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Shadows of Murder
In The News, Story or Tragedy?
Every day all around the world there are stories in the newspaper about a murder. Sometimes the murders are close by in our town and other times they are miles away and somehow don't have the same impact. Then there are those murders that occur that we either know the victim, the murderer, or perhaps both. No matter where they occur, the story has a whole new impact to it. It touches us much differently.
For the average person, they usually will not know the victim or the murderer so though the story in the paper is sad or tragic, it is soon forgotten. By the time you are finished reading the story you probably forgot the name of the murderer and of the victim. Many people will never have a connection to anyone involved in such a tragedy but what about the people that do know someone involved? What if the victim is family or a close friend? How does that impact that person? What about when the murderer is a family member or a close friend; how does that impact the person reading the story? Now the story has a whole new meaning, a new feeling inside your heart, it can literally tear a hole so deep that it feels like the wound will never heal. Now it is not just a story that involved murder. This time you remember the name of the victim and the murderer. This time you will hold the memory of this story perhaps the rest of your life.
Why do some people go through life and never have any connection to murder while others may experience it one or more times? Unfortunately I personally have known both the murderers and the victims in several stories that I have read in the paper. I will briefly share each of those stories here. The names of the murderers and the victims are changed for privacy of family connected to each of them.
Home of Double Murder
The story hits the news about a double murder of a young couple kidnapped by a motorcycle gang just for the fun of it. What initially was supposed to be a rape of an innocent young lady which would give a thrill to a boring day turned out to end in murder of the young lady and her boyfriend.
When this story hit the news it meant nothing to me since I was only 8 years old and I did not know all of the gory details. It meant nothing to my parents except that it was a bad tragedy. Later it had meaning to my entire family. We moved into a house that was on the land where the murders took place. What once meant nothing now took on a new meaning and a different effect on all of us. The crime scene tape was still around the trees where the bodies were found. The trials were still not over for the murderers, and as the stories about the murders were in the papers it brought more people to the area to mosey around. This seemed to be the start of murderous events throughout my lifetime.
Murder / Suicide
I was 9 years old when the story appeared in the paper that a close family friend murdered his girlfriend and then killed himself.
Prior to this crime happening, Joseph and his family were neighbors to my family. Joseph and his wife were friends with my parents and their children were friends to me and my sisters and brothers. We did many things together as families like going to the shore, having picnics by a stream and many other things that we had much fun doing. One day a tragic car accident killed Joseph's wife and 2 of his 6 children. Joseph was never the same after that. He was trying to pull his life together and was dating another women. When he heard that she was unfaithful, he lost it and stabbed his new love to death and then turned a gun on himself.
This had a huge impact on our family. We lost very good friends in a car accident but when the murder / suicide happened we lost the entire family. The children were taken away to foster homes. I personally knew Joseph's kids as well as the 2 sons from the woman he killed. I never saw any of them again.
Serial Killer and Food For The Pigs
It is the late 1970s when the story hits the news paper, Suspect caught in connection with the murder of John Schafer. The suspect Terry Quinn was later convicted of not only the murder of John Schafer but also of several other murders. It turned out that Terry wanted to be a mobster so he was doing hits on people that were ordered from someone known as "The Man" whom he only spoke to on the telephone to get his next job. Terry would cut up his victims and then feed them to his pigs.
How did this story effect me? Terry was a childhood neighbor of mine. I used to visit the farm where he lived to play and hang out with his younger brothers. On a few occasions Terry was spending a lot of time at the pigpen when I would be visiting. One time while visiting he was cutting something up with an axe and threatened his brothers and I that he would cut us up too and feed us to the pigs if we did not get away and leave him alone. That incident took place about 5 years before he was convicted of murder. I knew Terry for several years but was not aware that he was killing people and feeding them to his pigs. I think about how close I came to being pig food.
Shooting Witnessed by Students
Another tragedy of murder took the life of a martial arts instructor during a class that he was teaching. An armed gunman entered the karate school and without saying anything opened fire on Jose as he was instructing a martial arts class. The motive was never determined but a bad drug deal was suspected. How did this effect me or anyone else? The man that was killed was my martial arts instructor. He was in great shape, worked out hard, and expected the best from his students. After his death, you tend to think about how quick you can be taken away without warning.
