The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

When ‘Jessica’ Was 10, 11, 12

Posted on | July 5, 2012 | 40 Comments

‘Speedway Bomber’ Brett Kimberlin was sentenced to 50 years in 1981

“For three consecutive summers, 1974 through 1976, they took vacations of a week or longer in Disney World, Mexico, and Hawaii. Sandi couldn’t get time off from work, so on these summer trips it was just the two of them — Brett and Jessica.
“Eyebrows levitated. A drug-dealing colleague had memories of conversations with Kimberlin that struck him as odd: ‘We’d see a girl, who was pubescent or prepubescent, and Brett would get this smile and say, “Hey, what do you think? Isn’t she great?” It made me very uncomfortable.’ Another recalled Kimberlin introducing Jessica as ‘my girlfriend,’ and if irony was intended, it was too subtle to register. To a coworker . . . Sandi confided that Kimberlin was ‘grooming Jessica to be his wife.’ To another, Sandi explained that although Kimberlin’s relationship with Jessica was chaste, he intended ‘to wait for her and would marry her.’”

Mark Singer, Citizen K: The Deeply Weird American Journey of Brett Kimberlin, Page 78

We do not actually know the name of the girl who was reportedly “groomed” by Brett Kimberlin. Mark Singer used the pseudonym “Jessica” for Sandi Barton’s youngest daughter, whereas a 1981 news article by Joe Gelarten of the Indianapolis Star used the name “Debbie.”

Jessica/Debbie was 10 years old when Kimberlin, 20 at the time, entered her life in 1974, and she was 14 when her grandmother, 65-year-old Julia Scyphers, was murdered — a crime that remains officially unsolved to this day.

Jessica/Debbie had an older sister who, according to Singer’s account, seems to have objected to Kimberlin’s weird interest in the younger Barton girl. It may have been the older sister who expressed concern to Mrs. Scyphers. As Gelarten reported, Mrs. Scyphers “violently objected” to the strange relationship between her daughter, her granddaughters and Kimberlin, a notorious drug smuggler. Mrs. Scyphers had the two girls move in with her, forbade them to see Kimberlin and, reportedly, Kimberlin became so despondent over this separation from the youngest Barton girl that he threatened suicide.

Then on the morning of July 29, 1978, a man shot Julia Scyphers dead, in a crime that investigators believed was a murder for hire.

Nobody ever said Kimberlin himself shot her, but his conflict with Mrs. Scyphers over the Barton girl made him the only person with a motive to wish her dead and he soon came under suspicion by detectives. A few weeks later, a weeklong series of bombings struck the small Indiana town and, when Kimberlin was apprehended for those otherwise unexplained explosions, police believed they understood the connection: The bombings had been a ill-conceived effort by Kimberlin to distract police whom he knew to be investigating the Scyphers murder.

Fred Scyphers was the only witness who had seen the man who shot his wife. In February 1979, he identified William “Bill” Bowman, a member of Kimberlin’s drug gang, as the gunman. However, Fred Scyphers died three months later and, with the only eyewitness dead, the charges against Bowman were dropped.



40 Responses to “When ‘Jessica’ Was 10, 11, 12”

  1. DonaldDouglas
    July 5th, 2012 @ 10:42 am

    How did Fred Scyphers  die? Natural causes?

  2. Monitor2112
    July 5th, 2012 @ 10:45 am

    You learn something new every day.  This is the first I have heard mentioned of an older sister.

  3. Brett Kiimberlin: The Scumbag the Left Loves to Love | Daily Pundit
    July 5th, 2012 @ 10:49 am

    […] When ‘Jessica’ Was 10, 11, 12 : The Other McCain We do not actually know the name of the girl who was reportedly “groomed” by Brett Kimberlin. Mark Singer used the pseudonym “Jessica” for Sandi Barton’s youngest daughter, whereas a 1981 news article by Joe Gelarten of the Indianapolis Star used the name ”Debbie.” […]

  4. Bob Belvedere
    July 5th, 2012 @ 10:58 am

    I believe he was already dying from cancer when his wife was murdered.

  5. Robert Ritchie
    July 5th, 2012 @ 10:59 am

    It would be very interesting to know what happened to the two girls. It is my hope they grew up and have happy unmolested lives. I fear otherwise.

