Letters

Letters 08-31-2015

Inalienable Rights This is a response to the “No More State Theatre” in your August 24th edition. I think I will not be the only response to this pathetic and narrow-minded letter that seems rather out of place in the northern Michigan that I know. To think we will not be getting your 25 cents for the movie you refused to see, but more importantly we will be without your “two cents” on your thoughts of a marriage at the State Theatre...

Enthusiastically Democratic Since I was one of the approximately 160 people present at when Senator Debbie Stabenow spoke on August 14 in Charlevoix, I was surprised to read in a letter to Northern Express that there was a “rather muted” response to Debbie’s announcement that she has endorsed Hillary Clinton for president...

Not Hurting I surely think the State Theatre will survive not having the homophobic presence of Colleen Smith and her family attend any matinees. I think “Ms.” Smith might also want to make sure that any medical personnel, bank staff, grocery store staff, waiters and/or waitress, etc. are not homosexual before accepting any service or product from them...

Stay Home I did not know whether to laugh or cry when I read the letter of the extremely homophobic, “disgusted” writer. She now refuses to patronize the State Theatre because she evidently feels that its confines have been poisoned by the gay wedding ceremony held there...

Keep Away In response to Colleen Smith of Cadillac who refused to bring her family to the State Theatre because there was a gay wedding there: Keep your 25 cents and your family out of Traverse City...

Celebrating Moore And A Theatre I was 10 years old when I had the privilege to see my first film at the State Theatre. I will never forget that experience. The screen was almost the size of my bedroom I shared with my older sister. The bursting sounds made me believe I was part of the film...

Outdated Thinking This letter is in response to Colleen Smith. She made public her choice to no longer go to the State Theater due to the fact that “some homosexuals” got married there. I’m not outraged by her choice; we don’t need any more hateful, self-righteous bigots in our town. She can keep her 25 cents...

Mackinac Pipeline Must Be Shut Down Crude oil flowing through Enbridge’s 60-yearold pipeline beneath the Mackinac Straits and the largest collection of fresh water on the planet should be a serious concern for every resident of the USA and Canada. Enbridge has a very “accident” prone track record...

Your Rights To Colleen, who wrote about the State Theatre: Let me thank you for sharing your views; I think most of us are well in support of the first amendment, because as you know- it gives everyone the opportunity to express their opinions. I also wanted to thank Northern Express for not shutting down these types of letters right at the source but rather giving the community a platform for education...

No Role Model [Fascinating Person from last week’s issue] Jada quoted: “I want to be a role model for girls who are interested in being in the outdoors.” I enjoy being in the outdoors, but I don’t want to kill animals for trophy...

Home · Articles · News · Books · Revisiting the Good Hart murders
. . . .

Revisiting the Good Hart murders

Glen Young - July 7th, 2008
Much of what happened that summer day in 1968 is known. Six members of a prominent Detroit area family were gunned down in their summer cottage near Good Hart, north of Harbor Springs. No credible witnesses came forward to aid police. The community and the nation were stunned. These facts and a few others are prolifically documented.
What is not known is who committed the murders, or why. The uncertainty has haunted family members, vexed law enforcement, and intrigued the curious for 40 years.
Several authors are among those transfixed by the unsolved murders of the Richard Robison family at their Summerset cottage in the rustic Blisswood resort community. Traverse City area author Mardi Link has waded through what is known, what is suspected, and what is still a mystery for her new book “When Evil Came to Good Hart.”
Published by the University of Michigan Press, Link’s book is the first non-fiction examination of the family, the crime, and the suspects who were investigated by police both in the aftermath of the murders, and for years afterwards.

STENCH OF DEATH
What is established is that Richard Robison, his wife Shirley, their sons Ritchie, Gary, and Randy, and their daughter Susan were all murdered, most likely on the afternoon of June 25, 1968. The last person to see any of the Robisons alive was a local tree trimmer.
Link begins with the crime; the discovery of the bodies after the Robisons neighbors complained to the cottage association’s caretaker about the foul odor leaching from the cottage; how the caretaker and his helper first opened the cottage door to a wave of flies and the stench of death; how police arrived to process the scene, and ultimately how law enforcement was unable to indict their chief suspect.
From here she ranges as far and wide as the case has taken investigators, begun in the immediate aftermath of the gruesome discovery, and continuing -- in fits and starts -- up to the present. State police and local sheriff’s deputies have screened myriad leads from Michigan, as well as Ohio, Florida, Kansas, and elsewhere. The only theme linking the leads is that none has led to an arrest or a conviction.
Link paints Good Hart, then and now, as a land of fairy tales: “dark woods, warm cabins with smoke curling from their chimneys, worn footpaths down ancient routes, watery blue-grey horizons, a church, a graveyard, and a little store.” Robison, and his associates, however, were not fairy tale fodder.
Hidden among the fairy tale outline, Link details a suspicious cast of characters, from caretaker Monnie Bliss, to Robison associate Joe Scolaro, and others. The list of tips and suspects detectives followed included everything from, “Medicine doctors, strange Greek god-sounding names, a queen, and a pool-shooting bomb maker.”

JEKYLL & HYDE?
What investigators uncovered was that Richard Robison might have been a “Jekyll and Hyde type” of man. He founded advertising firm, R.C. Robison and Associates, and published “Impresario” magazine, an arts and culture publication covering the metro area. And while Robison looked clean on the surface, detectives found “a man who inspired corruption and loyalty in almost equal measure.” Robison also had a penchant for pretty secretaries and awkward sexual peccadilloes.
State police investigators Lloyd Stearns and John Fils were assigned to the case. Early on the two decided “the murders were either a meaningless rampage by a crazed killer or that the initial target of the murderer was Dick Robison, with the others tragic collateral damage.”
This is not the first time the Robison case has engaged the imagination of writers. In 2004 Judith Guest, most widely known for “Ordinary People,” used the case to frame her novel “The Tarnished Eye.” In her version, Guest plays up the link between the Robisons and convicted co-ed murderer John Norman Collins, who terrorized the Ypsilanti-Ann Arbor area in the period preceding the Robison murders. Collins and Ritchie Robison were possible acquaintances at Eastern Michigan University.
More recently, Lansing area author James Pecora has fictionalized the tale in his novel “DEADEND.” Pecora’s version casts guilt squarely on the shoulders of the resort’s caretaker, a character who suggests Chauncey A. “Monnie” Bliss, whose own son, coincidentally or purposely, had been killed on June 24, 1968 in a motorcycle accident not far from Blisswood.
Link, who has contracted with U-M Press for a second true crime book (and has also written for Northern Express), believes State Police detective Lloyd Stearns is the “true hero” of the story, because of his determination to solve the case. And while an indictment and a conviction were never achieved, Link does believe Stearns and his partner put together a credible explanation for who targeted Robison and why.

Mardi Link will speak about “When Evil Came to Good Hart” on July 24 at Horizon Books in Traverse City, and on September 24 at the Traverse Area District Library.
 
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
 
 

 

 
11.19.2012 at 10:42 Reply
T

If you have information that will lead to the arrest and conviction of the person(s) responsible for the

Robison Family Homicides please contact the Emmet County Sheriff's office or go to

www.unsolvedhomicide.com for info on how to report anonymously. peace

 

 
 
Close
Close
Close