Crawfordsville Man Gets 50 Years for Decapitating Wife

Michael Dale Parks, 46, negotiated a plea for the gruesome murder of his wife.

A Crawfordsville man who initially reported his wife missing has been sentenced to 50 years after pleading guilty to her murder.

On August 20, 2020, Michael Dale Parks reported his wife missing to the Crawfordsville Police. According to the statement he gave at the time, Parks told officers he hadn’t seen his wife Hope for two days. He said they had argued, and she’d supposedly thrown her wedding rings at him before getting into a white car driven by an unknown person. He also claimed to have attempted to reach her by phone several times without success.

At the same time Parks was giving police information about his “missing” wife, investigators from the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office were at a crime scene about two miles west of Crawfordsville on County Road 225 West. A headless body later positively identified as Hope Parks had been found draped over the Sugar Creek Bridge railing.

When asked, Parks consented to a search of the couple’s South Elm Street residence. Officers quickly found blood on the house’s deck and in the driveway, as well as a bloody shoeprint in the garage. At that point, they obtained a search warrant for the rest of the house.

Authorities then found a wealth of additional evidence, including a .22 rifle, ammunition, and a blue tarp with what appeared to be bloodstains. In the yard, they discovered a trail of blood and a .22 shell casing. A phone police believe belonged to Hope Parks was located inside a bedroom safe.

Her severed head was found buried in the basement.

An autopsy later determined she had been shot in the back of the head. She had also suffered blunt force trauma to her chest and extremities before her husband beheaded her with a mitre saw.

Court records show that roughly 20 years earlier, Michael Parks had a prior conviction of domestic battery in which Hope was the victim. Several other charges of domestic battery against him had been dropped over the years.

Montgomery County judge Harry Siamis sentenced Parks to 50 years in prison after accepting his guilty plea earlier this month. Under the terms of the plea agreement, Parks must serve his entire sentence with no time suspended. He will not be eligible for parole.

Michael Parks will be 94 years old when released from prison.


If you or someone you love is the victim of domestic violence, please contact the 24- hour Indiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence hotline @ 1-800-332-7385.

Details Released in Goshen Mass Shooting

Prosecutor Vicki Becker speaks to the press with Sean Pounds, stepfather of the victims, by her side.

Elkhart County prosecutor Vicki Becker held a press conference Monday to discuss the Goshen mass shooting that killed two and injured three over the weekend.

Although authorities were somewhat cagey concerning details of the May 21st crime, the perpetrator was identified as David Valera Morales, 20. He died at a Goshen Hospital following the shooting, but it’s currently unknown if his wounds were self-inflicted.

All four victims of the attack on Rosedale Court were members of the Arellano-Rios family. Richard Rios (age unknown) died at the scene. The remaining three victims are Rios’s siblings. Police have withheld names because of their ages, but two girls were airlifted to a trauma hospital in Fort Wayne and another was taken to a trauma hospital in South Bend. Their stepfather, Sean Pounds, said they are doing “as well as can be at this point in time.”

No motive has been released for the shooting. At the news conference, Elkhart County Prosecutor Vicki Becker stated, “There will not be details at this point in time regarding the roles of any individuals involved in what occurred.”

The investigation is ongoing.


If you have information about this case, please contact the Elkhart County Homicide Unit at(574)-295-2825. Tips can also be emailed to media@elkhartcountyprosecutor.com.

After Surviving Cancer, She Wanted a Happier Life. Her Husband Wanted Her Dead.

New details were recently released in the case against Andrew Wilhoite, the Lebanon resident accused of murdering his wife.

Cancer survivor Elizabeth Nicole “Nikki” Wilhoite, 41, first came to the attention of police on Friday, March 25th after she didn’t show up for work that morning. A concerned coworker at Indiana Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery contacted them, explaining that Nikki “was having issues with her husband” and had recently filed for divorce.

When Boone County Sheriff’s Deputy Craig Fouts went to the Wilhoite home to do a welfare check, he encountered the couple’s children. The kids told Deputy Fouts they had been unable to reach their mother and did not know where she was. Nikki’s stepdaughter suggested she might be at her sister’s because “Elizabeth leaves when she gets upset.”

As Fouts was preparing to leave, Nikki’s husband of 12 years pulled into the driveway on his tractor. Andrew Wilhoite told the deputy he last saw his wife the night before, around 11 pm. According to the probable cause affidavit later filed by the Boone County Prosecutor, “Andrew stated that they had a pretty good fight last night, and she was drunk.” He pointed out scratches on his neck, indicating they were evidence of Nikki’s aggression.

