And more McKinney

In addition to the comments on my blog concerning the FOIA documents in the McKinney homicide, a few readers sent me more comprehensive information via OCCKtruth@protonmail.com. I will do my best to present it here.

First, two readers found the October 1977 news article and photo in the Royal Oak Daily Tribune of the batik art that was found unframed on McKinney’s desk. (Prior post.). I’m told, but have not been able to confirm, that the work is entitled “Eros.” (No surprise, I guess. https://www.greekmythology.com/Other_Gods/Eros/eros.html). It is unclear if anyone ever came forward to claim the art.

As an aside, I love the RO Tribune. Maybe this photo was in the Detroit News, but since they were so penny-wise and pound-foolish, their shit isn’t archived online. Can you say “microfiche at the library?” (That’s like banking with a bank that has no ATMs.). I didn’t come up with anything similar in The Detroit Free Press.

A few readers pointed out how McKinney’s murder had all the marks of a hit–a beat down, followed by one or two 22’s to the brain. Another reader had a good observation about drug smuggling done in picture frames, and with art coming to McKinney from Arizona and other locations, that was a real possibility. The picture frame smuggle is still in use: https://www.cbsnews.com/chicago/news/smugglers-hide-potent-drug-inside-picture-frames/.

This man was in some big trouble, one way or the other, and it caught up to him big time. Although McKinney’s family, employees, friends and customers were all asked about any drug use by McKinney, I did not see any indication the police pursued the possibility drugs were being smuggled through this art gallery. A few folks speculated about how McKinney even kept his gallery afloat, but there was no next-level inquiry. The guy had money trouble and could have been getting loans from the dark side, where it is not advisable to miss a payment.

If you are a big believer in police polygraphs, circa 1977, especially those conducted by the MSP, you have no problem believing that all who were polygraphed in this case were in the clear. So that would seem to take the investigation to a wider realm–like who TF did this guy owe money to, piss off or screw over?–but it never went there at all according to the FOIA documents provided to me.

In spite of the letter sent to Birmingham PD by Dr. Bruce Danto about the concerning statements of George Landino and the possibility McKinney was the child killer, that theory goes nowhere. The “bad feeling” Doug Webster wrote to McKinney and told police about–a sense that McKinney might have been involved in the child killings–was clearly just dismissed, as were the statements of the medium police met with in McKinney’s gallery. All dismissed even though at the time, the “most popular” theory about the killer, as expressed by Dr. Danto and Dr. Emanuel Tanay, was that this was a diabolical, deranged, damaged, wealth-hating, more white-collar, lone serial killer.

So let’s circle back to that batik on McKinney’s desk the night he was murdered. The artist was a young Dennis Cigler, who had been living in Rome since the early 1970s. Here’s where it gets more interesting.

According to two readers, several months before McKinney was murdered, Cigler came to Detroit and showed his batiks to the Michigan Opera Theatre staff who were putting together a production of “The Pearl Fishers.”  A reader asked: Who was the brainchild and patron of the Michigan Opera Theatre?  Jack Faxon.  Who were major contributors?  Gerald Knechtel, the vice president of labor relations for GM; and Dr. Bryce Alpern, pediatrician.  If you are a careful reader of this blog and books mentioned along the way, is your skin crawling yet?

Oh, I know, I know–just a coincidence. Birmingham didn’t have any connections to organized child sex rings, right?! Just a bunch of good shopping and fun lunch spots.

The “art world” in B’ham was pretty small–maybe even smaller than the child sex ring that infected that city’s borders. Here’s an example of how small. McKinney worked as a framer for Peggy deSalle at The Little Gallery (she owned it 1949–late 1970’s; he later left and opened his own gallery a few blocks away). The Little Gallery was on Maple, a short walk from our house on Yorkshire, right in front of the lot on Knox Street where the late state senator and man-about-town and stage, Jack Faxon, bought his house in the 1990s. Knox Street. Probably the last street my brother walked on before he was abducted and held captive before being murdered.

Peggy deSalle was briefly married to Zoltan Sepeshy, who was president of Cranbrook boys school from 1946-1966. In April 2022, Cranbrook sent a notice to alumni of an ongoing investigation into sexual abuse of students by a deceased faculty member between the years of 1946-1961. https://www.clickondetroit.com/news/local/2022/04/13/cranbrook-alerts-alumni-of-sexual-misconduct-investigation/?msclkid=d1702779bb3d11ec87c1da3cafb57c83.

Peggy, who was a photographer in addition to a gallery owner, married Albert deSalle and both were donors to Cranbrook and the Detroit Institute of Arts.

And we certainly can’t forget that poser Everell E. FIsher, Jr., and his Birmingham “gallery.” That makes for some circles in the rarified B’ham art scene.

It would stretch credulity well beyond the breaking point to suggest that all or any of these people knew who was involved in the OCCK crimes. But it gives you some sense of why nobody was digging real deep into the pedophiles operating in an around a place like Birmingham. Or why someone trying to turn in a Christopher Busch for flashing their kid got shown the door. Or why McKinney wouldn’t even be looked at as a suspect in the child killings.

That’s the information from readers, synthesized as best I could. If you have more to add or to clarify, please comment below. If you email me about it, I can’t promise when or if it will show up on my blog.


More McKinney

Discussion in next post.


More heartbreak.

I have some very sad news. Tom Robinson, father of Jill Robinson, died this week at age 85. As his wife Marla said to Marney Keenan, “Now there are two fathers gone without closure.”

I put off writing this today because it bummed me out so much. I found Tom Robinson’s interview in Children of the Snow to be so honest and compelling. As he held a photograph of Jill he said:

“It’s one of those things that never goes away. This was a bad period.” And, “I’m stuck thinking about it every morning and every evening.” For almost 46 years.

I sat down to type and I swear to god, there is a full, vibrant double rainbow out my back deck. Tom and Jill. As an English professor, perhaps Tom Robinson would forgive my writer’s block, and I appreciate the incentive in the sky to write something. (I am scheduling this to post Saturday morning, rather than at the time of writing.)

Over the years I have been contacted by two of Professor Robinson’s students who wrote me to say how profoundly they were affected by him–that they respected him greatly. I remember one man wrote to say that decades ago, on the first day of class, Professor Robinson introduced himself, explained he was the father of Jill Robinson, got that on the table and then said “now let’s learn.” The many people he touched also cared deeply about his family’s incomprehensible loss.

This is the part that hung me up today–Marney told me “I was really struck by how Jill’s birth, four decades on, was so vivid in [Tom’s] memory. He said to me and Cory: ‘I know all parents remember the first time, but it shook me up. … I first saw her looking through the window and the nurse was holding her. And it was an electric moment.'”

Tom told them that he was devastated by Jill’s death. “I can’t say I wanted to die because I had two other kids. But it took the spark out of my life.”

Please, this weekend do something kind for someone in your life. As you do so, think of Tom, Jill, Tom’s wife Marla, and Jill’s mom Karol and Jill’s two sisters Alene and Heather.

I also want to point out how prescient Tom Robinson and Karol Robinson were in the months after Jill’s murder. In a March 27, 1977 Detroit News article, Tom asked “where the hell is the imaginative leadership [from the task force]?” Karol said “I get the feeling there is a runaround with this task force.” I’m sure the Oakland County prosecutor and the state police knew the sheer magnitude of the Robinsons’ loss would fold in on them soon enough and that this story would be starved of oxygen. And it was.

Go figure, 21 months later there it was: The task force had gotten their grant money but not their suspect(s) and in addition “”[t]he investigators ran through more than $2 million dollars and have nothing to show for it except the files, a manual on how to organize such an investigation–and memories of frustration.” The Port Huron Times Herald, Sunday, December 17, 1978, p. 8A.

How’s that for imaginative leadership?


How genetic genealogy helped nab a Detroit serial rapist

A Detroit man named Lionel Wells was sentenced last week for sexually assaulting five teenage girls between 2007 and 2014. He’s the latest perpetrator of a violent crime identified with the help of a relatively novel investigative technique called genetic genealogy.
— Read on www.michiganradio.org/criminal-justice-legal-system/2022-09-23/how-genetic-genealogy-helped-nab-a-detroit-serial-rapist


The Catholic Church

Sigh. Yes, these men are dangerous as long as they are alive. Who would know better than one of this priest’s victims?

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2022/sep/24/lawrence-hecker-catholic-priest-abuse-allegations-new-orleans?CMP=share_btn_link


He was going to ask for her i.d.

www.washingtonpost.com/dc-md-va/2022/09/22/prredator-catchers-vigilante-justice/


Contrast

I have a number of Google alerts set concerning the OCCK case and today this landed in my in-box. I have not, nor will I, read this book, but please listen before moving on:

Of much greater interest to me, and by coincidence, today an author shared something more compelling:

No outlet would post Jason’s review, but he shared it with me so I could read it. For me, this also raises yet another theme, how “legends” get kudos when maybe they are not due and the power imbalance that influences what people read and believe.

This reminded me of another fiction book written with the “back drop” or “overlay” of the OCCK crimes covered by the NYT in May 2020, https://catherinebroad.blog/2020/05/01/a-crime-novelist-on-the-oakland-county-child-killer-new-york-times-5-1-20/. For me, this reader’s comment summed it up in a different way:


Hawaii 19-Year-Old Was Found Slain in Home 50 Years Ago — and Suspect Was Just Charged After Son Provided DNA

Hawaii 19-Year-Old Was Found Slain in Home 50 Years Ago — and Suspect Was Just Charged After Son Provided DNA
— Read on www.msn.com/en-us/news/crime/hawaii-19-year-old-was-found-slain-in-home-50-years-ago-and-suspect-was-just-charged-after-son-provided-dna/ar-AA11SmPL

Honolulu PD worked with Parabon Labs. DNA from a bloody towel at the crime scene–fifty years ago, a genetic genealogy search, and further investigating resulted in the arrest of a 77-year-old man. It’s never too late. Keep looking over your shoulders, freaks.


McKinney Homicide (7 and 8 of 8/final)

Now go get some fresh air. And take a shower.


McKinney Homicide (5 and 6 of 8)