Archive for June, 2010

M.P.D. Blue — A Portrait of Police Work

As a lieutenant in the Milwaukee Police Department’s homicide unit, Dave Kane had a reputation as a straight shooter who—in his passion for the job—didn’t mince words. As such, I wasn’t the least bit surprised to find Dave’s new book, M.P.D. Blue, a no-nonsense saga of his 30 years of police service.

For those of you interested in police work, M.P.D. Blue is a must-read. Last week, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel columnist Jim Stingl profiled the book:

Stingl focused on Kane’s involvement as a supervisor during the Jeffrey Dahmer investigation and his infiltration—albeit brief—of the Ku Klux Klan.  Without a doubt, these two stories are intersting to the general public.  I, on other hand, having walked a mile in his shoes as lieutenant of detectives, enjoyed the darts Dave occasionally threw that hit their mark. 

One chapter of the book, entitled The Cigarette Package, describes the attention to detail of Homicide Detective Greg Schuler.  After a citizen discovered a prostitute strangled to death in an alley near N. 27th Street and W. Fond du lac Avenue, Kane and Schuler responded to the scene to investigate. 

This area is a notoriously seedy section of Milwaukee peppered with litter and garbage.  The victim, a black female, was partially disrobed and had a wooden stick shoved in her vagina.  In the midst of the clutter, Schuler had to decipher which pieces of litter had the potential for evidentiary value. One of the items Schuler collected from amongst the debris was a crusty cigarette package. 

A few days later, Schuler called Kane to explain that an evidence technician developed a latent fingerprint from the cigarette pack that belonged to a young male living in the area. 

“You mean to tell me,” Kane quotes himself telling Schuler, “that you picked up a cigarette pack at the [garbage filled] scene?”  Schuler explained that, having examined the filthy alley, he believed the suspect might have dropped the package. A short time thereafter, Schuler had a suspect in custody who confessed to the crime. 

Within the scope of two days, Schuler had cleared two homicides with confessions. Kane was so appreciative of the detective’s work that he nominated Schuler for the Milwaukee Police Department’s Superior Achievement Award.  Months later, however, the award went to “a uniformed sergeant for devising a plan that saved the department two reams of copy paper.”  Kane explains, “But that was the Milwaukee Police Department.  The CIB [the detective bureau] was viewed as the bastard child sometimes.”

In M.P.D. Blue, Kane writes of an incident where he came just inches from losing his life.  On November 13, 1970, Kane and his partner, Dick Shannon, conducted a traffic stop for a defective taillight. 

As Kane handed the driver, Lee Seward, a releasable citation for an equipment violation, he observed what he believed to be a flash bulb popping and initially thought a firecracker had exploded; however, within a few seconds, it became clear that someone had fired a shot. The two beat cops ran back to their squad, backed-up a short distance, and radioed a call of “shots fired.” 

As a cop involved in a few similar situations, hearing dozens of sirens responding is indeed a Godsend.

What occurred next, though, was difficult for the two officers to decipher.  The passenger of the vehicle, a Ford convertible, exited and lay prone of the ground.  They later discovered that a sniper with a .30-06 rifle took a shot at Kane, who was at the driver’s side door. 

Officers whisked Kane to the hospital to treat a graze wound to his arm.

“When I got to the hospital,” Kane writes, “I noticed some peculiar substance sprayed all over the front of my coat. I would later learn that the substance was the exploded brain matter of Lee Seward. The bullet that had struck my arm had continued onward, striking Mr. Seward in the head as he sat in his car.” 

Of course, the passenger, believing the police had summarily executed the courteous driver for no apparent reason, exited to surrender. 

The next day, two officers stopped Willie Triplett and Willie Campbell.  A search of their vehicle turned-up the .30-06 used to kill Seward.  The two teenaged-boys told investigators that they wanted to “kill a pig.”  A month earlier, the pair had shot and killed a security guard they believed was a police officer.  Unknown to Kane’s partner, a week prior to the death of Seward, the pair shot at Shannon’s unoccupied squad.  Investigators later discovered the round lodged under the vehicle’s gas pedal.

