Par­rot Poirot!

Bud solved a mur­der most fowl

Real People - - NEWS -

Some­thing just wasn’t right, Con­nie Ream de­cided un­easily.

She hadn’t heard from her neigh­bours, Glenna and Marty Du­ram, for two whole days.

The Du­rams lived across the street from Con­nie and her hus­band, Keith, in Sand Lake, Michi­gan, and the two cou­ples were close, talk­ing or tex­ting ev­ery day. What have you done with

Marty? Keith jok­ingly texted Glenna when there was no word from his pal.

But, on the sec­ond day of ra­dio si­lence, Con­nie was con­cerned.

She could hear the Du­rams’ dog bark­ing, so she let her­self into their blue clap­board bun­ga­low… and made a grisly, shock­ing dis­cov­ery.

Her friends’ bod­ies lay on the bed­room floor, cov­ered in blood.

Marty, 46, who was in his un­der­wear, had been shot five times at close range with a .22 cal­i­bre hand­gun. Three bul­lets had been fired into his chest and two bul­lets were lodged in his back and arm.

Glenna, 47, who was dressed, with a blan­ket over her legs, had two gun­shot wounds be­hind her ear.

They had both been shot dead, Con­nie thought. So did the two paramedics who ar­rived on the scene.

Then, an hour later, while a po­lice­man was try­ing to coax the Du­rams’ dog out of the bed­room, he thought that Glenna seemed to be breath­ing.

He knelt to check her pulse and, as soon as he touched her, her eyes flew open and her body jerked.

‘What are you do­ing?’ she cried. Glenna was alive!

But, while she spent months in hos­pi­tal re­cov­er­ing from the wounds to her head, po­lice were scratch­ing theirs, try­ing to work out what had hap­pened.

There was no sign of a breakin, and Glenna said she didn’t re­mem­ber what had hap­pened be­tween 11 May, when Marty was last seen alive, and 13 May, when his body was found. Had she pulled the trig­ger and then bun­gled her own sui­cide at­tempt?

She told po­lice she wouldn’t kill her hus­band be­cause he was all she had, and that they had had a hol­i­day planned.

‘I wouldn’t shoot my hus­band. I’d be bet­ter off di­vorc­ing him and leav­ing him,’ she told a de­tec­tive. ‘I know for a fact I wouldn’t kill my hus­band.’

So, what on earth had hap­pened in that house?

The cou­ple had been mar­ried for 11 years and seemed to get on well. Marty had three grown-up chil­dren from his first mar­riage, while Glenna had two.

He had been dis­abled in a car ac­ci­dent some years ear­lier and, in 2010, when his health wors­ened, Glenna be­came his carer, earn­ing £2,300 a month from the state, while Marty got £800 a month in dis­abil­ity ben­e­fit.

They split the money be­tween them but, while Marty was fru­gal – switch­ing lights off and turn­ing the heat­ing down, so much so that vis­i­tors wore thermals at their house – Glenna hit the casi­nos.

She got into the habit of go­ing once or twice a week. In 2010 alone, she gam­bled £55,000.

In 2012, dur­ing a trip to visit Marty’s brother, Dan, in Mon­tana, the cou­ple couldn’t go any­where with­out Glenna want­ing a casino stop.

‘We al­ways had to wait for Glenna to fin­ish gam­bling,’ Dan com­plained.

When he saw her pump­ing hun­dreds of pounds into slot ma­chines, she asked him not to tell Marty.

Glenna was into lot­tery tick­ets, too, buy­ing around £50-worth of tick­ets at one petrol sta­tion three to four times a week.

As the money drained away and the debts mounted, she kept it a se­cret from cau­tious Marty.

But, by May 2015, the house was about to be re­pos­sessed and auc­tioned off. And then Marty was shot dead...

A week af­ter the shoot­ing, Fran Falan, the wife of one of Marty’s cousins, con­tacted the po­lice, claim­ing that, as a psy­chic, she had in­for­ma­tion to help them.

Meet­ing the po­lice on her back pa­tio, she told them it was im­por­tant to look un­der the couch, or love seat, of the Du­rams’ home.

She also said that both Marty and Glenna were right-handed, and their hands were im­por­tant to the in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

Sure enough, in­ves­ti­ga­tors had found the mur­der weapon, a Ruger Sin­gle-six hand­gun, un­der the love seat.

Money drained and debts mounted

And, dur­ing Marty’s post mortem, it was dis­cov­ered that he was clutch­ing a clump of hair in his right hand.