  6. Bob Belvedere
    July 5th, 2012 @ 11:00 am

    RELATED: Aaron Walker is Tweeting, when he can, from his appeal hearing in Maryland.!/AaronWorthing

  7. Dustin
    July 5th, 2012 @ 11:21 am

    This is easily the saddest aspect of the Kimberlin saga.

    Imagine those ladies losing both grandparents within weeks of eachother, one due to an execution.  Imagine as the eyewitness report is no longer useful as he dies shortly after.  And then your whole city is in a panic due to the wave of strange bombings, one blowing up a police car, one set in a parking lot as a school football game is concluding.

    And I worry what life was like with their remaining guardian, who let “Jessica” go on these trips in the first place.

  8. BigSkyBob
    July 5th, 2012 @ 11:43 am

    Are there any pictures of Julia Scyphers you can post? Brett Kimberlin probably reads everything you post. He has google alerts send it directly to his mailbox. I’m sure he must really hate Julia Scyphers. Because of her, he lost his girl, his freedom, and was targeted for anal rape. Seeing her face might very well get under his skin.

  9. Zilla of the Resistance
    July 5th, 2012 @ 11:52 am

    Someone should have investigated the mother who LET her daughter go off on all those trips, unsupervised, with such a known scumbag – ESPECIALLY after she admitted that she thought her daughter was being “groomed”!
    Why did she sacrifice her child, and then apparently also her own mother, to appease or protect Brett Kimberlin?
    Are there any investigators or reporters who would have the tools needed to track the mother or the girls down and talk to them now? The girls are adults now, they might have something important to say if anyone gave them the chance to talk.

  10. Zilla of the Resistance
    July 5th, 2012 @ 12:01 pm

    BREAKING NEWS via Twitter: Judge rules for Aaron Walker against  Brett Kimberlin! 
    That’s all I know so far.

  11. Tom
    July 5th, 2012 @ 12:11 pm

    Looks like the Md judiciary is finally waking up. It was dismissed w/o the defense even making it case.


  12. RosalindJ
    July 5th, 2012 @ 1:25 pm

     I too have wondered about the family over the years, and did not know up until now that there was an older sister.  Where are they now is one question I don’t expect to have answered any time soon.

  13. CallMeStormy
    July 5th, 2012 @ 1:45 pm

    Much fruitful research awaits those who dig into Kimberlin’s way-back past. For instance,  peruse this 1999 article from Slate Magazine, written by A.O. Scott, now a film critic for the New York Times: 

  14. Evilbloggerlady
    July 5th, 2012 @ 2:22 pm

    Good news!

  15. Evilbloggerlady
    July 5th, 2012 @ 2:23 pm

    Zilla’s post about AW is good news!

  16. Evilbloggerlady
    July 5th, 2012 @ 2:25 pm

    Creepy stuff. What is Kimberlin up to now?

  17. Finrod Felagund
    July 5th, 2012 @ 2:31 pm

    Independence Day came one day late for Aaron Walker this year.

  18. Zilla of the Resistance
    July 5th, 2012 @ 2:35 pm

    Better late than never – of course he NEVER should have been silenced, or even dragged into court for blogging, in the first place.

  19. JeffS
    July 5th, 2012 @ 3:19 pm

     That is an interesting connection indeed,CMS.  Thanks.

  20. SarahW
    July 5th, 2012 @ 4:14 pm

    There are pictures of a younger Julia (judy) Scyphers on the reunion pages of sandi Barton’s high school reunion pages ( and a few of the high-school-aged Sandra Barton.

  21. SarahW
    July 5th, 2012 @ 4:15 pm

    (She apparently supervised or chaperoned some activities)

  22. SarahW
    July 5th, 2012 @ 4:22 pm

    By the time he lost all access to “Jessica” after the murder, he was buddying up to another parent without a partner; and took her young teen and neice out for clothes shopping excursions…one of these trips was to establish his whereabouts during one of the bombings iirc.

    He also told Singer brat on the day of scyphers murder a(this appears to be a false story) that he had gone to get some t – shirts for a young teen he told Singer was a romantic interest of his.

