Beverly Ann Jarosz (1948-1964): the 51st anniversary of her unsolved murder is coming up. On December 28, 1964, Beverly Jarosz was killed in her parental home in Garfield Heights, Ohio.
Beverly had shopping plans that afternoon with two girlfriends, Barbara and Margie. Barbara, showed up at the Jarosz house and not getting anyone to answer the door, she left. When her two friends didn’t show up at her house, Margie called Barbara. That’s when ultimately Beverly’s grandmother was called. She made Beverly’s father leave from work to go back to the house and check. He found his dead daughter’s body in her upstairs bedroom.
Beverly’s case is discussed by several newspapers, authors, bloggers, and others online. For the best overview of this case check the Cleveland’s 50th anniversary article from December 2014.
In this post I’d like to point out the differences that I found while reading about this case (resources used are below) and I have added some issues that I have not seen discussed before. As always, you can send me other information/links and yes, correct me if I am wrong.
First, I’d like to discuss three factors before going into the main issues I have with this case.
The boys and their alibis
Beverly attended a private high school and dated a “strait-laced conservative college student” called Roger McNamara. She also had an ex-boyfriend, Daniel Schulte, who was considered “a bad-boy-ex” and a “greaser” in the teen circles of the time. According to the papers they both had alibis albeit not very strong ones and both passed the lie detector tests.
Roger’s alibi? He was home sick. Did anybody vouch for that? And Daniel’s alibi? I have not been able to find that.
How bad was Schulte really? Remember that they were all teens when Beverly was killed. The reason why I mention this? Bad boy Daniel Schulte is active on the website Find-a-Grave where he left loving messages on Beverly’s memorial page. I know, anyone can pretend online. However, he did take the trouble to become a website member and he pays a fee to keep Beverly’s memorial page free from advertisement. Yes, it is a small amount of money yet he made the effort. Is this a guilty conscience or maybe an act from someone who really did care?
Beverly’s good boyfriend Roger McNamara did not leave any comments. If he did, I didn’t recognize his name. Does this mean anything? No. Does it point to guilt? No. Roger wants to be left alone and declines interviews. There is a rumor that Daniel left the USA in 2005 and now lives in Israel. Maybe that is what it took for him to get some privacy. I am not sure why this all bothers me but it just does.
Michael Lindley Bane (17) who lived in Beverly’s neighbourhood committed suicide two weeks after her murder. Is this related or not? Michael was also questioned about the murder. His alibi was his job at a grocery store with as evidence a punched time card. Those cards are easy to manipulate. Did anyone see Bane at work? Did he leave a suicide note? How did he commit suicide?
The mysterious jewelry gift that made Beverly so nervous that she started carrying a sharp letter opener as a weapon is indeed creepy and needs exploring but I have nothing to add to this aspect at this moment aside from suggesting to use the M-Vac to search for touch DNA.
The Ferrini angle
In 1965, William Rehard told Cleveland Detective Vincent Ferrini that he killed Beverly. Rehard told Ferrini where to find the murder weapon. Rehard was an accused child kidnapper. He had pleaded not guilty at his arraignment in the Donna Adkins case (see the Wilmington News Journal from Wednesday Feb 17, 1965 on page 22). Ferrini died in 1994 but told his family about this confession. His son-in-law, George Pallotta, now tries to raise awareness for this possible angle in Beverly’s case.
According to Pallotta, Ferrini said that he found a butcher’s trimming knife and some clothing from Beverly in a Greyhound bus station locker where Rehard said that he left them. Ferrini’s story is that he handed it over to the Cleveland Police. Later he was told that all had been destroyed. But destroyed means that at one point it was received so there might still be a paper trail in the records archives.
Rehard committed suicide in 1965. Were his fingerprints found in the Jarosz house? His DNA? According to the papers, he was questioned but he did pass a lie detector test.
The three issues above bother me but not nearly as much as those concerning the crime scene and the murder methods. Furthermore, I think that absent any other new information in the public domain, we need to think outside the box.
