Serial Killer Brothers - Gary and Thaddeus Lewingdon

.22 Caliber Killers

Lewingdon Brothers
Mug Shot

Brothers Gary and Thaddeus Lewingdon spent most of 1977 and 1978 committing a series of home invasions and brutal murders throughout Columbus, Ohio and surrounding areas. They earned the nickname, the "22-caliber killers" after terrorizing central Ohio for 24 months.

Police were stumped. All they had for clues were the shell casings that were left behind at the murder scenes.

The Victims

December 10, 1977

Joyce Vermilion, 37, and Karen Dodrill, 33, were gunned down outside Forkers Cafe in Newark, Ohio at around 3 a.m. Their frozen bodies were discovered outside the rear door of the cafe.

Police recovered several shell casings from a .22-caliber gun, scattered around on the snow.

Later, for unknown reasons, 26-year-old Claudia Yasko confessed to police that she witnessed the murders and implicated her boyfriend and a friend of his as the shooters. All three were arrested and charged with the murders, but eventually let go after the Lewingdon brothers confessed to the crime.

February 12, 1978

Robert "Mickey" McCann, 52, his mother, Dorothy Marie McCann, 77, and McCann's girlfriend, Christine Herdman, 26, were found brutally murdered in Robert McCann's home in Franklin County. Each victim had been shot multiple times, mostly around the face and head area. Shell casings from a 22-caliber gun were found scattered around the bodies.

The state Bureau of Criminal Investigations were quick to match up the shells found at both murder sites. 

April 8, 1978

Jenkin T. Jones, 77, from Granville Ohio was found dead from multiple gun shot wounds to his head and other parts of his body.

Also shot were his four dogs. Police again recovered shell casings from a 22-caliber gun.

April 30, 1978

Part-time security guard, Rev. Gerald Fields, was murdered while at work in Fairfield County. Balistic tests showed that the shell casings found at the Field's crime scene matched those found at the other crime scenes.

May 21, 1978

Jerry and Martha Martin were found shot to death in their home located in Franklin County. Martha was to turn 51 the day her body was discovered. Both Jerry and Martha had been shot multiple times in the head. Again, shell casings from a .22-caliber gun were found in the home.

This was going to be the last murder for Thaddeus, but Gary complained that he needed Christmas money.

December 4, 1978

Joseph Annick, 56, was shot and killed in his garage. The scene was familiar to the police, but this time a different .22-caliber gun was used in the shooting,

On December 9, 1978, Gary Lewingdon went shopping at a discount store where he purchased $45 in toys for his children. He used Joseph Annick's credit card which was flagged as being stolen. Gary was detained in the parking lot.

Once in police custody, Gary soon confessed to his and his brother's roles in the crimes.

On December 14, 1978, almost a year after the first known murders, Gary and Thaddeus Lewingdon were charged with murder. Thaddeus received three life terms after being found guilty of murdering Vermillion, Dodrill and Jones. Gary was found guilty of killing eight of the ten victims and received eight life terms.

Thaddeus remained in prison until he died from lung cancer in April, 1989.

During his time in prison he liked to take the little bit of knowledge he had about the law, and use it to burden the court system with ridiculous legal filings. In one case, he complained that the prison was full of, " a lot of evil and dangerous people who should not be let out on the streets".

Gary became psychotic and was transferred to a state hospital for the criminally insane, but later returned to Southern Ohio Correctional Facility at Lucasville after he attempted to escape from the hospital. He died of heart failure in October, 2004.

After the two confessed, neither spoke much about their crimes or what motivated them to commit the brutal murders.

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Your Citation
Montaldo, Charles. "Serial Killer Brothers - Gary and Thaddeus Lewingdon." ThoughtCo, Sep. 30, 2016, Montaldo, Charles. (2016, September 30). Serial Killer Brothers - Gary and Thaddeus Lewingdon. Retrieved from Montaldo, Charles. "Serial Killer Brothers - Gary and Thaddeus Lewingdon." ThoughtCo. (accessed March 23, 2018).