On January 18, 1970, two West Virginia University students, Mared Ellen Malerik and Karen Lynn Ferrell were hitchhiking back to their dorm after seeing a movie ("Oliver"). They were picked up and not seen again until their headless bodies were found in the woods about 15 miles south of Morgantown, WV. The case went unsolved for five years before Eugene Paul Clawson, who is now serving out his life sentence, confessed to the crime.
I was growing up in Morgantown in the early 1970s, and the crime caused quite a stir. For the most part, Morgantown was--and pretty much still is--crime free, and the beheadings disturbed and frightened a lot of people. When nothing happened in the case for five years, most people more or less tried to pretend it never happened. When Clawson confessed, all the fears and so on got stirred up again. As a high school student, I skipped school and attended the closing arguments.
Well, it seemed clear to me after hearing the closing arguments that Clawson didn't do it. Sure, he was a bad guy (serving time for the rape of a 14-year-old girl at the time he confessed, for instance, and he had spent more of his life in jail than out of it), but I think he got sent to jail for the wrong crime. There is a long list of reasons that he couldn't have committed the crime, but I won't go into them here. Everyone from the Governor to many of the investigating officers to the general public needed a conviction ASAP.
Anyway, he was found guilty, mostly on the basis of his confession, the details of which he drew from a Detective Cases magazine. (No detail of his confession was not in the magazine, and every wrong detail of his confession was wrong in the magazine article in exactly the same way.) His conviction was overturned because of the inappropriate introduction of death photos of the girls into the trial. In his new trial, he was convicted again.
Lately, I've started wondering who might have done it. One of the things I'm doing is going over as much public domain material as I can find. I'm also looking to write to or talk with anyone who has information, ideas, thoughts, curiosities, etc., about the case. I've talked with a few people who were involved in the case
So... anyone out there still interested in the case? Formerly involved in the case? Anyone have anything to share?