Twisted Trail

GrimmingItUp.com image of the approximate location of the initial crime scene today.

Unexpected Late Night Visitor

Picture this if you will, it’s July 1, 1975, you have just come home from work, it’s 3 o’clock AM in the morning. It’s dark outside and you’re ready to go to sleep, it’s been a long day, you go to your back porch to shut off your porch light. Just before you shut off the light, you glance down and you see feet. Annoyed, you open your back door thinking it’s a vagrant on your back porch, but when you open the door and you look outside you realize something horrific has happened. A woman is laying on your porch steps with blood all around her. Your mind begins to race. You just stare, shaken to your core. You don’t know what happened. What’s going on? Who is this woman? How did she end up here, on your porch steps? She’s clearly dead, her hazel eyes are open and looking up towards you, from her horror-stricken face. Your fear and anxiety are just overwhelming. Your next thought is, I should call the police! You run back through your home to dial 911. When you finally hear the voice on the other end, you tell the operator. “There’s a dead woman on my back porch! Send the police! Send help! I don’t know what happened I just got home!” This is where our true crime story for this week is going to start, with the discovery of a Jane Doe.

Who Is This Jane Doe

GrimmingItUp.com Image of Colorado Springs Police station

Homicide Detective Lou Smit takes the lead in this investigation, along with the officers that were originally dispatched to the scene. They begin their investigation at the crime scene, around the porch and mobile home, Where the body was found. While they’re awaiting the arrival of the coroner and the Assistant District Attorney, Chuck Heim, they realize that there’s a blood trail leading from the porch to the alleyway. Close to the alleyway, there is a large pool of blood; they realize this must have been where the victim was initially stabbed. This poor woman had crawled and dragged herself, about 800 feet, with her dying breaths toward the porch light, thinking she could get help. When the officers follow the trail back to the porch they notice there was a bloody handprint reaching up to the doorbell. It was only four inches below the button, then it slid down. This young woman was clearly fighting for her life.  

John, the owner of the mobile home, was clearly distraught as he relayed his account, he strained to recall any strange things that he could remember happening in the last 24 hours. He vaguely recalled when he first arrived home, he heard some clanking noises, but he wasn’t sure what it was. While he was telling his story, a man came through the mobile home park riding a bicycle with a broken pedal.

The police officer’s questioned the man, Alex Calzetto, about what he was doing out at this hour, and his whereabouts in the last few hours. Alex told them that he had gone on a beer run. The police officers went right over to the convenience store that Alex had told them he had been at. The clerk verified Alex’s story, he had indeed come in for the beer, and this was something he did on several occasions, so it wasn’t something out of the ordinary. Meanwhile, while the officers were verifying Mr. Calzetto’s alibi another officer had found Mr. Calzetto was wanted on an outstanding warrant for assault, so he was taken into custody.

The police had very little to go on this early in the investigation. The young woman didn’t have any identification on her: in fact, the only thing that they found in the front pocket of her jeans was a golden key that appeared to be a house key, but they weren’t certain at this point. The woman was five foot six inches tall, dressed in a bloody two-tone green pullover and blue jeans, and she wore brown open-toe shoes. She was Caucasian, appeared to be around 20 years old, with brown shoulder-length hair and hazel eyes. At this moment, the police had no way of knowing who this Jane Doe was.

The coroner, Dr. Urich, arrived at the crime scene to take Jane Doe’s body back to his office to begin the autopsy. While the coroner was looking at the crime scene, detective Smit asked him if he could determine the time of death or if he might be able to say what had killed this woman. The coroner hesitated, on the time of death, but he did say that clearly, the woman had bled out from the gaping stab wound to her neck that had severed her carotid artery. Besides the obvious, he also said that a preliminary exam of the body at the crime scene it appeared to him, she had been stabbed four times in the back. There were also some scratches on her face, but other than that he stated they would have to wait for his complete autopsy to have more definitive information. Then the coroner removed the body from the crime scene.  

