I Murder ’Round Town The Circleville letter writer mystery continues to haunt residents decades later BY Tara Jackson | PHOTOS COURTESY OF Martin Yant
’ve been observing your house and know you have children. This is no joke. Please take it serious,” read the first anonymous letter to Circleville resident Mary Gillespie. In 1976, residents of Pickaway County began receiving anonymous, unmarked letters that included personal details and threats. To make the letters more mysterious, each of the letters was postmarked from Columbus and signed The Circleville Writer. Today, 36 years later, the case remains unsolved. Local school bus driver Gillespie was one of the first residents to receive a letter from The Circleville Writer. The anonymous
person wrote that he or she knew Gillespie was having an affair with the Westfall School District superintendent Gordon Massie and she needed to end it. In the next letter, The Circleville Writer wrote, “Stay away from him noon as well as night.” Then the anonymous writer went on to add: “Too many think this is a joke. We’ll see in time.” On April 6, 1977, Gillespie received her third letter that warned, “This is your last chance to report him.” Gillespie’s husband Ron also received a letter from the writer that said his life would be in danger if he did not take action to stop the affair.
n the nex Writer wr nothing. M board. If n billboards until The letters st got a phone ca Later that nigh white pickup tr “Supposedly was and was o occurred,” says for The Ohio O Investigations. Ron’s inciden police found accident. One b he left the hou never found an His children appear to be dr 0.16 percent al Ohio. That’s wh Years later, Gillespie notic Gillespie ripped another post at she found a sma off. The Circle to fire the gun a Investigators gun and realize Freshour. Yant On Nov. 11 episode featurin admitted that seen it for a lon really don’t kn and I told them
This copy of an actual letter, strangely dated March 1944, shows The Circleville Writer’s unusual handwriting style. Photo from The Ohio Observer, October 1994.
| WINTER/SPRING 2013
fter Sheri Fresh test garage. Fresh attempted mur Though han the time, hand Freshour’s trial Green stated, “ envelopes, docu person, it bein Paul Freshour.” Further testi Freshour did no Busch the day G to take the stan “The trial on for a few hours The jury fou Mary Gillespie The case to after Freshour throughout cen Jr. to put Fresh did not stop.
Winter/Spring 2013 issue of Southeast Ohio Magazine