Does anyone out there have a conscience?

Check this out about our “old friend” John “nothing to see here” McKinney, who was murdered in his Birmingham art gallery at 1025 Haynes Street on September 20, 1977, six months after my brother Tim’s murder:

I’m also wondering why a detective from Raleigh, N.C. would be interested in McKinney’s murder.

We’ve discussed McKinney numerous times before, read here:

And of course, if you have not read Portraits in the Snow, The Oakland County Child Killings…Scandals and Small Conspiracies, by M.F. Cribari (2011) well . . . let’s just say you might want to.

And as for my question, does anyone out there have a conscience?, if you have the sense you should have spoken up about unusual or criminal things about people like John McKinney, John Hastings, Everell E. Fisher, Jr., Richard McNamee, Chris Busch, H. Lee Busch, Greg Greene or Vince Gunnels–guess what? YOU SHOULD HAVE.

17 responses to “Does anyone out there have a conscience?”

  1. I just finished Cribari’s book. A tough read due to subject matter and poor editing (I’m sorry but I can’t handle all the commas in sentences that don’t belong there –haha). But a very thought provoking book. Especially interesting to me was how little I’ve heard about Redmond, Thompson and McKinney until this book.

  2. Hmm.

    We can see from Bruce Danto’s letter on Sept. 22 that he found the Groves art teacher’s suspicions about McKinney and the OCCK case compelling.

    So, we now know that within 48 hours of McKinney’s murder, the task force received a tip from a credible source about him, yet no public identification of him as a suspect would emerge for decades. If, as Cathy has written, one of the Coffey children named McKinney as a suspect before then, then that means the task force had his name when he was still alive for questioning.

    Also, if this anonymous poster (“Olivia Guest”) on Helen Dagner’s board from 2020 was correct (“A Birmingham police officer told my Attorney friend that they killed John McKinney. The Birmingham cops knew he would never be sent to prison so they tried to get him to confess with a beating. When he refused they shot him”), then McKinney really was questioned, identified as a connection to the ring, and murdered.

    The 1980 novel/book/bizarre fantasy “The Oakland County Child Killer” has a strange, throwaway scene in chapter 8.

    The killer/protagonist, Father Francis, is an amateur photographer, very interested in portraying raw human sexuality in his work. His teen assistant, Joey, admires and helps Father Francis with his photography.

    Permit me to quote this minor scene at length from this obscure 1980 book, written more than three decades before McKinney’s name would become linked to the case.
    Father Francis and his assistant, Joey, are preparing photographs to be reviewed at a Detroit art gallery (“The White Gallery” owned by “Alexander”, “himself a talented modernist sculptor”, a “middle-aged man, very slight of build. His skin was pale, almost transparent, and he wore a poorly fitted toupee”):

    “I’m takin some of my photographs down to an art gallery tomorrow. If they like them, they’re going to put them on display.”
    “Yes,” said Francis. “If they like them.”
    “You kidding? You’re the best photographer they’ve ever seen in their life.!”

    Francis began taking down some of the photographs and handing them to Joey who carefully stacked them on top of the desk. Just then Father McKinnen, the silver haired pastor St. Anthony’s walked into the office.

    “Find yourself a new job?”

    Francis turned around. “Hello, Father McKinnen.”

    “You’re packing up and leaving us?”

    “Oh no. Just taking a few of my photographs home with me.”

    “He’s going to be famous, Father McKinnen,” said Joey. “I’m helping.”


    “Well, not quite,” said Francis. “One of the parishioners told me about an art gallery downtown that’s looking for new local artists. Paintings, sculpture, photographs, that kind of thing. Thought I’d go down and see what it was all about.”

    “Good for you,” said Father McKinnen. “I’ve always told you you should try to sell some of your photographs. I think your work is excellent.” . . .

    Father McKinnen makes no further appearances in the book. We later learn that “Alexander” finds the photographs “Raw. Sensitive. Violent . . . The themes are awesome. The isolation. The loneliness. The eroticism . . . Your work screams (!!!) with emotion. Brilliant.”

    The chapter ends with Father Francis feeling elated, “maybe the best he ever had”. His works “exhibited. His photographs for sale.”

    (So the killer was to be paid for his “erotic, brilliant, violent” photographs.)

    I’ve concluded that the author (“Michael Parrott”) wanted to link the name “McKinnen” with the killer and with photography and with a specific art gallery in Detroit.

    I’ve long believed that the author deliberately used the name “McKinnen.” By far and away, the most common spelling of this name is “McKinnon”, (as in former DPD chief Ike McKinnon) and not “McKinnen”. No author would choose a non-name for even a minor character, unless it had a special significance.



    By the mere substitution of the letter “n” for “y”, the author disguised the significance of John McKinney’s relevance to the OCCK case.

    Whoever the author was (probably Bruce Danto himself), he certainly suspected that John McKinney was somehow involved in this case. The author believed that John McKinney was connected to the killer ring. And the fact that McKinney’s name remained beneath the surface for so long tells us there was something there.

      • I originally thought that, too, given the point of view of the author, but there is a Michael L. Parrott, age 69, living in Michigan. He would have been around 24 when he wrote the book, if this is the guy. Whoever it was had a direct line to information in this investigation. Or was the most intuitive writer ever. Knowing what we all know now, this is the only conclusion–the author knew WTF went on in this investigation.

  3. The letter from John Doe is full of important details. What happened to Everell E Fisher Jr. in Miami? Walter O Briggs was Everell’s grandfather. In 1952, Walter died at his estate in Miami with his friend Bishop Allen Babcock at his side. According to newspapers, Father Babcock flew back to Detroit to give the homily at Walter O Brigg’s memorial service. This is only two years after Everell was hospitalized with polio. . . google Bishop Allen Babcock and Walter O. Briggs.

    • Yes, whatever happened in Miami to “John Doe’s” little brother involved Everell Fisher, Jr. “John Doe” could not say for certain that his little brother’s permanent condition (whatever it is) was due to some mysterious event in Miami, but he sure suspected it.

      However, the Miami event happened in the mid-late 1960’s (or even later), so Walter O. Briggs was long gone by then.

      I can’t really reconcile “John Doe’s” willingness to continue to associate with Everell Fisher for years if he really believed that Fisher was not only involved with the OCCK ring, but may have done something to “John Doe’s” little brother. “Doe” wrote of his desire to protect his own family, but Everell Fisher died in the late 1980’s. Yet “Doe” did not come forward for another 25 years.

      Still, “John Doe’s” rambling 2014 written statement makes it very clear that by then (if not long before), “John Doe” suspected Fisher of some very awful things.

    • I agree, the letter holds significant information which readers have cross-referenced with facts and locations. Another missed opportunity by the task force.

    • I don’t know who “Michael Parrott” is/was. Maybe that is the author’s real name, or maybe not. Either way, the author was intimately informed of inside conversations going on with investigators in 1977/78.

      What is truly bizarre is the cover illustration of another of Parrott’s books, “Pardonnez-moi Vos Offenses” (“Forgive me for YOUR offenses”).

      (Huh? Why would anyone need to be forgiven for another’s offenses? Unless that person was responsible for the offenses committed by another, perhaps? A person who knew that the offender was not fully responsible for what they were doing, yet did little or nothing to prevent those offenses?)

      Anyway, check out “Parrott’s” cover illustration: a boy, dressed for school in the winter, running with a distressed or scared look on his face. A male child of late elementary age, fleeing in terror from someone unseen . . .


    • It happened over a long period of time due to the vacuum created by lack of true investigation by the MSP and Oakland County, as well as their attempts to thwart legitimate inquiry and avenues of investigation. I would love nothing more than to “get out of the business.” Sick of assholes, liars and people who don’t do their jobs. At the end of the day, the fact that there are still so many rabbit holes and so much contempt and anger surrounding this investigation, is a clear sign that, at a minimum, the cops did not get the job done. And, DNA or no DNA, it is very obvious they could have gotten this case solved back in the day. Many other jurisdictions, much smaller and with much smaller budgets than Oakland County, have gone back and solved decades-old cases. In spite of millions of dollars the MSP just can’t get the job done. Why is that?

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: