Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN

Columns

January 8, 2013

True crime book co-dedicated to Oldham

Greensburg — I can report that a true crime book is being written, and nearly finished, with Jon Oldham as a main character.

Oldham, a retired Indiana State Trooper, detective and former Sheriff of Decatur County, helped the author all the way. The book, in fact, will be co-dedicated to him.

I asked Judith Yates, of Tennessee, for permission to tell you about the book she is writing. She readily gave permission, “Yes, by all means,” she said. “Mr. Oldham was a wonderful person and a fine officer.”

She is writing about the murder in Westport nearly 23 years ago of 12-year-old Brad Maddux.

Judith said, “Jon Oldham was priceless in providing information and ideas. I put in thousands of hours of interviews and everyone I spoke to said the same: Oldham was a fine officer, good person, who was fair and firm. He was someone you would want to emulate in the field. I only wished I could have worked with him. I am co-dedicating the book to Mr. Oldham.”

She said “It isn’t just a story about the horrific murder of a small boy by a child predator. It is how a tiny town in Indiana represents the whole of the United States regarding crimes against children. It is about how predators carefully select, then manipulate, their victims. It is about how a legal system allows these predators to serve little time for unspeakable deeds. It is also about how you can help fight back.”

It is a story of how a crime is solved in real life as opposed to a television program. It is also a helpful book for those of us who would love to see stronger, especially longer punishment, for child murderers.

She is writing the book with assistance from the Maddux family and friends, the officers that worked on the case and thousands of hours of research on her part to make sure of the facts, not just what was rumored or reported at the time of the crime.

Douglas Sims, the man convicted of the murder of Brad Maddux in March 1990 would not talk with Judith but some of his friends did. He was sentenced to serve 60 years in prison. In the spring of 2010 he requested clemency but, thanks to a petition sent out by the Maddux family and their friends, Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels rejected his bid for clemency. However, Sims is scheduled to be released in 2020 after serving 30 years and plans to return to the Westport/Sardinia area in Sandcreek Township where he committed the murder in 1990. He will be 49 years old in 2020.

Judith Yates is a criminologist and has a Masters in Criminal Justice. She is now working on a Ph.D in Criminal Justice. She has worked with many agencies of law enforcement. The book will be ready for purchase in a couple of months and I will let you know when that happens. Judith has spoken to organizations as a lecturer and instructor. At this time she is True Crime and Crime and Courts Examiner for a Nashville, Tenn. newspaper. She would make an excellent speaker for a library or Historical Society program here.

Anyone who knew Jon Oldham knew that he was the kind of person that would go out of his way to help you no matter how much or how little time it took. A couple of years ago, I was writing about an experience that Jack Pike had on a Sunday morning Oct. 31, 1965. Jack was a State Trooper and was helping make an arrest in Bartholomew County. Don Minning told me the story and I got additional details from former State Troopers Hugh Chambers and Jack Kixmiller. I called Jon and he too remembered something about the incident. Jon said, “Pat, I remember it but it’s kind of vague. It’s been a long time, probably close to 45 years ago. But let me call some people that will probably remember more about it.”

So Jon set about making phone calls and the next day called me back to give me more details about it. He wasn’t well at the time and certainly didn’t have to go out of his way to help in any case, but that was just how he lived. Jon is going to be missed by everybody that knew him.

Residents of Decatur County were fortunate to have Jon Oldham involved in law enforcement for so many years.

 

1
Text Only
Columns
  • Why government openness matters Failing to share information makes us weaker. It enfeebles congressional oversight, which is a cornerstone of representative democracy and which, when aggressively carried out by fully informed legislators, can strengthen policy-making.One of the fun

    August 21, 2014

  • Ferguson is Everytown, U.S.A. The tragic killing of college-bound teenager Michael Brown has raised questions about the frequency with which police kill unarmed black men in America. The answer, unfortunately, is far too often.Just three months ago, on a warm April afternoon, a w

    August 21, 2014

  • Walking makes a comeback Just a few years ago, the idea that we could have a national conversation about walking might have seemed unlikely. After all, we’ve been walking forever. What’s there to talk about? As it turns out, plenty. As a number of groups cite a range of reas

    August 21, 2014

  • nei-gb082014-linda kennett column pic A collecting bonus? It's in the cards Remember the packs of sports trading cards from the 1970s and 80s? I recently stumbled across several boxes of them that I thought my son had taken when he bought his first home 15 years ago. But there they were, still in the closet and mixed among t

    August 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • nei-gb082014-homemakers column file photo Summer has flown by It seems summer is nearly gone. The State Fair is over, the Power of the Past is gone for another year, and the children are back in school. It may be time to think about getting involved in making and donating some items for Riley Hospital. We alw

    August 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Pat Smith: Goofy golf raises breast cancer awareness Last week I stopped in to ask Susan Doerflinger Burkhart to please interpret a letter I received from an insurance company I had two or more years ago. As usual, she was able to ease my mind. While there she asked if I was going to play in the all-fe

    August 20, 2014

  • Craft brewers, vintners bring spirits to State Fair Brad Hawkins felt right at home hawking his beer at the Indiana State Fairgrounds last week.When Hawkins opened his Salt Creek Brewery in a converted filling station in tiny Needmore three years ago, some tee-totaling neighbors protested he was putti

    August 19, 2014

  • Back to the classroom These days, it seems like the summers are going by even faster than they did when I was a student! Just yesterday, the temperatures were beginning to warm up and children were hanging up their backpacks. Now, many of them are already back in the clas

    August 19, 2014

  • Our children and their children Let’s ponder “our children” and “their children.”First, Gov. Mike Pence made a wise call this past week when he ordered the Department of Child Services to begin reimbursing families who had adopted special needs children.A class action lawsuit filed

    August 19, 2014

  • Remember the joy Williams gave Ball State’s Wes Gehring, the author of dozens of books on Hollywood stars, says the apparent suicide of Robin Williams will not tarnish the comedian’s legendary achievements.Williams was found dead Monday in his California home. He was 63.“As the li

    August 16, 2014