A Cold Case Heats Up
November 24th, 1999: I sat alone at the computer working on Unit Four of Pure Coincidence. My mind drifted back and forth from the work at hand to my brother's death. Thirteen years ago today. Lord how I missed him. Mom and Dad were with him now though..... didn't help any, I missed them all.
Random calls came in from time to time as I worked into the early morning hours. Sometimes I'd take a break and go chat with one of them for a few minutes. Sometimes I ignored them. 555---517-- showed up on the screen. I sat for a few seconds staring at the number before deciding to click on it and answer the caller. 555 is where I live.....state route 555. 517 is a code number that I uncovered that goes directly back to Janet Miller and my brother. I clicked on the number and spoke to a man in California. As soon as possible I checked out his info card and learned that he is an Aquarian. So am I. So was Mike. It was the anniversary of Mike's death..... was I receiving supernatural messages over the computer now!!? or had it just been a long, lonely night and I was getting tired? Well, never being one to go to bed without the answer, I dove right into the conversation with my California guy and within 30 seconds learned that he had once lived in Little Hocking!
Surprised? Neah, not me! I expected something supernatural every day and if I didn't get it I started feeling abandoned! "Were you living here when Janet Miller was murdered," I typed into the chat screen.
"Remember the case well," came his reply! Now I was surprised!
We continued our conversation until the sun was coming up and I learned several things that I'd wondered about for years. Apparently Janet Miller was from Indiana, which I already knew, but contrary to what I'd been led to believe she had not just arrived in Parkersburg the day of her murder! Instead, it seemed she had been a resident of that city for some time and had a house or apartment somewhere in the city. She had checked into the Uptowner Inn that day for reasons known only to her. My new found chat buddy informed me that the police speculated that she had checked into the hotel to meet a man, but no one was ever identified who had actually met with her there.
Memories......bits and pieces of conversations with my former friend ..... strange feelings I'd had so many times..... it all came flooding back as I chatted with the man from California.
I recalled the day my friend Pat and I had gone to the Sundowner Flea Market. It was the first time I'd been there since the old drive-in theater had closed down. Of course I thought of Janet Miller and my brother that day.
Mike was buried just about a mile from the Sundowner at the Sunset Memorial Gardens Cemetery. I'd seen the "sun" similarity years ago and noticed the closeness of the two dead people. I'd also wondered about the Player's Club where Janet had last been seen alive. Mike was a member of that club. If she had lived in Parkersburg for awhile before her murder, could she possibly have known my brother? Were they friends? Did they date? Could she possibly have been just another woman in the life of Mike Martin? Who hated my brother so much that when he died and was "out of the way," he went after every woman connected to Mike in any way? Who and why? J.M. those initials had belonged to another woman in my brother's life one time.... his wife. They had been divorced for a few years by the time of his death, but still, I wondered.... could it all be related to Mike and any woman in his life?
My "suspect" had tailed Pat and me that winter day, and came back and told me how he would have purchased a set of skis because they had my maiden name.....MARTIN.....on them, but the shop wasn't open that day so he couldn't buy them! No, he didn't ski. Didn't even know what kind of ski's they were!
And I remembered the story he'd told me one time about a woman he'd picked up in Parkersburg and took out on a date..... expecting her to "put out" before the night was over. But he said she only wanted to tease him because she only dated "cops." I'd asked what her name was and he'd replied.... "I called her Suzie The Floozie".... I'd wondered then, and had asked what he did with the woman. "I took her worthless ass back to Parkersburg and dumped her out," he'd replied. Someone had certainly dumped Janet "Sue" Miller out.....
I thought of all those times I'd stood in the parking lot of Levitt's Funeral Home and looked up at the now deserted windows of the once flourishing Uptowner Inn. Each and every time, I'd felt the presence of Janet Miller, and could almost see her looking down upon the funeral procession as it hauled my brother to his grave. But more importantly, I felt the presence of someone else in that room with her.... a man. Dark haired and slim of build, he stood behind her with his arms wrapped around her and peered over her shoulder at the same funeral procession, and a dark and evil plan took root as he watched the long line of blond haired, blue eyed women that were the relatives of Richard Michael Martin.