Tip to Identity

Since this happened in 1975, Jane Doe’s fingerprints were submitted to NCIC (National Criminal Identification Center’s database, which was started in 1967), but it would take weeks for them to be reviewed. In the meantime, Detective Smit was running out of leads to find out the woman’s identity. He asked the media for help with getting descriptions of the woman out to the public and was hoping to get some tips.

A possible tip comes in about a man covered in blood, who was seen walking into an apartment. Detective Smit and another detective went to the apartment complex to follow up on this tip. They contacted Ms. Erickson who told them about a man in the same apartment complex who was hobbling into his apartment, and that he was covered in blood. The detectives located the man, Mr. Connely, and question him in his residence. Mr. Connely stated he was recently involved in a motorcycle accident and he’s had issues walking ever since. The detectives noted that he had a cut over his right eye and they ask him about it. Mr. Connely stated, he had forgotten his cane at home when he went out for beer and he had tripped and fallen. His shirt was covered in blood before he got to the store, and told the detectives the clerk would be able to verify. He also gave the detectives a receipt for the beer and bandages that he had purchased at 3:15 PM on July 1. The detectives then confirm Mr. Connely’s story with the convenience store clerks. Mr. Connely’s story checks out and he is eliminated from being tied to the Jane Doe murder.

Another promising tip comes in from a lady named Pamela Rouse, who says the victim was her roommate. The detectives meet up with Ms. Rouse at her apartment and take her information to see what they might find out. Ms. Rouse tells the detectives about Karan, her roommate, and how she always carries a gold key when she would leave the apartment. This sounds very promising since the information about the key was not previously released to the public. Detective Smit then takes the key from an evidence bag and tries it in the front door lock and it works. The detectives have hit pay dirt. They have unofficially found the identity of their Jane Doe. Now they might really be able to get some traction on their investigation.

Ms. Rouse shows the detectives a picture of Karen Grammer and tells them she was a waitress at the Red Lobster restaurant on South Academy Blvd. She also tells them that she doesn’t have any family in the area. In fact, Karen’s family is from Florida, and Karen’s brother Kelsey is going to be devastated. Ms. Rouse then tells the police about how the two siblings were very close. She also tells them that Karen is basically blind without her glasses.

Thanks to Ms. Rouse, the detectives now have a lot to go on, they are more determined than ever to solve this case. They have a name, place of employment, and a new question. Where are Karen’s glasses?

The Leads Are Heating Up

Grimmingitup.com image of Location of Red Lobster on S. Academy in 2022

Detective Smit goes to the Red Lobster on South Academy Blvd. He first speaks with the manager who lets police know Karen hasn’t shown up for her last few shifts, which isn’t normal for her. After the manager is informed of why they are there, the manager tells Detective Smit he didn’t actually work on Karen’s last shift, but the host did and he is also in the restaurant that day.

Next, detective Smit speaks with the host, Tyler Harrington, (who is 17 at the time). Tyler ends up letting the detective know that after Karen’s shift she changed and was waiting outside for another employee to get off of work. Also, there was a failed robbery attempt by three African American men. The reason the robbery had failed was due to the cash drawer had been locked in the safe before the attempt. Then Detective Smit was informed that all the men had military haircuts and one was wearing a field jacket.

Family Touched by Tragedy Again

The detectives flew down to Florida to give Karen’s mother and brother the news of Karen’s death. When the detectives arrived at Karen’s mother’s home, they were met by Kelsey, her 20-year-old brother, who officially identified Karen as his sister. Kelsey went on to relay to the detectives that Karen and Kelsey’s father had been murdered five years before. Through their grief, they became very, very close.

What is Going On?

Detective Smit goes back to the Colorado Springs Police Department and two other homicide detectives were working on two other robbery homicides. The other detectives were brainstorming and comparing their investigations. Detective Smit then begins to ask these detectives if there are any suspect descriptions. Bells started going off for the three, they begin to realize their cases might actually be linked together.

