The Indianapolis Star from Indianapolis, Indiana on November 14, 1986 · Page 7
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The Indianapolis Star from Indianapolis, Indiana · Page 7

Indianapolis, Indiana
Issue Date:
Friday, November 14, 1986
Page 7
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(PAGE-8 -THE INDIANAPOLIS STAR- FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 14, If 86 r Case has taken many turns urger f f. . '.'-i & ?V- .s - 4 Iff A" -J- f V I I : x ' ' ,r t s n& i STAR PHOTO Sgt. Mel Wilsey also is The following is a list of some key dates in the Burger Chef murders investigation: Nov. 18, 1978 Shortly after midnight, an off-duty employee discovers back door open at the Burger Chef Restaurant, 5725 Crawfordsville Road; manager's office is in disarray, $581 in cash taken from safe and four employees are missing. Several hundred dollars in change is left behind. Nov. 19, 1978 Bodies Of employees found in wooded field in northwest Johnson County. Nov. 20, 1978 Intense multiagency investigation involving dozens of detectives is launched. Burger Chef Systems Inc. offers $25,000 reward. Nov. 22, 1978 Investigators release sketches of men seen in the Burger Chef parking lot. The Indianapolis Star announces anonymous-letter campaign for information. Nov. 23, 1978 Police spend Thanksgiving investigating the murders and admit they have "run into brick walls." Nov. 24, 1978 Clay busts of two suspects are unveiled by police. Dec. 3, 1978 Former Indianapolis resident, held in Cincinnati, is considered a suspect in slaying. He is later cleared. Dec. 12, 1978 Police search for a man who posed both Jan. 11, 1980 New task force is formed to pursue promising leads. April 23, 1980 Man earlier identified as suspect is arrested for robberies of other fast-food outlets. He is later cleared of Burger Chef involvement. Aug. 1, 1980 State police investigators check the murders of three employees of a Houston bowling alley for similarities to the Burger Chef murders. Oct. 9, 1980 State police investigator predicts Burger Chef arrests in the near future. March 12, 1981 James W. Friedt, brother of one of murder victims, arrested for delivery of cocaine. Authorities say a new investigation into murder has been started. March 18, 1981 State police say Friedt is in no way connected to the 1978 murders. May 21, 1982 Kevin M. Flemmonds, brother of one of victims, is held for an Indianapolis slaying. He is not linked to Burger Chef murders. Sept. 4, 1983 Authorities in Kilgore, Texas, discover a multiple murder similar to the Burger Chef crime. Nov. 19, 1983 Bank robbery suspect tells police he knows man who has admitted the slayings. as an uncle of one of the victims and as a detective. Dec. 15, 1978 Anonymous, letterwriter to The Star says three people were involved in the crime, but does not contact authorities. Dec. 16, 1978 Parents of victim Jayne Friedt appeal for information. Dec. 24 and Dec. 25, 1978 Investigators are given their first days off since the crime to observe Christmas holiday. Jan. 12, 1979 Investigators fly to Milwaukee to interview a man about the murders. Effort is unsuccessful. March 6, 1979 State police suspect three men who have been involved in series of fast-food restaurant holdups and are reported to be drug users. No arrests result. March 13, 1979 Police check to see if Roger Dale Stafford, arrested for Oklahoma mass murders, was in the Speedway area on the night of Burger Chef murders. He is later eliminated as a Burger Chef suspect. April 28, 1979 Two men arrested for double murder in Milwaukee are suspects in Burger Chef murders. They are later ruled out. Nov. 15, 1979 State Police Superintendent John T. Shettle admits on first anniversary of crime there are no suspects. Continued From Page 1 named by Forrester was being questioned by police late Thursday. A second suspect was questioned by police for a second time last week. Until this week, Forrester had denied any involvement in the killings of the Speedway teenagers and their 20-year old supervisor, all employees of the Burger Chef restaurant on Crawfordsville Road. The employees were abducted Nov. 17, 1978, and were found murdered in a Johnson County woods two days later. Forrester's confession included a detailed map of the murder scene, with locations of the bodies correctly identified. He also accurately described wounds suffered by the victims. He told police he shot Daniel Davis through the cheek, a fact verified by police photos from the crime scene. He also told Investigators a weapon used In the case was thrown from a bridge into the White River. Forrester agreed to assist Marion County detectives in July 1985 after he confirmed in a series of interviews with The Star that he had knowledge of the crime and Its perpetrators. He disclosed names to The Star and later to county police detectives Major Paul Simons and Sgt. Mel Wflsey. They were later Joined In the investigtion by county narcotics Investigator STAR PHOTO Paul Simons, Marion County chief of detectives ductions the suspects were going to the Burger Chef restaurant to collect a drug debt. He said he agreed to make an alibi for one of the suspects and park a potential getaway car nearby. Monday's confession apparently came after one of the new suspects he named turned out to have been in prison at the time of the murders, prompting him to admit his role in