Monster in Midtown: Killing the Newman Family
Welcome to Crime Raven; true crimes, real-life stories from law enforcement, and issues crime fighters face. This story highlights crimes researched by retired Detective Sergeant Mark Rein, using publicly available information, court records, and personal recollections. Content may be graphic, disturbing, or violent. Reader discretion is advised. Suspects are considered innocent until found guilty in a court of law.
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The monster sat in the dimly lit basement. The party had been winding down for a while. Six in the morning. It was dark outside and would be for hours. There was darkness that could not be washed away by cocaine.
No woman at the party showed him the slightest interest. In fact, some seem to be repulsed by him as the conversations, if you could call them that, progressed. A couple of them were worth being angry about. They split before he could take a second swing. One took off with a guy. He should have taken another shot at her. And if she hadn't given him his due, at least he could have fucked that dude up. Misery loves company. And the monster was in the mood to wallow and spread.
The loss of the few worthy party girls made the monster think back over weeks and years. Girls have been a pain in his ass forever. The girl in Idaho. He had done a number on her. They said she was 13. Bullshit. She had the kind of body that says, take me. She wanted him. but when it came time for action, she turned out to be a cock tease, but she didn't know who she was dealing with until the monster showed itself. He thought she was dead. He left her crumpled in the bushes, like an old hamburger wrapper. Like the trash she was. She tried to get, even with the monster, tried to have him arrested. In the end she was a bitch And the cops believed him over her useless mumblings. Cunt. But maybe she'd had the last laugh after all. That bitch was why he was even here, this land of eternal darkness and ice. Midnight sun, my ass. This place was hell frozen over.
The monster hopped from pad to pad, fear, to embarrassment, to betrayal through the litany of recent life experiences. After the 13-year-old cock tease, he and his woman left home and headed north. Alaska, where a man could be free, where he could be cleansed of the sins of his past. But he had made a mistake when he trusted the woman. For years, she had been his girl. Compliant, Obedient. And when she got outta hand, he used those hands to teach her right from wrong. The monster never expected the betrayal. If he had, he would've handled her, he would've made her shut the fuck up forever. As it was, they'd taken jobs on a fishing boat. His woman had started fucking the damn captain of the boat, mouthing off about how she was so abused. They had to trick him to put him ashore. He should have killed her and the captain. He should have cut them up and used them for chum.
The monster leap to the next outrage. Alone without the bitch, he went the only place he could. He went to the city, to his uncle's family. The only people he knew. For once he had been in luck, his uncle was on a long trip and his aunt had taken him in. The apartment was small, but he appreciated it for the shelter. His aunt was nice. The two little girls, his cousins were fine at first, the three-year-old. She was too little to give a shit about, but the eight-year-old, entitled bitch, didn't know her place in the pecking order. She got to sleep in a bed in her own room. He got a mat on the floor. She mouthed off to him like someone who didn't recognize who she was talking to. If she only knew.
He thought about picking up the whores. The one that took the cops forever to find. And the other one who turned out to be a man, but the monster wasn't a faggot. He couldn't let that one live because the tranny knew a secret about the monster, and he couldn't have that.
The monster leapt to the latest outrage, his aunt on orders from his uncle who wasn't even fucking in town threw him out of their place. It was like they were working together. His dad, his mom, the girl in the campground, the bitch on the boat, the whores, the uncle, the aunt, the cut of the party. They were all out to make him miserable. As far as his aunt and uncle, it was time for payback. They didn't know that he had the key and they owed him big.
The target was ground floor 3410 Eide street number 1. It was still early morning, but aunt's car was gone. She was working. The coast was clear. The monster walked up and used the key he wasn't supposed to have. He stepped inside and was careful to close and lock the door behind. The aunt was sitting at the table, still in a nightgown. Wide-eyed, she put her coffee down. As she stood up, she fired the kind of bitch questions the monster didn't like "What are you doing here?" "How'd you get in here?" Then the orders. "You need to leave." "You can't be here anymore." He met her halfway across the room and slapped her, knocking her down.
She yelled at the girls. They hid in their rooms and shut the doors. At least the eight-year-old was obedient sometimes. The aunt, " I'm calling the police." The monster, eight-inch butcher knife, just where he knew it would be. He grabbed hair, dragging the aunt into her bedroom, forcing her down onto the bed, punching her. He whipped off a pillowcase, wrapped it around her neck and tightened. When she stopped fighting, he looked around. The monster was crazy, but not stupid. Green, wool glove liners. The kind that GIs use. He grabbed them off the dresser. Cops had tried to get him on fingerprints before. Not this time. The aunt wasn't dead yet. He raped her as he tightened the knot. He knew she was dead when her bowels released. He rolled her onto her back, leaving nightshirt up, everything exposed. Her power in this house was gone. The monster had absorbed it, reveled in it.
The eight-year-old rushed in " mommy, mommy". Perfect timing. The monster punched her bratty face. "Look what I've done to your mommy." " Mommy, look what I'm doing to your daughter." He tied her hands behind her back as tight as he could using a second pillowcase. The girl sobbed and whimpered. The monster wanted to claim the bed that should have been his. He dragged the girl into the next room. Stripping off her panties. Stripping off the green gloves. No caution. He wanted to feel everything. Slammed the girl face down, bent over the bed. He wrapped her neck with yet another pillowcase, same color as mom's. Fitting. He tightened the cloth and raped her as she died. This is what the monster wanted to do to her every time she had mouthed off to him. No one can help you now. When he finished, he flopped her dead body backward off his bed. She came to rest in a position that pleased him. This way everyone could see what happens if you didn't show proper respect.
