Fear Thy Neighbor Premiered ‘Mistress of Death’ on Investigation Discovery: Linda Cowan & Vinson Thomas-Ward Cowan (July 7, 2018)


Two women living next to each other since childhood descend into bitter conflict when the ex husband of one starts seeing the other. Add property issues to this toxic mix and the result is an act of shocking violence that engulfs all. -Mistress of Death, Fear Thy Neighbor (Investigation Discovery: S5, E6)

On December 18, 2009, Army veteran Vinson Thomas-Ward Cowan shot at and injured his neighbor Christie Jackson in Burnet, Texas. Christie Jackson and Vinson’s mother, Linda Cowan, were engaged in a bitter three month feud between neighbors after Christie’s estranged husband Rudy started dating Linda. What started out as a disagreement between neighbors ended in someone getting shot. It is believed that Linda Cowan enlisted the help of her son Vinson to shoot and kill Christie Jackson and he obliged because he was protective of his mother. Vinson followed through and indeed shot Christie in the head through the window of her own home. Miraculously, despite the severe head wound, Christie lived, but will forever be affected by the ordeal. On the night in question, Christie was sleeping with both her daughters who also are forever changed by the experience.

One of Vinson’s friends, Thomas Pierson, who was aware of the plan to shoot Christie and be a look-out that night, informed the police of Linda and Vinson’s plans to shoot Christie in retaliation for all the trouble she caused her. The bottom line was Linda wanted Christie out of the picture. Linda Cowan was jealous that Rudy continued to see Christie and their children and angry because she assumed Christie called the City of Burnet to complain about her septic issues. Linda wanted revenge and she wanted to date Rudy despite his intentions to continue seeing Christie. In 2013, Linda Cowan was sentenced to fifteen years in prison for second-degree felony of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. And Vinson Thomas-Ward plead guilty to ten years in prison for second-degree felony of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. Christie’s mother sold the family home in Burnet.

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:
Burnet woman gets 15 years for her role in 2009 shooting (2013)
Burnet County man gets 10 years for 2009 shooting of woman (2013)
Linda Sue Cowan, Appellant v. The State of Texas, Appellee (2015)
Mistress of Death | Fear Thy Neighbor | Investigation Discovery (S5, E6)

Fear Thy Neighbor Premiered ‘Head in the Oven’ on Investigation Discovery: Brett Smith & William Perry (June 16, 2018)


Two neighboring bachelors start out as friends. Harmless banter turns into threats eventually igniting an escalating war. The violence ends with a murder so shocking it is almost beyond belief. -Fear Thy Neighbor, Investigation Discovery

Brett Smith was found murdered in his home on October 3, 2008 in North Canton, Ohio. Brett was found with a knife in his chest and dismembered; his head was found burning in the oven of his own home. It didn’t take long for police to determine that Brett’s neighbor, William Perry, was the suspect in the case. William Perry served in the Marine Corps during Operation Desert Storm and was suffering from what sounds like Post Traumatic Stress. He was taking medications because he saw a lot of terrible things but he didn’t want to talk about it; the medications helped mitigate flashbacks, nightmares and other symptoms like lack of concentration that interfered with daily living. William and Brett were both fixing up their homes, helping each other out, and sharing tools.

At some point, William became jealous of Brett’s home improvement efforts and all the help he appeared to get from his family. William was struggling financially to fix up his place and this bothered William because he wanted a nice place for his children when they came to visit him. William and Brett tried to make the relationship work but the two had an on again and off again kind of relationship. Brett couldn’t drink because he took medication for epilepsy and he was uncomfortable around William after he had a few drinks of alcohol. The two got confrontational when William was drinking and Brett tried to confront William about vandalism on his property including slashed tires and an oil spill that cost William thousands of dollars to remedy. Brett’s mom Judy was getting concerned and wanted him to move out of there because the fighting was escalating.

William Perry was stressed. His girlfriend Susanna Lockard shared that he owed child support and if he didn’t pay it, he was going to jail. At the same time, William decided to stop taking his medication. He said they made him feel foggy and he wanted a clear head. Susanna was concerned he would get depressed or downward spiral. And then one day, William and Brett got into an altercation in the yard and William lost control and started beating Brett with a board. The neighbors thought William was a “psycho” after this encounter and so did Brett. The neighbors were really concerned that this situation was escalating and getting dangerous. Brett reported William to the North Canton Police Department but there was no evidence of the physical encounter so there was nothing the police could do. They told him to stay away from him. Brett was confused about why William hated him so much; he didn’t know what he was doing wrong.

Susanna was leaving the home for the night so William could spend some time with his kids. When she arrived to pick up some clothes, she found William home and he didn’t look well. She learned his plans with his children had been cancelled and he was upset. William was brandishing a gun in front of his girlfriend and her daughter while asking them to leave. William was living with his girlfriend but he broke up with her and kicked her out and never explained why. Later that night, the neighbors noticed William on Brent’s porch and they were arguing. When Brett’s mom showed up to his place the next day, she got no answer and smelled smoke. Brett’s mom turned to a friend and asked him to break into Brett’s house because she was concerned. The living room was in disarray, the contents of Brett’s wallet were strewn about, and there was also paint spilled everywhere. They found Brett in the bathroom laying on the floor with a knife in his chest. He had been strangled and beheaded. The police processed the home and found paint mixed with blood everywhere.

When the police opened the oven, they found Brett’s head burning inside. Brett’s mom had a very hard time accepting her son was dead and that he had been murdered in this way. William Perry was a suspect right away. There was no doubt that William had done this and he tried to cover up the crime. Initially, William was arrested for vandalism, a felony crime, and sent to jail. While there, he wrote a letter to a friend admitting to killing Brett. He said the night he killed Brett, it started with words and escalated to physical fighting. He spent the night trying to clean up the scene and attempted to dismember Brett but gave up after he cut off his head. He tried to erase all signs that he was in Brett’s house. He was charged with murder and faced the death penalty but it never went to trial. In October 2009, William Perry made a plea deal to avoid the death penalty and pleaded guilty to aggravated murder, gross abuse of a corpse, and tampering with evidence. He was sentenced to life in prison with no possibility of parole. The prosecutor had no rational explanation for why he did this.

