True Crime On This Day July 5th

True Crime On This Day July 5th

July 5th

On July 5th in true crime, double murders, robbery, family murder, mystery body, cold cases, missing people, unsolved crimes.


In San Diego, Robert Alton Harris and his younger brother took a car at gunpoint which was occupied by two 16-year-old boys, John Mayeski and Michael Baker.

Harris held them hostage and used the vehicle as a getaway car after they robbed a bank nearby. The boys were driven to a remote area and then shot dead. Harris was arrested only one hour after the incident.

The arresting officer was the father of one of the boys but didn’t realise until later. Harris was convicted and sentenced to death for the double murder. He was executed in 1992.


In Harris County, Texas, Allen Wayne Janecka killed an entire family in order to collect an inheritance. Their bodies were discovered a day later by their neighbour and the initial investigation claimed that the deaths were a result of a murder/suicide.

The victims were 35-year-old John Wanstrath, his 36-year-old wife Diana Wanstrath, their 14-month-old son and a family friend Gertrude Zabolio.

They had been strangled and shot to death. Janecka was finally arrested on November 23rd 1980 and sentenced to death. He was executed by lethal injection in Texas on July 24th 2003


In St. Louis City, Missouri, 80-year-old Birdie Johnson was raped and stabbed to death during a robbery. She had been murdered by career criminal and neighbour Thomas Henry Battle and his accomplice Tracy Rowan.

High on drugs and drunk on alcohol, they had broken into Johnson’s property with the intention of robbing it but decided to kill Johnson so there was not a witness.

Johnson was stabbed with her own 12-inch butcher’s knife. She was found in the early hours of the morning, still alive, but later died in hospital of horrific stab wounds.

Battle and Rowan were arrested shortly after. Rowan was sentenced to life and Battle was sentenced to death. He was executed by lethal injection on August 7th 1996.


In Batesville, Arkansas, an unnamed husband and wife were camping near the Oil Trough Ferry when five men attacked them.

In the early hours of the morning, they were awoken by the men who had gained access to their tent. They were flashing guns and knives in front of the couple’s faces and ordered the man out into the open. Two men remained inside the tent and repeatedly raped the wife.

The men then made off with $11 (USD). Several weeks later, the couple were shown photographs of four suspects, and they identified Danny Sanders as the main attacker.

He was later arrested and sentenced to 20 years for robbery and 60 years for rape. It remains unclear what happened to the other suspects in the case.


In Loch Arbour, New Jersey, Alfred Podgis and his wife Rosemary Podgis were shot dead in their own home. They were killed by Scott Robert Franz, Rosemary’s son by a previous marriage, and Bruce Anthony Curtis, who was staying with the Podgis’s at the time.

Franz had gotten into a heated argument with his stepfather which erupted in violence. Curtis later claimed he was trying to quell the situation when a gun went off, accidentally killing Rosemary. Franz was convicted of Alfred’s murder, and Curtis was convicted of Rosemary’s murder.

Both were sentenced to 20 years in prison. The case attracted widespread attention and became the subject of a book and a TV movie.


In Sacramento, California, an unidentified female between the ages of 40 to 50-years-old was found in front of a Salvation Army building.

She was unresponsive but was rushed to hospital where she died of a brain haemorrhage. Due to the absence of trauma on her body, her death was classed as undetermined but foul play has never been ruled out.

Despite fully recognisable features, she has never been identified.

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