True Crime On This Day January 15th

True Crime On This Day January 15th

January 15th

On January 15th in true crime, exonerated after 27 years, triple murder, serial killer Ted Bundy, cold cases, and a restaurant bombing in Germany.


Serial killer Ted Bundy paid a visit to the Chi Omega sorority house of the Florida State University (FSU).

He bludgeoned and strangled to death two female victims and bludgeoned another three victims who went on to survive the attack.

He had intended to kill five people in one day and this had displayed the level of intensity that Ted Bundy had inflicted on the United States since 1974.

Unsolved murders that were thought to have been carried out by Bundy but not proven date back to 1966. He would go on to admit to 30 murders but he had been linked to many more and so the final death-toll could have been a little or a lot higher.

Since he was executed in 1989, there is no way to know for sure how many he had killed.


In West Virginia, a drunken Dickie F. Wimmer shot dead his wife and two infant children. Wimmer, who was separated from his wife, visited an apartment where his family were staying with friends.

A neighbour heard gunshots and soon after was approached by Wimmer asking them to call an ambulance. The police arrived with the ambulance and Wimmer confessed to the murders.

One of the police officers who first saw the scene described it as one of the most horrendous things he had ever witnessed. Wimmer was convicted of murder and given two life sentences.


In Columbia County, Florida, 36-year-old Willie Mease Presley was shot dead at Presley Place. She was discovered in the back room of the business, laying on her side.

No suspect was ever caught for the murder and no motive was ever found. Despite numerous investigations over the years, Presley’s murder remains unsolved. It is an active cold case in Columbia County.


In Dallas County, Texas, 52-year-old Madalaine Magin was raped in her home during a violent robbery. She survived to describe her attacker as a five-foot-seven African American male, despite not wearing her prescribed glasses at the time of the attack.

She went on to identify Charles Chatman during a third line-up of suspects. In August of 1981, Chatman was charged with aggravated rape and burglary and sentenced to 99 years in prison.

He was offered parole on multiple occasions, but it was denied as he refused to acknowledge any involvement in the crime and continued to maintain his innocence.

In 2001, Texas passed a law that allowed inmates to seek DNA testing to prove their innocence. Chatman’s case was granted in 2002 but it took two more years to locate the evidence.

Authorities then held the evidence for another three years until 2007 when new DNA technology could be used to test the samples.

In 2008, after serving almost 27 years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit, Chatman was exonerated and released as a free man into a new world. He received approximately $2.1million (USD) in compensation.

Chatman now suffers from PTSD and works with the Innocence Project of Texas to help exonerate other innocent people who have been wrongly jailed. The true assailant in Magin’s attack has never been found.


In Berlin, West Germany, a large bomb exploded inside the Mifgash-Israel restaurant, a Jewish owned business. The explosion killed one child and injured 46 others.

After the bombing, many organisations came forward to claim responsibility for the attack including the People’s Federation for a Free Palestine and the Arab May 15 Organization for the Liberation of Palestine.

Blame was also laid at the door of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), and the Israeli ambassador blamed the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO).

No one group or individual has ever been held accountable for the bombing, although most investigators strongly believe the PLO was involved.


In Chattanooga, Tennessee, Frank Russell returned home from work to discover that his wife, Edith Russell, had been brutally murdered.

She had been battered to death so violently that she suffered a fractured skull, crushed face, and injuries that left brain tissue on the floor beside her body.

She had last been seen at the local market just a few hours earlier. The house was burgled at the same time as the murder.

A little over one month later, on February 21st, police discovered some of Edith’s belongings in the home of Janice Duckett, who was the girlfriend of Edward Jerome Harbison. Chemical testing revealed blood on one of the vases that had been stolen.

Harbison was arrested and confessed that he and a friend named David Schreane drove to the Russell home assuming it was empty inside and with the intention of robbing it.

During the robbery, Edith returned home, when Harbison beat her to death with the vase, claiming it was out of self-defence.

Harbison was sentenced to death for the murder. In 2011, the death sentence was commuted to life in prison without the possibility of parole by Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen.

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