CA CA - Sue Sharp, 36, & 3 children, Keddie Cabin Murders, Plumas, 11 April 1981

Discussion in 'Cold Cases' started by MeoW333, May 24, 2008.

  1. Ausgirl

    Ausgirl ...

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    The issue of why Tina (who was the younger girl, 12 years old) was removed to Feather Falls, and whether she was alive or dead at the time, is one of the more maddening aspects of the crime. There's so little evidence available..

    I agree, there's something 'not right' with Martin Smartt's confession - I haven't enough information to put my finger on what that is for sure but I have the feeling the confession was only made to open a path to a plea of insanity, just in case he ever -was- arrested for the crime. The therapist he confessed to was well aware of the various real mental issues Smartt had, as well as those he was concocting in order to get military benefits for PTSD (he was a cook in Vietnam..).

    There are those who firmly believe the murders were premeditated - I'm one of them - and I think the confession also would have helped Marty avoid murder 1, as it was made to seem a rash and impulsive act rather than something premeditated.

    The way the crime scene was staged - and it WAS staged, there's hard evidence for this - after the occupants were dead made it seem that a lot more violence went on there than I believe actually happened.

    What's odd is the police supported this fallacy by reporting that the house was trashed, there was blood all over the walls and stab marks on everything.. which just isn't true. Looking at the crime scene pictures, it's plain that only a few things were displaced - the TV was knocked askew. There's a cushion off the couch (the one under Dana's head). There's a maximum of seven knife marks in total on the walls, not dozens.

    Sue's 'defensive wounds' include a series of shallow, parallel cuts across the back of one hand. They all line up very neatly, which I have trouble seeing in the case of a woman fending off a knife attack.

    There's no doubt now that John and Dana's bodies were moved into position. Dana showed livor mortis on both sides of his body, for a start, so he was moved perhaps several hours after death. John's clothing is skewed in such a way as to suggest he was picked up and swivelled into position. The boys were tied together by the feet with a clean, white cord - how'd that not get bloody in a struggle, while the murders occurred? The knots also suggest strongly that the boys were tied while lying in position.

    As to Sue, we don't know for sure yet whether she was moved, or bound post-mortem but I suspect she was. Another oddity of police reportage - Sheriff Doug Thomas says she was found lying on the sofa, as does at least one other report. Yet she was found on the floor beside the sofa. I can't understand how anyone could make that mistake, even with the shock of such a brutal crime. Sue is very clearly shown to be on the --floor-- with the other victims in the CS pictures. Her daughter has confirmed that this is what she saw when she opened the door that morning.

    Sue was posed in a way that suggested a sexual motive - her clothing pulled up, underwear used as a gag - but she had not been raped.

    It's all so screwy. :s

    My question, ever since it became apparent that the CS was staged, has been: WHY? Why move the bodies at all? Why make Sue look like the target of a sexual crime (I currently don't believe it was one).

    Considering that the killers did stage the scene, I think it pays to look at what they were pointing away from, as well as what they were pointing toward.
     


  2. scriptgirl

    scriptgirl Active Member

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    And yet no one heard anything...
     
  3. scriptgirl

    scriptgirl Active Member

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    what is that area like now-is it a dangerous place or is it mellow? Do a lot of the suspect's family members still live there?
     
  4. kline

    kline Well-Known Member

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    He was the main reason I gave up on that board he managed to cloud anything the posters might have had in the way of discussion and his ego tripping insistence on focusing attention away from the victims and on to his half baked stories of the good old bad days and drug drama of the mean streets of 1980's Keddie.(With him walking tall at center stage of course)
    Constantly alluding to 'more of the story' and cryptic comments that would make sense only if we possesed his insider knowledge as a 'player' back then."Please drag it out of me! " Pathetic.
     
  5. Ausgirl

    Ausgirl ...

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    Hi guys,

    Kline, I agree. But he's gone now, thank goodness, and the board is managed well. People are focussing on what ought to be focussed on - the crime, and its victims.

    scriptgirl, none of the Sharp family still live there, but a lot of the people who were in Keddie and Quincy in '81 do. From everything I've heard, it never was a particularly dangerous area to live, compared to other parts of the state at the time. There'd been very few crimes all in all and nothing like cabin 28 (though the Kathy Howard and Lynnette Mollath murders are closely related, the were a decade apart and Lynette was in another county from what I can tell). People didn't even lock their doors in Keddie. These murders changed everything, made people afraid. It all but destroyed the resort as a community.

    Ana, I can understand that uneasy feeling. I'm 10,000 miles away and sometimes I feel like looking over my shoulder - I've had some really creepy 'warnings' about keeping my mouth shut. But you know? To hell with that. It only makes me digs harder, to see why they'd bother after all these years. I think a lot of folks there feel the same way. When it comes down to it, it's all hot air anyhow, a pile of bluster from folks who are ashamed of themselves, and really, ought to be.
     
  6. Hopeful One

    Hopeful One Blessed are the cracked for they are the ones who

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    I am new to this case and fascinated by it. Anyone know if there is somewhere on the net I can watch the documentaries free?
     
  7. Ausgirl

    Ausgirl ...

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    There's free outtakes from the documentaries on youtube, you can find them most easily by searching 'keddie' there.

    The documentaries aren't available free. They're not expensive though, and delivery is pretty prompt now the backlog's been cleared a bit.

    Just to update: there's some more documents being released, and a few advances made as far figuring things out goes, LOTS of new questions. Sadly, not as many answers.

    There's been several calls for a push to have this case declared solved. A confession of guilt by one of the main suspects as well as a fingerprint on a bloody glass at the scene, the fact that his accomplice lied himself silly to the DoJ, and a pile of incidental evidence seems more than enough to at least get that much from PCSO.

    Sheriff Hagwood has publicly promised this case his attention, and every effort to see it solved at last. Will he live up to that promise? Or follow in the footsteps of the last six sheriffs and promise a lot but actually do very little?

    Somebody, a State's Attorney, somebody with enough clout, ought to investigate PCSO and CADOJ's investigation of this crime. To call it a travesty is being mild.
     
  8. Hopeful One

    Hopeful One Blessed are the cracked for they are the ones who

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    Aus, thanks for the info!!

    As I said, I'm new to the case so I don't know all that much. You mention that there is a push to call the case solved. Do you believe that's the right thing to do? Wasn't it Marty who confessed and left a fingerprint? Do you think he's the one who did it?
     
  9. Ausgirl

    Ausgirl ...

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    Yep, Martin Smartt confessed to his therapist that he killed Sue and Tina Sharp, claiming his reason was that Sue was interfering his marriage, presumably talking to Marilyn Smartt about divorce. He was a violent and possessive abuser, and Marilyn often sought help over his abuse and ran from Marty several times but then he'd hunt her down, and she kept taking him back. He never mentions who killed Johnny Sharp or Dana Wingate.

    So that would seem a pretty straightforward motive - I have no doubt he murdered Sue & Tina, but there's something very off about the reason he gave. A lot of other women helped Marilyn out in far more active ways (giving her a place to stay, etc) and none of them were murdered (as far as we know).

    Marty's whole reason for confessing is dubious, imo. He was, from what I can tell with his violent nature and history of criminal behaviour, not the type to suffer a fit of remorse. I think he was setting himself up for an insanity defense in case he was busted - the therapist he was seeing was helping him with a (failed) claim to get military for PTSD he didn't have (Marty was a cook in the army, and never saw battle). And while getting busted was highly unlikely given the massive botch job the investigation ended up being, maybe he had reason to be worried at the time.

    ETA: re pushing for the case to be declared solved:

    It's a hard call. But I think it is the right thing to do. As things stand, no-one can get access to FBI files, etc, because the case is still open (despite the confession). Both main suspects are dead now, and as far as we can tell there's been no new leads in the case for three decades. And precious little effort to maintain files and evidence intact, let alone solve the case, from PCSO. If it was said to be solved, we could get access to files through FOIA that very well could bring new leads, so I think it would be worth it. And of course, perhaps it might give the Sharp and Wingate families a small (and very overdue) sense of closure.
     
  10. SeekingJana

    SeekingJana May I be the person my dogs think I am! :)

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    This comes from the article Christine linked on the first page:
    "
    [FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]20 years ago, <snip> [/FONT][FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]The murders ruined this northern Sierra mountain resort, a 3,205-foot- elevation enclave so popular people used to drive hundreds of miles just to eat at its log-walled lodge. In short order, appalled tourists began staying away in droves. [/FONT]
    >snip

    [FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]Twenty years ago, Keddie Resort was a placid getaway where you could rent one of 33 rustic cabins or a room in the hand-crafted, two-story lodge. The streams had great trout fishing, and pine-studded trails beckoned all around. [/FONT]
    [FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]The Keddie Lodge restaurant was packed most every night with customers who came from as far as San Francisco to dine on barbecued bear ribs, sherry- basted racoon steaks -- all shot locally -- and fine wines. [/FONT]
    [FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]"It was always a special, pretty place to go, a real draw," said Lawson. [/FONT]
    END QUOTE

    OK, here's my first set of questions: IF this lodge and resort restaurant serving exotic wild game and fine wines were so popular and people were renting the cabins, WHY was Glenna Sue living there with teenagers and possibly the toddlers?