“It could have been anything, anything could have triggered it. It could have been trauma, it could have been something from childhood, it could be not seeing your kids as much as you want, it could just be all the pressures building up and it just sets a chain reaction.” -Susanna Lockard (Brett’s girlfriend)

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.


A neighbor describes finding the grisly remains of Brett Smith, who had been beheaded in his North Canton mobile home. -CantonRep.com


Employees of LA Office Solutions in North Canton, Ohio, tell how they felt threatened during an encounter with William D. Perry, a suspect in the beheading of Brett W. Smith, a week before Smith’s death. -CantonRep.com

Related Links:
Raw 911 Call: Mother Finds Sons Beheaded Body
Lake alum found murdered
Police say beheading suspect is neighbor
Neighbor suspected in N. Canton beheading case
Neighbor is ‘prime suspect’ in North Canton beheading case
Trailer park tragedy: A closer look at beheading victim, suspect
Trailer park tragedy: A closer look at beheading victim, suspect
Neighbor indicted in grisly slaying
Justice: Ohio Man Indicted In Neighbor’s Beheading
Ohio man pleads not guilty in neighbor beheading
Man admits he killed, beheaded his neighbor
North Canton man pleads guilty in beheading of neighbor at mobile home park
North Canton man admits beheading neighbor, avoids death penalty
William Perry v. Terry Tibbals, Warden (2013)
Brett Smith was murdered by his neighbor William Perry who then cut off his head and burned it in an oven – Fear Thy Neighbor
Neighbor finds beheaded man
A close encounter with beheading suspect
Head in the Oven | Fear Thy Neighbor | Investigation Discovery (website)
Head in the Oven | Fear Thy Neighbor | Investigation Discovery (YouTube)

48 Hours Premiered ‘The Soldier’s Wife’ on CBS (2017)


A young wife shot dead — her soldier husband pulled the trigger. Was it an accident or was it murder? “48 Hours” correspondent Erin Moriarty investigates Saturday, July 8 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on CBS.

Skylar’s actions speak louder than his words. “The strongest evidence, believe it or not, is what he does immediately after the fact.” Skylar didn’t call 911, a neighbor did. And there wasn’t a single drop of Danielle’s blood on him, a clear sign that he didn’t try to save or even comfort her says Deputy prosecuting attorney Jared Ausserer. “He doesn’t render aid. He never checks on his wife. If it was an accident, he’s going to drop the weapon immediately, run over, grab her, assess her. He doesn’t do that.” He [Skylar’s defense attorney] knows the challenge will be convincing 12 jurors that a highly skilled soldier with years of weapon’s training could make such a fatal mistake. Juror and retired Army soldier: “Never point the weapon in the direction of anybody and pull the trigger like that believing that it’s unloaded.” -48 Hours

Related Links:
48 Hours: The Soldier’s Wife
Preview: The Soldier’s Wife | 48 Hours
Sneak peek: The Soldier’s Wife | 48 Hours
Neighbors report Danielle Nemetz shooting | 48 Hours
Skylar Nemetz’s behavior after shooting wife captured on camera | 48 Hours
Skylar Nemetz awaits his verdict in his murder trial | 48 Hours
Skylar Nemetz on his mom’s fight for his freedom | 48 Hours
“48 Hours” investigates shooting death of soldier’s wife
Army soldier defends Skylar Nemetz | 48 Hours
Former soldier takes stand on first-degree murder charge of his wife
Soldier Cleared of Murder in Wife’s Shooting Death – Crime Watch Daily
Rising Military Star Sentenced to 13 Years in Prison for Wife’s Shooting Death – CWD
Skylar Nemetz Trial Defendant Testifies Part 1 02/11/16
Skylar Nemetz Trial Prosecution Closing Argument 02/23/16
Soldier fatally shoots his 19-year-old wife in the back of the head ‘because another man bought her liquor’
Soldier who shot his wife dead ‘after another man bought her alcohol’ is found guilty of manslaughter but CLEARED of murder because ‘he thought gun was unloaded’
Former Army soldier gets max sentence for shooting his young wife to death
Lakewood killings net vastly different sentences for JBLM soldiers from the same unit
2 soldiers get vastly different sentences for deadly crimes
Defense attorney loses on claim the Army and Pierce County ‘schemed’ to punish ex-JBLM soldier accused of murder
Danielle Nemetz was Shot and Killed; Army Soldier and Spouse Skylar Nemetz Convicted of Manslaughter and Sentenced to 13 Years in Prison (2014)
The Soldier’s Wife | 48 Hours | CBS (website)

Reasonable Doubt Premiered ‘Failure to Remember’ on Investigation Discovery: Penny Brummer (June 21, 2017)


Penny Brummer, a military vet, is accused of murdering her ex-girlfriend’s best friend in a jealous rage. However, Penny was so drunk that night she was in a blackout state. Can Chris and Melissa help fill in the gaps of her memory to prove her innocence? -Reasonable Doubt, Investigation Discovery

Air Force veteran Penny Brummer was convicted on October 1, 1994 of murdering her ex-girlfriend’s best friend 21-year-old Sarah Gonstead in Madison, Wisconsin. On March 14, 1994, after a night of heavy drinking with Penny, Sarah was shot in the back of the head execution style and found three weeks later in a secluded field. Detectives theorized that Sarah most likely trusted her killer. On this episode of Investigation Discovery’s Reasonable Doubt, Penny’s mother, Nancy Brummer, turned to Detective Chris Anderson and criminal defense attorney Melissa Lewkowicz to help her prove Penny’s innocence. Nancy believes the prosecution had no concrete evidence except for circumstantial evidence and she also believes the the jury was biased and led to believe that lesbians are inherently violent. Detective Anderson and Melissa Lewkowicz worked with Nancy Brummer by taking a second look at Penny Brummer’s case featured in the ninth episode of Reasonable Doubt aptly titled ‘Failure to Remember’. It’s their job to investigate the cases that family members swear are wrongful homicide convictions and in the end the duo share their assessment of guilt or innocence based on meticulous investigative work.

