Arizona Murder Mystery: Guilt of Man in 1962 Killings Thrown into Question

Part One: Conviction Questioned

They were dead before their bodies hit the ground.

In the moonlight, the gunman stood over the two of them and delivered one more shot for each, right in the temple.

It was 1962, and the area was still pure desert, creosote bushes and scrub grass that ran all the way out to the mountains.

By the time sheriff’s deputies arrived at the scene, just northeast of Scottsdale and Bell roads, it was morning. The bodies of Joyce Sterrenberg and Tim McKillop had been there all night.

The killings made no sense. The victims, a couple, were good kids. Everybody said so.

For the next 49 years, investigators, politicians, lawyers and family members would try to understand what happened.

A sociopath said he did it, but then he died.

A strung-out addict said she saw it happen, but then she denied it.

A lawyer who became a judge heard a confession he couldn’t forget, but he had to keep it secret.

A wife, angry and defiant, finally broke the case open. She was the one who led investigators to Bill Macumber and helped get him convicted.

But he said he didn’t do it. And there are many who now wonder if he did.

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Courtesy of John Faherty, The Arizona Republic• Sun Jun. 5, 2011 12:00am MT