Sunday, June 19, 2016

A Father's Day Story

In all of the campaign 2016 shenanigans and distractions in my own life, I forgot to mention that one of the more infamous killers, who is a father of five, was released from prison last month.

It was quite a story about a bigwig church player's daughter and her would-be boyfriend killing her husband so they could be together since the Church of the Nazarene at the time did not allow divorce and remarriage.

The pair turned out to be a pair of young idiots. They didn't think the crime through because they didn't realize they couldn't be together after they killed David Harmon for they were almost immediately suspects. However, her dad thwarted the investigation at every turn. Until the advent of DNA and cold case investigations based on DNA evidence, Melinda Lambert Harmon Raisch and Mark Mangelsdorf walked free to continue their lives, which they did quite successfully.

They eventually went to prison, but only for about ten years apiece instead of life for the simple reason that the plea deals their attorneys made to the prosecution were contingent on shorter sentences. That combined with the fact the pair were not a threat to society at large explains why both of them are now out of prison.

On Saturday, Mangelsdorf will be placed on conditional release. Under the sentencing rules in place at the time of the crime, he must be released after serving 10 years.

He intends to move back to New York, according to the Kansas Department of Corrections.

David Harmon’s mother died in 2004. His father, John Harmon, said he is resigned to the fact that the killer of his only son soon will go free.

“I hope he’s learned something,” John Harmon said. “If he didn’t, he’s stupid. But I don’t think he’s stupid.”

Mangelsdorf didn’t respond to a letter seeking comment for this story.

Hempy said David Harmon was always positive and upbeat, and he talked often about how much he loved his wife and about his friendship with Mangelsdorf.

“It’s a shame they took his life and only got 10 years,” she said.

But Hempy said she understands that prosecutors had to make a deal or the killers never may have been brought to justice, and she is grateful for that.

“They wouldn’t have spent an hour in jail,” she said.

An old 48 Hours episode featured the case:

More about this is here.

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