This show, “Michigan and other Mayhem”, is a sort of factual, slightly comical, always earnest podcast about interesting stuff in Michigan and around the world. It is done by two sisters-in-law (Ali and Jenn) that like to talk about random interesting stories. Expect cults, mysteries, murder, fast talking, and a couple of mental palate cleansers… and cuss words. Those happen on this show, a lot.
- Pretend podcast music because Jenn likes it.
- Ali has a weird laugh. It is often loud.
Nada Huranich’s Murder
Nada’s son, Muhammad, who is 16 years old, was accused of murdering her on August 21, 2017. Nanda was found on the back porch of her home.
Background: Nada had divorced her husband in 2016. Her husband was said to have traditional Muslim beliefs and was physically abusive of her. He didn’t like how she embraced American ways and how it was also affecting their children. Nada’s son, Muhammad, was said to be a lot like his father. Muhammad did not like how she embraced American culture.
When police first arrived on scene, they believed her murder may have been accidental. They believe that she fell from a window on the third floor of their mansion. After investigating further, they believed Muhammad had been involved after the autopsy confirmed that she was dead before falling from the window. It is now believed that her son suffocated her and then pushed her out the window.
The trial for Muhammad was adjourned while his attorney took the issue of suppressing the video and statements his client made to the Michigan Court of Appeals because the judge in the case denied the request. Muhammad is currently still being held in the Oakland County Children’s Village.
Murder of Margaret Ann Phillips
First things first, I need to tell you that in 1969, they put accused felon’s home addresses in the newspaper. That’s seemed crazy to me.
Margaret Ann Phillips was 25 years old and working on her doctorate in sociology. She liked to work with people in a counseling type role. Margaret focused some of her time on a man that was being called the Co-Ed Killer, who had attacked several women and was not yet caught.
On Saturday, July 5, 1969 Margaret was found shot and unconscious in her apartment. Margaret had been shot three times, twice in the head and once in the hand with a.22 caliber pistol. She remained alive for almost a full day before succumbing to her wounds, never gaining consciousness.
I read two different reports of what happened when Margaret was in the hospital. One: In order to flush out the killer, police told reporters that she was in fair condition and providing them information, hoping to force the killer’s hand. Two: In order to flush out the killer, police told reporters that she uttered two words before dying, hoping to force the killer’s hand. (You decide the truth.)
Margaret’s death was initially thought to be linked to the Co-Ed Killer due to her research and the fact that other victims of the killer had been shot with a .22. Margaret’s dad told reporters that Margaret had said she had information against the killer that would “shock the nation”. Margaret was also an acquaintance with one of the victims of the serial killer, who had been killed the previous month.
However, a man named Ernest Bishop would be found guilty of the crime. Margaret was working with Ernest, rehabilitating him back into society as Ernest was an ex-convict. Ernest had served time in a Jackson, Michigan prison for rape. Ernest went to Margaret’s apartment where she served him coffee and she drank a lemonade. While Margaret was sitting on her bed, Ernest pulled out a gun and shot at Margaret three times. The bullet that went through Margaret’s hand was found in the wall of her bedroom. Ernest’s fingerprints were found on the coffee cup.
A family friend of Ernest’s, Clifford Shewcraft, told police that Ernest had confessed to seeing Margaret killed. Ernest said it was done by a man named Dave. Ernest asked Clifford for a ride and when they were driving down northbound US23, had him pull over. Ernest then threw a .22 caliber pistol into the Huron River below.
On Monday July 7, 1969, divers were combing the Huron River while Ernest R. Bishop was being charged with murder. Michigan State Police Divers did find the weapon in the water. I couldn’t find if the gun in the river had ballistics that matched the bullet in the wall or her skull.
Ernest was cleared of the murders of other victims of the Co-Ed Killer. He had been in prison at the time of their deaths. Ernest was found not guilty via reason of insanity and sent to Ionia State Mental Hospital either until he died, or he was cured.
John Norman Collins, who would later be convicted as the Co-Ed killer, and is the next subject of our podcast, had his serial murder case was put on hold as Judge Conlin first needed to oversee the trial of Ernest Bishop.
Murder of Gloria Murphy
Gloria Murphy was 19 years old when she was found murdered on December 9, 1969. Gloria had been stabbed to death in her bed, in her student housing apartment in University Towers. She had been stabbed 34 times. Gloria’s husband was a University of Michigan student, and Gloria was originally from Dearborn, Michigan.
Gloria was found by her husband, James, when he returned home from classes and studying, around 1:30 in the afternoon. Their 2-week-old newborn was unharmed at the foot of their bed. James was not originally suspected, police thinking it may have been another strike by the Co-Ed Killer. However, they then realized that there wasn’t forced entry, and nothing was taken from the home.
