Case 266

Circleville Letter Writer

In March 1977, school bus driver Mary Gillespie started receiving threatening letters delivered to her home in Circleville, Ohio. It wasn’t long before her husband, Ron Gillespie, also received the letters which accused Mary of having an affair with the local school superintendent, Gordon Massie.

When Mary Gillespie found a threatening sign hung from a fence post on her school bus route, she tore it down, only to find a booby trap inside, designed to kill her. Who wanted to target Mary? Investigation of the booby trap pointed to a prime suspect close to home, her brother-in-law Paul Freshour.



Casefile Presents



Research & writing – Jessica Forsayeth

Creative direction – Milly Raso

Narration – Anonymous Host



‘Flatline intro’ and ‘Come play with me’ intro and outro –

Audio production – Mike Migas 

Scoring – Mike Migas and Andrew Joslyn



Logo and website design – Paulina Szymanska



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A special thank you to author, journalist and private investigator Martin Yant for his assistance in sharing resources for this episode.



Paul Freshour Wife – Circleville Letter Writer Karen Sue Freshour



It was a day he was sure was his last – Dayton Daily News

Ohioan faces hearing on attempted murder charge – UPI

Columbus area man is charged with attempted aggravated murder – Chillicothe Gazette

New attorneys sought – Chillicothe Gazette

Man admitted – Ohio AP

Pickaway judge waits for medical report – Chillicothe Gazette

Handwriting is linked to accused  – Ohio AP

Freshour trial set – Chillicothe Gazette

‘Booby trap’ trial is set to begin – Chillicothe Gazette

Arguments under way in trial – Chillicothe Gazette

Prosecution continues in trial – Chillicothe Gazette

Jury to get the Freshour trial – Chillicothe Gazette

Freshour given prison term – Chillicothe Gazette

Has the anonymous author of the infamous Circleville letters been unmasked? – CBS News

‘48 Hours’ expert may have solved Circleville letters mystery – Chillicothe Gazette

The Circleville Letters: you’ve got hate mail – CBS News

Circleville Police looking for tips in unsolved 1980 homicide of 25-year-old teacher – abc6

‘Circleville Writer’ vs. ‘Unsolved Mysteries’ – The Ohio Observer

Letters continue raising doubt about convict’s guilt – The Columbus Dispatch

Could a serial killer be responsible for a Circleville elementary teacher’s murder? – 10 WBN



Unsolved Mysteries – S07, E06

48 Hours – The Circleville Letters

Whatever Remains Podcast – Circleville Letters, episode one



State of Ohio vs Paul L. Freshour – Pickaway County Court of Appeals 1985 Case no: 83-CA-32

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