the. slayings. Detectives say they believe members of a criminal drug network, then operating in the Speedway-Avon area, were responsible for the killings. That network was allegedly run by a man who planned the crime. Goldsmith said Forrester's latest statement has been corroborated in part. Forrester had refused efforts by numerous police investigators over the past seven years to talk about the case. But in a tearful, emotional interview on July 22, 1985, he revealed to The Star the identities of two people he said were involved in the killings. He said he had kept a secret pact with the killers out of fear of retaliation against him or his family. "They would cut off my head if I told what I knew," he told The Star. But the 16 months of investi Slayings 1 11 1 ... JUWWW WswyWP 1 1 investigating the case. The murders, among the most brutal crimes in Indianapolis history, had been without significant new leads for several years until January 1985, when a tip from a confidential informant to The Star led to inquiries into Forrester. Forrester was granted immunity from prosecution by Goldsmith last year In exchange for information and cooperation, but only if he had not participated in the killings. The four victims, Jayne C. Friedt, 20, assistant manager of the restaurant; and employees Flemmonds. 16; Davis, 16; and Ruth E. Shelton, 17, were found In a wooded area in Johnson County on Nov. 19, 1978, two days after they disappeared late on a Friday evening. Friedt had been stabbed; Flemmonds died of beating injuries; and Davis and Shelton were shot to death. Police say they believe the restaurant was robbed to cover up the true motive for the crime. That information, along with hundreds of tips and leads, led to more than 20 suspects during the past eight years. But a lack of evidence and corroboration of statements by informants left state police investigators at repeated dead ends. County investigators and state police Detectives Donovan C. Lindsay and James Cramer, who have been investigating the crime since shortly after it occurred, began cooperating in a task force set up by Goldsmith Jn August to improve communication between the two departments. ' : Hendricks County sheriff's detectives also have been assisting- Lindsay has supervised records in the case for the past several years. He supplied details to county detectives in July 1985 that led to the recovery of some shell casings from the septic tank of the home where Forrester lived at the time of the killings. ; Continued From Page 1 I1 own blood after suffering violent I blows to his head and face. I And nearby was Jayne C. r j h i m s 1 1 i 1 1 , mironr I npi r- ranranr nccKranr manartpr n Gary Maxey and Indiana State Police. But Forrester failed to disclose his own alleged direct involvement in the murders until Monday, when he made the surprise confession. County and state investigators, who have worked together the past four months, had grown skeptical of Forrester's information in recent weeks after ; stepped-up investigative efforts and the establishment of a state-, county task force In August by Goldsmith led to apparent contradictions in his story. A lack of coordination of the case nearly led to Forrester being returned to prison prior to his confession. But efforts by' The Star to encourage closer examination of details postponed his return. He initially told Investigators one of the perpetrators confessed to him and then asked him to help bury evidence in order to make him an accessory. He also confirmed he recovered shell casings from a stream near the crime scene two weeks after the crime at the request of one of the suspects. He denied any further involvement. But two weeks ago he changed his story to say he knew three days before the ab- gation led to repeated dead ends as investigators sought to solve the crime without tipping off suspects. Problems started when Forrester had difficulty leading police to a house on the near-Westside where he said he and a suspect had buried evidence. During the past four days, Forrester is believed to have given detectives details about what happened at the restaurant and the murder scene. Those details are believed to include a description of how one employee, Mark S. Flemmonds, was beaten at the restaurant, and how the shootings, stab-bings and beatings of the employees took place, details which have never been publicized. STAR PHOTOS Shortly after the murders, police released these photos of men seen near the restaurant that night. Burger Chef slayings most of last 13 years 5-inch knife blade protruded from her breast. 1 The bodies of the four were still in their orange-and-brown Burger Chef uniforms. The grisly discovery spurred an intense police manhunt for the - killers, exhaustive media coverage and community revulsion at the brutal crime. "Somewhere in this city, this state or this country, there is a man or men who are executioners of these four precious young lives," a minister said at young Davis' funeral. "Sooner or later they will be caught and judged." Reaction was particularly strong in Speedway, where residents were still reeling from a string of frightening crimes in the preceding months. In July 1978, Julia Scyphers was shot to death in the garage of her home by a man who police thought might be a gangster "hit man." The daylight slaying of the elderly woman stunned a community that had not had a murder in