In this version of the story, Andrew said Nikki physically attacked him after learning about his affair. He claimed she went to sleep on the couch after their argument ended and, supposedly, was still asleep when he left that morning to work around the farm. He denied knowing why his wife wasn’t at work or where she might be. He did, however, volunteer the information that she had withdrawn $3000 from her retirement account the previous week and filed for divorce. Perhaps not coincidentally, Nikki’s petition for legal separation coincided with her last chemotherapy session.

If Andrew was trying to suggest that Nikki had simply left, a subsequent search of the property quickly cast doubt on that idea. Investigators found bloodstains on a mattress, set of sheets, and pillow. Blood was also found in the master bath. But the real damage to Andrew Wilhoite’s story occurred when Nikki’s cell phone, purse, and vehicle were discovered in the garage.

After collecting the evidence, the Boone County Sheriff’s Office declared Nikki an endangered missing person then recused itself from the case. Andrew Wilhoite’s mother is Marcia Wilhoite, a member of the Boone County Council. As councilwoman, she influences the budgets of other county officials, including the sheriff and prosecutor. Rather than risk a possible conflict of interest, Boone County Sheriff Mike Nielsen asked the Indiana State Police to assume lead on the case.

In the interview by state police, Andrew initially repeated his story, telling investigators Nikki typically consumed a large container of rum “every two days after work,” and it caused her to act belligerently. He insisted she “came at him,” during an argument about the affair she’d recently discovered. Investigators confronted him with pictures of the blood evidence from their bedroom, and Andrew said the blood was his. His confidence quickly wilted under continued questioning, though. He asked to speak to a lawyer.

After conferring with an attorney, Wilhoite told police he wished to make a statement and show them where to find Nikki’s body.

Andrew maintained that the couple had argued most of the night when Nikki (who, it should be noted, was physically weakened from both cancer and chemotherapy) attacked her much-larger husband and told him to leave. He responded by bodily throwing her out the front door. She allegedly turned to charge at him, and he struck her in the face with a gallon-sized concrete flowerpot, knocking her unconscious. He said he “didn’t know what to do” at that point, so he picked her up off the ground and threw her in his truck. Then he drove to Ross Ditch and dumped her over the bridge on Boone County 400 East, just south of County Road 350 North. According to the affidavit,“Andrew was asked if Elizabeth was still breathing, and Andrew stated he didn’t know because he didn’t check.”

Nikki’s body was found partially submerged in about 3 feet of water a few miles from her home. An autopsy later found she died of blunt force trauma.

The Boone County Prosecutor has filed murder charges against Andrew Wilhoite. He faces 45-60 years in prison if convicted.

If you or someone you love is the victim of domestic violence, please reach out for help at by calling the National Domestic Violence Hotline (1-800-799-7233).

Just the Facts: Hilma Marie Witte

Hilma Marie Witte, post-conviction for the murder of Elaine.

Name: Hilma Marie Witte

Aliases: Hilma Marie Crist, Marie Witte

Born: April 20, 1948 – Pittsburgh


Claim to Infamy: Not only did Hilma Marie coerce her two impressionable teenage sons to murder for her, but the victims were their close family members. Then, as if that weren’t macabre enough, she convinced the boys- as well as her own mother – and a young associate to assist in the grisly disposal of the second victim’s body.


The horror began in Beverly Shores on September 1, 1981. Hilma wanted to be a widow who would inherit her husband’s estate rather than a working single mother, and she got her wish. At her behest, elder son Eric shot his abusive father, Paul, as he slept.

After what everyone – including police – believed to have been an unfortunate firearm accident, Paul’s stepmother Elaine generously welcomed the remaining family members into her nearby Trail Creek home. Unfortunately for Elaine, Hilma Marie wasn’t content for long and soon set her sights on the elderly woman’s life savings. When Eric refused to kill for her again, Hilma convinced her younger son, Butch, to do the dirty work. 16-year-old Butch killed his grandmother with a crossbow in January of 1984. Hilma decided it would be unwise to attempt to persuade police that the family had suffered a second deadly accident and that they should dismember the body instead. Using various instruments – including a hammer, chisel, deep fat fryer, saw, and microwave – the family then dismembered Elaine and disposed of her body in various ghastly ways.


Current Status: Both Eric and Butch pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter and were released early in 1996 due to good behavior. Butch has since passed away, but Eric has expressed great remorse for his crimes.

Hilma’s mother, Margaret “Marcie” O’Donnell was sentenced to 6 years. She, too, died after serving time for her crimes.

Hilma Marie Witte was convicted of two counts of murder, conspiracy to murder, and attempt to murder. She is currently serving time in the Indiana Women’s Prison. According to the Department of Correction, her earliest possible release date is April 2027.

