Unsolved Homicide: Fort Hood Army Pfc. Brandon Rosecrans Found Fatally Shot Four Miles From Burning Jeep in Harker Heights, Texas; Local PD Takes Lead (May 18, 2020)

Brandon Rosecrans

Pfc. Brandon Rosecrans, U.S. Army

Fort Hood Army Pfc. Brandon Scott Rosecrans, 27, of Kimberling City, Missouri, was found dead on the southern edge of Harker Heights, Texas on May 18, 2020. Brandon Rosecrans’ was a shooting victim and his body was found along Fuller Lane just north of the western end of Stillhouse Hollow Lake. His orange-colored 2016 Jeep Renegade was discovered on fire about four miles from his body. The cause of the fire is under investigation by the Harker Heights Fire Marshal. Pfc. Rosecrans served as a quartermaster and chemical equipment repairer with the 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division since November 2018. Pfc. Rosecrans enlisted in the Army in May 2018.

Harker Heights, Texas, Police Chief Phillip Gadd reported that following a preliminary investigation, they’ve determined that Brandon Rosecrans died from a gunshot wound and that his death was being investigated as a murder. The murder and arson investigations are being run concurrently by the Harker Height’s police and fire departments and the U.S. Army CID. According to the Army CID, the Harker Heights Police Department is the lead investigative agency for Brandon Rosecrans’ death. Anyone with information, “no matter how insignificant it may seem,” is asked to come forward and contact Army CID, the military police or their local law enforcement agency.

“The Harker Heights Police Criminal Investigation Division is asking anyone with information about this murder to contact them at 254-953-5400. Individuals may also provide information to Crime Stoppers at 254-526-TIPS (8477) or go online at www.bellcountycrimestoppers.com. All information is confidential and anonymous and if your tip leads to the arrest of the person(s) responsible, you could be eligible to receive a reward up to $1,000 in cash.” -Harker Heights PD Press Release (May 19, 2020)

In the News:

Man found dead in Harker Heights identified as Fort Hood soldier Pfc. Brandon Rosecrans -KWKT FOX44 (May 20, 2020)

Digital First Video: Parents of Brandon Rosecrans -KOLR10 News (May 28, 2020)

Army Pfc. Brandon Rosecrans’ Funeral in Kimberling City

Pfc. Brandon Rosecrans Funeral -KOLR10 News (June 2, 2020)

His vehicle was found on fire 15 mins after he was found about 4 miles away. Let help get brandon justice. His reward is only 1000 it needs upped. Also his service if you want to pay your respect and watch. -A thin line between Love and homicide (June 29, 2020)

Pfc. Brandon Rosecrans was found dead near his burning Jeep a short drive from the base, killed by a gunshot wound. Police and Army investigators are now investigating the death as a possible murder. -Military Times (July 1, 2020)

Press Releases:

FHPC Brandon Rosecrans

Fort Hood Press Center Press Release for Pfc. Brandon Rosecrans (Editor’s Note: Fort Hood will delete this press release, hence the reason it’s been preserved)

HH PR Brandon Rosecrans

Harker Heights Police Department Press Release for Brandon Rosecrans

Brandon Rosecrans Fort Hood

Related Links:
Death of a Fort Hood Soldier (Fort Hood Press Center)
Harker Heights Police Department – Posts | Facebook
Police identify shooting victim found dead along local road
Man found dead in Harker Heights identified as Fort Hood soldier
Fort Hood soldier found shot dead near burning Jeep
Fort Hood soldier found shot in the head inside burning car, police say
Man found dead in Harker Heights identified as Fort Hood soldier
Man found dead in Harker Heights identified as Fort Hood soldier
Man killed in Harker Heights Monday identified as Fort Hood soldier
Fort Hood soldier found shot dead miles from his vehicle burning near Texas base
Fort Hood soldier found shot to death two minutes after car found engulfed in flames
Fort Hood soldier found shot to death and vehicle burned identified by US Army
Soldier from Kimberling City killed in Texas shooting
Video: Fort Hood soldier’s death investigated as a homicide
Fort Hood soldier found shot to death and vehicle burned identified by US Army
Harker Heights police investigating shooting death of Fort Hood soldier as murder
Texas authorities investigating death of soldier from Kimberling City, Mo.
Parents of Kimberling City soldier open up about their son’s murder, legacy
Ep31. MISSING x2: Missing in Fort Hood (Vanessa Guillen & Gregory Morales) | Military Murder Podcast
Army Soldiers at Fort Hood in Texas Are Dying at Alarming Rates Stateside (January 1, 2016 to Present)
The Murder of Vanessa Guillen and the Unsolved Homicides of Fort Hood
What Is Happening At Fort Hood? – Missing People In America
Man found dead in Harker Heights identified as Fort Hood soldier
Soldiers Funeral in Kimberling City
Fort Hood Soldier’s death investigated as a homicide
Digital First Video: Parents of Brandon Rosecrans
Pfc. Brandon Rosecrans Funeral | KOLR10 News
PFC Brandon Scott Rosecrans found shot on the side of the road shot

