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Thirty years later: Have the Keddie murders been solved?

{jcomments off}Joshua Sebold

Staff Writer
4/19/2011


The 30-year anniversary of the infamous Keddie murders is a significant moment in Plumas County history by any measure, but the milestone seems more interesting given the release of a controversial documentary in late 2010 that markets itself as including a detailed confession to the murders.



That claim itself is in many ways symbolic of the entire documentary in that it tends to lead to more questions than answers.

April 11 marked the 30th anniversary of the 1981 crime which left Glenna "Sue" Sharp, 36; John Sharp, 15; and Dana Wingate, 17, dead; and 12-year-old Tina Sharp missing. Her partial remains were discovered near Feather Falls three years later.

The most compelling pieces of the narrative in "Cabin 28: The Keddie Murders Part II" focus on a man identified only as a Vietnam veteran named Marty, who lived very near the cabin where the murders occurred, and is clearly the primary suspect in the filmmakers' view.

If Marty was the murderer, then those interested in "justice" will be disappointed to learn that he is dead.

Marty's stepson, identified only as Justin, has long been believed by many to be the only person left alive who witnessed the murders.

Justin was one of three boys - including brothers Greg Sharp, 5, and Rick Sharp, 10 - who were miraculously left unharmed literally one room away from the most horrific murder in county history.

One of the last scenes in the movie depicts Ed Case, a college professor helping Justin write a book, explaining that the potential witness recently channeled his stepfather under hypnosis and admitted that Marty and his friend Bo, who was described by several commentators as having recently exited a veterans' mental hospital, were the culprits.

This claim is complicated by the fact that the documentary reveals Justin has changed his account of the events he witnessed that night several times throughout his life, although this last account is clearly the most interesting to an average viewer.

In many ways this contradiction sums up the entire film and the climactic report of a confession that follows later and is similarly complicated.

The film includes numerous interviews and police reports connecting the man named Marty to the crime.

His stepdaughter appears onscreen describing him as a violent and unstable person who threatened or attempted to kill her mother multiple times.

"I think he did it," she explained before responding "thank God" to the information that her stepfather was now deceased.

Police reports in the film indicate that Marty's wife contacted the police after the murders, explaining she felt her husband and Bo were both involved and that Bo liked young girls.

The last accusation alludes to the fact that one of the victims, Tina Sharp, was apparently abducted while several deceased victims were left at the scene with no attempts made to hide them. (A forensic anthropologist says in the film that Tina was killed not long after she was abducted and was not held captive for years.)

Later in the film, several police reports made by local citizens claim that Tina was pregnant.

Another woman, Nina Meeks, appears on the film explaining she was a friend of the victims and of Marty.

She said Marty was staying at her house the night after the murder and kept saying he had to get back to Keddie to "finish something," before leaving at 4 a.m. when everyone had gone to bed.

Dee Lake appears next, explaining he was a Vietnam vet and counselor for many of his peers in the county, as well as a friend of Marty's.

With tears in his eyes, Lake explained Marty told him at one point the police had 30 pieces of evidence they said connected him to the crime scene and asked him what he should do.

Lake said he didn't ask if Marty had done it and told him he should get on a bus out of town because his life would never be the same either way.

He added that in his heart he felt Marty didn't do it but while taking law classes in college he learned "murder is the one thing anybody is capable of, doesn't matter who."

"There's no criteria for it. If you look back at prior histories of people who committed the crime there is no common thread. None whatsoever. Didn't have to do with what status economically you are, ethnically like, nothing."

"Somebody got stupid, did something stupid," he concluded.

A police report soon after the crimes occurred showed Lake was interviewed by police at the time and told them he didn't think Marty was involved but he suspected Bo.

The documentary also featured audio recordings of Department of Justice interviews with Marty and Bo, both of which are extremely strange, to put it mildly.

Both men focused on very inane details of their nights, which seemed odd given the largest event to occur in the last few days before the interviews was a horrific murder.

Bo told the investigators he had only been in Keddie for a month and didn't know his way around.

He went on to claim that he couldn't even point out the cabin where the murders happened, which seems absurd given the size of the community and the amount of commotion and attention the general hysteria and police presence must have generated around cabin 28.

Marty told the detectives if he was going to kill someone he would do it more efficiently and cleanly than the murderers had.

In fact he seemed more concerned about the effect of the crime on him than the fact that his neighbors had just been mutilated.

"I'm under semi-treatment for stress, anxiety myself. I certainly don't need this, you know," he told the cops in a manner that would almost be comical if it weren't so disturbing.

The film also mentions that Marty's aunt told the police she received a strange call from him, telling her his neighbors were killed and explaining the murders in graphic detail, which made her concerned that he had lost his mind and done something to his own family.

The movie hits its peak when the filmmakers explain their discovery of a police report from relatively soon after the murders, indicating a local therapist reported that a colleague in Reno told him a man named Martin confessed to committing the Keddie murders.

The filmmakers tracked down the therapist who reportedly told his friend this story and they interviewed him.

In the interview, filmed in a darkened room, a man identified by the film crew as the same man mentioned in the police report explains he had a client at a VA hospital in Reno who sat with him through several sessions and eventually told him he killed the two female victims in the incident but not the two boys.

The therapist said Martin told him he killed the mother because she was friends with his wife and had convinced his wife to leave him.

He said Martin claimed he killed the girl because she was a witness.

The therapist told the filmmakers he reported this to the Department of Justice.

This begs the obvious question: Why the police didn't respond to this seemingly important information?