Nancy Brummer has been fighting to free her daughter for twenty-two years. She told Detective Anderson and Melissa that they were her last hope. The two learned that Sarah Gonstead left her mother’s house to go out for a night of drinking to celebrate her 21st birthday with her friend Penny but Sarah never came home. Twenty-five days later, Sarah was found in a secluded field in Madison. Sarah had been shot execution style in the back of the head and Penny was the last known person to see her alive. Eight days later, Penny was arrested and charged with first degree murder. Penny claims she pulled over to clean up some beer that spilled in her vehicle and Sarah exited the vehicle to walk half a block to her best friend Glenda’s house. But prosecutors painted a darker picture. They theorized the two got drunk and Penny drove Sarah out to a empty soy field and murdered her. Prosecutors believed the motive was jealousy because Glenda had just broken up with Penny and Penny blamed Sarah for the break-up. They claimed Penny wanted revenge and the jury bought it. Penny Brummer is currently serving life in prison and her first opportunity for parole is in 2045.

Detective Anderson and Melissa met with the Nancy Brummer first to hear her plea for justice. Nancy stated that she wanted to find the person who committed the crime and free Penny so she can come home. Nancy confirmed that Glenda and Penny were dating and broke up about a month prior to Sarah’s disappearance. Sarah was Glenda’s best friend and the three of them would hang out and party together. Penny was in her early twenties at the time of the homicide so her behavior was typical of most young people at that stage in their life. Nancy Brummer described Penny as very social and happy-go-lucky. She said Penny was really into sports and she was on the softball team and volleyball team in high school. Nancy opined Penny was a typical teenager and started drinking around the age of seventeen. After high school, Penny joined the Air Force and shared with her mom that it was hard being in the military because of the secrecy she had to maintain regarding her sexual orientation. Nancy Brummer believes that the jury was biased and led to believe that a lesbian is more prone to violence. She referenced a questionnaire that Melissa agreed was inflammatory and would need a second look.

The prosecution painted a picture that Penny was jealous of the friendship between Glenda and Sarah. The two were strictly friends and Sarah was straight. Nancy observed that Penny was sad and disappointed about the break-up but not what one would consider obsessive. She reminded Detective Anderson and Melissa that the prosecution had nothing: no physical evidence, no DNA, no blood evidence, nothing that tied Penny to the murder. The prosecution said the gun that was used in the commission of the crime was a 22 handgun that belonged to Penny’s father. Nancy admits that her husband’s gun did go missing and was never recovered. When Sarah’s body was found, Nancy said a witness came forward to the police and said that he had driven by the scene of the crime a day or two after the murder and saw a suspicious vehicle along the side of the road. He saw a man standing behind the vehicle with what looked like a pink and purple duffle bag and as it turns out, Sarah’s jacket was the same pink and purple color. Nancy said this evidence was ignored. Nancy informed both Detective Anderson and Melissa that even if they don’t find Penny innocent, she will keep fighting for her release.

Detective Anderson and Melissa began their investigation. Detective Anderson started with the man who was the eyewitness. This man told Detective Anderson that he did in fact see a vehicle by the side of the road near the location of where Sarah’s body was found in the field. He claims he made eye contact with the man in question but that was about the extent of it. He said after the man made eye contact with him, he put his head down. The eyewitness was concerned that this man was trying to move the body, after all it was only a couple days after she had gone missing. He said the police informed him that they already had a suspect in the case and he felt that his testimony was largely discounted and ignored. Melissa investigated the prosecutors jealousy motive. One of Penny’s close friends described her as a great friend and a someone she went bar-hopping with. Penny’s friend believes that she was a binge drinker and most likely an alcoholic because she would drink until she blacked out. Penny’s friends said she hoped she would get back together with Glenda but certainly didn’t act like a jealous ex-girlfriend. Penny’s friend Mary believes she is innocent.

Detective Anderson met with a forensic expert to go over the physical evidence or lack there of. The two examined the crime scene photos and other evidence available. The forensic expert didn’t see any signs of struggle and it appeared Sarah’s body fell forward after she was shot in the head. There was no sexual assault and no beating. It was an execution style killing and Sarah most likely knew and trusted the person who shot her. Sarah was walking in front of the perpetrator when she was shot in the back of her head. Detective Anderson visited the last known location of both Penny and Sarah, a local bar in Madison. A witness said Sarah and Penny were celebrating Sarah’s birthday because she had just turned twenty-one. The two had been drinking prior to their arrival at the bar but the witness didn’t think either appeared to be drunk. She said they showed up at the bar around 10:30 p.m. and left a couple hours later; they had a couple drinks while they were there. The witness observed they were both in great spirits and having fun and they were both able to carry on a conversation. On the night in question, Sarah was kind of quiet while Penny appeared to be enjoying herself with others at the bar. Neither of them were agitated or upset; they both appeared to be in a really good mood.

Detective Anderson interviewed Penny via the telephone. Penny said she dated Glenda for 8 or 9 months and admits she fell in love with her. She also claimed to have a nice friendship with Sarah. She shared that Sarah never did anything bad to her and never meddled in her relationship with Glenda. Penny said Glenda just decided one day to end things and told her she was going back on birth control. Penny assumed Glenda wanted to go back to guys. After the break-up, Penny was heartbroken. She admitted she got physical with Glenda one time; they pushed each other during an argument. On March 14, 1994, Penny said she got out of work around 7:30 p.m., got some beer, and went to Sarah’s house. Penny said they stopped at a couple bars and drank more beer. Penny said she doesn’t remember being at Jakes (the bar where the eyewitness last saw both Penny and Sarah at around midnight). Penny admitted she was an alcoholic then and was very intoxicated. Penny and Sarah were on their way to pick up Glenda when Penny spilled some beer in her car and stopped to clean it up. Penny said Sarah wasn’t feeling well so she started walking to Glenda’s house which was about a half a block away. Penny told Detective Anderson she doesn’t know why she didn’t take Sarah to Glenda’s house but she went home after cleaning her car. Penny reminded Detective Anderson that she isn’t the type to kill anyone, she didn’t have a weapon, and she had absolutely no reason to hurt Sarah.