Unsolved Homicide: Asia Cline, Army Veteran Shaquan Allred, & Fort Hood Spc. Freddy Delacruz, Jr. Found Shot Dead at Killeen, Texas Apartment (March 14, 2020)

“Spc. Freddy Beningo Delacruz Jr., 23, was one of three dead people discovered at about 1:40 a.m. in a unit of the Summerlyn Apartments in Killeen by local police officers who were responding to a call about a water leak, according to the Killeen Police Department. The other victims were a man and a woman, who were identified Tuesday as Army veteran Shaquan Markell Allred, 23, and Asia Cline, 22.”

“Killeen detectives are asking anyone who might have seen anything or has information about the homicides to contact Crime Stoppers at 254-526-TIPS (8477) or go online at www.bellcountycrimestoppers.com. Anonymous tips also can be sent through the P3Tips App for IOS or Android. All information is confidential and anonymous and if a person’s tip leads to the arrest of the person(s) responsible, that person could be eligible to receive a reward up to $1,000 in cash.”

Read more from Stars and Stripes here.

Related Links:
What Is Happening At Fort Hood?
What’s Going on At Fort Hood?
Triple homicide victims identified
Fort Hood soldier dead in triple murder
Killeen Police Department identifies victims in triple homicide
Soldier identified as victim in Texas triple homicide
Soldier among the dead in Killeen triple homicide
Three people found shot to death inside Killeen apartment
Three people found shot to death inside Killeen apartment
Killeen: 3 victims of deadly shooting at local complex identified
Victims of Killeen triple homicide identified, include 23-year-old Fort Hood soldier
Army veteran, Fort Hood soldier found shot dead at Texas apartment
Fort Hood Soldier’s murder brings unsolved cases to light
Three homicides in two days reported in Killeen
Army Soldiers at Fort Hood in Texas Are Dying at Alarming Rates Stateside (January 1, 2016 to Present) | Military Justice for All
Washington D.C. Veteran’s Presentation on the Current Status of Forces at Fort Hood in Texas (December 12, 2017) | Military Justice for All
Austin American-Statesman: Vanessa Guillen’s Death Shines Light on More Tragedies at Fort Hood (July 28, 2020)
Seven Unsolved Homicide Cases Affiliated with Fort Hood (January 1, 2016 to Present)
The Murder of Vanessa Guillen and the Unsolved Homicides of Fort Hood

Unsolved Homicide: Fort Hood Army Pvt. Gregory Wedel-Morales Reported AWOL; Based on Anonymous Tip, Remains Found in Shallow Grave in Killeen 10 Months Later (August 19, 2019)

Gregory Wedel-Morales

Pvt. Gregory Wedel-Morales, U.S. Army

Army Soldiers at Fort Hood in Texas Are Dying
at Alarming Rates Stateside (January 1, 2016 to Present)

The skeletal remains of missing Fort Hood Army Pvt. Gregory Scott Morales (Gregory Wedel-Morales) were discovered June 19, 2020 in a shallow grave in a field near the 3200 block of Florence Road in Killeen, Texas. Pvt. Wedel-Morales was last seen in Killeen on August 19, 2019 in his private vehicle (the vehicle was later recovered by authorities). Gregory was out-processing and due to be out of the Army within a couple days before he disappeared. The Army labeled him AWOL (Absent Without Leave), then deserter, and went about their business. Gregory’s family called attention to his disappearance and it wasn’t until Fort Hood Pfc. Vanessa Guillen disappeared that the Army started referring to Gregory as missing and offered a reward. After the Army CID offered a reward of up to $25,000 to anyone with credible information, they received an anonymous tip that led to the discovery of his body. Both Gregory and Vanessa were considered AWOL and it wasn’t until Vanessa’s family was able to garner nationwide support that the Army took either of the missing cases seriously. In the last year, Gregory and Vanessa were both labeled AWOL yet murdered and buried in shallow graves outside the base. Obviously, foul play is suspected and now the Army CID is offering a reward of up to $25,000 for information concerning the circumstances surrounding the death of Gregory Wedel-Morales. Both the Army CID and the Killeen Police Department have jurisdiction as Gregory was found in Killeen.

