Sunday, November 25, 2012

Murder on Plesant Drive:Based on a True Story

 Diane Beasley's Side of the Story in the Case of John Smith
by Traciy Curry-Reyes

You don't hear much about her, but Diane Beasley was actually the woman that was involved with John Smith at the time of his arrest. She was introduced to John Smith by a coworker who thought he would be a nice guy for her. She did not like him at first, because he was not really her type. He seemed nice to everyone. He was a workaholic, and he seemed like a generally good person, but he also seemed like a lonely quiet type of person. At the time he was working for a car manufacturing company.  After going out on their first date, Diane and John became quite an item, and the relationship progressed rather quickly.  John told her that his first marriage ended in divorce, but that his 2nd wife died of cancer. A month and half later, he proposed to Diane. Diane agreed because she felt like he could help her out financially even though she was not particularly attracted to him. She was determined to make the marriage last. It was not until she moved in that strange things started happening. First she saw a huge picture of his last wife Fran on the wall. She did not ask John to remove it because she felt as though Fran was a part of his past, and that he should keep it hanging if he wanted. As they settled into married life, Diane found that she was actually enjoying her marriage to John. He was financially well off, and this was good for Diane. However, she later found out that he had horrible credit, and that they were not able to secure a home loan. But, John explained it away and told her not to worry. Another strange thing was that he was obsessed with the computer. He would often shut the computer off whenever she came into the room. She felt as though John was hiding something. In November 1998, Diane definitely notice that something was wrong. John Smith did not have a checking account, and he did not want to get a California driver's license. It was apparent that he had a very dark secret. Sometimes he would become very angry and agitated when he thought no one was looking.  Almost a year later, in 1999, she was at work when some detectives visited her at her job.  They were actually FBI agents. The FBI informed her that his wife Fran did not die of cancer, and that his first marriage did not really end in divorce. They told her that John was actually a suspect in the murder of his former wives. They told her that they had disappeared mysteriously. Diane Beasley was completely in shock when she left the office that day. When she confronted John about what the detectives told her, he started to weave several stories about being set up by the FBI, and how others may have been involved in the murders of his wives. Nervously she tried to believe in him, until she received a letter from Fran's sister. When she spoke to Fran's sister, she felt that they were very sincere in what they were saying about John. She decided that she had to get as far away from him as possible.  Meanwhile the police were continuing with their investigation. They ended up interviewing John's brother Michael. Michael would not say anything at first, but the police knew that he was hiding something. Michael finally confessed to seeing the body of John's first wife, Janice Hartman, in the box. He told them he did not know the location of the box. So the police began sending out letters to different police stations in the hopes that someone might know something about the box, they got a phone call from the Indiana police. The Indiana police informed them that had found a wooden box in 1980 with a woman's skeletal remains inside. She became known as the lady in the box. They buried her in an unmarked grave. The police tested the remains and they came back positive as the remains of Janice Hartman. John Smith was then apprehended and placed into custody. At trial, facts about the real John Smith began to emerge. For starters,  he was carrying on multiple affairs online at the time of his marriage to Diane, and there were many other women in his past in between his other marriages. On July 19,2001, John Smith was found guilty and sentenced to 15 years to life in prison.

Tidbit
Diane Beasley married again to a very nice man in 2003. John Smith was denied in 2010.
Fran Gladden's body was never located

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

True Stories: Betty Gladden Smith aka Betty Fran Smith

Facts in her disappearance

Betty disappeared 18 months after her marriage to John David Smith III in 1990.

Betty and Sherrie together
John David Smith III filed for divorce in 1991. They decided to try at the marriage again and moved to New Jersey, everything seemed ok for a while, but it became evident that he was abusive. On Tuesday, Oct 4, 1991, Betty phoned her daughter for the last time at 8:30pm. She was home recovering from hip surgery. She did not seem upset and mentioned nothing about traveling. This was the last time anyone heard from Betty. Her family called many times trying to get in touch with her. Finally they reached John, and they were told that Betty decided to go on a trip. Of course no one believe him. It was at that time that Betty's sister Sherrie Gladden Smith, and her daughter started to investigate John's past. They discovered that John had not only lied about being married before, but that his former wife, Janice Hartman, was actually missing too since 1974. Sherrie Gladden Smith chronicled her journey of bringing John David Smith to justice in her book "My Sister is Missing." Betty Gladden Smith's body has never been found.

True Stories: John David Smith and Diane Bertalan

If you can, pick up a copy of the book "Stranger in my Bed" by Michael Fleeman. It tells the story of a woman, Diane Bertalan, who was once married to John David Smith. John David Smith, a charming man and handsome man who constantly lavished her with gifts, was extremely secretive about his past. Diane had no idea, until the year 2000 that the FBI had been watching him. It was at that time that she became aware of the case of "the lady in the box."

Photos of John David Smith: Ohio Inmate

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At the time of his arrest



Monday, March 7, 2011

Man Kills Wife, Chops Her Up, Then Dresses As Her

 Here is another case that is somewhat similar. This story is not affiliated with the story above or the movie above.