditated as evidenced by her plan to steal the medications from her animal clinic used to kill Mike. It was noted that Mike was murdered only four months after marrying Wendi; was he a means to an end? It was noted that Wendi’s parents didn’t like Mike and their beliefs may have been the fuel to light the fire; she may have been manipulated because she didn’t want to defy or disappoint them, afraid of the consequences. It was noted by Mike’s family that Wendi was the recipient of the life insurance policy. It was noted that Wendi attempted to manipulate the investigation and make Mike out to be someone he was not; even going so far as to get a restraining order a couple days after she killed him. Wendi Davidson does appear to be cold and calculating. Wendi Davidson appears to be a sociopath; but she exercised her right to remain silent in another attempt to abuse the process, she knows how the system works. As a result, she is eligible for parole in April 2019; she will be 41 years old.

Source: Nightmare Next Door ‘The Unwelcome Wagon’

Editor’s note: With a cable subscription, you can download the free ID Go app and watch all of the Investigation Discovery programming at your convenience. And for those who do not have cable, you can watch “unlocked” episodes on the ID Go app including the latest premieres. Download the ID Go app and binge away. For those who prefer commercial free programming during your binge session, Prime Video has an ID channel: ‘True Crime Files by Investigation Discovery” available for $2.99 a month. It’s a compilation of older seasons but totally worth the cost if you are a true crime addict.


When Staff Sgt. Michael Severance goes AWOL the community of San Angelo rallies around his new bride. But there is something more sinister behind his disappearance, and investigators uncover a saga of treachery and passion as big as the state of Texas. -Nightmare Next Door, Investigation Discovery (S10 E2)

Related Links:
Autopsy Finds Airman’s Body Was Stabbed 41 Times
Airman found dead in Texas pond laid to rest in Maine
Vet indicted for allegedly drugging husband to death
Veterinarian indicted on murder charge
Lee family hires PR firm to help in custody fight
Lee Man Eager for Trial in Texas
Murder suspect charged again
Davidson Murder Trial Delayed in Texas Over DNA Evidence
Wife accepts deal in Texas murder case
Wife accepts plea in Texas murder case; Davidson gets 25 years in death of Michael Severance of Lee
Veterinarian sentenced to 25 years for husband’s murder
DVM gets 25 years for husband’s murder
Police Blotter: Murderer nabbed via tracking, Web search
Wendi Mae Davidson v State of Texas (2008)
Dad of Slain Mainer Angered by Insurance Payout
Texas mail chain massacre
She’s Filing Her Nails While They’re Dragging The Lake: Court Of Appeals Of Texas Finds That Local Authorities Didn’t Piggy-Back On Federal Investigation
True-crime writer explores 2005 murder of Lee native
Legally Speaking: Murder, She Googled
‘We just try to enjoy him when we can’: Family of slain Lee native welcomes home his son
Nightmare Next Door – Veterinarian Killed Texas Air Force Hubby, Dumped Body in Stock Pond on Investigation Discovery
A Poisoned Passion by Diane Fanning
One More Reason Why by Diane Fanning
A Poisoned Passion: A Young Mother, her War Hero Husband, and the Marriage that Ended in Murder by Diane Fanning (Amazon)
Servicemen’s Group Life Insurance is a Common Motive for Murder
Air Force SSgt Michael Severance Drugged by Wife; Wendi Davidson Plead ‘No Contest’ to 1st Degree Murder, Sentenced to 25 Years (January 15, 2005)
Newlywed Wife Reports Airman Husband Missing | Investigation Discovery
The Unwelcome Wagon, S10 E2 | Nightmare Next Door | Investigation Discovery (website)
The Unwelcome Wagon, S10 E2 | Nightmare Next Door | Investigation Discovery (YouTube)
Maine Fallen Heroes

Fear Thy Neighbor Premiered ‘Lake of Madness’ on Investigation Discovery: Paul Crawford Executed Family Next Door, Then Killed Himself (April 20, 2015)

Preview: An older man obsessed with his property lines soon learns that his neighbor’s dock is actually on his property, and wants it moved immediately. His neighbors aren’t going to go down without a fight. Lake of Madness, Fear Thy Neighbor (S2, E2)

