Man convicted of quadruple murder dies in prison

Roger Drollinger (WISH file photo)
Roger Drollinger (WISH file photo)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – One of Indiana’s most notorious criminals has died.

Roger Drollinger, the mastermind behind the brutal murders of four brothers, was found unresponsive in his cell at the Wabash Valley Correctional facility Wednesday morning.

The crime became known as the St. Valentine’s day massacre. In 1987, the 10th anniversary of the murders, WANE’s sister WISH’s David Barras had an exclusive interview with Drollinger and one of his accomplices, trying to answer the question, “why?”

“I was not there, and I did not kill those people. I did not shoot those people,” said Roger Drollinger at the Indiana State Prison in Michigan City, 10 years after being convicted of the brutal murders of brothers 17-year-old Raymond, 16-year-old Reeve, and 14-year-old Ralph Spencer, and their stepbrother 22-year-old Greg Brooks.

“They’ve been indoctrinated or pre-programmed or prejudiced by a lot of news media,” said Drollinger.

“He’s lying. He’s lying,” said Daniel Stonebraker in 1987.

Also convicted, Stonebraker testified against Drollinger. He says on February 14, 1977, he, 20 years old at the time, Drollinger, 23 , Michael Wright, 21 and David Smith, 17, were driving around ready to kill for the thrill of it, when they spotted Spencer’s Hollandsburg home.

“There were two or three nice cars parked out front. His eyes just lit up. It was no more ‘do we want to or do you want to,’” said Stonebraker.

Stonebraker said the four men walked into the house, had the brothers and their mother Betty Jane Spencer lie on the floor, and shot them in the head with a shotgun. The four thought they had blown off a piece of Mrs. Spencer’s skull, but it was a wig she was wearing. She played dead and survived.

“I tortured myself for two years looking for some way I could have saved those kids lives,” said Betty Jane Spencer in 1987.

Spencer went on to become a victim advocate.

“There’s people to this day that would like to believe that there was more to this case than ever came out, because they don’t want to believe that it could have happened to them,” said Spencer.

But Stonebraker WISH’s David Barras it was nothing more than the thrill of killing. And he said they planned to kill again that night, but after the Spencer murders, lost their nerve.

Daniel Stonebraker, Michael Wright, and David Smith are all serving life sentences at the Pendleton Correctional Facility. Betty Jane Spencer died in 2004.

The cause of Roger Drollinger’s death was a heart attack. He was 61 years old.

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