—Editor’s Warning: Parts of the editorial are graphic in detail.
After more than two and a half years, the final suspect’s case was decided last week in the 2009 murder of James McNeely.
Brandon Martin, of Laddonia, was found not guilty of kidnapping by a Boone County jury after they heard testimony during the two day trial. With family members Chester Harvey, Jr., Angela Harvey and their three sons all making pleas to avoid public trials, Martin’s case offered an opportunity to hear more details from the case than what were publicly disclosed in the past.
According to testimony, the Harveys apparent motive revolved around McNeely allegedly attempting to rape or perform oral sex on two of the Harvey teenagers. The details of this sick case get even crazier as Harvey, Jr. reportedly ordered Martin to have sex with his wife as a test to do as he was instructed.
Allegedly, Harvey, Jr. put a gun to Martin’s head when he refused but was unharmed.
As I take time to reflect on the case, I’m just waiting for the phone call from “48 Hours” to film an episode on one of the most bizarre crimes to not only happen in this area, but to happen in our state’s history. You just can’t make this stuff up…
In total, five Harvey family members are serving prison time. Three of them are serving life sentences and two teenagers were charged as adults. Three kidnappers involved are also serving prison time.
Throw in the alleged details that emerged from the Martin trial with an apparent hostage situation, a body hidden in a refrigerated tractor-trailer, and horrific details of the actual crime, and a sick and twisted movie script has written itself. I still have trouble believing something this big happened in the communities covered by The Vandalia Leader. My prayer is nothing ever happens like this again.Sorry, there are no polls available at the moment. The Vandalia Leader attempted to provide quality coverage any way possible throughout this ordeal and our staff hopes it will never have to cover a crime of this magnitude again.