Military veteran Paul Crawford, 72, shot and killed Warren Schloegl, 41, Marcella Schloegl, 39, Jodi Schloegl, 12, Eric Schloegl, 11, and the family dog in Sauk Centre, Minnesota on June 20, 1996. Nicole Schloegl, 16, was at a game when her entire family was executed in their own home. Warren Schloegl and Paul Crawford had been in an on-going legal dispute over property boundaries and on this particular night Paul decided to deal with the conflict his way and then ended his own life. Paul Crawford was private and liked precision, order, regiment, plans, his land defined, and boundaries. He also had a history of property disputes with his neighbors. Warren on the other hand was the type to have large gatherings, playtime with kids, and recreational access to the lake in front of his house. Warren had been using the dock he believed was on his property long before Paul moved in until a land surveyor Paul hired said otherwise. Paul did not want to share the boat dock until the dispute was settled which meant the Schloegl family lost access to the dock. Warren accepted this over the winter months but come spring, he gave his children permission to play on the dock. But, Paul didn’t want the children on the dock for insurance and liability reasons. The escalating land dispute between Paul and Warren reached a boiling point.

Paul was angry that one of the Schloegl kids accidentally hit and knocked out one of his boundary stakes because he had to pay someone to remeasure and legally replace the stake. Paul tried putting up a fence to define the boundaries and Warren stopped him and asked him to wait until the court date. And on the day of the murder-suicide, the Schloegl children were playing on the docks when Paul yelled at them and told them to leave. Warren was angry that Paul spoke to his children like he did and confronted him. Paul called the cops to complain about trespassing. After police intervention, Warren agreed to stay off the docks. It’s unclear what triggered Paul Crawford but he went to the Schloegl’s home with a loaded gun and first shot Warren in the back of the head. Next, Paul shot Jodi and then Marcy, who was shot while on the phone with 911. After Paul ran out of ammunition, he went back to his residence and the youngest child Eric called the police to report that Paul shot his mom, dad, and sister. Nicole questioned why the police didn’t tell Eric to hide because Paul got another gun and returned back to the home to finish the job. Paul shot the dog, shot the others again, and in his last act of evil, he ripped the phone line out of the wall and shot little Eric. All of Nicole’s family died. Police found Paul dead in his yard with a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

ID Go: A family moves into their dream home on a Minnesota lake, and welcomes the single retiree who soon takes up residence next door. But a dispute over access to the water they all love escalates until one party snaps, and others pay the price in blood. -Lake of Madness, Fear Thy Neighbor (S2, E2)

Editor’s note: With a cable subscription, you can download the free ID Go app and watch all of the Investigation Discovery programming at your convenience. And for those who do not have cable, you can watch “unlocked” episodes on the ID Go app including the latest premieres. Download the ID Go app and binge away. For those who prefer commercial free programming during your binge session, Prime Video has an ID channel: ‘True Crime Files by Investigation Discovery” available for $2.99 a month. It’s a compilation of older seasons but totally worth the cost if you are a true crime addict.

Related Links:
Five Dead in Minnesota Shooting Linked to Land Dispute
5 Die in Minnesota Shooting Linked to Land Dispute
Five dead in Minnesota over property dispute
Elder Man Fatally Shoots Neighbors in Land Dispute
Feuds between neighbors common, hard to solve, but rarely deadly
The Deaths of the Schloegl Family
Get Your Dock Off My Property | Investigation Discovery
Lake of Madness | Fear Thy Neighbor | Investigation Discovery (S2, E2)

Homicide Hunter Premiered ‘A Gathering of Evil’ on Investigation Discovery: Melinda & Daniel Stewart, Jill Yousaf & James Catlin Conspired to Kill Maggie Fetty (October 9, 2012)

ID Go: Teen runaway Maggie Fetty is found strangled to death on a mountain road. An anonymous tipster blames Maggie’s best friend, but she accuses a mental patient with multiple personalities. Kenda must turn the suspects against each other to learn the truth. -A Gathering of Evil, Homicide Hunter (S2, E2)