“Foul play is suspected at this point in the investigation. Army special agents are working closely with the Killeen Police Department and are offering a reward of up to $25,000 to anyone with credible information concerning the circumstances surrounding the death of Morales.”

“Persons with information can contact Army CID Special Agents at 254-287-2722 or the Military Police Desk at 254-288-1170.  They can also anonymously submit information at https://www.cid.army.mil/report-a-crime.html. They can also contact their local police departments. People wishing to remain anonymous will be honored to the degree allowable under the law and the information will be held in the strictest confidence allowable.”

Read more here.

Pvt Gregory Wedel-Morales

Click here for the remainder of the Fort Hood Press Center Press Release (be forewarned they will delete this history eventually)

In the case of Wedel-Morales, his unit called his mother, Kim Wedel, on Aug. 21 and asked her when was the last time she had talked to him because he didn’t show up for formation, she said. “Next thing they tell me, he’s AWOL,” Wedel said. “I filed a missing person report with the Killeen Police Department, but they said that since he was an adult, the best thing you can do is use social media to find him.” “My perception is nothing was going on until they (Fort Hood) were forced into it. I reached out (to CID) and said, ‘hey, this young lady deserves a reward, but what about my son?’ We had nothing until this reward came out and got a tip,” she said. “If we had done this to begin with, we may not have had to wait 10 months.” Because of his status as a deserter, Wedel said the family cannot even give him a proper military burial until an autopsy confirms he has been dead since he disappeared. Read more from Killeen Daily Herald here.

In the News:

Morales was last seen driving his car outside of Fort Hood in Killeen in the night of August 19, 2019. -KCEN News (June 15, 2020)

“He just ended up in a shallow grave in a field without anyone knowing where he was. They didn’t go out to look for him and that really stings,” Nick Wedel says. -KCEN News (June 21, 2020)

The family of Gregory Morales is petitioning for a change in Army policy after Morales was listed AWOL and then deserter before the remains of his body were found. -KCEN News (June 21, 2020)

Each time the family of former Fort Hood soldier, Pvt. Gregory Morales, gets news about his status with the military, it brings them more pain. -ABC13 Houston (July 2, 2020)

Related Links:
Reward Increased: Missing Fort Hood Soldier Pvt. Gregory Morales
Reward increased | Up to $25,000 to locate missing Fort Hood soldier Gregory Morales
Army offers $25K for info leading to soldier who vanished days before discharge
Anonymous Tip Leads To Missing Fort Hood Soldier Gregory Morales’ Skeletal Remains
Remains identified as soldier stationed at Fort Hood, Texas
Confirmed | Skeletal remains found in Killeen identified as missing Fort Hood Soldier Gregory Morales, Army CID confirms
Army confirms body found near Fort Hood is missing soldier Gregory Morales
Army CID confirms skeletal remains discovered are those of Gregory Wedel-Morales
Missing Fort Hood Soldier’s Remains Are Found in Field, and Foul Play Is Suspected
Foul play suspected in death of Ft. Hood soldier Gregory Wedel Morales, Army says
Unidentified Remains Found in Same Area as Body of Fort Hood Soldier
Family of Fort Hood soldier whose remains found in Killeen wants military funeral
Mother of Gregory Morales pushing for change in deserter status of her son
Sapulpa family searching for answers after missing soldier’s remains found in Texas
Family of soldier found dead speaks out
Two soldiers missing for months from the same post
Friends describe Pvt. Gregory Morales as a ‘sweetheart,’ and ‘happy soul’
Remains found at 2nd location amid search for missing Fort Hood soldier
Soldier identified, reward offered for info
Family of deceased Fort Hood soldier hoping to have ‘deserter’ status changed
Family of fallen Fort Hood soldier Gregory Morales wants him buried with military honors
Gregory Morales’ brother speaks about missing soldier case, body discovery
Gregory Morales’ brother speaks about missing soldier case, body discovery
Wedel family fights to clear Gregory Morales’ name in order to have military burial
Mothers of Fort Hood soldiers found dead want Army to change search protocols
Here is how a soldier becomes listed as ‘deserter’
Family of fallen Fort Hood soldier wants him buried with military honors
Two Fort Hood soldiers found dead – are their cases related?
Ep31: Missing From Fort Hood | Military Murder Podcast
Episode 37: UPDATE to Episode 31 – Vanessa Guillen & Gregory Morales | Military Murder Podcast

