Harry Edward Greenwell: Timeline of Crimes

Our investigation into Greenwell is far from over. Tanna, Jenn and I learned of his identity just 90 hours before the scheduled press conference and scrambled to get the most up to date and accurate information available. So far, all information and material gathered here have been through cursory searches, newspaper databases, skip trace software, interviews. etc… ACJ’s first batch of FOIA requests went out Monday morning April 4, 2022.

Undated mugshot of Greenwell Photo Credit: Tanna Burnett American Crime Journal

As Greenwell’s extensive criminal background began to emerge in the hours leading up to the press conference, the question on my mind was, “where did this all go wrong?”

If you watched my interview on Gray Hughes Investigates, before we went live, I told Mr. Hughes his name, Harry Edward Greenwell and basic details. Then we discussed ACJ’s conflict in going public with his full name before scheduled press conference. There was only one problem. As the minutes drew closure to the press conference, the angrier I got. The crimes and violence. The abuse of women. The escapes from jail and overall brazenness.

Suddenly we learned about the suspicious death of his first wife… the mother of his children. Then he escapes one last time, in death. The coward tried to leave a legacy without anyone knowing his secrets. Or did they?

Despite being married at the time- he was buried with his parents. That’s telling.

My rage wasn’t misplaced. I expected nothing of this degusting abuser, rapist and murderer.

Make no mistake, law enforcement, lawmakers and our courts failed Vicki Heath, Peggy Gill, Jeanne Gilbert, the Columbus survivor and the victim of the Rochester Attack in 1991 (dead or alive) and the countless victims of domestic violence and sexual assault each and every year. That much was clear.

Were they going to treat this as a big win? Were they going to try and clear and close the books other cold cases? Would there be full transparency (the offender is dead, yet for some reason agencies still try and hide behind “this is an ongoing instigation”, was the offender’s name known to investigators in one or more of the crimes, and many more important questions like what errors were made.

One thing I do want to make clear, law enforcement agencies and detectives cannot answer for other jurisdictions, the courts and the laws on the books, though they are often accused of not “doing enough” when they have no power over it. That’s before we get into process, technicalities, rules and requirements.

This is why it’s vital, that if law enforcement is silent going into a major multijurisdictional press conference and the very few details that are available demonstrates there were obvious problems from the start and questions that not only the family and public have a right know and the law states that agencies are required to provide those answers but refuse to answer those questions or attempt to perpetuate that “those questions” are for a later date and not “this press release”.

These press conferences and media releases for through the city, county and state attorneys.

They just like any other government agency or entity; potential liability is the primary concern. Tuesday’s press conference was far worse than I could ever imagine.

I’ll save that for the article that I’ve been working on since Monday afternoon. Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests will take time and costs thousands of dollars. So that does take times to save and build funds, then decide which ones we will try and obtain first. None of that includes travel expenses, fees and costs getting more information from local libraries, interviews and so on.

Our primary concern was how the Indiana State Police, Elizabethtown Police Department, Columbus Police Department and FBI were going to handle the press conference.

By Monday morning it was clear to Tanna, Jenn and I, that Harry Edward Greenwell or The I-65 Killer was a perfect example of just about everything wrong with the U.S. Justice system. From concepts and philosophies in criminal investigations and apprehension to the courts. Starting with caseload priorities, the concept of bail and bonds and going all the way down to sentencing guidelines, mandatory minimums and judicial accountability. Then we have corrections and institutionalization. From prioritizing violent and dangerous offenders (yes there is a difference between violent and dangerous) over non-violent offenders and victimless crimes. We also lack competency and awareness when it comes to utilizing incarceration. Knowing when or if it’s even necessary or doing more harm than good. Last but not least, lawmakers and America’s failure to properly address domestic violence and violence against women and children to this very day,

Let’s take a look at just some of the criminal exploits of the I-65 Serial Killer

Church Burglary, Highspeed Chase and Shooting

August 10, 1960

On or about August 10, 1960, 15-year-old Greenwell, of Louisville is with convicted felon Burnes Arnold Stinson, 25. It appear the two were attempting to unload contraband to a chain gang (cigarettes are currency in prison. A fresh pack of cigarettes in some prisons are worth up to $100) working at the city workhouse. Another article states Stinson and Greenwell approached the chain gang and were to be pulled over for loitering. When they ordered Stinson out of the car, he took off with detectives in pursuit. During the short highspeed chase, detectives fired on the vehicle which cause Stinson to lose control and crashed a block away from the city workhouse.

Upon inspection of the vehicle, police recover about $1200 worth of musical instruments stolen from an East Nashville Church a week prior.

Escape from Kentucky Village (Juvenile Hall)

October 1, 1962

In October 1962, Harry Greenwell and Lovell Jordan both 17, and Michael Payne, 16, escaped from Kentucky Village Youth Detention Center. The three stole a vehicle from the Spring Valley Country Club.

Despite the escape, no charges were filed in relation to the the theft of the vehicle.

