Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Murder of Valerie Percy

The Murder Weapon

Shaker Heights on Ohio map
Shaker Heights on Ohio map

Daniel Malchow was serving a five-year prison sentence in Ohio at the time of the Percy murder. He had been arrested in Shaker Heights, a Cleveland suburb, for possession of burglary tools. He said he and his brother often carried channel locks, industrial-sized pliers with a wide mouth used to grip and twist doorknobs until the locks broke.

Malchow, who describes himself as a retired housepainter, wondered whether the authorities had overlooked channel locks as a possible murder weapon in the Percy case.

"That's a funny thing about that," he said. "The FBI came and talked to me (in 1973, long after his brother was dead), and they told me somebody used a pointed hammer on that girl. Who would go around with a pointed hammer? Why wouldn't somebody use a wrench?"

He noted that the jaws of many models of channel locks create a V shape when closed. David Malchow said that, more than anything, he and his family would like to see the Percy murder resolved once and for all.

He said, "I want you to understand that I have no respect for what my father did with his life. If he were alive today I would have nothing to do with him, but to this day I still do not believe that he killed Val Percy. He was a pro at what he did and killing was not a part of it."

He added, "I do kind of wish this would come to an end. I'm sorry this Valerie Percy was killed, and I'm sorry our family is connected to the case. I have to say that we are not my father's children. What he did in life was a waste. He was so smart. He could have done anything he wanted to do."

Malchow and his cousin, Avino, say they participate in an Internet "Crime and Justice" discussion group about the murder, in hopes that interest and publicity about the case can bring about new evidence that would provide closure to their family as well as the Percys.


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