Two prostitutes are murdered at a massage parlor.
Straddling the border between Kentucky and Tennessee is Fort Campbell, one of the largest army bases in the world. Just down the road is the little town of Oak Grove, Kentucky, home to the New Life Massage Parlor. Here, a handful of girls gave comfort to the troops.
Tammy Papler was the owner of New Life. Though prostitution is illegal in Kentucky, Tammy said the police didn’t bother her because seven or eight officers regularly used the services she offered:
According to Tammy, one police officer, Ed Carter, used intimidation to take advantage of the situation, more than the other officers:
Carter insisted that Tammy contract with him for janitorial services. When she went on vacation, Tammy says Carter virtually took control of the massage parlor. Finally, Tammy says, she had to have Carter barred him from the establishment:
On September 20th, 1994, the bodies of two of Tammy’s workers — 22-year-old Candy Belt and 18-year-old Gloria Ross — were discovered in a back room of the brothel. Both had been shot execution-style. Both of their throats were slashed.
Earlier that evening, Ed Carter had stopped by the massage parlor. He told investigators that he went home to his wife at 3 AM, well before the murders, which occurred around 4 AM, according to the coroner’s report. Carter and his wife, Carol Moore, have since been divorced. She said her ex-husband was not home at 3 AM, as he claimed:
The two women were shot with a small-caliber gun. Ed Carter told police that he owned no such weapon. His ex-wife disagreed:
Ed Carter voluntarily took a polygraph exam a few weeks after the murders. Major Billy Gloyd of the Christian County Sheriff’s Department spoke about the test:
Attorney John Stewart represented Carter:
Tammy Papler saw things differently:
Carter moved to another part of Kentucky. As the case went cold, Tammy got so angry she went public with her suspicions at a July 15, 1997, city council meeting:
A former Oak Grove City Councilwoman backed up Tammy’s claims of police corruption. Patty Belew shocked the chamber when she admitted that had worked at the New Life Massage Parlor for two years:
John Stewart said the claims made about his client were just not true:
Tammy Papler just wants justice:
The murders remain unsolved.
A seven year investigation by the Kentucky State Police ended with the arrests of two former Oak Grove policemen. One was Ed Carter, who was arrested in Ohio and extradited to stand trial. Another former police officer, Leslie Duncan, was arrested and charged with complicity to murder. A third man, Frank Black, who was not a police officer, was indicted for the murders of Candy Belt and Gloria Ross. The three went on trial in 2016, and all three were acquitted.