John Norman Collins, the face of a serial killer
Research/Story by Jamie C.
File Under: Serial Killer, Death, Murder
Location: Michigan, Ypsilanti & Ann Arbor
UPDATE 9/4/05: Bill L from Harwinton, CT writes "The story about coed killer John Norman Collins at your web site is so full of wrong information that it should be taken down. It really is inexcusable for writing so bad and so inaccurate to be posted on any website. The article written by Katherine Ramsland located at <http:// www.crimelibrary.com/serial_killers/predators/collins/body_1.html> is well written and as factual as this case has been through the time of her writing. Just this summer, Gary Leiterman, a 62 year old retired nurse, was tried and convicted of the murder of 23 year old U of M law school student Jane Mixer in March of 1968. Mixer was one of the victims previously attributed to John Norman Collins. Leiterman was convicted solely on DNA evidence." - Thank you bill for keeping us honest! -
Ypsilanti/Ann Arbor area of Michigan was threatened by a serial killer for two years fron 1967-1969. Preying on all the college students in the area, this killer was one of the most remembered for years to come.
A man who knew the first victim saw the 19 year old student go for a walk. A grey car pulled up next to her, she shook her head and kept walking. He pulled in close again, she shook her head again and it revved off with an angry screech. He lost sight of her then and the car didnt seemed to have come back. He was the last person to see her alive.
Her body was found some time later. A kid of 15 heard a door slam by the paddock in which he was working. It was a lovers lane area and being a bit of a peeping Tom, he was hoping to catch a glimse. Instead, he found a deeply decomposed body.
Investigators decided she had been dead a month, fingers missing and ankles sawn off to show missing feet. She was badly effected by the wildlife with bites all over her body. Further examining showed she had been badly beaten and stabbed about 30 times.
At her funeral a man in a grey car showed up, but was denied access. He said he was a friend of the family and wanted to take pictures for them. Only when he left did they realise he had no camera.
A year later, the next body was found. The bodies were deposited in areas out of reach and difficult to find. 15 bodies were found in total. All assulted, all with clothing missing, beaten, strangled or stabbed. All dumped in remote areas and all dissappeared without a struggle. It was clear this preditor would not stop on his own accord. He needed to be caught and he needed to be stopped.
They narrowed it down to EMU, a campus nearby. A lot of the victims were students so he must be a local. Once expanding their knowledge they realised he must be using several dumping sites. They found one site was where the victims had actually been killed. So he wasnt moving some of them, he was killing them out there and dumping them at his feet. This disturbed police even more.
They found a couple of bodies had been moved several times so he had been going back and moving them, making them easier for discovery. They would be moved from remote farm houses to closer to the road. He WANTED these bodies to be found.
One of the victims had been seen with a young student called John Collins on the night of her death but he said he had been with his mother and police did not follow it further. Another thing was that he was so clean cut with a nice haircut, well spoken, he didnt look like the type capable of brutal murder.
As fresh girls appeared, new leads arised but all were quickly dried up. When police returned to murder sites they found new things. This lead them to believe that the killer was going back with new items to taunt police. Earrings and bits of blouse's showed up that were not there before. Then one day on routine checks in the area they found a man in a gully. When police shouted at him he ran for his life and was not caught. They did get a good description of him though and he rode a Triumph motorcycle. One of the victims was last seen accepting a ride from a man with this same bike. So they drew up the description to plast all over town.
When the police were about to put the pictures around the State, A man was seen outside the College with the same brand motorbike. Records showed he had been interviewed before so they kept an eye on him and got a friend of the victim last seen with him to make an identification. She did, this man was indeed their man.
Soon the people Collins was boarding with caught wind of him being suspected. They looked closely around him and found patches in the basement of what looked like blood. They called the police and found it matched one of the victims. They further matched blood of another victim with his car stains too.
They arrested him without delay and gathered witnesses for identification. It was the physical evidence that scored him his ticket to jail. But due to lack of evidence, 6 of the girls could not be linked to Collins.
Collins was 22, He did is schooling, and was a clean cut, fit young man. He had been found to have done petty theft and ran his 4 motorbikes on stolen parts. His mother had a couple of marriages while he was young, and one of his fathers was an alcoholic that was abusive to say the least. Girlfriends say he was nice and respectful but oddly mad a lot. He was a bit of a loner and seemed aggressive to many.
He was head strong and often taunted dates, asking them if they would react if he said he was the killer. He always said men get what they wanted and found womens monthly cycles disgusting and openly repulsed to it. Many of the victims were in that cycle when killed. This might be a clue as to why he killed.
He is in jail, serving 9 consecutive life sentences.
Our Google Research & Related Links
- Crime Library has a very good/long story on John Collins Link
- Information on Forensic Science, tell the forensic details of his capture/ conviction. Link
- John Collins Bio Link
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