Scorned, Love Kills: 6 Active Duty Military Homicide Cases Featured on Investigation Discovery

Preview: An Army Major lay lifeless in his bed, shot twice at close range while sleeping next to his wife. Investigators would soon uncover an intricately planned murder plot involving sex parties, adultery and coercion. -Behind the Picket Fence, Scorned: Love Kills (S1, E1)

Scorned, Love Kills Premiered ‘Behind the Picket Fence’ on Investigation Discovery: Army Spouse Joan Shannon Finds the Perfect Hitman (January 21, 2012)

The young and wild Monique Wallace is married to 40-year-old Paul Berkley, a navy reservist and father of two in suburban North Carolina. But with Paul leaving on a mission overseas, temptation and lust will lead them all down a dark path to murder. -Rules of Engagement, Scorned: Love Kills (S2, E7)

Scorned, Love Kills Premiered ‘Rules of Engagement’ on Investigation Discovery: Navy Reservist Paul Berkley Murdered While Home on Leave (March 9, 2013)

Fred and Jennifer have a picture perfect marriage. But when Fred meets Danielle, a young doctor in the Navy, Jennifer fights to keep Fred for herself. The love triangle explodes, leaving police struggling to understand a grisly crime scene. -Naval Affairs, Scorned: Love Kills (S3, E1)

Scorned, Love Kills Premiered ‘Naval Affairs’ on Investigation Discovery: Jealous Wife Kills Fred Trayers After Learning About Affair (January 4, 2014)

Sexy psychologist and doting Air Force wife Michelle begins a swinging affair with Army Sgt. Diamond while her husband, Captain Marty Theer, is away. But all’s fair in love and war, and Marty’s return will remind them that love is a battlefield. -Sergeant Swinger, Scorned: Love Kills (S4, E1)

Scorned, Love Kills Premiered ‘Sergeant Swinger’ on ID: Air Force Captain’s Murder Reveals Wife’s Evil Intent, Adultery & Greed (October 4, 2014)

American soldier Megan Touma has left her husband for her lover Edgar. Turns out Edgar has a spouse of his own. When Megan gets pregnant Edgar must make a decision between two women. Someone will be left brokenhearted and someone will be left dead. -Love is a Battlefield, Scorned: Love Kills (S5, E2)

Scorned, Love Kills Premiered ‘Love is a Battlefield’ on ID: Married Army Soldier Edgar Patino Murders Girlfriend & Unborn Child (March 14, 2015)

Preview: While Kathy Lipscomb spends late nights at the hospital with the handsome Dr. Pearle, her husband’s career in the Air Force is taking off, but so is his relationship with a hot young officer. When the affairs are exposed the consequences are fatal. -Sex, Secrets & Sergeants, Scorned: Love Kills (S5, E5)

Scorned, Love Kills Premiered ‘Sex, Secrets & Sergeants’ on Investigation Discovery: Kathy Lipscomb Found Dead on Side of Texas Highway (April 10, 2015)

Editor’s note: With a cable subscription, you can download the free ID Go app and watch 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. 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 $3.99 a month. It’s a compilation of older seasons but totally worth the cost if you are a true crime addict. Download the ID Go app or purchase ID True Crime Files & binge away.

Related Links:
About the Show | Scorned: Love Kills | Investigation Discovery
Sex Helps Wife Plan Murder | Scorned – Love Kills (Preview)
Behind the Picket Fence | Scorned: Love Kills | Investigation Discovery (S1, E1)
Behind the Picket Fence | Scorned: Love Kills | Investigation Discovery (website)
Behind the Picket Fence | Scorned: Love Kills | Investigation Discovery (Amazon)
Rules of Engagement | Scorned: Love Kills | Investigation Discovery (S2,E7)
Rules of Engagement | Scorned: Love Kills |Investigation Discovery  (website)
Rules of Engagement | Scorned: Love Kills |Investigation Discovery (Amazon)
Naval Affairs | Scorned: Love Kills | Investigation Discovery (S3,E1)
Naval Affairs | Scorned: Love Kills | Investigation Discovery (website)
Naval Affairs | Scorned: Love Kills | Investigation Discovery (Amazon)
Sergeant Swinger | Scorned: Love Kills | Investigation Discovery (S4,E1)
Sergeant Swinger | Scorned: Love Kills | Investigation Discovery (website)
Sergeant Swinger | Scorned: Love Kills | Investigation Discovery (Amazon)
Love is a Battlefield | Scorned: Love Kills | Investigation Discovery (S5,E2)
Love is a Battlefield | Scorned: Love Kills | Investigation Discovery (website)
Love is a Battlefield | Scorned: Love Kills | Investigation Discovery (Amazon)
Two Couples, Two Dangerous Affairs | Scorned: Love Kills (Preview)
Sex, Secrets & Sergeants | Scorned: Love Kills | Investigation Discovery (S5,E5)
Sex, Secrets & Sergeants | Scorned: Love Kills | Investigation Discovery (website)
Sex, Secrets & Sergeants | Scorned: Love Kills | Investigation Discovery (Amazon)
True Lies | Forensic Files [Full Episode]

