An attorney is found murdered in an elevator.

A middle aged caucasian man, David Merrifield, with short brown hair, a mustache, and large wire rimmed glasses.

David Merrifield

A man in a brown suit is laying face down in an elevator.

His body was found inside the elevator


On February 9, 1995, at 7:00 A.M., attorney Clint Blackman arrived at his office building in Dallas, Texas. He bypassed the notoriously slow elevator and took the stairs to the third floor.

A flip over calender, there is an appointment listed for the day David died.

Who was Sam Jones? The killer?

At 7:30, Juanita Lackey arrived without her keys. Secretary Roxanne Lederman let her in. When they went to use the elevator, the women found a body inside. Clint Blackman recalled the incident:

“I heard a lot of screaming and hollering. Juanita said that she thought that there was a man in the elevator, but all they’d really seen was legs, and weren’t really sure what was there.”

The body appeared to be that of David Merrifield, one of Clint Blackman’s colleagues and a partner in the law firm of Smith, Merrifield, and Richards. He had been shot in the back of the head, execution style. He left behind two children and a new bride of only three months.

Because David’s wallet was taken, Sgt. Jerry W. King of the Dallas Police thought it might be a robbery. But his opinion changed once the wallet was found:

“Mr. Merrifield’s wallet was recovered a few miles from the crime location. And in the wallet was still a small amount of money and all of his credit cards. So I believe, had robbery had been a motive, that stuff would not have been recovered.”

A middle aged caucasian man, Sgt. King, wearing a suit and sitting infront of a bookcase filled with legal books.

Sgt. King investigated the murder

As police dug deeper, they learned that the day before he was murdered, David received four phone calls from a mysterious stranger named Sam Jones. David’s co-worker, Jennifer Wanamaker, remembered the call vividly:

“He told me his name was Sam Jones, but he wouldn’t tell me who he was with, or what it was concerning. David spoke to him for, I guess, a little under ten minutes. I went up and kinda joked with David and I said, ‘Oh, what’s he trying to sell you?’ And David says, ’Well, he’s not trying to sell me anything yet, he says he wants to do something for me.’”

Sgt. King suspected that Sam Jones was an alias:

“David Merrifield, we discovered during this case, had a notepad on his desk, which had a calendar on it. And on February the ninth he had a marking there for a name and an appointment he had at 6:30 A.M. with Sam Jones. Due to the common nature of the name, it’s my guess it’s possibly a fictitious name.”

Clint Blackman found the time of the meeting unusual:

“I had known David and worked with him for years, and know David’s habits, and he never liked to get to work early. In fact, to see him at work before nine was just unusual. He was not an early riser he usually liked to work later.”

Sgt. King theorized that the killer insisted on an early meeting in order to get David alone:

“We think that Mr. Merrifield entered the elevator with another person. Whoever Sam Jones is, it’s obvious from our investigation, lured him to this location to do exactly what he did, to take his life in the elevator that morning. What we need in this case is an independent witness to come forward. If that person has heard any person boasting about being involved in this crime, if that person happened to be at this location or near this location on the morning of the crime, they might have seen suspicious activity. That’s the type of information we need. We need to know who Sam Jones is.”

Watch this case now on Amazon Prime in season eight with Robert Stack and in season two with Dennis Farina. Also available on YouTube with Dennis Farina. Various seasons available now on Hulu.




  1. Anonymous

    This reminds me of the Harvey Milk case. David was firm and not going to budge, but still agreed to a meeting. The other person was angry and didn’t accept the result of that meeting. It was a fast crime with a very thin time-line. I’m surprised the killer wasn’t seen. Today’s detectives in Dallas are a lot better than in 1995. They have all but solved the case.


  2. Ali Houssney

    I read earlier today that the killer was a relative of David’s family and that the family did not want him identified publicly. For so long I wondered HOW on Earth was David’s niece able to identify this other guy as the killer when NO ONE saw the murder take place. Also I wonder if the heavyset man in the black Ford truck outside David’s office that morning was the killer.


  3. Allison

    David Merrifield was an attorney, not a realtor and his case is closed. His suspected killer found out that he had a terminal illness and committed suicide. His niece confirmed this


    • Anonymous

      If the family wishes for the details not to be known, I have to respect that. The police immediately eliminated the wife as a suspect. They were correct to do that. But they should have went further into that lead. They lost all trails once they stopped looking at the family.


  4. MS

    That’s what I always thought oo


  5. Thomas

    David was a friend of our family, our attorney and he and his wife would come over occasionally for Sunday dinner.

    I was in college and I clearly remember flipping on the 5 pm news and it was the lead story. I immediately called my parents and my mom told me they were aware of what happened, one of David’s business partners had called and let them know just before lunch. My father officed at home and was there when they called to deliver the bad news.

    To this day my dad as well as David’s partners in the law firm believe it was his wife’s ex-husband. David’s business partners have kept their reasons close to the vest but they strongly believe it was her ex-husband.


  6. Johnny

    The David Merrifield case an extremely difficult one to solve. Real Estate Agent Merrifield tried to take precautions writing down the name Sam Jones and having the meeting at his building. Still, he ended up dead. This is an intelligent offender probably a serial killer. Almost 23 years now. It’s strange why Merrifield was targeted. Wish the building had sophisticated security cameras but many didn’t have them back then. It was a very brazen crime. A maintenance worker or client could have shown up early. This 1 might not be solved.


    • Anonymous

      You are correct with this case being extremely difficult. In 1995 Dallas came under scrutiny for how they invested homicides. Juan Rodriguez Chavez shouldn’t have killed more than 4 people. That is unrelated to this case. But if the Dallas police department collected fingerprints David Merrifields case would have been solved in 48 hours. The killer was a stranger to that building. Probably left his fingerprints everywhere. He was let in by David. And almost snuck out by David. David knew Clint never took the elevator.. I believe it was someone David knew but that he wasn’t allowed to be seen talking to. Anytime your law firm has a case, you can’t really be seen talking to your friend involved in that case. (Your clients may consider you to be a glove in hand attorney only working for opposing lawyers.)


  7. A.H.

    Hi Unsolved Mysteries,

    According to this website (, the suspect is deceased and police have closed the case. Not sure if they’re a reliable source or not though?


  8. chanita

    that’s crazy


  9. Ali Elghoul

    I love the TV show Unsolved Mysteries. They aired this story very many times and indicated that the morning of the murder, a stocky man around 50 years of age was waiting outside of David’s office, presumably waiting for David. But the most recent time they aired this story, there was finally an update. They said the prime suspect in this murder case committed suicide sometime in 2007 and police have now closed the case.


  10. hobbs

    Gary Krueger may be a likely suspect. He had a penchant for stabbing and he murdered Mike Emery (another realtor stabbed) whose case was presented on unsolved mysteries.


    • Anonymous

      Many homicides look alike. But Gary Krueger was a police officer. He knew what the cops looked for. He was extremely difficult to catch before DNA technology. David’s killer is more of a 2nd degree case. It wasn’t fully planned. He almost got caught making a lot of mistakes. In fact it is a miracle Clint and the two ladies were also not victims.


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