M.P.D. Blue, a quick read well-worth its cost, is a collection of almost two dozen other interesting warstories.  Here is a link to view more details about the book:


Steven Spingola is a former Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective and the author of The Killer in Our Midst: the Case of Milwaukee’s Northside Strangler.

© Steven Spingola, Wales, WI, 2010

Psychology of Homicide Presentation Now Available Nationally

To view this article, please checkout Best of the Spingola Files, Vol. II: Here’s Looking at You, available exclusively at in December of 2012.


Steven Spingola is a former Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective and the author of The Killer in Our Midst: the Case of Milwaukee’s North Side Strangler.

For information pertaining to Steven Spingola’s background, click the “About” box on the upper right hand portion of this Web page.

© Steven Spingola, Wales, WI, 2010

Jacking-Up “Milwaukee Jack”

Earlier this week, the U.S. Department of Justice in Richmond, Virginia unsealed the indictments of 23 members of the Outlaws Motorcycle Club.  The charges alleged include acts of kidnapping, attempt murder, drug dealing, assault, and illegal gambling. One of the Outlaws under indictment is Jack Rosga, also known as “Milwaukee Jack,” the purported national leader of the Outlaws MC. 

The Outlaws consider themselves a motorcycle club, although many within law enforcement circles believe—since they sport colors, have bylaws, and maintain a hierarchy—this group is an organized crime outfit that meets the federal definition of a criminal enterprise. In the late 1990s, the federal government indicted and later obtained convictions of several members from the Outlaws Wisconsin chapters. The charges stemmed, in part, from at least three homicides.

The outlaw motorcycle idiom is a derivative of a July 4, 1947 Gypsy Tour motorcycle event held in Hollister, California.  Over 4,000 motorcycle enthusiasts, as well as a dozen motorcycle clubs, including the Booze Fighters, the Top Hatters, and the Pissed of Bastards of Bloomington, packed the Bolado racetrack near the city’s outskirts.

It was events in the town’s center, however, that forever etched the surly image of bad boy bikers in the minds of mainstream society.

Sponsored by the American Motorcycle Association (AMA), the number of bikers in attendance — almost the equivalent of Hollister’s population at the time — overwhelmed authorities. Over the July 4 weekend, fights, motorcycle accidents, and other acts of drunken hooliganism resulted in nearly 50 arrests and 60 injuries.  Soon, photos of intoxicated bikers filled newspapers and appeared in Life Magazine.

In response to the media attention, the secretary of the AMA, Lin Kuchler, said, “The disreputable cyclists were possibly one percent of the total number of motorcyclists, only one percent are hoodlums and troublemakers.”  Outlaw bikers quickly seized on the label and, to this day, proudly don “1%” patches and tattoos. 

The Outlaws MC is just one of a handful of large one-percent motorcycle clubs that dominate the global biker landscape. The Banditos, the Pagens, the Mongols and, of course, the Hells Angels (HAs)—the largest one-percent club in the world—round out these groups.  The Hells Angels are a club indigenous to California spun-off from the Pissed-off Bastards of Bloomington, an MC that was present during the Hollister fiasco.

In the past, Outlaws MC leaders from Wisconsin have maintained their prominence within their national organization due to the unwillingness of the Hells Angels to establish a presence in the badger state. The HAs have chapters in Minnesota, Illinois, and Michigan — forming a virtual ring around Wisconsin.

In 2003, two residents of Madison became patch holders of the Rockford chapter of the Hells Angels. Within the law enforcement community, word spread that the HAs planned to open a Wisconsin chapter.  The Outlaws quickly established a Madison chapter. Before long, troubles between the Outlaws and the Hells Angels drew-in members of a non-one percent motorcycle club, the Madison based Capitol City (CC) Riders. When a member of the Hells Angels attempted to crash a party the CC Riders’ enforcer stabbed him.  Soon, HA members from Las Vegas and Minnesota descended on Madison. The trouble ended about a year later when the federal government indicted Hells Angels’ member Christopher Wilson on firearms charges. In the interim, prosecutors convicted a Hells Angels’ member of beating a CC Rider at a Madison tavern in an apparent retaliation for the earlier stabbing.