What the DoD Doesn’t Want You to Know: 50 Shocking Military Homicides in the Last 30 Years (March 23, 2018)

homicide-cases

  1. Fort Carson Army Spc. Tracy Spencer Sentenced to Life in Prison for Double Rape & Murder of Army Veteran Micki Filmore & Colorado Springs Nurse Barbara Kramer (1986)
  2. Army Soldier Ronald Gray Sentenced to Death by Military Courts for Rape & Murder of Army Pvt. Laura Vickery-Clay & Civilian Kimberly Ruggles (1986)
  3. Army Pvt Rosa Martinez Murdered at Fort Dix by National Guardsman Jose Aponte After She Resisted His Sexual Advances (1987)
  4. Army Soldier Dwight Loving Robbed & Murdered Cab Driver; Sentenced to Death by Military But Commuted by President Obama, Sentenced to Life (1988)
  5. Army Soldier Erin Tynan Raped & Strangled by Fellow Fort Irwin Soldier Christopher Geier, Geier Guilty of Murder, Murder-For-Hire & Attempted Murder (1990)
  6. Air Force Sgt. Joseph Snodgrass Hired Hitmen to Kill Wife in Philippines for $400,000 Life Insurance Payout; Sentenced to Life in Prison (1991)
  7. Army Spouse Melinda Stewart, Army Sgt. Daniel Stewart, Jill Yousaf & Army Soldier James Catlin Conspired & Murdered Homeless Teen Maggie Fetty (1991)
  8. Phonthip Ott Discovered Dead in California River; Coast Guard Spouse Dennis Ott Convicted of Murder & Sentenced to Life in Prison (1992)
  9. Fort Carson Army Soldier Michael Pelkey Convicted by Military Court Martial of Murdering Wife Diane; Sentenced to Life in Prison (1993)
  10. Sgt. Bill Coffin Murdered Ex-Fiancee After Civilian Courts Issued Protective Order, Judge Alleges Army Routinely Ignores Court Orders (1997)
  11. Navy Petty Officer James Kuenn Convicted of the Cold Case Murder of Carol Hutto in Florida; Sentenced to Life, Possibility of Parole After 25 Years (2000)
  12. Air Force Capt. Frank ‘Marty’ Theer Murdered by Wife Michelle & Army SSG John Diamond in North Carolina; Both Sentenced to Life in Prison (2000)
  13. Fort Bliss Army Commander Capt. Lynn Reister Murdered by Enlisted Husband Roger & His Brother Rodney for Servicemen’s Group Life Insurance (2001)
  14. Air Force SSgt Shelby Orelup Murdered by an Airman She Dated Briefly, SSgt Phillip Arindain Sentenced to Life in Prison (2003)
  15. Army Soldiers Jeremy Meyers & Christopher Baber Found Guilty of Murdering Jeremy’s Wife Jessica for the Life Insurance Policy (2003)
  16. Air Force Airman Andy Schliepsiek & Wife Jamie Stabbed to Death at Robins Air Force Base, Andrew Witt Found Guilty of First Degree Murder (2004)
  17. Marine Corps Reservist Rosendo Rodriguez III Murdered Summer Baldwin and Unborn Child; Sentenced to Death in Texas for Two Capital Murders (2005)
  18. Navy Seabee Rebecca Braswell Conspired with Fellow Navy Seabees to Kill Ex-Husband & Navy Veteran John Marmo, Sentenced to Life in Prison (2006)
  19. Army Sgt 1st Class Donald Gower Conspired & Offered to Pay Others to Murder his Estranged Wife Hidi Gower for the Life Insurance (2007)
  20. Marine LCpl Maria Lauterbach & Unborn Child were Murdered; Fellow Marine Cesar Laurean Found Guilty of Murder, Sentenced to Life in Prison (2007)
  21. Fort Bragg Army Soldier Edgar Patino Murdered Army Specialist Megan Touma & Unborn Son After Argument, Sentenced to 16-20 Years in Prison (2008)
  22. Fort Bragg Army Nurse Lt Holley Wimunc Murdered by Marine Husband the Day After She Announced Divorce, John Wimunc Sentenced to Life in Prison (2008)
  23. Army Sgt. Christina Smith Murdered by Army Husband Richard Smith & Accomplice Matthew Kvapil, Both Fort Bragg Soldiers Sentenced to Life in Prison (2008)
  24. Marine Sgt. Jan Pietrzak & Spouse Quiana Murdered by Four Active Duty Marines (2008)
