Brewster’s book about the Russell Smrekar murders “purely fictional”? NOT!

Shown are victims: Michael Mansfield, Jay and Robin Fry, and Ruth Martin

Shown are victims: Michael Mansfield, Jay and Robin Fry, and Ruth Martin

Former Lincoln (IL) PD officer Tom Brewster’s new release, The Hung Jury, was inspired by the true events of the 1976 Logan County murders. His book is not “purely fictional” or “entirely” “a product of the author’s imagination,” as presented by Brewster and his publisher (World Castle Publishing).

The leading character/antagonist in his book, “Roderick Constance,” is blatantly derived from the true character of notorious serial killer Russell Albin Smrekar and the real-life murders of Michael Mansfield (“John Mason”), Ruth Martin (“Irene Stokes”), and Jay and Robin Fry (“Jack and Theresa Fink”). The murderous true events of 1976 have been fictionalized, and he has inserted some inconsequential fictional scenes here and there, but Brewster cannot publicly claim, “My book is purely fictional. There is no resemblance to the truth, and none of my characters were gleened [sic] from real life.” This book is absolutely BASED ON A TRUE STORY and inspired by true events, or it could also be marketed as a fictionalized true story. To claim otherwise is deceptive and an attempt by the author to take credit for dreaming up Russell Smrekar and the murders he committed. The notion that the “The Hung Jury” is “purely” and “entirely” a work of “ fiction” is a “product of the author’s imagination.”

Former Lincoln, IL PD Detective William A. Krueger also wrote about the Russell Smrekar murders. He released his book in 2003 and marketed it as the “true story” about Smrekar and the murders of Mansfield, Martin and the Frys. However, Krueger depicted scenes relating to evidence that are completely fabricated, and he also presented hearsay as fact. He attempted to deceive the public who were unaware of the true facts. For example, Krueger presented false information about the BC Rich guitar stolen in the Lincoln College burglary in which Mansfield and Smrekar were both charged with theft. He wrote that his former LPD partner, Detective Tom Maurer, searched “Smrekar’s car, a white and blue Buick Skylark,” and found the BC Rich guitar in the trunk. Krueger claimed he was present while Maurer was questioning Smrekar about the alleged discovery of the guitar in the Skylark’s trunk, and Krueger claimed Smrekar gave a “stellar performance.” Krueger’s portrayal of this scene in his book is COMPLETELY FABRICATED, but he leads the public to believe it’s true.

The true facts are the BC Rich guitar was discovered and recovered from an apartment in Joliet, IL on October 3, 1975. Shortly after that date, Joliet PD officer M. G. Taylor SHIPPED the guitar to Tom Maurer at the Lincoln Police Department. In addition, Smrekar didn’t even own a Buick Skylark during the time frame Krueger claimed the guitar was found in its trunk. The Assignment of Title for the 1968 Buick Skylark wasn’t notarized and transferred to Smrekar until Oct. 22, 1976.

Most importantly, Krueger claimed no direct evidence connected to Ruth Martin’s murder was found and no suspects were developed. In reality, he chose to withhold from the public the most critical item of evidence collected in the Martin case – the partially burned, bloody T-shirt collected in Kickapoo Creek Park on June 8, 76; now, this one critical item of evidence is the ONLY Martin evidence MISSING from the LPD without explanation. It didn’t sprout legs and walk out of there on its own. Krueger’s false and fabricated claims don’t end there; there’s much, much more to this critical item of evidence, and Krueger has repeatedly presented egregious lies about it.

My trilogy, “BURIED TRUTH,” is the most comprehensive reveal of the true facts relating to these historical 1976 Logan County murders. I’ve discovered and uncovered profound NEW information and evidence (some of which was concealed from proper authorities in ’76) supporting that Drabing (convicted of the Schneider triple homicide) and Smrekar (convicted of the Fry double homicide) DID NOT ACT ALONE. There’s also supporting evidence of an ongoing COVER-UP.

Now, Tom Brewster comes waltzing in promoting The Hung Jury as “purely fiction” and claiming his storyline and the concept is “entirely” a “product of the author’s [his] own imagination” and bears “NO resemblance to real life” and that “NONE” of his “characters are gleaned from real life.” In essence, to make this false claim is for him to say to me – the author of Process of Elimination, True Facts & Findings, and Buried Truth – “Hey Bonnie, you know all that stuff you’ve been reinvestigating and writing about for almost 20 years . . . I made it all up! Russell Smrekar and the murders of Mansfield, Martin and Frys never really happened because it was all manufactured from my own imagination.”

Brewster’s claim is outlandish.