Unsolved Homicide: Army Veteran Cleveland Jermaine “CJ” Lewis Fatally Shot & Killed in Front of Home in Killeen, Texas Neighborhood (August 4, 2018)

Cleveland Lewis

Cleveland Jermaine Lewis, U.S. Army Veteran

On August 4, 2018, Army veteran Cleveland Jermaine Lewis, 33, was fatally shot in front of his house in a Killeen, Texas neighborhood. This is an unsolved homicide case and strikingly similar to the unsolved homicide of 19-year-old Fort Hood Army Pvt. Justin Lewis. Pvt. Lewis was also fatally shot and killed in a Killeen, Texas neighborhood on April 17, 2017.

If you have any information that can help investigators solve these two homicides, please contact the Killeen Police Department, Crime Stoppers, and/or report a crime tip to the Army Criminal Investigation Division.

“Detectives are asking anyone who has information about this Murder, to contact Crime Stoppers at 254-526-TIPS (8477) or go online at http://www.bellcountycrimestoppers.com. You can also download the P3Tips App for IOS or Android and give an anonymous tip. All information is confidential and anonymous and if your tip leads to the arrest of the person(s) responsible, you could be eligible to receive a reward up to $1,000 in cash.” –Killeen PD Press Release (August 6, 2018)

Seven (7) criminal homicides were reported in 2018:

Lamar Marcell Roberson, 32, was shot and killed Feb. 28 in the 900 block of Culp Avenue.

Owen-Palacios Hernandez, 35, was shot and killed April 23 in the 800 block of Root Avenue.

Heather Mae Walker, 29, stabbed to death on June 9 in 2800 block of Phoenix Drive. Police have not released the manner of death in Walker’s case.

Cleveland Jermaine Lewis, 33, known as “C.J.”, was shot and killed Aug. 4 in front of his house in the 4500 block of Alan Kent Drive.

Deandre Patrick Thomas, 41, was shot and killed Aug. 18 in the 2800 block of South Fort Hood Street at a nightclub.

Marquis Demps, 21, was shot and killed on Dec. 3 in the 400 block of Root Avenue near local Boys & Girls Club.

Yorrick Michaels-Toms, 24, was shot and killed on Dec. 20 at an apartment in the 4500 block of Westcliff Road.

Source: Argument leads to fatal shooting Saturday in Killeen (Killeen Daily Herald, August 18, 2018)

Related Links:
Murdered in Killeen
Cleveland Jermaine Lewis Funeral (GoFundMe)
Killeen police looking for shooter involved in homicide
Victim of deadly shooting in local neighborhood identified
Friends and family remember C.J., Killeen homicide victim
Family mourns death of Killeen man gunned down in neighborhood shooting
KPD Investigates a Murder on Alan Kent
Year in Crime: Homicides decreased in 2018 in Killeen
Army Soldiers at Fort Hood in Texas Are Dying at Alarming Rates Stateside (January 1, 2016 to Present)

10 Unsolved Military Cases

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Darlene Krashoc, U.S. Army

UPDATE: Army Spc. Darlene Krashoc Sexually Assaulted, Murdered, and Dumped in Parking Lot in Colorado Springs; DNA Match Leads to Arrest of Michael Whyte (March 17, 1987)

Gordon Hess

Captain Gordon Hess, U.S. Army

Army Captain Gordon Hess Found Stabbed to Death at Fort Knox in Kentucky, Military Investigators Ruled Suicide Despite the 26 Stab Wounds to Neck & Chest Area (1998)

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Col. Philip Shue, U.S. Air Force

Air Force Col. Philip Shue Died in an Apparent Car Accident, But Autopsy Revealed Much More; Texas Judge Ruled Cause of Death as Homicide (2003)

LaVena Johnson

Pfc. LaVena Johnson, U.S. Army

Army Pfc LaVena Johnson Died of Non Combat Related Injuries in Iraq, Death Ruled Suicide But Independent Autopsy Revealed Rape & Murder (2005)