  25. Disabled Teen Judilianna Lawrence Lured on MySpace by Army Soldier; Robert Marko Sentenced to Life in Prison for Rape & Murder (2008)
  26. Army Soldier Ashley Barnes Stabbed to Death by Estranged Husband; Fort Campbell Army Soldier Khaleefa Lambert Sentenced to Life in Prison (2009)
  27. Navy Petty Officer Amanda Snell Murdered by Marine Jorge Torrez in Barracks at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, Virginia (2009)
  28. Navy Master Chief John Bench Murdered Son & Attempted to Murder Wife & Daughter in Japan, Then Killed Self in Motorcycle Crash (2009)
  29. Army Major Nidal Hasan Sentenced to Death by Military Court for Opening Fire & Killing 12 Unarmed Soldiers & 1 DoD Employee at Fort Hood, Texas (2009)
  30. Pregnant Samira Watkins Found Dead in Bayou Grande in Florida; Navy Sailor Zachary Littleton Convicted of 1st Degree Murder, Sentenced to Life (2009)
  31. Army SSG Anton Phillips Found Stabbed to Death at FOB Mehtar Lam, Afghanistan; CID Offering $25,000 Reward for Information (2009)
  32. Air Force Reservist Travis McGraw Murdered his Wife Vanessa for the $100,000 Life Insurance Policy; Sentenced to Life, No Parole (2011)
  33. Army Soldier Sgt. Brandy Fonteneaux Found Murdered in Fort Carson Barracks; Sgt. Vincinte Jackson Sentenced to Life, No Parole (2012)
  34. Air Force A1C James Thomas Sentenced to 32 Years for Murder of SrA Clinton Reeves (2012)
  35. Marine Corps Spouse Brittany Killgore Held Captive, Tortured, Raped, and Murdered After Refusing Sex; 3 BDSM Cult Members Sentenced to Life (2012)
  36. Robert Chiaravalotti, US Army, Sentenced to Life Without Parole by Military Judge After Killing Wife & Raping Step Daughter (2012)
  37. Army Soldier Kimberly Walker Murdered in Colorado Hotel Room by her Boyfriend Army Soldier Montrell Mayo After Valentine’s Day Quarrel (2013)
  38. Baby Found Dead on Side of Highway; Air Force SrA Matthew Theurer Plead Guilty to Involuntary Manslaughter, Sentenced to 40 Years in Prison (2013)
  39. Marine Nathaniel Cosby Convicted of the Second Degree Murder of Ivanice Harris in Hawaii; Sentenced to Life in Prison by Military Courts (2013)
  40. Army Spouse Dana Mackay Found Murdered in Virginia Home; SSG John Mackay, Nicole Houchin, Nace Houchin, & Greg Crawford Confessed to Crime (2013)
  41. Army Soldier Jeremiah Hill Convicted in Fatal Stabbing of Fellow Soldier Tevin Geike in 2013, Sentenced to 45 Years in Prison
  42. Navy PO 2nd Class Dmitry Chepusov Found Strangled to Death in Germany; Air Force SSgt Sean Oliver Found Guilty, Sentenced to Life (2013)
  43. Nathaniel Ulroan, US Army, Gets Life in Death of Son (2014)
  44. Camp Pendleton Marine Christopher Lee Convicted of Pre-Meditated Murder of Pregnant Lover Erin Corwin; Sentenced to Life in Prison (2014)
  45. Danielle Nemetz was Shot and Killed; Army Soldier and Spouse Skylar Nemetz Convicted of Manslaughter and Sentenced to 13 Years in Prison (2014)
  46. Marine Joseph Pemberton Found Guilty by Philippines Court for Murder of Filipina Sex Worker Jennifer Laude; Sentenced to 6-12 Years (2014)
  47. Fort Meade Army Soldier Caleb Barnes Stabbed Cheryl Silvonek to Death; Plead Guilty to First Degree Murder, Sentenced to Life in Prison (2015)
  48. Army Soldier Joseph Kimsey & Jonathon Nelson Found Guilty of Murdering Ashley Melnyczok; Both Sentenced to Life in Prison Without Parole (2015)
  49. Air Force SSgt Steven Williams Pleaded No Contest to the Second Degree Murder of his USAF Veteran Ex-Wife Tricia Todd in Florida (2016)
  50. Fort Carson Army Soldier Branden Harms Pleaded Guilty to Child Abuse Resulting in Death; Faced 40-48 Years in Prison at Sentencing (2016)