For readers interested in learning more about the biker subculture, checkout the Cozen Protocol (see the link on the right side of this page). Author Mitchell Nevin’s depiction of the fictional leader of the one-percent motorcycle club Nero’s Igniters is very enlightening, even though it serves as a backdrop for the outstanding e-book’s overall plot (for the necessary software to read Amazon Kindle books on your PC, click the link on the right of this page entitled “Free e-books to PC Download”).

From the looks of the media coverage concerning the indictment of “Milwaukee Jack” and his Outlaws colleagues, it is clear that several reporters need to pick-up Nevin’s book and bone-up on the biker subculture as well as street gangs in general.


Steven Spingola is a former Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective and the author of The Killer in Our Midst: the Case of Milwaukee’s North Side Strangler.

© Steven Spingola, Wales, WI, 2010

The Mysterious Whereabouts of Ralph Leon Jackson

To read this article, purchase The Best of the Spingola Files, coming to’s Kindle store in January 2012.

Steven Spingola is a former Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective and the author of The Killer in Our Midst: the Case of Milwaukee’s North Side Strangler.

© Steven Spingola, Wales, WI, 2010

Prowlers on the Parkway: SF’s Take on the Colonial Parkway Murders

To view this article, checkout Best of the Spingola Files, Vol. II: Here’s Looking at You coming to in December 2012.


Steven Spingola is a former Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective and the author of The Killer in Our Midst: the Case of Milwaukee’s North Side Strangler.

© Steven Spingola, Wales, WI, 2010

Route 29 Linkage?

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA, June 6, 2010 — After leaving the Shenandoah National Park, the Spingola Files (SF) traveled to the college town of Charlottesville, the home of the University of Virginia. 

But before venturing into town, SF visited the periphery of Anchorage Farms, where David Bass, the owner of the 720 acre property discovered the body of Morgan Harrington in late January. 

The property of Anchorage Farms begins approximately 60 feet from the center late of Route 29.  The entrance to the property is gated, although, at the time we visited, this gate was pulled open.  I sincerely doubt that an individual, having just committed a homicide, would risk entering the dump site from this location.

That being said, the area of the farm where Morgan’s body was located is easily accessible from the Blandemar Estates subdivision.  Saying the Blandemar area is an atypical subdivision is an understatement.  This is very upscale development. By my estimation, the lots are five acre parcels.  In the area near Waldemar Drive, only two homes are visible, one of which is under construction and probably didn’t exist at the time of the murder.  Another large home sits at the intersection of Blandemar and Waldemar Drives; however, trees surrounding this residence might obstruct the view of its occupants.

I believe the Morgan’s killer probably parked his vehicle on Waldemar Drive — possibly in front of the home currently under construction — threw Morgan Harrington’s body over his shoulder and walked onto the Anchorage Farms property. 

Without a doubt, this is a case that reading the police reports would likely answer several questions, although I believe that the suspect is very familiar with the area.  Why drive ten miles and then pick this particular spot to dispose of a body?  Why not choose other areas that are more isolated and closer to the John Paul Jones Arena?  My guess is the suspect felt comfortable in the vicinity of Anchorage Farms and is likely aware that this particular sector of the property would not be checked for some period of time.

SF then visited Charlottesville proper.  On the Copeley Road bridge — at the spot where Morgan Harrington was observed hitching for a ride — a make-shift memorial stands just above a set of railroad tracks. Today, this area was home to the NCAA baseball regional.  Pedestrian and vehicular track was particularly heavy.  On the evening of the Metallica concert, my guess is many more people were present. 

Looking at other open investigations, the Morgan Harrington case has some similarities to the 1996 homicide of Alicia Showalter Reynolds, which was initiated on Virginia’s Route 29—a major arterial highway located only a few blocks from the Copeley Road bridge.  Showalter Reynolds’ credit card was located on Clay Street in Culpepper the day she was abducted.  Her parka was located on Route 626, although her body wasn’t discovered until May 17, 1996.  Harrington’s purse and cell phone were found in a parking lot near the UVA athletic fields shortly after her disappearance.  Her Pantera t-shirt was discarded and located two days later near the West Lawn apartments.  In both instances, the killer disposed of the property of the victims, almost as if he hoped they would be located.

