David Evans

David Evans and Carol Miller were high school sweethearts.  In fact, they married when they were still in school.  She was a junior and he was a senior.  Nine months later the first of their five children would be born.

Over the next several decades David and Carol would have their ups and downs in their marriage while it seemed their careers were doing well.  Carol had gotten a degree in education and eventually had moved herself up to being a principal at a school in their town of Jackson Ohio.  For his part David had a lot of endeavors.  First there was the farm that was attached to the several acres their home sat on.  Then there were several businesses they owned in town including a car lot and a gas station.  According to their children David would get a business started and then he would become bored with it regardless of the fact that it was successful and then he would move on to another.  The same could be said about the farm on their property who they would turn operation over to their son Carl Michael, aka Mike, around 2001.  

But again, their relationship was rocky, especially after the children were grown. One daughter said there was a family joke trying to determine if her parents were still married. Their first divorce was in 1984.  Ten years later they would remarry but within a few months they would divorce again. It was not long until they married for the last time in October of 1996.  According to the children it was always David who initiated the divorces and Carol always remained living in the farm house they had raised their children.

In 2006 David suffered a stroke and spent a lot of time first in the hospital and then later in a nursing home.  While David and Carol were still legally married it seems that when he had the stroke or soon after they began living apart most of the time as David had his own apartment in downtown Jackson.  But, according to the children their mother still took care of him including making sure his medicines were in order and that he took them. The children also claim that it was after he recovered from his stroke that their father began to change.

So on the morning of March 26, 2008 when daughter Debby and son Mike found their seventy-two year old mother strangled to death in her bed in her home they were almost certain their father was involved in some way.  In fact, Mike would later say that while they were awaiting the EMT's to arrive he called his father and told him he was never to step foot on the farm again.  Debby would later say that her father had called her that morning saying he could not reach Carol and while she was not super concerned right away when she was able to get away she had gone to the home, passing Mike along the way. She would say that when the two siblings walked into the home they knew something was wrong by the looks of things but the thing that bothered her the most was that her father had called her in the first place.  Thinking back she would say that her father was never concerned about the well being of their mother.

While at least two, maybe all, of the siblings felt from the very beginning that their father had been involved in the murder of their mother, it is very unlikely that they knew just how far their father was willing to go.  Nor would they likely suspect that he was not done trying. By the time it was all over four people would spend time in jail for the roles that they would play in the death of Carol Evans.

After his stroke in 2006 David Evans had began hanging around the more seedy sorts of people in the area.  The seventy something year old Evans would have a companion in twenty-eight year old drug addict Heather Speakman.  And, while Heather would claim they had not had any sort of romantic or sexual relationship she would admit that Evans had given her thousands of dollars, a car and many other things.  But, Heather would not be the only person that Evans was just handing things out to and he was not being quiet or discrete about it.  His family became concerned with his behavior and several of them had warned him that the people he seemed to be hanging around were not good people but it seemed to do nothing but anger Evans.  None of the children seemed to believe that their mother was in any sort of danger and just assumed all would work out one way or another.

It does seem that David Sr. and his son Mike may have had the most issues.  David and Carol had turned over the operation of their family farm to him in 2001 where Mike would run it with his son for the next few years.  It was said that Mike obtained a "severe" injury on the farm in 2002 but I could not find anything specific.  It appears though that while Mike in essence was in charge of the day to day running of the farm that his father still exerted control and they seemed to butt heads quite often.  

In fairly quick order after Carol's murder police found their way to a man named Terry Vance.  He too was associated with the drug scene in the area. The authorities would then arrest Heather Speakman and Randy Faught.  On June 9, 2008 David Evans Sr. would be arrested and charged in the connection of his wife's murder.  The only one that would go to trial would be David Evans and even that was questionable at first.  The other three would talk and make deals and even David initially pleaded guilty and almost made a deal but at the last second he changed his mind.

It seems that Vance was the first to talk. Vance would claim that he had met David Evans through Heather Speakman and that he had been offered $50,000 and a car to commit the murder.  He would admit to the fact that using a key that was given to him by Evans he had entered the home in which Carol Evans would be found.  Carol saw her killer and grabbed her gun but before she could use it Vance had taken a cord and wrapped it around her neck.  He proceeded to take a few things (they had been agreed upon beforehand) and left the home.  His plea deal would require that he testified against David Evans and he received a sentence of eighteen years.

Heather Speakman would also get a deal of twenty years for her cooperation and testimony.  David's defense attorney's would attempt to make Speakman, who's criminal past included drugs, theft and assault, as being the mastermind behind the murder.  They would even put Heather's sister on the stand who would say that Heather and Vance had intended to at some point kill David Evans.  They were unable to prove she was the mastermind behind Carol's murder and the court ruled even if she had planned to kill David later the fact of the matter was it did not affect the fact that David had been behind his wife's murder.  

