Identified! Mystery couple murdered in South Carolina, 1976 - Pamela Buckley & James Freund #10

Discussion in 'Mystery couple murdered South Carolina 1976' started by Richard, Oct 4, 2004.

  1. MadMcGoo

    MadMcGoo Well-Known Member

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    According to this article he plead guilty to the charge, but I’m not sure I’ve ever read exactly what the punishment was...
     


  2. Magnum P.E.

    Magnum P.E. Well-Known Member

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    I have seen informants put IN to jail to befriend a particular guy in there and get him to talk. I knew a guy who was in minor trouble (nothing violent, accidentally receiving stolen goods at a flea market, in jail overnight and charges dropped) and the state police wanted bigger fish, so he got a new cellmate. He told me it was fairly inept and transparent, and he was released when they found he had nothing to add.
    Sometimes cops at different levels do talk to each other and as a courtesy will let another organization’s informant skate. It is a symbiotic relationship, if the informant wants his competitors out of business, he can rat them out to LE. Of course, an informant’s life is worth 2 cents if he is incarcerated and others know or suspect it. If they are moved from jail to jail that is a strong sign.
    I am not saying that he was absolutely an informant, I am just saying that it may explain some unusual treatment by LE. We have to accept that we may never know this. It makes more sense than Argentine death squads, or all the other ridiculous soap opera crap that people dream up here.
    Remember, this is the Websleuths Unidentified forum, and they are now identified.


    On the other hand, maybe that gun was fleeing an abusive relationship with its holster, or left its gun cabinet for Gunspringa and never returned :).......
     
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  3. shellbee

    shellbee Well-Known Member

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    I also find it hard to believe, and highly unlikely that an alcoholic in late middle age, with little or no criminal record, would assassinate two people he didn't know for no discernible reason. I think law enforcement understood this too.

    So what happened here? Why did LGH have the murder weapon? Personally, I'm not sure it was the murder weapon.

    Ballistic matching isn't a science. It's wholly subjective. The examiner does a side by side visual comparison then offers his or her "expert" opinion. There is no consensus regarding the number of individual characteristics, lands, grooves, etc., required to declare a match. An examiner could consider samples with only one or two similar characteristics or markings a match.

    Additionally, there are several other factors that can impact the accuracy of ballistics. Bullets and cartridge cases that are fired from different guns might have similar markings, especially if the guns were manufactured at the same facility, within the same time frame. Passage of time, how a gun is cared for, frequency of use and method of storage can also impact the reliability of ballistic matches.

    In 2008 the Detroit Police Department's crime lab was shut down after an audit by the state of Michigan found a 10 percent error rate in ballistics identification.

    Finally, keep in mind the ballistics in this case are 40 years old. Photography has improved significantly since that time. In the very least, LE should rerun the tests.
     
  4. Betty P

    Betty P Well-Known Member

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    Interesting information about how the informant system can work. Probably not applicable in this case, as you say, but good to know for some other cases.
     
  5. shellbee

    shellbee Well-Known Member

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    JMO of course, but I don't buy into the informant theory. I don't believe dedicated police officers would willingly allow a murderer to walk free just to protect an informant.
     
  6. Magnum P.E.

    Magnum P.E. Well-Known Member

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    Best and simplest explanation I could come up with. Irrelevant anyway I guess as he is long dead.
    So why WOULD they allow him to walk free? Maybe he was protecting someone else, and they had an idea who but could not make the case. It happens.
    All I know is, if I was found with a murder weapon under the seat of my car, I would expect a lot worse than he got. He may well not have known that it was a murder weapon, if he did he probably would have gone out fishing in the ocean and dropped it in 1000 feet of water. Why on earth would you keep something so hot? It was damn near radioactive.
     
  7. worm

    worm Well-Known Member

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    I’m not pro gun, anti gun, whatever. I grew up with and own some but I leave the politics to others but, I’m constantly angered and lost on how anybody can own a weapon and not be responsible when it walks off and does something like this. Buy the gun, own the responsibility.

    @shellbee , You make some good points. I’ve took the idea of Lonnie being innocent of this for a walk in the park too, so to speak and it is a real wonder. I’ve thought this could have been somebody like Gaskins that I mentioned before. A hunter, who nabbed these 2 at a store or someplace on the road, wheeled off of 95, killed them and got states away probably before they were moved from the crime scene. But, the gun, the location, just makes it feel local to me.
     
  8. superunknown

    superunknown Well-Known Member

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    I love everything about this post. I assume that SCS will be sending this weapon off to be tested again?? At least one would hope.

     
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2021
  9. worm

    worm Well-Known Member

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    Did it get lost? Or was that other evidence?
     
  10. superunknown

    superunknown Well-Known Member

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    I have no idea...?

     
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  11. worm

    worm Well-Known Member

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    There was something lost. I’m going back thru hunting now.
     
  12. superunknown

    superunknown Well-Known Member

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    A forensic dentist lost the teeth of JF... If I remember correctly?

     
  13. worldwatcher

    worldwatcher Well-Known Member

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    Last edited: Feb 23, 2021
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  14. MadMcGoo

    MadMcGoo Well-Known Member

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    I too have wondered if that was even the murder weapon. Maybe that’s why he was only charged with a federal crime and only for tampering with the serial number. Most of us have wondered why he was never charged in relation to the murders. It could be because they couldn’t prove anything within a reasonable degree of certainty. I think the reason he “walked free” is far less complicated than we’re making it out to be; there was reasonable doubt from the get go.
     
  15. worldwatcher

    worldwatcher Well-Known Member

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    I guess so too, it seems to me that Lonnie was a broken man, who turned to the bottle, after his son drowned, I do think that his nephew (from his wife side) also lost his life on that day.
    I don't think lonnie was an informer, as well.
     
  16. worm

    worm Well-Known Member

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  17. worldwatcher

    worldwatcher Well-Known Member

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    Maybe around the times, there was a lot of corruption going on, I don't know, but I really doubt it, tbh- in this case, anyway.. (by reading between the lines)
    Just wanted to add, with all these post and trying to find out out what happened to them and who did it..
    I really think and want to express my appreciation to the Sumter police, Verna and all the (WS) sleuths, who tried everything to ID (from being photographed, finger-printed and x-rayed) them,.
    They even had them displayed in a local funeral home in caskets with glass lids at that time,to make sure, every possible way, was done to give them their names, family and loved ones back!
    They gave James and Pamela a respectful farewell and burials, without ever knowing their names, but were never forgotten.
    ❤️
     
  18. Satchie

    Satchie Well-Known Member

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    I am wondering whether it would even be possible to charge, much less convict someone, for the murder of unidentified people. I've never heard of trial where they don't know the victim's identity.

    How could police claim they'd done any kind of investigation, when they didn't know who the victims were, or where and what they'd been doing before the crime, or develop some kind of theory of events leading up to the crime.

    IMO, LE needed to identify and learn about them, before they could even consider charging anyone. Though they could have followed leads that might help them find a stolen vehicle that could be traced back to them, or ID papers.
     
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  19. MadMcGoo

    MadMcGoo Well-Known Member

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    I’ve definitely seen people convicted of the murder of an unidentified person... Here is one example. He was convicted of the murder of several unidentified women and young girls. So I don’t think not knowing Pam and Jim’s identities was the reason LGH wasn’t charged.
     
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  20. Satchie

    Satchie Well-Known Member

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    Ridgeway pleaded guilty.
     
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