Top 10 Posts on Military Justice for All in 2017

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  1. Army Soldiers at Fort Hood in Texas Are Dying at Alarming Rates Stateside
  2. Navy Veteran Richard Uffelman & Two Children Opened Fire and Killed Neighbors Michael and Florence Phillips in Maine, Richard Sentenced to Life in Prison (1989)
  3. Navy Spouse Susan Russo Hired Drug Addicted Hitmen for $100 to Murder Husband David for the Servicemen’s Group Life Insurance (1994)
  4. Navy Wife Dina Kichler Raped & Murdered in Mayport, Florida by John Brewer Shortly After her Husband Deployed for Six Months on USS Forestall (1990)
  5. Joseph Snodgrass, US Air Force, Hired Hitmen to Murder Wife Julie at Clark Air Force Base in the Philippines for the $400,000 Life Insurance Payout (1991)
  6. Fort Bliss Army Commander Captain Lynn Reister Murdered by Enlisted Husband Roger and His Brother Rodney for the Servicemen’s Group Life Insurance (2001)
  7. A Complete List of the 35 Basic Military Training Instructors Court Martialed in the Lackland Air Force Base Sex Scandal
  8. Air Force Retiree Philip Inhofer Murdered by Nevada Escort for Money and 1975 Mercedes Convertible; Michelle Cummiskey Sentenced to 25 Years to Life (1991)
  9. Navy Petty Officer Elise Makdessi Double Crossed & Murdered by Husband Eddie who Came Up with a Better Plan Yielding him $700,000 in Life Insurance (1996)
  10. Air Force SSgt Michael Severance Poisoned with Animal Medications by Veterinarian Wife, Wendi Davidson Plead ‘No Contest’ to First Degree Murder, Sentenced to 25 Years (2005)

A List of Soldiers Targeted & Murdered for Military Survivor and Life Insurance Benefits (SGLI)

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This research is not complete. As a matter of fact, it has only just begun. This list was created as a result of one google search and the discovery of a few cases as research is conducted in other areas. The majority of these murder for life insurance cases are examples of civilian women targeting mostly Army soldiers. Criminals are in fact targeting soldiers for lifetime benefits including monthly financial benefits, housing, medical, and the Servicemen’s Group Life Insurance. The best armor is education. If it seems too good to be true then it probably is. If it appears that your significant other is especially interested in financial matters despite just meeting them, red flag. If they appear adept in how the military works and begin controlling you by threatening to go to your Commander, is that love? How many other soldiers did they marry or date before you? Often we want to overlook things for the sake of peace and the benefit of the children involved. Is it fair that you are an after thought and all that really matters is your paycheck? Be careful of who you let in your world and who you marry. Most of these cases involve a woman targeting a male soldier. Was there substance abuse and/or domestic abuse prior to the final act of homicide? Did they verbally threaten the soldier’s life? Did the soldier feel trapped because they had nowhere to turn without risking their career? How can we prevent these crimes from happening in the future?

All our soldiers need a safe place to turn if they suddenly realize they are trapped in a situation they didn’t bargain for. Spouses literally have a license to abuse on a federal military base. The Commander cannot hold them accountable because they are civilians. Civilian authorities do not have jurisdiction on federal bases. Who holds civilian spouses accountable on federal bases for crimes against soldiers? How often is the soldier punished and held accountable for the spouse’s behavior? Will reporting these crimes mean risking losing their career? Are our male soldiers afraid they won’t be believed or they will be belittled by their Chain of Command and Commander? The spouses who have you murdered in the end for the life insurance are the same spouses that will level false allegations against you, use the children as a weapon, and blow your money while you are fighting wars and risking your life in Iraq and Afghanistan. Our soldiers need a safe way to exit domestic abuse situations without worrying about this same spouse lying to the Commander to manipulate the narrative. This is why seasoned investigators would benefit our soldiers to help evaluate and assess the situation in an effort to keep people safe and prevent further harm. We cannot ‘believe all women’ as evidenced by the female perpetrators in the majority of these life insurance motivated homicide cases. As of now we are dependent on the assessment of one Commander. It all depends on who can tell the best sob story. You have a 50/50 chance at justice in the military if you are dealing with some kind of sociopath hell bent on revenge because you rejected them. Is this why soldiers are not reporting domestic abuse and instead ending up dead?

In Their Name:
James Goodyear, US Air Force (Orlando, Florida, 1971)*
Kenneth Barnes, US Army (Fort Gordon, Georgia, 1972)*
Chester Garrett, US Army (Fort Bliss, Texas, 1977)*
Lee Hartley, US Navy (Jacksonville, Florida, 1982)*
Bill Lipscomb, US Air Force (Lackland AFB, Texas, 1986)
Anthony Riggs, US Army (Fort Bliss, Texas, 1991)*
Joseph Snodgrass, US Air Force (Clark AFB, Philippines, 1991)
David Russo, US Navy (Lemoore Naval Air Station, California, 1994)*
Elise Makdessi, US Navy (NAS Oceana, Virginia, 1996)*
Doug Gissendaner, US Army Veteran (Auburn, Georgia, 1997)*
Kevin Spann, US Army (Fort Gordon, Georgia, 1997)*
Marty Theer, US Air Force (Fayetteville, North Carolina, 2000)*
Lynn Reister, US Army (Fort Bliss, Texas, 2002)*
David Shannon, US Army (Fort Bragg, North Carolina, 2002)*
Jeremy Meyers, US Army (Fort Lewis, Washington, 2003)
Gary Prokop, US Army (Fort Hood, Texas, 2003)*
Paul Berkley, US Navy Reserve (Raleigh, North Carolina, 2005)*
Michael Severance, US Air Force (Dyess AFB, Texas, 2005)*
Donald Gower, US Army (Fort Hood, Texas, 2007)
Gilbert Hart, US Army Retired (Clarksville, Tennessee, 2009)*
Remano Campbell, US Army Veteran (Mobile, Alabama, 2011)*
Travis McGraw, US Air Force Reserve (Saluda, North Carolina, 2011)
Isaac Aguigui, US Army (Fort Stewart, Georgia, 2014)*
Alphonso Doss, US Navy (Orange Park, Florida, 2014)*
John Eubanks, US Army (Fort Stewart, Georgia, 2014)*
Brandon Horst, US Army (Minnesota National Guard, 2014)*
Michael Walker, US Army (Aliamanu Military Reservation, Hawaii, 2014)
Michael Andrews, US Army (Fort Benning, Georgia, 2015)*
Dmitry Chepusov, US Navy (Armed Forces Network, Germany, 2015)*
Jonathan & Lenin Otero, US Army (Florida National Guard, 2015)
Nathan Paet, US Air Force (Nellis AFB, Nevada, 2015)*
Elizabeth Shelton, US Navy (Naval Station Norfolk, Virginia, 2015)**
David Wi, US Army (Fort Campbell, Kentucky, 2015)

The asterisk (*) denotes that the soldier was a victim of homicide or attempted homicide for the insurance money. **Elizabeth Shelton and unborn baby survived the murder-for-hire plot.

Military Wife Conspired with Two Men to Murder Navy Commander Alphonso Doss for One Million Dollar Life Insurance Policy, Yolinda Doss Awaiting Trial (2014)

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Cmdr. Alphonso Doss, US Navy

Navy Commander Alphonso Doss was found dead in his Astoria Hotel room in Orange Park, Florida on February 12, 2014. Both the local civilian authorities and Naval Criminal Investigation Services (NCIS) investigated the circumstances surrounding the homicide. Authorities learned that Alphonso’s estranged wife Yolinda was the mastermind behind the plot to murder her husband. The motive was the one million dollar life insurance policy. Yolinda was having an affair with Anthony Washington, 29, and she manipulate him by using domestic abuse claims as a way to motivate Washington to kill the man who was ‘harming’ her. Washington assaulted, strangled, and stole from Commander Doss claiming he didn’t like the way he treated Yolinda. Washington tried to claim self defense at trial but the jury found him guilty of first degree murder, burglary, and assault. In November 2016, Washington was sentenced to life in prison. Yolinda Doss, 44, and Ronnie Wilson II, 33, do not have trial dates set.

