Here is a comment that Stephanie of La Reyna left on a post, concerning the Carol Jenkins murder, in 1968:
THE CAROL JENKINS SLAYING
Suspect dies before trial in 1968 Martinsville stabbing
Updated: Sept. 1, 2002
On Sept. 16, 1968, a young black woman selling encyclopedias was brutally stabbed to death in the town of Martinsville.
For more than 34 years the murder of Carol Marie Jenkins remained unsolved.
But on May 8, 2002, police arrested Kenneth C. Richmond, a 70-year-old career criminal with a history of bizarre behavior and affiliation with groups such as the Ku Klux Klan.
Investigators said Richmond was implicated in the crime by his daughter, Shirley Richmond McQueen, who witnessed the slaying as a child.
State police detectives, working in a “cold crimes” squad, were led to McQueen by an anonymous letter. When questioned, they said, she finally confirmed what the letter alleged — that as a 7-year-old, she had watched from the back seat of a car as her father and another, still-unidentified man killed Jenkins.
Detectives said they were convinced of McQueen’s story in part because she remembered a key detail which had never been made public — that Jenkins was wearing a yellow scarf.
McQueen, by then 40, reportedly gave Indiana State Police detectives the following account: Jenkins began to flee when she saw the two men running at her. The other man held Jenkins while Richmond grabbed a screwdriver from the front seat in their car and stabbed her, McQueen said she still recalls what her father said when he returned to the car: “She got what she deserved.” When they got home, her father gave her $7 — one dollar for each year of her life — to keep quiet about what she had seen.
Residents of Martinsville were relieved that the suspect in the case had not been a Martinsville resident. At the time of the killing, Richmond lived on a Hendricks County farm and was just passing through Martinsville on the night Carol Jenkins died. Martinsville’s racist reputation was largely based on the Jenkins slaying, though there had been other racial incidents.
But Richmond never went to trial for Jenkin’s murder. He was declared incompetent to stand trial and on Aug. 31, 2002 he died of cancer.
That hateful comment “She got what she deserved” is just a chilling as the comment uttered by the men in S.C. two years ago. The only difference is that the latter are about to face trial, while the animal back in Indiana died six years ago soon after his arrest. Not only was the animal wasn’t tried until after 2000, but the whole city of Martinsville cover up the murder, letting him get away with it. The police never tried to find the suspect at all.
This degradation of Black women, past and present, must be brought up.
I have decide to add to her comment with a timeline on Ms. Jenkins’s murder, that she too, may not be forgotten like so many murdered and destroyed black women in America.
POLICE ARREST MAN IN BRUTAL ’68 SLAYING
Woman accuses dad in case that marked Martinsville as racist.
Published: May 09, 2002
The Indianapolis Star
MARTINSVILLE, Ind. — A long-held childhood secret might have finally solved the mystery that troubled this community for almost 34 years.
Police say they found the man who killed Carol Jenkins living in an Indianapolis nursing home, implicated by a daughter who described seeing the crime as a 7-year-old from the back seat of a car.
Kenneth C. Richmond, now 70, looked frail and said nothing Wednesday afternoon as he was arrested and taken in shackles into the Morgan County Courthouse. A plea of not guilty to one count of first-degree murder was entered on his behalf. He was held without bond.
Leaders of the Morgan County city, haunted for decades by charges of racism and foot-dragging in the investigation of Jenkins’ slaying, saw vindication in Richmond’s arrest.
“I’m so glad that the guy who did this is not from Martinsville,” said Martinsville City Councilman Harold Stanger. “We’ve had kind of a bad reputation with black people. . . . I’m so glad this is over with.”
Investigators say the story began as Richmond — who was living on a Hendricks County farm, according to court documents — drove through Martinsville on the night of Sept. 16, 1968.
His daughter, Shirley Richmond McQueen, said her father and another man were drunk and filled with racial hatred.
After a silence of more than three decades, she told police she saw her father plunge a screwdriver into the 21-year-old woman’s chest and leave her to die on a rainy sidewalk.
Police said they questioned several other suspects in the years since, all of whom were eventually cleared. Recent efforts at DNA comparisons proved nothing.
But continued publicity stirred the memories and conscience of Richmond’s relatives and prompted them to write an anonymous letter to police in November 2001. It named the former factory worker and farmhand as a suspect.
Another participant in the crime hasn’t been identified.
McQueen, now 40, told Indiana State Police detectives that Jenkins began to flee when she saw the two men running at her. The other man held Jenkins while Richmond grabbed a screwdriver from the front seat in their car and stabbed her, according to an affidavit.
McQueen told police she still recalls what her father said when he returned to the car: “She got what she deserved.”
As the men drove away after the killing, McQueen told police, she saw the victim fall, landing on the grass and sidewalk next to a bush.
McQueen said the woman was carrying a suitcase or box, had a scarf around her neck and wore black-frame glasses.
The details, reported by detectives in reports filed in Morgan Superior Court, match evidence from the crime scene on East Morgan Street.