In the meantime, Melissa looked at the questionnaire that was given to the jury asking them about their thoughts about lesbians and violence. Melissa said, as a criminal defense attorney, she would insist that the jury not be subjected to or see the questionnaire because it is inflammatory. Melissa also spoke with Glenda who was the glue that held the case together. Glenda claimed she dated Penny for about a year but wasn’t necessarily in love with her. Glenda claimed Penny drank a lot but could still function; she just wouldn’t remember it. Glenda described Sarah as a shy, soft-hearted, and loyal friend. Glenda believed that Penny was jealous of her friendship with Sarah. Glenda admitted that Penny did in deed find her birth control pills and assumed that she was breaking up with her so she could date men again. Glenda admitted she broke up with Penny because she was way too controlling. Glenda also claimed Penny was pissed that she broke up with her. When Glenda ended it, Penny shoved her and she shoved her back and kicked her out of her house. Glenda said the look in her eyes scared the crap out of her and she began to cry. Glenda believes they have the right person and is still grieving the loss of her friend.

Detective Anderson and Melissa met with Nancy Brummer to share the results of their investigation. Nancy claimed the jury was bias because of Penny’s sexual orientation and Melissa believes she was absolutely right. Melissa said the questions asked of the jury were highly prejudicial. Penny’s close friend felt that the motive of jealousy was crap but Glenda was 100% convinced Penny was the killer. Glenda claimed the motive in this case was vengeance. Glenda declared that if Penny gets out of jail, she is moving to another state because she is scared of her; if Penny did this once, who is to say she won’t do this again? Nancy doesn’t believe Glenda and said she is a good actress. Detective Anderson told Nancy he followed up with the eye witness at the scene of the crime and said this was a problem because each and every lead needs to be taken seriously. He also shared that only one of the detectives was alive and he refused to meet with him. Melissa confirmed that there is no physical evidence tying Penny to the crime. Detective Anderson addressed the gun they believed was used in the commission of the crime and Nancy confirmed the 22 they owned had indeed gone missing. Detective Anderson addressed the autopsy photos and shared that the forensic expert did not observe any signs of struggle. It was a cold night and if someone ran towards Sarah, she definitely would have heard it. Detective Anderson deduced Sarah was shot by someone she knew or was led into the field at gunpoint.

“Circumstantial cases are a series of little things that add up until they point in one direction.” -Detective Chris Anderson, Reasonable Doubt

Nancy Brummer said there was no way her daughter would have shot Sarah in the back of the head. But Detective Anderson had some serious issues with the fact that the only person who claims Penny was in a black out that night is Penny. He spoke with a bartender who claimed that Penny appeared to be functional. Jake’s bar is significant because it is less than two miles from where Sarah’s body was found. Detective Anderson noted that Penny said she couldn’t remember being at Jake’s that night but she remembered very specific things earlier and later that night. Detective Anderson felt it was suspicious that Penny remembered everything really well that night except being at this bar. Is this a form of convenient amnesia? Melissa empathized with why Nancy felt a sense of injustice all these years. The biased questionnaire, the ignored witnesses, and the overall investigation had major problems; the evidence was highly circumstantial. Penny was the last known person to see Sarah alive that night; Penny was last seen at a bar with Sarah which is located less than two miles from where Sarah’s body was found; Penny said she can’t remember being there but does remember a lot of details earlier and after Sarah went missing; Sarah was killed with a 22 and Penny’s father owned a 22 that was now missing; Penny was a military vet who was trained to shoot guns; and Sarah wasn’t trying to run away, she didn’t struggle, and she most likely knew and trusted her killer.

Why would Penny do this? Melissa shared that she read through the police reports and noted that Penny admitted she was heartbroken when things ended with Glenda. Penny also admitted that after the break-up she wondered who Glenda was with, where she was, and what she was doing. Penny also said Glenda was in her head 24 hours a day (obsessed) and that she resented Sarah because she assumed Sarah was trying to drag her back into the straight world. On the night of March 14, 1994, Penny did what she always did. Melissa explained Penny got really drunk, the break-up was fresh, her feelings were raw, and she spent the entire night with the person she believed came between her and the woman she loved. Melissa asked, “did Penny plan to walk Sarah into the woods or was it just a horrific idea fueled by fifteen drinks? Did she remember shooting Sarah, does she remember her falling to the ground, or does she not remember anything at all?” Ironically, Penny admits that prison saved her life. Penny believes she would not have made it to thirty had it not been for prison. Penny said she turned her life around behind bars. Based on the leads Nancy provided and an independent investigation, Detective Anderson and Melissa revealed there was nothing new in the investigation that would bring Penny home. They both suggested Nancy ask her daughter the tough questions and then she will know, even 22 years later.