After she was dead, nobody ever came knocking on my door, what about my daughter, what are we doing, how do we know what happened, nothing. No inquiries from concerned relatives because there aren’t any. We can say to ourselves we did the right thing here, for a girl who desperately needed someone to do something right for her. We were just too late to save her life but we took punishment against those who took her life. -Lt. Joe Kenda, Homicide Hunter

Patrol officers received a call that a body was found on Gold Camp Road near Point Sublime in Colorado Springs, Colorado on December 3, 1991. It was a fully clothed female who appeared to be a teenager. Homicide detective Lt. Joe Kenda of the Colorado Springs Police Department ordered the officers to turn the body over. They observed a ligature mark on her throat. A ligature is used to apply pressure to the neck and it’s a torturous way to die. This wasn’t just a who done it, but a who was it? Detectives went through her pockets and didn’t find anything. Although they did find an identifying marker, a tattoo on her hand with the initials JM. An anonymous tipster called and said the victim’s name was Maggie and they should talk to Jill Yousaf. Jill had an arrest just recently; she was arrested for shoplifting. According to the police report, Margaret Fetty, 16, was also arrested. This tied the two together.

Investigators dug into Maggie’s records but there were none. She was a ward of the state; her mother disavowed her and her father’s whereabout were unknown. Maggie was part of the children’s program Chins Up but ran away from the center a year ago. She was living on the streets all alone and she had nobody looking out for her. She was an adolescent girl who was murdered and thrown away like trash. The only people looking out for her were Kenda and his guys. Kenda met up with 28 year old Jill Yousaf to try to obtain some information from her. Jill agreed to go to the station for questioning. She described Maggie as her best friend. She said she met her a year ago and had become somewhat of a big sister to her. According to Jill, they clicked well and even had matching ‘JM’ tattoos. Kenda informed Jill that Maggie was dead and she broke down in tears. Kenda observed that Jill’s demeanor and body language had guilt all over it.

Kenda informed Jill that he thinks she had something to do with the Maggie’s death. Jill claimed she knew the killer’s identity and that the person who murdered Maggie was Melinda Stewart. Kenda ran a background check on Melinda Stewart and learned that she was married to an Army soldier at Fort Carson. According to Jill, on November 30, 1991, she was hanging out at her home with her friends while her husband was playing cards with his Army buddies. The girls decided they were going to go out. Jill claimed she was driving and Maggie was in the passenger seat. They were all talking, laughing and passing around a bottle of tequila. Then for no apparent reason Melinda began to strangle Maggie from behind. Jill said she tried to stop Melinda but she threatened her and said she would be next. Once Maggie was dead, Melinda asked Jill to help her discard the body. Detectives needed to find out why Melinda wanted Maggie dead. Jill said it was because Melinda was ‘crazy’ and told them she was placed in a psychiatric institution the day before.

Joe went to Cedar Springs psychiatric hospital to find Melinda. She was there and her husband brought her in the day before. She appeared to be deeply disturbed and the interview was anything but routine. Melinda was saying very bizarre things, she wasn’t very helpful, and she appeared to be speaking in a child-like voice. Her bizarre behavior did not let up so Kenda played along and addressed Melinda like a little girl. Melinda started talking about Maggie being cold and needing a coat. She then said she went to Point Sublime with Jill and Maggie to look at the city lights and drink. Melinda claimed she was driving and Jill was in the backseat. She was telling a story opposite that of Jill because she claimed Jill was in the backseat of the car and strangled Maggie. Kenda couldn’t help but wonder if Melinda’s story might be true. Kenda didn’t have enough to hold Jill or Melinda on murder charges but he did have enough to hold them on charges of obstruction of justice. By believing them both, he could keep them in jail until he got to the bottom of things.