On June 19, 1975, the first victim was Daniel Von Lone who was found on the side of the road by a patrolman. Daniel was a cook at the Four Seasons restaurant. He had a scarf tied over his face and was shot in the left temple.

On June 27, 1975, Winford Proffitt was murdered only three days before Karen. Winford was stabbed in the chest with an Army-issued bayonet and was found at Prospect Lake. The witness had also reported seeing a green Oldsmobile driving around the area just before and after the murder.

At this point in the investigations, it was only theorized that both Proffitt and Von Lone had also been robbed. Witness descriptions of all three murders seemed to match up. Each detective still continued to work on tips and various angles of their cases but came together to compare and contrast the similarities and differences of their cases.

Time to Make a Deal With the Devil

Larry Dunn was arrested in New Orleans, Louisiana, on unrelated charges. While he was being interviewed there by police, He said he had information about some murders that had occurred in Colorado Springs, Colorado. He said he would talk, but he wanted to get full immunity in Colorado for those murders. Once the immunity deal was agreed to he gave information on the spree killers there and he spilled the beans on everything. Oh, boy did he! According to Dunn, the Colorado Springs detectives were right, the three murders were tied together, and so much more.

Dunn’s story of how things unfolded is going to make many Grim folk mad, I am sure. Such senseless acts show these murderers were not only extremely bad at robbery, but were absolutely vicious and had no regard for human life.

Let us start with the murders that have gotten convictions, then we will go on to discuss separately, the two that didn’t.

June 19, 1975, the murder of Daniel Von Lone was committed by Freddie Glenn, but Michael Corbett and Larry Dunn were also present. The three waited for Von Lone to get off from his job as a chef at the Four Seasons to rob him. Von Lone pleaded for his life and was shot and killed for the fifty cents that he had in his pocket.

June 27, 1975, Winford Proffitt was wanting to buy some marijuana, so he agreed to meet up with Freddie Glenn, Michael Corbett, and Larry Dunn at Prospect Lake. There were never any drugs, it was just a setup to rob Proffitt (who only had ten dollars). During the robbery, Dunn stated that Corbett stabbed Proffitt with a bayonet and had also that he had committed, he wanted to feel what it was like to stab a man. They left Proffitt there and witnesses stated they had seen a green Oldsmobile leaving the scene.

June 30, 1975, Karen Grammer was sitting outside of the Red Lobster on South Academy Blvd. waiting for a coworker to get off from their shift. Glenn, Dunn, and Corbett had all been partying at their apartment, drinking and taking hits of acid. They hatched a plan to go rob someplace. As they were driving around, they decided they would rob the Red Lobster restaurant. They went into the restaurant, but they are told the cash drawer had already been locked in the safe. So, they leave, on their way out they noticed the girl sitting outside, and they were afraid the girl could identify them, so they kidnap her. Then they go up the street to the 7-Eleven store (on Pikes Peak and South Academy Blvd) and rob it. Next, they take Karen back to their apartment and rape her for four hours. From the show, Homicide Hunter, episode “Animals,” the assistant district attorney stated, “They had raped her every which way that was possible, and that is all I am going to say about that.”

They decided they were going to dump her somewhere, they were going to let her live. So, they loaded her back into Glenn’s car and they drove around. They removed Karen’s glasses and placed them on the dashboard. Then they eventually drove down an alleyway, near a trailer park in Southern Colorado Springs, and they stopped. They let Karen get out of the back seat of the car and Dunn says Glenn had a change of heart. Then Glenn, got out of the car after grabbing a knife and stabs her in the back and neck where he twisted the blade of the knife. Then Glenn gets back in the car and the three men leave.

Karen then stumbled, fell and dragged her way towards the light hoping to get help. She was nearly blind without her glasses, and was severely wounded. Even with all of that, she made it to the porch and died reaching for the doorbell, merely inches away.