Certainly, the method of operation originally developed by the Route 29 stalker (i.e. pulling alongside female motorist and encouraging them to stop due to car trouble) would no longer be effective.  The proliferation and use of cellular telephones would require the perpetrator to alter his MO.

NEXT: check back tomorrow as SF will post an update regarding the search for Keith Call and Cassandra Hailey.


Steven Spingola is a former Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective and the author of The Killer in Our Midst: the Case of Milwaukee’s North Side Strangler.

© Steven Spingola, Wales, WI 2010

Shenandoah National Park: Beauty and Brutality

LURAY, VIRGINIA, June 6, 2010 — The Shenandoah National Park is a place of natural beauty.  Nestled between the tiny and somewhat stereotypical hill country towns of Sperryville and Luray, this portion of the Appalachian Mountain range hugs the Massanutten Mountains to the west.  From the Skyline Visitors Center, a beautiful view is had from Thorofare Mountain Overlook.

Yet, just prior to Memorial Day 1996, two women, Julie Williams and Lollie Winans met their fates less than a half a mile from this heavily traveled area of the park.

During the Spingola Files (SF) visit to the Shenadoah, armed with information about from various sources about these homicides, SF walked the Appalachian hiking trail and located the purported scene of the hikers’ demise. 

From my background in criminal investigative analysis, the location — a tiny cove surrounded by exposed rocks — lends credence to following profile:

I believe that whoever committed the homicides of Julie Williams and Lollie Winans is a white male, possibility with military experience, an outdoorsmen, in good physical condition, who also has significant skills with bladed objects.

While the information provided to the public is limited, one of the victims was located outside their pitched tent and the other inside.  The trail close to the lodge leads me to believe that the suspect passed by the two women in the evening and observed their site from the well worn path.  He likely returned at night, waited for one of the women to leave the tent to relieve themselves; whereupon, he quickly subdued his prey.  The other victim, sleeping inside the tent and unaware of what just transpired, was surprised and easy overwhelmed by the attacking suspect.

SF is conducting follow-up regarding this case and will report back to readers.

The Spingola Files is planning to make an unannounced visit to another area today.  Stay tuned for updates.


Steven Spingola is a former Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective and the author of The Killer in Our Midst: the Case of Milwaukee’s North Side Strangler.

© Steven Spingola, Wales, WI, 2010

National Park Link Analysis

RICHMOND, VA, June 6, 2010 — With the FBI and National Park Service still searching the area just off the historic Colonial Parkway after the cadaver dog hits, the Spingola Files (SF) is set to leave for Shenandoah National Park, located approximately 180 miles north and west of the Colonial Parkway. 

Near Memorial Day in 1996, two women, Julie Williams, 24, and Lollie Winans, 26, were brutally murdered while camping near the park’s Skyview Lodge.  The modus operandi of these homicides is similar to the 1986 slayings of Cathy Thomas and Rebecca Dowski.  Thomas’ Honda Civic was found off an embankment adjacent to the Colonial Parkway.  The suspect(s) stuffed the bodies of the two women — their throats horrifically slashed — into the rear of the vehicle. Having occurred in national parks, the Williams/Winans, Thomas/Dowski homicides have eerie parallels.

In regards to yesterday’s search for the remains of Keith Call and Cassandra Hailey, Tara Morgan from Channel 12 in Richmond posted this story, video of which may be available later in the day:

Updates will be posted on this site throughout SF’s visit to Virginia.


Steven Spingola is a former Milwaukee Police Department Homicide Detective and the author of The Killer in Our Midst: the Case of Milwaukee’s North Side Strangler.

© Steven Spingola, Wales, WI, 2010

Cadaver Dog Hit Brings Hope to Victims’ Families

YORKTOWN, VA, June 5, 2010 — At approximately 1:15 p.m., cadaver dog searchers from K-9 Alert Search and Rescue “hit” on a location along the Colonial Parkway in an area not covered by the original permits obtained by the victims’ families.

Several searchers present on the Colonial Parkway, as well as other members of the news media, have asked about the meaning of a “hit.”  Cadaver dogs are trained to search for human remains only.  As such, they instinctively bypass the remains of animals. 

