The Michigan Murders were committed by serial killer John Norman Collins, they were a highly publicized series of killings between 1967 to 1969. The murders began with Eastern Michigan University student Mary Fleszar on July 10th, 1967 and her body was found in August on an abandoned farm a few miles north of where she had disappeared.
Two days after her remains had been identified, minus her hands and feet, a young man arrived asking to take photo’s of the woman and was rightfully denied. They did not give a clear description of the man either.
A year later student Joan Schell was found dead with multiple stab wounds, she had last been seen with Collins, who was a failing student and when questioned he claimed he was with his mother just north of the Detroit border, police took him at his word.
March 1969, Denton Cemetery gave up another victim of Jane Mixer, a law student (University of Michigan) she was shot and strangled, alongside her were her shoes and a copy of Joseph Heller’s novel ‘Catch 22’. Originally it was thought she might be part of the murders but later on a 62 year old called Gary Leiterman was convicted in regards to her death.
26th March, 1969 gave up another victim, Maralynn Skelton who had been badly beaten, and there was speculation it might be drug related, she had spent some time near Collin’s place and then three weeks later a 13 year old, Dawn Basom was found strangled. She had last been seen along a dirt road where Collins rode his motorcycles on a daily basis. Public outcry was increasing, Alice Kalom was found in a field with a cut throat, stab wounds and a gunshot to the head.
The police then had another body to contend with, Karen Sue Beineman, she was beaten and strangled to death. It was this murder that led to his discovery, whilst waiting on Beineman the day she disappeared a woman in a wig shop had gotten a good look at the man on the motorcycle. From then on the details unraveled clues and testimonies led to him being placed on trial for the murders.
Collins was tried August 19th, 1970 and found guilty, he was sentenced to life imprisonment with no possibility of parole due to Beineman’s brutal slaying. In the early 1980’s he changed his name to Chapman, which was his mother’s maiden name, and is currently serving his life sentence in the Marquette Branch Prison, Michigan.
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