July 25, 1975, Winslow Watson III was shot four times in the face by Richard Mobley and Michael Corbett. Watson, it turns out had been running with a motley crew of discontents. Newspaper articles state that he had been another murderer, but I couldn’t find what murder (or murders), he might have been tied to. Let’s get back to why they killed him. Watson had stolen a loaf of bread from one of their neighbors. When Watson was confronted by Corbett about it and he was shot. Then his body was dumped off on the 1300 block of Baylor Drive.

Supposedly,the Watson murder is what had caused Dunn to flee from Colorado.

GrimmingItUp.com image of newspaper clipping from the Gazette Telegraph Sunday, August 31, 1975

August 30, 1975, Corbett, and Mitchell Carlton Martin went to Bell’s Nightingale Club, on Las Vegas Street in Southern Colorado Springs. There they went on a shooting spree that killed Ricky Lewis on the scene. Five other men were also injured from the shotgun blasts. Melvin Cole, 22, was immediately taken to the ICU in critical condition. Also wounded were: Arlee Fulton Sturdivan, 24: John E. Hudson, 23: King Leon Moore, Jr., 19; and Thomas Lee Lilledge, who was also only 20 years old when he died later from his injuries at a hospital on Ft. Carson Army base. In this particular case, Michael Corbett was charged with first-degree murder, for Lewis. Corbett was also charged with three counts of first-degree assault (Hudson, Cole, Milledge) and 2 counts of second-degree assault for Moore and Sturdivant. Mitchell Martin was charged and later pleaded down to, accessory to murder only for Ricky Lewis’s murder, after he too turned witness on Corbett. On September 1, 1975, Michael Corbett was arrested.

Wait! Who did What?

If all the Grim folk has followed along so far, it is clear there is a leader in this twisted trail of murders and mayhem, and that would be Michael Corbett. Some of the murderers were active duty in the Army at the time, and those would be Corbett, Dunn, Glenn for sure. What I wasn’t able to find was how Richard Mobley fit in, nor Mitchell Martin, so there are still some unanswered questions. If any of the Grim folk can find answers, please feel free to let us know and we can make corrections with verifiable sources.

Below is a makeshift chart to try and explain who all were involved with which murder. There are no lines to two of the victims, but we will explain a bit about each of them here shortly and let you all make up your own minds.

Orange is the Spree Killers and Gray are all the victims

What Do You Mean There is More!?

There are two victims of murder that may or may not be from our spree killers.

Francis Roomisch was murdered on June 17, 1975, he was found 10 miles south of the main gate to Ft. Carson on Highway 115. He was found shot outside his bullet-riddled truck. If he was a part of this, then this would make him the first victim. Try as I might, I was unable to find anything on his murder, other than the basic report. It has not been solved and I don’t know if any suspects might be related to this one. All that I do know about this case, is that it was being investigated by the El Paso County Sherriff’s office originally since it was outside of the city and federal limits. Currently, this case is with the Colorado Bureau of Investigation Cold Case Unit. Next, y’all may not have been aware that Larry Dunn was under investigation by the FBI when he was arrested in New Orleans, but this fact alone implicates him in this next murder. As this one was committed on Ft. Carson’s Army base, this was being investigated by the FBI since any military bases are federal land.

July 3, 1975, cab driver, Milton Abramson, 54, died from multiple stab wounds. Mr. Abramson was found 3 1/2 miles from his cab on Butts Road near the airfield on Ft. Carson. Abramson had reported to dispatch that two men had flagged him down for a ride to the airfield. The cab company Mr. Abramson worked for became concerned after not hearing from him for 45 minutes. They reported to authorities that he had not reported in after his last fair. Mr. Abramson was stabbed over 25 times in the neck, chest, and abdomen. Also, the FBI (who has jurisdiction on murders committed on federal land) was working with military police to investigate this murder. The FBI was said to have believed Mr. Abramson was also robbed before his murder.

Wrapping Things Up

As of January 2022, when this was researched and written, I was able to find out that Larry Dunn was sent to a prison outside of Colorado on separate unrelated charges, and has since died.

