Sunday, July 19, 2009

Collecting Commentary for a New Edition of The Michigan Murders

by Laura James

Years before Ted Bundy began his killing spree, John Norman Collins terrorized two university towns, assaulting and killing young women. When he was finally caught by his uncle, the "Co-Ed Killer" had inflicted harm in many forms.

Photo: John Norman Collins today. Via Michigan Offender Tracking Information System

Those who hail from around Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti, Michigan, still recall this time of terror. These murders affected people deeply. As one remarked to me, "Several bodies of the victims were dumped within several miles of my childhood home. It made my father crazy and paranoid, and other people I talk to who were in Ann Arbor -- or in places where the murdered women grew up -- during that period have vivid recollections about the murders, investigation, trial, and conviction of John Norman Collins."

Collins once appeared on a local TV show, Kelly and Company. Some involved in the trial also spoke. The video can be seen on Youtube.

The University of Michigan Press is about to issue a new edition of the seminal book about the case. It is The Michigan Murders by Edward Keyes, which is on many "best of true crime" lists.

The new edition will be replete with commentary from Michigan true crime author Mardi Link, whose books and website I know and admire. She will address the police work that went into capturing Collins and what detectives might do differently today.

The new edition will also feature a prologue that I will write about the social impact of the murders themselves. It will include stories of how the murders affected and changed people. If you remember Collins and have a story for the book, please share it.


FleaStiff said...

Don't know anything about these killings and didn't experience any publicity about them much less have any effects from that publicity, but I think its good that you are about to comment on the social impact. Prosecutors are often able to obtain plea deals due to the impact on an innocent person's health and finances. I'm unaware of just how much serious crime there is out there. I used to think it was a rather low amount and was the province of career criminals. Now I'm finding out there is such vast quantity of unreported crime and unpunished crime. And I'm finding out the impact on society is far higher than I ever imagined.

Soobs said...

Laura, this was the second true crime book I ever read. I remember being 12 years old (approximately) and simply enthralled by the writing, and horrified by the murders. I can't believe the creep is still alive!

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