Fran, who said she was with her daugh­ter on the night of the shoot­ing, added that she be­lieved Glenna was in­no­cent.

But, in the eyes of Marty’s fam­ily, there was only one cul­prit – and that was Glenna.

And there was a wit­ness who’d re­peated the cou­ple’s last ar­gu­ment, and even Marty’s dy­ing words.

Trou­ble was, he couldn’t sign a po­lice state­ment. That’s be­cause he was a par­rot! First a psy­chic, now a talk­ing par­rot... this case was get­ting stranger by the day. But Bud, aged 20, an African Grey par­rot, was Marty’s pet and had been his con­stant com­pan­ion for years. African greys, with their dis­tinc­tive red tail feath­ers, can live for 40 to 60 years in cap­tiv­ity and have the in­tel­li­gence of a hu­man child. They are bril­liant mim­ics, per­fectly re­peat­ing any­thing from a phone’s ring­tone to a cat’s miaow and – most im­pres­sively – speech, even in dif­fer­ent ac­cents. They can also as­so­ci­ate voices with faces. Af­ter Marty’s death, his ex-wife, Christina Keller, who’d once owned Bud with Marty, took the bird to live with her. As usual, he chat­tered and whis­tled while he clam­bered round his big white cage in her house. But, one day, a cou­ple of weeks af­ter the killing, Christina claimed she heard the clever bird re­peat­ing a chill­ing con­ver­sa­tion, us­ing Marty’s and Glenna’s voices.

First, she heard Bud shout, ‘Get out!’ Then he mim­icked a woman’s voice, say­ing, ‘Where will I go?’

Then, in what sounded like Marty’s voice, the bird shrieked, ‘Don’t f***ing shoot!’

She tried to video Bud say­ing all this, but African greys only talk when they want, so she only cap­tured the last line.

For 11 months af­ter Marty’s death, Christina didn’t tell any­one out­side the fam­ily about Bud’s rev­e­la­tion, which he had re­peated sev­eral times.

Then she shared the ‘Don’t f***ing shoot’ video of Bud with a lo­cal TV chan­nel, hop­ing it would at­tract pub­lic in­ter­est and fi­nally push the po­lice into mak­ing an ar­rest.

‘She’s just evil and mean and dirty in­side and out,’ Christina said about Glenna.

‘I be­lieve with all my heart that those are the last words of Marty,’ she added, sure that Bud had seen his owner’s mur­der.

‘He was there to see it all hap­pen and heard it. It was im­printed in his brain. He can’t let it go, and that’s aw­ful.’

Marty’s mum, Lil­lian, agreed, say­ing, ‘That bird picks up ev­ery­thing and any­thing, and it’s got the filth­i­est mouth around.’

The sur­prise star wit­ness had sung like a bird.

Three weeks later, Glenna – who had been a sus­pect since the killing – was ar­rested and kept in cus­tody at Ne­waygo County Jail.

Soon, ev­ery­one was talk­ing about Bud the par­rot as his video went vi­ral.

Would he take his perch in court? Blow the whis­tle on Glenna at the trial?

But Ne­waygo County pros­e­cu­tor Bob Spring­stead said he had no in­ten­tion of call­ing the par­rot to the wit­ness stand.

He pointed out the prob­lem of ask­ing Bud to swear an oath to tell the truth… ‘Are you rais­ing a wing? A foot?’

At Glenna’s trial, held in July 2017, the ev­i­dence stacked up against her.

Her phone had been used to search the kind of hand­gun used in the shoot­ing, and she left hand­writ­ten notes in en­velopes that, al­though they didn’t men­tion the killing or turn­ing the gun on her­self, read like sui­cide notes.

Shown pho­tos of her dead hus­band in court, Glenna showed no emo­tion.

Al­though her de­fence team said the ev­i­dence against her was ‘smoke and mir­rors’, the jury didn’t buy it. She was con­victed of mur­der and a firearms charge.

Hear­ing the ver­dict, Glenna started mouthing off, fling­ing her arms up in a mini-tantrum be­fore she was led off.

Sen­tenced in Au­gust, she will spend the rest of her life in jail.

And Bud can sleep peace­fully on his perch at night, know­ing that, thanks to him, he’s not the only one be­hind bars. Glenna’s lawyer says she plans to ap­peal.

Bud’s telltale video went vi­ral

‘Don’t f***king shoot!’ Bud mim­icked

Glenna had an un­seen wit­ness Marty’s pet brought his wife to book Bud’s ev­i­dence put Glenna be­hind bars

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