Marcus Shrader III (1 Viewer)


Marcus Shrader III

Classification: Serial killer
Characteristics: Rape - Bank robbery
Number of victims: 4
Date of murders: January-August 1974
Date of arrest: August 18, 1974
Date of birth: 1941
Victims profile: Ginger Rader, 23 / Cindy Howard, 15, and Karen Amabile, 15 / Cheryl Potter Boyd, 19
Method of murder: Shooting / Strangulation
Location: Onslow County, North Carolina, USA
Status: Sentenced to death in 1974. Commuted to life imprisonment in 1976 after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled the death penalty in North Carolina unconstitutional. Died in prison on July 10, 2007

Convicted killer Marcus Shrader dies in prison

July 11, 2007

One of the darkest chapters in Jacksonville’s history may have come to a close. Convicted serial killer Marcus Shrader has died in prison.

Shrader, 65, died of natural causes in Central Prison in Raleigh on Friday, state prison officials confirmed Tuesday.

"When our time is up, we all have to meet our final judge," said Onslow County Commissioner Delma Collins, who served as one of the investigators in Shrader’s case as a young Jacksonville police detective in 1974. "I would hate to be in Shrader’s shoes right now."

Shrader, who was a Navy corpsman stationed at Camp Lejeune at the time of the crimes, was convicted in 1974 of kidnapping and murdering 19-year-old Cheryl Potter Boyd. He was also accused by police of killing 15-year-olds Karen Amabile and Cindy Howard, and 23-year-old Ginger Rader, though he was never tried on those charges.

In January 1974, Shrader kidnapped Rader and forced her to help him rob a bank; then he shot her to death, police said.

On Aug. 2 of that year, Amabile and Howard went to mail a letter at the post office when they were stopped by Shrader’s 16-year-old stepdaughter, Debra Ann Brown. Police said Brown knew Amabile from school and offered the girls a ride home.

Shrader, who was waiting in his van, handcuffed the two girls, bound their mouths with a pair of pantyhose and put tape over their eyes, Brown would later testify. Shrader then sexually assaulted the girls and strangled them to death, police said. Their bodies, clothed only in panties, were found in the Bear Creek area.

On Aug. 16, 1974, Shrader kidnapped Boyd from the parking lot of the post office on New Bridge Street.

Boyd’s younger brother, Gerald Potter Jr., said Boyd was getting into her car when Shrader got in on the other side. He forced Boyd to help him rob a nearby bank, then shot her in the face and left her body in the car behind New River Shopping Center.

Potter said he thinks Boyd realized who Shrader was once he slipped on a green ski mask for the bank robbery.

"They were looking for someone with a green ski mask" in connection with the other crimes, he said.

Retired Jacksonville police officer Art Turner said he remembers very well the lucky break the police got that led to Shrader’s arrest on Aug. 18, 1974.

"Back then we had a building for Camp Lejeune Military Police next to the police station," he said. "A corpsman that was walking through saw the wanted picture we had tacked up on the wall. Even though the suspect had a ski mask on, the corpsman recognized the freckles around the eyes."

The corpsman, who said he had just eaten dinner with Shrader a week earlier, was taken to Collins, who was working the case. Collins said police raided Shrader’s Cedar Point home within three hours.

He cannot forget what he found when he searched Shrader’s attic, he said.

"That was the most eerie feeling that I ever had in my life," Collins said. "I will never forget the chamber of horrors Shrader had set up in his attic. It was a torture chamber."

Shrader was suspected of repeatedly molesting and raping his five stepchildren there, Collins said.

Shrader’s wife, Barbara, told The Daily News last year that she packed up her four other children — Brown had been charged in one of the crimes — and left Onslow County in the middle of the night. She said she went to Boston to the home of her husband’s aunt, the only family she had left.

Brown testified against Shrader in court and served seven years of a 15-year sentence for her part in Boyd’s kidnapping.

"He beat me with chains, fists, guns and bottles," Brown testified.

Shrader testified that he started having sex with Brown when she was 14. She testified that he began raping her when she was 12.

At the time of his trial, Brown was pregnant with Shrader’s baby. Collins said he thinks a relative took Brown’s baby when the child was born.

Shrader wrote letters to Brown while they were both incarcerated.

"Until I’m dead and in a box, you belong to me body and soul," Shrader wrote, according to a Daily News report from 1974. "Don’t get any false feelings of security as long as I’m alive. I may just decide to take you to hell with me. As long as I live, you may damned well die."

Shrader was sentenced to death for Boyd’s murder and kidnapping, but his sentence was commuted to life imprisonment in 1976 after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled the death penalty unconstitutional. When the death penalty was later reinstated, Shrader’s sentence did not change.

He was eligible for parole beginning in 1986, but 2005 was the first time the board considered the possibility of his release. His next parole eligibility date was set for Sept. 21.

"He was the most dangerous man I ever prosecuted," said retired district attorney Bill Andrews. "I worked hard every year to make sure he never got out of prison."

Andrews said most people with a life sentence are paroled at some point.

Potter also worked to make sure Shrader stayed behind bars.

Each year, he called and made an appointment to talk to the parole board about Shrader’s crimes.

"It’s just an excellent chance that if he got out, he’d do it again," Potter said.

Potter learned that Shrader had died when he called to make his appointment for this year.

"It seems weird that this is going to be over," he said.

Potter was a senior in high school when his sister was killed. He says Shrader’s death is a relief, but his feelings are mixed.

"That’s what I’ve been waiting for this whole time," he said. "He’s outlived everybody (else) in my family."

Susan Howard Henderson, Cindy Howard’s older sister, says the death is a relief for their family.

"It’s affected our family’s whole life," she said. "He’s continued to make us suffer every year by the legal system’s allowing him to be up for parole. ? I don’t feel like he deserved to have the freedom that you and I have on a daily basis after the horrendous murder he committed."

Shrader’s death "does help bring some closure. It lets you go on with life, and just have the good memories," she said. "Now we can just remember Cindy as being Cindy."

Potter and Henderson credit the efforts of the community for keeping Shrader incarcerated.

"If you don’t bring this to the attention of people, it’s going to be slipped under the rug" and people will get out, Potter said.

"I appreciate everybody that had anything to do with it."

Serial killer Shrader is denied parole

October 01, 2005

Marcus Shrader III, a serial killer who terrorized Onslow County in 1974, was denied parole after a review of his case by the state, the North Carolina Parole Commission announced Friday.

Shrader, 64, who was convicted in December 1974 of the first-degree murder and kidnapping of 19-year-old Cheryl Potter Boyd, will be reviewed again in September 2006, said Melita Groomes, executive director of the N.C. Post Release Supervision and Parole Commission. Shrader killed four Jacksonville women in 1974. He was tried only in one case.

The Parole Commission made its decision Monday, Groomes said. The information was released to The Daily News on Friday.

"I am very happy with the decision of the Parole Commission," said District Attorney Dewey Hudson, who spoke with the commission last week about why he believed Shrader should remain in state prison.

Shrader, a Navy corpsman at the time of the slayings, was originally sentenced to death. That sentence was converted to life imprisonment after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 1976 that the death penalty was unconstitutional. Shrader has been eligible for parole since 1986, and his case is reviewed each year.

This year, the Parole Commission was mandated by the state legislature to do a thorough investigation of the cases of defendants who had detainers against them from other states or the federal government. Shrader, who was also convicted of robbing North Carolina National Bank in August 1974, also must serve a 20-year federal sentence.

When it was reported in The Daily News last week that the state Parole Commission was considering giving Shrader parole, family and friends of victims along with people who remembered the case from the 1970s called and wrote to the Parole Commission.

Groomes said she couldn't release information regarding the number of phone calls, letters or faxes the agency received about Shrader's parole.

The District Attorney's office also received many calls, and The Daily News received phone calls and numerous e-mails from people opposing Shrader's release.

The outpouring of concern and the response family members of victims received in the past week was overwhelming, said Susan Howard Henderson, whose 15-year-old sister, Cindy Howard, was sexually assaulted and killed by Shrader.

"It has been a very humbling experience to have citizens in Onslow County come forth after all these years and help us keep Shrader in prison after murdering four girls," Henderson said.

The response meant a lot to Angelo Amabile of South Carolina. Angelo Amabile's 15-year-old sister, Karen Amabile, was with Cindy Howard on Aug. 2, 1974. The girls went to mail a letter and were stopped by Shrader's stepdaughter, Debra Ann Brown. Brown knew Karen from school, and she offered the girls a ride in her van.

Shrader was in the van. He sexually assaulted both girls and strangled them to death. Their bodies were dumped in the Bear Creek area.

"I would like to say thank you from everybody in my family to all those who called the parole board and voiced their opinion in opposition to (Shrader) getting parole," Angelo Amabile said.

His father, Arsenio Amabile, of Jacksonville, was relieved by the Parole Commission's decision.

"I felt very good about it," Arsenio Amabile said. "It made me feel comfortable. I'm thankful for all the people who called."

While family members can rest easier knowing Shrader will remain in the medium-security prison at Eastern Correctional Institute in Maury for another year, many are still bothered that they will have to deal with it all again next year.

"If he was sentenced to life, it should be there from birth to life," Arsenio Amabile said. "He doesn't deserve to be free. Every year when this comes up it's another misery."

Henderson said the past few weeks have been difficult knowing Shrader's case was being investigated.

"I think it is so wrong to make the families relive the nightmare of losing a loved one every six months or every year," Henderson said. "It's been hard bringing up all the memories again."

The case also created challenges for the District Attorney's office, Hudson said.

Hudson didn't start working for the District Attorney's office until 1977. While he heard of Shrader, he didn't know a lot about the case.

"We had to go back and relearn what had happened in 1974," Hudson said. "Thank goodness we did have some people who actually worked on case that are still around."