One left and the Monster's rage was not yet sated. This was becoming his masterpiece, but he was out of pillowcases. That left the knife. He met the three-year-old cousin in the hall. She whined, "I went mommy." She was too scared to go in the dark room. "You can see mommy. She's in bed." She wouldn't even look at him. Even at three, she sensed something about him. This made his rage flash. The monster grabbed the girl by the arm, across her room and slammed her down on the bed. She was on her back eyes wide, too scared to draw breath and scream. He crouched gargoyle like above her and flashed the weapon in front of her face. Recognition in her eyes. She bucked and flailed her hands desperately grasped for the knife. She sacrificed her hands as he sank the blade across her throat. He intended to rape. The monster wiped the blood from the front of her bare body. Then he realized that urge had left him. His ardor spent. He dropped her on unceremoniously to the floor as she writhed in life's last movement. He wanted to send a message. Better than the other rooms. He picked her up by the ankles, swung her body in an arc, painting a swath and threw her to the floor.
The monster stood in the hallway and stared into the succession of rooms. Trying to hold onto the Tableau. His revelry was broken by a sound from the outside world. Not an immediate danger, but a harbinger. A reminder that time in this crypt must end.
The monster gave away to the man who sole desire was to slink away and find a mountain of cocaine or a swimming pool of Jack Daniels. He looked down at his blood and shit cake shirt. In the bathroom, he tried to clean up. His crotch itched fiercely. No doubt a gift from one of the whores. He scrubbed with the wash cloth until the blood smeared away. Then he did what he had intended before they distracted distract them. He rummaged around the apartment, a purse with a checkbook, a cookie tin holding all of dead aunt's tip money. He found some jewelry. Uncle's precious camera. He bundled the loot and the knife and surveyed the scene one last time. He had the camera, but no, too risky. He checked the lock on the front door and extinguished all the lights. He liked it better that way. His secret cave. Stepping around the mess of the three-year-old.
He climbed over the dresser, out the window and onto the street. He walked down the block with a spring in his step. His mind left responsibility behind like a snake shedding its skin. It was a new day and opportunities abound.
The call to the Anchorage Police Department was an unusual one. Anchorage was not a sleepy rural town. It was host to more than its share of senseless violence, but the call that came in on Sunday, March 15th, 1987, was beyond the norm. A male caller reported that several people were dead inside a Midtown apartment in the 3,400 block of Eide street. The dispatcher tried to make sense of what was being communicated on the incoming line. The caller's tight voice was outmatched by the heartbreaking screams of a woman in the background.
Anchorage police area cars were on scene within a couple of minutes. The building was a small two-level L-shaped apartment complex. A man and a woman stood at the doorway of the apartment at the turn of the L, the ground floor unit farthest from the street. As the officers cautiously approached, they saw that the man was holding the woman as she sobbed into his chest. He said through his own tears, "I called. They're in there. They're dead." The officer asked, "who did it?” The man said, " I don't know. We just found them. It's my sister and her kids." This statement brought a muffled agonized scream and shaking from the woman. "The officer asked as he passed, "and no one else is inside?" The man indicated that there wasn't.
The officers proceeded inside weapons drawn, flashlights activated in support hands. They scanned and passed through a normal looking, living room and kitchen. Then they came to three bedrooms, each a horror story in its own right. In bedroom one, lay a girl, maybe a little larger than a toddler, crumpled in the middle of the floor. The room was awash in crimson. The girl was covered in blood. She lay in a pool of blood and blood spatters and smears seem to be on every surface. In bedroom two, a second girl, this one older by a few years, was lying on her back naked from the waist down. Her position seemed unnatural because her legs were spread and folded under her, and her hands were tied behind her.
The sight of the blue cloth, cinched tightly around her neck, screamed out for help. They wanted to rip it off and save the girl, but experience told them that she was beyond help. So, they moved on. In the third bedroom, the largest of the three, an adult woman lay on her back. Her night gown was pushed up, exposing her body from the neck down. There was less blood in this room, but the woman's bowels had released. And there were smears of that on the sheets. An inspection of the woman's head for signs of life revealed that she too had a blue cloth garrote secured around her neck.
In the face of the overwhelming scene, the officers fell back on their training and proceeded through the call. Clear the apartment. Check. Confirm the deaths. Check. Secure the scene. Check. Call for support. Check. Identify witnesses. Check. Recent training to improve crime scene response at APD would prove its value in this case. After the initial clearance, no one but properly equipped crime scene team members were allowed inside. The exclusion included well-meaning firefighters and paramedics. With unmistakable evidence of death, everyone was turned away. Any conflicts outside the apartment door were worthwhile for maintaining an uncontaminated scene.
With the murder scene secure, the man and woman identified as Cheryl and Paul Chapman were asked to go to APD main station for interviews. Cheryl identified the adult woman who was dead in the apartment as her sister, Nancy Newman, 32 years old, the two girls were Nancy's daughters, Melissa, eight years old, and Angie, three years old. Cheryl was able to give important family context. Nancy and her husband, John live in the Eide street apartment with their two daughters. John recently started a vocational program and was currently in California. He was training to be a security technician and locksmith. Nancy and Cheryl worked his waitresses for Gwennie's, a popular Spenard area restaurant. Earlier that morning Cheryl and her husband, Paul went to Nancy's apartment because Cheryl had received a call from a fellow employee at Gwennie's. Nancy hadn't shown up for work. And her unexplained absence was a matter of concern. Cheryl knew Nancy was very responsible. She almost never missed a shift and she let people know why when she did. Neither Cheryl nor Paul knew who would want to hurt Nancy or the girls. Nancy's marriage seemed solid, and the family was happy. As far as they knew, the Newman's lives had been normal recently, except for John being out of state. They mentioned that one of John's nephews, Kirby Anthony, had lived with the Newmans, but had moved out about two weeks prior. When asked for more information about Anthony, Cheryl explained that the family was all originally from Twin Falls, Idaho area. They had moved to Alaska for economic opportunities. Anthony had recently followed them and had been working on a fishing boat, but was laid off
Back at the Eide street apartment building, officers were spreading out canvassing the area. They found no one who saw or heard anything unusual in the last few days. As the quiet Sunday morning became afternoon, word of the crimes began to leak out. The murders sent shockwaves throughout the neighborhood and across the city.
When they got inside the apartment, the scene investigators were stunned by what they found. A close inspection of the three-year-old Angie's wound revealed that she had almost been decapitated. Her hands bore several cuts, one especially deep that indicated she had tried to fight off her attacker's blade. She was in a pool of blood on the floor, but it was clear that she had been killed lying on the bed.
Eight-year-old, Melissa had been bleeding from a minor injury to her face, but did not seem to have been cut. Signs of her attack were clear. She had been positioned perpendicular across the bed, raped as she died from the ligature strangulation, and then flopped backward so that she came to rest on her back with her lower legs bent under her. There appeared to be a complete adult size Palm print on the wall above where Melissa's head would've been during the assault.
The scene examination of Nancy's body did not show any bleeding, though there were marks consistent with a brutal beating. The investigators concluded that it was Melissa's blood that was dripped at the foot of her mother's bed. What all of the bodies had in common was that they'd all been in nightgowns or pajamas during the incident, possibly indicating the time of occurrence.
All three victims had been left, partially naked, exposed in a manner consistent with sexual assault and may have been positioned suggestively as part of the crime. The dining area also gave clues about the time of occurrence and a partial motive. There were remnants of the children having recently eaten cereal. There were three cigarettes in an ashtray on the table and evidence of one person drinking coffee. Also on the table was an empty cookie tin. Nancy's sister Cheryl said that the tin was where Nancy kept all of her tips and estimated she probably had a few hundred dollars in small bills and coins that had been taken.
The preliminary interviews, canvas and scene survey did not give investigators the immediate obvious suspect that every detective hopes for, but there were several avenues to investigate. Detectives conducted interviews with coworkers who said Nancy was well liked and they knew of no one, coworker or customer, that had a problem with her. Coordinating with John Newman, the detectives discovered that items were missing from the home in addition to Nancy's tip cash. A butcher knife, probably the knife, was missing from a set in the kitchen, Nancy's purse, and John Newman's expensive camera were also missing.
Detectives felt sure that they were looking for someone who had a reason to hurt the victims. They doubted the violence and rage indicated could stem from a break in gone wrong. A simple burglary seemed unlikely for two reasons. First, there was no sign of forced entry. A shoe print was found on a dresser in Angie's room, probably indicating that the suspect wanted to leave the front door locked and didn't wanna be seen leaving the apartment. Second, the suspect seemed to take his time committing the crime. He cleaned up his body in the bathroom sink before gathering the loot. This indicated the suspect was confident that no one was gonna arrive and interrupt the crime.
Police interviewed the nephew, Anthoney, early in the investigation. He was generally cooperative with police during the initial contact and gave them the clothes and shoes that he said he was wearing on that Saturday morning. They noticed that everything appeared to have been washed. When asked about moving out of the Newman apartment, Anthony said he left the house about two weeks before the incident. He said the decision to move was his, and there was no problem in the relationship with his aunt and uncle. He denied having a key to the apartment. When asked direct questions about his relationship with the little girls, he admitted that living in confined quarters was trying at times, and they sometimes got on his nerves.
Anthony gave his account of what he did during the critical time surrounding the murders. He said that on Friday night, he went to a party at a neighbor's house and stayed overnight drinking and using cocaine. On Saturday morning, Anthony said he went back to his apartment before 8:30 AM and talked to his roommate, Grant, who was getting ready for work. He gave some vague possibilities but could not say who might have seen or spoke with him between 8:30 and 10:30 that Saturday.
Through interviews with the family and others, there were problems with Anthony's story. John Newman was in regular contact with the police, and he told a different story about the circumstances for Anthony moving out. John said that about three weeks prior, Nancy called him complaining that Anthony had begun to exhibit anger and frustration with their two little girls. He had lashed out at them and had started taking it upon himself to discipline them. Nancy felt it was inappropriate. They decided that Nancy would tell Anthony that he had to leave. John Newman told the investigators that it was no secret in the family that Anthony had a bad temper. John once witnessed Anthony blow up and start a fist fight with his own father. He went further saying Anthony had been unstable in the past and there had been a rumor that he had threatened to harm himself. These were factors that made John decide to create distance with his nephew, particularly while John was away in California. Despite Anthony's assertions to the contrary, John said that his nephew was angry over having to move out of their apartment. And there was one other discrepancy. John was certain that Anthony kept a key.
