Monday, July 25, 2016

Ann Arbor John Norman Collins Film Clip Surfaces

Collins leaving the Washtenaw County Building with Sheriff Douglas Harvey looking on.

Last week, Christy Broderick sent me an exclusive short 8mm film clip taken by her grandfather, Washtenaw County Sheriff's Deputy Charles Broderick, Sr. It depicts John Norman Collins walking across the jail parking lot and being loaded into the back of a jail van in 1970. The two officers escorting Collins in the film clip are Dwayne Troltz and George Rider.

Collins mugging for the cameras.
The journey was a short one across the street to the Washtenaw County Building where testimony was about to begin in the Collins case. Collins swaggers and looks jovial in this brief clip. Perhaps he still thinks he can beat the murder rap.

Also seen in the video is Sheriff Douglas Harvey on crutches hobbling across the parking lot. Harvey was the county official who brought the original charges against Collins on July 31, 1969. Judge John Conlin made Harvey responsible for Collins's safety and security to and from the courtroom. The defense saw this as a conflict of interest issue and portrayed the county sheriff as the villain.

Ironically, Sheriff Harvey recently had crashed his new Harley into the back of a semi-truck on Interstate 94. Harvey appeared in court wearing a hip-to-toe plaster cast and testified from a wheelchair. Collins's attorneys Joseph Louisell and Neil Fink could not get the sheriff off the stand quickly enough. They didn't want the jury to feel sympathy for him.

Super 8 Bell & Howell projector.
I want to thank Christy for giving me permission to share this exclusive and historic 8mm film clip on my blog before the images fade away completely. Christy has agreed to have a proper digital copy made for posterity. I hope to upgrade the present link with the improved digital copy.

Christy's grandfather found the reel of Super 8 [8mm] home movie film hidden in a box at home. He told Christy about the film, so they projected it on the wall. She recorded the flickering image on her cell phone and sent it to me. Notice the clicking of the sprockets on the projector.

One minute, thirteen second film clip of Collins and Harvey walking across the Washtenaw County Jail parking lot from 1970:  https://youtu.be/8pohfGroiKo

Terror in Ypsilanti: John Norman Collins Unmasked. Check out my website: gregoryafournier.com

Monday, July 18, 2016

Terror in Ypsilanti: John Norman Collins Unmasked Book Talk Announcements

John Norman Collins
Terror in Ypsilanti: John Norman Collins Unmasked [TIY] is in its final stages and will be available from the printer in the next few weeks. I want to thank those people who have ordered autographed copies from my website http://gregoryafournier.com. Because the book runs about 460 pages, the index is taking longer to compile than my publisher expected.

In anticipation of my first shipment of books, I ran off the shipping labels to stay ahead of the game without realizing that the USPS sends out Your package has shipped notices. Expect shipment in early August. Thank you for your patience and my apologies for any confusion. 

Everything else is running smoothly. Copies will be available sometime in August on Amazon.com and in a Kindle ebook edition. The Eastern Michigan University bookstore plans to carry TIY for its fall semester.


St. Cece's Pub in Corktown.
So far, I have scheduled three book talks and signings for the end of September in Michigan--one in Detroit and two in Ypsilanti.

My first presentation is sponsored by the Book Club of Detroit on Saturday, September 24th at St. Cece's Pub located at 1426 Bagley Ave. in an area known to Detroiters as Corktown. Food and drink can be purchased at the bar and brought downstairs where I'll be talking between 6 and 8 pm. Because alcohol is served, participants must be 21 or older.



On Tuesday, September 27th from 5 until 7 pm, I'll be speaking at the Corner Brewery at 720 Norris Street in Ypsilanti. Attendees must be 21 or older. I.D.s are checked at the door. Light snacks will be available and liquid refreshments can be purchased at the bar.

The focus of this presentation will be the impact these seven murders had on Eastern Michigan University--on and off campus. Three of the seven victims were EMU coeds, and the prime suspect was an EMU student who police believed was responsible for most if not all of the killings. The person credited with linking Collins to the Karen Sue Beineman sex slaying was an EMU graduate and rookie campus policeman.

On a side note, John Norman Collins worked at Motor Wheel Corporation with Andrew Manuel, his partner in petty and grand larceny. What was once the administrative building of Motor Wheel now houses the Corner Brewery across from the old factory.


State of the art Ypsilanti District Library--main branch.
My final talk is scheduled for Thursday, September 29th from 6 until 8 pm. at the Ypsilanti District Library located at 5577 Whittaker Road, south of I-94. My focus for this talk is the impact the Washtenaw County murders had on Ypsilanti and the region. There is no age limit for this presentation, but parental discretion is advised because of the violent and graphic nature of these crimes.

Signed copies of TIY will be available for purchase at each of these events. Hope to see many of you at one of these venues.

Links to:

St. Cece's [http://stcece.com]

The Corner Brewery [http://www.arborbrewing.com/locations/corner-brewery/]

Ypsilanti District Library [http://tln.lib.mi.us/md/ypsi/]

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Remembering My Kid Brother--Rick J. Fournier

Rick's graduation photo--1968
People in Allen Park, Michigan have asked me about my brother Rick. We grew up in Dearborn Township in the 1950s before the streets were paved and the sewer lines were put in. My father built our house with his friends on the weekends. When my mom and dad had two more sons, we moved into a slightly larger home less than five miles away in Allen Park. That was 1963. My parents bought a bar on Allen Road called the Cork & Bottle--now the Wheat & Rye.

Rick graduated from APHS in 1968 through the sheer will and determination of our mother. Rick played the guitar and had no interest in earning a high school diploma. Once he graduated by the skin of his teeth, he hung around never getting a job or any job training. To avoid the Army draft, my parents pushed him into enlisting in the Air Force. Several months after basic training, he went to Okinawa but was given a general discharge. He wouldn't take or follow orders and was insubordinate to his commanding officer.

From there, Rick drifted into psychedelics and became a transient in the college towns of Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti. My brother wandering aimlessly during an LSD trip in 1970 was taken into custody by the Ypsilanti police one brutal winter night . The police didn't know what to do with him, so they called my parents. My parents didn't now what to do with him, so they called Wayne County Mental Health [Eloise]. Rick was locked in a  mental ward for over a year before he was released with a diagnosis of schizophrenia. I don't know what they did to him, but he was never the same. From there, things went from bad to worse. No need to describe his further descent.

Last known photo of Rick from the 1980s.
Rick died in Silverthorn, Colorado, on November 17th, 1994 at the age of forty-four. He died of a massive heart attack while walking down the street. Because he wasn't carrying any identification, it took over a week before authorities were able to identify him.

Rick's obit listed him as an artist and photographer to mask the reality of his sad life. People tried but nobody was able to help him.

Happy trails, my brother.