Bizarre west Michigan murder: a parrot, a psychic, a wife accused of murder
Sand Lake — Police first thought Glenna Duram was dead. Then they thought she was a victim. Now they think she’s a murderer.
And that was just the beginning of a 19-month murder case in West Michigan whose constant twists have grown progressively bizarre.
Among the star turns in the drama are a foul-mouthed parrot that may have witnessed the shooting, a prescient psychic who knew secret details about the case, trespassers who stumbled upon a suicide note, and a death threat delivered by a crossbow arrow.
“It seems like it never gets over,” said Duram’s mother-in-law, Lillian Duram. “I’m always waiting for something new to pop up.”
A preliminary exam for Duram, 48, will resume Tuesday in Newaygo County District Court in White Cloud. She is charged with killing her husband in what police believe was a botched murder-suicide.
Marty Duram, 46, was shot five times with a .22 caliber handgun while Glenna was shot once, behind the right ear. In court earlier this month for the start of the preliminary hearing, a joking Glenna seems to have fully recovered from the injury.
The couple had financial struggles exacerbated by Glenna’s gambling, according to interviews, court testimony and hundreds of pages of police reports reviewed by The Detroit News. She kept the debts, including a looming foreclosure, hidden from her husband, family members told police.
According to police records, the couple’s home in Sand Lake was scheduled to be auctioned off by the sheriff’s office on the day of the shooting: May 12, 2015.
Glenna told police in a 2015 interview she would never kill her spouse.
“I wouldn’t shoot my husband,” she said. “I’d be better off divorcing him and leaving him.”
The Durams, married for 11 years, seemed to get along, according to interviews and the police reports. Marty had three grown children from an earlier marriage while Glenna had two.
Marty was in a car wreck in 1995 that jarred his brain and shattered the left side of his body. He couldn’t remember his earlier marriage or births of his children, Glenna told police.
His condition worsened in 2010 and Glenna began earning $3,153 a month for taking care of him while he got $1,100 a month in disability, she said.
They split the money between them. Marty liked to hunt, filling the garage with mounts of his kills.
Glenna liked to gamble, according to interviews and police records.
Clerks at several gas stations near the Duram home told police she often bought lottery tickets, including one station where she purchased $50 to $100 worth of tickets three to four times a week.
She also went to casinos, once or twice a week, usually accompanied by Marty, she told police.
During a 2012 trip to visit Marty’s brother in Montana, the couple couldn’t travel anywhere without Glenna wanting to stop at a casino, the brother, Dan Duram, told police.
Dan Duram said he saw Glenna pump $100 bills into slot machines, asking him not to tell Marty.
“We always had to wait for Glenna to finish gambling,” Dan told police. “She took longer than everyone else.”
In 2010, she gambled $75,000 at local casinos, according to the police reports.
Gambler vs. penny pincher
Several years ago, the couple began to incur debts, according to interviews and police reports. They owed money to the IRS. A collections agency tried to repossess one of their cars.
Glenna, who was in charge of paying the bills, told Marty she had made the car payments but had failed to do so, his kids told police.
Marty, who was frugal, was always turning off the lights at home and keeping the heat down. If relatives visited in the winter, they wore thermal underwear and double socks.
He wanted to buy a crossbow but fretted about the price, a friend told police.
“He always made sure the bills were paid,” said the friend, Deb Lanham.
In April 2015, Marty received a call from his mom, Lillian, who said a legal notice in the local paper said his home was being foreclosed.
When Marty asked Glenna about it, she said it was a mistake and she would call the bank, Lillian told The News. Marty told his mother they used auto-pay for the mortgage.
On April 28, two weeks before the shooting, foreclosure papers were placed on the Durams’ front door.
After Marty’s death, the executor of his estate told police the $700 monthly mortgage payments probably hadn’t been paid for a year. It takes that long for a home to be foreclosed, said the executor, Melissa Dykman, an attorney. The couple owed $48,000 on the home, she said.
A checking account had just $182 while the savings account had $118, according to the police report. A safe in the home held $200 in change, said Dykman.
The imminent foreclosure wasn’t the only thing on Glenna’s mind several days before the shooting, according to interviews and police reports.
She was battling bronchitis and bickering with her insurance company for refusing to pay for X-rays of her ailing back, her daughter, Lora Horan, told police. Debt collectors were calling about medical bills.
“It just, it gets to her, knowing she owes all these bills and everything,” Horan said.
Glenna also had stopped taking medication for depression, the police suggested in their interview with her, according to a transcript of the talk.
Bodies on the floor
Connie Ream was alarmed in May 2015.
She hadn’t heard from the Durams, who lived across the street, for two days. Normally, they talked and texted every day, she testified during the court hearing on Dec. 2.
“What have you done with Marty?” Ream’s husband, Keith, jokingly texted Glenna.
On the second day, May 13, Connie Ream entered the Durams’ home and found their bodies on the floor of their bedroom, she testified. Marty was in his underwear while Glenna was dressed with a blanket over her legs.
A local fire chief and two EMTs who responded to Ream’s call failed to check to see if Glenna was alive, according to the police reports.
It wasn’t until an hour later when a Michigan State Police trooper, trying to coax the Durams’ growling dog out of the home, thought Glenna seemed to be breathing.
The trooper, Sgt. Gary Wilson, went to check Glenna’s pulse and, as soon as he touched her, her eyes flew open and her body jerked, Wilson testified during the court hearing.
“What are you doing?” she cried.