But court-appointed defense attorney Steve Litz said the prosecutor’s case rests on the memories of a child, without the murder weapon or other physical evidence.
Morgan County Prosecutor Steve Sonnega agreed it would not be easy to rely on the eyewitness account of someone so young at the time.
“Obviously,” he said, “you have to build one brick at a time. Why did it take 30-odd years?
A 7-year-old had to grow up, to mature and to have the guts to come forward.”
Jenkins’ family was relieved by the arrest.
“At least I know that my daughter can rest in peace,” said Paul Davis. “I just felt like she was always saying, ‘Daddy, why couldn’t you find out who did it?’ “
Martinsville Mayor Shannon Buskirk and Indiana State Police Superintendent Melvin Carraway said the killing is now thought to have been a chance encounter between strangers — an Indianapolis-area man with a history of violence and a young woman from Rushville working in Martinsville for the day.
They said the arrest should help clear away the insinuations of racism and sloppy police work that have hung over the community for the three decades that the crime has gone unsolved.
“It was a good day for the city of Martinsville,” Buskirk said. “This has attached itself to the city, and it definitely hurt.”
SUSPECT HAS FACED SIMILAR CHARGES BEFORE
Richmond acquitted of murder, found not guilty of attempted murder due to insanity in ’80s cases.
Published: May 09, 2002
For more than three decades, the slaying of 21-year-old Carol Jenkins was a mystery. Now the man accused of killing her is largely an enigma.
Kenneth C. Richmond, now 70, has faced charges of murder and attempted murder.
According to a court document, in 1985, Richmond was acquitted of murder in an Owen County case. In 1987, he was accused of attempted murder and found not guilty by reason of insanity in Florida. He was fixated upon castrating himself and eventually succeeded. He has had mental health and alcohol problems and was involved with the Ku Klux Klan.
Any information about Richmond comes from the court documents; so far, no one who knows him has filled in the gaps by talking about him.
On Sept. 16, 1968, Richmond is accused of being an angry drunk filled with racial hatred who happened to be motoring through Martinsville when he saw a young black woman walking down a street.
That was enough, according to the accusations, to spur Richmond to harass the young woman, spin the car around and, with the help of an unidentified male companion, plunge a screwdriver into her heart.
In the back seat of the car, witnessing the scene, was Richmond’s 7-year-old daughter, Shirley. She said that when they got home, he gave her $7 — one dollar for each year of her life — to keep quiet about what she had seen.
“He said, ‘It was our secret.’ She had not seen her father for 24 years until she visited him three months ago,” according to a court document filed as Richmond was charged.
Not much is known about Richmond and his life for the past 33 years, beyond the few details contained in the probable cause affidavit filed Wednesday. Little was revealed in it about his work history, but a brother told investigators that in September 1968 — the month of Jenkins’ slaying — Richmond worked and lived at the Cash Bottema farming operation in Hendricks County. That’s about 19 miles from Martinsville.
That document also says that from 1954 to 1979, he was married to Ruby Richmond Welch. She declined an interview with The Star but told investigators Richmond abused her and their children and would be violent when he got drunk. Once, she said, he stabbed her.
“She stated that he hated black people in the 1960s,” the affidavit says. “Furthermore, he was always fixated about castrating himself.”
He asked his wife to castrate him, telling her the act would “tame him.” In the mid-1970s, Richmond managed a partial castration; he completed the procedure in 1982.
His half sister, Linnie Shields, told investigators Richmond sent her threatening letters with razor blades in them before she testified against him in the 1985 Owen County murder case. She also declined to speak to a reporter Wednesday.
Richmond was admitted at various times for “self-mutilation and intoxication, including one incident in August 2000, where he attacked a police officer with a knife,” the court document says. There was no information about where that incident took place.
Wednesday, Monrovia attorney Steve Litz was appointed to represent Richmond. Until then, Litz said, he knew about as much about the case as anyone else who might have read newspaper accounts.
Litz said he had had about an hour to speak with his client and didn’t yet know much about his life, such as where he had worked over the years. For about the past year, Richmond has lived at a health care facility, apparently because of mental health problems, Litz said.
He has advised Richmond not to talk to anyone about the case, he said.
So far, Richmond appears to be coping, Litz said.
“I think he’s scared and concerned, which I would imagine are fairly common feelings for anybody who’s been charged with murder, much less anybody who’s 70 years old,” he said.
VICTIM KNEW DOOR-TO-DOOR JOB CARRIED POTENTIAL DANGER
Published: May 09, 2002
The Indianapolis Star
As a teen-ager, Carol Jenkins wanted to move to Chicago and become a fashion model.
The woman’s life, and her dreams, were cut short when she was stabbed to death in Martinsville in 1968.
Instead of a life filled with glamour and beauty, Jenkins’ death became a symbol of violence and ugliness.
Racism, many believed, was the only logical motive. The 21-year-old black woman, pretty and shy, wasn’t robbed or sexually assaulted.
