Shelby County Indiana
The Shelbyville News
A Morristown -- area Marine home on leave was shot to death at a Fairland-area home early today during what State Police and sheriff officers said was a drinking party at the home. Fatally wounded was Terry Wayne Heller, 22, R.R. 1, Morristown, who lives near Gwynneville. Heller was a sergeant in the Marine Corps and was home on leave after having served a tour of duty of Vietnam. He was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Carl Fischer, also of near Gwynneville.
October 10, 1969
TERRY HELLER VICTIM OF
SHOOTING NEAR FAIRLAND
Heller was found dead of a gunshot wound at the home of Larry Yeley, 24, R.R. 2, Fairland, located about a mile west of Fairland. The incident was reported to sheriff officers and State Police at 3 a.m. today. An autopsy was conducted this morning but the findings of the examination weren't immediately available. State Police Det. Sgt. Harry Moore, Trooper Ronald White and Deputy Sheriff Norman Murnan conducted the investigation, and said Heller died of a 22-caliber rifle wound of the right temple. Authorities said the fatal bullet had been fired at close range.
The investigating officers said "we still have a lot of investigating to do in the case." Sgt. Moore said, "right now, we're not going to say the shooting was accidental suicide or anything else. We want the results of the autopsy and we want to talk to some people again." Investigators said they learned that Sgt. Heller and two companions, Jack Thurman, 23, R.R. 3, Fairland and Cherice Fallon, 20, 721 Montgomery, had been "riding around," and they went to the Yeley house around midnight.
Sgt. Moore said there was evidence that the victim, Thurman, and Miss Fallon had been drinking before going to the Yeley home, and he said there was evidence that the three and Yeley continued drinking while they were at the house. Sgt. Moore said there apparently were no eyewitnesses of the actual shooting. The persons at the house told investigators that a loaded 22-caliber lever-action rifle was propped up against a wall in the living room. Yeley told officers he kept the rifle there because he "had been shooting saome rats around the place."
The other three persons said Heller had picked up the rifle and had been looking at it. Yeley, Thurman and Miss Fallon told officers they heard the gun "go off suddenly," and they found Heller on a couch in the living room with the rifle in his lap. The counch was near where the rifle had been propped against the wall, investigators said. Yeley reportedly was in the same room with the victim at the time but he said he had his back turned to the victim, and didn't see the actual shooting. Records show that Yeley and Thurman were for a time charged in 1964 in connection with another fatal shooting of a London area youth that occurred July 22, 1964. Investigators said at the time of the 1964 shooting that it stemmed from what they called at the time a "gang fight." A local grand jury indicted Yeley and Thurman and other youths at that time on charges stemming from that shooting, and they were arrested in the case. However, court records showed that all of the charges against Yeley and Thurman involved in that incident were dismissed by the state.
Funeral arrangements for Mr. Heller were not complete, and are to be announced later.
Contributed by Phyllis Miller Fleming
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