years. Then, in September, Speedway was terrorized by a series of nighttime bombings that disintegrated a police car and shattered a man's leg. Although a bombing suspect eventually was convicted, neither of the crimes had been solved by the time of the Burger Chef murders. And the people of Speedway were visibly shaken. "I think there are times when you're not safe in your own home," declared one woman bitterly. "You can't let your kids go out of the house." - "We ought to go back to the days of cowboys and Indians," a Speedway man said of the murderers, "and hang them in the public square." A service station worker said that he "wouldn't be surprised if people started moving out of Speedway if people don't stop getting killed here." In the weeks following the multiple killings, some Indianapolis-area gun shops reported a dramatic increase in sales. "They're scared." the owner of one gun store said of local lead fell through, but each time a new one emerged in its place. Newspapers and television stations sought out experts for psychological profiles of the killers. A psychologist told The Star they may have been on hard drugs, going so far as to suggest the drug was PCP (phencycll-dipe), an animal tranquilizer that produces violent behavior in humans. Psychoanalysts used by state police In the investigation surmised that the killers were probably "unproductive types age 16 to 25." Burger Chef Systems Inc. offered a $25,000 reward for the arrest and conviction of the killers. The chain since has been purchased by Hardees Food Systems Inc., but the reward still is being offered. The Star ran a daily Page One box seeking information from readers on an anonymous basis. Hundreds of reader letters poured in and were turned over to police, but none produced an arrest. The leads dwindled to a few In the ensuing months and the glare of publicity gradually dimmed. But nobody forgot. Mrs. Friedt put her feelings this way Just two weeks after her daughter was found murdered: "I will be very bitter if er did this crime goes free of punishment, but I can't honor my daughter with bitterness in my heart, so I try to put such thoughts away. "It is difficult to do." residents. "They're scared the same thing's going to happen to them." Investigators' major lead in the case came from an unlikely source: two teen-agers who had seen two men behind the restaurant shortly before the abductions. The men asked the teenagers for identification and then advised them to leave because there had been a lot of vandalism in the area. Using the teen-agers' recollections obtained under hypnosis, police produced composite drawings of the men. The drawings were released to the public. The police switchboard lit up with hundreds of calls from citizens with tips or theories. Many people reported seeing suspicious-looking vehicles and people in their areas; some callers implicated acquaintances, even neighbors. Psychics vividly described their visions of the crime and getaway. The suspects have been seen everywhere, said one Marion County sheriffs dispatcher. Deputies, he said, were "chasing ghosts." Meanwhile, the media pursued the Burger Chef story relentlessly. The crime was Page One news and the lead item on television newscasts in Indianapolis. There were more than 50 stories orf the front page of The Indianapolis Star in the two months after the murders. Every conceivable angle was reported. Promising lead after promising Suspect in was in jail Donald Ray Forrester, a prime suspect in the 1978 murders of four Burger Chef employees, has spent most of the last 13 years in prison on rape charges. The 36-year-old Indianapolis man pleaded guilty to a rape charge against a family member in 1973 and was sentenced to five years, which he served at the Indiana State Prison at Michigan City and at the Indiana State Reformatory at Pendleton. While at the reformatory, he became president of the Inmate Council, a now-defunct organization of inmates that assisted in negotiations with prison administrators for inmate rights and privileges. He was Involved In a hostage-taking at the prison shortly before his release, when he briefly held a prison counselor. Forrester was released In October 1978, about a month before the Burger Chef murders. He moved to Speedway, where he lived in a house on West 17th Street. lowing an interview with him after his arrest on the Hamilton County rape case. Forrester declined to talk with state police afterward, in part, he said later, because he believed they had prejudiced witnesses in his rape case and had been responsible for his conviction. : He promised to cooperate with authorities following discussions with The Indianapolis Star about the Burger Chef murders and was granted immunity from prosecution, removed from the state reformatory and held in county Jails. During the last 16 months his assistance to authorities has been questioned. Twice he was returned to the Indiana State Farm, near Putnamville, temporarily and for the last three months has been held in the Marion County Jail. The immunity, granted by Marion County Prosecutor Stephen Goldsmith, may be voided if it is shown he did participate in the killings. He was re-arrested In April 1979 and charged with the March rape and abduction of a Noblesville woman who had leaped from a moving car because she believed she was going to be killed. Forrester was later convicted by a Hamilton