Investigators say racial hatred was indeed the motive. But the man accused of the crime was apparently just passing through, an interloper who solidified the Morgan County city’s reputation as a place where black people were not welcome.
Jenkins was knocking on doors in Martinsville on Sept. 16, 1968, as she and three co-workers — two white men and a 19-year-old black woman — tried to sell encyclopedias. The women were aware of the potential dangers; they had considered buying tear gas guns, according to a newspaper article days after the slaying.
The encyclopedia gig was a fill-in job for Jenkins; she worked full time at the Philco Division of Ford Motor Co., but the plant was idled by a strike.
A 1965 graduate of Rushville High School, Jenkins grew up calling her stepfather “Daddy.”
She was a toddler when Paul Davis married her mother, and she grew up with five half siblings in a close-knit family.
She was shy and polite, Davis has said.
The night she was slain, some men in a car began harassing her. She sought help at the home of Norma and Don Neal, and Norma Neal tried to help Jenkins by driving her around to find her co-workers. When they couldn’t locate them, Jenkins ended up back at the home, and the woman offered to drive Jenkins to her rendezvous spot.
But Jenkins declined, saying she had been a bother long enough.
“That sounds like her,” Davis told The New Yorker magazine in its Jan. 7 issue. “I always felt like she was a very sweet, sort of naive girl. She had a smile for everybody.
“Carol didn’t like imposing on anybody.”
KEY CLUE LED TO ARREST IN MARTINSVILLE CASE
Carol Jenkins, known as a neat dresser, was wearing a yellow scarf when she was killed.
Published: May 12, 2002
The Indianapolis Star
MARTINSVILLE, Ind. — It was Shirley Richmond McQueen’s secret that led detectives to the long-awaited arrest of a suspect in this city’s most notorious killing.
But the Indiana State Police had a secret of their own, and it was key to persuading them that they finally had found the man who stabbed Carol Marie Jenkins on a Martinsville street in September 1968.
Though she was selling encyclopedias door-to-door on a rainy night, the 21-year-old was impeccably dressed. Accounts of the crime routinely mentioned the white cotton turtleneck, olive green wool slacks and brown jacket with a mandarin collar that buttoned in front.
But the yellow scarf found around Jenkins’ neck was something never divulged by the federal, state and local authorities who investigated her death over three decades.
“She was always a neat dresser,” said Jenkins’ stepfather, Paul Davis. “And she wore a lot of scarves.”
The arrest of Kenneth C. Richmond, a 70-year-old resident of an Indianapolis nursing home, brought consolation to Davis and other relatives seeking justice for the cruelty of Jenkins’ slaying.
Martinsville leaders also hoped for vindication in Richmond’s arrest on Wednesday, saying it finally might put to an end the charges of racism and foot-dragging in the local police investigation of the killing.
But for the Indiana State Police, it showed that even the coldest of trails might lead to an arrest.
“Let’s not lose sight that this young lady was murdered 33 years ago, and her family has experienced a lot of pain in not knowing what happened to her,” Indiana State Police Superintendent Melvin Carraway said.
Two years ago, Davis had doubts that his stepdaughter’s killer would find justice. In frustration, he hired a former State Police detective working as a private detective.
About the same time, Carraway assigned the Jenkins case to veteran detectives Maurice “Bud” Allcron and Alan McElroy, part of a cold-case unit formed to renew investigations that have lost momentum.
“I read the summaries of these murders that can be lost in the files,” Carraway said, “and I think what the families must be going through.
“Sometimes I get calls from those families, asking for help. So we have to commit the resources or publicity to find the answers.”
About a year after the renewed investigation, one answer came in an anonymous letter, urging investigators toward Richmond, a career criminal with a history of bizarre behavior and affiliation with groups such as the Ku Klux Klan.
It eventually led Allcron and McElroy to Shirley McQueen, a 40-year-old woman who finally confirmed what the letter alleged — that as a 7-year-old, she had watched from the back seat of a car as her father and another, still-unidentified man killed Jenkins.
She offered key details of what she saw — including the scarf.
That made the crucial difference between McQueen’s story and all the others that Jenkins’ family and the police investigating her death had heard.
Her surviving relatives sometimes received anonymous claims of “witnesses” to the killing, or knowledge of the killers’ identity.
Detectives found one woman who had called Davis only to determine that her information was secondhand.
Another tipster told the family that the murder weapon had been dropped into a buried gasoline tank not far from where Jenkins’ body was found on East Morgan Street.
The fuel tank was excavated, and authorities found a chisel inside. Police immediately said it was not the murder weapon.
Allcron and McElroy interviewed about 150 people, painstakingly eliminating various suspects identified in calls to Davis and other relatives. By last summer, speculation had begun to center again on a former suspect now living in Florida.
Upon learning that, a woman named Connie McQueen sent the letter implicating Richmond.
In December, when detectives finally tracked down the anonymous writer, she said her former sister-in-law, Shirley McQueen, had told family members that she saw her father kill a black woman — an account that Shirley McQueen eventually confirmed.
