True Crime On This Day April 17th

True Crime On This Day April 17th

April 17th

On April 17th in true crime, death sentence, Bessbrook bombing, Bursley Hall tragedy, macabre discovery, and a serial killer in King County.


In Lake County, Florida, already serving a life sentence for murder, Bennie Eddie Demps was sentenced to death for his part in the murder of a prison inmate that Demps was serving time with.

The deaths happened from 1971 to 1976. Demps was a well-known career criminal who had been involved in robberies and violence for some time. In June 2000, he was executed by lethal injection in the State of Florida.


In Northern Ireland, The Bessbrook Bombing took place and killed four Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) officers.

The Provisional IRA had exploded a 1,000-pound van bomb and it was thought to have been the largest explosion carried out by the IRA at that point in time.

On the same day

In Northampton, UK, 15-year-old Sean McGann left his grandparents’ home to visit the funfair at Midsummer Meadow. Sadly, he never made it there alive.

Sean was strangled to death by an unknown killer and his body was found the following morning. 40 years later, the murder remains unsolved but is an active cold case as of 2022.


Near Coyote, New Mexico, State Police Patrolman Richard Gomez, was shot dead while attempting to arrest a 60-year-old suspect for drink-driving.

During the seemingly straightforward arrest, the suspect pulled a gun and shot Gomez in the shoulder. The bullet had severed a major artery and he died shortly after.

The suspect remained at the scene and surrendered when back-up officers arrived. He was later sentenced to 13 years for voluntary manslaughter.


In Ann Arbor, Michigan, 22-year-old psychology major Leo Kelly shot dead two fellow students at Bursley Hall, which is a residence hall located on the University of Michigan North Campus.

He entered the sixth floor of the building and threw several Molotov cocktails along the hallway. The bombs sparked numerous fires which triggered the building’s fire alarms.

Kelly returned to his room and retrieved his shotgun then he waited for other students to begin fleeing the building before firing randomly at them.

He ended up killing freshman Edward Siwik, and resident advisor Douglas McGreaham. He then returned to his room and sat on the bed to await arrest. Police found him calmly sitting on his bed.

He was convicted on June 21st 1982 and sentenced to life in prison where he remains to this day. He has never given a motive for the attack.


In unincorporated Arapahoe County, Colorado, the skeletal remains of an unidentified adult man were discovered by a rancher.

An autopsy showed he was an Anglo-American Indian male between the ages of 50 to 65-years-old. He was found with a baseball cap with a Kicking Horse Job Corps (KHJC) logo.

There was a KHJC close to where he was found that was operated by the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes of the Flathead Nation. Despite the connection, the man has never been identified, and his murder remains unsolved.


In King County, Washington, just three days after his previous victim, Gary Ridgway, AKA: The Green River Killer, picked up 17-year-old hitchhiker Sandra Kay Gabbert.

She was last seen on the Pacific Highway Strip, one of Ridgway’s preferred locations for hunting victims. Gabbert’s skeletal remains were found on April 1st 1984 in the woods below Star Lake Road, a known dumping ground for Ridgway’s victims.

Ridgway buried some of his victims in what he called ‘clusters’, mostly in wooded areas. He would return to the bodies to engage in acts of necrophilia with the corpses.

Ridgway was arrested in 2001, convicted of 48 murders, and sentenced to life in 2003. His true victim count is believed to be much higher.

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