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The Robison family murders – a suspect no one noticed?

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(@jamesmsv)
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Last year I wrote a lengthy article on my website about this case, most of which will be familiar to anyone who has read through the posts on this site. However, on reading through the Michigan State Police report (which was kindly provided by either AK Wilks or Doranchak, my apologies for forgetting who originally posted it) , I came across an interesting section that bears more examination. In fact, it points to someone who should surely be considered a suspect – Shirly Robison’s brother Marvin Fulton.

Firstly, we have 3 indications that the killer may have returned to the cabin after the murders. This casts more doubt on Joseph Scolaro being the killer.
1) Gardener Russell Figg confirmed that a light was on the cabin when he knocked on the door the morning after (26th June). This light was later turned off by someone before the police arrived or the bulb blew in the interim.
2) The noted taped to the door and seen by Figg (with his young helper) was later moved to the window to cover a bullet hole. This is confirmed in the police report:

3) A red Volkswagen car was seen parked at the cabin on 4th July, verified by two witnesses. This, too, appears in the police report. Note the sentence: "There is a striking resemblance between a VW and the model Opal driven by [REDACTED]".

The police report states that later in July the same witnesses saw the same red car parked in the cottage driveway a few days after the murders were reported. This time they managed to trace the owner – Marvin Fulton. It is therefore reasonable to assume that the REDACTED name above is Marvin Fulton. He told police he was collecting a canoe he had lent to Shirley. We don’t know what kind of relationship the siblings had, but that behaviour does not sound right to me in the days following a distressing murder.
However, it also seems to confirm that Marvin Fulton visited the cottage before the bodies were discovered. Either that, or he was very unlucky that the killer was driving a very similar car. This could be brushed off as mere coincidence – until we read about his guns.

Now, I admit this is slight conjecture as there are some redactions on this page of the report. But there appears to be enough information present to implicate Marvin Fulton’s weapons, if not the man himself, in the murders. Here is the relevant page :

Note the following information:
1) The top left of the report says "Guns registered to Marvin Fulton".
2) the word ‘SUSPECT’ typed below the list of guns.
3) The sentence: [REDACTED] is a [REDACTED] to Mrs Shirley Robison. These missing words could be ‘FULTON’ and ‘BROTHER’.
4) The results of the test conclude that "…the lands and grooves of the weapons registered to [REDACTED] are the same as the weapons used in this murder." (my emphasis)

Given that the title of the report is "Guns registered to Marvin Fulton", I think it’s a reasonable assumption to believe that the redacted name in point four is one and the same.

As far as I can tell, this is pretty damning stuff. I can find no further reference to any ongoing investigation into Marvin Fulton.

Check out my website: www.darkideas.net

 
Posted : June 9, 2021 3:51 pm
(@coffee-time)
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I thought I had read the entire stack of reports, but somehow I missed that. Googling further, I found an old discussion about him on the Websleuths board (well, a few months old):

https://www.websleuths.com/forums/threa … 497/page-6

 
Posted : June 10, 2021 12:21 am
(@jamesmsv)
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Thanks for that link – they actually quote my article quite a few times, I think I was the first to notice this whole Martin Fulton section. However user itsrak does mention something that I did not know – that Fulton registered both his guns within 12 months of the murders. They do not quote their source but I’ll take it on good faith that they’ve managed to find the information from licensing records (as a non-US citizen I have no idea how that all works but I imagine decent records are kept?). It’s the ballistic match that really gets to me, how was this not investigated further? Perhaps it was and led to nothing, hence the dead end in the report.

Further down the post there is also discussion that Fulton and Scolaro chartered a plane together to fly up to Lake Michigan when they heard the news. No evidence for that has been offered but, if true, it might suggest the two knew each other quite well. This would make sense as Fulton was listed as a director of Robison’s company… except that he denied any link to it when pressed by police. It would seem odd, however, to put distance between yourself and Scolaro in that way and then go and charter a plane together.

Check out my website: www.darkideas.net

 
Posted : June 10, 2021 11:30 am
(@coffee-time)
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I agree. Yet, he’s mentioned so infrequently that I have to wonder what happened there.

Also of interest: according to Link, the $200,000 estate was ultimately split between Fulton, Elaine Fox, Ross Robison, and Shirley’s mother. (I see it’s mentioned in that thread, but I’ll leave this quote up.)