She remembered, according to police reports, that “the lady was carrying an item that resembled a suitcase or box. She was wearing a scarf around her neck and had black framed glasses.”
Shirley McQueen told investigators that when she and her father got home that night in September 1968, he gave her $7 not to say anything about what had happened.
His admonition: “It was our secret.”
‘COLD CRIMES’ DETECTIVES HAD MAJOR ROLE IN MARTINSVILLE CASE
Published: May 12, 2002
The Indianapolis Star
When Indiana State Police Superintendent Melvin Carraway committed two veteran detectives full-time to solve the murder of Carol Jenkins, his goal was peace for the victim’s family.
After two years of investigation by the State Police “cold crimes” squad, 70-year-old Kenneth Claude Richmond was arrested this past week and charged with murder.
The killing of the black woman in 1968 fueled Martinsville’s reputation as a racist community.
Officials there hope the arrest will help clear the city’s reputation.
“I understand the feelings in the city of Martinsville,” Carraway said.
“But we were focused on the (Jenkins) family,” he added. “The goal was not to exonerate Martinsville. That is a wonderful byproduct in finding that the (suspect) was not a part of the community.”
Carraway created the cold case unit three years ago.
It consists of two teams, one in northern Indiana and another for the south. Each has two detectives. Some rotate in and out of the assignment.
Their purpose is not to fault the work of past investigators, but to resurrect old memories of witnesses, review old paperwork and evidence — and find new leads.
Maurice “Bud” Allcron and Alan McElroy, who make up the southern Indiana team, each have about 30 years of police experience. Jenkins’ death is the oldest crime tackled by the squad.
The northern cold case team has investigated three deaths.
The work for Allcron and McElroy on the Jenkins case isn’t finished with the arrest, Carraway said.
If there are more tips or leads, they’ll be investigated, too.
And a witness told police that Richmond didn’t act alone.
The detectives have said a second white man held Jenkins’ arms while Richmond allegedly plunged a screwdriver through her chest and into her heart. He is still unidentified.
RACIST REPUTATION STILL HAUNTS MARTINSVILLE
Arrest of out-of-towner in 1968 killing of young black woman only part of solution, some say.
Published: May 19, 2002
The Indianapolis Star
Until recently, accountant Mary Ann Land never had been outspoken about the racist reputation that she thinks is unfairly hung on her hometown of Martinsville.
However, since the arrest of a suspect in the 1968 killing of a young black woman in Martinsville, Land and other natives of the nearly all-white city are starting to speak out about erasing the stigma they think is unfair.
But leaders of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People don’t believe the arrest cleanses the city.
Carol Marie Jenkins, a 21-year-old black woman from Rushville, was killed while selling Collier encyclopedias door-to-door along Morgan Street in Martinsville on Sept. 16, 1968.
Kenneth C. Richmond, 70, who lives in an Indianapolis nursing home, was arrested May 8 and charged with murder. Richmond is white.
His daughter, who was 7 years old at the time of the killing, came forward and told police she saw him do it.
Pastors are preaching that it may be the beginning of a healing process — a softening of hardened hearts. But it may not happen quickly.
“We are not at the end of the road, but at a fork in the road,” said the Rev. J. Christy Wareham of the Presbyterian Church in Martinsville.
“Does racism happen in other places besides Martinsville?” asked Land, who was born and raised in Martinsville. “Yes, it does. Have there been bigots here? Yes. Are there bigots here now? Not so many. There are ignorant people and bad people everywhere. But for 33 years, our community has been the focus of national attention because of this act (Jenkins’ murder).
“An article in the paper today reminds me that the press won’t let up. How long will we have to live like this? Probably for the rest of my life, and I hate that. I don’t think it’s fair. If I look at the whole world, I have to ask why did this happen to my hometown? Maybe it is to make this community a little stronger.”
Martinsville Mayor Shannon Buskirk said Richmond’s arrest finally can bring peace and relief to the Jenkins family.
But he also declared May 8 as “a great day for Martinsville” because that was the day the world learned that a stranger passing through the city may have been responsible for the killing, not a native.
Since Richmond’s arrest, Buskirk’s message has received worldwide media coverage.
There have been long reports on national television network news shows and National Public Radio. Radio stations from Syracuse, N.Y., to the British Broadcasting Corp. in London have made it a talk show topic.
National newspapers including The New York Times have sent reporters to Martinsville.
The Jenkins family has hired Sherma Wise of Media Wise Communications Group in Indianapolis to screen requests for media interviews.
She agreed to interviews with CBS and People magazine but declined NBC’s “Dateline” because she had already agreed to appear on a segment of “60 Minutes.” Wise is noncommittal about book deals.
Buskirk’s and others’ attempts to quell the racist legend of Martinsville don’t satisfy Roderick E. Bohannan, president of the Greater Indianapolis branch of the NAACP.
The NAACP sent a telegram soon after Jenkins’ murder asking for a federal investigation and suggesting Jenkins’ murder may have been a hate crime similar to other killings of blacks in the South.