One detective may have had his suspicions to the point of calling a certain person each year on the anniversary of Beverly’s murder. But we, the public, are not privy to that information. Therefore we need to be alert to alternative explanations of the facts. If we do not do that, we close our minds and solely base our opinions on the actions of a few. The actions of those few are not open to public scrutiny. What follows below is my train of thought that deviates from what is in the public domain now.
On the stabbing, the time of death, the strangulation, and the square knot
1: How many times exactly was Beverly stabbed? The tally ranges from 34 to 42 times. I’d like to know the depth, width, and location of these stab wounds. They determine how fast she died. If we know the order in which she was stabbed we can try to figure out whether she was first attacked from the back or from the front. Was she mostly still standing or did she fairly quickly fell on the floor?
2: The time of stabbing and the time of death are not the same. I saw that she was “stabbed at 130pm.” How can we be sure? Or, did the news reporters mean the estimated time of death? This goes back to #1: if Beverly died around 130pm but was heard alive on the phone at 1pm then the attacker coming inside the house, the argument, and the assault all happened within 30min. Is that consistent with her wounds and the time it takes to afflict them? Maybe this was covered in an article but I didn’t see it so if you know the answer, please contact me.
3: “She had been stabbed in the back and slashed in the neck, but death came from the clothesline knotted around her neck.” How badly was her neck slashed? Left handed slash or right handed? The height of the wound in her neck might tell us something about the attacker. See further concerns re the clothesline below.
4: Was Beverly strangled with a rope or a clothesline? One article mentions that rope was found around her neck and another (quote above) said clothesline. I also found this: “trussed with ropes.” What does that mean: tied and secured or hogtied? If you meant just secured then the word “trussed” can give people the wrong impression. People may start to think about specialty knots and focus on certain professions to look for suspects.
If it was rope, what kind of rope? That rope should be examined with the M-Vac for touch DNA especially around the ends where the hands from the attacker where. Below it will become clear that we are indeed talking about rope but why was clothesline even mentioned? Is this sloppy reporting or were both rope and clothesline found in her room? This isn’t the only instance of vague reporting in this case. More below.
5: It is mentioned that Beverly was strangled with a rope that was tied in a square knot. Some people make a lot out of this. Truth is that a square knot is easy to tie, see here. Tie your shoe laces and you have a form of a square knot. There are slipping and unslipped versions of this knot. It isn’t a specialty knot. It isn’t reserved for a special profession. We all use it in crafting, tying shoes, and more. Making it special give us tunnel vision and distracts from more important factors such as gaps in the timeline.
Clothing and the torso
I read that this was how she was found: “Her body clad in only the upper half of a slip.” A slip is a woman’s undergarment that comes in various models. It isn’t very common anymore as most garments now are lined. Slips were used to protect the skin against coarse fabric and to make layering easier. Later slips became more part of lingerie.
The “upper half of a slip” seems to refer to either a full slip pushed up or, to a full slip cut/ripped in two. So, if it was a full slip where is the bottom half? Or, was she wearing an undershirt that has been mistakenly labelled as a slip? Details matter. Why? Because I also read that “Her clothing had been yanked upward and downwards to expose her torso.” Upward to expose her breasts? Downwards to rape?
What exactly was she wearing when she was found? Pants or skirt? It matters. Pulled down pants make you think of a sexual assault. A skirt would likely get yanked up. If no sexual assault occurred, why the need to expose her torso? To stab her in the soft parts of her body? Stabbing through flesh and organs requires less strength hence opening up the possibility that the attacker might have been a woman/girl.
The attack and the coroner
From the book “The Serial Killer’s Apprentice: And 12 Other True Stories of Cleveland’s Most Intriguing Unsolved Crimes” by James Renner comes this piece of information. A police officer said that “a girl didn’t do this because of the blitz-style attack. He came from behind with a rope which was prepared before. Someone she knew.”
