Private investigator asks for pardon in 1986 Paris murders

Jul 29, 2013

A private investigator wants Governor Pat Quinn to pardon two men imprisoned for years for a double-murder in Paris, Illinois.

Both Randy Steidl and Herb Whitlock spent more than a decade behind bars for the 1986 stabbing deaths of Dyke and Karen Rhoads.  But both men were released based on a lack of evidence, and they both made settlements with the city of Paris and Edgar County for millions of dollars.

Despite their release, investigator Bill Clutter says the criminal history causes problems when they’re applying for jobs.  

Clutter has also filed an affidavit with the prisoner review board,  linking Texas serial killer and Texas death row inmate Tommy Lynn Sells to the Rhoads murders. But former state police investigator Michaele Callahan, who also investigated the Paris deaths, says there are holes in Clutter’s murder-for-hire theory. He says Sells is purposely giving out hints to avoid execution:

“When private investigators or police officers reach out to him ahead of time, and tell him hey we’re looking at this unsolved murder, does that not give him the ability to go and research some of these cases, so that he can give just enough information to maybe not implicate himself, but maybe entice investigators to think that it is him.” 

The now-retired Callahan sued his superiors when he was demoted when trying to re-open an investigation into the Rhoads murders.  He’s also written a book about his efforts,  saying there are still many possible suspects.