Michael Corbett converted to Islam during his incarceration and went by the name Hasni Chinangwa. He got an associate’s degree in sociology, and social studies and had been working on a bachelor’s degree. In 2019 he was suffering from kidney failure and was transferred from a Colorado prison to a Denver hospital and died after life support had been withdrawn by his daughter.

All I could find on Richard Mobley was that at some point he was arrested in Florida.

GrimmingItUp.com image of the excerpt from PPLD pdf of Gazette Telegraph articles on Karen Grammer homicide

This leaves us with Freddie Glenn who is still alive and serving a life sentence for Karen Grammer’s death. Glenn also converted to Islam and went by the name, Siyani Masamba. Originally he was sentenced to death in the gas chamber, but Colorado changed its death penalty laws, which changed his original sentence to life in prison. He was also convicted for the murders of Proffitt and Von Lone. He has been up for parole several times the most recent in 2021 and all have been denied. There is a Linked In story where the author is reporting “Glenn’s side of the story.” This makes for an interesting read, but really rubbed me the wrong way in the end. I would hope folks would look at it for what it is worth and see through the smoke and mirror shenanigans. Glenn at one point stated he was the only one of the murderers with a car, so he had to drive them everywhere. Unpack that a moment, if he truly drove them everywhere, how many of the rest of murders did he not get convicted of??? Wow! Just wow! That is all I can say. If any of you would like to take a gander, it is listed in the sources below. I also found that Karen’s brother Kelsey and Proffitt’s wife have gone or given statements for each parole hearing, as well as detective Smit and the District Attorney that prosecuted the cases.

Kelsey is very passionate about having a voice in each parole hearing due to his father’s murder not being able to be tried, due to the murderer’s insanity, and then when the murderer was released Kelsey found out from a headline in the National Inquirer. Kelsey Grammer is a far better person than most, I am not sure I could be as forgiving as he has been with Glenn. In the video he says, “I accept that you actually live with remorse every day of your life, but I live with tragedy every day of mine.” This is only a two-minute clip from ABC News off of YouTube.

Final Thoughts

Originally I began looking into this after listening to a podcast that had stated Karen’s murder was unsolved. I found that to not only be inaccurate but there was so much more. I have slimmed down the information I was able to verify due to the sheer volume. All of these victims had families who loved them, people who cared and have suffered. I don’t want to discount the victims or their families or friends. This was a tough case to crack with so many different rabbit holes to go down, it just kept unwinding. Nothing about this whole killing spree was straitforward. Sure we could blame drugs and alcohol for some of the chaos, but not everything. I can say there is an immense amount of things I don’t understand, for instance, Dunn being investigated by the FBI for the Ft. Caron murder, why wasn’t he charged with that? Who was the second man in the cab driver’s murder? Was Dunn not charged as part of the immunity deal? But the immunity deal was only for El Paso County wouldn’t Ft. Carson be excluded? I have so many questions. . .

What are your thoughts? Do you think justice was served?

Sources

All pictures and videos used in this blog are done so under the Fair Use Act I have tried to give credit to all originators.

Homicide Hunter Season 9 Episode 18 “Animals”

PPLD accumulation of Gazette Telegraph articles on Homicides from their special collection on Glenn, Corbert, Dunn, Watson, Martain, and Mobley.

https://www.newspapers.com/clip/94068474/gazette-telegraph-sunday-august-31-1975/

Supreme Court of appeals May 12, 1980, 611 P.2d 965 People of the state of Colorado vs. Michael Corbett https://law.justia.com

Francis Romisch Unsolved Homicide card from https://apps.colorado.gov/apps/coldcase/casedetail.html?id=1183

https://gazette.com/news/lindas-world-murder-boxes-of-cash-tax-evasion-prison/article_498fbb57-4994-5b79-a136-54bc15017431.html

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/freddie-glenn-story-his-side-kenneth-patterson/

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