Shrader was convicted of kidnapping Boyd from the parking lot of a Jacksonville post office Aug. 16, 1974. He forced Boyd to help him rob a bank and then shot her to death. Shrader was arrested Aug. 18, 1974. He was charged with kidnapping and killing Amabile and Howard. He was also charged with kidnapping 23-year-old Ginger Rader of Jacksonville in January 1974. He forced her to help him rob a bank and shot her to death.

But Shrader was never tried for allegedly killing Amabile, Howard and Rader - a fact that Hudson wasn't aware of until he reviewed the case to oppose Shrader's parole.

Hudson has now asked the Jacksonville Police Department and the State Bureau of Investigation to review their files to see if there is enough evidence to prosecute Shrader for those killings.

"It is worth our time and effort to ensure that he is not released," Hudson said. "The thought of him walking free one day is very frightening to me. He's a cold-blooded killer."

In order to prosecute Shrader for deaths that occurred 31 years ago, the state needs to produce new evidence or a witness that wasn't available in 1974.

"You have to show a compelling reason why you are prosecuting now when you couldn't do it 31 years ago," Hudson said.

If that evidence exists, reopening the cases would be time consuming, Hudson said.

"We have plenty to do without revisiting Marcus Shrader, but there is no other case that has ever been like Marcus Shrader," Hudson said. "He's a woman's worst nightmare."

Parole concerns raised

September 23, 2005

The members of the N.C. Parole Commission were receptive Thursday to concerns Onslow County officials have about the release of notorious serial killer Marcus Shrader III, said District Attorney Dewey Hudson.

Hudson, Assistant District Attorney Ernie Lee, county commissioner Delma Collins, Onslow County Sheriff Ed Brown and Jacksonville police Chief Mike Yaniero met with the Parole Commission in Raleigh after learning that Shrader's parole is being investigated.

Shrader, 64, a former Navy corpsman, was convicted in 1974 of the first-degree murder and kidnapping of 19-year-old Cheryl Potter Boyd of Jacksonville. At the time, Shrader was also charged with the murders of three other Jacksonville women, but he was never tried in connection with their murders.

Shrader was originally sentenced to death, but the sentence was commuted to life imprisonment in 1976 after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled the death penalty in North Carolina unconstitutional. Shrader has been eligible for parole since 1986, but this is the first time the Parole Commission is investigating it, said Melita Groomes, executive director of the N.C. Post Release Supervision and Parole Commission.

Shrader also must serve a 20-year sentence in federal prison for robbing the North Carolina National Bank in 1974.

"We were informed that the parole commission is mandated by the legislature to review those defendants incarcerated in the North Carolina Department of Correction who have detainers lodged against them," Hudson said in a written release.

"A detainer has been filed against Shrader by the federal government in reference to a federal bank robbery conviction, arising out of the robbery of the NCNB in Jacksonville on Aug. 16, 1974."

County officials want Shrader to serve his life sentence in state prison because there is concern that he will be paroled early from federal custody and released back into society, Hudson said.

"I oppose any early release of the defendant," Hudson said. "This individual is a dangerous and brutal killer who should remain in prison for the rest of his life."

Collins, who was a young detective at the Jacksonville Police Department in 1974 and part of the investigation that led to Shrader's arrest, is a strongly against Shrader's release.

"For my part, I told them that having lived in this community my entire life and having served all my adult life in public service, I know of no other case that had the notoriety attributed to this case," Collins said.

The two of the three-member Parole Commission listened to everything officials had to say and were understanding, Collins said.

"I can't tell you how receptive they were," Collins said. "When I left, I felt like they had really taken what we told them to heart. They couldn't tell us what they were going to do, but my instinct tells me they are going to do the right thing."

The notice of Shrader's parole consideration was released Aug. 25. The Parole Commission has 90 days to make a decision. Groomes said she expected the group to make decision "very soon."

Shrader is in a medium-security prison at Eastern Correctional Institute in Maury, which is in Greene County. Since he was placed in N.C. Department of Corrections, he has had 67 disciplinary infractions.

Shrader kidnapped Boyd in the parking lot of the Jacksonville post office on New Bridge Street on Aug. 16, 1974, and forced her to help him rob North Carolina National Bank in the Northwoods area. After the robbery, Shrader shot Boyd in the head with a .45-caliber pistol. She was discovered dead in her car behind New River Shopping Center.

When Shrader was arrested Aug. 18, 1974, he was charged in connection with four deaths, including Boyd's and that of Ginger Rader, Cindy Howard and Karen Amabile. Rader was kidnapped in January 1974, allegedly forced to help in a bank robbery and then killed. Howard and Amabile, who were both 15 years old at the time, were strangled and sexually assaulted in early August 1974 and found on a dirt road in the Bear Creek area, according to a Daily News report.

Shrader's stepdaughter Debra Ann Brown, who was 16 at the time and originally also charged in connection to Boyd's murder, testified against Shrader at his trial. Brown served seven years of a 15-year-sentence for second-degree kidnapping.

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