Related Links:
Obituary: Alphonso Mortimer Doss
Wife of murdered Mississippi Navy commander arrested
Estranged wife of slain Navy Commander arrested on murder charges
Alleged murder-for-hire: Does Miss. Navy wife follow in Dad’s footsteps?
Clay County Grand Jury Indicts Wife, Two Others In Navy Commander’s Murder
Estranged wife, 2 men charged in Navy commander’s slaying
Investigators: Motive in plot to murder Navy commander came down to money
This Florida woman wanted a ring from her husband’s finger. Now, police say she’s the reason he’s dead.
First of three defendants goes on trial in murder of Jacksonville Navy commander
1st trial begins in Navy commander’s murder
Trial begins in death of U.S. Navy commander in Orange Park
First trial begins for murder of Navy commander Doss
Trial begins in death of Jacksonville Navy Commander
Evidence reveals details of Navy commander’s killing
Defendant in murder trial admits affair with victim’s wife
Text messages, surveillance video build case in Doss murder case
New documents portray slain Navy commander’s wife as emotionless, scheming for insurance
Trial in Navy commander’s death comes down to a calculated murder or self-defense
Lawyers frame greed and self-defense as competing motives in local Navy Commander’s murder
Man guilty in slaying of Navy commander
Man found guilty in Navy commander’s murder
Guilty: Jury convicts first defendant in Naval commander’s murder
Man convicted for murder of Navy Commander in Orange Park
First of 3 defendants found guilty in murder of former Navy Commander
Navy Commander’s murderer sentenced to life in prison
Man sentenced to life in Navy commander’s murder
Navy Commander Alphonso Doss (Military Corruption)
Naval Commander slain (YouTube)
Arrests made in Navy commander’s death (YouTube)


U.S. Navy Commander Alphonso Doss, 44, was slain at a hotel in Orange Park about two weeks ago. -Action News Jax

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)

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Katherine Morris

Katherine Morris, 22, was found dead in her car near the Arundel Mills Mall in Maryland on May 6, 2012. Katherine was a University of Maryland student and married to Army spouse, Isaac Goodwin, who was stationed at Fort Bragg in North Carolina. According to a website dedicated to Katherine Morris, she died from carbon monoxide poisoning from charcoal grills lit in her car. Katherine’s family questioned the ruling of suicide by the Army and the Anne Arundel County police department immediately and were eventually successful at getting some retired civilian detectives to look into their suspicions of homicide motivated by life insurance fraud. Interestingly, Anne Arundel County police department also had jurisdiction of the homicide investigation of Army soldier Karlyn Ramirez, who was murdered in 2015. Karlyn’s husband Maliek Kearney and his new girlfriend Doris Delgado face federal murder charges. Karlyn’s homicide is similar in motive to the theories Katherine’s family has about her suspicious death. Karlyn and Katherine both appear to have been targeted and became the victims of domestic violence and/or life insurance fraud. The true motivation behind the Karlyn Ramirez and Katherine Morris deaths is unknown at this time but given how many homicides occur in the military with the common motive of domestic violence and/or life insurance, the Katherine Morris case deserves a second look.

Three families have asked for similar law changes for victims of domestic violence in the military since 2011. Representative Bruce Braley introduced the Holley Lynn James Act on behalf of Fort Bragg Lt. Holley Wimunc who was murdered by her Marine husband John Wimunc in 2008. The bill was advocating for the removal of the Commander and the Chain of Command from the investigation and adjudication of felony crimes like domestic violence because of their inexperience with the modus operandi of offenders. Unfortunately the bill was never even considered and this bill may have had the power to prevent what happened to Katherine Morris, Michelle Miller, and Karlyn Ramirez. Michelle Miller’s family believes she was targeted by an Army recruiter at her Rockville, Maryland high school and became the victim of domestic violence and homicide, despite the Army’s ruling of a double suicide. As a result, Michelle’s family is advocating for Michelle’s Law, which is an effort to encourage Congress to pass a law that would try military abuse and murder cases in civilian court. Katherine’s family is currently advocating for the Katherine Morris Military Spouse Protection Act. All of these law proposals ask that the Chain of Command be removed from the investigation and adjudication of felony crimes because of their inexperience at handling these complex cases. Similar bills have also been introduced to Congress to include the Sexual Assault Training, Oversight, and Prevention Act and the Military Justice Improvement Act. The military needs experienced investigators to get to the bottom of the truth in an effort to prevent crime and save lives.

