The murder of Birmingham art gallery owner John McKinney, 45 years ago this month

On Tuesday, September 20, 1977, the Birmingham Police Department received a routine call from the fire department for assistance on a first-aid run at the Birmingham Art Gallery at 1025 Haynes Street. The owner of the gallery, John McKinney, was found murdered on the first floor of the gallery. He had been beaten and shot in the head. The gallery was closed on Mondays and the murder was thought to have taken place between 6 and 9 pm on Monday the 19th, 45 years ago. The murder remains unsolved.

Preliminary to taking a closer look at this homicide, which took place six months after my brother Tim’s murder, consider these awesome entries from another blogger:

In addition to an entry on McKinney, this is the bottom line on the OCCK case:

The Oakland County Child Killer (OCCK) case. An old cold case that took place around Detroit, Michigan back in the ’70s. It involved 4 children . This case is constantly covered up, obfuscated and misdirected by the authorities. Once this case is cracked and the truth is out there is an opportunity for the US to clean up its garbage. You will learn our country is NOT what it says it is.

Wilson’s Words and Pictures

More on McKinney’s murder during a wave of unsolved murders in Oakland County: (Don’t Talk to Strangers podcast).

And of course the 2011 book Portraits in the Snow: The Oakland County Child Killings . . . Scandals and Small Conspiracies, M. F. Cribari (Outskirts Press, Inc. 2011),

I had left for college when McKinney was murdered. I asked one of my brothers yet again if anyone from law enforcement ever asked my family if any of them knew, recognized or had heard of John McKinney. He said no, never. Police were apparently unaware (as were we) that our neighbors, the Coffeys, were art collectors and apparently investors in McKinney’s gallery and that they were friends with McKinney, who was often at their house for dinner. Tim was very often across the street at the Coffey house as well, where his good friend lived.

You would think that somebody would have thought to ask the families of the OCCK victims if they knew McKinney. Or Busch. Or Flynn. Or Hojnacki. Or Hastings. Or Johnson. Or even checked the photographs of those who attended the funerals to see if these people showed up at any of the services. Over the years my dad was asked every few years about numerous priests, living and dead. But never these homegrown Oakland County men. You would also think that before a blanket announcement was made in the press, very early after McKinney’s murder, that he was in no way connected to the child killings, that somebody would have thought to run his name and photo by our family. But you would be wrong.

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