IL IL - Valerie Percy, 21, Kenilworth, 18 September 1966

Discussion in 'Cold Cases' started by VespaElf, Sep 18, 2004.

  1. Bargle

    Bargle Active Member

    Messages:
    440
    Likes Received:
    33
    Trophy Points:
    28
    There was some DNA testing done several years ago. It isn't known what was tested or what the results were. Given that we haven't heard any more about it, I'd guess nothing useful came from them.
     
  2. Winward1

    Winward1 Member

    Messages:
    470
    Likes Received:
    22
    Trophy Points:
    18
  3. Winward1

    Winward1 Member

    Messages:
    470
    Likes Received:
    22
    Trophy Points:
    18
  4. Winward1

    Winward1 Member

    Messages:
    470
    Likes Received:
    22
    Trophy Points:
    18
  5. Winward1

    Winward1 Member

    Messages:
    470
    Likes Received:
    22
    Trophy Points:
    18
  6. Winward1

    Winward1 Member

    Messages:
    470
    Likes Received:
    22
    Trophy Points:
    18
    I rode by the old property yesterday and took a look at what's going in. It reminds me more of the basement of the World Trade Center towers than that of a residence. It is absurdly massive and looks to be about four stories deep (Lord knows how tall they're going to build it.)

    It has to be ten times the size of the Percy's old place. I believe Percy was worth three million or so in the mid sixties, and that of course was when a million bucks was still a million bucks.

    Percy was a pro business Republican. I spoke with one of Valerie's siblings who remarked to me how business guys today separate their work factories from their headquarters (like Boeing moving its white collar guys to Chicago) so when they fire large numbers of people they likely never have met them. I'm told the guy who's building this place is a hedge fund manager. I tell you, you see it in person and you'd think the average American would want to occupy Wall Street. Their is obscene money, and obscene real estate. This is a case of both. I have also been told it'll be 25,000 square feet.
     
  7. STANDREID

    STANDREID A slacker when slacker wasn't cool

    Messages:
    4,619
    Likes Received:
    216
    Trophy Points:
    0
    $3 million in 1965 would be about $22 million today
     
  8. Winward1

    Winward1 Member

    Messages:
    470
    Likes Received:
    22
    Trophy Points:
    18
    I was told the property sold for 10 mil. Then whoever bought it had to pay to have the house, pool house and farm house demolished and carted off (nice move on the last one. It was the oldest farm house in town, predated the Civil War and Mrs. Percy said she was told it housed survivors of the 1860 Lady Elgin disaster. No matter, the guy just had it ripped down.)

    I believe Percy made his money when Bell and Howell went public, which was probably about 1955.
     
  9. Winward1

    Winward1 Member

    Messages:
    470
    Likes Received:
    22
    Trophy Points:
    18
    There have been some great theories as to who committed this murder posted in this thread. I’ve been able to speak with people who worked for Mr. Percy, LE, family friends, family and neighbors (and some here who really know their stuff. You know who you are. Excellent work my friend.)

    I agree, unless there’s enough proof to indict someone as having committed a given murder, there are lots of possibilities. That said, as you likely know, possibility and probability are different things entirely.

    The three promising initial suspects in this case were Andrew Potash (boyfriend or former boyfriend of the victim at the time of the murder), Calvin Fentress III (reportedly dated the victim), and Tully Friedman (also reportedly dated the victim though this is not reported in any stories I have read. I have been told by someone in the know, however, that there’s a 90% chance that Friedman and Valerie dated. I have been told leads on Friedman were investigated “into the ground.” That indicates that he did indeed date her.)

