Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Blood Brothers: Gary and Thaddeus Lewingdon

The Case Breaks

On December 4, 1978, the hiatus came to an abrupt end with the murder of 56-year-old Joseph Annick, who was shot five times in the chest and stomach, while working in his garage. A different .22-caliber weapon was used, but homicide investigators recognized the style of "overkill," and none of them had any doubts that it was linked to the previous murders.

Gary Lewingdon, mug shot
Gary Lewingdon, mug

Just five days after the murder of Annick, the case broke wide open. On December 9, 1978, 17-year-old Cheryl Young, an employee of Woolco Department Store in Columbus, noticed that a customer's credit card was on a list of stolen cards the manager had posted on the register. Managerial trainee Jeff Slovak detained the man who had given her the card, 38-year-old Gary Lewingdon, until authorities arrived at the scene. The credit card Lewingdon attempted to use belonged to Annick and had been reported stolen by investigators. Lewingdon was taken to police headquarters, where he was detained on suspicion of murder while detectives examined his rap sheet.

While little is known of his early years, it was discovered that Gary served a brief stint in Vietnam, before his discharge from the Air Force in 1962. Following his service in the military, he was essentially friendless and logged several arrests over the years for petty larceny, possession of criminal tools, indecent exposure, and concealed weapon charges. In an attempt to stay out of trouble, Gary had moved in with his mother, where he remained until 1977, when he married a local nightclub waitress. After the wedding, Gary and his wife, Delaine, moved into an apartment in Kirkersville, Ohio, and he began working as a repairman for Rockwell International Tool Division in Columbus. Kirkersville was approximately midway between Columbus and the crime scenes in Newark and Granville.

As investigators worked to secure a search warrant for Gary Lewingdon's house, they took him into an interrogation room in hopes of getting him to confess. Surprisingly, Lewingdon nonchalantly recounted the murder of Joseph Annick and implicated himself and his brother, 42-year-old Thaddeus Lewingdon, in the other nine slayings. It was soon discovered that Thaddeus lived in nearby Glenford, Ohio. A divorcee, with three children, he was a graduate from the Cleveland Institute of Electronics and held a first-class Federal Communications Commission engineer's license. Investigators also learned that Thaddeus was employed as a maintenance man at Columbus Steel Drum. Boasting a rap sheet of his own for petty offenses over the years, there was also a note in his file mentioning that he had been previously investigated for links to an organized crime syndicate, which operated out of Chicago.

Thaddeus Lewingdon, mugshot
Thaddeus Lewingdon,

Investigators wasted little time in securing an arrest warrant for Thaddeus and within hours had him in a separate interrogation room. Like his brother, Thaddeus was more than willing to speak to the detectives, and shortly into the interview he began describing each murder in graphic detail. He told investigators that Gary would select the target and then they would put on ski masks and gloves, and fit their .22-caliber pistol with a homemade silencer, before approaching their potential victim. Thaddeus said everything went smoothly until after the Martin slayings, when he began to feel he couldn't take any more and started rejecting his brother's suggestions of future targets. This in turn angered Gary and the two had an abrupt falling out. Thaddeus claimed to know nothing about Annick's murder, insisting that his brother had carried that one out by himself. While investigators kept busy interrogating the Lewingdon brothers, a search of their homes revealed several weapons and items, which had been stolen from some of the victims.

On December 14, 1978, Gary and Thaddeus Lewingdon were indicted. Gary was facing 20 felony counts, including 10 counts of murder, while Thaddeus was looking at 17 counts, including nine counts of murder.


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