The Crime Spree of Michael Lee Lockhart

 Michael Lee Lockhart

Michael Lee Lockhart

October 12th, 1987. Chicago, IL. A woman is accosted by a strange man and forced into an alley. She was assaulted by her unknown assailant and also had her purse ripped from her arms. Thankfully the woman was not seriously hurt and eventually was able to recover her stolen property however, there was something hidden within her returned property that she had not expected to be there. Another purse. A smaller purse was tucked within hers. It was later determined to belong to a victim of a vicious murder. A young girl by the name of Windy Gallagher. This woman hadn’t known it yet but she had come face to face with a man capable of extreme violence and her mugging was one of the first of many crimes that would be committed over the next several months.

The random mugging was committed by a young man named Michael Lee Lockhart. Michael was born on September 30th, 1960 and raised in Toledo, Ohio. Michael seemed to lead a somewhat normal life. Born with the gift of gab, his friends would report how lucky he was with the ladies and how much of a smooth talker he could be. A natural born salesman. Michael eventually got married but after a short while Michael fell into a depression. He claimed to have contemplated suicide on a number of occasions and attempted to seek help but soon found others ways to cope with his emotions. Michael reported that his life took a turn for the worse when in 1984 he dropped his wife off at work, took his parents car and headed out west. At this point he began to drink and use drugs more and more. In order to support his expensive habits he began turning to crime. He was eventually arrested while in Wyoming and was imprisoned until December of 1986. 

Michael failed to learn his lesson while in prison. He still was involved with drugs and continued to commit crimes to support his habit.  Michael was arrested once more while in Locust Grove, Georgia for breaking into a vehicle and drug possession on May 2nd, 1987. It was alleged that Michael threatened to kill her. Just 4 months later in August, Michael would break into a home in Elyria, Ohio where he would acquire one of his most utilized tools, a pistol. Michael’s criminal timeline does not end here. Things only seem to get darker and more sadistic as time goes on. 

Michael continued his life of being a drifter and kept moving from state to state. On October 13th, 1987, Christine Gallagher had just gotten done with a busy day and made it to the family’s Griffith, Indiana home. She unwound for a bit before checking in on her sister, who she assumed was in her room resting. As she open the door to 16-year-old Windy Gallagher’s room she was stunned at the horrific site. On the bed lay her younger sister brutally murdered. Windy’s body was partially nude and her hands were bound. Windy was stabbed 21-times and had been disemboweled by her killer. Windy’s purse was missing and police were able to find a fingerprint which belonged to the killer but outside of that there was little to go on. There were no signs of forced entry into the home. What motive could there be? Who would want to kill an innocent child in such a brutal manner? According to Michael in later interviews, he claimed to have convinced Windy to allow him into the home to use the telephone.

After the murder in Indiana Michael fled back to Ohio. On November 7th Michael would bind and gag his estranged wife and sexually assault her. The terror would last for 2 days as Michael continued to torture the woman he once called his wife. Michael fled the area afterwards and continued drifting from state to state. The next day Michael stole a red corvette and on November 16, 1987, Lockhart stole some license plates while traveling through St. Louis, Missouri to help conceal the stolen vehicle. Michael made his way to Florida where on January 12th, 1988, Michael robbed a Payless Shoes in Jacksonville. Less then a week later, on January 20th, 1988 in Land O’ Lakes, Florida, Michael would again commit an incredibly heinous crime. A young 8-year-old Jeremy Colhouer had entered the home to quickly grab an item before heading back out. As he entered a bedroom he unfortunately discovered the partially nude body of his 14-year-old sister, Jennifer Colhouer. Like Windy Gallagher, Colhouer was bound and had been disemboweled. There were also signs of strangulation on the neck. Lockhart would later comment in an interview that he simply woke up that morning and thought to himself, “I had to go out and get me one.” He claimed to have used the same tactic as his previous victim, needing to make a brief phone call to gain access to the home.

 Officer Hulsey.

Officer Hulsey.

Michael next travelled to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where he robbed a bank on March 21, 1988. The next day, on March 22, 1988, Lockhart went to Beaumont, Texas where his crime spree would finally come to an end, but not at the expense of another life. Local Police Officer, Paul Hulsey Jr. saw a red Corvette with out of state plates and in company with a known drug dealer. This seemed suspicious to Hulsey so he attempted to stop the driver and speak with him. Once he attempted to stop the Corvette, it took off and Hulsey was unable to keep up. A few hours later, while patrolling the area, Hulsey found the Corvette in a hotel parking lot. He found out the room the man was staying in and went to confront the criminal. Things quickly escalated as Hulsey attempted to apprehend the suspect. He had the man place his hands on the wall while he attempted to take control of the situation. It’s hard to tell exactly what had happened but according to Lockhart, Hulsey pulled his gun from the holster and approached his suspect. Hulsey then started to lower the weapon in order to cuff the perp but as he did so, Lockhart lunged at the officer. Lockhart was able to retrieve the officer’s weapon and shot him twice, killing him. Michael fled the scene in he corvette, soon abandoned the vehicle and hired a cab driver to drive him to Houston. Along the way, officers stopped the cab and apprehended Michael.

There seemed to be overwhelming evidence convincing all that Michael had committed the murder of the officer. However while in custody he was identified as the purse snatcher in Chicago by the victim. This lead to his connection in the other murders, including matching fingerprints found at the scene. Michael initially couldn’t stop talking and claimed over 2 dozen victims but soon retracted that statement. He would eventually claim responsibility for the 3 murders of Windy Gallagher, Jennifer Colhouer and Officer Hulsey. It seemed inevitable. Michael would be charged, sentenced and families would be able to start the healing process. While on trial however Michael had other plans. He attempted to escape on August 18, 1988 by diving out of a window. He did not get far and was thankfully apprehended shortly after his attempt. He was charged in the death of Officer Hulsey and sentenced to death. On December 9th, 1997, Michael would each a double cheeseburger, fries and a coke. Before the plunger was deployed Michael said the following: “A lot of people view what is happening here as evil, but I want you to know that I found love and compassion here. The people who work here, I thank them for the kindness they have shown me and I deeply appreciate all that has been done for me by the people who work here. That’s all, Warden, I’m ready.”

 Michael Lockhart in court.

Michael Lockhart in court.

The legacy of Michael Lockhart will always be a dark one. Sadly there are still many questions that linger. Was his boastful claim of 24 victims accurate? Authorities strongly believe that Michael Lockhart is responsible for the murder of 16-year-old Kathy Hobbs in Las Vega, Nevada. On July 23rd, 1987, Kathy disappeared at approximately 11:00PM after walking to the store by herself. The next day her mother contacted authorities and reported her daughter missing. 9 days later her body was discovered 45 minutes away from Las Vegas in a remote area of Lake Mead. It was determined that her cause of death were a result from multiple blows from nearby rocks. Lockhart was linked to the murders through fibers found at the crime scene which matched fibers found in a car he had been using in the area at the time.