John Norman Collins
AKA The Ypsilanti Ripper and or The Co-Ed Killer.
Breiff Overview of John Collins
Murder #1, Mary Terese Fleszar
After investigators had arrived at the scene a detailed examination of the crime scene took place. They had discovered that the body had been moved three times throughout the month it was in that area. At first, the body was laying a pile of bottles and cans near some elder trees that hid it. It was then dragged five feet from this location into a field, where it had remained exposed throughout most of the month. Although right before the body was found, it had been moved three more feet.
After Mary's body had been found, it was formally identified by dental records the next day
Murder #s 2,3,4,5
His Final Murder
Investigation and why John Collins was Suspected
The next step was to investigate the wig shop were Beineman had visited immediately prior to her disappearance. Now much like all of the other victims, there were eye witnesses who saw a young man with short, side-parted dark hair, talking to the woman. The eye witness from Beinemans case was a woman named Mrs. Goshe. She had talked to Karen, and when doing so Karen told her that "I've got to be either the bravest or the dumbest girl alive, because I've just accepted a ride from this guy". After that Mrs Goshe saw them ride away on his motorcycle.
The motercycle was very important peice of evidence to police. Mrs. Goshe had thought the motercycle to be a Honda of some sort. However after the police questioned Mrs. Goshe the also questioned Carol Wieczerca, a clerk in the store adjacent to the wig shop, Wieczerca was able to state that the model of the motorcycle upon which Beineman had rode away from the wig shop was actually a Triumph. That later lead to The description of the young man with whom Beineman had last been seen alive was heard by a patrolman named Larry Mathewson, who believed the person described by Mrs. Goshe and others may be one John Norman Collins. Collins was a former fraternity member of his who had previously been interviewed but eliminated from police inquiries, and who he had himself seen riding his motorcycle around the Eastern Michigan University campus on the afternoon of July 23. When Mathewson questioned Collins on July 25 as to his movements two days earlier, he admitted that on the date in question he had been riding his Triumph Bonneville in the vicinity, and that he had stopped to converse with a former girlfriend of his while doing so (the point at which Mathewson had observed him). Police had already established that Collins was a known motorcycle enthusiast who owned several motorcycles, including a blue Triumph Bonneville.
What Got Him
After Collins was the forces number one suspect his uncle did some digging in his own home.David Leik had been on vacation with his family at the time of Beineman's disappearance, and had only returned home on July 29—three days after the discovery of her body. Throughout their vacation, Collins had been temporarily residing in the Leik family's Ypsilanti home, having been granted sole access to the house in order that he could feed their dogs. When they got back home, Leik's wife, had noted numerous paint marks covering the floor of the family basement, and that several items including a bottle of ammonia, some washing powder, and a canister of black spray paint were missing from the household. After accusations against his nephew, the dots started to connect in his head. Leik then went down to the basement and scraped away some of the black paint which had been sprayed in his basement to reveal a stain which looked ominously like human blood and immediately returned to the police station to report his findings.
Collins was arrested and his apartment and vehicles thoroughly searched.Despite recovering numerous stolen items from his apartment and being informed by Arnold Davis that Collins had been in the habit of committing burglaries with a former roommate of theirs named Andrew Manuel, no incriminating evidence linking Collins to Beineman or any victim of the Michigan Murders was discovered. Although officers were informed by Arnold Davis on this date of the incident two days earlier in which he (Davis) had observed Collins carrying a laundry box containing women's clothing and jewelry from his apartment and towards his car.
Arrangement, Pretrial Hearings
In November, Ryan, in an effort to determine the most effective defense strategy, persuaded Collins to undergo a private and independent polygraph test. Prosecutor William F. Delhey agreed to a proviso that the test be conducted off the record and its results remain confidential.] After the examination, at a meeting with the family in Judge Conlin's chambers, Ryan summarized its tentative conclusions and suggested a "diminished capacity" plea for an insanity defense. Mrs. Collins, incensed at the implication, immediately dismissed Ryan from the case.
In January 1970, Neil Fink and Joseph Louisell, partners at one of Detroit's highest-priced law firms, agreed to take over Collins' defense. Mrs. Collins reportedly remortgaged her home to secure their services.Judge Conlin set a trial date of June 1.
Throughout the trial there were many eye witness testimonies given from both sides. The closing arguments were both very well also. All the evidence in the trial was presented by the prosecutors to the court. Weather threw eye witness testimony or physical evidence such as the the individual evidence of the hairs, or class evidence like the blood stains blood type being A.
On August 19, 1970, John Norman Collins was unanimously found guilty of the first-degree murder of Karen Sue Beineman; he remained impassive upon hearing the jury foreman announce the verdict, although many spectators gasped audibly, and his mother and sister left the courtroom in tears. Formal sentencing was scheduled for 8:30 a.m. August 28. On this date, Collins was formally sentenced to life imprisonment with no possibility of parole. Prior to his passing sentence, Judge Conlin asked Collins if he wished to address the court before manditory life sentencing was imposed. In response, Collins rose from his chair and made the following speech:
“I have two things to say: I think they [the jury] conscientiously tried to give me a fair trial. The jury did not take its task lightly, but, I think things were blown out of proportion. The circumstances surrounding this case prevented me from getting a fair trial. It was a travesty of justice that took place in this courtroom. I hope some day it will be corrected; second, I never knew a girl named Karen Sue Beineman; I never had a conversation with her. I never took her to a wig shop; I never took her to my uncle's home ... I never took her life.”
Collins was then informed by Judge Conlin that if the jurors' verdict was wrong, the error would be corrected in due course. He was then sentenced to serve a term of life imprisonment with hard labor, in solitary confinement, at Southern Michigan Prison.
Upon receipt of the guilty verdict against their client, Collins' defense attorneys announced their intention to appeal upon the grounds of "tainted identification and the change of venue question." The first motion by Collins' attorneys, contending denial of defense motions to move the trial outside of Washtenaw County and the prejudice of prosecution witnesses, was filed with the Michigan Court of Appeals on December 14, 1970. This first appeal was formally rejected on October 24, 1972.
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