We always hear the argument , "Well who else could have done it?" And the most recent Mark Duenas story is no different. It should never happen, some lunatic invades your family's personal space and privacy and wounds or kills a loved family member. And worse yet, because it is so random, nobody and especially investigators can't wrap their head around the fact that true evil really does exist. A woman sitting outside enjoying the evening while her husband is asleep upstairs or a little boy fast asleep in his bed while his mom is sleeping in the next room. It happens. I've seen it in many cases but thought of these two in particular. In both one, of the people closest to the victim were either wrongfully incarcerated or well on their way when the serial killer came to light.
In 1997 Julie Rea Harper was fast asleep in her bed when she heard strange sounds coming from her son's bedroom. When she ran in, she was horrified to find a man in a black mask standing over his bed. Startled by her entrance the man dropped a knife and ran(the knife was from her own kitchen).
Julie was tried TWICE for her son, Joel's murder. The first trial ended in her conviction and incarceration, which was later vacated by the Appellate court in 2004. She was promptly re-arrested and tried a second time. Worse, in this case the investigators were fully aware that a crazed kid killer (Tommy Lynn Sells) had killed other children in the area. Julie was finally found 'not guilty' on July 26, 2006. links attached at names and below.
On the evening of July 12, 2007 Darlene Ewalt sat on her back deck talking to a friend on the phone and enjoying the nice evening. Her friend on the other end told investigators that they were talking excitedly about an upcoming vacation when suddenly he heard Darlene say "OH MY GOD!" several times before the line went dead.
Her husband Todd Ewalt was upstairs sleeping like a baby when he was dragged out of bed by investigators. His wife had been brutally stabbed and left to die right under the window to the bedroom he was sleeping. He was not told this however for over two hours. He was questioned aggressively while the lead cops took turns playing good cop/bad cop and trying to push his buttons to elicit an angry response.
Eventually Todd lawyer-ed up. His son Nick was being treated as a suspect as well, and both were harassed often by police in the ensuing weeks. Todd wasn't talking, but the DA had a special plan that would allow them to get pertinent information - He was going to impanel a grand jury with full subpoena powers to probe Darlene's murder. This would compel Nick and Todd to testify, and although they could plead the 5th when appropriate, they would be forced to answer other questions about relationships and finance.
This is the train that was set in motion when Adam Leroy Lane was caught and disarmed by the parents of Shea McDonough, whom Lane was preparing to murder in her bed. Once Lane was captured, and his personal treasure trove of 'Serial Killer Must-Have' items (such as masks, black clothes, a spotting scope and several knives, including the one that had slit Darlene Ewalt's throat) discovered, all the pieces fell into place. Luckily Todd didn't have to do time, but his life has been chaos ever since, and Nick, now 25, lives at home with his father after two years of college, his scholarship having been revoked during the ordeal.
Adam Leroy Lane has NEVER given a motive for his crimes.
Links attached at names..
Article written by Mike Palmer
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Article written by Lisa Wallace