With Jill and Melinda in custody, Kenda needed to find a witness who could shed some light on the situation. They started with Melinda’s husband Army Sergeant Daniel J. Stewart. He had been in the Army for quite some time and worked in the Engineer Battalion; he built bridges and seemed to be reasonably intelligent. Sgt. Stewart seemed astounded to learn his wife was being charged with murder. Kenda took Sgt. Stewart down to the station. Lt. Kenda wanted to learn more about his wife’s mental illness. According to Sgt. Stewart, his wife had multiple personalities but she didn’t have a dangerous bone in her body. He denied that his wife had anything to do with Maggie’s murder. He claimed there was no unusual behavior with his wife on the night of the murder after they returned. He also said he was playing some cards with some Army buddies when the girls decided to go out. A few hours later, Jill and Melinda returned. They were fine.

But the next day, Melinda had a psychiatric melt down. Her multiple personalities surfaced and Sgt. Stewart was afraid his wife was having a nervous breakdown. Detectives believed the meltdown was connected to the murder but weren’t sure if she was having a meltdown because she strangled Maggie or if she witnessed Maggie get strangled by Jill. Sgt. Stewart finally admitted that he believed Jill Yousaf was the one who killed Maggie. Sgt. Stewart told detectives they needed to speak with James Catlin who was a boat specialist in the Engineer Battalion; they worked together. Sgt. Stewart shared that Catlin dates Jill Yousaf. When James Catlin was questioned, he provided a story that was consistent with that of Dan Stewart. Kenda needed a hook, another piece of information that could help them put the case together. Then he got a phone call that changed everything. On December 17th, two weeks after Maggie’s body was found on Gold Camp Road, detectives received a phone call from Melinda’s sister Penny Rhoads. Penny said she spoke to Dan Stewart who admitted to her that he burned all the evidence.

Detectives learned Sgt. Stewart burned the clothing worn by Melinda and Jill on the night of the murder. It was burned in an effort to protect both of them. As a result, Sgt. Stewart was booked for conspiracy after the fact. Detectives confronted him with the new information they learned from the conversation with Penny Rhoads. Dan Stewart realized he needed to start talking. He claimed once Melinda and Jill arrived home, they talked about the murder and each woman was blaming the other. He didn’t want Jill accusing his wife Melinda of murder so he burned all the evidence to protect her. In the course of the interview, Sgt. Stewart also mentioned Silas Nelson. At first he said he was there, then he backtracked and said he wasn’t. For Stewart it was a slip of the tongue, for Kenda it was one more clue to look into. Stewart was booked. Then Kenda set out in search of Silas Nelson. Detectives tracked down Nelson at Fort Carson and questioned him. Nelson told Kenda he was at Sgt. Stewart’s house the night of the murder and also spent the night.

Silas Nelson claimed he was in bed when Jill and Melinda returned home. But he said he was present before they went out and the two of them were talking about killing Maggie. Kenda thought if this information was true, the two of them conspired to kill Maggie Fetty. According to Nelson, Stewart and Catlin joined the conversation and they were all talking about how they could kill Maggie. Now Kenda has learned Catlin and Stewart assisted with the cover up and were active participants in the planning of the event. But Kenda still wanted to know who strangled Maggie and why? As a result of the information gleaned from Nelson, Sgt. Catlin was arrested and grilled by detectives for answers. Catlin finally broke down and admitted they didn’t like Maggie and decided to kill her. According to Catlin, Maggie was heavy into drugs and the two had no toleration for that because they didn’t want Jill and Melinda doing drugs. But Maggie was feeding the pair drugs so it was a hard bond to break. They were tired of her being around.

Nelson helped confirm when Melinda and Jill discussed killing Maggie and Dan Stewart and James Catlin jumped at the chance to show the girls how to do it. This proved that all of them conspired together to kill Maggie. Catlin claimed Melinda was the one who strangled Maggie. He said she attacked Maggie from behind and Jill did not stop her but she did help dispose of the body. When Melinda and Jill returned home, Sgt. Stewart disposed of and burned the evidence. All four co-conspirators were prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. In exchange for her testimony, Melinda pleaded guilty to second degree murder and was sentenced to 48 years in prison. James Catlin striked a similar deal and received a 30 year sentence for second degree murder. Jill Yousaf maintained her innocence all the way to trial. The jury found her not guilty of murdering Maggie but did find her guilty of accessory to murder. Jill was sentenced to six years in prison. Sgt. Dan Stewart was convicted of first degree murder and conspiracy to commit first degree murder.

