The bloodied and beaten body of a mother of three young children was discovered in her Ohio bedroom, in the Friday, Aug. 8 episode of Cold Justice on TNT. It will be a difficult case for acclaimed prosecutor Kelly Siegler and famed investigator Yolanda McClary to solve as the trail is cold in this ancient case.
Mary Kay Shaffer told the TNT team that on December 17, 1981 she was driving her children to school when one of them noticed that, "The door is open (Alma Noffzinger's house) and the snow has blowed in." When the concerned neighbor checked on the welfare of Alma she found her body lying face down on a blood-drenched mattress and pillows. At age 29, a single mom with three kids, the five foot three, 104 pound lady didn't appear to be a threat to anyone. But someone obviously wanted her dead.
Kelly tells Yolanda as they drive into Paulding County, Ohio, that the the 32-year lapse since the murder of the young mother will make this an extremely difficult case to solve. But the former Houston prosecutor and former Las Vegas investigator have never been daunted by long odds since they started tackling these cold cases.
Kelly said, "Who had the anger and the means to murder poor Alma?"
Deputy Jason Landers greets the TNT team at the Paulding County Sheriff's Office and advises them "we don't have a lot of homicides here. I was in grade school when I heard about this murder."
Houston investigator Alan Bond and Deputy Rob Garcia discuss that it was about 9:28 a.m. when EMS received the call to Alma's home on that fateful day in December of 1981. Since there were no eyewitnesses, they calculate she could have died anywhere from Dec. 15-17.
Yolanda explains the team will have to rely on a mock crime scene as the original murder house is no longer available. The model for CSI investigator Marg Helgenberger relates that the medical examiner determined Alma was struck by seven blows to the head. However, she deduces the killer actually struck her with many more blows based on the facts both hands are badly bruised and one hand is actually fractured. McClary figures out that Alma was laying facing down with her hands across the back of her head in a desperate attempt to shield herself as her killer attacked her from behind. That explains why the mattress is saturated with her blood.
McClary also theorizes that, "Since Alma's head was not caved in, the murder weapon was probaby not a hammer or something made of metal. It is more likely made of wood."
Once the crime scene is analyzed, Kelly wonders why Alma decided to turn over her two children from her first marriage to Dave Delgado who is now involved with Maria. As the team delves further into the case it turns out that Maria is jealous of Alma. Maria meets with Steve who was currently married to Alma. She wants to know why Alma is still communicating with David.
The TNT team decides that was what started the "ball rolling" on the divorce between Steve and Alma. David says during his interview with the TNT team that, "Alma had nowhere to go. She didn't want to marry Steve. Steve couldn't get along with kids. Her pregnancy with her third kid caused her marriage."
Steve filed for divorce against Alma. Siegler mentions that he wrote in some court documents he was afraid he would never see his son Ryan again if Alma got custody. Kelly thinks this may be the "trigger" that led to Alma's death.
When investigators speak with Jim Shank, former brother-in-law of Steve, he tells them Steve was known to carry a nightstick in his vehicle. Elaine Shank said it was a smokestick which was two or three feet long. Normally, such a stick would hang from the ceiling with a hook to hang beef on it. The TNT team wonders if this could be the murder weapon.
District Attorney Joe Burkhard agreed to present the case to the grand jury.
The grand jury indicted Steve for capital murder on Aug. 1, 2014. His arrest was shown on Cold Justice. The last episode of this season may be seen this Friday at 9/8 cst on TNT Cold Justice.
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