Sunday, November 17, 2013

Ann Arbor Living History Account: "Guess It Wasn't my Time"

Ann Arbor U of M Campus Area
After three years of intensive research of public documents, vintage news clippings, and living history accounts, I am close to completing the first draft of The Rainy Day Murders, my true crime account of the Washtenaw County coed murders in Ypsilanti and Ann Arbor during 1967-1969. 

Students on the campuses of The University of Michigan and Eastern Michigan University were living with paralyzing fear of a serial killer for two years.

Since I began this project, many people have come forward with stories about encounters and confrontations with John Norman Collins. Most don't fit tightly within the scope of my true crime account, but nonetheless, they are living history and worthy of documentation. I have the permission to transcribe some of their emails and post them in the coming weeks.

June 6, 2012:

In 1968, after two years of community college (Henry Ford CC), I decided to move to Ann Arbor to be with my best friend. Since there were no funds for me to attend University of Michigan, working was imperative. 

I was on my own so an ordinary job wouldn't do. Soon, I applied for a job at U of M Hospital as a psychiatric child care worker... I worked a split shift... two weeks afternoons... two weeks days.

It was either July 2nd or July 9th of 1969 in Ann Arbor that I had an encounter with Collins, although at the time, I didn't know it was him. On the Wednesdays that I worked afternoons, I had a routine. I would walk to Kerry Town and make a stop at Middle Earth and Circle Books on State Street and return home.

Being a hippie type during my non-working hours, I put on an outfit that I had just purchased from Saturn Clothing. The outfit was pretty and a little provocative as the top looked normal from the front, but the back was completely bare, held together by a string. The outfit is significant because of my encounter.

I was living on the corner of Hill and Tappan streets. It was 2:00 PM, and I needed to be at work by 3:30 PM. I was taking a shortcut to my carriage house through the Architectural Diag (concourse). My house was then in plain view but across the street. I started walking into the parking lot when suddenly a car cut me off. I remember this as if it was yesterday.

The first thing I noticed was the immaculate car. I would call it a muscle car (Cutlass Coupe), the driver was a frat, not my type. He had very dark hair, almost black, and his eyes were so squinted that I could hardly tell they were blue.

He said, "Do you want a ride?"

I emphatically said "No!" and pointed to my house telling him, "I live right there." Immediately, I realized how stupid that was but he caught me off-guard. He didn't want to take "No" for an answer and asked me a second time. I used the "f " word, which I don't usually use. I told him to "Fuck off and Leave me alone."

He began yelling "Cunt, Cunt, Cunt!!!" over and over. He peeled out of the parking place extremely angry. To be honest, I really didn't give it much thought at the time. 

I went to my house, changed my clothes, and walked to work. I got home around midnight and went to bed. The next morning, I looked for my clothes that I had left in a pile on the floor the afternoon  before. Now, they were gone. My halter top, shorts, my panties, and my sandals were nowhere to be found. I searched everywhere, I even picked up my box springs... they were gone! Someone had been in my apartment while I was at work.


John Norman Collins - 1969
Being from the Detroit area, I would watch WXYZ Channel 7 News with John Kelly and Marilyn Turner. That's when (three weeks later) I saw the picture of the person arrested for the murder of Karen Sue Beineman. It was the same person in the parking lot.

I've thought about that encounter many times in my life. Perhaps that's why it is still so vivid. Guess it wasn't my time.

Pamela A.