Related Links:
For Kathy’s Sake, Inc.
Obituary: Katherine Sarah “Kat” Morris
U.Md. student found dead in car near Arundel Mills Mall
Questions abound after student death
Fort Bragg soldier accused of fraud after wife’s suicide
Army investigates allegation soldier drove UMd. student to suicide
Retired officers to give Anne Arundel County cold cases new life
Retired detectives to review 2012 suicide near Arundel Mills
Police reopen probe of Rev. Morris’ daughter’s death
Police Launch Independent Review Into UMD Student’s Suicide Death
Police re-open ‘suicide’ case of wife who was heartbroken after she discovered ‘soldier husband only wed her for Army benefits and was sleeping with other women’
Mother of apparent suicide seeks answers
Marguerite Morris v. Prudential Insurance Company of America (2013)
NAACP seeks federal probe of 2012 death in Hanover
Anne Arundel County mom not convinced her daughter committed suicide, calls for DOJ investigation
Morris v. Goodwin (2014)
Mother’s Search for Answers in Daughter’s Death Leads to Shelter Closure
Anne Arundel Police Response to Freedom of Information Request
Mother seeks emails in daughter’s death investigation
When Katherine Morris, 22, died suddenly, police ruled it suicide, but her mother continues to investigate
Marguerite R. Morris, Personal Representative of the Estate of Katherine Sarah Morris v. Isaac Jerome Goodwin (2016)
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)
Evidence Reveals Army Reserve Recruiter Adam Arndt Murdered High School Student Michelle Miller & Then Killed Self, Army Investigators Claim Double Suicide (2013)
Army Pfc Karlyn Ramirez Found Shot to Death in Home, Army Sgt Maliek Kearney & Army Veteran Dolores Delgado Charged with Across State Lines Murder, Feds Prosecuting (2015)
Servicemen’s Group Life Insurance is a Common Motive for Murder
Family of Katherine Morris wants Dept. of Justice to investigate death
Army Specialist Isaac Goodwin allegedly marries for money, and his wife commits suicide

Air Force Reservist Travis McGraw Murdered his Wife Vanessa for the $100,000 Life Insurance Policy; Sentenced to Life, No Parole (2011)

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Vanessa Mintz and Travis McGraw

On February 19, 2011, Vanessa Mintz was found shot and killed at her family owned mountain Lodge in Saluda, North Carolina. After police conducted a thorough investigation they learned that a shell casing at the scene of the crime matched a gun owned by Travis McGraw, a police officer in the Air Force Reserve. They also learned that Travis was in love with a woman by the name of Mary-Beth who gave him an ultimatum. Mary-Beth asked Travis to choose her or Vanessa and get back to her once he decided. Less then 48 hours later, Vanessa was dead. It is believed that Travis killed Vanessa for the $100,000 military life insurance policy. At trial, the public learned that Travis asked his Air Force Commander about the life insurance policy within twelve hours of Vanessa’s death. Travis was found guilty by a jury of his peers and sentenced to life without parole. Travis McGraw appealed his conviction but it was denied.

Learn more: Servicemen’s Group Life Insurance is a Common Motive for Murder

Related Links:
Text messages lead authorities to suspect in murder of Saluda woman
Husband charged with murder in slaying of NC Realtor
McGraw Backs Out of Plea Agreement
Former Police Officer Rejects Plea Deal In Wife’s Polk County Killing
Travis McGraw Guilty Plea Withdrawn on Friday
McGraw found guilty of first-degree murder
McGraw sentenced to life in murder of wife
McGraw Murder Appeal Hearing Set for Wednesday
McGraw Murder Conviction Appeal Denied
McGraw murder conviction appeal denied | Life Insurance Fraud
’48 Hours’ report on Mintz murder airs Saturday
“48 Hours” Investigates the Mysteries Behind a Missing Daughter & a Murdered Mom in a Saturday Night Double Feature
The Ultimatum | 48 Hours [Video]
Mary Beth Fisher on Travis McGraw’s reaction to his wife’s murder
Vanessa Mintz’ commitment to her community
The Ultimatum: A crucial clue and shocking secret revealed in the hunt for a North Carolina mother’s killer [Video]
Vanessa Mintz, Travis McGraw: CBS’ 48 Hours Features Hendersonville, North Carolina Murder Case
Local “48 Hours” Case Update


Two daughters are determined to find their mother’s killer.
Will the investigation expose hidden secrets? -48 Hours

Alleging Abuse, Family Hires Teenager to Kill Retired Army Recruiter Gilbert Hart for Control, Cash, Life Insurance & Military Death Benefits (2009)

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Gilbert Hart, US Army Retired

