Michael Edward Drabing pled insanity and claimed he single-handedly stabbed Lloyd, Phyllis and Terri Schneider 90 TIMES. The three victims were killed within the confines of a hallway. Drabing sustained an alleged self-inflicted wound on his outer right calf during the frenzy (he’s left-handed). The wound was cut almost to the bone, and it bled profusely. He left a bloody right shoeprint on the front porch as he exited the home. He then ran down the Schneider’s expansive lawn, which had recently been mowed, and blades of dead grass were lying on the surface extending down to the gravel road, the direction he ran.
Drabing claimed he parked his car 1 – 2 miles from the Schneider’s and walked through fields to get to their house. If so, he had to run that same distance (wounded) back to his car. He claimed he was “stumbling and falling” on his way back to his car. When he fled the crime scene, he ran in the opposite direction from where he supposedly parked his car.
The Schneiders were killed between 11:15 and 11:30 the evening of Thursday, August 19, 1976. Drabing ended up at his mother’s home (where he was living) between approximately 11:40 -11:45 PM the night of the murders. It was a 10-minute drive from the Schneider’s to the Drabing residence in Lincoln. Mrs. Patricia Drabing called the family doctor to come to her home when Michael returned bloody and in an apparent fugue state. Dr. Glen Tomlinson arrived at the Drabing residence at approximately midnight, and he said Michael had returned home 20 minutes before his arrival (as he testified at trial in ‘76 and also in an interview in 2002). Tomlinson drove Drabing to the Abraham Lincoln Memorial Hospital ER (a short drive away) to suture his leg wound.
Drabing was arrested at ALMH after police dispatch reports were released about the murders. Drabing’s clothing was taken into evidence, and his jeans in particular were saturated with blood and covered with dirt and grass. Following his arrest, Drabing told jail inmates he couldn’t get his wound to stop bleeding. Mrs. Drabing told Dr. Tomlinson Michael’s wound was “bleeding profusely.”
Not one single speck of blood or shred of trace evidence was found in Michael Drabing’s Ford Torino shortly after the murders. All chemical testing for blood was NEGATIVE.
Drabing claimed that murdering the Schneider’s was a “dry run” for his continued plan of a “revolution” to exterminate the rich. He’d read “Helter Skelter” and had also seen the TV movie prior to the murders. Drabing idolized Charles Manson. Early on in the investigation accomplices were suspected of having assisted Drabing in the crime. Drabing pointedly told a deputy following his arrest, “I’m not a snitch.”
It was impossible for Drabing to have acted alone and returned home within 10 to 15 minutes of the crime. Even investigators stated early on in the investigation, “There’s just no way he could have gone that far that fast,” meaning Drabing could not have run 1 to 2 miles back to his car after fleeing the crime and arrived at his mother’s house 20 minutes prior to Dr. Tomlinson’s arrival at midnight.
The following dialogue was taken from a meeting in the Logan County State’s Attorney Roger Thompson’s (my father’s) office on Aug. 30, ‘76. The following discussion concerns the anomaly of no blood or trace evidence found in Drabing’s Ford Torino:
ROGER THOMPSON: As far as having any physical evidence there — still, there’s a lagging doubt in people’s minds because of the interior of that car [Drabing’s Ford Torino and the complete absence of evidence inside it] that he [Drabing] may have come back into Lincoln by other means. This is one of these things, trying to prove a negative gets almost impossible. I’m sure that the stories are going to go on for years that somebody else was involved, and to the extent that we can either prove it or disprove it, I think we should. That’s why on this car I’m reluctant to say, okay give it back to Mrs. Drabing.
ROGER THOMPSON (continued): Getting back to the car, do you think that it has been processed just as completely as possible at this point?
TROOPER KEN OTEY: There’s nothing there. I think I’ve done about all we can do right now. I don’t know what else we can get out of it, unless Bob would have some suggestions.
BOB CARNDUFF: No because of all the running and as wet as his tennis shoes were, and like you said, from the grass and dirt that was on his pants, there just wasn’t any of this present in the car . . . .
ROGER THOMPSON: Well, as far as any other person or persons involved in this, the only person I can think of at all as being suspicious in that respect would be this PAT HANLEY. He had given a statement, and I think that that statement needs to be checked out. Have you done anything on that Bob, or contacted anybody to check out the names?
BOB CARNDUFF: I haven’t done anything in Jacksonville yet [where Hanley was a student at Illinois College].