“I saw the comments from the mayor that this arrest takes the albatross from around the city’s neck because it was a transient,” Bohannan said. “While it may be an important step in solving the crime for the family, it does not solve it completely for the city.
“I know they are trying to make strides,” he added.
But there have been other episodes.
In recent years, Martinsville High School was banned by the Indiana High School Athletic Association from holding home sporting events for a year after alleged racial name-calling around a visiting team’s bus.
Martinsville Assistant Police Chief Dennis Nail wrote a controversial letter published in the local paper after the Sept. 11 attacks complaining about “queers,” “Buddy Buddha,” and “Hadji Hindu.”
“Will this arrest exonerate Martinsville? It would be nice if it would, but I don’t think we can fully expect that,” said high school French teacher Lynnette Liberge, who led a drive that gathered hundreds of local signatures for an advertisement in rebuttal to Nail’s letter.
“What I hope is that people will feel more comfortable if they have been concerned about coming to our city,” she said.
“One of my hopes is that people from both inside and outside of Martinsville can begin to talk about this. Martinsville may be an interesting case study, but it is no different from a lot of other little towns in America.”
TRIAL CANCELLED IN MARTINSVILLE CASE
Richmond is ruled not legally competent to stand trial due to cancer, mental illness.
Published: Aug. 17, 2002
The Indianapolis Star
MARTINSVILLE, Ind. — The family of Carol Marie Jenkins was deeply disappointed Friday after learning that the man accused of her murder is not legally competent to stand trial because he is dying.
Meanwhile, suspect Kenneth C. Richmond’s defense attorney, Steven Litz, expressed his desire for a trial to clear his client’s name, and he chided Martinsville leaders for trying to make Richmond a “scapegoat.”
The 70-year-old Richmond, formerly of Indianapolis, is charged with first-degree murder in connection with the Sept. 16, 1968, stabbing of Jenkins.
The 21-year-old black woman from Rushville was selling encyclopedias door-to-door in Martinsville when Richmond, who is white, and an unidentified second white man allegedly chased her and plunged a screwdriver into her heart.
Physicians, psychiatrists and other health care professionals testified Friday that Richmond’s physical and mental condition have deteriorated rapidly since his arrest May 8.
Cancer specialist Dr. Paul Helft examined Richmond earlier this month at Wishard Memorial Hospital. He said bladder cancer has spread to many parts of Richmond’s body. He is in generalized pain, and scans of his brain show damage that may be a sign of many small strokes.
He mumbles and is semiconscious in a medical ward at the Plainfield Correctional Facility.
Helft gives him about three months to live. A medical specialist from the Department of Correction who examined Richmond on Thursday said his breathing is labored, characteristic of patients with little time to live.
Morgan Superior Court Judge Christopher Burnham ruled Richmond lacks the ability to understand the nature of the charges against him and can’t help his attorney.
He ordered Richmond transferred from the state prison’s medical ward to a psychiatric facility of the state Division of Mental Health and Addiction. That agency is to report to the court every 90 days on Richmond’s condition, and if Richmond can’t stand trial in six months, the mental commitment could become permanent.
“Regrettably, this case will never go to trial,” Litz said. “Mr. Richmond has always maintained his innocence, and I know he would not have wanted the case to end this way.”
Jenkins’ sister, Laura Rodgers, said her family “can’t move forward until Kenneth Richmond is tried in a court for Carol’s murder.”
Reading from a prepared statement, she said, “The family has been waiting 34 years for justice.”
And Jenkins’ family members said they would hold the police and prosecutors accountable to find the second suspect.
Morgan County Prosecutor Steve Sonnega said: “The Indiana State Police are still looking for the second person. I assure (Jenkins’) family we are not giving up.
“We tried our best. But the fact is that his end-stage cancer is real. If his cancer should go into remission, we’ll have a trial. But that is out of our hands.”
MURDER SUSPECT DIES OF CANCER
Kenneth Richmond was implicated by his daughter last year in 1968 killing of woman.
Published: September 1, 2002
The Indianapolis Star
Kenneth Clay Richmond died Saturday of cancer, clinging to his denial of the charge that he killed a young woman selling encyclopedias in Martinsville nearly 34 years ago.
Since his arrest on murder charges May 8 in the killing of Carol Marie Jenkins, Richmond’s health had deteriorated quickly from bladder cancer complications. Earlier this month, he had been ruled incompetent to stand trial.
The 70-year-old man’s death in Larue D. Carter Memorial Hospital, a Westside state mental health facility, leaves questions from multiple angles.
“God gave him a chance to repent and to make amends to himself,” said Jenkins’ stepfather, Paul Davis of Rushville. “If he had confessed, he could have apologized to everyone involved.”
Davis said his family thinks Richmond’s death without a trial isn’t justice, “but it was God’s will.”
A portion of Richmond’s family tried to support him as he was dying, even though those family members also believe his daughter’s accusations that she saw him kill Jenkins.