Nonnie Dotson

Nonnie Dotson, U.S. Air Force

Lackland Air Force Base Nurse Nonnie Dotson Mysteriously Disappeared, Last Seen November 19th, 2006 in Littleton, Colorado While on Leave

blanca Luna

SrA Blanca Luna, U.S. Air Force

Cold Case: Air Force Reservist SrA Blanca Luna Discovered Stabbed to Death in Base Lodging at Sheppard AFB in Texas (2008)

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SSG Anton Phillips, U.S. Army

Army SSG Anton Phillips Found Stabbed to Death at FOB Mehtar Lam, Afghanistan; CID Offering $25,000 Reward for Information (2009)

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Katherine Morris, U.S. Army Spouse

Army Spouse Katherine Morris Found Dead in Car Near Mall; Cause of Death Initially Ruled Suicide But Further Investigation Suggests Homicide Motivated by Insurance Fraud (2012)

shawn-wayne-wells

Sean Wells, U.S. Army

Fort Bragg Army Soldier Sean Wells Gunned Down in Home by Two Masked Men in Fayetteville, Family Asks for Help Solving Case (2013)

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Pvt. Justin Lewis, U.S. Army

Unsolved Homicide: Fort Hood Army Pvt. Justin Lewis Shot & Killed Near Vacant Lot in Neighborhood in Killeen, Texas (2017)

CASES SOLVED BY NCIS COLD CASE SQUAD:

screen-shot-2016-08-07-at-7-36-01-pm

Andrew Muns, U.S. Navy

Michael LeBrun Plead Guilty to Strangling Andrew Muns on the USS Cacapon After Caught Stealing $8,600 from Navy Ship’s Safe, NCIS Cold Case Squad Solves Case (1968)

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Lt Verle ‘Lee’ Hartley, U.S. Navy

Lt Verle Lee Hartley, US Navy, Died of Arsenic Poisoning in 1982, NCIS Cold Case Squad Solved Murder 13 Years Later, Wife Pamela Plead Guilty (1982)

Related Links:
Our View: ‘Cold Case’ crimes are worth investigators’ effort
Military Policy and Legislation Considerations for the Investigations of Non Combat Death, Homicide, and Suicide of US Service Members
A List of Soldiers Targeted & Murdered for the Servicemen’s Group Life Insurance Benefits (SGLI)
Investigators Persisted When Army Soldier Kelli Bordeaux Disappeared in North Carolina, Convicted Sex Offender Nicholas Holbert Sentenced to Life in Prison for Murder (2012)

Reasonable Doubt Premiered ‘Failure to Remember’ on Investigation Discovery: Penny Brummer Maintains Innocence in the 1994 Homicide of Sarah Gonstead (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

MFJA Links:
Sarah Gonstead Shot Execution Style on 21st Birthday; Friend & Air Force Veteran Penny Brummer Found Guilty of 1st Degree Murder, Sentenced to Life in Prison (March 14, 1994)
Air Force Veteran Penny Brummer Found Guilty of the 1st Degree Murder of Sarah Gonstead; Sentenced to Life in Prison with Possibility of Parole After 50 Years (October 1, 1994)

48 Hours Premiered ’48 Hours Cold Case: Who Killed Amy Gellert?’ (June 17, 2017)

In the more than 20 years since the murder of a 21-year-old woman outside her home in Cocoa Beach, Florida, there have been a number of men investigated in connection with the case — but the crime remains unsolved. Members of the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office share details with “48 Hours”‘ Erin Moriarty.

If you have any information about Amy Gellert‘s murder, please contact the Brevard County Homicide Unit: E-mail: majorcrimes@bcso.us or call Central Florida CrimeLine: 1-800-423-TIPS

“[A tipster] overheard Dominic’s girlfriend [Julie Flounder] saying that he was possibly involved with that homicide.” Investigators then learned Kanuika had stolen a car and left the area the day after Amy’s murder. He later moved back to Pennsylvania where investigators tracked him down. “Dominic puts himself at the scene.” Kanuika claimed that he was coming back from work when he drove pass Amy’s house. “He actually stops, pulls over, and walks up to see what was going on…His story didn’t check out. He didn’t work that night…He was given a polygraph and he failed it…Dominic was in Marine Corps boot camp…and one of the things he had to do was fight with a knife.” Dominic Kanuika was [now] serving time for drug possession and robbery. -48 Hours