County Jury, along with a cousin, Ronald Dale Dawson, who testified against Forrester. Dawson was sentenced to six years. Forrester received 95 years. Forrester has protested his innocence in that case since his arrest, contending he was wrongly Identified and that his cousin lied to secure a shorter jail term. Forrester escaped from prison authorities in October 1983 during a visit to WIshard Memorial Hospital for treatment. He was apprehended a few minutes later. Indiana State Police filed reports in 1979 indicating they believed Forrester had knowledge of the Burger Chef murders. They made that assessment fol MSA said radio stations can subscribe to one. two or three of the networks. The report also shows that Arena Management has a 50 percent interest in Ticketmaster-Indiana, which operates an automated system for the sale of tickets to events in Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky. Salyers said this part of the operation is profitable. The report stated that Arena Management owes $472,900 in management fees of the arena to M.S. Management Associates Inc. for the three fiscal years ending June 30, 1984, 1985 and 1986. M.S. Management is owned by the Simons. CIB President James E. Dora said he is not sure if the financial report satisfies the agreement. He referred that question to Frick. Dora, president of General Motels Corp.. said he does not plan to have the matter on the CIB's agenda for discussion at Its next meeting on Tuesday. Dora 13 a co-developer of the new Holiday Inn in the downtown Union Station, which was recently renovated as part of a combined city government and private business project. There are seven members on the CIB five are appointed by Mayor William H. Hudnut and two are appointed by the county Board of Commissioners. The commission includes the county auditor, assessor and treasurer. Continued From Page 1 provided only combined financial statements and net cash flow. Without the other financial information it's impossible to tell how much of a profit Market Square Arena made. It also can't be determined how much of a loss was incurred by the Pacers or any of the side operations included in Arena Management. And that means taxpayers can't find out how much of a drain there is on potential profits in which the CIB. and ultimately local taxpayers, could share. This was the first financial report the company has provided the CIB since the Simons took over management of the arena in 1983. The March agreement between the Simons and the CIB is a 40-year agreement that grew out of a temporary 1 983 pact. The 1 983 agreement was entered Into as part of the deals in which city officials successfully urged the reluctant Simons to buy the Pacers to rescue them from being moved out of town. The Simons have developed many shopping centers locally and In other cities. The City-County Council and the city Board of Public Works approved a related deal in 1983 by which $510,000 in profits each year from the information eventually would be provided. He finally said that Arena Management did not have to provide it until Oct. 31. The financial report that Arena Management provided the CIB last month shows the Simons don't have any profits from the combined operation for the year which ended June 30. By reporting a loss of $1.76 million, there are no profits to share with the CIB. The report also reveals that two radio news networks Network Indiana and Indiana Agricultural Network were merged into the Pacers Basketball Corp. in February. Radio stations pay to subscribe to the networks, Salyers said. So if the networks are profitable, that helps make the combined arena-Pacers operation profitable sooner and provides the CIB with a share of the profits sooner. If the networks lose money, that keeps the combined operation in the red longer and keeps the CIB waiting longer for a share. Salyers said the two news networks became profitable last month and that it is projected that they will improve the financial situation of the combined operations. He said combining the two networks with the Pacers' network of radio broadcasts of the team's games was done as a marketing technique. He arena were to help pay the $932,000 annual cost of the city bond Issue that financed arena construction. However, the later agreement between the CIB and the Simons does not follow that procedure. Other than a $150,000 annual payment to the CIB, the Simons keep the arena profits until such time as the Pacers pay off their debts, which hasn't happened yet. After deducting utility and routine maintenance costs for the arena, the remaining combined profits. If any, from the arena and the Pacers will be split equally between the Simons and the CIB. CIB officials were asked whether they will require Arena Management to provide the other information. David R. Frickl CIB treasurer and a former deputy mayor, said, "I thought everything was in compliance with what we needed." Robert J. Salyers, president of Arena Management, said, "It is my understanding . . . that the information we provided was adequate. If they're satisfied we are complying with the intent of the agreement, then as with most legal documents . . . that's sufficient." The Indianapolis Star has requested the separate financial information for the arena and the ' Pacers since February. Frick repeatedly said the

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