SEVERE WX : Flood Warning View Alerts

Haunted Lafayette: New York Street Murder

More gruesome than ghostly is one of the strangest murder cases in Lafayette history.

Posted: Oct 31, 2018 7:07 AM
Updated: Oct 31, 2018 7:15 AM

LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) — More gruesome than ghostly is one of the strangest murder cases in Lafayette history. The final story in News 18 This Morning's "Haunted Lafayette" series takes us back more than 35 years ago, to one August morning in a neighborhood just south of downtown.

The following is an excerpt from Dorothy Salvo Davis and W.C. Madden's book "Haunted Lafayette."

"Marcia Heald, who may have been possessed, was convicted of brutally murdering a neighbor back in 1982 in a Lafayette apartment. On August 2 of that year, Marcia attended a poetry reading at the Smith's apartment at 601 1/2 New York Street. Shelly offered her couch for Marcia to sleep on, but she declined and went to her car instead. At 5:00 the next morning, Gerald Smith left his wife Shelly to deliver newspapers. Some time later, Marica awoke in the car and decided she had to return to the apartment and kill Shelly Smith because she believed her to be a serpent possessed by Satan. Shelly was lying naked under the covers. She looked like a snake to Marcia, who yelled, "Yahweh's kingdom come" and began stabbing her. Then she tried to remove the "snake's" head, because she felt like it would be rejuvenated if she didn't behead it. She went back to the bathroom, showed dressed and then left. She drove around for awhile an stopped and ate breakfast at a restaurant near Purdue University. Later that day, Lafayette police apprehended her and got a confession out of the crazed woman. Marcia was not your typical murderer. The Plainfield resident had been a librarian at the Indiana State Library. The divorced mother of two spent two Saturdays a month at the Indianapolis Children's Museum demonstrating weaving. However, she told court psychiatrists that she was Eve from the Garden of Eden. She pleaded innocent by reason of innocent by reason of insanity, but the judge ruled that she was competent to stand trial. Her attorney, Brent Westerfield, tried to get a continuance before the trial began, because he said his client wasn't competent to stand trial. Psychiatrists differed on whether she was insane. Two of the three determined that she knew what she was doing at the time of the murder. At the hearing, Marcia said "Human beings have no knowledge of my world. I am not a human being, I'm an animal. When asked who 'Messiah" was, she replied, "I am. My mission is to proclaim Christ, to replace religion with Yahweh, to replace law with Yahweh, to replace sanity with Yahweh. She added that she had died seven times and had been reincarnated each time. Marcia was the first witness for the defense. She began her testimony by claiming that her name was 'Mars, the God of War' and that she was 5,743 years old, but 44 years in her present form. She later testified, "I began seeing something in front of Shelly. I saw this face and I saw a snake. Yahweh was sending me messages. I could see something at her neck like scissors or knives. I said to myself, 'Is this the lady I have to battle with?'" A jury took only four and a half hours to convict the woman. The forty-four-year-old woman was sentenced to forty years for the murder and thirty years for burglary. In 1998, Marcia sought clemency for the murder. She said that she felt no remorse for what she had done but that she would not murder again if she were free. 'I think it was a test to see if I would be obedient, and I proved that I was, and the contract is finished.' she said during her public hearing. I think Yahweh owes me something this time because of what I did for him. Needless to say, her request for clemency was denied by the governor."

The last record we could find shows Heald is still alive, and being held in the Indiana Women's prison in Indianapolis.

Watch previous "Haunted Lafayette" stories below:

Amelia Earhart and Hangar Number One

The Pythian Home

The Tippecanoe County Triple Execution

The Lahr House Guillotine

Lafayette
Clear
47° wxIcon
Hi: 60° Lo: 35°
Feels Like: 44°
Kokomo
Clear
41° wxIcon
Hi: 56° Lo: 34°
Feels Like: 36°
Rensselaer
Clear
36° wxIcon
Hi: 58° Lo: 33°
Feels Like: 31°
Lafayette
Clear
47° wxIcon
Hi: 58° Lo: 33°
Feels Like: 44°
Danville
Clear
43° wxIcon
Hi: 59° Lo: 34°
Feels Like: 38°
Frankfort
Clear
43° wxIcon
Hi: 58° Lo: 33°
Feels Like: 37°
Frankfort
Partly Cloudy
43° wxIcon
Hi: 57° Lo: 33°
Feels Like: 37°
Monticello
Clear
39° wxIcon
Hi: 59° Lo: 34°
Feels Like: 34°
Monticello
Clear
39° wxIcon
Hi: 60° Lo: 33°
Feels Like: 34°
Logansport
Clear
36° wxIcon
Hi: 58° Lo: 33°
Feels Like: 36°
Warmer, wetter, stormy pattern ahead.
WLFI Radar
WLFI Temps
WLFI Planner

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 662750

Reported Deaths: 12623
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion907691647
Lake48461880
Allen35897638
Hamilton32121398
St. Joseph30032513
Elkhart25403417
Vanderburgh21261379
Tippecanoe20050203
Johnson16362360
Porter15987270
Hendricks15835300
Clark11976181
Madison11756319
Vigo11625230
Monroe10343163
Delaware9842179
LaPorte9778197
Howard9059198
Kosciusko8567111
Bartholomew7464147
Warrick7422151
Hancock7409132
Floyd7217170
Wayne6640192
Grant6432157
Boone610088
Morgan6096125
Dubois5916111
Dearborn548368
Cass545099
Marshall5427104
Henry542593
Noble509778
Jackson465067
Shelby460790
Lawrence4186113
Gibson401381
Harrison400464
Clinton396153
Montgomery387283
DeKalb385878
Miami357563
Knox357485
Whitley349537
Huntington345777
Steuben338855
Wabash331876
Putnam330559
Ripley327162
Adams323549
Jasper316643
White297352
Jefferson295074
Daviess285496
Fayette271956
Decatur270988
Greene261580
Posey261231
Wells258375
Scott250850
Clay241644
LaGrange240970
Randolph225476
Spencer218030
Jennings215344
Washington211627
Sullivan203339
Fountain201642
Starke188251
Owen182353
Fulton179037
Jay177928
Carroll176518
Perry173235
Orange171250
Rush165122
Vermillion160842
Franklin159435
Tipton146741
Parke139316
Pike127832
Blackford120627
Pulaski106644
Newton96532
Brown95139
Benton92213
Crawford90713
Martin80114
Warren75814
Switzerland7548
Union67210
Ohio53711
Unassigned0431

COVID-19 Important links and resources

As the spread of COVID-19, or as it's more commonly known as the coronavirus continues, this page will serve as your one-stop for the resources you need to stay informed and to keep you and your family safe. CLICK HERE

Closings related to the prevention of the COVID-19 can be found on our Closings page.

Community Events