Related Links:
48 Hours Preview: Who Killed Amy Gellert?
48 Hours preview: Who Killed Amy Gellert? | MSN
Preview: “48 Hours” Cold Case: Who killed Amy Gellert?
Sneak peek: “48 Hours” Cold Case: Who killed Amy Gellert?
A conversation with Amy Gellert’s killer | 48 Hours
A look at possible suspects in Amy Gellert’s murder | 48 Hours
Retired detective still haunted by Gellert cold case | 48 Hours
Help catch Amy Gellert’s killer | 48 Hours
“48 Hours”: Spring break cold case
Who Killed Amy Gellert? | 48 Hours (website)
“48 Hours” cold case: Who Killed Amy Gellert?
48 Hours: Who killed Amy Gellert? | Crimesider
Who Killed Amy Gellert? Help cops solve a 23-year-old cold case
23 Years After a Fla. Woman Was Fatally Stabbed in Her Driveway, Can These Clues Crack the Case?
Who killed Amy Gellert? More than 20 years after student, 21, died protecting parents from masked knifeman, police admit they are no closer to an arrest
Torres: ’48 Hours’ brings in tips in Cocoa Beach cold case
’48 Hours’ generates 100 tips in Brevard case
Cold Case: Amy Gellert Fatally Stabbed Outside Florida Home; AWOL Marine Dominic Kanuika an Alleged Suspect in the Case, $5000 Reward (1994)

Cold Case: Army SSG Anton Phillips Found Stabbed to Death at FOB Mehtar Lam, Afghanistan; CID Offering $25,000 Reward for Information (December 31, 2009)

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SSG Anton Phillips, US Army

SSG Anton Phillips, 31, US Army, died of a non combat related incident on December 31, 2009 at Forward Operating Base Mehtar Lam, Afghanistan. SSG Phillips was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom on behalf of the G Forward Support Company, 77th Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Battalion, Task Force Wildhorse at Forward Operating Base Mehtar Lam, Afghanistan. According to the Department of Defense, the circumstances surrounding the incident are under investigation.

“Phillips was found stabbed to death on Dec. 31, 2009 at a base in Mehtar Lam, Afghanistan, a farming area east of Kabul.” -The Gazette

Related Links:
DOD Identifies Army Casualty
Army Staff Sgt. Anton R. Phillips
Anton R. Phillips, 31 | California’s War Dead
Staff Sgt. Anton R. Phillips, The Soldier
Mourning Staff Sgt. Anton R. Phillips
Army sees Colorado Springs ties to Afghanistan murder
Army focuses on Colorado Springs in murder investigation
Clues to soldier’s slaying may be linked to Richmond resident
Army investigators turn to Richmond Area for help solving soldier’s murder case
CID Offers $25,000 Reward in Afghanistan Murder

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Missing: Lackland AFB Nurse 1st Lt. Nonnie Dotson Disappeared; Last Seen at Brother’s Home in Littleton, Colorado While on Leave (November 19th, 2006)

Nonnie Dotson

1st Lt. Nonnie Dotson, U.S. Air Force

Editors Note: Need to get up to speed quick with the missing case of Lackland Air Force Base nurse Nonnie Dotson, please check out Episode 4 on the Military Murder Podcast

Air Force nurse 1st Lt. Nonnie Dotson, 33, was last seen by family members the afternoon of November 19th, 2006. She left her brother Tony Dotson’s residence in Littleton, Colorado where she had been visiting, and told him she was going to have a smoothie with friends. Dotson had no vehicle with her so she either left the residence on foot or was given a ride. Dotson had flown into Colorado by commercial airline on November 16, 2006 from San Antonio, Texas, where she was on active duty serving as a nurse at Lackland Air Force Base with the United States Air Force. She failed to return to active duty as scheduled and the return flight portion of her ticket was never used. She left behind a 16-month-old daughter at her brother’s home in Colorado. She was scheduled to discharge from the Air Force in March 2007.

“The day after Nonnie disappeared, police did get a ping from her cell phone not far from the area she was last seen. Dogs traced her scent there, but no evidence was found.” –9 News

Investigators believe Nonnie was taken against her will and her parents know she wouldn’t just walk off. Cold case detectives said solving the disappearance of Nonnie Dotson is going to take someone coming forward after all these years to say ‘this is what I know happened.’ Nonnie Dotson’s family is offering a $25,000 reward for information leading to her whereabouts. The Denver Post reports, “the Doyles are using their retirement money for legal fees, and trying to sell their house in California with the hope of using the money to increase the reward to $100,000.” Please click here for the Colorado Bureau of Investigation case details for Nonnie Ann Dotson. Anyone with information about Nonnie’s disappearance is asked to call the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office. A detective has been assigned to the case.