    Where I come from, a resort cabin would have gone for around $80 a night in the 80's. I would expect much higher rates in CA.
    How did this woman have the money to live in a " resort cabin"? Did she work at the resort? Was she related to the owner?
    Was the financial situation of the Lodge maybe not as rosy as this article says?

    Since so much emphasis has been put on how the murders " ruined" the economy of not only the Lodge but the town of Keddie, I would like to know Glenna Sue's relationship to the crime scene first of all.

    Thanks!
    Maria
     
  11. Ausgirl

    Ausgirl ...

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    Hi Maria,

    That article is quite poorly researched, and gets several things really wrong.

    Keddie resort was, once upon a time a really nice place, just as you say it sounds. But it hasn't been that way in a very long time, and wasn't in good shape for many years before Glenna (who normally went by her middle name, Sue) Sharp and her kids moved in. None of the kids were 'toddlers', by the way. The youngest (Greg, who was in the cabin but survived) was 5, the next oldest 10 (Ricky, who also was in the cabin but survived) then Tina (abducted from the CS, her body found 3 years later and 65 miles away), 12, Sheila (who survived, being at a sleepover next door), 14, with the oldest being 15 (Johnny, who was murdered).

    From what I can tell, some British people owned the resort in the 70's, pretty much let it run into the ground and then sold it to Gary Mollath's family, who gave its management to Gary, paying him a hefty wage for doing.. well, nothing. He continued to let the place go, until several of the cabins were completely uninhabitable in 1981, by which time it was a home mostly for college kids, people on welfare (including several heavy drug users) because the cabins were so run-down and therefore cheap -- and home to several perfectly nice families, I should add, who loved the place. Run-down or not, they say it was still a lovely area to live in and have fond memories of the resort.

    It was on lease to Doug and Jan Albin in '81, who had reopened the bar and looked to be attempting to improve the place, but shortly after the murders they moved away.

    Sue was on welfare, being recently divorced with five kids to care for. She did work when she could, was attending classes to help her get a better job, and took care of her kids with her limited resources.

    The murders didn't 'ruin' Keddie - that had been achieved for a long time already, no matter what the owner claims (and plenty of proof is to be had, of that). The crime did further dwindle the already tiny population, though, with several families (understandably) moving out right away.

    An interesting aside: two people looked at as possible suspects in the case had family members murdered in the 70's, with enough similarities to the Keddie case to make the cops look at them as possibles.

    One was -- Gary Mollath, whose college-age sister Lynnette was brutally murdered in the family home in '78 - not long before Gary was given Keddie to run. Lynnette was found naked but had not been raped, she had stab wounds and her throat was cut. Gary was a suspect in that crime, being the last person to see her alive and the person who found her a few hours later, but he had an alibi - he was with his uncle (who was some years later investigated over a money laundering racket for crooked Russian politicians) and they were out having lunch when Lynnette was murdered. Her murder remains unsolved.

    The other was Steven Howard, a drug user with a criminal record, whose 15-year old sister Kathy was abducted from Quincy in 1973. She was found murdered a short time later near La Porte, in Yuba county, cause of death blunt force trauma (if I recall correctly). Kathy's murder also remains unsolved.

    And oddly, another similarity is that all three murders got very little media attention at the time. The Keddie murders moreso than the others, but still, I'd have thought crimes of these magnitudes would have raised more of a fuss in the papers than they did. There's almost nothing on Lynnete, and only a handful of articles on Kathy (there were several women found murdered in Yuba county at the time, these crimes said by police to not be related to each other).
     
  12. SeekingJana

    SeekingJana May I be the person my dogs think I am! :)

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    Perhaps the case is considered to be closed/ solved.. I have read the other site which is linked here. People are talking about a man named " Bo" in connection with Marty.

    As for motive, the reason I asked about the condition of the Lodge and cabins in a roundabout way is that I was wondering if the owner might have had a hand in what happened. To create a very sensationalized crime site, to attract the more " avant garde" of CA and elsewhere..
    Think about it-- The first " Friday the 13th" type slasher in the woods movies came out around 1979 and were very popular when the murders occurred.

    It could have worked out that the resort would have been an extremely popular cult culture hangout.. but it didn't go that way.

