Monday, June 27, 2011

Kansas City Man Promises to Solve Oklahoma Girl Scout Murders

There is a website,, with loads of archived information. There is also a book, Someone Cry for the Children: The Unsolved Oklahoma Girl Scout Murders and the Case of Gene Leroy Hart, first published in 1981. But to this day, some still doubt that Hart was the one who raped, bludgeoned and strangled to death Tulsa Girl Scouts Lori Lee Farmer (eight), Michele Guse (nine), and Doris Denise Milner (10) in June of 1977.

Now, a 61-year-old Kansas City man who grew up in the Tulsa area has made an explosive claim. He says he knows who the killer is and will reveal that person's name via an upcoming docudrama Candle. John Russell Penn recently told Tulsa World's Weekend magazine that he personally knew Gene Leroy Hart, the Cherokee Indian who was acquitted of the crime in 1979 (and died just a few months later). Despite the court's declaration of innocence, there are many who still presume Hart to be the murderer (the aforementioned book also makes that case). However, Russell Penn insists Hart was innocent.

A tragedy of epic proportions

Per the Tulsa World article:

Russell Penn said he personally knows the individual he intends to name as the killer in his film. He would not reveal that person’s identity during an interview about the project, which could start filming in the spring of 2012. “No, we want to save that for our film,” said Russell Penn.

People have questioned his motives for making the film, including financial gain, to which he said he has responded: “Of course we want to make money, what company doesn’t want to make money? But we can also have altruistic reasons to help with the case, and that’s what I have.”

On the one hand, Russell Penn claims to have the cooperation of two of the three victims' families. On the other, he has confirmed that the Girl Scouts of America have refused to allow him to use uniforms or any other image materials. (He held a casting call in Tulsa this past weekend.)

Although the location of the murders, Camp Scott, has been closed ever since the horrible crimes of June 12-13, 1977, Russell knows the lay of that land well. As a young Boy Scout, he spent time at nearby Camp Garland and says he would sneak over regularly to Camp Scott to meet with young female counselors. It's not clear yet whether Russell Penn will be able to secure permission to shoot from the current owners of the former campground site, which sits 45 miles northwest of Tulsa.

Russell Penn, whose previous credits include the 1998 straight-to-video drama Oklahoma Faded Love, insists he has no fear of legal action. That, of course, could turn out to be extremely naive, should he indeed proceed with this project.

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