A lonely woman looking for love, a handsome Army sniper, and a husband murdered in cold blood
FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. --"Hey baby, I miss you already. . . . I can't wait until you come back so we can take care of each other . . . you know sex . . . sex . . . sex . . . and of course more sex." John Diamond was crazy about Michelle Theer--and why not? He had never met anyone quite like her. She was really something--those soft, brown eyes, that adventuress nature. She held a doctorate degree in psychology, she was smart as a whip, she was easy to talk to, and she was a passionate lover--a "sexy, gorgeous, intelligent" woman, he gushed in another E-mail to her. Diamond was accustomed to getting his way with the ladies, but with Michelle, well, she was the one in control. "I love making your life easier," he wrote another time. "That's my function in life, you know." Before long, if all went as planned, he would leave the Army, where he had trained as a sniper, and he and Michelle would live happily ever after.
There was a hitch, of course. John and Michelle were married--but not to each other. Her husband, Frank Martin Theer--everybody called him Marty--flew giant C-130 cargo planes for the Air Force. Captain Theer was often gone for long stretches, and Michelle would get restless, prowling the Internet for bedmates. That's how she met Diamond. Marty and Michelle, to put it mildly, had a strained marriage, but they certainly were well off. Marty was a savvy investor, and to make sure that Michelle would be provided for, he took out a $500,000 life insurance policy in case something happened to him. Something did.
Marty was shot to death on the night of Dec. 17, 2000, in the darkened parking lot behind Michelle's office building in Fayetteville. Police believe the killer waited in a hedge alongside the building, watched Marty walk up the exterior steps to the second-floor landing, stepped out of the bushes, and began firing a 9-millimeter Smith & Wesson handgun at him. Five shots struck Marty--one in the right side of the stomach, a second and third in the back of his thighs, a fourth in his left forearm. Probably the last thing he ever saw, after tumbling 17 1/2 feet down the stairway and landing on his back, was the killer bending over him and pumping the final shot--the kill shot--behind his left ear. It was almost 11 p.m. It was bitterly cold. Marty Theer, a strapping man, 6 feet, 1 inch, 215 pounds, was 31 years old.
Witchcraft. Police and military investigators soon discovered that Diamond, an expert shot with a 9-mm handgun or a sniper's rifle, had an "inappropriate extramarital relationship" with Michelle Theer. That made them immediate suspects. No one else, investigators say, had a motive. Passion and greed, it was as simple as that. There were no eyewitnesses, no one who could put a gun in either suspect's hands. But through painstaking work, investigators built a strong circumstantial case against them. Diamond was the shooter, they said; Michelle Theer played on his obsession with her to manipulate him into killing her husband.