On Saturday, August 22, 2020, at approximately 4:30 am, I woke up and started flipping through channels and stumbled upon a “True Crimes” docu-movie about my case on TV. I don’t know how much of it I missed, but what I did see of it was not accurate. It’s like they had some of the pieces of the puzzle to my story, but what they didn’t have they just filled in the blanks with their own theories.
There’s so much to address in that movie that I won’t attempt to do that fully until I see the whole thing from beginning to end. Since systemic racism is a hot topic in this country right now, I will shed some light on how it affected me and everyone touched by the heinous murder of Lilius Landrum.
I will start by saying that I NEVER met with, talked to, or heard of a detective named “Bernice King” as shown on the docu-movie by Discovery Global Enterprises. The detectives that interviewed me and handled my case were Detectives Smith and Geiger – both of these guys interviewed me on two seperate occasions.
My first interview happened at the Franklin County jail, prior to being extradicted from Columbus to Akron, Ohio. During the ride back to Akron I decided to close my eyes. I guess the detectives thought I was asleep and one said these words: “Do you think we can keep him from using the phone?” The head detective (Smith), with contempt in his voice, said, “No, it’s against his constitutional rights.” They made this statement, I believe, because I asked to see an attorney and gave them his name during the interview in Columbus. Why would they want to keep me from using the phone if they were on the up and up?
On another note, when I saw the docu-movie, they had me making statements that I never made.
I NEVER said anything remotely close to: “The only way to kill a devil is to cut it’s head off.”
During my second interview, my confession was taped from beginning to end. My attorney wasn’t present, even though I requested an attorney and minister at least five to six times. The answer I was given was, “Well, he’s an attorney.” He was referring to the prosecutor. When I finally got to speak to my lawyer, I asked her if she had listened to the taped confession and she said that she hadn’t, but they had given her a transcript of it. I didn’t like that she hadn’t listened to it herself.
While speaking with the detectives I said things like: “Lilius didn’t deserve that.” and “I deserve the death penalty”. To this, the head detective said, “Don’t say that.” He said that with a look of concern on his face even though he had said earlier that they were going to ask the Judge to give me the death penalty. Why would he not want me to show any remorse?
When I gave my statement I was very emotional, remorseful and sorrowful. I was shaking uncontrollably and upset at what I had done. The head detective seemed to have some sort of agenda he wanted to carry out. Only in hindsight could I really see and understand what he was up to.
Let me explain: After I gave my taped confession – during which I never said anything deragatory about or against Lilius, they took me into a room and had me sit. The detectives and the prosecutor were in a side room talking with their backs turned toward me with the door halfway opened. I heard someone say: “He could plead insanity.” He also said something about me going to a mental hospital. It sounded like they knew that I had suffered some sort of serious mental breakdown – which I did (more on that later). To that statement detective Smith (head detective) said: “This is my case!” I also heard him say: “Mind your own business!” He also uttered some cuss words. When the head detective was done speaking, the prosecutor looked over his shoulder at me and saw that I was listening and closed the door. I couldn’t hear any more of the conversation from that point on. However, I knew that Detective Smith didn’t care what truly had transpired. He had some sort of agenda other than getting to the truth of the matter.
After they came out of the room I heard the head detective tell the prosecutor, “He’s getting soft.” (referring to the other detective working on the case). The head detective seemed to want to shape my case into what he wanted it to be. Detective Geiger seemed to know that something was wrong and that I wasn’t the cold-blooded killer that he originally thought I was.
At another point, after they had taken my foot impressions, and the interview was over, Detective Smith stopped in the hallway and had someone take a polariod picture of me and him together, as he posed with me like some sort of prized trophy or like a buck he had just shot in the woods. He asked the prosecutor if he wanted to get in the photo, but he answered, “No, I don’t want my fingerprints on this.” I don’t know what he exactly meant by that, but I have an idea that they were doing somethings that weren’t above board – maybe illegal.
On the way back to the Summit County jail, the head detective (Smith) made the statement: “…she (Lilius) must have been a bitch.” I answered him quickly, “No, she was a nice girl and I loved her.” I told him that “she didn’t do anything to me to deserve what happened to her.” I was not angry during our interviews, nor did I make any deragatory statements about Lilius.
Either the detective lied and said I said those things that were in that movie or Hollywood wrote those things in the script – either way, I NEVER said, “The only way to kill a devil is to cut it’s head off.”
This may not seem important to some, but it is when you understand that my mother and uncle are both diagnosed paranoid schizofrenic. My mother has been in and out of mental institutions over 30 times.
There was something that happened, which triggered me to react in a violent and paranoid way, but it wasn’t Lilius.