Of course, Brewster’s friends think I’m being “rude” and a “bully” for pointing out these facts, and that I should just allow Brewster to take credit for inventing the real life characters and the unusual, murderous Logan County events of 1976. Mr. Brewster also recently stated publicly on Facebook that by setting the record straight I had “attacked” and “assaulted” him. Presenting the truth is not an “attack” or an “assault.” Presenting the truth does not make me “rude” or a “bully,” it makes me honest.

Tom Brewster and William Krueger worked at the Lincoln PD during the same time frame in 1976. What he and Krueger have essentially done is release works that muddy the waters and make it difficult for the public to discern facts from fiction in these historical murder cases. On the other hand, I’ve done my best to expose the TRUTH to the public, while also publicly calling for official reinvestigation and DNA testing of all existing evidence in the murders of Michael Mansfield, Ruth Martin and Lloyd, Phyllis and Terri Schneider. Official reinvestigation of these 40-year-old murders is ABSOLUTELY warranted and should be conducted by agencies outside Logan County – and THE TIME IS NOW.

Truth & Justice,

Bonnie J. Thompson

PLEASE SIGN THE PETITION ON THIS WEB SITE calling for the official reinvestigation and DNA testing of all applicable evidence in the murders of Michael Mansfield, Ruth Martin, and the triple homicide of Lloyd, Phyllis and Terri Schneider. 



  • Reply November 21, 2016


    Well, Bonnie, you have my deepest admiration. And, concern.

    I grew up in, let’s just say, small town U.S.A., the daughter of a “small town” police officer.

    I grew up believing, as my father so often told me, that the police are our friends, committed to serving all, while seeking to find the truth and bring the bad guys to justice.

    Even though I went on to work in the legal field, it wasn’t until I was almost 42 years old before I found myself, as the daughter of now retired police officer, no longer wrapped in the protective blanket of blue.

    And, when my blue mirrored sun glasses were revoked, I learned some painful and rather frightening truths.

    I can’t speak with certainty about police agencies across the country, but, in Illinois, I most certainly can attest to the fact that there, we pretty much live in a “Police State.”

    When you see those squad cars emblazoned with the phrase “To Serve and Protect,” everyone of Illinois citizens should be asking themselves; “Who.”

    Because I can assure you, depending on who’s making the complaint against whom, or about what, the police not only can and do refuse to protect innocent parties from the unquestionably illegal actions of other people/entities, if you make enough noise, you may well find yourself the beneficiary of around the clock surveillance and/or police escorts.

    And, if you haven’t already been been the subject of their overly attentive concern for your welfare, I have to wonder when you will be.

    If you file a police report, you better have an attorney, with a recorder, with you.

    Because,as one officer told me (and rest assured it was a intended to be a threat) reports can be slanted.

    The police have long had the ability to decide the theory of the crime and then make or find the facts to fit their theory.

    In the past, I’d like to think that happened because of the limited technology available to them and that they truly believed they were righteous in their actions.

    However, I have personally sat in court rooms listening to police officers commit blatant perjury, a statement I could prove, and a number of very upstanding citizens would have absolutely testified to his untruthfulness, but, the Judge wouldn’t allow it because we weren’t parties to the case and it was only a preliminary hearing anyway.

    So they kept a man locked up because that’s where they felt he belonged due his to past transgressions, only to release him many months later because they couldn’t keep the good citizens from testify that police officers knowingly jailed a man based on false allegations of a police officer from another jurisdiction and committed perjury in order to do so.

    I’m a white, educated, middle aged woman, daughter of a retired police officer, who’s never been in trouble in my adult life, and was in very little in my youth, who has seen, and can prove, that an inconvenient truth isn’t likely to be brought forth voluntarily by police officers in the State of Illinois.

    Illinois ranks the 5th most corrupt state in this country, and as we all know, absolute power, absolutely corrupts.

    I wish you well in your endeavors.

    And I hope police officers in Illinois don’t make you the target of a slanted police report, or, their 24 hour protection detail.

    To bad our outgoing president didn’t keep his pre presidential election promise about cleaning up government corruption.

    But that’s a different story.

    • Reply November 23, 2016

      Bonnie Thompson

      I appreciate your informative comment and your compliment and concern, Kas. There is a blatant disregard for the facts, the evidence and the corrupt activity that has taken place in Logan County relating to these particular murders. The case of Ruth Martin remains unsolved, and authorities have an obligatory duty to pursue new leads and evidence – and in this case newly discovered CONCEALED leads and evidence – in the pursuit of truth and justice. In light of the facts, there’s a clear desire to see that official reinvestigation is thwarted and not pursued. The same is the case of the Schneider triple homicide, a case that is thought to be completely solved, but evidence supports it is not. Logan County authorities will continue to deny the truth, but their denying the truth does not change the FACTS.

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