A Wise Guy Turned Murderer
Another headline in the newspaper about a tragic shooting of an innocent couple who was visiting a popular site seeing location. A senseless shooting that left a young man dead after being shot multiple times, and a young woman shot multiple times and survives to identify the shooter. The shooter, Bobby Stein was looking for something fun to do. During his trial it came out that he also killed someone else. He killed a man because he was gay. Later he went back to the scene to decapitate the victim so he could not be identified.
How did this murderer effect my life? We were classmates in high school. We were not friends but I knew of him very well because he was always a wise guy and a bully. At times he made threats against me in high school. He just loved to hurt people because he could. A few years later I worked with his older brother, who also killed 2 people in a car accident. He was convicted of manslaughter due to drunk driving. That was not murder, however it is significant because I still knew him as I did his brother and they both killed people. Knowing them brings the newspaper stories closer to home.
Couple and Unborn Child Murdered
An early morning report on the radio brought chilling news of a tragedy of a couple's bodies being found in a park near a river. The story like so many others was heard but not paid much attention to. It was just another murder which we hear about every day. The next day the same story was in the newspaper along with the identities of the victims. This time the story hit home. The victims were close relation to me. Now the story has an effect on me and is memorable. Additional details about this incident can be read about here,
Murder and a Spirit From Beyond
- Murder, and a Spirit From Beyond
This is a ghost story about a spirit coming back to warn about a double murder taking place at the same time. Very sad but interesting.
Murder out of Passion and Love
Headlines of murder once again reach my eyes in the early morning hours of a woman that stabbed and beat her lover to death while her husband and children waited at home for her. This is just another story that would have been read over without second thoughts except that the murderer's photograph was a friend.
Cheryl and her husband along with their three children have gone camping with my family several times. We sat at the campfire together toasting marshmallows and making hotdogs, and Smores over the fire. She worked at the same plant alongside my wife.
Food and Ants Are The Last Straw
A Social Media posting of a mother announcing the murder of her daughter might not have meant much to many people if you didn't know the person. Like so often before you see these postings and ignore the story unless the name of either the victim or the murderer catches your attention.
It was almost 2 years into their marriage when, (names are fictitious to protect the privacy of the families involved) Cindy and Allison were having little spats over what some people might think are trivial things. Sometimes the spats would escalate to the point where Cindy thought if they split up for a while to give each other space that maybe things would get better. Cindy decided she would move back home to her parents home for a while to get her thoughts together. Before she moved she contacted her mother to inform her she wanted to stay with Allison to work things out. It would never come to that.
One evening Cindy's mother, (I will call her Janice) received a visit from the police to inform her that her daughter was shot earlier that day and did not survive. As Janice learned the devastating details, it was hard to believe Cindy was gone, and over something that didn't involve a stranger. There was no break in at her home, no robbery, nothing that you would expect to be involved with murder.
Cindy was shot by her life partner; her wife Allison. They argued over food being left out which drew ants. This was the breaking point for Allison, that last straw that made her crack. Rather than overlook this trivial problem, or separate if they couldn't work out their differences, Allison took her gun and shot the very person that was supposed to be her life partner, her best friend, her wife.
Once again this was someone that I knew just like everyone of the other stories. Cindy is a relative of mine. This is why that very familiar posting on social media caught my eye.
Knowing someone that is a victim of a murder, or knowing the murderer makes a huge difference on the effect it will have on you. The victims of the murders are no longer just shadows of people that were killed, or shadows of a murderer. They all have names and faces now, and the reasons the crimes happened shape the way you think. The families left behind to deal with the tragedies bring a new aspect to the stories. The effects on everyone that knows the victim and or the murderer are the true shadows of murder. Nobody thinks about that when they read the stories in the news paper or hear about them on the radio or television. Each of these stories have effected me in some way or another, but one thing for sure, I don't just read the story anymore; now I give thought to how it is effecting family and friends of the victims and the murderers. The shadows of murder have faces to someone.