ROGER THOMPSON: Okay. I’ve given you a copy of that haven’t I — of Hanley’s statement? Yeah, okay.
BOB CARNDUFF: We’ve got a couple guys who live over there [in Jacksonville].
ROGER THOMPSON: I think that as long as people are thinking that, we’ve got to look into it. Check out his [Pat Hanley’s] alibi.
James Patrick Hanley’s alibi for the night of the Schneider murders was NEVER fully corroborated. A witness reported seeing Hanley around 10 PM in a Lincoln bar shortly before the murders—the same bar where Drabing was reportedly seen earlier in the evening playing cards.
Hanley claimed he left Lincoln the day before the murders and went to Jacksonville where he was enrolled at Illinois College. Hanley’s roommate admitted he was with Hanley early in the day and the early evening of Thursday, Aug. 19, ’76, but the roommate DID NOT account for the hours he was supposedly in Hanley’s company after 8 o’clock in the evening. Hanley claimed he was at certain named bars in Jacksonville the night of the murders. Hanley was asked for the names of people who were also at the bars that he and his roommate allegedly visited together. Hanley was only able to provide the names of the bartenders and employees at the bars—he provided no other bar customers’ names or Illinois College students’ names in attendance at these bars.
I, Bonnie J. Thompson, witnessed Pat Hanley threaten to “get” and “kill” Lloyd Schneider at a huge outdoor party held at the Schneider’s farm on July 16, ’76, one month prior to the murders. Hanley was in his 1966 Chevy truck with his good friends and passengers Michael Drabing and Richard (Rick) Lee Jones when he threatened to kill Lloyd Schneider (all three guys were 21 at the time). Hanley was completely unhinged and shouting obscenities at Lloyd. I was sitting nearby in my car to witness the entire exchange. After I left the Schneider’s following Hanley’s second argument with Lloyd (there was a confrontation with Phyllis also earlier), Hanley attempted to run me off the road and then he stopped his truck on a one-lane bridge and prevented me from crossing and continuing into Lincoln. Then, Hanley and Drabing got out of the truck and urinated off the bridge into Kickapoo Creek. Jones stayed inside the truck. Hanley was yelling to me from the bridge and trying to coax me to get out of my car. I kept my distance. Finally, an approaching vehicle caused Hanley and Drabing to get back inside Hanley’s truck. They sped off into Lincoln, and I was finally able to cross the bridge.
The summer of ’76, I was working in the Logan County Courthouse as a 19-year-old deputy circuit clerk, and Rick Jones was the BAILIFF for Judge Thornton. Defendant RUSSELL ALBIN SMREKAR, 21 (a thief turned serial killer), was making repeated appearances in Thornton’s court concerning his two ongoing theft cases involving witnesses Michael Mansfield, a 19-year-old Lincoln College honor student, and Lincoln realtor Ruth Martin, 51. Mansfield and Martin disappeared during Smrekar’s continued hearings in the two separate theft cases. The remains of Mansfield and Martin have never been found – cold cases. Jay Fry was also a witness against Smrekar in the Kroger shoplifting case. Fry and his pregnant wife, Robin (both 24), were shot-gunned to death in their home on October 9, ’76, just a couple months subsequent to the Schneider murders.
Russell Smrekar, also a Manson admirer, was an expelled Lincoln College student when Mansfield and Martin disappeared. He was charged with a dorm room burglary—one of the two theft cases in which he was the defendant. Pat Hanley attended Lincoln College before transferring to Illinois College. Smrekar was arrested at the Logan County Courthouse on Oct. 18, ’76 for the Fry double homicide. Following his arrest, he was placed in the same Macon County Jail cell WITH Michael Drabing. Several Macon County Jail inmates revealed information about conversations they had with, and overheard between, Drabing and Smrekar. Smrekar said he and “another guy” abducted and killed Ruth Martin. Smrekar also claimed to have “burned evidence” in the Martin case in the “incinerator” at “Lincoln High School.” Rick Jones’ father, Dr. Robert Jones, was the Lincoln High School superintendent, and Pat Hanley’s mother was the personal secretary for Dr. Jones. Judge Robert Thornton’s wife was also employed at Lincoln High School, and she was a good friend of Barbara Hanley, Pat Hanley’s mother.
