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.

 

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