Man who fought for justice diesBy Donna Hales
A man police hailed as courageous for turning in his grandson for the murder of a 3-year-old has died.
“You’ve got to have respect for this gentleman to do what he did — turn a family member in,” Muskogee Police investigator Lonnie Bemo said Tuesday, upon learning of the death of Thurman Harrell McIntosh’s death.
“It was hard, but he did what was right. He was a good man who made a tough decision.”
McIntosh, 86, died Saturday.
McIntosh turned in his grandson, Harrell “Pete” Johnson, in 2001 for the murder and decapitation of Johnson’s stepdaughter, Erica Michelle Marie Green, who came to be known as “Precious Doe” in Kansas City, Mo.
Johnson is serving a life sentence. Erica’s mother, Michelle Green, who married her daughter’s killer after the child’s death, is serving a 25-year sentence for her role in the Erica’s death.
When Kansas City police wouldn’t listen to McIntosh, he persisted in calling to help bring Erica’s killers to justice.
With the help of Kansas City community activist Alonzo Washington, police were convinced they needed to test Michelle Johnson’s DNA.
“They (Kansas City detectives) just blew me off — thought I was a crazy old man,” McIntosh said at the time of his grandson’s arrest.
Washington recalled Tuesday how McIntosh wearied at being ignored.
He didn’t have a good command of the English language, he was old, and he was completely ignored by Kansas City police, Washington said.
“The average person would give up after awhile — he never gave up,” Washington said.
After McIntosh saw his grandson and the child’s mother charged in Erica’s death, he said he was relieved.
“I’ve got it off my heart,” he said, his eyes downcast and his shoulders slumped. “Now, I sleep at night.”
McIntosh, a World War II Navy Veteran, was a butcher in Kansas City after he left the service. He later moved to Muskogee to help his brother run McIntosh Nursing Home.
He was retired and on a walker when the biggest heartache of his life came along.
“What my grandson did just broke my heart ... it hurt me so bad,” he said. “My time’s getting short, and I did my job.”
Services for McIntosh will be at 10 a.m. Friday in the Keith D. Biglow Funeral Directors Inc.’s Muskogee Chapel, and he will be buried at noon in the Fort Gibson National Cemetery.