Earlier today Indiana State Police investigators and the Noble County Prosecutor announced they have made arrests in the 1975 abduction and murder of Laurel Jean Mitchell.
The North Webster 17-year-old was reported missing by her parents on August 6, 1975, when she didn’t return home from work that night. Two fisherman found Laurel’s body floating in the north end of Diamond Lake the next day, about 17 miles from her home.
John Lehman (67), of Auburn, and Fred Bandy Jr. (67), of Goshen, were arrested at their respective homes Monday. Both men were charged with one count of murder and are currently held without bond in the Noble County Jail. They are due to appear in court for their initial hearings tomorrow.
Thrill killer Roger Lynn kept an audio diary of his “very deep thoughts.” On that diary, police found the following poem:
The bullet enters its chest, Then pierces lungs, heart and breast, The second shot comes thundering through, And brains and skull are thrown astrew; The man lies bleeding and dying, Crying of happiness, victory at last, Victory from the second blast.
Roger Lynn had a bit of a reputation as a young teen. He was a well-known “chronic truant” with some very strange hobbies. Rather than obsess over cars, sports, or any number of the other, more socially-acceptable hobbies available to boys in the late 1960s, Roger preferred over-indulging in pornography, guns, and the macabre stories of Edgar Allen Poe. He played cruel jokes on his family, like putting mineral oil in his grandfather’s liquor bottles. Then there was his disturbing habit of killing pets… a couple of dogs here, a cat or duck there.
Neighbors, acquaintances, and even his own mother believed there was something was strange – and possibly even dangerous – about the boy.
Time passed. Lynn grew up, but he didn’t move on. At nineteen, his life remained roughly the same as it had been as an adolescent. Although he managed to marry, he continued living with his mother. He briefly held a job but quit within six months. He still fetishized porn, guns, and Poe. Even his best friend was the same. Lynn and Orval Lee Baker had been buddies ever since elementary school. They remained close right up until the moment Lynn shot him, making sure to get it all on tape.
According to the audio diary he kept at the time, Lynn became fixated on assassination following the deaths of the Kennedys and Martin Luther King, Jr. In a rambling, unfocused entry the day before the murder, he recited bible verses then discussed his “urge to kill.”
I will now describe a little of my plan. I will bring Lee Baker up here and have him look at these books I’ve got up here – pornographic books, magazines – then while he is looking (at them) I will shoot him once in the chest area and once in the head.
Later, he continued:
Report, it is 10 minutes after two. Lee doesn’t have to be at work until 4:30. I called up and he is supposed to come down in a few minutes. I will record the entire incident today, and there will be music in the bacground to hopefully cover up some of the noise, the two shots, so I will leave off now until I resume with the recording of the assassination.
Because he planned to kill himself after the murder, Lynn recorded a goodbye message for his wife. Then ELO’s song “Evil Woman” abruptly began playing into the tape. There was a roar of a rifle and the sound of a shell casing hitting the ground. A few seconds later, another shot.
Reluctant to relinquish what he no doubt saw as his moment in the spotlight, Lynn recorded another message for his wife. “This is it,” he vowed. “I’m sorry, but I have to do this Linda. Goodbye, Linda.”
However, that wasn’t “it” for Roger Lynn. Upon closer review, the would-be wordsmith decided not to kill himself but to call the police and confess instead. When officers arrived at the crime scene, he turned over his weapon and surrendered without incident. Scratched into the rifle’s stock was a single word: Nevermore.
Despite an insanity plea, a jury found Lynn guilty of first degree murder 0n September 29, 1976. He died in prison while serving a life sentence.