On the day after the Durams were discovered, Marty’s three children used a credit card to enter the locked home, they later told police. The two sons and daughter, who all lived elsewhere, then rummaged through each room.
On the living room floor, they found a manila envelope marked “personnel” and “Jean Wierenga,” who is Glenna’s mother, according to the police report. They opened the sealed envelope to find three envelopes addressed to Glenna’s two children and ex-husband, Bob Norman.
In single-page letters, Norman was asked to take care of their children and the kids were asked for forgiveness.
“i’m sorry but I love you and soo sorry I’ve been a disappointment to you these last 12 yrs or so,” it read. “Please forgive me your one of the best things I ever did — love mom.”
Marty’s children immediately called police to tell them what they found. What they didn’t say was that they also found cash in the safe: $225 in an envelope marked “mount” and $1,200 in an envelope marked “wave runner.”
When Detective Sgt. Scott Rios later learned about the missing money from Glenna’s side of the family, Marty’s children admitted taking it, Rios wrote in a police report. Asked why they hadn’t told police earlier, they said police hadn’t asked.
Christina Keller, Marty’s first wife and mother of her three kids, said the children messed up.
“They’re young. They’re stupid,” she told The News. “They made some stupid choices.”
As police embarked on their investigation, they were contacted by Fran Falan, the wife of one of Marty’s cousins.
Meeting with police on the back patio of her home a week after the shooting, Falan said she practices psychic readings and began reading from a notebook she removed from a folder.
She told Trooper Barry Wolf it was important to look under the couch or love seat of the Durams’ home, Wolf wrote in a police report. She also said Marty and Glenna were right-handed and their hands were important to the investigation.
Police reports later revealed that investigators had found the murder weapon, a Ruger Single-Six, under the love seat.
Also, during Marty’s autopsy, it was discovered he was clutching a clump of hair in his right hand. The police report didn’t say whether it was human or animal hair.
After Falan’s revelations, Wolf asked where she was at the time of the shootings, she told The News.
“I said I had an alibi,” Falan said. “I was with my daughter.”
Falan also believed Glenna was innocent, but that’s not why Marty’s side of the family became angry with her.
During probate hearings where Glenna and Marty’s children tussled over his possessions, Falan testified on Glenna’s behalf.
Marty’s relatives began to threaten Falan over Facebook.
“You should keep a loaded gun at your side because who knows what can happen,” Dan Duram wrote to Falan’s husband, Scott, after a probate hearing in July 2015. “Look what happened to Marty.”
After a probate hearing in October 2015, an arrow was left at the Falans’ home, leaning against the garage door.
“Your next,” read a message on its vanes.
Lost in memory
In October 2015, Glenna was interviewed by the state police. She and her mother talked with Rios and Detective Sgt. David Johnson in the interview room of the Newaygo County’s Sheriff’s Office.
Asked about the suicide letters, Glenna said she didn’t remember writing them, Johnson wrote in a police report. She said they sounded like stuff she had written in the past, telling her children on their birthdays that they were the best things she ever did. But, if she had written anything to her ex-husband, it would have been to “kiss my (blank),” she said.
The two detectives also asked Glenna about the use of her cellphone on the day before she and Marty were found by their neighbor.
From 3:32 a.m. to 4:48 a.m., the phone was used five times to look up information about Ruger, including the Ruger Single-Six, according to testimony from the Dec. 2 hearing. At the end of the search, the phone was used to text Glenna’s mother, saying “love you sorry.”
She told the detectives she never looked up such info, that, if she was on her phone, it was to play online games. She said she never would have killed Marty.
“I did not kill him. I wouldn’t kill him because he was all I had,” she said.
She said she missed Marty and the two had been inseparable. She wished she had died so they could be together.
Johnson asked if that was the reason she had turned the gun on herself. She said she didn’t feel that way until after the incident.
Warning: Contains graphic language. An African grey parrot named Bud has sparked interest in a West Michigan murder case with its alleged foul-mouthed description of the killing.
From the parrot’s mouth
During the investigation, several people asked the police whether they had interviewed the Durams’ parrot.
The African grey, named Bud, was smart and remembered a lot of things, said Richard McCambridge, one of Marty’s cousins.
McCambridge also asked the police whether he could have the bullet that killed Marty, apparently not realizing he was shot five times. The police said they needed it for evidence.
By May 2016, one year after Marty’s death, no arrest had been made. His side of the family, which had long clamored for Glenna’s arrest, was frustrated.
The family gave a local TV reporter a videotape that appeared to show Bud imitating two people in an argument. Clinging to the outside of his cage, the parrot’s voice changes back and forth during the two-minute video.
“Shut up” and “Get your (expletive) over here,” he squawked. And then: “Don’t (expletive) shoot.”
The video was shot by Keller a month after Marty’s death, she told The News. She had owned the parrot during their marriage and took him back after his death.
She said she was alarmed by the video but, for 11 months, didn’t tell anyone outside the family about it.
Asked why the family finally shared it with WOOD-TV in May, Keller said she hoped it would spur public interest and push police into making an arrest. “She’s just evil and mean and dirty inside and out,” Keller said about Glenna. “It’s kinda crazy and a lot sad.”
The TV report about the beaked murder witness drew attention around the world and, three weeks later, Glenna was arrested.
Newaygo County Prosecutor Bob Springstead denied that all the publicity hastened the arrest. But it allowed him to learn all about African greys, he said, tongue in cheek.
He said he has no intention of calling the parrot to the witness stand. For one thing, how would you swear him in?
“Are you raising a wing? A foot?” he asked.