Killer Couples Premiered ‘Michelle Theer & John Diamond’ on Oxygen: Affair Leads to Murder of Air Force Capt. Marty Theer (September 3, 2016)

A frantic, distraught woman runs into a video rental store screaming that her husband has been shot. -Michelle Theer & John Diamond, Killer Couples

Killer Couples: S8 E5 Preview – Michelle Theer and John Diamond | Oxygen

Killer Couples: S8 E5 After the Verdict – Michelle Theer and John Diamond | Oxygen

Psychologist Debbie Layton-Tholl talks about her experience meeting with Michelle Theer. -Michelle Theer & John Diamond, Killer Couples

A lonely military wife and psychologist go searching for sex on the Internet with deadly results. -Michelle Theer & John Diamond, Killer Couples (S8,E5)

Investigation Discovery:

In 2000, Michelle Theer was an Air Force wife in the military town of Fayetteville until a fatal shooting made her a widow. The investigation into her husband’s death led police to the door of an Army Ranger – taking orders from very unlikely accomplices. -Fayetteville, Sins and Secrets (S2,E3)

Sexy psychologist and doting Air Force wife Michelle begins a swinging affair with Army Sgt. Diamond while her husband, Captain Marty Theer, is away. But all’s fair in love and war, and Marty’s return will remind them that love is a battlefield. -Sergeant Swinger, Scorned: Love Kills (S4,E1)

Editor’s note: With a cable subscription, you can download the free ID Go app and watch 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. 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 $3.99 a month. It’s a compilation of older seasons but totally worth the cost if you are a true crime addict. Download the ID Go app or purchase ID True Crime Files & binge away.

