Sunday 21 October 2018

Murder Most Vile Volume 23

 18 classic true crime cases from around the world, including;

The Preacher’s Wife: The murder of a beloved pastor shocks a small Tennessee town. The secrets that are revealed in its aftermath are more shocking still.

Love Kills: A homely accountant and a beautiful, aspiring actress tie the knot in an unlikely match-up. One of them won’t make it past the honeymoon.

Every Contact Leaves a Trace: The tiny beach community of Port Hueneme, California is rocked by a trio of brutal homicides. The police are convinced that a serial killer is responsible. They’re wrong.

Michigan Deliverance: Two buddies out on a drinking binge stumble into the wrong bar. Soon after, they disappear. Their fate is the stuff of horror movies.

And Never Let Her Go: A woman disappears from a busy city street in broad daylight, leaving the police with a seemingly unsolvable riddle to crack.

Dressed to Kill: Dr. Richard Sharpe had some odd kinks. Dressing up in his wife’s clothes was one of them. Another was stalking her with a hunting rifle.

Mr. Saturday Night: A serial killer is cruising the backroads of South Wales, trawling for victims. Saturday nights just got deadly.

Choke Hold: When a woman is found strangled the police are certain that one of the many men in her life did it. The killer turns out to be a far less likely suspect.

Click the "Read More" link below to read the first chapter of

Murder Most Vile Volume 23

Deadly Intent

Misty Witherspoon should never have married a police officer. With her shopping obsession, a millionaire businessman might have been a better match, one with very deep pockets and an extremely generous nature. Still, Misty was young and she was in love. She didn’t think twice when Quinn Witherspoon asked for her hand in marriage. Quinn was a K-9 officer with the Concord Police Department. He loved his job and he was good at it. That part, Misty got. What she didn’t get was that law enforcement jobs are generally not that well paid. 

Fast forward eleven years and we find Quinn and Misty living an apparently happy life in Mooresville, North Carolina. There were three children in the picture by now, making them a handsome family unit. Quinn was still with the police department and also actively involved in the running of the Whitman Park Baptist Church, which he served as a deacon and also as church treasurer. Misty was a good mom and was devoted to her children.

Scratch below the surface, though, and a different picture emerges. The couple was drowning in debt, much of it as a result of Misty’s reckless spending. She simply did not appreciate that the family was required to work within a budget, and her constantly maxed-out credit cards were a frequent source of friction between her and her husband. Quinn was generally a patient man, but his wife’s behavior often left him exasperated. In all other respects, Misty was a responsible adult. When it came to money, though, she was like a kid in a candy store or, more aptly, a junkie looking for her next fix.   

Quinn, however, did not know the half of it. That would come to light in 2004 when his pastor called him in to tell him that $18,000 was missing from the church’s bank account. It did not take a forensic audit to discover who was responsible. Misty had been siphoning off money that had been entrusted to her husband’s care. And she’d hardly been subtle about it. Confronted with the evidence, Misty tearfully confessed. She’d taken the money, she said, to settle arrear utility bills. It was either that or leave her children without water and electricity. The money Quinn had given her to pay the family’s expenses had been squandered on luxuries.   

Fortunately for Misty, the church elders decided not to press charges. An agreement was struck whereby Quinn would repay the money, and the matter was put to bed. But Quinn had only uncovered the tip of the iceberg. What he didn’t know was that his wife was also juggling mortgage payments, had maxed out several credit cards he wasn’t even aware of, had fraudulently acquired several more credit cards in her sister’s name, and was fielding numerous calls each day from irate creditors.

Those details would only be brought to his attention in March 2005, when Quinn went to his credit union to discuss a delinquent account and learned the full extent of his wife’s duplicity. Thereafter, he significantly reduced the spending limit on his credit card and canceled the linked facility that had been issued to Misty. He also signed off on a payment plan for the settlement of the delinquent accounts, which meant that the family had to tighten their already strained belts. Some harsh words were exchanged that night, and the gist of it was that Misty really had to start acting responsibly with money.

Quinn Witherspoon appears to have been a particularly trusting individual. Despite all evidence to the contrary, he continued to believe his wife when she said that she would mend her ways. Misty retained responsibility for paying the family’s bills, and it wasn’t long before she was back to her old habits. Utilities and mortgage again went unpaid as she diverted the money to fund her spending. Her level of duplicity was such that when she and Quinn were at home together, she’d carry the phone around with her so that she could field any calls that came in. Inevitably, those calls would be from some or other company, demanding payment of an arrear bill.  

But of course, this was a deception that could only be maintained for so long. On September 6, 2005, Misty received a letter of demand from Duke Power saying that her electricity would be cut off unless settlement of the arrears was made within seven days. Misty did nothing about that letter until the afternoon of September 13. Then she called Duke Power and asked for an extension on the heavily overdue account. Since the grace period had already expired, they gave her just 24 hours to come up with the money.