Rebecca Hart came home to what she thought was a suspected robbery in progress on June 2, 2009. She called the police and what they discovered was that her husband, retired Army recruiter Gilbert ‘Gib’ Hart was dead. He had been shot once in the head but they found no gun located near him. An no cash or other valuables had been stolen from the home. Investigators quickly learned from a couple of local teenagers that Gib’s children, Becca and Alex, were involved in the crime. They discovered that the children had been looking for someone to kill their father for a few months. And they finally found someone willing to do it for them: John Patrick ‘JP’ George. Fifteen year old JP George was easily manipulated after learning that Gilbert abused Becca and Alex. JP had a mother who was a victim of domestic violence so he didn’t want anyone to go through abuse. Unfortunately for him, there was no abuse. Gilbert may have been controlling of the finances and the way he ran his house but he was no abuser. JP admitted to committing the crime and being hired by Becca and Alex to do it. They also gave him the gun of which he threw in the Savannah Lake after killing Gib. All three kids cracked when questioned by the police and eventually they gave up the real mastermind. Apparently Rebecca Hart asked her children to find someone to kill their father. She offered to pay someone $200 to kill Gilbert Hart so she could be out from under his control and have his cash, life insurance, and military death benefits. On the night of the crime, Rebecca also gave her son the code to the safe so he could gain access to the gun that would end Gib’s life. Rebecca Hart, Becca Hart, Alex Hart, and JP George all received fifteen years in prison for conspiracy to commit murder. Gib’s children from another marriage reiterated that their father was never abusive towards them and that his new wife and children did not deserve to use the Hart name.

Related Links:
Teenager arrested for her father’s murder
Arrests made in homicide of Gilbert R. Hart
Teen’s bond reduced in dad’s slaying
Rebecca Hart’s Bond Reduced; Mother Named Suspect
Clarksville teen charged in father’s murder appears in court
Clarksville Murderer for Hire Sentenced
Teen sentenced to 15 years for conspiring to murder father
Son’s testimony reveals details of 2009 Clarksville murder
Clarksville courts see emotional trials in 2014
Murder of Military Father Makes the Case for ‘I’d Kill for You’ on Investigation Discovery
I’d Kill for You: Hart of Darkness (YouTube)


A former military man, Gilbert Hart believes a strict parenting style is the best approach with his rebellious teenagers, but his wife Rebecca thinks that he’s crossed the line. It isn’t long before, this family feud escalates into an all-out war… -Discovery ID

Sgt 1st Class Donald Gower, US Army, Conspired & Offered to Pay Others to Murder his Estranged Wife Hidi Gower for the Life Insurance (2007)

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Sgt 1st Class Donald Gower, US Army

Fort Hood soldier Sgt. 1st Class Donald Gower, US Army, conspired and offered to pay Chaka Johnson, Jeremiah Ellison, and John Martinez money to murder his estranged wife Hidi Easton Gower. Sgt. 1st Class Gower’s motive was the life insurance payout worth $110,000. Hidi was shot to death in a VFW parking lot in Texas on July 4th, 2007.

Donald Gower – sentenced to life in prison without parole
Chaka Johnson – sentenced to life in prison without parole
Jeremiah Ellison – sentenced to 7 years for tampering with evidence
John Martinez – testified for prosecution in Gower/Johnson trials
Regina Edwards – charges dropped, testified for prosecution in Gower/Johnson trials

Learn more: Servicemen’s Group Life Insurance is a Common Motive for Murder

Related Links:
Five arrested in connection with murder plot
New Details Emerge In Murder For Hire Plot
Suspect in Murder for Hire Headed Back to Texas
Soldier accused of ordering wife killed returning to Texas
Texas Man in Riley County Jail – Victim’s Mother Speaks Out
Husband in jail for wife’s murder
Murder-for-hire member indicted
Johnson found guilty of capital murder
Chaka Johnson sentenced to life in prison
VFW murder trial moving forward
Capital murder trial to begin Monday
Testimony: Fort Hood man discussed killing wife a lot
‘Star witness’ takes stand
Testimony sheds light on murder plot
Testimony ends in Gower murder trial
Gower convicted of wife’s murder
Jury finds Gower guilty in capital murder trial
Gower sentenced to life imprisonment for murder
Capital murder charged dropped; Ellison sentenced for tampering with evidence
Mass killings overshadow Killeen-area deaths involving soldiers
Inmates hit with more limits after foiled escape
Court of Appeals: Chaka Romain Johnson v. The State of Texas (2010)
Court of Appeals: Donald Dean Gower v. The State of Texas (2010)
Gower v. Stephens (2013)