Related Links:
Killer Couples: S8 E5 Sneak Peek – My Husband Has Been Shot! | Oxygen
Killer Couples: S8 E5 Preview – Michelle Theer and John Diamond | Oxygen
Killer Couples: S8 E5 After the Verdict – Michelle Theer and John Diamond | Oxygen
Killer Couples: S8 E5 Bonus Clip – Michelle Was Villified by the Media | Oxygen
Michelle Theer & John Diamond | Killer Couples | Oxygen (S8,E5)
Michelle Theer & John Diamond | Killer Couples | Oxygen (Amazon)
Fayetteville | Sins and Secrets | Investigation Discovery (S2,E3)
Fayetteville | Sins and Secrets | Investigation Discovery (website)
Fayetteville | Sins and Secrets | Investigation Discovery (Amazon)
Sergeant Swinger | Scorned: Love Kills | Investigation Discovery (S4,E1)
Sergeant Swinger | Scorned: Love Kills | Investigation Discovery (website)
Sergeant Swinger | Scorned: Love Kills | Investigation Discovery (Amazon)
Air Force Capt. Frank Theer Murdered by Unidentified Gunman; Wife Michelle & Army SSG John Diamond Sentenced to Life in Prison (December 17, 2000)
Army SSG John Diamond Convicted of Murder of Air Force Capt. Frank Theer; Military Court Sentenced to Life in Prison, No Parole (August 28, 2001)
Former Air Force Reservist Michelle Theer Convicted of Murder of Husband Frank Theer; Sentenced to Life in Prison, No Parole (December 3, 2004)
Sins and Secrets Premiered ‘Fayetteville’ on Investigation Discovery: Michelle Theer & John Diamond Left a Permanent Mark on Community (January 26, 2012)
Scorned, Love Kills Premiered ‘Sergeant Swinger’ on ID: Air Force Captain’s Murder Reveals Wife’s Evil Intent, Adultery & Greed (October 4, 2014)
Scorned, Love Kills: 6 Active Duty Military Homicide Cases Featured on Investigation Discovery

Scorned, Love Kills Premiered ‘Sergeant Swinger’ on ID: Air Force Captain’s Murder Reveals Wife’s Evil Intent, Adultery & Greed (October 4, 2014)

Sexy psychologist and doting Air Force wife Michelle begins a swinging affair with Army Sgt. Diamond while her husband, Captain Marty Theer, is away. But all’s fair in love and war, and Marty’s return will remind them that love is a battlefield. -Sergeant Swinger, Scorned: Love Kills (S4,E1)

In 2000, Michelle Theer was an Air Force wife in the military town of Fayetteville until a fatal shooting made her a widow. The investigation into her husband’s death led police to the door of an Army Ranger – taking orders from very unlikely accomplices. -Fayetteville, Sins and Secrets (S2,E3)

Oxygen:

A frantic, distraught woman runs into a video rental store screaming that her husband has been shot. -Michelle Theer & John Diamond, Killer Couples

Killer Couples: S8 E5 Preview – Michelle Theer and John Diamond | Oxygen

Killer Couples: S8 E5 After the Verdict – Michelle Theer and John Diamond | Oxygen

Psychologist Debbie Layton-Tholl talks about her experience meeting with Michelle Theer. -Michelle Theer & John Diamond, Killer Couples

A lonely military wife and psychologist go searching for sex on the Internet with deadly results. -Michelle Theer & John Diamond, Killer Couples (S8,E5)

Editor’s note: With a cable subscription, you can download the free ID Go app and watch 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. 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 $3.99 a month. It’s a compilation of older seasons but totally worth the cost if you are a true crime addict. Download the ID Go app or purchase ID True Crime Files & binge away.

Related Links:
Sergeant Swinger | Scorned: Love Kills | Investigation Discovery (S4,E1)
Sergeant Swinger | Scorned: Love Kills | Investigation Discovery (website)
Sergeant Swinger | Scorned: Love Kills | Investigation Discovery (Amazon)
Fayetteville | Sins and Secrets | Investigation Discovery (S2,E3)
Fayetteville | Sins and Secrets | Investigation Discovery (website)
Fayetteville | Sins and Secrets | Investigation Discovery (Amazon)
Killer Couples: S8 E5 Sneak Peek – My Husband Has Been Shot! | Oxygen
Killer Couples: S8 E5 Preview – Michelle Theer and John Diamond | Oxygen
Killer Couples: S8 E5 After the Verdict – Michelle Theer and John Diamond | Oxygen
Killer Couples: S8 E5 Bonus Clip – Michelle Was Villified by the Media | Oxygen
Michelle Theer & John Diamond | Killer Couples | Oxygen (S8,E5)
Michelle Theer & John Diamond | Killer Couples | Oxygen (Amazon)
Air Force Capt. Frank Theer Murdered by Unidentified Gunman; Wife Michelle & Army SSG John Diamond Sentenced to Life in Prison (December 17, 2000)
Army SSG John Diamond Convicted of Murder of Air Force Capt. Frank Theer; Military Court Sentenced to Life in Prison, No Parole (August 28, 2001)
Former Air Force Reservist Michelle Theer Convicted of Murder of Husband Frank Theer; Sentenced to Life in Prison, No Parole (December 3, 2004)
Sins and Secrets Premiered ‘Fayetteville’ on Investigation Discovery: Michelle Theer & John Diamond Left a Permanent Mark on Community (January 26, 2012)
Killer Couples Premiered ‘Michelle Theer & John Diamond’ on Oxygen: Affair Leads to Murder of Air Force Capt. Marty Theer (September 3, 2016)
Scorned, Love Kills: 6 Active Duty Military Homicide Cases Featured on Investigation Discovery

