Show Notes: Forensic File Murder of Diane King, Cereal Killer

This show, “Michigan and other Mayhem”, is a sort of factual, slightly comical, always earnest podcast about interesting stuff in Michigan and around the world. It is done by two sisters-in-law (Ali and Jenn) that like to talk about random interesting stories.  Expect cults, mysteries, murder, fast talking, and a couple of mental palate cleansers… and cuss words.  Those happen on this show, a lot.

Episode 55: Forensic File Murder of Diane King, Cereal Killer

Review of Detroit Zoo, Detroit, MI

Alerts:

  • Pretend podcast music because Jenn likes it.
  • Ali has a weird laugh. It is often loud.

We are both noticeably sick while recording this one. The plague visited the Kings.

While single, Ali stayed alive via eating cereal. Proof cereal can sustain life.

Christina Harris, Poisoned, Cereal Killer

September 29, 2014, Christina Harris, age 36, was found dead in her home in Davison, Michigan. Her husband, Jason Harris, had two kids with her, including an infant. Her death was initially ruled as an accidental overdose of over the counter cold medicine combined with asthma medicine.

Jason had been fired from his job for testing positive for drugs. Afterward, he collected $120,000 in life insurance. Days after her death, the people in Jason and Christina’s life began to go to police with their suspicions about her death. Jason’s brother and sister told police that Jason made comments about getting rid of Christina. They believed he was having an affair.

Jason’s coworkers told police that he had offered them $5,000 to kill Christina. Jason had said that he had already paid a man $5,000 but before the man could kill her, he was arrested for a parole violation. Jason had also asked multiple people if they knew which drugs did not have a taste or odor. The night before Christina died, Jason had brought her a bowl of cold cereal to eat.

The police began to look at Christina’s death again. August 27, 2019, Jason Harris was arrested and charged with three felonies. There was premeditated first degree murder, solicitation of murder, delivery of a controlled substance causing death. Police believe he killed her by putting heroine in her cereal.

Diane King, Murdered in Michigan

Forensic Files episode named “News at 11”

Season 9, Episode 3

Diane King was born on April 4, 1956 and was 34 years old in 1991 when she was living in Marshall, Michigan. Diane was living with her husband and her two children. Her daughter was three months old and her son was three years old. (I purposefully left their names out. Let’s leave them be.) Diane’s husband was Bradford ‘Brad’ King, and he was 44 years old. They had been married since 1984.

Diane was a morning news reporter for station WUHQ-TV in Battle Creek. The call letters of the station have since changed. (I think they lived in Marshall at a rural area and they had a townhouse in Battle Creek.) She had begun receiving letters to the news station from a male fan. The fan stated that he was looking to break into the news industry, and he wanted to get into contact with Diane. When he did not receive communication from Diane, the letters became harassing and threatening. The news station increased their security. Diane and her family put security measures up around their home including exterior motion sensitive lights and a guard dog.

One of the letters that I saw was what you would think of as the typical cryptic note with letters cut from a magazine. (A specialist on the show mentioned that the cut-out letter technique is something you see in the movies and TV but not real life, which is what I was thinking. I guess only 1% of threatening letters have cut out pieces.) The letters in this note spelled out the sentence “You should have gone to lunch with me.” That letter had been placed directly into her mailbox, letting Diane know that the man knew where she lived. Then there was evidence that someone had entered their home, due to a broken windowpane on their door, however, nothing had been removed from the house.

On Saturday, February 9, 1991, Brad came home from jogging and found Diane dead in the driveway from a gunshot wound. That day, Diane was supposed to drop her children off at her mother’s house and then spend the weekend with Brad. One of the children ended up being sick, so she brought them both back with her. Diane was lying next to their car which still had their children in it. Both children were physically fine but scared.

The autopsy revealed that Diane had been shot twice with a .22 rifle. One of the bullet wounds came from a slightly downward angle, entering just above her breast and exiting around the mid to low shoulder blade. The second bullet came from a different direction entirely. That bullet entered just above Diane’s pubic bone, traveled up through her body and was found by her collar bone.

The investigators concluded that the evidence shows the following shooting scenario: The shooter is somewhere elevated from Diane’s position, which is standing on the ground. He shoots once, the bullet enters her chest and exits out of her back. Diane falls to the ground. The shooter then comes in closer and lays prone on the ground, just as Diane was laying on the ground, bracing on his elbows on the dirt, and firing again. The second shot is the one that enters over the pubic bone, traveled up her torso, and came to rest at the top of her chest.

From the position of Diane’s body, the police can determine the initial shot came from a nearby barn at the end of Diane’s drive. On the second level of the barn, a .22 shell casing was found. They used a laser level and a model the same size as Diane, providing a second indicator to the shooter’s location.