Misty was now in a spot. She had no way to pay the debt which meant that she was going to have to confess to Quinn that she had again deceived him. After stealing money from the church, after defrauding her sister, after running her family close to financial ruin, after all the promises she’d made the last time around, she had fallen off the wagon again. Quinn was a patient man, but even he had his limits. She did not know how he’d react.

And so Misty Witherspoon made a decision, a terrible, wicked decision that would end up costing an innocent man his life and leaving three innocent children to be raised without either of their parents. Misty decided that she’d rather kill her husband than admit to him that she had let him down again.  

At around 2:08 p.m. on September 13, 2005, a dispatcher at the Iredell County 911 call center received a call from an apparently distraught Misty Witherspoon. She said that she had been bringing her husband his service pistol when she had tripped and accidentally fired the weapon. Quinn had been hit in the head and she believed that he had been killed.

The shooting of one of their own sent police officers racing to the Witherspoon residence. First to arrive was Officer Corey Barnette, who found Quinn lying face down on a couch, his pistol on the floor a few feet away beside a hard-covered children's book. According to Misty, she had been carrying the gun when she’d stepped on the book, causing her foot to slide. That is what had caused the gun to fire.

By now, an ambulance had arrived, and it did not take the EMTs long to confirm what Officer Barnette already knew. Quinn Witherspoon was dead. In fact, as Barnette had already noted and as one of the medics now pointed out, the blood around the bullet wound had already dried. That suggested that Misty Witherspoon had not called 911 immediately after the shooting. It was the first indication that she was not telling the truth.

Over the next 24 hours, Misty would repeat her story, almost verbatim, to several other officers. But nothing that she said added up. The position of the body, the angle of the bullet wound and the location of the single shell casing all suggested that someone had leaned over Quinn Witherspoon and shot him as he dozed. In order to resolve the inconsistencies, detectives asked Misty to do a re-enactment of the shooting. Then they asked to make another statement, clearing up any earlier discrepancies; then they brought her in for a second interview and then a third.

Misty had spent most of her adult life around cops, and she must have known by now that the police were not convinced by her story. And so, during an interview on October 5, she changed it. She now said that the reason she’d been carrying her husband’s gun that day was because she had decided to kill herself.

According to this latest version of events, Misty said that she had spoken to the power company at around 1:30 and had been told that her electricity was about to be cut off. That had left her feeling distraught, so she had walked to the bathroom to “think things through.” There, she’d opened a closet to look for some hand lotion. As she did so, her husband’s gun fell out. She took this as a “sign.” Picking up the gun, Misty had walked with it to the outside workshop, where she planned on shooting herself. She would have done it, too, had Quinn's K-9 dog, Tank, not come in and started nudging her. The dog appeared to know what she was about to do, and it seemed like he was preventing her from doing it.

Misty then walked back into the house, still carrying the gun. She was trembling so badly over her near-suicide that she thought she might collapse. She therefore grabbed the backrest of the couch where Quinn was sleeping, holding onto it to steady herself. Then one of the family cats jumped up onto the backrest and bumped against her arm. That was what caused her to pull the trigger.   

If anything, this new story was less believable than the first. The police certainly weren’t buying it. That same day, Misty Witherspoon was arrested and charged with first-degree murder. Further charges followed, for identity theft, for obtaining property by false pretenses, and for embezzlement. Misty struck a plea deal and admitted to those. She remained adamant, however, that her husband’s death had been an accident.

Misty was still telling that story when the matter came to trial in June 2007. However, the evidence soon stacked up against her. Particularly damning was the medical examiner’s report, stating that Quinn Witherspoon had been shot from a distance of no more than six inches. Then there was a courtroom re-enactment, using a mannequin, which showed that the trajectory of the bullet that had killed Quinn made Misty’s version of events impossible. She could not have been standing where she said she was when the bullet was fired.

The defense, of course, produced its own expert witness who contradicted the prosecution evidence, but in the end, the jury was not convinced. Misty Witherspoon was found guilty as charged and was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

The killing of Quinn Witherspoon must rank as one of the most senseless murders of all time. Quinn was a devoted father and a dedicated police officer who also appears to have had an inordinate amount of patience with his wayward wife. Time and again, she let him down, and time and again, he forgave her. Is it that much of a stretch to think that he might not have done so again after her latest infraction? Instead, Misty decided on an extreme solution to her problems. According to a clinical psychologist who testified at the trial, Misty was suffering from depression, anxiety, and stress at the time of the shooting and thus could not form the “specific intent to kill.” Nonetheless, she did form that intent, she did pull the trigger, she did end the life of a good man. It is only fitting that she forfeits her freedom in recompense. This is one bill that Misty Witherspoon will not be able to dodge.  

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