“The problem is that the things Penny remembers are the things that will help her and the things that she can’t remember are the things that would potentially hurt her.” -Melissa Lewkowicz, Reasonable Doubt

Source: Reasonable Doubt ‘Failure to Remember’


Twenty-one years ago a jury found Penny Brummer guilty in the murder of Sarah Gonstead. The family of Brummer has spent those 21 years working to prove her innocence. Dave Delozier reports. -Channel 3000 | News 3 (December 14, 2015)

MJFA Links:
Sarah Gonstead was Shot Execution Style in the Back of Head After a Night Out Celebrating 21st Birthday with Friend & Air Force Veteran Penny Brummer (March 14, 1994)

Related Links:
Who Killed Sarah?
Seeking justice for Penny Brummer
New Trial for Penny Brummer, Wrongfully Convicted | Petition
Penny Brummer Defense & Support Fund by Truth in Justice

1994
Sarah Gonstead Murder

1995
Reasonable Doubt by Ingrid Ricks | The Advocate

1997
State of Wisconsin v. Penny L Brummer

2003
A short history of exposing misconduct

2005
Chapter 1: A tale of three young women
Chapter 2: A hole in her story
Chapter 3: A surprise witness appears
Chapter 4: Defense sows seeds of doubt
Chapter 5: Emotional debate ends in guilty verdict
Chapter 6: Supporters of Brummer offer their theories; they say the evidence was too thin and question makeup of jury
Gift enables investigative journalism class to probe old murder case

2012
Dane Co. DA Approves DNA Testing in 1994 Killing
Wisconsin DA approves DNA testing in 1994 killing
Will DNA Save Penny Brummer?
Spring Green woman could be cleared

2013
Innocence project founder promotes cause of Madison woman convicted of murder
Did Homophobia Convict a Wisconsin Woman of Murder?

2014
A Look Back After 20 Years
A look back at a 20-year-old murder and if the right person was convicted

2015
Who killed Sarah? The trial of Penny Brummer
Group questioning conviction of Penny Brummer in 1994 death of Sarah Gonstead
Reward offered in 21-year-old homicide conviction
$10,000 Reward Offered in Wrongful Conviction Case
Person of Interest Hits Wrongfully Convicted for Serving in U.S. Military
On Wrongful Convictions and Penny Brummer

2016
Penny Brummer’s fight for justice
The Lynching of a Madison Lesbian: Wisconsin’s Wrongful Conviction of Penny Brummer
Wrongful Conviction: Penny Brummer Is Innocent and Still in Prison
Richmond Crime Author Sheila Berry Takes on Wrongful Convictions Nationwide

2017
Penny Brummer convicted of murdering Sarah Gonstead, but is there Reasonable Doubt?

Books:
Who Killed Sarah? by Sheila & Doug Berry (2005) | Amazon
Who Killed Sarah? by Sheila & Doug Berry (2005) | Walmart

Video Links:
Reward offered in 21-year-old homicide conviction
Reasonable Doubt | Investigation Discovery | Amazon
Failure to Remember | Reasonable Doubt – Investigation Discovery
Failure to Remember | Reasonable Doubt | Investigation Discovery | YouTube

Deadly Women Premiered ‘Suspicious Minds’ on Investigation Discovery: Kimethia Coleman and Brian Spinks (October 22, 2016)


Preview: Kim Coleman had a lot going for her – except control of her own emotions. Her idea of loving Brian was completely possessing him. Love would never survive her suspicious mind. -Deadly Women, Investigation Discovery

MJFA Link: Air Force SSgt. Brian Spinks Stabbed to Death by Jealous Girlfriend; Kimethia Coleman Sentenced to Life, No Parole (January 17, 2010)

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.


A Tribute to Brian D. Spinks

Related Links:
Continuing coverage: Kimethia Coleman murder trial
One dead, one arrested in early morning stabbing
Coleman found unfit to stand trial in stabbing murder
Treatment ordered for suspect in Barksdale airman’s death
Trial set for woman accused of fatally stabbing Airman
Four jurors selected in Coleman murder trial
Day One: Kimethia Coleman Murder Trial
Day One: Kimethia Coleman Murder Trial (2)
Day 1: Opening statements wrap in Coleman murder trial
Day 3: Prosecution rests in Kimethia Coleman trial
Kimethia Coleman Murder Trial Moves to Defense Side Today
Coleman trial: Day 4: Coleman takes the stand
Coleman trial day 5: Back on the stand
Kimethia Coleman takes stand again in murder trial of Airman Brian Spinks
Coleman trial day 5: Back on the stand
Murder trial update: Coleman breaks down in court
Coleman trial day 6: Jury begins deliberations
Woman Convicted of Killing Airman
Coleman found guilty of 2nd degree murder
Coleman found guilty of 2nd degree murder (2)
Kimethia Coleman sentenced in murder case
Woman sentenced to life in death of Barksdale airman
Kimethia Coleman sentenced to life in airman’s murder
Kimethia Coleman sentenced to life at hard labor
911 tapes from Kimethia Coleman murder trial released
State of Louisiana v. Kimethia Coleman (2013)
Court denies appeal in airman stabbing murder conviction
Deadly Girlfriends: Kimethia Shanae Coleman killed her boyfriend, Air Force Staff Sgt Brian Spinks; Sentenced to LWOP
Former Prom Queen Wont Take No For An Answer
Former Prom Queen Can’t Take No For An Answer: The Story Of Kim Coleman
Suspicious Minds | Deadly Women | Investigation Discovery (S10, E8)
A Tribute to Brian D. Spinks


A social worker can’t keep the lid on her possessive nature, a friendship is destroyed by jealous delusions, and young love leads to a violent end. These Deadly Women just can’t walk out… and their love won’t survive their “Suspicious Minds. -Investigation Discovery

Deadly Women Premiered ‘Cling ‘Til Death’ on Investigation Discovery: Vegas Bray and Victor Saucedo (September 17, 2016)


Preview: A young Navy recruit falls for a fellow officer, but becomes overwhelmed by jealousy when she learns he is friendly with the mother of his child. -Deadly Women, Investigation Discovery

Victor Saucedo served as a damage controlman in the US Navy and was stationed at Naval Base San Diego in California. The ambitious Victor left the Navy in 2012 and began working on a college degree in law enforcement. He wanted to do well so he could provide for his four year old son. He had lots of friends, a loving family, and was an all around great guy. Victor met Vegas Bray, who was also in the Navy, at the Naval Base in San Diego; they remained friends even after she was discharged. Victor reconnected with the popular, well liked twenty-two year old Vegas at the gym; they both liked to work out. Victor was smitten initially and the two began a serious relationship in March 2011. Victor and Vegas spent a lot of time together.