  23. SarahW
    July 5th, 2012 @ 4:27 pm

    Sandi Barton for some reason needed to see it as “ok” and for some time she did. Even she told BK to stay away eventually. She testified he hit the kid (and I believe out of fury whe she tried to avoid him) and took a puppy he had given her away from her to

  24. SarahW
    July 5th, 2012 @ 4:29 pm

    Punish the child(again, I think she was resisting his control and his demands). He told some fibs to Singer about Barton’s testimony, but Singer obtained the transcript. kimberlin also denied “hitting” the girl and in the same sentence says he smacked her in the mouth for deceiving him or trying to deceive him.

  25. SarahW
    July 5th, 2012 @ 4:33 pm

    Singer ran across a cache of photos including some of the child, places they’d been(iirc) and some rather odd (and to me disturbing because of them being with his photos related to her) of BK , nude. That part of the book should be excerpted instead of described. Brett confesses that being nude around the girl was “normal” and no big deal. I say read that bit and come to your own conclusion about that set of photos.

  26. Rob Crawford
    July 5th, 2012 @ 4:55 pm

    “And as a result of being smeared by Matthews, Matt Drudge, and Rush Limbaugh, said Conason, Shearer had been subject to death threats and other forms of terror.”

    Huh. Wonder if Kimberlin learned from him, if he learned from Kimberlin, or if they’re running from a common playbook.

  27. Bob Belvedere
    July 5th, 2012 @ 5:01 pm

    Indeed, thanks.

    I’ve saved it as a PDF.

  28. Monitor2112
    July 5th, 2012 @ 5:04 pm

    Me too.  I think they probably want to forget this whole period in their lives.  

  29. CallMeStormy
    July 5th, 2012 @ 6:04 pm
  30. robertstacymccain
    July 5th, 2012 @ 6:06 pm

    Bob’s right: He had cancer, but the actual cause of death was a stroke.

  31. Cmehusky
    July 5th, 2012 @ 7:27 pm

     You can bet hes doing his own kids,

  32. WOOT! #BrettKimberlin Loses! | hogewash
    July 5th, 2012 @ 7:27 pm

    […] there’s an interesting backgrounder on Brett Kimberlin at The Other McCain. Share this:TwitterFacebookLinkedInEmailPrintLike this:Like4 bloggers like this. This entry was […]

  33. Cmehusky
    July 5th, 2012 @ 7:32 pm

    Way to go Aaron, Now write that bitch to death!

  34. Brett Kimberlin: The Scumbag the Left Loves to Love | BizNax
    July 5th, 2012 @ 8:32 pm

    […] When ‘Jessica’ Was 10, 11, 12 : The Other McCain We do not actually know the name of the girl who was reportedly “groomed” by Brett Kimberlin. Mark Singer used the pseudonym “Jessica” for Sandi Barton’s youngest daughter, whereas a 1981 news article by Joe Gelarten of the Indianapolis Star used the name ”Debbie.” […]

  35. JD2
    July 5th, 2012 @ 11:33 pm

    Mom was most likely on drugs and Kimberlin was her pusher. He could manipulate her easily

  36. AblativMeatshld
    July 6th, 2012 @ 3:27 am

    And here I had thought that I couldn’t be any more disgusted with BK…

    Guess that shows me…

  37. Bob Belvedere
    July 6th, 2012 @ 7:14 am

    Saved as a PDF – thanks again.

  38. The #BrettKimberlin Report D+42: Andrew Understood « The Camp Of The Saints
    July 6th, 2012 @ 8:40 pm

    […] Stacy McCain provided us with some of the sordid details of this aspect of the story of Brett Kimberlin.  A highlight: FROM AN UNDISCLOSED […]

  39. Nope, I have not forgotten about Neal Rauhauser or Brett Kimberlin « The Daley Gator
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  40. Brett Kimberlin: ‘I Want to Be Left Alone’ : The Other McCain
    July 12th, 2012 @ 11:25 am

    […] scrutiny that would cause people to start asking questions about his unseemly interest in the pubescent granddaughter of Julia Scyphers, who was murdered in July 1978 in what investigators at the time believed to be a contract killing […]