 
Posted : June 12, 2021 2:29 am
(@jamesmsv)
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That’s really interesting, because if Fulton could guess that the estate would be split evenly between surviving relatives, it gives him a possible motive. This would of course be in addition to the potential motive of being in league with Scolaro to defraud Robison’s business… or setting Scolaro up to take the fall.

I was thinking of the significance of Fulton buying his two guns in the year leading up to the murders. We know that police tested one of Scolaro’s guns and noticed it was loaded with the same rare Sako ammo used in the crime. Could Fulton have taken some of this ammo from Scolaro, or been given it by him? Could Fulton have seen Scolaro’s guns and bought two of the same calibre in order to set him up?

Something has been bothering me about the crime scene, too. Shirley was possibly sexually assaulted and was definitely treated differently to the other victims. She was left out on display, in comparison to the rest of her family, albeit under a blanket. Out on display… yet concealed. I am sure a psychologist would have a field day with that situation. But what if this contradictive behaviour was because her relationship to the murderer was not sexual but familial?

Check out my website: www.darkideas.net

 
Posted : June 13, 2021 11:13 pm
buyerninety
(@buyerninety)
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https://www.northernexpress.com/news/fe … se-closed/

 
Posted : June 14, 2021 12:56 am
(@coffee-time)
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Something has been bothering me about the crime scene, too. Shirley was possibly sexually assaulted and was definitely treated differently to the other victims. She was left out on display, in comparison to the rest of her family, albeit under a blanket. Out on display… yet concealed. I am sure a psychologist would have a field day with that situation. But what if this contradictive behaviour was because her relationship to the murderer was not sexual but familial?

Yes, I’d love to know what a profiler like Richard Walter would think about the Robison murders. You have this cold-blooded and highly efficient execution of an entire family, yet leaving Shirley exposed was a bridge too far for somebody. It would seem to imply something personal.

 
Posted : June 14, 2021 3:04 am
(@nick-no-nora)
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Of all the home invasion family murders of the time – Boles, Bricca, Sims, Robison, Dumler – I feel like this is the least likely to be connected. Boles is probably the most likely.

 
Posted : June 14, 2021 6:31 am
(@jamesmsv)
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https://www.northernexpress.com/news/feature/case-closed/

Of course, the opinions of the original investigators carry a lot of weight. However, even they gloss over or ignore some of the finer details of their own reports. For example, if the article quotes them correctly, then they state:
"Later, the investigators matched shell casings found at the crime scene with shell casings found at a firing range where witnesses had seen Scolaro shoot an AR-7 rifle that looked like the other weapon used in the crime, a rifle which had disappeared." (my underline)

The cases weren’t ‘matched’ according to the police report, unless they just mean they were the same brand. I’m not on my PC where the police report is kept so I can’t quote verbatim, but the forensics result on the shells at the firing range were deemed ‘very similar but not an exact match’ or words to that effect. Contrast this with the forensics report that confirms Fulton’s guns were a match for the murder weapons.

Once we add in aspects such as the distance involved, the return to the scene of the crime, Fulton’s car seen at the cottage after the murders, and all the crazy stuff involving Mr Roebert… I’m fairly convinced that Scolaro was involved in the murders but I see plenty to suggest he was not alone and was probably not the trigger man. It seems to me that the detectives of the day developed tunnel vision for Scolaro at the expense of other strong leads that were never explored thoroughly. There are many cases of wrongful conviction where this has happened, it’s far from unique unfortunately.

Check out my website: www.darkideas.net

 
Posted : June 14, 2021 11:43 am
(@jamesmsv)
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Of all the home invasion family murders of the time – Boles, Bricca, Sims, Robison, Dumler – I feel like this is the least likely to be connected. Boles is probably the most likely.

I’d forgotten about the Boles case – having refreshed my memory with the excellent Mountain View newspaper article from 2004, I came across something…. Darlene Boles was married prior to becoming Mrs Boles – maybe the mother of all Zynchronicity? :

There were rumours Harvey M (Marvin?) Fulton had spent 15 years in prison , but these are unsubstantiated. I don’t think he could be Marvin Fulton. But a relation? Someone else with strong links to the criminal world? If we were looking for something or someone to link Michigan to California, this would be a good place to start.

Check out my website: www.darkideas.net

 
Posted : June 14, 2021 1:22 pm
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