In 1976, several Circleville, Ohio residents started receiving weird letters detailing personal data about their lives. Bus driver Mary Gillespie was accused of a seemingly non-existent affair with the superintendent of schools. The writer warned Mary that he/she had been observing her home and knew she had kids. It was postmarked in Columbus, Ohio, but had no return address.
Within eight days, Mary received an identical letter. She kept the letters to herself, until her spouse, Ron, received one as well. The letter noted that if Ron did not halt his wife’s affair, his life would be in threat.
Ron Told About Letters
After two weeks, the writer endangered to go public with the affair allegations, broadcasting it on TVs, CB radios, and billboards. Mary and Ron just told three people about the letters: Ron’s sister, her husband Paul Freshour, and Paul’s sister. Mary had some indications about who might be sending the letters. They chose to have Paul write letters to the suspect, contending that they know who he/she was. The plan appeared to work; the letters stopped for many weeks.
That altered on August 19, 1977, nonetheless, when Ron received a phone call from the alleged writer. The call appeared to substantiate Ron’s suspicions on the individuality of the writer. He grabbed his gun and then left in his pickup truck, even though the writer contended to be watching the truck.
A few minutes later, Ron was discovered dead in his pickup truck, crashed into a tree. Investigators later discovered that Ron had fired at least one shot from his gun before crashing. Sheriff Dwight Radcliffe queried and eliminated at least one suspect in the case. He then ruled Ron’s demise an accident, contending that he had lost composure and crashed while driving drunk.
Ron and Alcohol
Nonetheless, many inhabitants shortly received letters stating that Sheriff Radcliffe had been involved in a cover-up. According to Paul, Sheriff Radcliffe initially agreed that the casualty was an outcome of foul play. Nonetheless, he allegedly altered his mind when the suspect passed a polygraph test.
Ron’s blood-alcohol level was .16, which was twice the valid limit. Nonetheless, numerous of Ron’s friends and family were shocked by this; they did not think that he was a massive drinker.
Mary and the superintendent later admitted a relationship, although they contend that it did not begin until after the letters were sent. In February of 1983, Mary was harassed along her busway; the letter writer started placing frightening signs next to the road.
One day, Mary had enough and decided to go and tear the sign down. When she did, she found a booby trap designed to murder her. The trap had a box that comprised a small pistol; if Mary had jerked the sign off a specific way, the gun would have fired.
An amateurish try was made to rub off the serial number on the gun. When lab tests were eligible to raise the number, it was inferred that the gun had belonged to Paul Freshour, who had previously distinguished from Ron’s sister. Paul, nonetheless, contended that the gun had been stolen but never reported it stolen. On February 25, 1983, Sheriff Radcliffe asked Paul to meet with him and take a handwriting test.
He inquired Paul to attempt and copy the handwriting from the letters. Sheriff Radcliffe also had him write the letters while repeating them verbally.
After the test, Paul took Sheriff Radcliffe to his garage and showed him where he protected his gun. Afterward, the two came back to the courthouse, where Paul was caught and charged with attempted killing. On October 24, 1983, he went on prosecution for the attempted killing of Mary Gillespie.
Although he was never accused of writing terrorizing letters, they became a significant part of the proof against him. A handwriting specialist confirmed that Paul was the letter writer. Mary also testified that she thought that he was the writer after his wife visited her with similar suspicion. Paul’s boss also testified that he was not at his job on the day that the booby trap was discovered.
Paul had an alibi for most of the day; nonetheless, he never took the stand in his defense. Proclaiming his innocence, he was sentenced and was given a seven to twenty-four-year sentence. While there, he received letters from the writer, inferred to keep him. Others still received letters, postmarked from Columbus, even though he was in jail in Lima.
Even though he was in distant confinement, letters kept coming. In December 1990, Paul became eligible for parole. He was refuted parole due to the letters, even though there were no means that he could be sending them. In May 1994, Paul was eventually paroled; he proceeds to maintain his innocence. Nonetheless, the author of the letters has never been disclosed.
Journalist Martin Yant has examined the story and discovered another possible suspect that could be the writer. He also found that twenty minutes before Mary discovered the booby trap, another bus driver on Mary’s path had noticed a suspicious man standing next to a yellow El Camino.
The man was at a similar spot where the trap would later be discovered. Yant discovered that the possible suspect’s brother owned a similar type of car. The explanation does not fit Paul and he had a substantial alibi at this specific time.
While Unsolved Mysteries was filming this story, they received a postcard, seemingly from the letter writer. It read “Forget Circleville Ohio: Do Nothing to Hurt Sheriff Radcliff: If You Come to Ohio You El Sickos Will Pay” and it was signed by ”The Circleville Writer”.
Some More Points
The original airdate for this episode is November 11, 1994. Sheriff Dwight Radcliffe and Mary Gillespie refused to be quizzed for the story. Nonetheless, the Circleville Writer did write a postcard to the Unsolved Mysteries P.O. Box after he/she was broadcast. Their individuality stays unrevealed.
Since this case has been broadcast, nonetheless, Paul Freshour, who conserved a blog for various years, passed away in 2012, never knowing the individuality of the Circleville Writer.
Nonetheless, recent information revealed by Martin Yant and others has indicated that there were at least three letter writers involved in the case (none of whom were Paul). One was thought to be the son of the superintendent (whom Mary had an affair with). The second was thought to be a co-worker who was infatuated with Mary. The third was thought to be Paul’s ex-wife (Ron Gillespie’s sister).
It is thought that the ex-wife’s boyfriend was the man noticed next to the El Camino on the day that the booby trap was found. One of her relatives had owned that kind of car at the time. Despite the information, the police still sustain that Paul was the Circleville Writer.