The residents of Logan, Ohio, an economically strapped bedroom community of the Appalachian region of southeastern Ohio, were horrified when the dismembered bodies of missing teenage sweethearts, Todd Shultz and Annette Cooper Johnston, were pulled from the murky and meandering local river. Multiply suspects surfaced, including relatives, ex-lovers, Satanists, and the Devil’s Disciple’s motorcycle gang, but only one was railroaded, Annette’s stepfather, Dale Nolan Johnston. A known nudist and hothead, the rumors of Dale’s and Annette’s incestuous relationship only electrified the townsfolk and local authorities’ hatred against him.
What really happened on that cool autumn evening of 1982? What began as a lover’s spat, turned into what found only in horror films, and dubbed ‘the crime of the century’. 18 year-old Annette, a voluptuous beauty contestant, horsewoman, and aspiring computer programmer-quarreled but quickly made up with her 19 year-old boyfriend Todd Shultz, a jealous, possessive, dope-smoking slacker. They were last seen walking toward the C&O Railroad tracks, crossing a trestle bridge that overlooked the Hocking River, near an infamous 52-acrea cornfield. Twelve days later, a search party found their mutilated torsos. Two days later, their heads and limbs were unearthed, suggesting satanic cult activity.
Dale Johnston was the main suspect from the beginning. It took nearly two years, but in an investigation smeared with contradicting statements, and a botched crime scene, investigators built a flimsy case against him.
A financially motivated local mistakenly fingered Dale, accusing him of forcing the teens into a car at gun point. The police alleged Dale then killed the victims at his mobile home seven miles from Logan, with his wife and other step-daughter as witnesses. Dale was accused of dismembering the victims before transporting them to the cornfield for burial. The state insisted an unnatural relationship between Dale and Annette existed, and the reason for the jealousy killings, and Dale’s immense hatred for Todd Shultz.
Dale’s multiply lies, his lust and jealousy for Annette, weapons availability, the hypnotized “eyewitness” and a disputed footprint expert bolstered the states misguided case against the now dubbed “evil stepfather.” Most of what was presented at the three-week trial was based on police corruption and ineptitude, melodramatic fiction, and forensic mishandling.
As a resident of Logan, Ohio, I, JoAnne Myers contrived “The Crime of the Century-murder in a small town” through case documents, newspaper clippings, signed affidavits, witness testimony, interviews, police reports, theories and rumors.
This heinous crime not only shattered the sense of security for Hocking County, but destroyed two families, marriages, careers, friendships, and forever scarred the town. This story is a detailed account of not only mayhem, but of human injustice at the highest level, and of one man’s perseverance to prove his innocence, and gain his freedom from death row.
Legal professionals, historians, true crime buffs, and readers who enjoy an extraordinary story filled with mystery, brutal truths, lust, lies, manipulation, misplaced loyalty, abandonment, and heartbreak, will find, “The Crime of the Century-murder in a small town” a compelling addition to true crime literature.
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A Word From The Author:
Hello, I have enjoyed art since childhood. I currently reside in Kyle, TX., and work for a grocery chain. I continue writing paperbacks and song lyrics. I also canvas paint and work part time as a film actress. I believe in family values and following your dreams. My books are available at all fine book distribution stores. They are also available along with my song lyrics on my website at www.booksandpaintingsbyjoanne.com
I love hearing from readers and welcome author guests.
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