This Day In Infamy: A Mother Wrongly Convicted of Murder

Kristine Bunch, photographed during her incarceration

March 4, 1996 – A Decatur County jury deliberated only three hours before sentencing 22-year-old Kristine “Kristi” Bunch to 60 years in prison for the death of her son Anthony.

Although Prosecutor William O. Smith had not presented evidence of a motive during the trial, Indiana Fire Marshals Bryan Frank and James Skaggs asserted they’d found evidence “the fire was deliberately set, that accelerants had been used to cause the fire, that there were ‘pour patterns’ in the burned-out home where accelerants had been poured, and that the fire had started in two separate locations, one of which was the bedroom in which Anthony was sleeping.”

A report by William Kinard, a forensic chemist with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, had further substantiated those findings.

Ten years later, Bunch filed a petition challenging her conviction. It was then revealed that Kinard had initially disagreed with Skaggs and Frank’s conclusion of arson. However, key portions of the ATF chemist’s report were later deleted or altered in order to coincide with the opinions of the fire marshals.

The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed Bunch’s conviction on March 21, 2012, and all charges were dropped later that year.

By then, she had already lost seventeen years of her life behind bars.

Kristine, who was pregnant at the time of her arrest, is a free woman today and has reconnected with the son she gave birth to in prison.

This Day in Infamy: The Meat Market Murder

1934 article from The Indianapolis Star

February 26, 1934 – The body of Lloyd C. Gleason (40) was found in the basement of his Yorktown meat market by his sister, Pearl Jefferson. The butcher had been shot three times – once in the forehead, once behind the left ear, and once in the back of the head – and had bruises consistent with a beating. Additionally, his lower left leg and shoe had been severely burned. “A long-barrel .22 caliber pistol” was found nearby.

The victim’s son, James “Marvin” Gleason (21), was taken into custody the next day. Marvin admitted to ownership of the gun but initially denied having anything to do with his father’s death, despite saying the older man had been an abusive alcoholic and adulterer who had caused the family hardship. Marvin’s story changed a few hours later, however, when police found his bloodstained clothing.

This time, Marvin claimed he’d been in an altercation with his father over a bottle of whiskey, and the fight had culminated in the shooting. He also admitted to trying to dispose of his father in the furnace, but he’d had to abandon that part of his plan when he couldn’t lift the corpse high enough to clear the furnace door.

After Marvin confessed, his mother told reporters her son had previously been to a psychiatric clinic in Detroit. Dora Gleason also claimed a physician there had recommended committing Marvin to a sanitarium to cure his dementia praecox, a generic term used for schizophrenia at the time, but the family lacked the funds to do so. The young man, who had been awarded but did not accept a Rector Scholarship at Depauw University, stayed instead at his grandparents’ home after graduation.

Within days of Dora’s statement to the press, Marvin gave another confession, this time implicating his mother as an accessory. He claimed that he and his mother had “reached an understanding” that he would kill his father, and she’d given him the idea of cremating the body in the furnace. On March 5th, one week to the day after the death of her husband, Dora was arrested . A grand jury later failed to indict her though, and charges against her were dismissed.

The following May, Judge L. A. Guthrie ruled Marvin Gleason “mentally incapable of standing trial” and confined him to the hospital for the criminally insane at the Indiana State Prison in Michigan City, where he would remain for almost six years. After his release, he changed his name and went to stay with his mother, who had remarried.

This Day In Infamy: Dismembered Bodies Discovered in Linwood Avenue Residence

Murderous siblings Kenneth and Kari Allen

February 9, 2005 – After receiving a tip from Missouri authorities, Indianapolis police discovered three bodies buried in basement of a Linwood Avenue residence.

Siblings Kenneth (29) and Kari (18) Allen had been pulled over for speeding in St. Charles County, Missouri the previous day. During a search of their rental car, several suspicious items – including bloody bedding, credit cards, and identification belonging to an elderly couple – were found. When questioned, Kari abruptly admitted to helping her brother kill not only their grandparents, Leander and Betty Bradley, but also their mother, Sharon Allen. Indianapolis police executed a search warrant based on the information and found all three bodies beneath freshly-poured concrete in the basement of the Bradleys’ home.

The motive for all three deaths was the same: Kenneth had wanted his grandfather’s life savings to pay off gambling debts. He pleaded guilty in January 2010 and received a sentence of life in prison without parole, plus 130 years. Kari pleaded guilty to three counts of conspiracy to commit murder. In April 2010, a judge sentenced her to 38 years in prison, plus two years in community corrections programs.