Referencing the police report about the therapist, the film explained that "there was no indication" the local police ever followed up on the report by the therapist's friend.

Even in that case, though, it seems strange that the Department of Justice wouldn't have acted on the therapist's information.

How could two police agencies, one local and one federal, miss two independent opportunities to follow up on a possible confession?

When questioned about this claim, the Plumas County Sheriff's Office allowed this reporter to view a later report, which appeared to be related to the first one.

The report indicated the therapist was interviewed by the Department of Justice in reaction to the original report.

The document explained the therapist told investigators he spoke with Martin several times but the vet never admitted to the killings, essentially denying that he told his friend he received a confession.

The report indicated Martin's wife called the therapist after the murders saying she thought Martin committed them but that Martin denied this later.

There is no way to know if the filmmakers somehow missed this second report or why it wasn't included in the film, but it seems to significantly blur the picture presented in the film.

We are left with three pieces of evidence: a report indicating a friend of a therapist was told that a confession occurred, a report indicating the therapist told the police there was no confession, and a modern-day interview with the therapist saying he did receive a confession and told the authorities about it.

Making matters more confusing, the filmmakers reported they had a falling-out with some members of the sheriff's office during the final stages of making the film, while the sheriff's office responds that the filmmakers rushed the documentary out before taking the time to consider all the information.

What began as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity - a documentary film crew given the chance by a sheriff's department to have unprecedented access to the files related to an infamous case - has in many ways become a symbol of the convoluted and tragic mess the unsolved mystery has always represented in this county.

One would hope that time would make the case clearer rather than muddier, but for now this film is a mirror image of the Keddie murders themselves: depressing, messy and yet strangely captivating, a reflection of the type of confusing tragedy that many people simply can't turn their eyes away from, even though it seems to be one of those events we will never be able to truly make sense of no matter how closely we look.

For more information on the documentary, visit keddiemurdersfilm.com.

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full of it, like a tick about to pop. Completely vacuous waste of space. Lana, get back on your meds, and don't hurt your arm patting yourself on the back for wasting everyone's time.
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Anyway is that all you have to say about this, please dont waste my time with BS
<br /><br />I apologize for being unclear. My comment to you was a polite way of telling you that you are full of it.
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This is interestting making mr. dmac someone of intrest? Or just a plain dumb shit? Donna and her whole family I know ver well and as far as saying whats what your not any law forcement
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The fact you associate a 'friend' connection on Facebook as proof of a real, human friendship, speaks volumes. So far, you sound like another Craig/Donna. How many rides will you claim to have given the boys that night?
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The fact you don't know namesake Donna Williams' relevance to the case shows you were too young to know anything. I find it appalling that you have the gall to pop up on several boards claiming to be the only one to know the truth, while saying ZERO. **** or get off the pot, windbag.
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7Scarlet yeh you dont know whats up. You need to get it right i never said danas sister didnt want anythiing to do with me. How can we be freinds on facebook? Anyway is that all you have to say about this, please dont waste my time with BS
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First and far most DMAC you seem to have a hang up on this person Donna I dont even know who that person is and as far as you I can can tell your getting up set so what really your proublem and your conecttion?
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Please. I don't know what's up with you, but the fact that Dana's sister wants nothing to do with you makes me believe you may have nothing solid to offer. Just sayin.
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I've been following this thread silently for awhile, and I just want to add that I too believe Mr. Davis is lying. But how can that be proven now? How can any of our theories be proven? We can know it all we want. What can we do about it? It's not as though we can change venues.
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Lana, you don't get it. You were about 12 when the murders happened, not 20. What do YOU know that is, as you say, the solution to the crime? You blather and BS relentlessly yet offer nothing of substance. Donna's dead, and you're as nuts as she was.
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Please contact me anyone and everone will to meet at a mutual place face to face so we can force this publicly
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PCSO are complete tossers. Their sole interest in the case is to DO ABSOLUTELY NOTHING, as it would shed a bad light on LE- as if that's possible. Were there justice in this case, Hagwood would be swinging from the same tree as Marilyn, Dee, Doug Thomas, Crim, and Bradley.
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I believe Davis is lying through his teeth in the documentary (as are most people, including Marilyn Smartt and Doug Thomas). They all know exactly what went down, and why, and that PCSO/DOJ covered it up to protect the drug flow. Marilyn certainly knows as she was a participant.
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I know I can list plenty of facts to prove mine. I do agree with you about there are definitely more people involved and I can guarantee you that eventually I will find out the others.
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The guy does exist that Sue was arguing with, believe me, I have been researching him, too. Whether Frank 'Mike' Davis (Cabin 13) is telling the truth? He probably knew the name of the guy, because he was friends with Marty and Dee Lake. Can you list any facts that proves your theory?
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The guy Frank/Mike Davis is referring to DOES exist, but Mike had to have known the guy because he was a drug heavy, and so was Mike (who got the boot from Keddie by the Albins for pushing drugs). Plus the guy was pals with Marty and Dee Lake, and so was Mike.
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It's hard to get out all I have to say about this case here. Impossible actually. :-?
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Sorry Deborah, I just had to get that off my chest. I'm sure this is very hard for you and I empathize, I really do.
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I wish someone would follow THAT lead through to the end.
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It may be they did. But IF they did, they were not alone. I promise you this. The people in Cabin 13, who moved out a couple of weeks earlier...the guy in the DVD II who didn't want his face shown. The guy who lied about seeing Sue in an argument with a man who doesn't exist.
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