Sins and Secrets Premiered ‘Fayetteville’ on Investigation Discovery: Michelle Theer & John Diamond Left a Permanent Mark on Community (January 26, 2012)

In 2000, Michelle Theer was an Air Force wife in the military town of Fayetteville until a fatal shooting made her a widow. The investigation into her husband’s death led police to the door of an Army Ranger – taking orders from very unlikely accomplices. -Fayetteville, Sins and Secrets (S2,E3)

Sexy psychologist and doting Air Force wife Michelle begins a swinging affair with Army Sgt. Diamond while her husband, Captain Marty Theer, is away. But all’s fair in love and war, and Marty’s return will remind them that love is a battlefield. -Sergeant Swinger, Scorned: Love Kills (S4,E1)

Oxygen:

A frantic, distraught woman runs into a video rental store screaming that her husband has been shot. -Michelle Theer & John Diamond, Killer Couples

Killer Couples: S8 E5 Preview – Michelle Theer and John Diamond | Oxygen

Killer Couples: S8 E5 After the Verdict – Michelle Theer and John Diamond | Oxygen

Psychologist Debbie Layton-Tholl talks about her experience meeting with Michelle Theer. -Michelle Theer & John Diamond, Killer Couples

A lonely military wife and psychologist go searching for sex on the Internet with deadly results. -Michelle Theer & John Diamond, Killer Couples (S8,E5)

Editor’s note: With a cable subscription, you can download the free ID Go app and watch 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. 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 $3.99 a month. It’s a compilation of older seasons but totally worth the cost if you are a true crime addict. Download the ID Go app or purchase ID True Crime Files & binge away.

Related Links:
Fayetteville | Sins and Secrets | Investigation Discovery (S2,E3)
Fayetteville | Sins and Secrets | Investigation Discovery (website)
Fayetteville | Sins and Secrets | Investigation Discovery (Amazon)
Sergeant Swinger | Scorned: Love Kills | Investigation Discovery (S4,E1)
Sergeant Swinger | Scorned: Love Kills | Investigation Discovery (website)
Sergeant Swinger | Scorned: Love Kills | Investigation Discovery (Amazon)
Killer Couples: S8 E5 Sneak Peek – My Husband Has Been Shot! | Oxygen
Killer Couples: S8 E5 Preview – Michelle Theer and John Diamond | Oxygen
Killer Couples: S8 E5 After the Verdict – Michelle Theer and John Diamond | Oxygen
Killer Couples: S8 E5 Bonus Clip – Michelle Was Villified by the Media | Oxygen
Michelle Theer & John Diamond | Killer Couples | Oxygen (S8,E5)
Michelle Theer & John Diamond | Killer Couples | Oxygen (Amazon)
Air Force Capt. Frank Theer Murdered by Unidentified Gunman; Wife Michelle & Army SSG John Diamond Sentenced to Life in Prison (December 17, 2000)
Army SSG John Diamond Convicted of Murder of Air Force Capt. Frank Theer; Military Court Sentenced to Life in Prison, No Parole (August 28, 2001)
Former Air Force Reservist Michelle Theer Convicted of Murder of Husband Frank Theer; Sentenced to Life in Prison, No Parole (December 3, 2004)
Scorned, Love Kills Premiered ‘Sergeant Swinger’ on ID: Air Force Captain’s Murder Reveals Wife’s Evil Intent, Adultery & Greed (October 4, 2014)
Killer Couples Premiered ‘Michelle Theer & John Diamond’ on Oxygen: Affair Leads to Murder of Air Force Capt. Marty Theer (September 3, 2016)
Scorned, Love Kills: 6 Active Duty Military Homicide Cases Featured on Investigation Discovery

Under the Sabers: The Unwritten Code of Army Wives by Tanya Biank (February 7, 2006)

Army Wives Lifetime

Army Wives, a Lifetime television series based on the non-fiction book written by Tanya Biank.

