This Day in Infamy: Michael Wayne Jackson Begins Murder Spree

On this date in 1986, Michael “Mike” Wayne Jackson (41) shot and killed probation officer Tom Gahl during a home visit. Jackson fled, setting off a three state crime spree during which he is suspected of committing kidnappings and two other murders in his effort to evade law enforcement. Briefly named to the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted list, Jackson was cornered in a Wright City, Missouri barn where he ended his own life with a self-inflicted shotgun wound ten days later.

In Their Own Words: King Edward Bell

“I just came back from the basement. I thought I heard my loving children saying Dad-Dad, I’m cold, but they were dead, they died instantly. Tina died the fastest. Kingston, Boogie, Kina refused to die, so I reloaded the gun with shaking hands, telling them, please, don’t suffer. I will help you die faster … I keep hearing children in the basement saying Dad-Dad, come here, I’m cold, Dad-Dad. I’ve kissed them again and talk to them (their spirit lived, they’re in heaven) … The children’s voice is now getting louder down in the basement. They won’t want me up here, and them down there, for I know they’re just babies.”

– mass murderer King Edmund Bell, who killed his four children, estranged wife, and her mother

Just The Facts: The LaSalle Street Murders

Photo courtesy of The Indianapolis Star

Date: November 30, 1971

Place: 1318 North LaSalle Street, Indianapolis

Perpetrators: Fred Harbison and Ted Uland, perhaps unnamed others

Claim to Infamy: At least one person entered into the home shared by businessmen Bob Gierse and Bob Hinson, killing both men, along with their friend James Barker. The victims’ throats were cut so deeply in the attack, they were almost beheaded. The multiple murder was one of the most sensational crimes to occur in the state at the time.

Current Status: After decades of rumors and allegations against various individuals, in 1998, Fred Harbison wrote a deathbed confession to the killings. In his letter, he stated he had been hired to act as a hitman by Ted Uland, Gierse and Hinson’s former employer. Uland possessed insurance policies on both men that were about to expire. He also believed Gierse and Hinson had stolen several thousand dollars from him and wanted revenge. The third victim, James Baker, had been killed because he came to the house to visit his friends and happened upon the murders in progress.
            Unfortunately, Uland had preceded Harbison in death. In 2003, the case was granted an exceptional clearance and declared closed.

Random Disturbing Fact: Although theft was apparently a motive for the crime, in a no-honor-among-felons twist, Uland reneged on their deal and refused to pay Harbison for the murders.

This Day In Infamy: July 3

Herbert Richard Baumeister in a 1986 mugshot.

1996: Herb Baumeister Eats His Last Peanut Butter Sandwich

July 3, 1996 – Suspected serial killer Herb Baumeister kills himself with a single gunshot to the head rather than answer questions regarding human remains on his Westfield estate. In his suicide note, the founder of Sav-A-Lot thrift stores states his intention to eat his favorite snack, a peanut butter sandwich, and then “go to sleep.”

The remains of eleven men were found on his property, only eight of whom were eventually identified.

He is also suspected of being the I-70 Strangler, killing at least nine and dumping their bodies along the interstate between Indianapolis and Ohio.

Cold Case: Jerry Michael “Mike” Bayles Jr.

In the early hours of a chilly October morning in 1970, a ten-year-old Indianapolis boy left home to deliver newspapers to his neighbors. Three hours later, his nude body was found discarded along a rural road fifteen miles from his home. He had been stabbed to death.

The events surrounding the murder are as strange as they are tragic. For one thing, the paper route actually belonged to one of Mike’s brothers. Gordon “Bud” Bayles, fifteen, was a delivery boy for the Star but had been employed only about five weeks. According to a statement Bud gave at the time, Mike had volunteered to run the route for him that Saturday. It was a decision that quite possibly cost the younger boy his life.