During today’s Colonial Parkway search, after the first successful hit, handlers separately brought two additional cadaver dogs to the location in question.  These dogs also detected human remains.  

“I’ve never seen three dogs independently hit on a location where human remains weren’t found,” one of the searchers told SF. 

But just whose remains lay just off the historic parkway?

Jonathan Connolly, a CRM Specialist for the Colonial National Historic Park, is responsible for the Colonial Parkway’s compliance with federal preservation laws.  He also has a background in archeology.  In 2007 and 2008, the William & Mary Center for Archeological Research conducted an extensive excavation project along the entire route of the Colonial Parkway.  Those involved dug holes every 15 meters along the scenic parkway no further than 250 feet from the road’s center line and did not recover any human remains. The area of today’s cadaver dog hits is only yards from the parameters of the 2007 and 2008 William & Mary dig.  

“I’ve checked the area against our records,” Connelly told SF, “and I don’t believe the area where the dogs hit is one where historical remains are located.”

Connolly further noted that the area on the banks of the York River, now known as the Colonial Parkway, was once home to native American Indians and then, since the early 1600s, European settlers.  A plantation was once located near this area; however, after examining the ground near the cadaver dogs’ hit, Connelly believes the location is not the grave of slave.  He noted that the burial grounds of slaves tend to rise six to eight inches above the surface.  The location of the cadaver dog hit is level to the ground. 

When SF left the scene at approximately 3:30 p.m., an agent from the FBI was standing by.  My understanding is an FBI evidence response team is en route to explore the area of the hit.

“In most instances,” said Connolly, “we cannot just dig up remains.  Since this is a criminal matter, they [the FBI] can.”

Are the purported remains located beneath the surface just off the Colonial Parkway those of Keith Call and Cassandra Hailey? Only time and further examination will tell.

Yet the members of the Call and Hailey families present during the search are hopeful this new discovery will bring them closure.


Steven Spingola is a former Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective and the author of The Killer in Our Midst: the Case of Milwaukee’s North Side Strangler.

© Steven Spingola, Wales, WI 2010

NPS Gives a Little Ground, Literally

YORKTOWN, VA, June 5, 2010 — As the search for the remains of Keith Call and Cassandra Hailey continues, it appears that the National Park Service (NPS) has had a change of heart.  NPS Ranger Steve Williams, who, also was the victim of an unfortunate rear-end car accident, gave consent to the families to search an additional area of the Colonial Parkway. 

The area set to be searched, is virgin territory, so to speak, as investigators have yet to comb this particular segment of the scenic parkway. 

Reading between the lines, I believe the presence of the FBI agent investigating four of the eight Colonial Parkway homicides may have played a role.  After all, common sense dictates that the cadaver dogs should visit unexplored grids. 

Before proceeding further, the weather in historic Yorktown, which abuts the beautiful and wide York River to the east, is a bit steamy.  The temperature is 93 degrees at noon.  The sticky humidity is cause for searchers to frequently hydrant.  The ticks in the Colonial Parkway are as persistent as mosquitoes after a rainy, Wisconsin summer afternoon. 

Yesterday, while the Spingola Files (SF) visited the crime scene near I-64 in New Kent County — where hunters discovered the remains of the Lauer/Phelps homicides — ticks permeated the clothes of searchers  In fact, this morning, one of the dog-handlers jokingly mentioned Virginia doesn’t have state bird just a state insect — the tick.

Hopefully, a search of this new area turns up that bread crumb of information needed to point searchers in the right direction.


Steven Spingola is a former Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective and the author of The Killer in Our Midst: the Case of Milwaukee’s North Side Strangler.

© Steven Spingola, Wales, WI, 2010

Let the Search Begin — Well, Kind of

YORKTOWN, VA, June 5, 2010 — Not far from historical Yorktown, a search is underway for the remains of Keith Call and Cassandra Hailey, a couple who had left an April 10, 1988, party about 15 miles from the Colonial Parkway but were never seen alive again.

A park ranger and Call’s father later observed Keith’s 1982 Toyota abandon on the Colonial Parkway.  Investigators later observed the couple’s clothing piled, as if they were dropped, on the rear seat.