Then Vegas realized she had to share Victor with his child, an ex-girlfriend, and all his friends. Vegas was especially jealous of the mother of his child because she had to be the only person in Victor’s life. Her jealousy was brewing because of her immature personality and stunted emotional development. Vegas Bray was both abandoned and abused, and as a result had a difficult time with men. Vegas tried to use sex to control Victor. If Victor went out with his friends, Vegas would show up and ask him to leave. This behavior embarrassed Victor and he may have lost his friends but he was never going to give up on his son. Vegas accused Victor of spending all his time with his son. Victor didn’t hide the fact that his boy came first and broke up with Vegas in March 2012. Although they still hooked up even after the break-up.

Vegas had a rough childhood. Her mother abandoned her when she was twelve; she didn’t know who her father was. But she was pretty, smart, and well liked. She was described as nice by those who grew up with her. She grew up in the heavily populated military community in San Diego and as a result was inspired to join the enlisted ranks in the Navy after high school graduation in 2007. She worked as a Machinist at Naval Base San Diego. But Vegas didn’t like it. She was not adjusting well to the rules and regulations and applied for an early discharge. The discharge application was approved and she was administratively discharged from the Navy in 2010. She wasn’t sure what she wanted to do so she began working as a cocktail waitress. She met Victor in 2011 and he broke up with her in 2012.

Instead of moving on, Vegas started pulling childish pranks. She sat outside his home, followed him, threw eggs at his car, keyed his car, punctured his tires, threw paint at his door, and threatened to kill him. Victor moved to a new apartment within the complex to escape the escalating abuse. He even considered moving back to Chicago, Illinois but didn’t want to leave his son behind. He had a feeling Vegas would kill him. After she found out where he lived, Vegas broke a window at the new place. Victor didn’t want any confrontations with her. And even after all this, he still wanted to be friends. He went to the police once to report the stalking behavior and the threats to his life but he didn’t feel like he was taken seriously. He also chased Vegas down after she threw a bottle through his car window. He then called the police but declined to press charges hoping the warning would do the trick.

victor-saucedo

Victor Saucedo, US Navy Veteran

Vegas told Victor she was going to move into the same apartment complex as him and Victor agreed to be a co-signer on the new apartment. Vegas went to Victor’s place on October 15, 2012 to talk about the co-signing arrangement. Vegas and Victor drank and talked all evening; they had a good time and ended up sleeping together. The next morning, Vegas wanted to go to breakfast but Victor did not. Vegas felt used and taken advantage of; she was angry. What Victor thought was a casual night with an ex meant something completely different to Vegas. This night made her feel closer to Victor, more possessive, and got her hopes up that something would rekindle. Once Victor realized his mistake, it was too late. Because of her abandonment issues, she felt rejected. She was truly devastated by this experience and her rage kicked into overdrive.

Vegas was obsessed with Victor and wanted to know why he broke up with her. On October 16, 2012, Vegas went to Victor’s home in Imperial Beach and confronted him. He reiterated that it was over. She shot him six times at close range. Then when he was down, she coldly pointed the gun at his head and fired rapidly three more times. Police would learn that she left him a message on his answering machine begging him not to leave her. She went to his apartment with a plan after he didn’t call her back, she murdered him in cold blood. Once he was dead, she called the police to report that she found Victor dead with his gun lying next to him. Vegas implied that Victor committed suicide.

After detectives observed the crime scene, they found Victor lying in the hallway with a gun at his side. He had been shot multiple times in the face, head, and upper body; a suicide was not possible. The police felt that referring to Victor’s death as a suicide was preposterous; they quickly deduced this was a homicide. But Vegas’ child-like mind failed to see the absurdity of the statement. Vegas voluntarily went to the police station and told investigators that she couldn’t remember what happened because she blacked out. During the interview, Vegas told investigators that Victor broke up with her on the phone and unfriended her Facebook. Although she had other plans, she turned around on the highway and went to Victor’s home to confront him, what the hell?

Vegas Bray said she didn’t plan on going back to Victor’s house. She said she didn’t remember anything and blacked out but remembered her ears were ringing. She also admitted that the black outs began in childhood. She said she was sexually abused as a child and when she reported it to her mother, she wasn’t believed. She did see a psychiatrist to work on her depression and her disability, post traumatic stress disorder. She also admitted that the 38 caliber revolver was hers. Others described Vegas as unstable; she had quick temper and flew off at the handle. Witnesses confirmed she was jealous of the ex-girlfriend and would often cause scenes. They said one time she even held a gun to Victor’s face and this is when he left her. He didn’t want anymore drama unfortunately leaving her only heightened the drama.

Vegas Bray was arrested later that day and charged with the murder of Victor Saucedo. It took two years to declare Vegas mentally fit to stand trial. The jury would learn that Victor was shot nine times with hollow point bullets meant to do maximum damage. And they learned that a 38 caliber revolver only held six bullets so Vegas had to reload the gun before shooting Victor three more times. This fact also matched testimony by witnesses who said they heard 5-6 gunshots, silence, then three more shots. The defense brought up Vegas’ difficult upbringing with her abusive, neglectful mother but the jury decided it didn’t excuse taking a life. In 2016, Vegas Bray was found guilty of first degree murder and sentenced to fifty years to life in prison. Vegas Bray was an unstable, jealous ex with a gun who killed Victor Saucedo because she couldn’t control him.

