Friday, October 28, 2016

The Jane Mixer Murder--John Norman Collins or Gary Earl Leiterman

In her profoundly personal memoir, The Red Parts, Maggie Nelson gives readers a glimpse of what lies behind the curtain of American jurisprudence and its affect on the surviving members of one family. Miss Nelson is the niece of Jane Mixer, John Norman Collins' alleged third victim.

Thirty-six years after Jane's perplexing murder on March 20, 1969, the Mixer family had to endure testimony of the details of her tragic death in a trial held in Wayne County, Michigan, in 2004. For over three decades, Jane's murder was lumped together with the six other unsolved killings in the Ypsilanti/Ann Arbor area, despite fundamental differences including where, how, and what condition the body was found.

Armed with a positive DNA match, as well as convincing circumstantial evidence, Gary Earl Leiterman, a retired male nurse working in Ann Arbor at the time, was found guilt of her murder. John Norman Collins claimed since the beginning he never knew Jane, now he was exonerated for at least one of the seven Michigan murders he was accused of. Even a broken clock is right twice a day.

With unflinching honesty, Miss Nelson tells us the ins-and-outs of her aunt's case with brutal clarity and a benumbing sense of self-awareness that only comes from profound emotional trauma. Early in her book, she asks herself, "Who am I to tell Jane's story?" I can think of nobody better. Later in the book, she finds herself getting drawn into the media vortex of the trial and its aftermath. Miss Mixer has some insightful things to say about American media's fascination with the "dead-white-girl-of-the-week" club.

After reading Maggie Nelson's memoir, I am reminded that disturbing the feelings and memories of the families of the other victims in the Collins case is not to be taken lightly. These girls deserve to be remembered as living human beings, rather than victims of something wicked that happened in another time no longer relevant today. For their memories and what happened to them to simply fade away is unacceptable.

This is Ypsilanti, Michigan history, however unpleasant for some individuals or for the city. The six other murdered girls deserve to have their stories told for the record as well, like Maggie Nelson did for the memory of her aunt, Jane Mixer. I want to honor these lost young women by relating the most accurate account of these matters as possible and bringing some degree of closure to people who cared about these young girls. In the end, the public deserves the truth.

http://www.trutv.com/library/crime/serial_killers/predators/collins/13.html