Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Robert Spangler: Black Widower

What Really Happened: Donna

It wasn't long after Bob married fitness instructor Donna that he realized she was not the woman for him. He met her via a personals ad, and while she had seemed perfect, time proved that they had nothing in common. There was only her undying devotion to him.

Bob was eager to show to everyone, particularly the women in his life, his athletic prowess, but Donna didn't enjoy hiking in the Grand Canyon, and it had become his life.

He knew, from his expensive experience divorcing Sharon, that Donna would likely take him to the cleaners, especially since he had encouraged her to sell her very nice Evergreen home and put all that money into the Durango house.

There was a solution to his unhappiness, he knew, that would be easier than divorce.

He finally succeeded in talking her into taking another Grand Canyon trip with him, and masterminded his plan on the way. They would hike a trail that went past the Redwall on Horseshoe Mesa, a ledge that was perfect for the crime in that the drop off was so severe that she was certain to die when she hit bottom.

The area of the Horseshoe Mesa in the Grand Canyon
The area of the Horseshoe Mesa in the Grand Canyon

Even Sharon, the Grand Canyon expert, was afraid of that area.

Bob queried hikers they met on the trail to make certain they wouldn't be camping in the same vicinity, and in fact he and Donna camped on an illegal site, just to make certain of it.

The next morning, Easter Sunday, he decided it was "now or never," and shoved her over the edge while she was looking him right in the face.

Then he climbed down to her, perhaps to make certain she was dead, and to complete the task if she was not. He cleaned the blood off her face, covered her with a tarp and went to the authorities.

He said their marriage had been a mistake.


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