The third person, Randy Faught, although seemingly knew both Speakman and Vance as they were all from the same crowd was not involved in the actual murder.  However he would plead guilty to extortion and receive a sentence of five years in prison.  He would claim that David Evans had approached him to kill Carol also and that on three separate occasions (he said three nights in a row, someone else said they were not consecutive nights) he had gained access to the home and pretended, for Evans' sake, to inject Carol with insulin.  Faught's story was that he never intended to kill Carol but allowed David Evans to believe so because after every attempt he was given money by David and it helped supply his drug habit.  It seems that Faught went on to blackmail David, threatening to expose his plan to get more money.

For his part it seems David's arrest did not deter him.  As I said earlier at one point he did plan to plead guilty but on the day he was to be sentenced he had changed his mind. By the time he had gone to trial in January of 2010 David had had several more charges added to his already significantly long list.  

While David was in jail he had approached another inmate named David Hafer.  He wanted this David to kill his son Mike.  The reason behind it was unclear.  However Hafer told his attorney who told the authorities.  Hafer wore a wire for authorities and the plan was to have money put in his commissary so that when he was released from jail soon he would have money.  David Evans arranged to have his son, David Jr., place $250 in Hafer's account and hence the charges were filed.

It does not seem like David Evans had much of a defense or tried very hard.  It seems that the evidence against him was rather clear and while none of his co-conspirators were angels themselves there seemed to be enough evidence to prove his involvement.  It appears that the best they could do was argue over who's plan it really was.  Even two of his children testified against him about his behavior leading up to the murder.  He was originally tried on fifteen different counts pertaining to the murder of his wife and his attempt to hire someone to murder his son Mike.  The jury deliberated about five hours before convicting him on all but one count.  The count that he was acquitted on pertained to an arson charge but to be honest I could not find where that figured in.  At his sentencing the judge would dismiss another charge of engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity.  The now seventy-five year old David Evans would be sentenced to life in prison with parole available after twenty-five years.  

As I always do with these cases I went to the Department of Corrections in Ohio to see what I could find out about each of the perpetrators.  Strangely I found absolutely nothing on David Evans.  I know that he had his appeal denied (mostly, one more count was dropped) and his sentence and conviction affirmed in 2012. It took a little digging but I was able to discover that David died in August of 2016.  Randy Faught has apparently been released from prison but both Vance and Speakman are still there.  Terry Vance is not eligible for parole until 2026 and two years later Heather Speakman will be eligible.  

In 2009, before David had even gone to trial it seems that the children were arguing over the estate.  In July of 2003 David and Carol had executed a trust.  After Carol's death, an apparently before his arrest David had made some amendments to the trust.  Their daughter Debby and son Randy had been appointed as co-trustees of the estate.  There seemed to be two big arguments that first started out to seems as if they were just looking for legal clarity but later seemed to have accusations flying.  The first issue was whether the amendments that David had made after Carol's murder were legal and had to be followed.  The second issue apparently came over Mike's continued use of the farm land.  In fact, he countered sued the others claiming the original trust had given him that land and accusing the others of using money from the estate to pay for their father's defense attorney's.  One can understand Mike's point in the latter issue in a way.  I mean not only was his father being tried for the murder of his mother and he absolutely thought him to be guilty but he was also being tried on charges of having he himself killed.  Money being used from the estate was in essence his inheritance.  There was a lot of talk about slayer laws and whether David was even entitled to the estate monies.  But, from my understanding he was just not able to receive insurance proceeds (those alone had been over $500,000).  It is conceivable that at least a few of his businesses were still running or had maybe even been sold but those monies would have continued to have been there whether Carol had lived or died, or whether he had been involved in her murder or not.  I did not determine what the ultimate outcome of the proceedings became but they surely did not sound fun.  

It appears that at least Debby continued, at least until the trial, to have some sort of a relationship with her father but I am unsure about the other children.  I found his obituary interesting.  While it listed his parents and Carol as preceding him in death the first survivors listed were his two brothers.  All of the children were listed after the brothers which is often odd and can sometimes be telling as to who may or may not have been in charge of arrangements.  Someone took care of him however because by January he had had a gravestone erected.  It was said that it prior to his trial the children had asked that the prosecution did not seek the death penalty so there had to be at least a few with mixed and conflicting feelings towards their father.


Popular posts from this blog

Matthew Heikkila

Rebecca Simpson

The murder of Jarrod Davidson