The Great Escape- March 1, 1965

Published March 2, 1965

Greenwell now 20, was sitting in a holdover cell at the Jefferson County Quarterly Court while the judge was dismissing charges of “moral violations”. The prosecuting witnesses and kail prisoners refused to cooperate and testify against Greenwell. As the judge was dismissing the charges, Greenwell kicked the wire screen out of the two-story window and jumped twenty feet to freedom.

It’s important to note that Greenwell was not going to be released. He was still being held on four counts of dwellinghouse breaking (breaking and entering)

Elizabethtown Capture- March 2, 1965

Published March 3. 1965

Harry Greenwell didn’t get far after his daring escape. He was apprehended around 3:15 a.m. at the Greyhound Bus Station Depot restaurant. After he return to Jefferson County Court, the prosecutor put in a motion to revoke his 5 year suspened sentence for robbery. He had plead guilty to the robbery on April 12, 1963.

Greenwell Gets Robbed- August 6, 1977

August 6, 1977

August 5, 1977, around 2 a.m., Greenwell called police and claimed he was robbed of $400 by five men, three of them armed

Escape from Allamakee County Jail- June 11, 1982

Captured again- June 30, 1982

June 30, 1982

Harry Edward Greenwell was captured again. This time he was hiding out in a pasture on the Clete McKee Farm, which is on the west edge of Lansing. Greenwell was captured by Allamakee County Sheriff deputies. A tip came in that Greenwell was in Lansing after they saw his picture on a wanted poster.

Jul 12, 1982

Greenwell enters Not Guilty Plea- July 28, 1982

July 28, 1982

Greenwell Sentenced to Two Years in Prison for Escapes

Home Invasion and Dometic Violence- March 24, 1989

March 24, 1989

Three weeks after the sexual assaults and murders of Peggy Gill and Jeanne Gilbert on March 3, 1989, Harry Greenwell’s wife agreed to move in him at their new place. At least that’s what he thought. Like most domestic violence victims, they slowly and gradually want to pull out of the relationship out of fear that just leaving will set them off.

According to another newspaper report, that’s exactly what she did. Both she and Greenwell have been separated and back together numerous times. For her the relationship was over and she was done.

Getting Greenwell to accept was another story.

When his estranged wife didn’t arrive at the specified time that they agreed on, Harry Greenwell flew into a rage. Around 7 p.m. he arrived at his mother-in-law’s residence, kicked the door in, grabbed his wife and dragged her out of the house and commenced to strangling her in the middle of the street. He then forced her to walk with him by grabbing her arms. They walked down Jackson Street and reached Tenth Street, where he began choking and threating her in front of Mr. Stix Tavern.

She faked being severely injured to stop the abuse and get away from him, so he allowed her to go to St. Frances Medical Center where she was treated and released.

Police later found Harry Edward Greenwell in a North Side parking lot and arrested him. He later was released on a signature bond under the condition that he have no contact with his estranged wife.

Second Times the Charm- March 26, 1989

March 6, 1989

Two days later police were called to Linus’ Tavern and caught Greenwell there yelling at his estranged wife. Greenwell was arrested for violating the conditions of his bond and the no contact order and taken to jail

Greenwell Stabbed by Stepdaughter- October 14, 1998

We are interested in this incident for a number of reasons. First, he was stabbed by his 15-year-old stepdaughter. We also know that Greenwell preferred to use knives to initially control his victims, until he could get them to a location where they were isolated. He had cut Peggy Gill and repeatedly stabbed both the Columbus victim and the Rochester victim.

Second, he was arrested for being a felon in possession of a firearm. What type of gun was it? Was it one of the murder weapons? Was it the .44 magnum used in the Wright and Lloyd robbery-homicides?

Last, but certainly not least- why wasn’t he put in prison? Were the charges dropped? Was he convicted? Greenwell up until this point had an extensive criminal record that included escapes from custody that landed him two years in prison, violence against women, breaking and entering and multiple robberies that landed in prison for five years.

Further Reading & References

Murder of Vicki Heath
Days Inn Murders: Mary Margaret “Peggy” Gill
Days Inn Murders: Jeanne Gilbert
Columbus Days Inn Assault
Rochester, Minnesota Assault, 1991

Cold case to appear on ‘America’s Most Wanted’ | TheNewsEnterprise.com

DNA May Catch This Serial Killer. Across Kentucky and Indiana, the I-65… | by Jean Campbell | Medium

GILL, GILBERT: ‘Days Inn murders’ remain unsolved | Lake County News | nwitimes.com

The I-65 Killer: An Indiana / Kentucky serial killer still runs loose (courierpress.com)

1989 Days Inn murders still haunt police, family | wthr.com

The I-65 Killer (Days Inn Murders) | Already Gone Podcast – True Crime

The I-65 Killer (Part One: The Days Inn Murders) — Unresolved

The I-65 Killer (Part Two: The Bearded Man) — Unresolved

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