“The Insanity Defense and the Mad Murderess of Shaker Heights” by William L. Tabac now available to order!

Not sure of the exact date of publication, but I see that William L. Tabac’s book on the Cremer Young murder (The Insanity Defense and the Mad Murderess of Shaker Heights) is now available topreorder on the Kent State University Press’ website and on Amazon (linkified).

 

From the webpage:
By claiming insanity, did this Shaker Heights housewife get away with murder? 

They have no witnesses. They have no case. With this blunt observation, Mariann Colby—an attractive, church-going Shaker Heights, Ohio, mother and housewife—bet a defense psychiatrist that she would not be convicted of murder. A lack of witnesses was not the only problem that would confront the State of Ohio in 1966, which would seek to prosecute her for shooting to death Cremer Young Jr., her son’s nine-year-old playmate: Colby had deftly cleaned up after herself by hiding the child’s body miles from her home and concealing the weapon.

Thus, this “highly intelligent” woman, as she would be described at her trial, had hedged a little on her wager. Not only were there no witnesses to the crime, but there was not a shred of physical evidence to pin the slaying on her. Under the usual forensic standards, her wager was spot on; the probabilities were that she would get away with it. But as the Shaker Heights police found themselves stymied by an investigation that was going nowhere, Mariann Colby upped the ante a bit. Under intense questioning, she broke down, claiming the gun had accidentally discharged. The state thought it had its capital murder case, but Mariann Colby’s bet against it would be right on the money.

As her trial unfolds in the book, the imprecision of her insanity defense confounds the judges, and psychiatrists disagree about her diagnosis. To make matters worse, the panel of judges that initially tried Colby was so confused by what they’d heard that they did not reach a decision consistent with the law of the state. This led to a second trial and more conflicting psychiatric opinions, another controversial judgment, and clashing trial outcomes. After reading The Insanity Defense and the Mad Murderess of Shaker Heights,readers—and the many childhood friends of the slain boy whose painful reminiscences are set forth in the book—will contemplate whether Mariann Colby did indeed get away with murder. In addition, those interested in legal history will find much of value in Tabac’s discussions of the case and its use of an insanity defense strategy.”

About the author:

William L. Tabac is a practicing lawyer and emeritus professor of law at Cleveland State University’s Cleveland Marshall College of Law. He has published several law journal articles on a wide range of subjects and written about legal matters for The New York Times Magazine and The Plain Dealer. He was the producer and host of The Law and You, an award-winning Cleveland radio program, and a legal commentator for WKYC-TV.”

Note: Mr. Tabac is a reader of this blog and I have exchanged a few emails with him. Looking forward to reading his book

The Slug Line was “Accidental Shooting”

Finally acquired this photo recently from eBay; looks like it was an AP Wire photo. The “slug line” for this picture is “Accidental Shooting”.

EPSON scanner image

What we see in this picture is Mariann Colby leading a bewildered Dane Colby out of the Shaker Heights police department into an awaiting car. This was shortly after she lied to the police about Cremer’s killing being accidental; the details that would later help unravel the fabricated story are in the body of the AP story. The .32 caliber pistol, which Dane was too weak to fire and the fact that Mariann “admitted that she wrapped the body and placed it in a wooded area  of Gates Mills, about 10 miles from the Young home”

1964-65 Onaway Elementary School First Grade Class Picture

Onaway Elementary School, Shaker Heights Ohio. Grade 1 class photo; John Cremer Young, bottom row center.

Much thanks to Mary for this class photo. My family had moved to Cleveland Heights and I was at Roxboro Elementary. I was hoping, at some point, to be in the same class with Cremer. While we were the same age, I had been held back due to my late fall birthdate.

Cremer’s photo is smack dab in the center of the bottom row. If you’re in this photo, please identify your picture in the comments.

Missed it by *That* Much…

Since 2017 also marks the passing of Dick Gautier, AKA Hymie the Robot from “Get Smart”, the title of this post has (somewhat) dual meaning. The second meaning is, well, I missed it. By “it” I mean another listing form the same auction house where I acquired the Cleveland Press photos of Mariann Colby and her son Dane.

This time, the photo in question was from the Cleveland Plain Dealer, circa 1966 when Mariann was declared not guilty of first degree murder by reason of insanity. This picture  was not available when I made my first series of purchases. I know, because I scoured the the listings of the eBay retailer I purchased my pictures from, and it was only through diligence and perseverance that I was able to find the five I’ve posted so far.

