Murder of Shirley Shell: Michael Gary robbed her and slit her throat before fleeing across the country

Mugshot of michael Gary
Michael Gary was sentenced to life for murdering Shirley Shell in her home. Pic credit: Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office

This week, See No Evil looks at the murder of Shirley Shell and the role surveillance footage played in bringing Michael Gary to justice for her murder.

On June 5, 2007, Michael Gary broke into the Shell family home in Edmond, Oklahoma. In the house, he found 67-year-old Shirley Shell and her mother-in-law; he held them both hostage while trying to obtain their credit card PINs.

Gary then murdered Shirley by stabbing her in the throat and fled the scene with $100 in spare change and the family’s credit cards.

Police initially struggled to come up with a suspect. Unfortunately, Shirley’s mother-in-law was blind, so she was unable to describe the killer. Neighbors had noticed a red car parked outside the home but were unable to identify the make or model.

However, when Gary began driving towards Ohio, he started making mistakes. He used one of the stolen credit cards along his route, which alerted investigators to his movements.

Investigators tracked Michael Gary across the country

Detectives began tracking him from Joplin, Missouri, up to Cleveland, Ohio.

A lengthy study of surveillance footage from a highway turnpike camera allowed detectives to finally identity Gary and his vehicle.

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A search of Gary’s car revealed a key chain that belonged to the Shell family. Gary had absentmindedly grabbed the chain when he took a pile of loose change from their home. The police now had more than enough evidence to link him to Shirley Shell’s murder.

Gary had a lengthy criminal record, which included aggravated burglary, grand theft, sex offender violations, and other offenses. There was also a local open warrant for his arrest at the time of the murder.

Gary repeatedly claimed his innocence until after a suicide attempt when he finally decided to accept the weight of evidence against him and confessed to the crime.

He was sentenced to life in prison without parole. He was also convicted of burglary, possession of the stolen cards, and unauthorized usage of the cards.

Gary apologized to the Shell family; he said: “I’m sorry. I really am sorry.” The family thanked him for taking responsibility for what he had done.

More from See No Evil

Follow the links to read about other murders where surveillance footage proved to be vital in collaring a murderer.

Previously on See No Evil, Sasha Samsudean, a young professional from Orlando, came home after a night out and was followed into her home by the apartment security guard, Stephen Duxbury.

Duxbury had attempted to rape the 27-year-old and then strangled her to death. He tried to cover his tracks by concocting a story about another man at the complex that night. He was charged with first-degree murder.

Brendt Christensen persuaded Chinese exchange student Yingying Zhang to get into his vehicle outside the University of Illinois. At his apartment, he raped and abused the young student before decapitating her.

See No Evil airs Wednesday at 9/8c on Investigation Discovery.

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