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Film on unsolved EL murders from 1973 to debut Saturday

November 19, 2010
By MICHAEL D. McELWAIN (mmcelwain@reviewonline.com)

EAST LIVERPOOL - A documentary about the unsolved 1973 "Tweed Murders" that shocked the East Liverpool community will air this Saturday.

The documentary film "759 Dresden" is the result of more than two years of research and filmmaking, according to David Dunlap, the film's producer and director.

The documentary will air on WQED, the Pittsburgh-based PBS station at 10 p.m. Saturday as part of the "Filmmakers Corner" program hosted by Minette Seate.

Article Photos

Former Review reporter Lucille Huston was interviewed for a film documentary about an unsolved East Liverpool murder case that happened in 1973.

"With interviews from the people that were there, previously unseen archival footage and a 3-D model of the crime scene, the facts and myths surrounding the murder are presented in the hope that new information will be brought forward from the viewing public," Dunlap said.

On a larger scale, Dunlap said the film is about more than the Tweed murders and is "also about the issue of unsolved murders in the Columbiana County area."

The headline on July 31, 1973, said it all.

Fact Box

The Tweed murder case

Here are excerpts from the pages of The Evening Review from July 31, 1973 ...

"East Liverpool Police today were gathering new clues pointing toward a suspect in the Monday noontime slayings of an elderly Dresden Avenue businessman, a young pregnant mother and her child in one of the most brutal multiple murders in the city's history.

Dead are Earl A. Tweed, 75, of 115 W. 3rd St., operator of the National Furniture Upholstering and Repair Co. of 759 Dresden Ave.

Mrs. Arthur (Linda) Morris, 22, of 684 Lincoln Ave., whom police say was expecting another child, and Angela Lynn Morris, 4, her daughter.

Police surmise Mrs. Morris and her daughter went into the Dresden Avenue store and shop and came upon a robbery in progress.

The body of Mrs. Morris and her severely injured daughter were discovered about 1 p.m. by a Chicago, Ill., woman who entered the shop to inquire about antiques.

Mrs. Frances Dugan, a nurse, ran outside and shouted across the street to someone to "Call the police, something terrible has happened."

The child was rushed to City Hospital, but died at 1:56 p.m.

Detective William Devon, heading the investigation in the absence of vacationing Det. Capt. Kenneth Mooney, said statements from four witnesses indicate one male is involved in the slaying. A man was seen running in the area.

The killings were timed about lunch time. Mr. Tweed was visited about 11:30 a.m. by Charles Inman of 225 W. 8th St., who did part time work for Mr. Tweed.

Mrs. Dugan entered the store about 1 p.m., and police received the telephone call shortly after.

Mr. Tweed was several feet away from the woman and her daughter, and the first call to the police said only a woman and child were found.

The building housing the business is located on the west side of Dresden Avenue south of Allison's Meat Market. It is a two-story brick structure with a basement and one main floor.

Mrs. Morris reportedly went to the store to talk with Mr. Tweed about renting a home.

She was wearing a blue t-shirt and checked pants. Her purse was found in a pool of blood. Friends reported she was in her fourth month of pregnancy.

Mrs. Lettie Morris, Linda's mother-in-law, was in another downtown store shopping, when someone asked her if she had heard about the murder.

She hurried to the scene because she knew her daughter-in-law was going to see Tweed about a home.

Police described the clothes of the slain woman to Mrs. Morris, and she burst into tears. She was taken to City Hospital.

Mrs. Morris was found about 30 feet from the front of the store which is crowded with furniture and antiques, with a narrow aisle to the office and rear of the store.

Her body was on a mattress which had fallen from a standing position partially onto the floor.

Her daughter was to the left of that area.

Another dark aisle led to an open space and wash room some feet behind where Mrs. Morris was found. Tweed was discovered lying in this area, about four feet in front of a basement stairway.

Tweed was stabbed and beaten, Mrs. Morris was brutally beaten, as was her daughter.

On a chair nearby were two slices of bread and meat which indicated Mr. Tweed may have been preparing his lunch at the time of the intrusion.

He was wearing dark colored pants, a dark shirt and dark shoes.

Lying in a pool of blood on the floor were three items that may have been possible weapons a knife, wrench and claw hammer.

Later in the afternoon, police received a telephone call that papers were strewn in the area of steps and the freeway fence, about a block from the scene.

Patrolman James Buckley, dispatched to the scene, found the papers which belonged to the murdered man and he searched the area and discovered Mr. Tweed's wallet. There was no money inside.

Mrs. Morris was the wife of Arthur Lewis Morris known as Louie who began working for the city street department June 18, hired under the Emergency Employment Act.

Mayor Norman Butcher, Councilman Homer Mercer and other members of the city administration took Morris to the hospital.

Working with Devon are Police Chief Americo Radeschi, Detectives Kenneth Montgomery and Charles Coen, and the entire police force."

"Police Hunt Slayer of Three" ran on the top of the front page of The Evening Review with a smaller headline underneath, "Man, Woman And Child Murdered."

The news rippled through the community concerning the July 30, 1973, brutal death of all three, one a prominent city businessman, the pregnant woman and her daughter. Law enforcement officers from all over descended upon East Liverpool attempting to catch the suspect. With a few witnesses and even fewer leads, the murderer was never apprehended.

For a city unaccustomed to such a heinous crime, the initial news and the follow-up investigation continued for weeks.

Dunlap said the project turned personal.

"I grew up in Calcutta. However when I was younger, we did most our shopping downtown. That was before all the stores that we have now in Calcutta," Dunlap said. "My mom would drop me off at the Carnegie Library while she shopped because I loved to read, especially history, so I knew about the Tweed case from a young age, and I always thought it was a tragedy that they couldn't solve that case."

Dunlap said he wanted to shoot a documentary that would give something back to the community and thought that if his team could shoot a documentary on the Tweed case, maybe it could engage the community to try and help solve the case or one of the other unsolved cases in Columbiana County.

"To me, Earl Tweed, and Linda and Angela Morris were not just faces in the newspaper, but these were people from our community ... people that had family that loved and missed them, and I felt that we needed, as a community, to give this case and the other unsolved cases our best effort," Dunlap said.

Several East Liverpool residents were interviewed including police officers, crime scene photographers and reporters working that day. Mayor Jim Swoger is seen in the introduction.

Former Review reporter Lucille Huston is interviewed and gives her account about what happened that day in 1973.

Current police officers on the East Liverpool force are also interviewed, and the case remains open.

"This film is about a community coming together to help our neighbors find some long-sought answers, and, maybe, find some closure after all these years," Dunlap said.

 
 

 

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