“Never have sex with a crazy ex.” -Profiler Candice DeLong, Deadly Women

Source: Deadly Women ‘Cling ‘Til Death’


These Deadly Women won’t let their men go… they “Cling ‘Til Death.” | Investigation Discovery

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:
Emotional Vigil Held for Slain Father
‘Fly Guy’ Victor Saucedo Remembered at Candlelight Vigil
Friends remember local sailor killed in Imperial Beach
Family, friends say shooting victim was stalked
Ex-Girlfriend Arrested in IB Homicide Case
Woman accused of gunning down ex-boyfriend in Imperial Beach
Woman accused of killing ex-lover in court: Vegas Bray suspected in death of Victor Saucedo
Woman Charged with 1st Degree Murder After Man Is Shot
Murder suspect: ‘I was never jealous’
Vegas Bray Pleads Not Guilty to Shooting Ex-Boyfriend
Imperial Beach Murder Suspect’s Facebook Page Can’t Help
Prosecutors: Woman harassed ex-boyfriend before killing him
Family: Sheriff Failed to Protect Ex-Sailor From Shooting Death
Homicide Charge On Hold: Vegas Bray Headed to Mental Hospital
Woman accused of killing ex-boyfriend determined to be mentally competent to stand trial
Trial set for suspected boyfriend killer
Trial Date Set For Woman Who Shot Ex-boyfriend Nine Times, San Diego
January Trial Set for Vegas Bray in Navy ‘Fatal Attraction’ Case
Vegas Bray (Hellbeasts)
Former Navy sailor found guilty of murdering ex-boyfriend
Fatal attraction case ends in woman’s conviction
Ex-Girlfriend Said to Have Stalked, Harassed Ex-Boyfriend, Convicted in His Murder
Woman involved in fatal attraction case convicted of first-degree murder
Long term for stalker who shot boyfriend to death
Woman who shot ex-boyfriend to death sentenced
Woman Who Stalked, Murdered Ex-Boyfriend Gets 50 Years
Woman Who Stalked, Killed Ex-Boyfriend Gets 50 Years to Life in Prison
Woman who stalked and shot her ex-boyfriend 9 times claimed his death was suicide
Ex-Lover Jealousy Turns Lethal: The Vegas Bray Story
Woman accused of killing ex-lover in court: Vegas Bray suspected in death of Victor Saucedo
Woman accused in fatal shooting of ex-boyfriend appears in court
Woman accused of killing ex-lover in court: Vegas Bray suspected in death of Victor Saucedo
Mental competency hearing set for woman accused of murder
Guilty verdict in fatal attraction case
Snapped: Vegas Bray | Oxygen
Snapped: Vegas Bray Calls 911 | Oxygen
Snapped: Vegas Bray Interrogation | Oxygen
Snapped: Stalking is Dangerous
Navy Veteran Victor Saucedo Shot and Killed in Home by Ex-Girlfriend; Navy Veteran Vegas Bray Sentenced to 50 Years to Life in Prison (October 16, 2012)
Ex-Lover Jealousy Turns Lethal: The Vegas Bray Story | Deadly Women
Cling ‘Til Death | Deadly Women | Investigation Discovery (YouTube)

Navy PO 2nd Class Dmitry Chepusov Found Strangled to Death in Germany; Air Force SSgt Sean Oliver Found Guilty, Sentenced to Life (2013)

SSgt Sean Oliver, US Air Force, was found guilty of strangling Navy Petty Officer Dmitry Chepusov after a night of drinking on December 14th , 2013 in Kaiserslautern, Germany. The two were colleagues at the American Forces Network (AFN) at Ramstein Air Force Base. SSgt Oliver was charged with pre-meditated murder. The military prosecutors were considering the death penalty but the German authorities withheld evidence in an effort to get the death penalty off the table in this case. SSgt Oliver was found guilty of the murder of Dmitry Chepusov by the military courts and sentenced to life with parole. Military prosecutors believed the motive for the murder was to silence Dmitry Chepusov who found out about an affair that SSgt Oliver was having with his wife.

Related Links:
Air Force staff sgt. stands trial Monday on murder charge
More charges in sailor’s death in Germany
Germans withholding evidence in AFN murder case pending death penalty decision
For Germans, death penalty is concern in U.S. airman’s murder trial
Article 32 begins Friday for airman charged in strangling death of sailor
Airman pleads not guilty to premeditated murder in Chepusov’s death
Chilling New Details Emerge In Killing Of Navy Broadcaster
Soldier Gets 6 Months for False Testimony in AFN Murder
Air Force Staff Sergeant Found Guilty in AFN Murder
Air Force Staff Sgt. found guilty of murder
Oliver sentenced to life with parole for killing of AFN broadcaster
Air Force Staff Sergeant Sentenced to Life With Parole in AFN Murder
Life with possibility of parole in AFN Europe murder
Love Triangle Results in Murder on Air Base
US Air Force Court of Criminal Appeals, SSgt Sean Oliver (2014)

Shannon O’Roark Murdered Estranged Husband’s Mistress Veterans Affairs Psychiatrist Dr. Irina Puscariu; Sentenced to 20 Years in Prison (2012)

On January 13, 2012, Shannon O’Roark of Texas drove 250 miles to Missouri to kill her estranged husband’s mistress fourty-six year old Dr. Irina Puscariu. Shannon O’Roark Griffin was an aeronautical engineer who worked for NASA training astronauts until she experienced a seizure that put her on definite sick leave. Shannon’s husband was a Colonel in the Air Force who decided he wasn’t ready to retire. Shannon and Col. Roscoe Griffin had been living separately for quite some time and discussed divorce but it appeared Shannon did not want a divorce after twenty years of marriage. Meanwhile, Col. Griffin lost a fellow service member to suicide and it devastated him. He began seeing Dr. Irina Puscariu, a Veterans Affairs psychiatrist, for help. The professional relationship evolved into a romantic relationship, which is strictly forbidden in the world of psychiatry. Dr. Puscariu put her own career at risk when she chose to date Col. Griffin. Shannon found out thru social media that her husband was seeing Dr. Puscariu when he posted a picture with Irina on Facebook. Col. Griffin also changed his relationship status to “it’s complicated” which to Shannon was rejection, and rejection was the trigger. Col. Roscoe Griffin had no idea what was in store for him when someone is dumped and dangerous.