What’s ironic to me is that the auction  I missed was finalized on Nov. 25th, 2016… my birthday. Here’s hoping the person who bought this image also finds my post. The watermarked images from the auction are still on the web… so here they are with a couple more images I’ve culled:

A Picture’s Worth A Thousand Words

This has been on the back burner for quite some time. Given the flurry of activity on the Murder of the Boy: Archived Images from the Cleveland Plain Dealer page, I felt that it was time to post these images. Thanks to eBay, I have located actual press photos taken by the Cleveland Press, one of Cleveland’s daily newspapers that ceased operation in 1982. These photos have probably never been available for viewing since their initial publication.

The photos depict Mariann K. Colby during various stages of her arraignment; included as well is one picture of a very young Dane G. Colby.  Dane was used as a scapegoat by his mother, who tried to shift blame to him until it was proven that Dane could not have pulled the trigger on the gun that killed Cremer.

It’s taken me a while to process these photos emotionally.

 

 

“Joe Bowler” is the King of Bowling…

Found these pics in the March 1962 issue of BOWLING magazine. They’re from the ABC Convention of that year in Des Moines, Iowa. While he wears a crown, the title of  “Joe Bowler” was bestowed upon Oscar Butts, seen in these pictures regally attired and in the company of what appears to be bowling Princesses. And or course, theres a picture of Iowa’s  Governor Norman Erbe welcoming the Bowlers to the convention. Gov. Erbe was a pinboy in his younger days… he must’ve known plenty about setting ’em up only to watch ’em get knocked down again.

The Murder of the Boy: Archived Images from the Cleveland Plain Dealer

Call it morbid fascination, but I’ve been poring through a a trove of material that my wife Lynne dug up years ago when she worked at the University of Rochester’s Rush Rhees Library.  When I was eight years old, my best friend Cremer was murdered by Mariann Colby, the mother of my other best friend Dane. Needless to say, it kicked off a very messed up period in my life. Lynne, who is quite a researcher, delved into this topic this about 25 years ago when we were dating. As she had access to tons of library resources she requested microfilm from the Plain Dealer Archives (not sure which institution stores them). Of course, back in those days one printed Microfiche onto thermal paper, so all of the pages were  much like a paper based negative.

So, I fired up the scanner a few weeks back and started to process the images. I started off with a Cremer’s picture which appears to be a either a standard “portrait” done by a photo studio or perhaps an photo touched up by the newspaper’s photo department.  The picture of Mariann looks like it was taken outside of the courtroom, her expression quite disturbing. I do remember being disturbed by the fact that my name wasn’t in the paper. It wasn’t until later, after Mariann’s arrest, I realized how close I came to being with Cremer on the day he was murdered.

I’ve added to the mix photos of other murdered children that were part of a companion article on Child Killers. Didn’t get the entire article, so I had to look up the names of the children to get more information. I was surprised to find out that Beverly Jarosz’s murder is still unsolved.

Once again, kudos to Lynne for digging up this information. There doesn’t seem to be much of any information about Cremer Young on the web. In this day & age information like this is quite incendiary; I’m certain that Nancy Grace would’ve hounded Mrs. Colby to no end.

21 Favorite Songs from Mr. Rogers Neighborhood

I don’t know for sure why I’m so fascinated with Fred Rogers. I was 11 and living in Pittsburgh when his show started to become popular. My Mother worked at WQED as a volunteer and sometimes helped out with the show, but not in any major way that I can brag about. My Uncle worked in television advertising at CBS (he was a drinking buddy of Bob Keeshan’s, but that is a different story).

No, I think I started to *really* appreciate Fred Rogers in high school probably after hearing the National Lampoon Radio Hour bit (feat. Christopher Guest and Brian Doyle Murray). And now that I’m collecting kids records, I note that it’s hard to find a Mr. Rogers record that isn’t *totally* whipped.  Kids played the crap out of his records.

21 Favorite Songs From Mr. Roger's Neighborhood
21 Favorite Songs From Mr. Roger's Neighborhood

Track Listing:

  1. Won’t You Be My Neighbor?
  2. It’s You I LIke
  3. Sometimes People Are Good
  4. Let’s Be Together Today
  5. I’m Taking Care Of You
  6. Look And Listen
  7. Please Don’t Think It’s Funny
  8. You Are Special
  9. I Did Too
  10. Everybody’s Fancy
  11. I Like to Take My Time
  12. When A Baby Comes
  13. Be Brave
  14. Wishes Don’t Make Things Come True (by Negri)
  15. What Do You Do
  16. You’re Growing
  17. I’m Proud Of You
  18. I Like to Be Told
  19. The Clown In Me
  20. Just For Once
  21. It’s Such A good Feeling

We find that we feel pretty good. You?