When the time came to handle funeral arrangements for Maggie Fetty, no one was there to do it so Lt. Joe Kenda and his fellow officers did it themselves. They chipped in and bought her a head stone to assist with the evidence of her passing. The headstone is a reminder for Joe Kenda of why he chose a life in law enforcement. Joe said he can’t stop a murderer or undue the murder once it’s been done but he can certainly find the person responsible and make sure they don’t do it again. Society has a way of forgetting about the most vulnerable but when it comes to Joe Kenda, nobody slips through the cracks, not a culprit, not a co-conspirator, and certainly not Maggie Fetty. -Homicide Hunter

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Margaret ‘Maggie’ Fetty (photo credit: http://www.FindAGrave.com)

Source: ‘A Gathering of Evil’ Homicide Hunter

Editor’s note: With a cable subscription, you can download the free ID Go app and watch all of the Investigation Discovery programming at your convenience. And for those who do not have cable, you can watch “unlocked” episodes on the ID Go app including the latest premieres. Download the ID Go app and binge away. For those who prefer commercial free programming during your binge session, Prime Video has an ID channel: ‘True Crime Files by Investigation Discovery” available for $2.99 a month. It’s a compilation of older seasons but totally worth the cost if you are a true crime addict.

Related Links:
Obituary: Margaret Ann “Maggie” Fetty
Woman, 29, Pleads Guilty to Killing Teen
Inside the Kenda Files: Fetty
A Gathering of Evil | Homicide Hunter | Investigation Discovery (website)
A Gathering of Evil | Homicide Hunter | Investigation Discovery (S2, E2)

Shonda Walter Used a Hatchet to Kill Neighbor & WWII Vet James Sementelli; Sentenced to Death But Commuted to Life in Prison, No Parole Due to Ineffective Counsel (March 25, 2003)

Full Episode: Neighbors can be a source of friendship and community comfort. But what happens when a neighbor stops watching out for you, and starts watching you. The sinister minds of these women begin to turn sour and they begin to torment their neighbors. -Loathe Thy Neighbor, Deadly Women (S5, E2)

“James E. Sementelli was a Private in the United States Army during World War II. He grew up in Lock Haven and was stationed at the Army’s Fort Weaver on Oahu when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. After the war, he returned to Lock Haven, Pennsylvania where he worked as a taxi driver, in the post office, and at a paper mill. Unfortunately, Mr. Sementelli was a murder victim as part of a gang initiation and robbery” on March 25, 2003. [Neighbor Shonda Walter was found guilty of homicide and sentenced to death in 2005 but the death sentence was commuted to life in prison without the possibility of parole due to ineffective counsel in 2016.] –Find A Grave

Related Links:
James E. Sementelli (1920-2003) | Find A Grave
Car, Change Said to Spur Homicide
Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Appellee v. Shonda WALTER, Appellant (2009)
Lock Haven woman convicted of murder inching closer to execution
Quest for the truth aids lead prosecutor in Sandusky case, colleagues say
Death Row Delays: Victims’ Families Frustrated with Slow Death Penalty Process
Shonda Walter, a 36-year-old Black woman on Pennsylvania’s death row
Three women on Pennsylvania’s death row
Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Appellee v. Shonda WALTER, Appellant (2015)
Shonda Walter Escapes Death Row in Vet’s Hatchet Killing
Shonda Walter Death Row: Murderer Given A Stay Of Execution
Shonda Walter Removed From Death Row, Sentence Thrown Out
Could One of These Cases Spell the End of the Death Penalty?
Supreme Court declines death penalty case
Death penalty imposed on woman in 2003 slaying thrown out
Judge vacates death sentence of convicted Clinton County hatchet murderer
Woman’s vacated death sentence brings death row count to 177
The Death Penalty Endgame | NY Times Opinion
World View: Death penalty opponents sense an opportunity
Is the Supreme Court going to reconsider the constitutionality of the death penalty?
Could these cases, including some from Louisiana, end America’s death penalty?
Supreme Court won’t hear capital punishment case
Death penalty decision won’t hinge on PA case
Supreme Court rejects appeal to outlaw death penalty
Supreme Court rejects Pa. female death row inmate’s appeal to outlaw capital punishment
Supreme Court won’t decide on status of executions. 180 Pennsylvanians sit on death row
Victim’s family, others resigned to Walter life sentence
Pennsylvania Inmate Shonda Walter Receives Stay Ahead of May 3, 2016, Execution
15 Vicious Criminals Who Barely Escaped Death Row On Technicality
Shonda Walter Women On Death Row
Shonda Walter Documentary | Female Killers (Deadly Women)
Loathe Thy Neighbor | Deadly Women | Investigation Discovery (S5, E2)
Season 5 | Deadly Women | Investigation Discovery (Amazon.com)
Shonda Walter | Supreme Court of the US | Death Penalty Information Center
Women Currently on Death Row in the United States
Women and Capital Punishment in the United States: An Analytical History
Shonda Dee Walter | Murderpedia, the encyclopedia of murderers
List of Deadly Women episodes | Wikipedia