    Investigators do not agree on motive. One said he thinks Valerie was murdered by someone who knew her, knew where her room was and risked breaking in to kill her at home because she was virtually never alone in the months before the crime. He believes the motive was “revenge,” for something. Perhaps jealousy as she quite possibly had three young men in her orbit the summer before the murder (technically the murder was that summer. Those young men in her orbit may be why Percy campaign staffers interfered with the investigation. They, of course, should never have been able to do that and it did not help find the killer. None of the investigators think that interference was to cover up the crime. It was just bad local cops allowing control freak campaign workers to interfere. They had nothing else to do as the campaign was suspended for at least two weeks the day of the murder.) That summer (’66) the victim commuted to work with her brother most days (the later drove her to and from the city. Some days she came back on the train. Either way, she was nearly always if not always with someone. At least one fellow campaign worker lived at the end of the train line, too. He rode back with her the day before the murder. So it would have been hard to attack her daylight hours without witnesses. As a wealthy young woman living at home in a house where her father employed a chef and the chef’s wife, she didn’t have to go grocery shopping either. So without further adieu, the suspects:


    Potash’s alibi checked out.

    Friedman took a lie detector test. He passed. Judging from pictures, he also appears to be six feet four or six five, or as much as 8-9 inches taller than Mrs. Percy’s description of the killer. Friedman was described as tall and slim in news reports, which indicates that he was thin enough to easily get in and out of the door the killer entered and exited through. According to Dr. Hohf’s account and news stories it was partially blocked by a piano bench (Hohf estimated that the door could only be opened a foot to 14 inches wide.) In his account Hohf also recalls how dark it was that morning. 5 a.m. with overcast skies. I believe Mrs. Percy may have been able to give an accurate height description in the fleeting moment she saw the killer in a dark room, illuminated only by the killer’s flashlight. However, I do not think her 180 lb. weight description of the killer was accurate. Five eight, 180 lbs. is not skinny. Skinny was required to get through that door so fast as he ran out of the house, and may have been necessary to get into it. Either way, getting the weight correct under such circumstances seems like it would be more difficult.

    Of course, there were other suspects, including members of the Malchow burglary gang. State cops suspected the killer was one of them because they think the person who broke into Fred Wacker Jr.’s mansion, 16 miles north of Percy's house in south Lake Bluff, in ’65 (Wacker’s place was actually broken into twice that year) was the Percy killer based on the unique method of cutting and breaking glass at both residences.

    But at the time of the Percy murder and Wacker break-ins, Calvin Fentress lived just three minutes south (and on the same road, Greenbay) of Wacker’s house. So it just as easily could have been him. I'm not sure if investigators ever connected those two facts. They may have been so focused on the gang burglary motive because the gang had worked in the area prior to the murder. In ’66, Fentress was reportedly living Lake Forest, ostensibly at his parent’s house. (The Fentress and Wacker residences are still there, quite near each other though they are in different towns.)

    Other information appears to make Fentress suspicious; a former Percy campaign worker said Fentress was around 5'10 or 11", or as close to two inches in height of Mrs. Percy’s description of the killer. The same source said Fentress was “very slim.” As such, he could have gotten in and out of the partially blocked door easily. I obtained this info first hand. As far as I know it has not been published before.

    Fentress also did not pass a lie detector test and reportedly was highly nervous when taking it. (His results were said to be “inconclusive.”) After long careers in LE, two former detectives I spoke with both recalled cases where they knew of a guilty person who was able to pass a lie detector test but never a case in which an innocent person could not pass one.

    The bloody glove that was found near the Percy’s home the morning of the murder was described by the Sun-Times as a type “ordinarily used by motorists.” To me this sounds like driving gloves. Such gloves are associated with the wealthy. Fentress was Lake Forest wealthy. His father was a former head of Allstate Insurance and lived on a huge estate. It made Percy’s place look like servant’s quarters.

    At the time of the murder, Potash, Friedman and Fentress were all young men working on Percy’s campaign. One would think they were doing it not only to work but build their resumes for future careers in public service.

    As such, a recent Google search of all three revealed photos and information on Friedman and Potash but virtually nothing on Fentress (he does appear, briefly, in one of his parent’s obits.) If it wasn’t for all of the above, I’d say this was only a coincidence. But that is not the case.

    There has been so much written about this case. Some of it is clearly inaccurate. Some info that came out a week after the murder I think was disinformation planted by cops who thought they’d revealed too much to the press. And they had. That said, I find the following makes Fentress suspicious in the Percy murder:

    His height is a close match to Mrs. Percy’s description.

    He was very skinny. So he could get into and out of the partially-blocked door easily.

    He did not pass a lie detector test.

    The test made him “very nervous.”