    It may well be that people were PAID by the owner/ management not to hear anything if the "morbid tourist attraction" has any validity. JMO.

    Thank you so very much for clearing up that this was not a sterling place and that Sue wasn't doing anything illegal to stay there, if you KWIM. :)
     
  13. Boweneer

    Boweneer New Member

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    I'm glad to read that Sheila and her siblings are slowly moving toward some kind of resolution. This case has bothered me very much since I read about it. I just always felt like it shouldn't have happened at all to them; that for some reason, they were the wrong victims. I'm not sure why I feel that way, but it's a sense of not only the injustice of their murders, but that their killers killed them for the wrong reasons.
     
  14. Ausgirl

    Ausgirl ...

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    Boweneer, I think you've hit the nail there, with putting words to how I feel about the case.

    I found the site by sheer accident, read a little bit on the crime, and was struck profoundly with that exact feeling, which prompted me to do what little I could to help find answers.

    A lot has happened this past few years, as far as unravelling things. But we're still miles from knowing the real motive and what actually happened and when. Also, who the third perp/accomplice was -- many are convinced there was a third, one still around to face prosecution, perhaps.

    Cross fingers that this is the year we get some better clues to all that.
     
  15. CanManEh

    CanManEh New Member

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    Where in the he double ll does this person live when your calling bear stakes and racoon ribs fine wine N dining .In canada we make bear skin rugs and hats outta racoons not supper lol ....
     
  16. Ausgirl

    Ausgirl ...

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    CanManEh, maybe it was a 'drawcard' the Albins used to pull customers back into the restaurant -- wild game dishes, something really unusual. A lot of places did that here a while back, serving kangaroo and emu steaks, crocodile meat, all sorts of wildlife (I recall, in my wild youth, asking some poor waitress for 'platypus dip' -- platypuses are a highly endangered and protected species -- and laughing when she ran off to ask the chef).

    Speaking of the Albins, etc, here's a link to some articles on Gary Mollath and the Albins' takeover of the resort (seems I had a few dates wrong, glad to have those cleared up):

    http://keddiemurdersfilm.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=756

    The OP makes a good point about something being fishy with all that - we've discussed it at length before and it does seem kind of odd.
     
  17. CanManEh

    CanManEh New Member

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    I get what your saying I was trying to be a little commical but i guess I didn't achieve that ..I to this day still see emu meat for sale and to be honest i have been on hunting trips where we brought back bear steaks and moose and deer never a racoon lol but hey u never know .The only thing well besides the emu that u can get around here anyway would have to be shark but I think its been banned now this was years back..
     
  18. my_tee_mouse

    my_tee_mouse Done. Put a Fork in Me.

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    Snort! :great: I've actually seen people surrounding a dead possum in the middle of the street, trying to decide if it was still fresh enough to take home for supper! I guess those same folks would appreciate a good bear steak or raccoon ribs, but you could replace the fine wine with Pabst Blue Ribbon, IMO.:great:

    I heard this case mentioned by one of our mods on one of the WS radio broadcasts and spent a good while studying what's out there in the way of evidence. I hate that the mother was accused of terrible things by some of the locals. According to the daughter, none of the accusations were true.

    The history of the caretaker is interesting to say the least.
     
  19. Ausgirl

    Ausgirl ...

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    MTM, it was pretty terrible, the stuff the rumour mill came up with. Drugs, prostitution.. and no actual evidence for any of it - Sue used food stamps when she had to, kept her wallet highly organised, required her kids to do chores, took what jobs were available to her, and on her own with five children - three of them teens or near enough - kept her home very clean and organised. She made sure, with very little resources, to give all her children a nice Christmas. These are the facts I find about Sue and her life, when researching this case.

    Sue was 36, very pretty and slim, single, and liked go on a date now and then. She was also new in town and quiet, kept to herself for the most part, so I can see how some local women might get catty and malicious. I also wonder how many of those comments came from local good ole boys who tried to chat her up and were sent packing.

    Anyhow, here's another article on the Keddie resort, regarding its sale:

    http://postimage.org/image/sz3xukc0z/

    Which a bit confusing to me, because the Hogabaums and Albins are always referred to "lessees" of the property, not the owners. So were they selling the lease? It sounds more like the actual property, here.

    In any case, you can see from the comments that Keddie resort was in an appalling state when these people took the lease in the late 70's.
     
  20. scriptgirl

    scriptgirl Active Member

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    I hope this case is solved one day, but I am not holding my breath. That whole area seems scary, imho.
     

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