Navy Veteran Richard Uffelman & Two Children Opened Fire & Killed Neighbors Michael & Florence Phillips in Maine; Sentenced to Life in Prison (August 29, 1989)

ID Go: The Phillips’ family moves to a quiet seafront town in Maine to escape a crime wave in Indiana. But their dream home comes with a not so dreamy ex-military neighbor. A barrage of gunfire between the houses one night shatters both families forever. -Red Picket Fences, Fear Thy Neighbor (S1, E2)

On August 29, 1989, Navy veteran Richard Uffelman and his two sons opened fire from their living room window and shot and killed their neighbors Michael and Florence Phillips in Machiasport, Maine. The Phillips family moved back to Maine so they could be closer to their family and the ocean, and they wanted to escape crime in Indiana. Shortly before they moved to Maine, a murder occurred outside their home and this was it for them; they wanted to raise their son Michael in a safe environment. Richard and Anita Uffelman and their two sons were the new neighbors of the Phillips in Maine. Richard was described as an authoritarian and a believer in good order and discipline. He worked at the local post office and taught his two children to shoot guns. Initially the neighbors were good friends and their boys played together. At some point, family came to visit the Phillips for a week. The happy family reunited outside on the front lawn while they barbecued, drank some beers, and enjoyed one another’s company. Apparently Richard found a broken bottle on his lawn during the event and automatically assumed the Phillips threw the bottle on his lawn. Richard called the police to complain about the incident but there was no proof since the Phillips denied doing it. This was it for Richard; the Phillips home interfered with his view of the ocean and he was going to exact his revenge.

After this first broken bottle incident, Richard continued to call the police complaining that the neighbors were throwing bottles on his property. He would bag them up and give them to the police as evidence. The Phillips continued to deny the allegations. The police were beginning to get concerned for the Phillips. Then Richard’s wife Anita called the Phillips family and told them that Richard did not want their two sons playing with Michael anymore. Florence was confused. Soon Richard began harassing them while they were outside on their lawn. He used a megaphone and yelled at them until they went back into their house. The Phillips became fearful of him because he was quite literally bullying them. Richard upped the anti and put up some bright lights that shined directly on their home. He also shot guns in front of his home with his two boys on a regular basis which to the Phillips began feeling threatening. They called the police to ask Uffelman to stop shooting the guns because it felt like he was flexing his muscles but their was nothing illegal about shooting guns for target practice in Maine. The police couldn’t do anything. They needed evidence so Michael and Florence set up a video camera to start taping the behavior because they were not the gun types.

Tension and fear was building daily. The Phillips called the police on Richard Uffelman and Uffelman called the police on them. Now Richard wanted a protection order. It was obvious to police that Richard was getting paranoid and he had some fear that could not be alleviated by the police. Uffelman wanted to play war. Uffelman began dressing in full military fatigues with his two sons and they all carried guns and marched together as if they were in the military or a militia. The kids were impacted by Richard’s paranoia as well; as a matter of fact the whole family was brainwashed. Eventually the Phillips were afraid of Uffelman and his two sons. The Phillips left the city to get away from violence and now they were in the middle of it. They decided to file a harassment suit to get Richard Uffelman to stop. At this point, they felt trapped in their own home and they continued to videotape because it was their only option. One day Richard and his two sons armed with guns started chasing the Phillip’s son after school as if he was prey. The trio scared the entire Phillips family and they called the police again. The cops took it seriously and knew things were not going to turn out right. The Phillips got a protection order and then went on a vacation to Indiana to visit family in July 1989.

