Hello. New to this case and this board but find it fascinating.
I looked but I couldn't find anyone who addressed the issue of the boys sleeping through the murders. I automatically discount that the boys saw *strangers* kill their family and then went back to sleep. I can't see that happening at all. I would have woken my brother and friend and ran as fast as I could as soon as I had the opportunity but even if i was somehow petrified, I couldn't have gone back to sleep.
So that leaves....
They know the killers and are covering for them. Who would they most likely be willing to cover for?
Hello Crashnet and welcome! I think we all get so caught up in staging, coverup, and conspiracies that we forget one of the most important things - the boys have to know who was in that house. It has been discussed so many times but most people seem satisfied to believe they were awake and were threatened and forced to participate by Justin's stepfather Marty Smartt. I might have bought that theory years ago but let's admit that Marty has been dead for YEARS and still nobody's talking. But then people say when Justin's mother dies he'll tell the truth - but why in the world would anyone wait for Justin to tell the truth? What about Ricky? I can't help but believe the police are completely stumped on an answer to that question because I'm stumped on how in the world Justin would know ANYTHING that Ricky doesn't know.
I admit that Justin has told so many different things but the one believable thing he told was that he did not sleep through the murders. Maybe Justin's waiting for Ricky to talk??
If it turns out to be Marty, the only thing that makes sense to me is that Justin went back to that room and told those boys if you say anything to the police I'll be in trouble and my dad will go to jail. And for whatever reason, they've kept that promise.
Yes Justin was Marty's stepson and had actually only been living in Keddie with Marty and Marilyn for about 7-8 months (before that I think he was with living with his real father in Colorado) - Ricky had only been living in Keddie for less than 5 months. Justin had just turned 12 and Ricky was about to be 11 in July so they were not babies and to think that Ricky would cover for Marty so that Marty wouldn't get in trouble is to say that he was more worried about getting his friends stepfather in trouble than he was in telling who slaughtered his family and took his sister (his sister that was still missing with the possibility of being found at that point). That would have made little sense 38 years ago but it really makes no sense now that they are old men and still won't tell what happened.
That whole scenario might make a tad bit more sense if Marty was someone the whole neighborhood was fearful of but that's not true. I doubt Ricky even really knew Marty and Justin hadn't lived with Marty long enough to really know him so why keep such a big secret? After all Justin's own mother was telling that Marty was the killer and Marty didn't kill her.
I don't know what happened but it makes way more believable that something happened in that cabin between the people already in that cabin (and for whatever reason will never be known because the boys won't tell) and the boys have kept their mouths shut all these years to avoid people questioning why they didn't tell the truth in 1981 which could have possibly allowed the police to solve the case sooner and have saved Tina's life or at the very least helped to find her remains sooner than they did.
SHARP, RICHARD Sue's son, bed @ 2200 4/11/81 & didn't wake up, Tina was home when he went to bed, Mrs. Meeks called @ 2100 to say John & Dana would be home later, description of tool box <BRADLEY>/<CRIM>/<SHANKS>/<SHAVER>
SHARP, GREG Sue's son, talked @ events on 4/11/81 evening, said he woke up during the evening <CRIM>
In a 2010 post Josh said: "We don't know if Rick saw anything. He told me once he could be the key to solving the murders - but he went no further."
If Rick woke up and saw something then he is the key to solving the murders. We have to come up with reasonable theories why he would keep silent particularly knowing his own sister was missing. Either threatened into silence or covering up for someone.
Crashnet, Tom is the first person (to my knowledge) to ever boldly question if Tina was involved - not that some of us hadn't questioned it already - but nobody wanted to cross that line. Tina was found dead 3 years after the murders so it's assumed she was killed like the rest of the victims - but how would anyone know?
Why kill Tina (because she was a witness) but leave behind 3 boys with ABSOLUTELY NO GUARANTEE that they would not talk? Marty Smart didn't know these kids well enough to leave them alive - not even Justin. There was nothing the killer could have done to them (besides killing them) that could have guaranteed these boys would remain silent for the rest of their lives.
On the other hand maybe a fight started in the cabin and Tina called somebody, they came over, and it all just got out of hand. Maybe she asked Ricky and Justin to keep quiet and she'd be back to explain everything but she never came back. Then three years later she's found dead so why tell the truth then because everyone would have been furious with them for not telling the truth sooner. Could I see them covering for Tina to keep her from getting in trouble? Yes I can - not only was she Ricky's sister but she was also Justin's friend.
This is just a theory and may be miles from the truth, however Marty Smart has been dead for years and there's very few people who have not bought into the Marty Theory - so why wouldn't Ricky and Justin just confirm it and let the police close the case?
Another possibility is that someone unknown to the younger kids is the killer and therefore had no reason to worry they could identify them later.
When you look at the possibility that Marty is the killer you have to believe that he trusted 3 kids from 2 very different families - neither of which were blood related to him - to cover for him. (And yes these were two very different families. Sue may have drug 5 kids cross country but she wasn't dropping them off and separating them along the way to be with different men)
If we were to accept that Tina was carried out from the hallway, and the idea that sue was only reluctantly killed, maybe the same is true for Tina. Maybe someone rushed her out with the initial thought that if they got her out without seeing anything she could be spared, or at least be spared that gruesome scene. This however creates a slew of new complications. If the killers thought they were unrecognizable to her, they could drive her out to the middle of nowhere, drop her off and buy time. Whether she lives or dies at this point is not on their conscious. This last part only circles us back to why leave justin. I witnessed a homicide and a manslaughter and what struck me was all the different reactions to the chaos. Some people just loose their minds and are completely irrational.
Could be (if you're talking about Wade) but Ricky and Justin played together in the days following the murders and Sheila and LaRhonda were together so it really doesn't appear that any of them were worried about somebody killing them.
Justin has been an explanation for the boys survival for so long. Maybe Justin survived because somebody did not want Ricky and Greg to die.
" Maybe Justin survived because somebody did not want Ricky and Greg to die."
That makes more sense to me. The solving of this case, to most people, seems to rest solely on Justin Eason. He and Rick both told the officer at the scene that morning they were asleep and didn't hear anything. But later on Justin did start to talk. But we never see in any reports that we have access to that he named Marty or Bo. He and Ricky saw and heard the same thing. Was their bond with Marty so strong that they both have remained silent all these years despite the fact that Marty is dead?
If Marty was not the killer who would have those boys have covered for all these years and why? Ricky and Justin had only know each other for a few months. I seems more likely that Tina would have been the common bond between them. I can see them lying for her but not Marty. For me it just seems if those two boys lied to protect her then that is something Rick will NEVER tell. If those TWO boys would have told what really happened that morning it is possible that Tina may have been found earlier. I think that is something Rick will never do and without him Justin will never tell, after all who would believe him now.
When I watched the documentary it really struck me how Zonita was recounting her story pretty matter of fact, and then her face just falls when she gets to Tina, same with her teacher. Everybody's got hidden facets, but these women new a sweet, guileless little girl. That's my impression also. Neither the boys nor Sue ilicited such emotion (at least not from those interviewed, at the time)