Navy Reservist Paul Berkley Murdered by Wife Monique in North Carolina while Home on Leave from Middle East, SGLI was the Motive (2005)

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Paul Berkley, US Navy Reserve

Paul Berkley, US Navy Reserve, was murdered by his wife, Monique Wallace Berkley, her teenage lover, and his friend on December 18, 2005. Paul was home for Christmas on leave from a deployment in the Middle East. Monique, Andrew Deshawn Canty, and Latwon Darrell Johnson were all charged with first degree murder. The motive was the $400,000 Servicemen’s Group Life Insurance payout. Monique pleaded guilty to first degree murder and was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole. The state announced it was going to seek the death penalty if Berkley had gone to trial. Andrew Canty pleaded guilty to first degree murder and was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Latwon Darrell Johnson pleaded guilty to second degree murder and conspiracy to commit first degree murder. He was sentenced to 23 years in prison. Johnson appealed his sentence claiming that it was too harsh given his role in the slaying and his cooperation with police and prosecutors.

Paul Berkley survived his deployment in the Middle East without any injury, but he couldn’t survive one week with his wife Monique. -Profiler Candice DeLong

Related Links:
Rapist on the Loose; Police Investigate Murder of Navy Reservist
Slain sailor’s knowledge, skills lauded at Bahrain memorial service
Wife, Teen Lover Held in Slaying of Sailor
Tampa Native Accused in Husband’s Slaying
Wife Charged In Reservist’s Murder
Wife, her teen lover charged with killing husband in park
Reservist Slain Allegedly by Wife and Teen Lover
Berkley frantic on 911 tape
Bizarre Murder Case Raises New Blogging Issues
Wife Of Murdered Navy Reservist Gets Life
Wife of murdered reservist gets life
Wife in Fatal Love Triangle Admits Guilt, Gets Life Sentence
Man Appeals Sentence in Naval Reservist’s Slaying
Murder of SP native takes new turn with appeal filed by one defendant
Home From Iraq and Dead Within Days
Servicemen’s Group Life Insurance is a Common Motive for Murder
Navy Reservist Murdered by Cheating Wife’s Teen-age Lover
Scorned: Love Kills “Rules of Engagement” (Investigation Discovery)
Snapped “Monique Berkley” (Oxygen Media)
Deadly Women “Murder for Me” (Investigation Discovery)


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. -Discovery ID

Air Force SSgt Michael Severance Drugged by Wife; Wendi Davidson Plead ‘No Contest’ to 1st Degree Murder, Sentenced to 25 Years (2005)

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SSgt Michael Severance, US Air Force

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

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

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

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

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

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

Related Links:
Autopsy Finds Airman’s Body Was Stabbed 41 Times
Airman found dead in Texas pond laid to rest in Maine
Vet indicted for allegedly drugging husband to death
Veterinarian indicted on murder charge
Lee family hires PR firm to help in custody fight
Lee Man Eager for Trial in Texas
Murder suspect charged again
Davidson Murder Trial Delayed in Texas Over DNA Evidence
Wife accepts deal in Texas murder case
Wife accepts plea in Texas murder case; Davidson gets 25 years in death of Michael Severance of Lee
Veterinarian sentenced to 25 years for husband’s murder
DVM gets 25 years for husband’s murder
Police Blotter: Murderer nabbed via tracking, Web search
Wendi Mae Davidson v State of Texas (2008)
Dad of Slain Mainer Angered by Insurance Payout
Texas mail chain massacre
She’s Filing Her Nails While They’re Dragging The Lake: Court Of Appeals Of Texas Finds That Local Authorities Didn’t Piggy-Back On Federal Investigation
True-crime writer explores 2005 murder of Lee native
Legally Speaking: Murder, She Googled
‘We just try to enjoy him when we can’: Family of slain Lee native welcomes home his son
Nightmare Next Door – Veterinarian Killed Texas Air Force Hubby, Dumped Body in Stock Pond on Investigation Discovery
A Poisoned Passion by Diane Fanning
One More Reason Why by Diane Fanning
A Poisoned Passion: A Young Mother, her War Hero Husband, and the Marriage that Ended in Murder
Maine Fallen Heroes
Nightmare Next Door: The Unwelcome Wagon (Investigation Discovery)
The Venomous Veterinarian: The Murder of Michael Severance (YouTube)
Servicemen’s Group Life Insurance is a Common Motive for Murder


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