Shannon may have felt like the post meant the last twenty years were horrible and now I am going to replace you. Shannon asked Col. Griffin to go to a counseling appointment with her one last time in an effort to save the relationship. It would be here she would learn her husband of twenty years loved Dr. Puscariu and wanted to continue to see her. After this counseling session is when Shannon decided to go to Missouri and kill Dr. Puscariu. She wanted to protect what was hers at all costs. She wanted to obliterate Dr. Puscariu from her life so the problem would go away. She drove 250 miles to Irina’ home in Missouri and shot and killed her four times in front of her own mother, the last shot was to her face. Shannon then fled the scene back to Texas and was held in custody until she could be extradited back to Missouri for a murder charge. Shannon plead guilty to second degree murder to avoid a trial. She was sentenced to twenty years for second degree murder and twenty years for armed criminal action. Investigators noted that before this incident Shannon had zero criminal history or violent behavior, she didn’t even have a speeding ticket. But when she got rejected by her husband Col. Roscoe Griffin, it would be jealousy and revenge that would drive her to murder the woman who stole her life.

Related Links:
Woman Accused of Killing Husband’s Mistress
Former NASA employee accused of killing alleged mistress
Former JSC worker accused of killing husband’s mistress
Report: Former JSC employee accused of killing husband’s alleged mistress
Anger, sorrow after wife of Air Force colonel accused of murder
Texas woman held in Wichita on suspicion of shooting husband’s mistress
Woman Waives Extradition In Psychiatrist’s Slaying
Woman accused of murdering a Gladstone psychiatrist extradited back to Missouri
Police: Woman charged in death of Gladstone psychiatrist
Woman charged with killing Gladstone psychiatrist brought to Clay County
Granbury Woman Charged in Death of Psychiatrist Having Affair With Her Husband
Ex-NASA employee charged with killing husband’s mistress
Texas woman charged in death of Missouri psychiatrist
Wife Kills Husband’s Mistress: Shannon O’Roark Griffin Charged With Murdering Irina Puscariu
Jaded Wife Shoots Husband’s Mistress in the Face, Charged with Murder
Former NASA trainer ‘drives 250 miles to shoot dead her husband’s mistress’
Woman charged with killing psychiatrist to appear in court Monday
Woman charged with killing psychiatrist to appear in court Monday
Judge denies Shannon O’Roark Griffin lower bond, mental evaluation
Plea entered in murder case
Wife Kills Mistress of Husband after Marriage Counseling Session
Wife of Air Force colonel sentenced for shooting husband’s alleged girlfriend
Woman who drove from Texas to Mo. to kill husband’s lover sentenced to 20 years
Former NASA employee gets 20 years in Gladstone slaying
Another NASA Love Triangle?
The Malignant Divorce: Has NASA Gone Postal?
Understandable Revenge is No Defence

Videos:
Deadly Women: “Dumped and Dangerous”
Kansas Murder Scene Video
Accused killer back in Clay County
Gladstone Slaying Suspect Returns To Missouri
Woman Charged In Gladstone Slaying To Return To Missouri
Ex-NASA employee charged with killing husband’s mistress
Wife Kills Husband’s Mistress: Shannon O’Roark Griffin Charged With Murdering Irina Puscariu


Deadly Women: “Dumped and Dangerous” (Investigation Discovery)

Air Force SSgt. Brian Spinks Stabbed to Death by Jealous Girlfriend; Kimethia Coleman Sentenced to Life, No Parole (January 17, 2010)

sgt-brian-spinks

SSgt. Brian Spinks, US Air Force

MJFA Link: Deadly Women Premiered ‘Suspicious Minds’ on Investigation Discovery: Kimethia Coleman and Brian Spinks (October 22, 2016)

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.


A Tribute to Brian D. Spinks


Preview: Kim Coleman had a lot going for her – except control of her own emotions. Her idea of loving Brian was completely possessing him. Love would never survive her suspicious mind. -Deadly Women, Investigation Discovery


A social worker can’t keep the lid on her possessive nature, a friendship is destroyed by jealous delusions, and young love leads to a violent end.These Deadly Women just can’t walk out… and their love won’t survive their“ Suspicious Minds. -Deadly Women

Related Links:
Continuing coverage: Kimethia Coleman murder trial
One dead, one arrested in early morning stabbing
Coleman found unfit to stand trial in stabbing murder
Treatment ordered for suspect in Barksdale airman’s death
Trial set for woman accused of fatally stabbing Airman
Four jurors selected in Coleman murder trial
Day One: Kimethia Coleman Murder Trial
Day One: Kimethia Coleman Murder Trial (2)
Day 1: Opening statements wrap in Coleman murder trial
Day 3: Prosecution rests in Kimethia Coleman trial
Kimethia Coleman Murder Trial Moves to Defense Side Today
Coleman trial: Day 4: Coleman takes the stand
Coleman trial day 5: Back on the stand
Kimethia Coleman takes stand again in murder trial of Airman Brian Spinks
Coleman trial day 5: Back on the stand
Murder trial update: Coleman breaks down in court
Coleman trial day 6: Jury begins deliberations
Woman Convicted of Killing Airman
Coleman found guilty of 2nd degree murder
Coleman found guilty of 2nd degree murder (2)
Kimethia Coleman sentenced in murder case
Woman sentenced to life in death of Barksdale airman
Kimethia Coleman sentenced to life in airman’s murder
Kimethia Coleman sentenced to life at hard labor
911 tapes from Kimethia Coleman murder trial released
State of Louisiana v. Kimethia Coleman (2013)
Court denies appeal in airman stabbing murder conviction
Deadly Girlfriends: Kimethia Shanae Coleman killed her boyfriend, Air Force Staff Sgt Brian Spinks; Sentenced to LWOP
Former Prom Queen Wont Take No For An Answer
Former Prom Queen Can’t Take No For An Answer: The Story Of Kim Coleman
Suspicious Minds | Deadly Women | Investigation Discovery (S10, E8)