Since very little time had passed between the shooting and police arriving, they called in scent dogs to track the perpetrator. The dogs should be able to track the gun smell and that of the adrenaline-fueled shooter. The dogs followed a path across a field, then a footbridge, and then they took a sharp left at a creek. That is where police found the .22 rifle with the butt end sticking out of the water. It’s muzzle (I forgot the word for muzzle for a second while typing and all I could think was ‘the bang-bang shooting end’.) was pushed deep into the mud. Seven spent casing were also sitting on the creek bed nearby. When they tested the gun, the casings matched the firearm. They couldn’t match the bullets because they were both damaged from the impact with Diane’s body.

When investigators asked Brad about where he was when the murder occurred, Brad showed the officers his jogging route. The officers determined that Brad would have seen the attacker, knowing the route the shooter took because of the dogs.

They were also able to find a .22 caliber bullets in the King house, although Brad denied owning a gun. Those bullets did not match the ones in the creek. There was also a cleaning rod in the house, used for .22 rifles. The woman who cleaned the King house testified that she did see a rifle on the bar in the basement several times previously.

When they looked at the marriage between Brad and Diane, they found that he was abusive. Brad was also unfaithful to Diane. He had a hard time retaining a job since he had married Diane, serving as a police officer for over a decade before they were married. Brad was currently working as a part-time instructor in the field of Criminal Justice as Western Michigan University. Diane was known to have a strong personality and for trying to push Brad into better things.

The police decided to look closely at the threatening letter that had been left at Diane’s house. They couldn’t find any fingerprints on it. They also couldn’t match it to any of the materials in Brad’s office at the university.

A couple weeks before the murder, the Kings had reported a break-in to their home. Suspiciously enough, the broken glass was on the outside of the home, as if someone inside broken it out. A man moving into a home in the King neighborhood found a .22 rifle in the attic. It was identical to the gun used to shoot Diane. A letter, made with magazine cut-outs, was sent to prosecutors, threatening them. They also received threatening phone calls about the case. Prosecution believes it was all done by Brad to create reasonable doubt in the jury’s mind.

Investigators believe that the empty casings in the creek stem from Brad taking practice shots and lining up the rifle site. He used the creek by his house as a dump site. They also believe that after Brad shot Diane, he was startled to find his kids in the car. He had to quickly dump the gun in the creek and pretend he had been out jogging so he could discover his wife’s body. He couldn’t leave the kids sitting in the car because of the frigid weather.

Convicted in December of 1992 of Homicide Open Murder and Felony Firearm Weapons he was sentenced in January of 1993 to life in prison. According to OTIS, he is now 72 years old and still serving his time at Thumb Correctional Facility in Lapeer Michigan.

Side Note: I saw Mort Crim, a Detroit news anchor from back in the day, on one of the Forensic File clips discussing Diane’s death. Nostalgia is real.

https://forensicfilesnow.com/index.php/2019/05/16/diane-king-an-anchor-silenced/

https://www.apnews.com/94d942ed9dec7f1d9243ea2a9b9d9591

https://mdocweb.state.mi.us/otis2/otis2profile.aspx?mdocNumber=228745

Yelp

Review of Detroit Zoo

Christopher S., 3 stars (reduced for time)

If you gave this zoo 5 stars, this is the only zoo you’ve been to, this is not a 5 star zoo.

Long lines to get in, not a big deal but multiple kiosks would greatly cut cost for the zoo and speed up wait times.

Things you must see: 1) penguin exhibit is awesome. You get an underwater and above water experience. 2) dinosaur exhibit (cost $6 per person). While short, our son loved it. The movements and size are pretty neat to experience. 3) butterfly exhibit. Again short and sweet but still good 4.) The 4D movie experience we loved. We watched sea monsters. They spray water at you and shake your seat, it was fun.

That’s about all you got folks. The polar bear exhibit has been under construction forever. All other big animal exhibits are a joke. Very outdated, small, and hard to see.

SIGNS!!! I can’t say it enough. The signage maps, or lack there of, is atrocious. You would come to a major fork in the road and just stand there. Which way do I go? Every sign should clearly point you to an exit. The signs themselves are not placed correctly. They are off to the side instead of in front of you. It is unbelievable how poor the signs are. We asked an employee where the exit was, he said, at the front of the zoo. Lol, really. While looking at the sign you can’t even tell where to go because of the position, rendering them useless. USELESS.

They don’t sell bottled water, so bring your own! Yup, they will sell you pop or Gatorade. They only have water in a Detroit zoo squeeze bottle. They tell you they have “free” fill up stations around the park. Um… you mean the drinking fountains lol.

People will continue to come here, and they should at least once. However we need to get our act together as a zoo or move it

Just my two cents, what do I know anyway.

Jack G., 4 stars, 7/4/19

Very nice zoo; about what you would expect for a mid-sized metropolitan area.  Reasonably priced.

Although the zoo is of a modest size, several of the exhibits are quite impressive.  The butterfly habitat is one of the better ones and is a must see.

Many helpful staff and volunteers to assist you.

https://www.yelp.com/biz/detroit-zoo-royal-oak

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