Shortly before six, a customer toward the start of the route heard the soft smack of a newspaper hitting her porch and then a scream. She looked out her window but saw only the passing headlights of a car. Another customer, William H. Johnson, found the boy’s bicycle and bag when he stepped outside for his paper about half an hour later. A later count of the newspapers in the bag revealed only two were missing, indicating that whatever had happened to Mike must have occurred just after he began the route. The following day, a third witness came forward claiming he’d seen a man dragging a boy into a car at knifepoint in the same location where the bike and bag were later found. The witness said he’d called out to the man, questioning him, but the knife-wielding man had claimed to be the boy’s father. Mike apparently had not contradicted this claim, and the witness did not report what he’d seen until he heard about the murderered child the next day. A polygraph test indicated the witness was telling the truth. Unfortunately, he was unable to provide a good description of either the man he’d spoken to or another, smaller man he thought he’d seen waiting in the car.

Mike’s body was found by a Knightstown farmer later that same morning. Wearing only in socks and left alongside a gravel road, the fifth-grader had been stabbed eight times in the back and abdomen. Although an autopsy would eventually determine he had not been sexually assaulted, police refused to rule it out as a motive. The rest of Mike’s clothes and the weapon used to commit the crime were never found. Since DNA fingerprinting had not yet been discovered at the time, neither the child’s corpse nor the newspaper bag could be tested for trace evidence. (It is unknown whether any forensic evidence was preserved for potential testing in the future.) When a grand jury declined to indict an escaped psychiatric patient for the crime despite a history of sex crimes against minors, Prosecutor Nobel R. Pearcy cited a lack of evidence for the failure.

Anyone with information concerning the murder of Jerry “Mike” Bayles is strongly encouraged to contact Indiana State Police @ 1-765-778-2121 or 1-800-527-4752.

Set Up and Murdered: Dusty Lawrence

Dusty Lawrence, 30, with his wife and child, who were also present at the shooting.

It wasn’t supposed to happen that way.

On March 28th, Dusty Lawrence, his pregnant wife Betsy, and their daughter, five-year-old Madisyn, left their home in Anderson for a trip to Indianapolis. Dusty intended to meet a potential buyer for some items he’d offered for sale on Facebook Marketplace and took his family along for the ride, hoping to share a pleasant Sunday afternoon drive.

He would never make it home again.

Shortly after they arrived at the 3700 block of Rinehall Drive on Indy’s far East side, Dusty was shot at least once while his family watched helplessly from inside the car. Although he was still alive when police arrived on the scene, the young father later died at a local hospital. Neither Betsy or Madisyn were injured in the attack.

Anyone with information on the murder of Dusty Shane Lawrence is urged to contact IMPD (317-327-3475) or Crime Stoppers of Central Indiana at 317-262-TIPS (8477).

This Day in Infamy: 13-yr-old Found Strangled Near Pogue’s Run

March 18, 1986, the body of Dawn Stuard, an eighth-grader at Forest Manor Junior High, was found facedown in the mud along the banks of Pogues Run on the east side of Indianapolis. The location was just seven blocks from her home.

More than twenty-five years later, Paul Reese, Sr. was convicted of sexually assaulting and murdering the girl after witnesses and DNA evidence tied him to her killing. At the time of his murder trial, Reese was already incarcerated in connection with a crime spree which had resulted in the shooting of IMPD Officer Jason Fishburn. He was sentenced to an additional sixy years for taking Dawn’s life.

The Suitcase Murder: Who Killed Larry Terry?

Larry Terry was well-liked among his neighbors on the southeast side of Indianapolis. Often seen around the neighborhood where he rented a room, Larry always seemed to have a smile for the people he encountered. It wasn’t until he went missing in March of 2019 that the rumors started. Terry, people claimed, had said someone wanted him dead.

Two months later, his body was found stuffed inside a suitcase less three miles from his home.

On Memorial Day, May 27th, a group of people were walking along the banks of the city’s Bean Creek when they spotted a suitcase in the water. Curious, they opened it and made a horrific discovery — Larry’s remains. The Marion County coroner ruled the 56-year-old had been killed by strangulation.

To this day, his killer remains unknown.

If you have any information about this case, please call Crime Stoppers at 317-262-TIPS.