And residents of Martinsville said they haven’t had the complete cleansing of the city’s racist reputation that they had hoped would follow the arrest. That image was partially developed from the civil rights-era killing of the black woman in the all-white city.
“The criminal case against Kenneth Richmond ends,” his lawyer, Steve Litz of Monrovia, said Saturday. “It is a shame there was no trial because Kenneth never got a chance in court to clear his name.”
State Police, however, continue to search for a second, unidentified suspect in the case.
No public funeral for Richmond is planned, Litz said.
Late last year, before his health and memory began to fail, Richmond did not clearly confess when confronted by his daughter. She was wearing a recording device for the police.
“Mr. Richmond was crucified by the public and the press by what prosecutors said about his background. There is no question he was made guilty by implication,” Litz said.
Jenkins was stabbed in the chest with a blunt weapon, believed to be a screwdriver, while she was walking along a Martinsville street the evening of Sept. 16, 1968.
Richmond’s daughter, Shirley McQueen of Indianapolis, told Indiana State Police detectives late last year that she saw him commit the killing when she, then 7, was a passenger in the back seat of her father’s car.
She told police a second white man in the car, whom she couldn’t identify, joined the chase and held Jenkins’ arms.
Prosecutors have said McQueen waited so many years to come forward because she was terrified of her father. He had a long history of arrests and drunken, violent incidents. He was acquitted of murder in 1985 in Owen County and then found not guilty by reason of insanity of attempted murder in Florida in 1987.
McQueen has not commented to reporters, but she has given sworn depositions to lawyers in which she repeated her claims that her father killed Jenkins and committed other crimes.
But Jenkins’ stepfather has talked with McQueen.
“I believe everything Shirley said,” Davis said. “I condemn him (Richmond) for not freeing his daughter, because she is still a scared person. My family has no hard feelings that she waited so long to come forward. Her family has been traumatized her whole life.”
Members of Richmond’s family who have visited him in state hospitals recently said they were standing by him as family but couldn’t defend his crimes.
Richmond’s lawyer said his client died alone about 3 a.m.
Richmond’s sister, Lennie Shields, said about three weeks ago that her brother had never talked about Jenkins but that she felt “Shirley is right. I believe she saw what she said.”
Still, Shields said: “I wish he could be tried and the charges proved or disproved beyond a reasonable doubt. In everybody’s mind, he’ll always be guilty, whether a trial would have found him guilty or not. It is heartbreaking for everybody.”
In Martinsville, city leaders had hoped the community’s reputation would be cleared by a trial that proved an outsider committed the crime.
Several residents said Saturday that Richmond’s arrest still leaves questions and image concerns.
“There are people in this community who believe that all the bad things ever said about Martinsville should be taken back because of Mr. Richmond’s arrest,” said the Rev. J. Christy Wareham of First Presbyterian Church in Martinsville.
“It may have been a step in the right direction to change some minds,” he said. “And I invite everyone to rethink any negative impressions they have about Martinsville. But we still have a great deal of work to do.”
“MARTINSVILLE: A PICTORIAL HISTORY – LORE AND LEGEND”: http://scican3.scican.net/MAPH/MAPHch13.html
“AFTER ARREST, TOWN SHAMED BY ’68 KILLING SEEKS RENEWAL”: http://www.jessejacksonjr.org/issues/i0517025467.html
(Originally published by The New York Times: http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9403E7DC1F39F934A25756C0A9649C8B63
“INDIANA TOWN: FROM RACIST PAST TO PRIMARY PRESENT”: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=90074719
“MARTINSVILLE: IN HATE’S WAKE”:
Extremists Undermine Town’s Efforts to Overcome Racist Legacy
This article is published in partnership with the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Intelligence Project and also appears in the Fall 2002 issue of the Intelligence Report.
This article is published in partnership with the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Intelligence Project and also appears in the Fall 2002 issue of the Intelligence Report.
By Stephen Stuebner
September 24, 2002 — Diana Griggs, a local African-American internist, would have been the only black person counted by the 1990 census in this little town 30 miles south of Indianapolis — if she had felt safe identifying herself as such on the census form.
As it was, she says she was so terrified of harm from racists who might try to track her down that she marked “other.”
For decades, this leafy, overwhelmingly white town has been trying to overcome a racist reputation so well established that blacks and others have long avoided the area.
“There are places that are not comfortable for people of color, gays and hippies, and Martinsville has a reputation for drawing that line more sharply than any other town in Indiana,” says James H. Madison, a professor of history at Indiana University and author of A Lynching in the Heartland: Race and Memory in America, published last year.
After the long-awaited arrest this spring of a suspect in the racially motivated 1968 stabbing murder of a black woman, many here hoped the town’s racist stigma would be laid to rest.
The Martinsville Chamber of Commerce has hired a diversity consultant and its president, Bill Cunningham, recently announced plans to “undertake a county-wide initiative to address what I like to call making everyone feel welcome here.”
But correcting Martinsville’s image problem may be easier said than done.