I agree that if Beverly opened the door to her attacker it was someone she knew. There were no signs of struggle on the first floor which leads you to believe that Beverly indeed allowed a known person inside and they moved upstairs. All signs of violence were upstairs. This still leaves open the possibility that someone was already inside her room or, that someone else could have come in after the first attacker left. The gap in the timeline allows for this possibility. See below.
Are two attacks possible? One by a jilted lover who used a rope and a second attacker who stabbed? The timeline has a gap and I believe that there is room to question this. There is an extra factor that must be considered in this line: was the coroner right?
Let’s talk about the coroner first and then the timeline.
Beverly’s body was examined by Dr. Samuel R. Gerber. According to the papers “Gerber ruled strangulation as the cause of death, but said the knife wounds would have been enough to kill her.” What if he was wrong? Gerber has been wrong before in another high-profile case. I am not accusing him and indeed, I have not read the autopsy report. However, he has been wrong before and his findings as posted in the newspapers do not explain the gap in the timeline.
The papers say that the coroner’s report indicated that Beverly was stabbed more than 40 times (no exact number given) “with the most serious wounds to her face and neck. A dozen cuts on her hands indicated the teenager had put up a fierce fight against her assailant.”
“Beverly, nude from the waist down and covered with blood, lay face down on the floor. Between her fingers was a short strand of rope, slashed from a longer piece that her killer held taut around her neck while slashing her with a knife, police later theorized.” This seems to show a simultaneous attack with two murder methods.
It is possible that the attacker indeed came prepared with rope for either sex or rape and that it led to strangulation. But, what if that didn’t kill Beverly? What if it rendered her unconscious? The attacker may have left the house thinking that she was dead.
There is a 60 minutes gap (explained below) in the timeline. What if another person entered the house after the first attacker left? This person finds Beverly badly wounded but alive. Upon learning what happened this second person could have stabbed Beverly with her letter opener (the one that Beverly started carrying around after she received the mysterious package with jewelry). Beverly, weakened by the strangulation, was able to defend herself but not enough. This time the second person could have been a woman/girl. If we know the exact location of all the stab wounds we can see whether they were mostly around bone or soft tissue areas. Was Beverly standing or on the floor and not resisting? The above-mentioned blitz attack need not exclude a woman as attacker.
Gerber has been wrong before. Look up the infamous Dr. Sam Sheppard case.
Gerber was the prosecution’s star witness at the original 1954 trial of Sam Sheppard. Gerber immediately believed that Sheppard had killed his pregnant wife, Marilyn Sheppard. His testimony was considered critical to Sheppard`s conviction. Sheppard was acquitted in the 1966 retrial in which Gerber’s testimony was refuted.
The lack of a murder weapon in the Sheppard case was a problem for the prosecution. Gerber testified that a blood imprint found on the pillow underneath Marilyn’s head was made by a “two-blade surgical instrument with teeth at the end of each blade” such as a scalpel. As Sam Sheppard was a doctor it was considered within his means. But there was no hard evidence for that. The defense later got Gerber to admit that they never found a murder weapon and that there was nothing to tie Sheppard to the murder.
Maybe if I read the Jarosz autopsy report, my doubts will go away. However, reading Beverly’s case and thinking about the Sheppard trial made me consider another option especially because of a gap in the timeline.
This comes from various papers:
- Beverly is home and calls her mom.
- Beverly writes a message to her father. Someone on the phone said he’d call back, leaving a name that turned out to be phony (so someone checked that she was home).
- Grandma Vanek had just seen Beverly (and her sister Carol).
- Beverly was expecting Barbara and had to change clothes so she accepts a ride home.
- Barbara arrives. She knocks and rings the doorbell for about five minutes but no one answers the door. Thinking she was stood up, she leaves, and walks home. Did anyone see her walking home? At what time exactly? Not accusing her but trying to firm up the timeline.
- If Gerber was right about the time of death, Barbara was at the door when Beverly died. Gerber set the time of death between 1:28-2:15pm.
