Vinton Neighbors Shocked at Arrest of Man for Indiana Murder
By Dave Franzman, Reporter
VINTON, Iowa - The arrest and extradition of a Vinton man on a 15-year-old Indiana murder charge came as a complete surprise to neighbors in that Benton County community on Friday.
Clinton Mackey, 33, made his initial court appearance Friday morning after confessing in Iowa that he had killed Ericka Case of West Terre Haute, Indiana back in 1998. Mackey had appeared in a Benton County courtroom earlier this week and waived extradition back to Indiana to face the murder charge there.
Benton County Sheriff Randy Forsyth said Mackey apparently moved to Vinton about five years ago and was most recently living in a house at 602 E. 12th Street with his wife and three kids. Forsyth said he had never come to the attention of Iowa authorities until last fall when investigators in Indiana reopened the cold case there and came to Iowa to re-interview Mackey. News reports from Indiana indicate Mackey was a suspect initially but authorities there were never able to charge him in the case.
Sheriff Forsyth said Mackey came to the sheriff’s department in Vinton on Tuesday along with a friend and asked to speak. During the interview, the sheriff said Mackey confessed to the 15-year-old Indiana crime. The sheriff said a Benton County investigator took a formal statement.
“Indication was this has been bothering him since the time it happened and he couldn’t go any further and he wanted to tell about it and get it over with,” Forsyth said.
The sheriff said when Mackey confessed at first, he didn’t know what he was talking about. But as he said his name, the sheriff remembered the interview with Indiana investigators last fall. Forsyth said he got the impression Mackey was feeling some heat and simply wanted to tell someone what happened.
At his Vinton home, several people, who didn’t identify themselves, left quickly and declined to answer any questions.
One neighbor across the street, Cindy Senner, said she didn’t know much about the family but did remember how Clinton Mackey helped her clean up following the big Vinton windstorm several years ago.
“Very nice people, he played games with the kids outside. He was good with the kids, he was a good neighbor,” Senner said.
Several other neighbors expressed shock at the idea someone with a criminal past was quietly living among them.
Several patrons at the Ron-Da-Voo bar in downtown Vinton remembered Mackey as a frequent visitor.
Dennis Van Slyke recognized his photograph and said he probably saw Mackey, and sometimes his wife, several times a week at the bar. Van Slyke said he remembers visiting Mackey and inviting him to his farm near Vinton. Van Slyke said he was having a hard time reconciling those images with the suspect who allegedly killed a victim by stabbing her 33 times in Indiana.
“When I saw his picture, I go ‘oh my god’ I couldn’t believe it you just couldn’t see it in the man I mean I just couldn’t see it,” Van Slyke said.
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