In Their Name:
Colette, Kimberley & Kristen MacDonald, Fort Bragg (Feb. 17, 1970)
Michael James & Jackie Burden, Fayetteville, NC (December 7, 1995)
Captain Frank ‘Marty’ Theer, U.S. Air Force (December 17, 2000)
Lt. Col. Rennie Cory, U.S. Army, Fort Bragg (April 7, 2001)
Pfc. Gary Shane Kalinofski, U.S. Army, Fort Drum (March 4, 2002)
Army Spouse Teresa Nieves, North Carolina (June 11, 2002)
Army Spouse Jennifer Wright, North Carolina (June 29, 2002)
Army Spouse Marilyn Styles-Griffin, North Carolina (July 9, 2002)
Army Spouse & Veteran Andrea Floyd, North Carolina (July 19, 2002)
Major David Shannon, U.S. Army, Fort Bragg (July 23, 2002)
Sgt. Erin Edwards, U.S. Army, Fort Hood (July 22, 2004)
Sgt. Ronna Valentine, U.S. Army, Fort Bragg (May 21, 2005)

Under the Sabers: The Unwritten Code of Army Wives or Army Wives by Tanya Biank was an excellent read. I first heard about the book when I was researching the 2002 Fort Bragg murders of Teresa Nieves, Jennifer Wright, Marilyn Griffin, Andrea Floyd and Major David Shannon. I ordered it from Amazon and threw it in a pile with all my other military crime books until I saw a Forbidden: Dying for Love episode about the murder of Army spouse Jennifer Wright. The show didn’t mention it but I knew Jennifer’s murder was one of five homicides at Fort Bragg that occurred within a two month period in 2002. I learned more about Jennifer Wright from Investigation Discovery than what’s available on-line. And at the time, the national media was quick to speculate whether war & violence, frequent deployments or anti-malaria drugs were to blame. But after the Army investigated itself, it determined that the high operational tempo after September 11, 2001 placed a great strain on already troubled marriages.

In other words, some form of domestic abuse, financial issues, and adultery in some cases were to blame for stained marriages. I researched the five murders and the motives were similar in four of the cases. Arguments were a pre-cursor to the murders and three out of four of the spouses wanted to leave the relationship. Was rejection the trigger? Domestic violence experts agree leaving the relationship is the most dangerous time. In Major Shannon’s case, it appears that the motive was greed, pure and simple, as greed is one of the most common motives for female killers. Major Shannon’s wife Joan stood to gain a large amount of money from his Serviceman’s Group Life Insurance (SGLI) if he died. This time the Army was most likely correct but unfortunately things haven’t changed to this day. There have been many more victims of domestic violence in the military since 2002 and this book inspired me to honor each and every one of them.

The author Tanya Biank grew up in a military family and covered military issues at Fort Bragg as a reporter for the Fayetteville Observer. Tanya was able to give us a realistic perspective of what was going on at Fort Bragg during the time period right before and after September 11, 2001. Tanya was the one writing about the rash of homicides for the local newspaper during the summer of 2002. As a result of Tanya’s reporting, the main stream media picked up the story and it went national and international. Fort Bragg was forced to answer to a frenzied pack of media outlets and in typical fashion, the Army investigated itself and found themselves not responsible. Although Tanya reported in the book that Congress authorized $5 million for domestic violence programs in the military that year. And on December 2, 2002, President Bush signed into law an act that makes domestic violence protective orders enforceable on military installations.

Tanya was the perfect person to write about Fort Bragg. She had a great understanding of the various perspectives and this was revealed in the book. She talked about how September 11th changed things for both the service member and the families. I found myself feeling thankful for the education about Fort Bragg’s missions and how they fit into the big picture. They train hard for a reason. They are some of the first on the front lines and some of the families have no idea where they are going or how long they will be gone. Unexpectedly, I experienced a myriad of emotions as I read along. Emotions about 9/11, emotions about what was happening at my own squadron, and emotions around the notifications of death. My Commander and a Chaplain informed me of my father’s unexpected death. And my colleagues helped me get home safely. I realized this was standard protocol while reading this book.