My mind went back to the Beverly, Ohio Christmas Parade of 1987. It had only been a year since my brother's death and I was still having a pretty rough time. My friend Judy suggested we build a float to represent my kennel...Granville Shepherds, and enter it in the parade. She thought the fun and excitement of building the float and contacting owners of some of my dogs to invite them to participate would be good for me. She was right.
I walked with solid black, 110 pound Pete, my old foundation stud dog directly behind the float and to the right, while Diane followed behind me with Juscha, and Judy followed her with Kahn, and so on and so on until some 14 German Shepherds with their handlers made one of the most impressive, attention getting exhibits in the parade.
In 1995 I learned that my "person of interest" had pictures of me that he'd taken in that parade.
The parade had been the only time that I'd worn my white fur coat, hat and boots, while walking with "a big black dog." Usually I wore old work clothes when out with my dogs!
That parade had taken place three years before I met this man! And at no time during the four years that I knew the man, had he mentioned these pictures to me! But as soon as I was away from him he began showing the picture, which he'd had made into a slide, to his girlfriends! I hadn't even known the man owned a screen and projector! **Although I'd once had a dream that indicated that he did, and I'd sent it to Winstanley....just like everything else.
Conversation Reveals Much
As my chat with the man in California continued, I recalled various "pieces" of information that I'd always felt fit into the Miller puzzle, but I'd never been able to locate exactly where.
I remembered my suspects ex-wife telling me how they had planned on getting married and had set the wedding date a dozen times only to have him ruin all the plans. Until right after the murder of Marie Blough, that is.
Suddenly he became determined to get married and settle down. By that time his girlfriend was getting somewhat apprehensive about marriage to him and she bulked. Apparently he informed her that if she didn't marry him when he said, then she could just kiss him good-bye because he had a "barmaid from Indiana" in the wings that was just dying to marry him!
So, the wedding went forward, and precisely one week later he was seen at Civitan Park walking with a woman who was not his new bride! Until tonight......until I learned that Janet Miller (from Indiana.... and who disappeared from a bar!).....had actually been in this area longer than the one day that I'd always been led to believe.....I did not consider that it may well have been her by his side that October 1986 day.
Twenty-One Gun Salute
And so.... thirteen years ago today, I stood on a cold, windswept hillside and trembled, not so much from the cold as from the devastation I felt within, as the American Flag was gently folded and laid not in my parents arms, but mine. And a twenty one gun salute rang out across those frozen hills of West Virginia as my brother's casket sank slowly into the ground.
Little did I know that day, how many lives would be affected by that boys death. Little did I know how many people his presence in this world might have been keeping alive.
No Retreat, No Surrender
When the "flock" has no shepherd, then they fall prey to wolves. Mike was our shepherd....not in the Holy sense as Jesus was the Shepherd, but in the realistic sense that when he was alive, if anyone had made a move for anyone.....male or female......that was his family or friend, they would have faced the wrath of Mike Martin. And believe me, that was not a pretty picture.
He was one nasty boy when angered. I miss him, and yet I know as well as I sit here today and tell this story to the world, that there is a killer walking our streets, and there is not a day goes by but what he doesn't smile to himself and say...."I'm glad he's gone."
And well he should be glad Mike is gone. But there is something else he should remember..... for all eternity. Mike and I were both Aquarians. We have the same feelings toward protecting our loved ones, and I am very much alive and still here...... and I will NEVER give up.
And some day, someone out there in this big world will see my pleas for help and a lawman with more on his mind than personal BS will step forward, and when that happens, a killer is going to bite the dust, and I'm going to be standing right there when they snap the handcuffs behind his worthless back. I promise...... for Mike, for Janet, for all those that have followed and for all those who have gone through the living hell of being convicted of crimes they did not commit .... "I am here.
I continue to work "my cases." None are forgotten, nor will they be as long as I yet breathe. I will never give up."
Jill Bohl, Marie Blough, Terri Roach, Patsy Sparks, Ronda Manley, and Jenifer McCrady are all mentioned within the above story because it is impossible to tell the story of any one victim, without showing how their case is "connected" to the group. All of the victims mentioned within this story have their own sections within the pages of Pure Coincidence and the world is invited to read their stories as I have pieced them together based upon information gathered from numerous sources.
Bonnie M. Wells
The following link will take you to John Thomas' Supreme Court Appeal
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF APPEALS OF WEST VIRGINIA