    He lived three three minutes from the Wacker house, and on the same road, when the break-ins occurred there the prior year.

    His demographic fits the type of glove (likely a driving glove but possibly a dress glove) left at the scene, which was linked to the murder via blood and fiber evidence.

    Google searches turn up nothing on him whereas the reveal info and pictures on the other suspect and former suspects.

    And, of course, he dated the victim.
     
  10. Dreamnine

    Dreamnine Member

    Messages:
    150
    Likes Received:
    8
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Thanks for posting this, Winward1 - a lot of stuff I was unaware of.
     
  11. Winward1

    Winward1 Member

    Messages:
    470
    Likes Received:
    22
    Trophy Points:
    18
    You're welcome, Dreamnine. This world in which we live in, where publications run shorter and shorter stories regardless of how interesting a given story is and how many dynamics it has, is frustrating. The layers of this one are incredible because your typical case involves a relative few number of investigators, family, etc. This one had at least five or six different investigating agencies, a large extended family, many friends and neighbors, plus a large campaign staff. The basic facts of the case are incredible, but so are the dynamics and the stories of the individuals who were a part of it. I am fortunate to know some of them.
     
  12. Dreamnine

    Dreamnine Member

    Messages:
    150
    Likes Received:
    8
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Off-topic a bit, but I know there are people from Illinois on here..Did Chicago in particular, compared to some other US cities have a real problem with violent murders back then?

    Reading the Grimes sisters, Speck, other cases, and all the horrible murders in 1972, they just seem to have been endless. http://www.ghostguides.com/darkside.html
     
  13. Winward1

    Winward1 Member

    Messages:
    470
    Likes Received:
    22
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Interesting that her killer struck early on a Sunday morning, like the Japanese at Pearl Harbor, and used a military weapon.
     
  14. Winward1

    Winward1 Member

    Messages:
    470
    Likes Received:
    22
    Trophy Points:
    18
    I spoke with someone today who has been in the storeroom where the Percy files are stored. According to her, the file boxes line the room, taking up the entire top row by themselves.
     
  15. Bargle

    Bargle Active Member

    Messages:
    440
    Likes Received:
    33
    Trophy Points:
    28
    Here's a couple of articles about the Wacker break-ins that Winward referred to above.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  16. scriptgirl

    scriptgirl Active Member

    Messages:
    1,567
    Likes Received:
    121
    Trophy Points:
    38
    It's odd to me that with a family that rich and influential, that the crime was never solved. Of course that very fact makes me side eye it.
     
  17. Winward1

    Winward1 Member

    Messages:
    470
    Likes Received:
    22
    Trophy Points:
    18
    The biggest reasons to side eye it, IMHO, was the apparent refusal of Kenilworth's then Chief to support CPD in aggressively going after suspects (polygraphing) from day one and, as far as rich and influential goes, the wealth and prominence of the family of perhaps the most plausible suspect, who did not pass a polygraph (when they were finally able to give him one.)

    The Percys were polygraphed. Interesting that Mrs. Wacker has similar features as Valerie.
     
  18. liz b.

    liz b. Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    9,704
    Likes Received:
    531
    Trophy Points:
    83
    That night,when Valerie's sister came home, is it known where she had been ? With whom ? Wonder what the two sisters discussed when Valerie's sister went into her room to return the raincoat she had borrowed ? If they routinely borrowed each others clothing,it could have been confusing,to a casual observer,as to which sister was which. Them being identical twins and all... Just a thought... MOO
     
  19. Winward1

    Winward1 Member

    Messages:
    470
    Likes Received:
    22
    Trophy Points:
    18
    I don't think they were identical. Everyone I've talked to who knew them knew which one was which a mile away. Valerie wasn't blonde, thought that was reported. By the time she was a teen she had dark hair. Sharon was the blonde.
     
  20. liz b.

    liz b. Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    9,704
    Likes Received:
    531
    Trophy Points:
    83
    TY Windward ; could have sworn I read that the girls were identical... strange. Is it known what the twins discussed when they were alone in Valerie's room that night ? Also, who had Valerie's sister been out with that night ? TIA
     

Share This Page



  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice