FOIA documents, John McKinney homicide (1 and 2 of 8 links)

Would welcome any insights and observations and please post them here (or after next few posts) so everyone can consider them. These documents cost me $1,729.84. There are 878 pages (there were really 880, but I missed numbering and scanning two blacked out pages that were entirely redacted and there was no indication what they were either by placement or by described exemption). So now we are probably approaching the $25K-plus mark in this case in money spent trying to get answers. The red numbers are mine–total pain in the ass when they aren’t numbered and things get tossed around. Some of the pages appear to be out of order, but I numbered them as they were presented. All of the yellow highlighting is mine.

I post them for the sake of transparency and for any insights/observations that we can share. Obviously my interest was in whether or not this man was ever investigated as a suspect in the child killings. See for yourself. Redactions were described as being on the basis of “suspect info, phone numbers, SSN, birth information.” Birmingham PD played fair with me, I have no reason to believe the redactions are not legitimate.

If you use the documents for any project, article, blog post, podcast, book, bogus work of fiction, etc., please do not even imply that you lifted a finger or spent a dime to obtain these documents. All you had to do was hit a few keys on your computer and read. If you are, for whatever reason, hesitant to post a comment here you can email me at

There is a fair amount of duplication in these records, but this is how they came. Each file link is about 100 pages, give or take. Here are the first two of eight:

The Medium.

Soon after McKinney’s murder, his widow went to a “fortune teller.” FOIA 496. The medium recounted a number of things known only to police at that time. As you can imagine, given the early stages of the investigation, the era, and the community, there was virtually no “inside” information about this crime in the press. (Really, there never was.) The police took notice and contacted her. FOIA 503-04. Not even going to try to summarize–check it out:

On October 31, 1977, police took the medium up on her offer of further assistance and detectives from Birmingham PD met her and her husband, who followed police over to the McKinney gallery. A summary will not do the report justice, so here it is, along with the notes taken contemporaneously:

Keep in mind what the medium told Yvonne McKinney and police as you read the FOIA response. Just a few observations–

  1. The medium sees a connection with Ohio and Georgia. See FOIA 119 (interviewee suggests police check with a David Booth Cooper in Ohio) and FOIA 750 (interviewee tells police “a year or two ago [McKinney] spent some time on an island off of the Georgia or [redacted-??] or S. Carolina coast it is a funded thing where somebody suggest’s you to these people and they say we are gonna give you some money or two or three weeks time to come down here do what ever it is you wanted to do with your time and he was doing his writing on energy.”) FOIA 449 re: Georgia as well. See below.
    • Another possible Ohio connection–Maxwell Kincaid, an inmate at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Lucasville, Ohio, serving a sentence for bad checks, wrote the task force because “I myself know who killed the little Timmy King and also the Stebbins boy in your area. I know where the person is and all about him.” (See Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing, page 216-17.) Robert Robertson wrote back expressing reluctance to visit but a willingness to speak on the phone or via a more detailed letter. The man, who wanted immunity, went dark.
  2. “She stated that the business was a front for something else.” Consider marked paragraph at FOIA 459, below.
  3. She stated that something was hidden.
  4. She stated that she saw a boy by the name of Mark. The police report adds “this would have been John’s son.” His son was 19 in 1977, married and living on his own. I can think of another Mark who might have come through to the medium.
  5. While in the back gallery area the name Paul came to her.
  6. She asked if John was sadistic. Yvonne stated that “she thought possibly somewhat.”
  7. The medium said that she could see McKinney and that he liked to see people suffer.
  8. The handwritten notes say: “When Mrs. Edwards was leaving, I walked to the car w/her & Mr. Edwards & all of a sudden she stated “Arizona”–I want to go to Arizona–talk to the man in Arizona. Doug Webster was living in Scottsdale, Arizona and police do in fact go to Arizona to interview him .

While in the work room on the second level, she said “I feel heavy like I am going to be sick” and she wanted to get out of the room. As I said, my money’s on the medium.

Documents referred to in 1-8:

Before or after you read the FOIA response that follows, in addition to considering what the medium intuited in 1977 about McKinney’s murder and about him, you may want to read or reread Portraits in the Snow: The Oakland County Child Killings…Scandals and Small Conspiracies, by M. F. Cribari (2011),  Just sayin.

Doug Webster

In the days after McKinney’s murder, Birmingham Police interview not only concerned citizen George Landino (see prior post), they speak with Landino’s one-time art student Martin Hoogasian, described as having a personality conflict with McKinney and as having art on display at McKinney’s gallery.

In a typewritten report of this interview, the first page of which appears to be missing or misfiled, Hoogasian tells police he believed McKinney was having sex with Doug Webster. FOIA 198. He further stated both Webster and McKinney were into a “magic” called “Don Juan” magic. As noted previously, there was an additional “explanation” that both Webster and McKinney at times were “simulated” or they pictured themselves as “crows.” FOIA 199. No wonder the guy hit the road for another gallery in Arizona. FOIA 750, 805.

In the handwritten notes about this interview, Hagoosian tells police “that there are secret letters and writings from Doug Webster to John McKinney.” FOIA 120.

Letters between Webster and McKinney are in the FOIA response. I post them in the order they were found in the file. The highlights and all markings are mine, except for the faint red underlining found at FOIA 814 and 815. March 22nd was the afternoon/early evening my brother Tim was murdered.

By January 1978, Webster agrees to take a polygraph in Arizona. (He does, and he is cleared of any involvement in the McKinney homicide. FOIA 602, 610.) You kind of have to compare FOIA 528-32 with FOIA 599-603 to get all of the information I relate here. (See link below.) Birmingham PD Sgt. M. Mohr and Investigator A’Hearn (agency?) “returned to Scottsdale” to interview Webster. Among other things, Webster tells police that he paid McKinney $1,000 for a 25% partnership in the gallery in March 1974. He worked there until February 1976 and his partnership was terminated as of that time. His shares were “resold” to McKinney in April 1976.

Webster explained that things “were not going well around the Gallery,” and that he was aware that McKinney and his wife Linda “were becoming interested in each other.” The Websters agreed to divorce (December 1975).

When the discussion finally turns to the possible connection of McKinney and the child killings,

His only reaction was that he observed the news broadcast on national TV and he recalled a letter he had received shortly before the news broadcast from John McKinney stating that John McKinney was having problems. He did not go into detail, however, Webster stated that he put the news broadcast and the letter from McKinney and got a strange feeling. Nothing to substantiate that McKinney was even involved other than he just got a strange feeling. He wrote a letter to John McKinney that is in the reports previously. This would be referring to the child homicides and the possible connection of John McKinney.

FOIA 601

Maybe it was that mystical, nonverbal communication thing he and McKinney had going. FOIA 750. Or that magic crow shit. FOIA 199, 417. Whatever it was, all that followed were questions about whether or not Webster knew of any place aside from his home address or the gallery where McKinney may have been living. He did not. FOIA 601-02.

Pages referred to above:

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