Poison Ivy and Murder

poison ivy murder

I once got one of the strangest phone calls of my life, and it was because of this website.

A fellow explained that he had a question about poison ivy and my answer might determine if he spent the rest of his life in prison.

It seems this man's wife was found murdered in a bed of poison ivy, in their hometown. He had reported her missing, after they had a fight. Someone found the body and police went to his house the next day to talk to him, and found he had severe poison ivy rash on his arms. This was now the 3rd day after the murder.

Oddly, this is not what convicted him. In fact, they had found a glove in his van with his DNA on it, and wanted to use that to convict him, seeing as the poison ivy rash was not proof enough. He was not charged and moved away with his children.

But about 10 years later he came back to that town and at that time he was charged with the murder. Again, not because of the poison ivy, but because newer DNA testing made for a better match to the DNA in the van. 

What didn't make sense to him, or to me, was why was his DNA in his gloves in his van any sort of proof of his involvement in the murder? To me, the poison ivy rash was much more damning.

But the reason he called was that he wanted to know how soon you get a rash after encountering poison ivy. I told him it almost always shows up the next day and then gets worse for about a week. I think this was not what he wanted to hear, as it made his rash perfectly timed for the murder of his wife.

I was torn about what to think. The fact that he called me suggested he was innocent, but his persona struck me as odd, rather matter of fact.

I told him that I would not blog about this incident since we was going to trial. This was about a year ago, and he was just found guilty, sentenced to up to 30 years.

It left me feeling very strange, talking to a man who might have murdered his wife.

But I still don't understand why his DNA in his gloves in his van proves anything.

You can find this news story by Googling "Poison Ivy Murder", but be aware that there are two other murders related to poison ivy, topics for another day. This one was in Baltimore County.