The deeper they delved into Anthony's past, the more they liked him as a suspect. Anthony was no stranger to law enforcement back home in Idaho. In 1982, he confessed to the robbery of an older woman. In fact, he was arrested numerous times for robbery, burglary, and theft. He confessed to some of the crimes, but he was never prosecuted and didn't spend any time in prison. Anthony fled Twin Falls, Idaho for Alaska because he was the prime suspect in the rape and attempted murder of a 13-year-old girl. That attack left the girl with permanent disabilities.
Anthony traveled to Alaska with his girlfriend. They found jobs on a fishing boat out of Dutch Harbor. During their time there other employees noticed that Anthony was abusive to her. With her coworkers’ encouragement, she complained to management about Anthony's abuse and management wasted no time firing Anthony and kicking him off the boat. Learning of this incident prompted APD detectives to find and interview several of Anthony's girlfriends. They confirmed, he was physically abusive and had a sadistic streak.
Even though Anthony was fairly new to Anchorage, his name was already known to Anchorage police department. It turned out he was the prime suspect in the murder of a crossdressing prostitute and a missing woman. Police could not find anyone who saw Anthony between 8:30 and 10:30 AM on the Saturday of the murders. In a follow up interview with Anthony's roommate, Grant told the detectives that he was in the apartment on Sunday when officers came to tell Anthony about the deaths. He later overheard Anthony's phone conversation with his mother. He said the call was weird. Anthony told his mother about the deaths and said he was a suspect.
Grant also said that Anthony mentioned seemingly out of the blue that the cops wouldn't say if Nancy and the girls had been raped. This conversation was within a couple of hours of the discovery when almost none of the scene specifics were known. Another thing the roommate told the detectives was that after the murders, Anthony suddenly had a large amount of change that he was counting.
As the initial investigation results were coming in, investigators hypothesized that Anthony, an unstable and ill-tempered man with a sadistic streak towards women, may have committed the murders as retribution for being kicked out of the apartment. In the days that followed the murders, numerous tips came in. One in particular, caught their attention. Anthony was known to spend time at Chilkoot Charlie's bar, an Anchorage landmark. A female witness came forward who told investigators that on Friday, five days after the murders were discovered, she was seated in the bar near Anthony. She didn't know him at the time, nor had she heard about the murders. The woman said that Anthony's behavior seemed odd. He was writing things on napkins and passing them around. And at one point, Anthony sat down with her and started talking about the murders. Out of the blue he said something like "the worst thing was the mom had to watch the murder of her daughters."
The Anchorage police accepted the assistance of a profiler with the FBI's behavioral sciences unit. After reviewing the case, the special agent issued a report that made several predictions. The suspect is someone who had been in the Newman's home in the past, someone who felt comfortable there and that the neighbors would overlook. The man was someone who fantasized about the crimes he committed and had assaulted girls in the past. This person can compartmentalize what he's done and function normally when he is not under stress.
The report from the profiler confirmed that the investigation was on the right track, looking at Anthony. While the scene evidence was being processed, the investigators decided to use the time to increase the pressure on Anthony. Teams of detectives conducted periodic surveillance on him at times, making it obvious they were following him. Investigators would approach him unexpectedly, sometimes friendly, sometimes confrontational. They would ask him questions about the case and then leave him wondering
During the initial scene processing investigators used a technique known as super glue fuming. This entails heating super glue until it vaporizes. The glue attaches to and fixes the material and fingerprints, making them more durable and easier to locate, photograph, lift, and preserve. Prints belonging to Anthony were located throughout the apartment. Because he'd been a resident only certain prints would have meaning for the case. His prints were on the cookie tin where Nancy's tips were stored. Anthony left a complete left Palm print on the wall above Melissa's bed. The Palm was positioned about 10 inches above where Melissa's head would've been during the assault, in an orientation consistent with him stabilizing himself on the wall.
This case was processed before DNA matching was widely used. Blood typing of semen samples matched Anthony's alleles. Blood from the washcloth in the bathroom sink matched the victim's blood alleles. Tests from the t-shirt that Anthony was wearing revealed stains of human blood and human feces, probably Nancy's. A spot on his tennis shoes was also human blood.
The most compelling evidence from the scene came from the FBI crime lab. The scene had been meticulously rolled for fibers as one of the first steps in the investigation. An FBI analyst meticulously examined the hairs and fibers and was able to sort the samples by type and probable source. He found an inordinately large number of Anthony's pubic hairs in all three of the victim's bedrooms. Some of the hairs collected on the bodies at autopsy were also Anthony's pubic hairs. The FBI analyst studied the likelihood that Anthony's hairs could have migrated naturally throughout the apartment to end up where they were collected. He determined that based on the number, their locations and their condition, the only explanation was that Anthony was unclothed in the rooms where the hairs were found. Bolstering the analyst’s assertions was that the hairs were in new condition, and some were covered with blood. When the analyst examined the washcloth left in the bathroom sink, he found blood, green wool fibers from the military glove liners, Anthony's pubic hairs, and pubic lice. Investigators were able to confirm that Anthony had been treated for pubic lice in recent past.
In addition to the causes of death and severity of the injuries, the autopsy reports provided important information about the timing of the attacks. They bolstered detectives’ assessment at the scene that the event happened mid-morning on Saturday. A small amount of cereal was found in Melissa's stomach corresponding with a partially eaten bowl on the dining table at the scene. Angie had a more significant amount of cereal and some fruit in her stomach, which also matched the evidence at the scene.