It hasn’t helped that Assistant Police Chief Dennis E. Nail’s outspoken views on gays and religious minorities are more in line with those of a nearby hate group than Martinsville’s more fair-minded citizens. Or that, after he expressed these views in blunt terms to a local newspaper, the city council responded not with a reprimand but with a standing ovation.
And it hasn’t helped that a few miles south of town an occasional candidate for public office, Robert J. Farrell, runs the state chapter of a national hate group, the white supremacist Council of Conservative Citizens (CCC). Or that a local church, calling itself a “home for Christian warriors,” promotes Farrell, a version of the anti-Semitic theology of Christian Identity, and the CCC — a group whose Web site recently described blacks as a “retrograde species of humanity.”
It was also bad news when the local high school lost its right to host any sporting events between January 1998 and the fall of 1999 after an angry white mob verbally assaulted black basketball players from Bloomington. (That incident led to the formation of a local diversity club that had grown to 25 members by this May.)
“We do confess that there are folks in our community who are prejudiced, even racist,” school superintendent James Auter wrote in an open letter to the community following the basketball incident.
“However, many individuals and organizations, including the schools, have been working very hard to obliterate the reputation that we have as a community. We felt that considerable progress was being made.”
A History of Hatred
Like other Indiana towns, Martinsville traces much of its racist legacy to the 1920s, when the Ku Klux Klan controlled the state Republican Party, held the governor’s office, and dominated the state Legislature.
In Martinsville, the Klan held a major rally in the courthouse square in 1923. Today, although the Klan’s power evaporated long ago, there are five Klan chapters in the state, including a unit of the Imperial Klans of America in nearby Indianapolis.
Other active hate groups in the states include racist Skinheads and neo-Nazis, for a total of 13 organizations.
The last known public hate group activity in Martinsville was a Klan march and rally in the town square in July 1967, when about 90 cars paraded through town along with robed Klan marchers.
But the folks who hung up their robes, along with those who sympathized with them, did not disappear — at least not right away. That much became clear the following year, when Carol Jenkins was slain.
Jenkins was stabbed to death with a screwdriver as she went door to door selling encyclopedias. No one was arrested, but a suspicion grew that the killer was local, and that the police might even have known who did it. Racists were everywhere, recalls Mary Ann Land, a white Martinsville native.
“If you weren’t one of them, then you knew someone who was. It might have been a neighbor, or it might have been your grandma, or your uncle Bob.”
Then, in July 1975, a white Martinsville man threatened a 21-year-old black man, DeMorris Smith, who worked as a 4-H counselor at a city park.
Holding a sawed-off shotgun, Lowell Clifton spit on the victim and said to him, “If you’re not out of here in 10 minutes, you’re gonna be dead.” Clifton was later convicted of assault and sentenced to one to three years in prison.
By the late 1980s, when internist Dianna Griggs took an offer she couldn’t refuse at the local hospital, she was terrified.
“Every night I worried that I would wake up to see our house on fire or a burning cross in the back yard.”
No crosses were burned, and Griggs says she was accepted in the community. She is now one of nine black adult residents, according to the 2000 census count.
Morgan County, of which Martinsville is the county seat, is home to 490 Latinos, a number that has jumped 115% since 1990.
While Griggs and other recent minority arrivals say they feel welcomed in Martinsville, they are sometimes in the position of defending the town to friends who live elsewhere. When the 2000 census came around, Griggs was emboldened to identify herself as black, “for Martinsville’s sake.”
Some hoped that the arrest this year of 70-year-old Kenneth Richmond, an Indianapolis man, for the murder of Carol Jenkins would burnish the city’s image by demonstrating that local officials had not protected a murderer. But it did not seem likely that that will be enough to cure Martinsville’s reputation for intolerance, especially after the events that started to unfold here last fall.
‘Hadji Hindu’ and ‘Buddy Buddha’
It began with a letter written last October by Dennis Nail, the assistant police chief, to the editor of the Martinsville Reporter-Times.
In the letter, headed “I’m offended,” Nail set out to critique news coverage of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, and in the process vented his contempt for ethnic and religious minorities as well as gays:
If some of the major networks can only show sympathy for the enemy, I might suggest they move their studios and equipment to the end of oblivion with the rest of the cave-dwelling rats that opened death’s door to our countrymen on Sept. 11.Offended? I, too, am offended… It offends me when I have to give up prayer in school. Once again because it might upset Hadji Hindu or Buddy Buddha. I don’t believe the founding fathers were either of these. They were Christian and believed in the one true God of the universe… .Talk about majority. When I look around and I see no Mosque, or fat bald guys with bowls in their laps. I see churches. I’m offended when I turn on a television show and without fail a queer is in the plot just like it’s a natural thing.America put God in the closet and let the queers out. When the planes struck the twin towers I never heard anyone utter, ‘Oh Ellen.’ I heard a lot of ‘Oh my God.’ Now we want to pull God off the shelf, rub His head and expect a miracle.Offended? Well, get over it, because it’s time the dog started wagging the tail. Let’s not be led around by a minority of weirdoes and feel-gooders. I, for one, am tired of it.
Nail signed the letter as a private citizen, but practically everyone in town knew what his job was. For the next three weeks, a flood of letters to the editor crossed the desk of Reporter-Times Editor Bette Nunn, and she ran them, pro and con.
A number of critics called for Nail’s resignation and implored Martinsville Mayor Shannon Buskirk to take action. But city hall was silent. Meanwhile, the letter triggered news articles in the Indianapolis Star and made national news in Newsweek and Time. Eventually, even The New York Times and National Public Radio would make their way to town.
Then Nail addressed a meeting of the local chapter of the CCC hate group, which is headquartered in St. Louis, Mo. A picture of Nail speaking to the group at the Union Christian Church in nearby Paragon was immediately posted on the front page of the Indiana chapter of the CCC’s Web site.
Finally, the Martinsville City Council held a public meeting on the issue, two weeks after the letter was printed. About 80 people attended, and 21 testified in support of Nail. Only one person criticized Nail and the city’s handling of the incident. After Nail addressed the council at the conclusion of the meeting, he received a standing ovation.
Lynette Liberge, a French teacher at Martinsville High School, was so upset by the mayor’s and city council’s inaction that she helped collect 750 sponsors for a full-page newspaper advertisement that ran under the headline, “We respect and affirm the dignity of all people.”
Extremism and the Mainstream
The extremist views expressed by Nail are not unfamiliar features in the political landscape of Morgan County. During the 1990s, when antigovernment “Patriot” militias were on the rise nationwide, two county commissioners were elected who had ties to militiamen and their ideology.
Soon after taking office in 1996, they voted to eradicate the county’s planning and zoning laws — although that move was later rescinded and the two commissioners were tossed out by voters when they ran for reelection in 2000.
The current thorn in Martinsville’s side is Robert Farrell, an auto mechanic and one-time member of the Morgan County militia, who now heads the CCC’s Indiana state chapter from his home in Paragon, a few miles south of Martinsville. He has found an ally in James Brown Jr., pastor of Paragon’s Union Christian Church, where the CCC meeting addressed by the assistant police chief was held.
Brown’s church, which describes itself as Morgan County’s “most conservative organization” but insists that it is “not a racist group,” attacks a host of perceived ills on its Web site, including “tyranny, gun control, socialism, atheism [and] multiculturalism.”
It promotes a relatively soft version of Christian Identity, saying that whites are the real Hebrews of the Bible and that Jews are “impostors” (other, even harder-line Identity believers describe Jews as the literal descendants of Satan).
The church Web page, which touts “racial preservation,” is linked to articles that describe supposed Jewish control of social institutions.
The church’s Web page also says that the real purpose of hate crime and anti-terrorism laws is to “trample down Bible-believing Christians.”
For his part, Farrell has been trying to expand his following not only in Morgan County, but in Indiana as a whole. When he hosted the first state meeting of the CCC for the year, 36 people showed up — hardly a large crowd, but 11 more people than belong to the town’s diversity club after several years of operation. So he decided to run for sheriff, his second bid for county office.
In May’s Republican primary, Farrell received 3% of the vote, or 244 votes. When he ran for public office the first time, as a candidate for the Morgan County Commission in 1990, he also received just 3% of the vote, which then worked out to 589 votes. Farrell declined to be interviewed by the Intelligence Report.
During this spring’s primary, some citizens, including Chamber President Bill Cunningham, were appalled by material on Farrell’s Web site.
“Instead of Farrell’s biographical information and what he planned to do with the office, all we got was this link to his white separatist group,” Cunningham said.
Cunningham contacted the officers of the South Central Indiana Community Access Network, SCICAN, who provided candidates’ Web site links on a Morgan County political page, and asked them to remove Farrell’s CCC site.
Initially, SCICAN President Greg McKelfresh removed the link. But SCICAN Treasurer David Ross, the director of the Morgan County Public Library, argued that Farrell’s First Amendment rights should be upheld if he agreed to place more pertinent information on his Web page about his candidacy for sheriff.
“I said if we take down Robert Farrell’s Web page because his views are unpleasant, are we going down a slippery slope?” Ross told the Indianapolis Star.
In the end, Farrell added some details to the site and the link to the Morgan County political page was reinstated.
Few experts believe that Robert Farrell or James Brown are likely to gain much more of a following than they already have. But given Martinsville’s history, the city still faces an uphill struggle in convincing the world of its good intentions.
“The Dennis Nail incident was the real key,” says Madison, the Indiana University history professor. “Before that happened, I used to tell my students, ‘Let’s not be so quick to judge the people of Martinsville. Let’s give them a chance.’ But the problem wasn’t just Dennis Nail. It was the people in political leadership who didn’t condemn him.”
Ultimately, Madison believes the town will have to change.
“Martinsville cannot keep the world at bay,” he says. “The world is coming to Martinsville, one way or the other.”