Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

John Norman Collins: The Co-Ed Killer

Additional Evidence II

The third murder, which seems unlinked to Collins, was that of Jane Mixer. She was found fully clothed and shot in the head. She was not molested. She had been placed in a cemetery with considerable risk. What might link her death to the others, according to James, is that she was shot with a .22 caliber bullet and Collins had a frat brother named David Johnson — the name of the man who had offered Mixer a ride home. Otherwise, all other factors are inconsistent, although her body was found only a few miles from where two others had been left.

Young Dawn Basom lived across the street from an apartment complex where a girl lived that Collins used to date. Dawn was strong and would not accept rides, even with men she knew. She was last seen about a block from her home, walking along the road. A neighbor had seen two cars parked in front of a vacant house in their neighborhood, one a red Chevrolet and one a blue Volkswagen. She saw a young woman in the front seat of the red car sitting with a man with dark hair. Then both cars drove away. Many people believe that one man alone could not have forced her into a car, unless he had a gun. Glass particles on the soles of her shoes indicated that she was forced into the basement of an abandoned farmhouse, where it is thought she was killed. The only link to Collins is his knowledge of the neighborhood.

Collins was seen in Ann Arbor, both on foot and on his motorcycle the day that Alice Kalom disappeared. He was not far from her apartment. Friends who stopped to talk with him claimed later to police that he had a strange look on his face and seemed distant. He would not look them in the eye. Davis said that Collins had brought Kalom back to their apartment on June 7th. There was some commotion between them in Collins' room and Kalom broke away and ran from the place.  According to Davis, Collins chased her. He returned later alone. When she was found, there was a boot print on her skirt that later was matched to a boot that Collins owned. Blood found later in Collins' car and on his raincoat matched her type. The bullet found in her head could have come from a High Standard revolver, which he was said to have stolen a few months before from a private home in Livonia. The knife wounds were consistent with the hunting knife that Collins later told Davis to hide for him (as stated by Davis).

Roxie Phillips in California was dumped amid poison oak. Collins had been treated there for a case of poison oak. Also, 22 public hairs were found on one of his sweaters that were consistent with hers. If he had carried her over his shoulder in a state of rigor, James speculates, this would have accounted for the hair being rubbed into his sweater. The one person who recalled the man that she and Roxie met gave the following information: his name was John, he was from Michigan, he was six feet tall with dark hair, he drove a silver-gray Oldsmobile, he was there with a friend in a camper, he was a college senior with the goal of being a teacher, and he was in his twenties. That's a close match. James believes this could not all be coincidence.