Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The Tragic Case Of Dr. Deborah Iverson

It was a typical busy morning in the Doctors Iverson household on May 16, 1996. Dr. Robert left at 7 a.m. as the babysitter arrived. Dr. Deborah, his wife, a well-respected ophthalmologist and the director of the Eye Institute at Beaumont Hospital, dropped off her oldest son at school at 7:45 and told the babysitter she'd be back by 10, after her psychiatrist's appointment in Birmingham.

Across town in the suburb of Clawson, Anitra Coomer and McConnell Adams, Jr., were faced with a dilemma. The couple, both 21 years old, lived in an apartment with their two year old son. They'd received a notice from the building owner to pay their back rent within seven days or vacate. They owed $480 to their daycare provider. But the bank account was empty.

The idea was to snatch a purse.

Anitra and McConnell dropped off their son at daycare in Madison Heights at 9:30. They made the fifteen minute drive to Birmingham, one of the tonier Detroit suburbs, looking for a victim.

They spotted Dr. Iverson, getting into her $40,000 Land Cruiser, in a parking lot. McConnell used his BB gun, modified to look like a revolver, pushing it into Dr. Iverson's back and putting her into the back seat of the truck, where the child proof locks would prevent her from escaping.

Anitra and McConnell drove Dr. Iverson to two separate Michigan National Bank branches, forcing her to withdraw $1300; one check made out to cash for $1000 and one check for $300, also made out to cash.

At one point, stopping for cigarettes, McConnell addressed Anitra by name.

Eventually, Anitra took over at the wheel and McConnell asked her for the belt on her coat.

Back at the Iverson home, the oldest son's school had called. Why had no one picked him up? The babysitter picked up the boy and then called Dr. Robert. Dr. Robert called Dr. Deborah's cell phone and received no answer. After calling her office and finding out she hadn't been in or heard from, he called the police.

That evening, in a rural area in Macomb county near Stoney Creek Metro Park, a homeowner noticed a Land Rover parked on the side of the road. When it was still there the next day, he went over to take a look.

Inside in the back seat, was a body, face down.

Dr. Deborah Iverson had been strangled with a belt and died clutching a picture of her children. The autopsy indicated that it was likely a struggle had taken place and it was not a quick death.

Her coat and the truck's seats had strange white marks on them. From the bleach Anitra and McConnell had poured on them to disguise evidence.

Dr. Robert Iverson willingly took a polygraph and passed, but suspicious still swirled around him. He put up a large reward for any information.

The unsolved murder dominated the news.

Anitra had upon occasion mentioned to friends that "we did this" when a newscast recapped it. When the story first broke, McConnell turned up the volume to listen, then turned it off when the segment was done.

Apparently, no one they were around when this happened took it seriously. Or at least, not seriously enough to call the authorities, even with a $500,000 reward unclaimed.

In December, Anitra was at a friend's house and called another friend, Mark, to tell him about the latest beating she had received at the hands of McConnell. Mark persuaded her to go to the police. She claimed she had never reported the domestic assaults before because McConnell held the murder over her head.

After the police visited her, Anitra was arrested. McConnell was also arrested, driving a stolen car, for domestic assault.

The two were tried at the same time, before separate juries. They were convicted of first degree premeditated murder, first degree felony murder and kidnapping. They received life terms without parole for the murder and fifteen to sixty years for the kidnapping.

The Kresge Eye Institute at Wayne State University has a Dr. Deborah Iverson endowed lecture series in ophthalmology in her memory.


Nadine said...

What a nightmare for Deborah. I hope those two scumbags live every day in prison fearing for their lives, and die horribly.

Nichole said...

Interesting story. I had never heard of this. What a horrible thing to do.

Megan said...

Not long after this story broke out, it was brought to my attention that Dr. Deborah Iverson was my mother's cousin...

Shaper of Little Souls said...

This is digging up the past but I lived down Snell Rd at the time. I actually passed Iverson's Land Rover on my way home from work that night not knowing about it all. The police called me the next morning to ask some questions about what time I saw the Land Rover.
This incedent had some taumatic emtions for me. Very sad situation.

asylum0023 said...

I went to elementary, middle and high school w/ McConnell. We were born on the same day too, 7/3/75, always had that in common. After h.s., he and her, who I didn't personally know, would visit me at the AMC Dollar Movie Theater (SE Hamlin/Rochester, now a Bed Bath & Beyond). I would always give them free coupons for popcorn, drinks and movies.

Tho I didn't know her at all, other than at the movies, I did speak w/ them all the time. McConnell was always so nice to me, but he was distant in elem. & middle school, being the only African American in our grade, but in h.s., he did meet other students who were African Am. I believe he was on both the wrestling team & football, I'd have to look in my yearbooks to verify. He signed every one of mine from 4th grade to 12th.

Never in a million years did I think he was THIS person, not ever. I wouldn't even think he'd beat up a gf, much less commit such a horrible crime. When we went to Reuther, I couldn't get my locker open, never had used that kind of lock, his was next to mine and he helped me open that locker every day for about a week.

B4 this crime, I would not have said a bad word about McConnell, we were always friends. Reading this, and more details elsewhere, I am nothing short of shocked. And I keep in contact w/ many others who knew him like I did, mostly thru FB, and they all say exactly what I am saying here. Just unbelievable someone you thought you knew for 20+ years could be capable of something so awful and atrocious, she gave them the $, they should have let her go. But they are both where they belong, if not deserving far worse punishment.