Today’s organized, private search — conducted with very little expense to taxpayers — is being hindered by bureaucrats being bureaucrats.  National Park Service Ranger Steve Williams explained that the families permit allows cadaver dog-handlers to search only two limited areas of the Colonial Parkway.  “This is a historical park with sensitive areas,” Williams explained to SF. 

During the Spingola Files’ (SF) visit, SF spoke with sources that presented various theories  — some of which overlap — pertaining to these complex investigations. However, the National Park Service (NSP) is unwilling to show some flexibility, prohibiting a search of any additional areas under their jurisdiction.  Six cadaver dogs and their handlers from K-9 Alert Search and Rescue ( made extensive preparations to handle a detailed hunt for the remains of Call and Hailey, but the rules-are-rules bureaucrats have put a damper on the overall operation. 

About an hour ago, Burt Drummond, search and rescue organizer, held a briefing for the families, volunteers and members of the media.  Updates on the search are forth coming. 

On another note, the families of Colonial Parkway murder victims held a get-together last night at the Ocean Breeze Restaurant.  SF would like to thank the families for their hospitality.  The restaurant’s staff did a wonderful job hosting the private event.  During the meeting, I discussed the cases with family members, all of whom are looking for closure.

Prior to the meeting, I spoke with Channel 12’s Tara Morgan regarding SF’s efforts:

Check this site throughout the day, as I will post updates regarding the search.


Steven Spingola is a former Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective and the author of The Killer in Our Midst: the Case of Milwaukee’s North Side Strangler.

© Steven Spingola, Wales, WI 2010

The Lay of the Land

YORKTOWN, VA — Upon arriving in Virginia, the Spingola Files (SF) hit the ground running.  At the airport, SF was met by Andy Fox, a reporter from WAVY Channel 10 and provided an interview.

(One note to WAVY’s coverage: my status during the Spingola Files visit to Virginia is that of an investigative journalist and NOT a private investigator) 

Later in the early evening, SF met Fred Atwell, a former deputy with the Gloucester County Sheriff’s Department.  Together, we visited the various Colonial Parkway crime scenes and discussed our various theories behind the slayings.  SF found Atwell to be a wealth of information.

Over the course of the past year, Atwell communicated with officials from the FBI and explained that instructors of criminal justice students were using crime scene photos of the Colonial Parkway murders as material for classroom activities.  When officials failed to take action, Atwell spoke to WTKR’s Mike Mather.  After collecting the photos, the FBI later contacted a family member of a Colonial Parkway victim to explain that Atwell was one of the 132 suspects. 

“Outrageous,” is how Atwell describes the FBI allegation.  “I even gave them my DNA.”

The visit to the Ragged Island Game Refuge — the scene of the September 19/20 1987 slayings of David Knobling, 20, and Robin Edwards, age 14 — painted a picture of a brazen killer.  In this instance, the perpetrator used a firearm.   Since these homicides occurred in close proximity to a major arterial highway, I was surprised that passers-by and/or fishermen in the area didn’t hear the gun shots. 

Today, SF will speak to a number of tipsters and others who may have information on the Colonial Parkway murders. 

Tomorrow, an organized, private search for Keith Call and Cassandra Hailey is on tap.  SF has developed a couple of theories pertaining to the couple’s April 9, 1988 disappearance.

Visit the site for more updates.  Tomorrow, during the search, SF is planning to blog live.


Steven Spingola is a former Milwaukee Police Department Homicide Detective and the author of The Killer in Our Midst: the Case of Milwaukee’s North Side Strangler.

© Steven Spingola, Wales, WI 2010

Boots on the Ground

As promised, the Spingola Files (SF) has arrived in Virginia to report back to our readers regarding the Colonial Parkway homicides.

Tonight, SF will speak with a long-time investigator regarding the unsolved cases of these four couples that occurred between 1986 and 1989 along the scenic Colonial Parkway.

The stifling humidity aside, SF has a full itinerary.  In an investigative journalist’s role, SF will revisit the crime scenes, speak to tipsters, and explore decades-old information. 

Vist this site frequently for more information. 


Steven Spingola is a retired Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective and the author of The Killer in Our Midst: the Case of Milwaukee’s North Side Strangler.

© Steven Spingola, Wales, WI, 2010