Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Murder of Laurie Show

More Defenses: The Impossibility of Speech, Blood Writing, A Letter, Gang Rape

With Butch and Tabitha sticking to their original stories, Michelle and her team needed to get more creative, or at least more insistent.

Experts were arguing over whether or not it was possible for Laurie to rasp the killers name through her gushing fatal wound, but Michelle had another idea: Laurie must have tried to write Tabitha and Butch's initials in her own blood in her bedroom in order to communicate that they were her killers. However, experts from the University of Tennessee and the FBI were unable to find any bloody writing at the scene.

Michelle contended, too, that she had a letter from Butch in prison showing his guilt and exonerating her. It had been a small piece in the 1992 trial, but Rainville resurrected it on appeal. In the letter, Michelle asks Butch 29 questions, saying that these are things she must know if she's too take the blame. Dalzell seems to have considered this Butch's confession. But Judge Stengel concluded that the letter was inconclusive evidence at best: it was largely illegible, full of erased and written-over lines, and it made very little sense.

Most seriously of all, Michelle alleged that three East Lampeter Township police officers gang raped her several months before the murder. Her defense attorneys not only argued that this led the authorities to be biased against her, they suggested that they may have framed her, setting her up to take a murder rap in order to get her out of the way and save themselves.


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