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‘Pure Evil’: A More Than A Pickup Drives 16-Year-Old To Mastermind Family Massacre

Nearly twenty five years following a shocking quadruple homicide happened in Pelham, Alabama, recalling the situation still brings government bodies to tears.

On Sunday, March 23, 1997, 16-year-old Mark Duke known as 911 and stated that whenever he came home he discovered that his family was dead. The sufferers were his father, Randy Duke, 39, his dad’s fiancé, Dedra Search, 29, and her two kids, Chelsea, 7, and Chelisa, 6. 

“Officers in this area told us it’s bad, it’s brutal,” Pelham PD Capt. Tommy Thomas told “Family Massacre,” airing Fridays at 9/8c on Archiweekend.

Randy have been shot and stabbed with your pressure it broke a knife left near his body. Dedra, who had been present in an upstairs bathroom, have been shot hard. A bullet blasted out her teeth, that have been available on a family room couch. The girls’ throats were savagely slashed. 

“This would be a traumatic, very violent method to die,” stated Pelham PD Detective Sergeant Mark Hall. “Everybody inside had lost just of bloodstream that they within their body, nearly.” 

Investigators discovered that symbols connected with local gangs have been created in to the walls of the house. Because his whole family have been wiped out, police put Mark in protective child custody. 

Tommy Search, Dedra’s ex-husband and also the girls’ father, received suspicion at the start of the analysis. He’d showed up in the crime scene soon after the physiques were found. Search, who shared child custody from the women, stated that whenever unsuccessful tries to achieve Dedra he visited Duke’s home. He showed up not lengthy following the police. His statements were examined with police and that he was removed like a suspect.

A forensics team determined the victims have been wiped out a minimum of 36 hrs prior to being discovered. Bullet casings of various calibers were retrieved in the scene, which brought officials to suspect there is several killer behind the slaughter. 

In the interview with detectives, Mark Duke stated that he’d been abroad since Friday. Over the past weekend he and the buddies Michael Brandon Samra, Michael Ellison, and David Collums had helped tear lower a barn on the local farm. As he came home Sunday he found his family dead.

Mark’s story was corroborated by who owns the farm, and officials looked much deeper in to the gang symbols in the crime scene. They considered Randy’s undercover operate in the Narcotics Bureau from the Alabama Alcoholic Drink Control Commission. Had he been wiped out for revenge? However that type of analysis brought to some stalemate.

Each day following the victims put together, a $20,000 reward was announced for tips resulting in an arrest and conviction within the situation. In many calls that arrived, Mark Duke was referred to as a troubled and angry youth. Together with Samra, Collums, and Ellison, Mark Duke had created their very own gang, based on “Family Massacre.”

The situation arrived to focus carrying out a call about Mark’s 14-year-old girlfriend, who’d informed her friend that Mark accepted to killing his family. In the police station, the girlfriend told government bodies what Mark had informed her and just how his buddies were involved. She’d information regarding the murders that hadn’t occurred public.

The lady decided to put on a wire and record Mark’s buddies speaking concerning the murders. These recorded conversations gave police enough evidence to usher in Mark’s buddies for questioning. 

Ellison and Collums individually told police they gave Mark and Samra a trip to Mark’s house and remained within the vehicle in the front yard. Samra initially minimized his role within the murders, based on Randall Hillman, Chief Deputy Da of Shelby County. 

“But after we allow him to realize that his buddies had ratted him out,” stated Hillman, “he essentially will roll over and provides what we should call a ‘lay lower confession.’”

Samra told detectives there is longstanding friction between Mark and Randy which Mark spoke about killing his father. Tensions escalated to murder when Randy declined to allow Mark use his truck.

Samra detailed what choose to go lower the night time from the massacre. He stated he joined the home with Mark, who increased to his father and shot him hard. Mark then brutally stabbed Randy.

Dedra attempted to leave and it was shot within the side from the face, blowing out her teeth. Dedra grabbed Chelisa plus they ran for an upstairs bathroom and locked the doorway. Mark kicked an opening in and shot Dedra. They’d forget about bullets so that they used knives around the women. Chelisa’s throat was slashed two times. Samra cut Chelsea’s throat as she apparently pleaded with for whim. 

Throughout the account “Samra had simply no emotion, no feeling, no remorse, no nothing,” stated Hillman. He stated Mark told him there might be no witnesses. The gang symbols were designed to throw police from the track. He helped retrieve the knives that were utilized in the crimes.

When police interviewed Mark, he rapidly lawyered up. 

On March 26, 1997, Ellison and Collums were billed with murder. Duke and Samra were billed with capital murder. Within the run-to the trial, Ellison and Collums struck a plea bargain as well as their trials didn’t occur. “The plea which was offered was 16 years,” stated Hillman. 

In March 1998, Samra was attempted and charged and sentenced to dying. Annually later, Samra came off dying row to testify against Mark Duke’s trial. Duke’s attorneys tried to discredit Samra by claiming he is at court because he’d designed a deal for leniency. 

“Samra denied claiming,” stated Hillman. “He looks up and that he states, ‘No, mister, it is not true … somebody has in truth by what happened. And it appears as though I’m the only person that’s going to get it done.’ The whole courtroom went dead silent.” 

Mark Duke was charged and sentenced to dying. “He didn’t have remorse,” stated Thomas. “He understood that Dedra and also the two women were for the reason that house and that he understood he was going to need to kill these. Somebody who would do this is simply pure evil.”

In 2004, he was re-sentenced to existence imprisonment without parole following the Top Court barred the dying penalty for individuals under 18 during the time of the offense.

Michael Brandon Samra was 19 once the family was massacred. On May 15, 2019, he was performed by lethal injection.

To understand more about the situation, watch  “Family Massacre,” airing Fridays at 9/8c on Archiweekend, or stream episodes here. 

Written by Stephanie Green

I am dreamer and book reader.

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