James submitted to a lie detector test at the State Police office then brought to St. Joseph Mercy Hospital due to emotional distress. While at the hospital, James confessed to his dad, within hearing of officers, that he killed his wife.
James was due to graduate from U of M the following week but was instead taken into custody. James was 22 years old at the time. The last Thursday in August 1970, James was found not guilty via reason of insanity. Like Ernest Bishop, he was sent to Ionia State Mental Hospital either until he died, or he was cured.
Murder of Jane Mixer
Jane Mixer was 23 years old, and a student at University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, when she was murdered. She had been the valedictorian of her high school and was working on becoming a lawyer for social justice. In March of 1969, Jane had posted a note on a college ride-share bulletin board at University of Michigan ahead of spring break. She was looking for a ride to her hometown located in Muskegon, Michigan, which is across the state. Jane talked to her father on the phone, letting him know a student named David Johnson had answered her post.
Jane’s body was found March 21, 1969, just west of Ann Arbor, in a cemetery. A woman who lived near the cemetery saw her body and called the police. Jane had died after being garroted by a nylon stocking, one that did not belong to her, as well as being shot with a .22 twice in the head. Her jumper had been pulled around her waist to expose her genital area, as well as her nylons being pulled down. Her yellow raincoat was laid over her body, which was laid on top of a grave. Her own copy of the book “Catch 22” was carefully placed next to her body along with her shoes.
There was a student at U of M named David Johnson, but he had an alibi. He had been acting in a play that night.
Jane was murdered during John Norman Collins spree as Michigan’s Murderer, causing her death to be attributed to him. There were deviations from John’s kill pattern, however, such as Jane was not beaten or stabbed, and she was not sexually molested. John dumped the bodies of his victims, but Jane had her personal items neatly arranged as well as her body. In 2002, Michigan State Detective Sergeant Eric Schroeder, was looking for a case in which he could use DNA testing and noticed the deviation in the kill pattern for Jane.
Evidence that had been saved from Jane’s murder scene included the pantyhose, which had residue from three sweat drops. There was also a single drop of blood that had been on her hand. The testing from those items pointed to someone who was not John Norman Collins. A phone book in one of U of M’s dorms had the handwritten words “Mixer” and “Muskegon” and John as an EMU student.
Gary Leiterman was 62 years old in the fall of 2004, when the DNA match lead to him. Gary had grown up outside of Detroit and lived near Ann Arbor for a while. He had also worked as a traveling salesman in the area during the late 1960s, while he was in his 20s. Gary had been arrested in 2001 for forging prescriptions to pain medication. Police had found blank prescriptions in Gary’s car after he had stolen them from his job at a Kalamazoo hospital. As a felon he had been required to give a DNA sample under state law which had gone into effect three days before his conviction.
While police searched Gary’s home, they found two Polaroid pictures of a 16-year-old South Korean girl that that lived with the Gary and his wife as an exchange student. In the picture, the girl had been drugged unconscious. She was laying on Gary’s bed with her clothes pulled back to expose her genitals. It was said to mimic the same pose Jane Mixer had been left in. Gary pled guilty to the child pornography charges before going to trial for the murder charges.
The two handwritten words, “Mixer” and “Muskegon” were linked to Gary’s handwriting. Gary’s roommate in 1969 testified that Gary did own a .22 caliber gun at the time of Jane’s death. In 1987 Gary reported a .22-caliber pistol being stolen from his house. The roommate also claimed that Gary kept an archive of clippings from articles about the serial killer in the area, John Norman Collins. Gary also bragged to his roommate that he had access to drugs that could render a woman unconscious with one drop. The sweat on the nylons belonged to Gary Leiterman.
Here is where the problem lays, the blood on Jane’s hand was linked through DNA to John Ruelas. John is currently serving a life sentence for an unrelated murder. The issue with the DNA match is that John was four years old in 1969. Gary’s defense attorney, Gary Gabry, claims this is proof that the DNA samples were contaminated either by the police or in the lab, and cannot be trusted.
Gary Leiterman was still convicted of murder after a jury deliberated for five hours. They believed the truth was in the DNA on the nylons. On August 30, 2005, Gary was sentenced to life in prison. Jane’s 90-year-old father was alive to witness the conviction, sobbing in the courtroom.
There is a website that is in favor of Gary’s innocence. They mention he’s a retired nurse, a grandfather, and was once on his school board. What about the fact that he was a convicted thief, he was a felon, and he was a convicted child molester?
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Warning: This podcast occasionally contains strong language which may be unsuitable for children.