The evidence from the FBI crime lab provided the conclusion that the detectives had been waiting for. They wanted to interview Anthony again before they made the arrest. One of the officers casually called him and asked him to come by the station. While waiting, the detectives received word that Anthony had loaded his truck and fled. A BOLO was transmitted in the city and across the state. The search ended at the Canadian border more than 300 miles from Anchorage where Anthony was caught, trying to cross in the middle of the night. He was arrested on a placeholder charge of driving on a suspended license and taken to the Fairbank's correctional center.
Anthony was then charged with three counts of murder and other associated crimes, and the next day he was transported back to Anchorage. During a search of Anthony's apartment after his flight, detectives recovered John Newman stolen camera. The film inside contained the family's last photos. Some tips that came in just before Anthony's arrest were that he'd been paying for purchases using rolls of coins.
As the trial approached, there were evidentiary hearings challenging the admissibility of some of the state's evidence. The judge ruled that nothing from Anthony's past could be presented, not burglary, not robbery, not rape or attempted murder.
The state was also barred from information that Nancy Newman did not want Anthony around her children. Some of the violence towards past girlfriends was also excluded. The other big pretrial decision was to allow Anthony to service his own counsel. He was assigned a public defender as co-counsel to smooth the process.
When the trial started the state called numerous detectives crime scene investigators and forensic technicians. They presented a solid case based on meticulous attention paid to evidence at the scene. Anthony's roommate testified about the odd behavior he witnessed after the murders. The witness from Chilkoot Charlie's testified about suspicious comments that she said Anthony made to her. The last prosecution witness was John Newman, Nancy's husband, and the father of Melissa and Angie. During his testimony, he sat only a few feet away from the nephew that he was certain had wiped out his family. He had great difficulty speaking about his wife and children. The judge sympathetically allowed him breaks as he was overcome with grief. The most crucial testimony he provided was that Nancy would never have allowed Anthony to take his camera.
Anthony presented a defense centered on his assertion that the police had framed him. He claimed that he had no motive to commit the murders. The most noteworthy part of Anthony's defense was a three hour long closing during which he defamed the police and begged the jurors to find him not guilty. Newspaper commentary at the time noted that the consensus was that Anthony did a poor job of countering the substantial evidence against him.
The jury deliberation took less time than Anthony's closing statement. In the time it usually took a jury to eat lunch, they decided Anthony was guilty of all three murders. He was sentenced to serve 357 years. Anthony is currently housed at Spring Creek Correctional Facility in Seward, Alaska with a release date of, well he's never getting out.
Marcy: So, Mark, let's go ahead and talk about this case. Let's start with why you picked this case.
Mark: This is kind of a legendary case at my department. At least with the officers of my generation and a couple of generations before me. It's an infamous case in the city for obvious reasons. I think with the public, there's a feeling of, there was a loss of innocence. Alaskans like to believe they're living in a place that's free from these kind of crimes. The kind of crimes that get so much coverage in other places like heaven forbid, California. The reality is pound for pound Alaska hold his own in violent crimes compared to California. For my police department, the crime was worked by legends, and officers who would become legends. The crime scene team, homicide team approach that was used, which when I came on was just the way business was conducted, the crime scene team approach was still on its infancy for the Newman murders.
The basis for having the crime scene team approach that was used, was simply embarrassment. In years past, APD had failed to detect and stop the serial killer, Robert Hanson, who was memorialized with the title, "Butcher Baker". Worse, APD officers had taken evidence to the Alaska state trooper so they could solve the case.
I don't wanna besmirch the Alaska state troopers, but a friendly rivalry exists between the troopers and Alaska's finest law enforcement agency. What comes to mind when I say that is this. I had a recruit who's now an APD homicide detective. His father was a legendary APD homicide detective. When he came to me for training, I asked him, did he ever think about going to the troopers? He had a disgusted look on his face and said, " my daddy would've rather seen me turning tricks on Spenard than be a trooper." Anyway, the disgrace of not solving the Butcher Baker case and having an atmosphere where officers were giving the product to their investigations, to the troopers, caused a sea change in my department. The establishment of a large well-trained crime scene team and the team approach to investigating and prosecution.
For the lowly recruit, that meant extensive training in preserving evidence and protecting a scene. And with certain types of crimes, those rules were strict. I hinted in the narrative that paramedics always think they're coming in. It's like they don't have closure unless they get to stand over the body and say, 'Hmm. Yeah, that dude's dead.' If you turn them away, they get like puppy dog eyes, but sometimes the undisturbed scene is worth the hurt feelings.
This case was presented at my academy class, and I can tell you that looking at the case photos, full color projected on the wall, impacted me and my academy mates. I had seen dead bodies in the past, but not like this. This was a case that was hard for me in my early twenties to comprehend.
Marcy: Do you think that's why they presented it to the academy?
Mark: Yeah, that's part of it. It was a wake-up call. The message was this isn't a normal job. This is the kind of thing you might experience, so be prepared. That's the theme along most police training, lots of horror stories, but then those stories don't usually come with prepared slides like this. The second part was definitely, they had pride in this case and in solving it. I mean, in retrospect, it doesn't seem like it's that challenging of a crime, but there's a pride in having a new process that produced results. And with the advent of the new crime scene team approach, their clearance rates had gone way up. They developed a process and professionalism that exists even to this day.
Marcy: You told me that this crime was one that got you interested in criminology.
Mark: Exposure to cases like this and like Sophie Sergie in Fairbanks really made me want to know how do people get to the point where they're doing things like this, and that's been a consistent interest throughout my entire career. You remember when I was a rookie, we went to a live presentation of John Douglas, the FBI profiler?
Marcy: Yes. I remember going to see John Douglas and being really interested. I've read or listened to audiobooks, by John Douglas and some of the other folks from the behavioral sciences unit. My undergrad minor is in criminal justice so criminology was always the classes I really liked the best.
Mark: Aside from making me a paranoid SOB, I think those books in some of the courses did a lot for me in terms of recognizing aspects of crimes that others might not.
Marcy: Part of the interest, in this case, is that it seems like such an Alaskan story.
Mark: My family came to Alaska because my dad was in the military. But your family's very similar to this one that came to Alaska for the jobs around pipeline days. But then, the state was hit with a severe recession in the eighties, and the good jobs dried up for a time.
So a lot of people didn't get rich like they thought they would. A lot of people had to be retrained like John Newman.
Marcy: So we have to mention Gwennie's in Spenard.
Mark: Yeah. It's a pretty well-known restaurant for locals. It's really a landmark. One of the claims to fame is the building was originally a brothel. Now it's just good food, nothing else. Researching this case, brought back memories with Gwennie's. More like a sense memory. What was it that you always ordered?
Marcy: It was a avocado king crab omelet. And one of the really interesting things about Gwennie's besides all of the very Alaskan stuff cluttered on all the walls is there's, like a creek running through the middle of it.
Mark: Oh man. We digress. Let's go back to talking about murder. So when I reviewed this case, I was really struck by the words of the investigators, who, are well-known people in my department. and the words they used to describe it, superlatives, like the most brutal, the worst, the most devastating. These guys also have families. It's hard to be around this type of case and not think of your own children and families.
Marcy: Talk about that. Is it difficult to work a scene where you still have bodies in place?
Mark: It depends. You get used to it. If you're busy, taking measurements, photos, you're distracted. It's just part of the job that you go along with what you've been trained to do. There are particular cases that are unsettling and the case we're talking about here, I'm sure it was disturbing for everyone who worked on it because of the kids.
Marcy: Do you think Anthony staged the bodies?
Mark: Yes. Yes, I do. I didn't think about this case in episode one when I talked about the sexual staging of Della Brown, but yeah, this is clearly, probably the first time I was ever exposed to, a case with the bodies that have been sexually staged. I think they're staged by Anthony to reflect his fantasy.
As I said, in episode one, Sophie Sergie, was almost hidden the opposite of staging. In this crime scene, Anthony left them all exposed, even wiping down the front of the youngest girl. An argument can be made that the eight-year-old just fell that way. But I don't think so.
Marcy: Why do you think no one heard what was happening in that apartment?
Mark: Yeah, that's something I've thought about. There are a lot of unknowns. Who in the other apartments were home at the time? Who was awake? This is a busy neighborhood, but it's still cold at that time of year, you know, maybe some snow on the ground, so there probably aren't a bunch of kids just walking around on the street. This isn't necessarily a bad neighborhood, but it's not great. People hear what may or may not be a problem sometimes may not go looking for trouble if they aren't directly involved. Maybe it's a Kitty Genevicci effect.
Marcy: Can you explain what that is?
Mark: Okay. Kitty Genevicci was a young woman who was raped and murdered in the middle of the night in New York city. The brownstone packed buildings type area, very densely populated. Anyway, the case made New York times headlines, national headlines eventually, because numerous people heard that attack, heard her screams crying for help and no one did anything. She was later found dead on the street. This could have happened there where somebody could have heard somebody screaming and just thought, you know, that's not my business, and moved along.
But what I think might have happened here is that the crime may not have necessarily been accompanied by lots of loud screaming or yelling. I come to this conclusion because of my experiences in sexual assault. I think Nancy may have been shocked that Anthony was attacking her or that he had escalated suddenly maybe in a way that shocked her. She may have been trying not to alarm her little girls. She probably didn't want to escalate or enrage him, thinking she just would endure whatever to mollify him and he would eventually leave and, the girls would be safe. This is the answer that comes to me after reading a few years’ worth of sexual assault reports and interviews. I don't think in the initial attack, she could imagine how far this would go.
And maybe then when she did see how far it was going, it was too late. It's very sad.
Marcy: What's with the part of the narrative where Anthony spins Angie around?
Mark: Yeah. As far as what I described happened to the three-year-old in the narrative, that was told to me by one of the guys in the crime scene. He said the blood was sprayed like the guy had taken hold of her ankles and spun her. So, I ran with that description.
Thinking of that reminds me of another homicide I went to very close to this location. One night we got a call of a shooting at the Bunny Club, a massage parlor, which is code for brothel in Spenard, just down 36th avenue. The man who was shot had attempted to rob the business. The Bunny Club was tiny, like 400 square feet, two rooms. The robber came in, pulled the gun demanded money. Unfortunately for him from the darkness of the second room, the security guard, code for pimp, shot the robber in the side of the chest. The robber spun almost 360 degrees spraying blood as he turned in panic, probably wanting to leave and he collapsed dead in the middle of the room. It's disturbing. But I remember looking at the blood spray on that scene thinking it was like a Rainbird sprinkler. And even as I stood there, I thought of the Newman murders and how the blood spatter of the three-year-old was similar as it had been described to me.
Marcy: The FBI technician had done a study on pubic hair.
Mark: That's really kind of the thing that cemented this case. The lab technician with the FBI did an incredible job identifying and examining the hairs and fibers. He determined that Anthony's pubic hairs were, everywhere on the floor of the bedrooms, on the victims. Now, hairs of all kinds tend to fall out and migrate around. And Anthony lived in the apartment so the lab tech had to differentiate between, what was normal and what would be unusual. He did this by studying hair migration in his own house. He vacuumed, sorted, and categorized hairs in his house daily. He also took the vacuum cleaner from the Newman's apartment and counted the hairs and traced the layers of each successive vacuuming session from the bag and could tell their general age. What he found was even when he lived with the Newman's, Anthony, deposited very few pubic hairs on the floor. There was a period after Anthony left that none were vacuumed up.
So to have so many on the scene was very unusual. It led the technician to say the logical explanation was that Anthony was naked in the rooms when the hairs were deposited. The other thing the lab tech was able to do was differentiate between old hairs and new. Apparently once a hair falls out, little bugs, start to feed on it, which leaves marks that are indicative of age. It's pretty disgusting. The Anthony pubic hairs from the scene were demonstrably fresh because they hadn't ended up in the vacuum cleaner and didn't have chew marks on like random, old pubic hairs laying around would. Man, if I worked with that guy, he'd have my respect, but there would be endless jokes.
Marcy: The imagery of the Palm print above the bed is really powerful.
Mark: Yes. Because Anthony lived there most fingerprints wouldn't mean anything but that full Palm print in context of the eight-year-old bleeding from her head just below. That's a home run as far as evidence goes. The only thing better would've been a fingerprint in blood.
Marcy: They worked with an FBI profiler in this case. What do you think about that program?
Mark: It was Judson Ray, who was prominent in a couple of John Douglas's books and worked with John Douglas. He came to Anchorage and worked with our investigators. In this case, I don't think the profile provided anything that was surprising. I know there are a lot of people that roll their eyes when they hear about profiling like it's some kind of voodoo magic. A lot of the value in profiling comes from the consolidated information that the FBI has access to. Imagine you live in a tiny town that hasn't had a homicide in 10 years. When you get hit with a complicated case, well, the FBI has information and commonalities in thousands of cases and can draw inferences from the aggregate. Well, you've heard there's nothing new under the sun. Well, that applies to human behavior. Sometimes when there isn't enough data profiles can be like, it's a white guy between 18 and 26. That isn't real helpful, but you start adding in details and the FBI might give you something to focus your effort as they have in hundreds of cases.
I always thought of profiling as one of many FBI products. Another similar FBI product is LEOKA, which stands for law enforcement officers killed and assaulted. The FBI studies fatal and serious assault on officers nationwide and comes up with an array of statistics and assessments about the risk. Some are obvious like an officer is most likely to experience aggressive resistance at the point, he or she is taking a suspect into custody. Well, no shit. But when you look at all the data and their recommendations, based on the data, you have a pretty good officer safety and survival tool. Profiling and LEOKA are similar in that they're useful when people understand the product and its limitations. By the way, if you happen to be a law enforcement officer or friends or family of one, I recommend taking a look at LEOKA.
Marcy: Don't you have a funny story about one of the TV shows about this case.
Mark: The lead investigator, in this case was Ken Spadafora. I knew him when he was a Sergeant and a Lieutenant. I don't know what show it was that did this case, but someone had recorded it and brought it into one of our shift briefings. At the time Ken Spadafora was a shift Sergeant on night shift. Now, Ken is a fit guy. I knew him first as the lead defensive tactics instructor for my academy. So Spadafora comes in for briefing and someone's playing the recording of this case in the part where the detectives are following Anthony all over town. The TV show has an actor playing Spadafora's part. The actor is as wide as he as tall. Spatafora looks up shakes his head. "Ha they got a goddamn fat guy to play me." Somebody sitting behind me yelled, "that's the price of fame, Sarge." It wasn't until that briefing, I knew that Spadafora was the lead in that case. But he was one of the guys I was referring to when I mentioned the people involved were legends in my department. He was a great leader. I never told him this, but he inspired me to put him for Sergeant because of an incident he and I were both at. I'm not gonna tell the whole story, but there was civil unrest. For those of you who might be familiar, I'm talking about the Fur Ball. We suddenly had hundreds of people in a crowd who were fighting a huge brawl right in the middle of town square park. It looked like a riot. The police on scene had completely lost control of the situation. When Sergeant Spadafora showed up, he organized the police response and with his leadership, we were able to route the forces of chaos.
Marcy: What do you think of the fact that Anthony was never prosecuted before the Newman murders?
Mark: I think there are criminals who get away with a lot and are emboldened when no one ever steps up and forces consequences on them. There was a movement to save money and keep people from the negative consequences of being in custody by not arresting low level offenders. In a lot of places, this movement was a disaster. I would call back and talk to friends who said they're arresting and releasing the same people for repeated crimes, sometimes on the same day. Violent crimes also spiked at this time. It was even worse for Anthony. He was getting away with serious crimes. Some that he confessed to. A psychopath like Anthony had to be emboldened.
Marcy: Do you know anything about the murder of the crossdressing sex worker?
Mark: I don't. Just that Anthony was a person of interest prior and developed into the number one suspect because of the information they got on him, became greatly accelerated by the Newman case. Those kind of murders, murders of sex workers, especially street workers, are notoriously difficult to solve, particularly one-off cases. Looking at what Anthony was capable of, I'd say it's likely that given enough time, he would've killed additional people until he was stopped.
Marcy: In the narrative, you implied that Anthony knew that the prior victim was a man. What makes you think of that?
Mark: One of the book authors speculated that because street walkers in Alaska are often in cold weather are clothed in parks and heavy clothing, Anthony killed the victim because he was angry, he had been tricked into picking up a man. I don't agree with this speculation based on my experience in the game and my contacts with another crossdressing sex worker. Let's just say I find it very improbable that Anthony didn't understand he was picking up a male. Most male street walkers are not trying to completely fool their clients. They're simply selling who they are.
When I was on patrol, there was a very well-known cross-dressing street Walker in Spenard. His name was Floyd. Over the years, I went to several calls involving Floyd, a couple where he had been assaulted. Once he was assaulted pretty seriously and required medical attention. Floyd always dressed as a woman when he was working, but he reminded me of Jaimie Farre playing Klinger on the TV show Mash. There's no mistaking him for a woman. Most of the people that Floyd serviced were picking him up because he was what they wanted. Now about the assaults. Floyd told me that he would often get picked up by young men, sometimes obvious military guys. They would have intercourse of some kind. And sometimes afterward the client would seemingly snap and start beating him, calling him homosexual slurs. He thought it was because they felt guilty after,
When I think about Floyd now, I think I missed an opportunity to develop him as a source. That guy probably had a ton of information and knew a lot about what was going on. I really should have been more attentive. I do have Spenard story about him. One night I was looking for something in an empty lot searching for some kind of evidence. it was dark, no snow on the ground. the lot was covered in waist high brush, and I was about 75 feet from the roadway. Floyd walked into view on the streetlights, and I just stood kind of watching him in the dark when he came up, close enough, Floyd called out to me, "Hey, you want your dick sucked?" I laughed, turned on my flashlight and said, "go home Floyd." And he said, " sorry, officer" and scuttled away. Spenard was weird like that.
Marcy: Do you think that the surveillance and the pressure on a suspect like Anthony is effective?
Mark: I think that was part of the profile that the subject would be, able to function normally, if not under stress. The point of applying stress through investigative pressure is to get the person to make a mistake, to do something, that gives the investigators more information, or maybe even confess. I did a lot of surveillance as a detective working in drugs. And particularly when I got my, own crime suppression unit. It's always good to see what's going on without the presence of marked patrol cars. But in the case, I'm going to mention, I was a brand-new detective untrained in mobile surveillance. As it turns out, that's why they wanted us to follow a murder suspect. The target was a man we were pretty sure it killed a young woman. I don't wanna give away too much information because it's gonna be in a subsequent episode. But this first surveillance team I was part of was intended to be seen. And as green as we were, the guy spotted us fairly quickly. That guy started driving erratically, started waving at us, flipping us off. And this time went on. I even saw him yelling and flipping off people who were civilians completely uninvolved.
This kind of instability in our suspect was what the case investigators wanted. They wanted him under stress. They wanted to freak him out. and they were hoping that this would, uh, cause him to, inadvertently lead them back to the body or maybe even confess. The only thing I can attest to is the guy was stressed
Marcy: During the trial, the prosecutor said that there was no clear motive for this murder. What do you think about that?
Mark: That's a theme that's repeated by lawyers and the media over and over again. Lots of cases. If you listen to the Knoxville episode, they said it in that case too. There's no clear motive. It's bullshit. The motive's clear. I think they just don't wanna put it into words in the light of day in a courtroom. But it needs to be said, the motive in these crimes may have started as a straightforward burglary, but when the opportunity presented itself, the motive became the sadistic sexual fantasies of the offender. At the beginning of this crime, Anthony thought his aunt and the kids were not home. That kind of break in happens all the time. It's why families often hate their drug addict relatives. They know who did it. They know who's ripping them off.
Marcy: Well, by the time Anthony's trial ended, all of Anchorage hated him.
Mark: Yes. People knew what he had done and resented how it reflected on the city, and the press coverage on who was brutal. They excavated his history in past crimes. A beloved TV personality noted that in a pack courtroom, Anthony, without apparent provocation turned around from his chair at the defense table and loudly called his uncle a fool John Newman's response was to burst into tears. It's a good thing that this wasn't the wild west. Anthony would've been hung up in town square after this comment to a man who had just lost his entire family.
Marcy: John Newman took his family home to Idaho Falls and he never moved back to Alaska. John Newman's three girls were buried together with Nancy's arms wrapped around her babies, Melissa, and Angie.
Mark: I hope in this episode, I've provided insight and perspectives as to what police officers and investigators do, and why. If you have a question about police procedures or have an interesting case, you'd like me to cover, please email us at email@example.com
Marcy: Thank you for reading. If you haven't already, please subscribe to Crime Raven, so you don't miss an episode. Please recommend us to your friends too. You can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and check our website at crimeraven.com crime Raven hosted by Mark Rein and Marcy Rein is written and directed by mark Rein and edited and produced by Marcy Rein and it's a 3 Little Birds, LLC production.