They were known as the oldest serial killer couple in the world. Sentenced to death. Convicted by the zealous efforts of lead investigator Gary Calvert of the Livingston county Sheriff’s department – prosecuted by Missouri state’s prosecutor Kenny Hulshof and local prosecutor Doug Roberts in a Judge Lewis court room.
At this juncture, if ever there were a more suspect group of law enforcement, I can think of none.
A false lead given to the Sheriff’s office didn’t pan out when a Doug McCormick recanted his statements made through a tip line. At first claiming that Ray Copeland was hiring drifters to write bad checks and then killing them to get rid of the evidence – the bodies were mounting up. In fact, McCormick knew where the bodies were buried, on the Copeland farm. The Sheriff thought this was a crank, but not Gary Calvert. He summoned McCormick to the farm while bulldozers dug up every corner – finding nothing. At which point McCormick fessed up — he made the whole thing up to get back at Ray.
This did not stop Calvert – so enthralled and deep into this myth, as mounds of dirt piled high, and locals gathered for the payoff — Calvert went on a tear. He searched the house for anything that looked like it matched the theory he heard from McCormick -who had changed his mind. Finding an otherwise innocuous list Faye had made, of people who had worked with them or she knew over the years, Calvert, when he saw marks by these names, saw death sentences, carried out by the Copelands.
Miraculously and after the entire county was in a stir, bodies did start popping up. But not at Rays – while some were found at a place Ray had done some odd jobs — none were tied to Ray in any credible way. Other than the story itself.
Calvert found a quilt Faye made form bits of clothing. So completely insane had the prosecution gone by this time, with Attorney General William Webster flying to Chillicothe for a press opportunity, and promising a Lynching, that the prosecution claimed the quilt was made from the clothes of the dead men.
Webster was soon after indicted for embezzling.
Anyone following the exoneration of Mark Woodworth knows the protagonist of that one – Calvert. The case centers around the murder of Cathy Robertson, who was found dead in her bedroom, the very night the news reported that Faye Copeland was sentenced to die.
Woodworth was convicted by a thumb print Calvert came up with on a box of bullets. It is here it was discovered, that there were no police records of anyone actually finding this box at the crime scene. Additionally, it was noted that David Miller of the Chillicothe police, had drawn a box on a picture taken of the crimes scene the morning after the murder. A picture without a box of bullets. To rewind this, yes, the police took a picture of a table where they claimed to find the box, but no, the picture had no box of bullets on it. Yet Miller and Calvert testified of the existence of this box, and Miller drew in on the picture without a box.
But this is not the center piece for Calvert in the Woodworth case. The main course is when Calvert arranged for a surgery to be made in conjunction with a man they claimed was a private detective for the Robertson family. As Mr. Robertson, who survived the shouting, was willing to undergo life threating surgery to find his wife’s killer. Which may be true, however when Robertson was asked to prove he paid this alleged private eye, he told the court he paid him in untraceable beans.
In truth, Calvert had previously been in league with Terry Diester, a former operative out of Platte county, in stings — where the two attempted to trap dealers into drug buys using a woman Diester found in Kansas City. And Diester knew someone else, a man in England, in forensics, and since they had been trying for a year to match bullet fragments from the crime scene to a Woodworth gun, and having no luck, in America anyway – the plan was to remove a bullet they claimed was lodged in Robertson’s liver, during the shooting, and have Diester take it to England, which he did, along with the Woodworth gun. Diester, a private citizen, was given evidence by Calvert to take to England, with zero chain of custody.
That this story held up for all those years, would be amusing, if it were not tragic for the young man framed for murder.
I might point out that Robertson was not shot in the liver. He was shot in the neck. An astute paralegal pointed out to me, that if this small caliber bullet ricocheted through Robertson’s body, it would be dented and broken up. Not so with the bullet they presented in court. The bullet looked new. I think they even painted it. I found no radiological exam that indicated there was a bullet in a liver. There were fragments in the back — and who better to concoct so much from so little – taking us to such dizzying heights of aghast, then those creative geniuses who created Faye Copeland’s — Quilt of Death.
The bullet concocted by Gary Calvert was barred from every being used as piece of evidence in any court of a law in any state in America.
Gary Calvert was lead investigator in the Copleland case.
Faye’s alleged list of death, The X mark’s purported to be death sentences.
Or, could they be men who did not return to work because they couldn’t because they were dead. And is this legitimate in the first place. As you will note below — in the Woodworth case, the other big Chillictothe murder case, Calvert’s main evidence was a box of bullets on a work bench. But look at what their idea of proof of a box is. They drew the box on the photo. Does the outcome of Woodworth raise serious questions in Copeland? How could it not.
Below — Evidence presented by Calvert in Woodworth case I found was unsubstantiated in police records. Being manufactured two years after the murder. Yet put a man in prison for twenty years. Same investigator and prosecutors as Copeland.
For more information on the authors involvement in the one Chillicothe Missouri case he refers to with the same players – look here: