Holy CRAP — murder charges filed in “Clinton Avenue Five” case

One of the more puzzling cases on Charley was the disappearance of five teen boys from Newark, New Jersey on the night of August 20, 1978: Randy Johnson, Michael McDowell, Melvin Pittman, Ernest Taylor and Alvin Turner. All of them black, between 16 and 17 years old. All of them good kids; only McDowell had a record, and that was just one arrest for getting into a fight. They were hanging out that night, playing basketball, cramming a little bit more fun into the last days of summer…then they were gone.

It wasn’t for a long time that I was able to get photos of the boys to put them on Charley — and the photos are not very good quality. Their cases did not get anywhere near the attention they deserved. Their disappearances mystified me. Why would someone snatch five teenage boys? And how would they do it without there being a fierce, noisy struggle? No one saw anything. The kids just disappeared into thin air.

Well, there’s been a breakthrough: two men have been arrested and charged with murdering all five of the boys — and arson as well. One of the suspects, according to an unidentified law enforcement source, is Lee Evans. Evans is the last person known to have seen the boys alive, but previous reports stated he’d been ruled out as a suspect. There will be a news conference later this morning with details.

I think this just goes to show that, even if it’s not in the news, you shouldn’t assume the cops aren’t doing anything to find someone. There had not been anything about these boys in the news since the summer of 2008, but it seems the police were quietly plugging away, and now they have results. I just hope they can make a case after over thirty years.

Justice delayed is still justice.

Articles:
The New Jersey Star-Ledger (this one has pictures of the suspects)
WCBS TV
The Associated Press
The Los Angeles Daily News

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6 thoughts on “Holy CRAP — murder charges filed in “Clinton Avenue Five” case

  1. emma l March 23, 2010 / 9:50 am

    Woah. How? Why? I can’t wait for some information.

  2. Christine March 23, 2010 / 1:27 pm

    I’m very happy for the family that after all these years, they finally have an answer. The one thing that bothers me is, the burned down house in Newark did not show signs of 5 bodies inside?

  3. Cheryl March 23, 2010 / 3:32 pm

    Great news! I remember reading their cases and thinking how odd it was for 5 people to go missing together. Keep us posted on this one, I really would like to know what happened.

    BTW: Hi Meg! Haven’t been in here in a while. Good to see you are still going strong.

    • Meaghan March 23, 2010 / 3:38 pm

      I don’t know if you caught the news or not, but the cops in Virginia have a suspect and they are in the process of comparing his DNA to what they took from me. That was a month ago — labs are so slow! But if they have DNA then it’s only a matter of time before this creep goes down in flames.

  4. Cheryl March 24, 2010 / 12:15 pm

    That”s Great news! I hope he goes down too. Was it in the paper? I hardly ever read it anymore.

    • Meaghan March 24, 2010 / 12:22 pm

      As far as I know it hasn’t been in the news at all. I’m glad of that. I know for a fact that he was blissfully unaware that I went straight to the cops after he left me. I would not want him to read an article about his crime and decide to pack up and get the hell out of Dodge.

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