At trial, Drabing testified he originally planned to murder the Schneiders on Tuesday, Aug. 17th, but then he changed his plans because he had a “social function” and went driving around that night with Pat Hanley and Rick Jones, instead. But prior to trial, Drabing had told a psychiatrist that he did go out to the Schneider’s on Aug. 17th, and he decided that night where he was going to park his car in preparation for the murders. The evening of Aug. 17th, Drabing, Hanley, and Jones were in Jones’ car. So, it seems Drabing may have decided where he was going to park his car while in the company of Hanley and Jones. What did these three guys talk about that night? They discussed Charles Manson and “Helter Skelter.” Where did they go that night? They went to Kickapoo Creek Park where the park ranger kicked them out for being outside Jones’ vehicle and somewhere in the park after it had closed. This park was also where the monumental BLOODY T-SHIRT EVIDENCE was found in the Ruth Martin case. This blood evidence is the source of a 43-year-old COVER-UP.
The next morning, Wed., Aug. 18, ’76, bailiff Rick Jones arrived at the courthouse and admitted he’d been out ALL NIGHT and had just gotten home at 6:30 that morning. He mentioned that “some weird stuff happened,” but said nothing more. Later that same afternoon, Jones came into the circuit clerk’s office and told me with a grin on his face, “Somethin’ big and somethin’ bad’s gonna happen.” He would not elaborate, and he wasn’t disturbed about the pending bad event. He seemed happy and empowered that he knew something no one else knew. The next evening the Schneider’s were murdered. It was the only bad thing that happened in the community.
Hanley finally surfaced in Lincoln on Monday, Aug. 23rd, and authorities questioned him at the Logan County Jail that evening. Over the weekend following the murders, he admitted to his former girlfriend, prior to being questioned by authorities on the 23rd, that he’d been “driving around trying to get his head clear.” He told investigators he couldn’t sleep, and he’d gotten to Lincoln just as soon as he could. That was not true. Hanley’s truck was apparently never inspected, which was so incredibly negligent.
Despite my father’s directions to investigators on Aug. 30, ’76 to go to Jacksonville to check out Hanley’s alibi, a detective waited until Sept. 9th to finally question Hanley’s roommate—Hanley’s only alibi. Hanley’s roommate admitted to being with Hanley earlier the day of the 19th, and he also had a pizza with Hanley, but the roommate did not account for his time with Hanley after the time frame of 8 PM the night of the murders. Hanley could have easily driven to Lincoln (68 miles from Jacksonville) after the time frame of 8 PM and been at the Schneider’s in time to have been involved in the murders. At least one accomplice had to have driven Drabing home. This has to be why no blood or trace evidence was found in Drabing’s Ford Torino.
Michael Drabing testified that he had nothing personal against the Schneiders, and he only killed them because they were “rich.” Lloyd Schneider was disfigured—a smile was cut into his face. Pat Hanley told Lloyd he was going to get him and kill him. Lloyd was stabbed 29 times.
Pat Hanley allegedly told his girlfriend in June of ’76 that HE was “going to start a revolution,” and he didn’t like wealthy people. Hanley allegedly said “part of the plan” was that he was going to become an attorney, Rick Jones was going to become a police officer, but Hanley’s former girlfriend said she couldn’t remember what Drabing was going to become. I believe Drabing became the fall guy.
Following the murders, Rick Jones told investigators he was going to Los Angeles to do an internship with the L.A. Sheriff’s department. So, apparently the bailiff left the state of Illinois after this Manson-inspired triple homicide to intern with the very department involved in the Tate-LaBianca murder investigations.
There’s far more to this entire true crime story, and there’s an abundance additional facts and evidence supporting that Drabing and Smrekar did not act alone in their crimes. In many instances, Hanley and Jones did not testify truthfully under oath or in their statements to investigators in 1976, and then they both became attorneys following Drabing’s conviction.
The murders of Michael Mansfield, Ruth Martin, and the Schneiders WARRANT AND DEMAND further investigation, and all the existing physical evidence in these murders demands DNA testing.
Former Detective William A. Krueger (still living) has been lying since 1976 about the critical BLOODY T-SHIRT EVIDENCE in the murder of Ruth Martin. This is now the ONLY item of evidence allegedly MISSING in the Martin case; it provided the Lincoln PD with the best possible lead to a suspect/accomplice in the murder of Ruth Martin, AND IT STILL DOES.
J. Patrick Hanley became a Commissioner for the IL Court of Claims and later the Corporation Counsel for the Village of Skokie, IL. Once again, Michael Drabing DID NOT ACT ALONE, and probable accomplices to the murders of Mansfield, Martin, and the Schneiders are still at large walking the streets.
Truth and Justice,
Bonnie J. Thompson (Copyright 2019).