This Day in Infamy: Two Men Sentenced to Execution

Portions of Harry Miller's body were found along the banks of a lake near Carrolltown, Kentucky.

On February 25, 1937, Franklin County Judge Roscoe C. O’Byrne sentenced two men, John J. Poholsky and Frank Gore Williams, to be executed for their participation in a grisly murder scheme. The two ex-cons, along with co-conspirators Heber “Jimmy” Hicks and William A. Kuhlman, had killed and dismembered retired fire captain Harry R. Miller of New Trenton, Indiana in a plot to steal the dead man’s wealth. The corpse was then disposed of in various locations, including along the banks of a lake near Carrolltown, Kentucky (pictured above). Eventually, all four men would be put to death for the crime.

This Day in Infamy: High School Students Commit Grisly Killing

On February 4, 1989, the body of mortally-wounded Eldon T. Anson was found lying in the snow near his home in Huntington County. Still clinging to life, he was taken to Lutheran Hospital in Fort Wayne where he died three days later. It was determined he had suffered six head wounds from a .22 calibur gun, as well as deep lacerations to his skull and hands caused by an ax.

Three high school students later pleaded guilty in connection with the crime. Seventeen-year-old Jarrod M. Wall claimed he had attacked Anson because he believed the man was gay. However, his accomplices Erick Esch and John Velasquez, also seventeen, claimed Anson had been killed in a robbery gone wrong.

Just The Facts: The Burger Chef Murders

Date: November 17, 1978

Place: 5725 Crawfordsville Road in Speedway, Indiana

Perpetrators:  (unknown)

Claim to Infamy: Four young employees, Daniel Davis (16), Mark Flemmonds (16), Jayne Friedt (20), and Ruth Ellen Shelton (17), were abducted from the restaurant when they were closing up for the night. Their bodies were discovered two days later in a wooded lot in Johnson County. Ruth Ellen and Daniel had been shot to death, while Jayne had been stabbed twice in the heart with a hunting knife. Mark died choking on his own blood after receiving a blow to the head. Although robbery is the presumed motive, less than $600 was taken from the registers.  Additional money in the girls’ purses and the store safe was left untouched.

Current Status: Unsolved

Random Disturbing Fact: Daniel was new to the Friday night crew. The girl who’d previously worked that shift quit the week before, and he took her spot.  It was his first ─ and last ─ Friday night working until close.


Anyone with information regarding this crime is encouraged to call the Indiana State Police (317) 232-8248 .

In Their Own Words: Larry Eyler

“I’m very aware of what’s happening. I know that Mr. Agan isn’t. And I told him to make his peace with God… And, after waiting those few minutes, then Dave said, ‘Oh, kill the motherfucker.’ I then stabbed Mr. Agan and Dave took another snapshot. I stabbed Mr. Agan, then I stabbed Mr. Agan a couple or three times. I don’t know how many times. I just did them very quickly. And then Dave came over and then he took the knife from me and he stabbed Mr. Agan while he masturbated. And after he stabbed Mr. Agan a few times, then Mr. Agan went limp.”

– Larry Eyler, in a confession he gave to the court while pleading guilty to Steven Agan’s murder*

*Eyler’s alleged co-conspirator was found not guilty

Just the Facts: Joseph Weldon Brown

Joseph Weldon Brown

Name: Joseph Weldon Brown

Known Aliases: (none)

Date of Birth: November 24, 1954

Claim to Infamy: Brown murdered Evansville resident Ginger Gasaway when she broke up with him and demanded the return of her car. After killing her, he dismembered her body with a reciprocating saw and discarded it in pieces around Posey, Gibson, and Warrick counties. While serving his life sentence for Gasaway’s murder, Brown confessed to killing thirteen others. Although some of the details he provided were able to be corroborated, no additional bodies were found to verify his claims. In 2011, he strangled another inmate to death at Miami Correctional Facility at Bunker Hill.

Indiana Connection: A native of Cynthiana, Brown was no stranger to Indiana law enforcement long before he murdered Ginger Gasaway. In 1977, he kidnapped, robbed, and assaulted a friend in Owensville. He had served 18 years of a life sentence for that crime when he was released to kill again.

Current Status: Serving life without the possibility of parole at the Westville Control Unit

Random Disturbing Fact: When the saw blade he was using to dismember Gasaway’s body broke, Brown walked into Home Depot splattered with blood and gore and calmly demanded an exchange. It was given to him, no questions asked.

In Their Own Words: Ricky Hobbs

stopping at slowyear 

“To tell you the truth, I didn’t know Sylvia that well. It was just a casual relationship.”

– Ricky Hobbs describing his “relationship” with Sylvia Likens, the girl he helped torture to death. Among other sadistic acts, Ricky helped brand the words “I’m a prostitute and proud of it” into the girl’s stomach with a needle.

Just the Facts: Jeff Pelley

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Name: Robert Jeffrey (“Jeff”) Pelley

Date of Birth: December 10, 1971

Claim to Infamy: On Sunday morning, April 30, 1989, four members of his family were found shot to death in their home. More than seventeen years later, Jeff Pelley was found guilty of their murders. His only known motive was that he wanted to go to his prom’s after-party but was grounded. The killing of father Robert (38), stepmother Dawn (32), and stepsisters Jonell (8), and Joleen (6) was known in the press as “The Prom Night Murders.”

Indiana Connection: Jeff attended LaVille High School in South Bend. Until their deaths, his family lived just outside of Lakeville, where his father served as reverend to the parishioners of the Olive Branch United Brethren Church in Christ.

Current Status: Serving his 160-year sentence in Wabash Valley Correctional Facility

Random Disturbing Fact: The Pelleys had two other children, Jacque and Jessica, who almost certainly escaped death simply because they were sleeping-over elsewhere the night the murders occurred. The sisters are divided on the question of their brother’s guilt. Jacque believes he is innocent.

Just The Facts: Larry Eyler

eyler

Name: Larry William Eyler

Known Aliases: (none)

Murder Moniker: The Highway Killer

Date of Birth: December 21, 1952

Claim to Infamy: While in prison for the dismemberment and murder of Chicago teenager Danny Bridges, Eyler confessed to 21 other murders.

Indiana Connection: Born in Crawfordsville, Eyler later lived in Lebanon, Fort Wayne, and Terre Haute. Among other jobs he held, he was a Pinkerton guard at Marion County General Hospital and the manager of a public assistance program in Vigo County. Though he never earned a degree, he attended Indiana State University. Eyler hunted his victims and disposed of their mutilated bodies in several places in the state, as well as in Illinois, Ohio, Kentucky and Wisconsin.

Current Status: On March 6, 1994, Larry Eyler died in prison of complications from AIDS.

Random Disturbing Fact: In his confession, Eyler named at least two accomplices. They were never brought to justice.