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Richard Uffelman, US Navy Veteran

While the Phillips were visiting with family, they began viewing the videotapes. All of them were terrified at what they were witnessing but the Phillips were stuck financially. They assured their family they would be fine but in reality they were afraid Richard Uffelman would kill them when they got back. They asked their family to raise their son Michael if Uffelman killed them. They left for Maine the next day because it was their home and they had no other option. They got back to the war zone and the front lines had moved closer to home. When they got out of their vehicle, they realized that someone had dumped gasoline on their front porch. They witnessed someone running in the shadows from their home to Uffelman’s home. They called the police again but they didn’t have any proof that Uffelman had done it. They all recognized that Uffelman was raising the stakes. Unfortunately the system was at a stand still until someone made an overt act. On August 29, 1989, family visited the Phillips because they were celebrating a pregnancy in the family. The Phillips revealed to them that dealing with Uffelman was very stressful because they hadn’t caught anything of value for their harassment case. In this case, the best evidence would come too late.

Michael and Florence Phillips left the house that evening for a walk, just like every other night. This time Michael was carrying a gun as they walked in an effort to let Richard know that they were not going to take it. Then all of a sudden Richard and both of his sons began shooting at both of them from the living room of their home as they walked. The remaining family in the home were fearful that they were going to kill young Michael next. Meanwhile, Michael and Florence are struggling to move to safety in the woods to escape the barrage of gunfire. Uffelman did go to the Phillips home but turned around and left. After this near miss, the three family members in the home left to protect young Michael. They were not sure how Michael and Florence were doing at this point; they were not sure if they had been murdered or if they were still alive. Police arrived on the scene and knocked on Richard Uffelman’s door. They found him sitting at his kitchen table which was covered with handguns and firearms. The police were worried about their own safety but Uffelman surrendered without incident and he was taken into police custody. Michael and Florence Phillips both died at the scene in the woods where they attempted to escape the gunman.

Richard Uffelman was arrested for murder after the Phillips’ bodies were found. His two sons participated in the shootings as well and together they fired twenty-five rounds or so from the inside of their home. Investigators concluded the two boys were doing what they were told to do; they were victims too and as a result were not charged. Upon search of the property, police learned that Uffelman’s land was rigged with trip wire and his home was riddled with explosives. Bomb technicians were called in to remove the undetonated devices. Police also found secret passageways and tunnels. Uffelman tried to claim self-defense at his trial but the video coverage the Phillips had showed otherwise. The videotapes revealed that Uffelman went outside to check to see if his prey were dead; his murderous intent was all captured on film. Richard Uffelman was sentenced to life in prison for the first degree murders of Michael and Florence Phillips. Young Michael sued Richard Uffelman in Maine Superior Court and was awarded a wrongful death judgement for $513,320 but he has never received a dime. According to a YouTube site called Abandonment of Maine, shortly after new owners moved into the Uffelman home, the house caught on fire and burned to the ground.

Source: Fear Thy Neighbor ‘Red Picket Fences’

Related Links:
Fatal Feud Divides a Village in Maine
Killer in Taped Shootings Sentenced to Life in Prison
State of Maine v. Richard B. Uffelman (1993)
Sons Tell of Fear They Felt
Uffelman sons describe fear before killing of neighbors
Machias killer to petition for new trial today
True Crime Stories: Richard Uffelman
10 Disturbing Cases Of Neighbors From Hell
Into Their Own Hands by Gary Provost (Book)
How Can Broken Soda Bottles Lead To Revenge?
‘Red Picket Fences’ | Fear Thy Neighbor | Investigation Discovery (S1, E2)