Anyone with additional information is asked to contact the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office tip line at 303-271-5612. (Reference NamUs #MP10563)

Missing Poster:

Colorado Bureau of Investigation:

In the News:

“Nancy Grace America’s Missing” spotlights the case of missing 31-year-old Nonnie Dotson of San Antonio, Texas. -HLN (February 11, 2011)

Related Links:
Air Force: Nonnie Dotson Missing
Colorado Bureau of Investigation: Cold Case Files
Missing Veterans: Nonnie Ann Dotson
The Charley Project: Nonnie Ann Dotson
Wilford Hall nurse missing
Daughter of Missing Air Force Nurse Sick
Man Who Fathered Missing Woman’s Child Will Talk
Investigators talk to father of missing nurse’s daughter
Family of Missing Nurse Offers $10,000 Reward
Family of Missing Air Force Mom Offers $10,000 Reward for Information on Her Whereabouts
Family puts up reward to help locate nurse
Case Of Missing Air Force Nurse Grows Cold
Missing mom’s trail goes cold
Nurse didn’t show up for smoothie with friends
Nonnie Dotson: Nancy Grace America’s Missing
Rapist ‘offered $20,000 cash, a Mercedes-Benz and a $14,000 ring to fellow inmates to kill his victim before she testified’
Man Who Tried To Have His Rape Victim Killed Gets Maximum Sentence
Rapist Tony Dotson Guilty in Murder-For-Hire Bid Against Victim…and Sister Is Still Missing
‘Something happened to her:’ Family wants answers 10 years after single mom’s disappearance
Colorado Cold Cases: The Murders of These 3 Housewives Are Still Unsolved in Colorado
Fears Mount on Fate of Missing Air Force Nurse
HLN: Nancy Grace: America’s Missing (YouTube)
Episode 4 – The Disappearance of 1Lt Nonnie Dotson
Where Is Nonnie Dotson? – The Philosophy of Crime

Cold Case: Amy Gellert Fatally Stabbed Outside Florida Home; AWOL Marine Dominic Kanuika an Alleged Suspect in the Case, $5000 Reward (March 20, 1994)

In the more than 20 years since the murder of a 21-year-old woman outside her home in Cocoa Beach, Florida, there have been a number of men investigated in connection with the case — but the crime remains unsolved. Members of the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office share details with “48 Hours”‘ Erin Moriarty.

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On the evening of Sunday, March 20, 1994, Charlotte “Amy” Gellert was attacked by an intruder outside her residence in Cocoa Beach. She died as a result of her injuries. The intruder was described as a white male, early twenties, 5’07″ – 5’10″ tall, weighing between 165 to 185 pounds. Any persons providing information in reference to this case may be eligible for a reward up to $5,000.00. –Brevard County Sheriff’s Office

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Amy Gellert, Civilian, Florida

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Related Links:
Twitter: @Justice_for_Amy
BCSO: Unsolved Homicide of Charlotte “Amy” Gellert
Who Killed Amy Gellert?
48 Hours: Who killed Amy Gellert?
48 Hours Premiered ’48 Hours Cold Case: Who Killed Amy Gellert?’ on CBS (2017)
Who killed Amy Gellert? More than 20 years after student, 21, died protecting parents from masked knifeman, police admit they are no closer to an arrest
Florida investigators hunt for unusual weapons in brutal 1994 attack, murder
Who Killed Amy Gellert? Help cops solve a 23-year-old cold case
A conversation with Amy Gellert’s killer
23 Years After a Fla. Woman Was Fatally Stabbed in Her Driveway, Can These Clues Crack the Case?
Torres: ’48 Hours’ brings in tips in Cocoa Beach cold case
Help catch Amy Gellert’s killer
Preview: “48 Hours” Cold Case: Who killed Amy Gellert?
Sneak peek: “48 Hours” Cold Case: Who killed Amy Gellert?
“48 Hours”: Spring break cold case
48 Hours Preview: Who Killed Amy Gellert?
A conversation with Amy Gellert’s killer
A look at possible suspects in Amy Gellert’s murder
Help catch Amy Gellert’s killer
Retired detective still haunted by Gellert cold case