128-215pm: time of death according to Gerber.
Now it becomes even vaguer:
- Margie called Barbara at her house. At what time? Margie wants to know where they (Beverly and Barbara) are as they were all supposed to meet up for shopping.
- Margie called Grandma Vanek. At what time?
- Grandma Vanek called Beverly’s father Ted Jarosz at work. At what time?
- Jarosz raced home about 4pm. From where? What was his commuting time? Are there any witnesses? Not to accuse but to firm up the timeline. Details matter.
There are two versions of dad arriving home: at 3pm and at 4pm. In either version Jarosz arrived home and found the side door open (one or both?) and loud music came from a downstairs radio. He thought that was odd because Beverly liked classical music and objected when the TV was too loud. Jarosz finds Beverly in her bedroom. But in one version he arrives at 3pm and in the other at 4pm. That is 60 minutes difference. That is too much in a murder case.
If this is just another reporting mishap then obviously it changes parts of what I wrote here. However, it doesn’t solve all the issues that I have with this case.
What was going on in town, at school, and with Beverly’s family and friends in the days preceding her murder? Is there a possibility that whatever happened before has influenced her death and that we did not focus on it because we thought the reason for the murder was sexual assault?
Author James Badal wrote in his book “In the Wake of the Butcher” that seven years after Beverly’s murder the Jarosz home was broken into while Ted and Eleanor were at a neighbor’s funeral. All that was taken was a gold watch. Whose watch was this?
Badal noted that the backing had been torn from two prints that were hanging on the wall. They were reproductions of famous 18th century English portraits. The first was by Thomas Gainsborough and is called “The Blue Boy” and the second was by Thomas Lawrence and is called “Pinkie.” These two paintings were favorites of Beverly. Her father framed these two reproductions for her.
Who bought them? Did someone gave them to her? What could have been on the backing? A company’s address label as it was a reproduction? Has it been examined for touch DNA?
Pinkie hangs in the permanent collection of the Huntington Library at San Marino, California, opposite from “The Blue Boy.” They are considered a “Romeo and Juliet” couple despite the fact that they were painted in different time periods by different painters. Was this a geste? Did the one who gave them to her consider them a couple?
Any evidence that is properly preserved should be tested with the M-Vac for touch DNA especially the clothesline/rope. According to the papers, evidence found at the crime scene included a torn blouse (could this be the “slip” mentioned before?), a bed spread, pieces of hair, threads, and a 66-inch piece of rope. I’d love to see all this tested with modern technology.
Police asked the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation to compare several unidentified fingerprints found in Beverly’s bedroom with fingerprints on file in the state’s database. This comes from a newspaper article dated December 26, 2004 at 12:56 PM, updated October 27, 2008 on the website Cleveland.com. I have not seen any results mentioned.
Last but not least, Cleveland tenor sax impresario Ernie Krivda recorded an album dedicated to Beverly Jarosz. What I only read in that article dedicated to Krivda was that “the Cleveland teenage jazz singer was murdered in 1964 just as her star was beginning to rise.” In none of the other article was it mentioned that Beverly was a jazz singer so now I ask myself:
- where did she practice?
- Did she take voice lessons?
- Who taught her?
- Was there a pattern of scheduled rehearsals?
- Was she part of a choir, a band, or was she a solo performer?
This information about her singing widens the various networks of people who might have had tips for the police. A clip with Krivda’s music can be found here.
December 28 is the anniversary of Beverly’s murder. Please keep her and the family in mind during the Holiday Season.
Chicago Tribune Dec 29, 1964
Lee Hofland’s blog “the Graveyard Shift” post by Lisa Black
On Samuel Gerber:
Encyclopedia of Cleveland History on Gerber
Pittsburgh Press, Nov 1954 on Gerber’s handling of the Sheppard trial
Petersburg Times, Aug 1957
A Question of Evidence: The Casebook of Great Forensic Controversies by Colin Evans. See Chapter 8 on Sam Sheppard for Samuel Gerber