I couldn’t put the book down once I started, despite the emotions and memories it triggered. Tanya Biank did a great job of enticing the reader to learn more about the individual and the family, and just when you least expected, the unexpected would happen. It reminded me of my own life and how hard it was to put mission before self year after year when all one was doing was stuffing down the pain. But like those in the book, we don’t seek counseling because it’s considered a career ender. We don’t trust the system so most of us just keep our troubles to ourselves. And for those who want to maintain a security clearance, we know they are going to ask the question about mental health treatment. I understand why the question has to be asked because it’s important to identify someone with suicidal tendencies or anger problems but it prevents the rest of us from asking for the help we need, until it’s too late.

Tanya talked about the unusually high crime rates in Fayetteville and she said its civilians who commit most of the crime. She admitted Fort Bragg was under the shadow of the the murders of Colette, Kimberley & Kristen MacDonald in 1970 because former Captain Jeffrey MacDonald, despite being found guilty, swears he’s innocent. As recently as December 2018, MacDonald was denied a new trial by a federal appeals court and he continues to be the subject of both media and true crime programming. Tanya also talked about the racially motivated murders of Michael James & Jackie Burden in 1995. Army privates James Burmeister and Malcolm Wright were found guilty of the crime. This too made national news and the Army was forced to weed out any perceived Neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and skinheads. The media speculated the Army was full of them; turns out this random attack by Fort Bragg soldiers was an isolated incident.

After researching the five Fort Bragg murders in 2002 on-line, I realized that Tanya’s book was the most comprehensive discussion of the incidents. The book gave us an inside look at the people involved and the way it unfolded real-time. Tanya shared that the military likes to keep their problems under wrap because of the way the media speculates. I can see why they would be annoyed with how scandals are reported. Once the information is out there, it’s hard to fight off the perception. But the bottom line is the acts of a few don’t represent the whole. Unfortunately, I could write book after book about clusters of domestic violence related homicides in the military since 2002. This book made me realize how long the military has known about the problems and that throwing money at the problem doesn’t fix it. We need real solutions that save lives.

Editor’s Note: Tanya Biank’s book Under the Sabers inspired the creation of Army Wives on Lifetime television. After reading the book, I can understand why the series was created in 2007. I included links to the show below if you are interested in watching the series. It was cancelled after seven seasons. 

Related Links:
Tanya Biank (Official Website)
Under the Sabers | Tanya Biank | Macmillan
Under the Sabers: The Unwritten Code of Army Wives
Under the Sabers: The Unwritten Code of Army Wives
Under the Sabers: The Unwritten Code of Army Wives Kindle Edition
Under the Sabers by Tanya Biank (Kirkus Review)
Season 1 | Army Wives | Lifetime Television | Amazon (2007)
Season 2 | Army Wives | Lifetime Television | Amazon (2008)
Season 3 | Army Wives | Lifetime Television | Amazon (2009)
Season 4 | Army Wives | Lifetime Television | Amazon (2010)
Season 5 | Army Wives | Lifetime Television | Amazon (2011)
Season 6 | Army Wives | Lifetime Television | Amazon (2012)
Season 7 | Army Wives | Lifetime Television | Amazon (2013)
‘Army Wives’ Deployed as Lifetime Series
Lifetime embraces ‘Wives’ amid show cuts
A Sneak Peek at “Army Wives”
Home front key to “Army Wives”
‘Army Wives’ Still Holding Down The Fort
Lifetime’s popular ‘Army Wives’ has a local ties
Lifetime Cancels ‘Army Wives’ | The Wrap
‘Army Wives’ cancelled by Lifetime | Entertainment Weekly
‘Army Wives’ canceled by Lifetime; retrospective special planned
Lifetime’s ‘Army Wives’ Cancelled After Seven Seasons, Will Wrap Run With Special
Fort Meade: Military spouse writes book about servicewomen
Army Wive: Where is the Cast Now?
Army Wives | ABC | Season 1-7